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March 20, 2017

Open Thread 217
Posted by Teresa at 09:17 AM * 584 comments

Allow me to observe that bluegrass musicians will cover anything.

Comments on Open Thread 217:
#1 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2017, 10:31 AM:

I really, really love this album:

#2 ::: Elliott Mason speaks to gnomes ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2017, 10:35 AM:

Also, methinks a digit is missing from the thread number?

#3 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2017, 11:55 AM:

Back home after a week in London, then a day in NY.

Really glad I took the day off from work. Sooo many bills and emails and real-mails.

#4 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2017, 11:55 AM:

Oh for pete's sake, how did that happen?

It's fixed now.

#5 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2017, 11:55 AM:

Not Stefan. He's fine the way he is.

#6 ::: Phil Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2017, 12:33 PM:

While we're discussing great - or, at least, suitably mind-bending - bluegrass covers, please allow me to plug Japanese duo Petty Booka and their timeless rendition of "Material Girl", from their 1999 album Sweetheart of the Radio. They also provide a suitably twanged-out rendition of "Proud Mary" on the same album, but to my mind it lacks the sheer impact of hearing J-pop bluegrass Madonna.

#7 ::: Fred ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2017, 12:48 PM:


#8 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2017, 01:01 PM:

breadcrumbs back to Open Thread 216.

#9 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2017, 01:10 PM:

Yes, bluegrass musicians will play anything. I saw The Del McCoury band in the Tractor in Ballard (Seattle) back when I was going to shows, and I was blown away by how smooth and professional they were compared to the other bands that I'd been sing at the time.

As for covers, These two David Byrne mixes cover a lot of ground.

Tons of Beatles Covers.

This one has a chicha version of 'Another One Bites the Dust', Latin torch song versions of Early Madonna, Johnny Cash doing 'Hurt', and Petra Haden doing 'Under Pressure'. A Capella. (herself. doing all the parts, using a multitrack): Covers, Oct 2013

(and the Petra Haden is also available on it's own here)

#10 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2017, 02:45 PM:

Confirming recommendation for Randy Rainbow's satirical songs. Really well done.

#11 ::: cleek ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2017, 03:06 PM:

Doc Watson frequently included the Moody Blues' 'Nights In White Satin' in his sets.

Nickle Creek used to do Britney Spears' 'Toxic'.

i attended Merlefest one year where there was an all-star bluegrass show where they duplicated all of Led Zeppelin II.

i once had the notion to gather up some of my pickin' friends and do a bluegrass cover of Pink Floyd's 'Fearless'. but when i checked YouTube - yup, been done.

#12 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2017, 03:53 PM:

Personal open threadiness:

I went off to lunch by myself today after a midday doctor appointment, and took along a notebook and some work papers. Opening the notebook to look for some scratch paper, I found a bunch of notes I wrote to my dad the last few days of his life--he had gone deaf (cancer had invaded his good ear, the other was deaf from noise exposure long ago), so all our communications were by me writing notes to him and him reading them. (I could shout and be heard, more-or-less, for very simple things. But that didn't work for anything much more complicated than "Hello!")

It hit me hard. It's been about a year now since he died. By the end, death was probably a relief--his body was visibly failing from the cancer, he was in constant pain, nauseated and constipated from the pain medicine (and on scary doses of opiods--I suspect the dose he was on would have killed me, since he'd had several months to build up increasing tolerance and he was in a lot of pain from the cancer), and on oxygen because he was having trouble breathing (probably metastases in the lungs, but there was plenty else going wrong by then).

When I got to his house on my final visit, he was having trouble breathing and asked to use my inhaler. I took him to the doctor the next day (I found the note where I told him I had called his doctor and they would work him in), and after an exam and an X-ray, he wound up in the hospital. I also found the note where I told him that the doctor was asking about a DNR. I remember being impressed that the doctor managed to communicate with him, be absolutely clear on what Dad wanted done (and that it was his choice, not mine or anyone else's), and then signed off on the DNR.

We got him released to hospice in his home after a few days (I found the note where I told him we were getting him back home). When I pointed out his that most of his long list of medicines didn't make any sense anymore, the hospice doctor took him off everything but painkillers, laxatives, and antinausea medicine. I can't evaluate much of his medical care independently, but the hospice nurse certainly seemed like she was interested in making sure he was comfortable and letting him die on his own terms. She asked if he wanted to talk to their chaplain (he didn't), told me what to expect (including needing to move him to a nursing home soon), warned me about getting rid of the cigarette lighters so he didn't set himself on fire once he was on oxygen, etc. (Long-term smokers will light a cigarette without even thinking about it.)

After about a week at home, we had to move him to a nursing home. The final descent was abrupt. His last day at home, his lawyer (also an old friend) came out and helped him with some final paperwork, and also just sat and talked with him one last time. Within a couple days of getting him to the nursing home, he basically lost consciousness until the end.

Rereading those notes brought the whole experience back. It's strange to have a memory that's simultaneously awful and precious--I hated living through all that, but wouldn't trade it for anything.

#13 ::: J Homes ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2017, 03:57 PM:

Hamilton County Bluegrass Band, for many years New Zealand's leading bluegrass band, did a cover of "God Defend New Zealand". I do not have a link handy.

Instrumental only, but vastly more uplifting than the dirge-like original.

J Homes

#14 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2017, 04:25 PM:

albatross @12:

It's been nearly a year already? Wow. You've been on my list for candles and prayers since he passed.

Hard to come on a reminder like that, though, however dear.

#15 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2017, 05:23 PM:

I feel utterly compelled to post this particular bluegrass cover.

With bonus cute kids sitting next to their dad as he plays. One, in a wheelchair, happy-flaps repeatedly.

#16 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2017, 05:25 PM:

Poor Man's Whiskey, presumably inspired by the Austin Lounge Lizards cover of DSOTM, has an entire album called "Dark Side Of the Moonshine".

#17 ::: oldster ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2017, 05:27 PM:

217 is 7 x 31--nice pair of primes.

Out here in the sticks there is an excellent local band that plays bars, bar mitzvahs, and other venues, bar none. They play oldies of all sorts, and anything you can hum to them.
They call themselves "The Tarps," because they cover anything.

#18 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2017, 05:55 PM:

albatross #12: *Hug*

#19 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2017, 06:30 PM:

albatross, #12: Hearing, witnessing.

#20 ::: dotless ı ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2017, 06:52 PM:

albatross@12: Witnessing, and holding you in the light.

Reading your note brought back some memories of my own, simultaneously painful and cheering, which I'm happy to sit with right now.

#21 ::: HelenS ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2017, 06:57 PM:

bluegrass musicians will cover anything

I was immediately reminded of this definition of cover:

a : to copulate with (a female animal) a horse covers a mare

#23 ::: Randall ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2017, 09:31 PM:

And yet, not one mention of Luthor Wright and the Wrongs' cover of the entire album of Pink Floyd's the Wall?

#24 ::: Bonnie McDaniel ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2017, 09:56 PM:

"Senor" comes from an entire album Tim O'Brien put out of Dylan covers, Red on Blonde. It's quite good.

#25 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2017, 11:42 PM:

albatross @12: Wow. Amazing story. Thank you for sharing it.

#26 ::: elise matthesen ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2017, 11:45 PM:

Randall @23: Oh, good, another Luther Wright and the Wrongs appreciator! Rebuild the Wall is a splendiferous thing. Gotta love the haybales-as-bricks album cover.

#27 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2017, 11:59 PM:

Thunderstruck by Steve'N'Seagulls.

#28 ::: Sam Smith ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2017, 12:15 AM:

I see your covers and raise you

#29 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2017, 03:50 AM:

And then there's Hayseed Dixie.

#30 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2017, 04:59 AM:

Many happy returns, Teresa!

#31 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2017, 07:01 AM:

The 3rd Brandenburg:
1st movement, not exactly bluegrass
3rd movement, exactly bluegrass
(Where's the second movement? Well, you play whatever want for the second movement.)

#32 ::: C. Wingate says hello to the gnomes ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2017, 07:27 AM:

Let my youtubes go....

#33 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2017, 07:51 AM:

...and I think I've posted this before, but in my opinion this is one of the most awesome covers of anything by anyone.

#34 ::: Handslive ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2017, 09:26 AM:

That's a good one, Sam, but I like their cover of Put a Ring on It just a little better.

#35 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2017, 10:24 AM:

abi, Fragano, Lee, dotless i, Jacque, and anyone else I missed: Thank you.

#36 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2017, 12:48 PM:

Here is a cover I first encountered in Hawai'i:

Country Roads

My reaction: They've got FILK here!

#37 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2017, 12:54 PM:

AKICML, domestic wildlife version: So we've had a wicker loveseat on our front porch for the last seven years, with big old puffy tufted cushion in it. A week or two ago, we noticed that the cushion, which was already looking a bit ratty and very sun-faded, had suffered depredation by squirrel, who had dug a hole in it and removed much stuffing. We, in our innocence, believed that was the end of the matter and got a new cushion with no puffiness. Yesterday I headed out for the mail and noticed a whacking great big hole in the new cushion. (Fortunately not all that expensive, but still...)

Question: most of the squirrel-repelling stuff seems to be intended to keep them out of your garden, which is not what's going on here [*]. What can I put on a tile porch floor or onto the plastic wicker or the cushion? All the things I see recommended involve pepper spray or other things that people don't want to sit on or track into the house.

[*] Frankly, we don't care what happens in the garden as long as Evil Neighborhood Cat doesn't eat the birds that like to play in the fountain.

#38 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2017, 02:34 PM:

C. Wingate, #31: Whoa. Found the first guy's album on Amazon, but I'm not seeing the Brandenburg on any of the Punch Brothers albums. Do you know if it's available anywhere?

Both of those are stellar examples of the art of arrangement! (Side note: I played the first movement of Brandenburg 3 in my high-school orchestra, and I was amused by the way my ear still automatically follows the cello line.)

#39 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2017, 03:39 PM:

Felicitous natal anniversary, Teresa!

#41 ::: oldster ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2017, 05:21 PM:

For years, I simply thought this *was* a bluegrass song, and a damn fine one.
Only later did I learn that it was originally a soul song from the Stax label, covered by its author William Bell and more famously by Otis Redding.

The band, "Emerson's Old Timey Custard Sucking Band," played around Baltimore in the early '70s. No idea what happened to them.

#42 ::: oldster ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2017, 05:25 PM:

Which reminds me that there is another thread on some other version of this blog right now, reflecting on the way that country and bluegrass has appropriated African American music since the beginning.

#43 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2017, 05:46 PM:

Joann @37: The only thing I can suggest is getting or making a cover for the cushion that is unchewable.

If it wouldn't poke your butt, you could put a thin layer of steel wool between the cushion and the cover -- biting steel wool is VERY PAINFUL.

#44 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2017, 05:54 PM:

Ska bands are also famous for covering damn near anything.

(apologies to the gnomes in advance. Chocolate chip cookie?)

#45 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2017, 06:02 PM:

(I will admit that results vary greatly, mostly on the downside.)

#46 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2017, 06:14 PM:

Happy Birthday, Teresa!

#47 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2017, 06:32 PM:

Happy Birthday, Teresa!

Unrelated: I just saw a movie called The Dressmaker. It's very odd and somewhat satisfying. Anyone care to recommend a peculiar movie?

#48 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2017, 06:35 PM:

Elliott Mason #43:

Sounds like I should be investing in those godsawful plastic or vinyl sun pads? Ick, but whatever it takes, I guess, up to and including just the wicker to sit on. (So far they've ignored the chairs with the flat cushions, although acorns tell me they've been on them.)

#49 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2017, 07:15 PM:

Happy Birthday Teresa!

#50 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2017, 07:48 PM:

I'm having fridge-logic issues with the new R-rated Wolverine movie, Logan. It may not be worth a spoiler-thread of its own, but please indulge me here.

Vs Ybtna jnf tvira gur jebat xvaq bs cvyyf, ubj pbzr gur cvyyf pbagvahrq gb jbex gb fhccerff Cebsrffbe K'f frvmherf naljnl?

Nsgre gurve ubzr va Zrkvpb vf vainqrq, gur punenpgref qevir njnl va n yvzbhfvar. Ng fbzr fhofrdhrag cbvag (gur tnf fgngvba? gur pnfvab ubgry?) gurl ner va gur Havgrq Fgngrf. Gur zbivr qbrf abg rkcynva ubj Ybtna trgf npebff gur obeqre va n ohyyrg-jenpxrq pne, juvpu, V'q rkcrpg, zvtug nebhfr gur fhfcvpvba bs n obeqre thneq, naq jvgu Nzrevpn'f Zbfg Jnagrq Gryrcngu va gur onpx frng.

Tvira gur erfbheprf gurl nccneragyl unir, jul qvq gur onq thlf tvir hc punfvat gur tbbq thlf nsgre gur genva fprar? Va fcrrqvat guebhtu n qrfreg jnfgrynaq, gung pne vf cebonoyl envfvat n pybhq bs qhfg ivfvoyr n ybat jnl bss. V'q rkcrpg gurz gb unir pnhtug hc jvgu gur tbbq thlf fbba nsgre, engure guna znal qnlf yngre.

Jul qvq Cebsrffbe K vafvfg ba fgnlvat sbe qvaare, zhpu yrff bireavtug, jura ur xarj gung gur shtvgvirf jbhyq or chggvat gur ubfg snzvyl ng evfx sebz onq thlf? Naq nyfb ng evfx bs n envq sebz ynj rasbepref, jub va gur jnxr bs gur vapvqrag ng gur ubgry, zhfg fheryl or pbzovat gur pbhagelfvqr va frnepu bs uvz (gubhtu guvf arire orpbzrf n cybg cbvag)?

Jura Ynhen gnxrf bire gur gnfx bs qevivat gur Oebapb, fubhyqa'g fur ng yrnfg fuvsg gur frng sbejneq?

Ubj qvq npphengr pbbeqvangrf sbe gur eraqrmibhf cbvag svaq gurve jnl vagb gur pbzvp obbx?

Vs gur punenpgref fvzcyl nterrq gb zrrg ng pbzcyrgryl neovgenel pbbeqvangrf gurl bognvarq sebz n pbzvp obbx, ubj qvq gurl xabj gung gurer jbhyq or n pbzsbegnoyr ohg nccneragyl nonaqbarq sver-gbjre pnzc gurer? Be jnf vgf cerfrapr zreryl n yhpxl pbvapvqrapr?

Fnl, jnf gung sver pnzc ERNYYL nonaqbarq? Jung orpnzr bs gur sberfg enatref? Fynhtugrerq ol zhgnag puvyqera, creuncf?

Rirelobql jnagf gb trg gb Pnanqn. Jul jbhyq Pnanqn or fnsre guna Zrkvpb be gur H.F.? Ner gurer ab oynpx FHIf, uryvpbcgref, svernezf, be ehguyrff zrepranevrf ninvynoyr sbe chepunfr va Pnanqn?

Isn't it about time for a movie where the sinister ruthless mercenaries drive around in gaily-colored SUVs?

(I note that "black" in Rot13 becumes "oynpx," which is kinda close to "onyx," but not really.)

Qvq gur fvavfgre fpvragvfg trg xvyyrq va gur svany fubbgbhg? Znlor V zvffrq fbzrguvat. V qba'g erpnyy frrvat uvz trg njnl, gubhtu.

Thanks, it's good to get that off my chest.

#51 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2017, 07:50 PM:

OK, in the course of looking around for stuff for this thread, I have found a whole new level of awesome:

Apparently you can cover anything on the gayageum.

#52 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2017, 08:21 PM:

Bill Higgins @51:

In re Ynhen gnxrf bire gur gnfx bs qevivat gur Oebapb, I would like to note that pnabavpnyyl Ybtna vf dhvgr fubeg, jryy vagb gur nirentr-srznyr urvtug enatr, be rira vagb vgf ybjre crepragvyrf.

Haven't seen the movie. Just noting.

#53 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2017, 08:37 PM:

Nancy Lebovitz @ #47:

For some reason, I thought first of Nabbie no koi, or "Nabbie's Love", a Japanese movie my brother caught once on the TV channel that shows the foreign movies and spent ages trying to find a home video version to throw money at. (I see it's now available on Bluray with English subtitles. I'll have to see if he knows.) It's set on a small island off the coast of Japan, and was actually filmed there, with the co-operation of the local population; there's a plot, but on one level it's as much about getting a record of the island's lifestyle and traditions (and the ways they've changed to accommodate, or refused to change to accommodate, modern times).

Of a more recent vintage, and presumably easier to find, there's Hunt for the Wilderpeople. It's in English, though depending on how good your ear is at tuning to a New Zealand accent, you might find yourself wishing it had subtitles too.

#54 ::: Quercus ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2017, 09:25 PM:

Sandy @ 46 beat me to posting the Ska/Pink Floyd cover (and she's right about sometimes better than others: that band's version of "Sunshine of your Love" isn't nearly as good)

For bluegrass, how about this one (which popped up as I watched one of Teresa's)

#55 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2017, 09:30 PM:

How about Rocket Man?

#56 ::: Errolwi ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2017, 09:40 PM:

Nancy Lebovitz, Paul A @53
Wilderpeople: Presumably Sam Neill enjoyed acting with a Kiwi accent for a change.
Are sub-titles for the deaf are available via standard delivery methods? There is a meta-layer of references that you need to be a Kiwi to get, but I think an excellent movie even if you miss that aspect.

#57 ::: D. Potter ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2017, 10:54 PM:

Bill Higgins @50: "Onyx" in rot-13 resolves to "balk," which may be useful if I ever have to discuss baseball spoilers here.


#58 ::: Race Traitor Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2017, 11:01 PM:

Happy Birthday, Teresa Nana Lankara Bhushite!

#59 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2017, 12:06 AM:

There were a few moments in Logan that were, umm, noncanonical and a few that were also probably non-self-consistent.

Fridge Logic:

Gurfr ner zl engvbanyvmngvbaf.

Cebs. K jnagrq gb fgnl jvgu gur snzvyl orpnhfr ur jnagrq gb fubj Ynhen jung n erny snzvyl jnf yvxr. Orpnhfr ur jnf byq naq gverq. Orpnhfr ur gubhtug ur unq zber gvzr, gurl jrer snegure nurnq. Orpnhfr ur sbetbg ubj guvatf tb jura Ybtna'f bhg ba uvf bja.

Jbyivr qvq trg n erny obggyr bs erny cvyyf, ohg gung jnfa'g jung Pnyvona jnf fubjvat uvz. Gurer jnf n fjvgpu va gurer.

Cebs K znl unir unq n yvggyr ovg bs ohvyg-hc gbyrenapr gb gur cvyyf; ur'f gur zbfg cbjreshy cflpuvp va gur jbeyq naq rira vs ur'f 99% fhccerffrq ur'f tbg n srj cneybe gevpxf. Gung zvtug rkcynva gur Fcrrq bs Cybg punfr. (V nyfb unq gur vzcerffvba gung gur genva va dhrfgvba jnf uhaqerqf bs pnef ybat naq gbbx, yvxr, unys na ubhe gb cnff.)

V guvax nyy gur aba-zhgnag vaabprag olfgnaqref, gur ivpgvzf, jrer abajuvgr; V nz cerggl fher gung jnf abg nppvqragny sbe rvgure gur qverpgbe be gur ivyynvaf.

V qba'g unir nal ernfba jul gur sver gbjre jnf erny, jul gur Pnanqvna obeqre jnf fnsr (Nycun Syvtug znlor?), jul gur TZB'f jbexrq gur jnl gurl qvq, jul nqnznagvhz vf n fybj cbvfba.

The main point, for me, was that this was a movie about old age. Wolverine was like 190, Charles was a nonagenarian, and it showed. The way every morning there was the sort of mental check, can I move this body part ... I'm starting to recognize that.

#60 ::: Quill ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2017, 09:11 AM:

Nancy Lebovitz @ #47: Lifepod--slightly dark sci-fi/suspense. Or American Dreamer, which does romantic comedy in a way that miraculously doesn't make me want to throw anything at the TV.

#61 ::: john, who is incognito and definitely not at work ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2017, 10:01 AM:

Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey @ 50, Sandy B. @ 59:

Gur ovg jvgu gur snzvyl obgurerq zr n ybg; vg frrzrq yvxr fhpu n curabzranyyl onq vqrn gb fgnl jvgu gurz gung V jnf nccnyyrq naq znqr guvf vaibyhagnel fpbssvat abvfr jura Cebsrffbe K fnvq gurl'q or unccl gb fgnl sbe qvaare.

#62 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2017, 10:41 AM:

@Quill no. 60, Nancy Lebovitz no. 47: Lifepod is IMO one of the best movies the whatever-the-Sci-Fi-Channel-is-calling-itself-these-days ever made. Two quibbles: There is a harrowing scene of emergency surgery done by amateurs, and also at one point they're all freezing nearly to death and yet still bareheaded.

My offering is The Quiet Earth, a New Zealand film that's also on my short list of movies that transcend the books they are based on. A man wakes up to discover that New Zealand is empty of animal life except for him, some spoilers, and a few insects and fish. I don't mean that they're all dead; they're all just plain not there. And then it gets weird.

#63 ::: oldster ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2017, 11:57 AM:

Happy birthday, Teresa!

#64 ::: D. Potter ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2017, 12:14 PM:

Happy birthday, Teresa!

#65 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2017, 03:26 PM:

Just got back from viewing the live-action "Beauty and the Beast." It's gorgeous, a little darker than I expected, and very satisfying.

I just ordered the soundtrack (deluxe edition) and will order the film when it comes out on Blu-Ray.

Emma Watson has a LOVELY voice, I've seen some sniping in various reviews with which I do not agree. The protagonist is not supposed to have an operatic instrument.

I got a kick out of the call outs to various musicals, by my tally it's Oliver!, Sound of Music, (pick your favorite musical) choreographed by Busby Berkeley--and tucked into that sequence a hat tip to Singing in the Rain.

Very enjoyable, but I wouldn't take anyone under 10, the darker sections could be scary for a child.

#66 ::: Errolwi ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2017, 03:46 PM:

Trailers and extras from many NZ films are available from NZ On Screen

There are spoilers in the description (below the 'fold') of The Quiet Earth

A 2010 NZ film with some international success is Boy, directed by Taika Waititi (Hunt for the Wilderpeople)

#67 ::: Daniel Dern ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2017, 04:21 PM:

Back to the bluegrass'd:

John Hartford, "Piece of My Heart"

and, going farther back (both in performance and material)

Pete Seeger, "Goofing-Off Suite"
with audience humming along in spots
(longer, includes other classical stuff too)

(I'm not immediately finding the version I know best, which I think comes from an album that Seeger did along with Big Bill Broonzy...)

#68 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2017, 07:01 PM:

Forgot to mention the cover that The Strange Rangers did at Telluride back in 92 about how this guy Jim-Bob Hendrix taught them how to play Purple Hay.
(They probably did it some other times; I heard it on the car radio one day, so the details about who played it and when come from YouTube.)

#69 ::: rm ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2017, 07:28 PM:

Daniel Dern #67: I can confirm the "Goofing Off Suite" is on the Seeger/Broonzy album, and it gives Broonzy the occasion to define folk music: "All the songs I've heard in my life is folk songs; I've never heard horses sing none of 'em yet." I'm sure he used that line at other times as well.

#70 ::: Sten Thaning ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2017, 07:31 PM:

Bill Higgins @ 50:

Nobhg gur pbbeqvangrf: Zl haqrefgnaqvat jnf gung gur pbbeqvangrf jrer pbzcyrgryl enaqbz. Gurl hfrq gur pbzvp obbx pbbeqvangrf nf n onfr sbe gurve cyna orpnhfr gung'f jung gurl unq, naq gura gurl fcernq gur jbeq gung gur zrrgvat cbvag jnf gur bar nqiregvfrq va gur pbzvp obbx. Gur snpg gung gur enaqbz pbbeqvangrf tnir n ybpngvba gung nccneragyl jnf va jnyxvat qvfgnapr sebz gur Pnanqvna obeqre jnf cheryl n pbvapvqrapr.

#71 ::: Lisa Spangenberg ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2017, 08:46 PM:

Happy birthday TNH!

My local growing-up-in-N.H. bluegrass band did a great cover of "Paperback Writer." My friend Glenn Pillsbury, whose dissertation (and now book) was Damage Incorporated: Metallica and the Production of Musical Identity introduced me to the album Iron Horse - Fade to Bluegrass: Tribute to Metallica. They're on YouTube:

#72 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2017, 08:55 PM:

rm @ #69:

I've also heard that line attributed to Louis Armstrong.

#73 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2017, 09:42 PM:

TNH @ 0: so I guess Emma Bull was only a bit ahead of time when she had Bird That Whistles playing Glenn Miller and The Who (in the eponymous story from 1986)? (Not very far ahead, given Bill Stewart @ 68's link from just 6 years later.)

Ingvar M @ 216::970: "lin" also shows up in Romance languages (and in a Debussy piece), so a fair number of us \should/ recognize it -- but I admit I didn't catch it immediately.

C. Wingate @ 33: that is indeed awesome -- or at least awesomely weird....

Bill Higgins @ 50 (plausible answers only -- some I think aren't answerable):

Nterr jvgu Fnaql O. nobhg gur yratgu bs gur genva (juvpu jnf nyfb abg zbivat ng cnffratre fcrrq), naq nobhg gur pbbeqvangrf orvat frzv-enaqbz. (Gur 30-lrnef-ntb svpgvbany jevgre znl unir tbggra fbzrguvat sebz n znc whfg sbe sha.) Vs vg jnf cheryl n sver pnzc, vg jbhyq bayl unir orra vaunovgrq qhevat sver frnfba; jung gvzr bs lrne qb jr guvax gur zbivr vf frg va?

V guvax Pnanqn vf va snpg uneqre gb qb oynpx bcf va; V fhfcrpg, sbe vafgnapr, gung gur obeqre thneqf gnxr n qvz ivrj bs n pebjq bs crbcyr jvgu zvyvgnel-tenqr thaf, naq V guvax fhpu ner uneqre gb ohl gurer. Abg gung gur cbyvgvpny pyvzngr gung pybfr gb gur Ebpxvrf vf cnegvphyneyl yrsg, ohg zl vzcerffvba sebz n gevc gb Pnytnel vf gung gurl qba'g unir arneyl nf znal ongfuvg penmvrf nf whfg fbhgu bs gur obeqre.

Zl dhrfgvba nobhg gur ybpngvba: jul pbhyqa'g gurl unir whfg tvira jrfgrea-Zbagnan pbbeqvangrf vs gurl jnagrq qenzngvp fprarf ba zbhagnvaf, vafgrnq bs fnlvat vg jnf va (abgbevbhfyl syng) Abegu Qnxbgn?

And a non-spoiler question: in scene ~2, Logan's fast-healing body expels what look like cartridge casings rather than bullets. WTF?

Elliott Mason @ 52: well, yes, but not \that/ short -- and only in the books, not at all in any of the movies.

Belated BDay congratulations to Teresa. (I didn't check in yesterday because the evening was spent learning the quirks of a new conductor, and preparing to add settings-of-the-Xian-mass #20 & 21 to my life list. Conclusion: Haydn did a number of things well, but Mozart wrote much better work for choruses.)

And another WTF: National Geographic 18 months ago was being taken over by a Murdoch branch (21st Century Fox); IIRC, reactions here were predictable and plausible. But it has carried on with what I see as a balanced--to--left-of-center tone, including a January 2017 issue about gender ]malleability[ that uses preferred pronouns and doesn't tut-tut at anything. Has the debate boundary moved that far to the right, or is the magazine somehow keeping its own path?

#74 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2017, 10:16 PM:

Re Elliott: Va er Ynhen gnxrf bire gur gnfx bs qevivat gur Oebapb, V jbhyq yvxr gb abgr gung pnabavpnyyl Ybtna vf dhvgr fubeg, jryy vagb gur nirentr-srznyr urvtug enatr, be rira vagb vgf ybjre crepragvyrf.

Lrf, ohg gur Ynhen va dhrfgvba vf ryrira. Rira pbzvpf-pnaba Ybtna vfa'g gung fubeg. :)

Re Sandy B: jul nqnznagvhz vf n fybj cbvfba

Zl gurbel vf gung Puneyrf' svefg frvmher fperjrq jvgu Ybtna'f urnyvat snpgbe. Vg frrzf yvxryl gb zr gung gur Jrfgpurfgre Rirag jnf gur svefg bar, fb ab bar xarj ubj gb fgbc vg naq vg jrag ba sbe na rkgen-fcrpvny ybat gvzr (guhf nyfb rkcynvavat jul n ohapu bs lbhat, urnygul crbcyr qvrq bs vg). Ybtna pbhyq fheivir vg, ohg vg jnf onq sbe uvz. Vg'f nyfb pbzvpf-pnaba gung vs uvf urnyvat snpgbe tbrf, gur nqnznagvhz pnhfrf urnil-zrgny cbvfbavat, nf jryy vg fubhyq.

And in non-Logan stuff, Quill mentions American Dreamer which is one of my very favorite movies ever. I always wanted to see the (sadly non-existent) sequel.

#75 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2017, 11:31 PM:

Carrie S and CHip, in re Logan's canonical height: Oh! Was unaware of context from movie (as mentioned, haven't seen).

He may be taller in movies than comics, because he's Hugh Jackman, who's 6'2". That may be, by the way, "Hollywood short" for a man, just as certain actors or characters are "Hollywood plain/ugly", and the prefixing adjective sets it out with a much higher value than most of us have access to.

Current average US height for white men is 5'10", for reference.

ADDENDUM: I googled for average leading-man Hollywood heights and found something I didn't expect: they tend to be on the average-to-short side for their ethnicity in the US. I stand corrected.

#76 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2017, 05:21 AM:

Many @ #(element of the natural numbers):

Va er "jul Puneyrf Knivre vafvfg va qvaare"? V guvax ur'f dhvgr sne sebz uvf shyy zragny snphygvrf naq sryg gung fubjvat Ynhen "snzvyl" jnf zber vzcbegnag guna nalguvat ryfr.

Elliott Mason @ #75:

It's amazing, what you can do with a camera, if you put your mind to it (or, just by having strategically placed out-of-fram boxes and holes in the ground).

#77 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2017, 06:33 AM:

#69 ::: rm

I've framed it as "Folk music is music showing the influence of only one planet."

#78 ::: cori ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2017, 08:59 AM:

Local NYC band The Delorean Sisters exists to do bluegrass covers of 80s pop tunes. Their cover of the Fixx's "One Thing Leads to Another" is a personal favorite.

#79 ::: oldster ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2017, 10:07 AM:

Please call your Congress people today and beg them to vote "no" on this health-care abomination.

The "Freedom Caucus" just rewrote it last night to make it even worse--stripping out the "Essential Health Benefits" (EHB) provision that required insurers to cover basics like ER visits, pediatric coverage, and opioid addiction coverage.

A lot of moderate Republicans are ready to jump ship. Please call and give them a push. If this bill goes down in flames, you will have the satisfaction of having helped it die.

#80 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2017, 11:55 AM:


I understand that there is software that will keep track of how long you use a certain program or website. When I try to look it up, I get a lot of time tracking systems for employers, which is more or less the functionality that I need, but they all look way too elaborate. There's also a zillion of them; I don't have a good way to thin down the herd.

Does anyone have any suggestions/recommendations? Something aimed at freelancers might be better than the big business systems that I'm finding. Free or very low cost is a bonus. Search terms for a more targeted Google search would help, too.

#81 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2017, 12:11 PM:

Mary Aileen @80 I like Toggl at I do not use the website/application tracking feature but I believe it has one, even in the free version.

#82 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2017, 12:19 PM:

OtterB (81): Thanks, that looks useful. I'll have to check it out in depth when I have the time to concentrate on it. I wish they would tell you exactly how it works without signing up, though.

#83 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2017, 01:40 PM:

Question: Do you all think Trump actually wants this Obamacare revision to get passed? Or is he giving the congressional Republicans centered on Ryan enough rope to hang themselves, encouraging them to try to do something very unpopular and fail so that he gains in power relative to them in the party? Or something else?

#84 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2017, 01:51 PM:

Open threadiness: Israeli police arrested a guy for making a bunch of phone calls threatening to attack Jewish temples, schools, daycare centers, etc. Oddly, he's Jewish and an American/Israeli citizen.

I wonder about the effect of media attention on this kind of crime. Some fraction of people are seriously messed up, and they crave some kind of attention or feeling of importance. Hoax bomb threats give that to them, and they become more rewarding, in some sense, when they've being reported more widely.

It's a little like mass-shootings--I wonder how it would affect the rate of these crimes if they were less widely reported. And yet, it's hard to imagine any kind of free media that *wouldn't* report on either mass-shootings or daycare centers having to be evacuated because some jackass called in a bomb threat. It's newsworthy, but the news coverage seems like it probably make it more common.

#85 ::: oldster ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2017, 01:56 PM:

albatross @83

Bannon has explicitly said that his "long game" is to kneecap Ryan, and this may be his intention.

But like many would-be Machiavellis, Bannon is nowhere near as clever as he thinks he is.
If Trumpcare is voted down, it is going to damage Trump's brand more than Ryan's.

#86 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2017, 02:11 PM:

albatross @ 83:

My opinion from observation of Trump's past and present behavior is that he only does things with the goal of making himself feel good, and secondarily to benefit his family and 'friends'. His only attachment to any of his policies is that he thinks they'll make him popular and thus he'll feel good.

And @ 84:

Great... Now we get to deal with all the anti-Semites crowing about how now they have proof that Jews really are threatening and vandalizing their own communities to drum up sympathy, instead of just their own assertions.

#87 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2017, 02:23 PM:

Happy birthday, Teresa! (I think a day late, but still.)

#88 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2017, 03:50 PM:

I agree with Ingvar@76. Cebsrffbe K vf sne sebz jung ur jnf, naq abg va gur Ubyyljbbq "V'z bayl fravyr jura vg qbrfa'g vagresrer jvgu zr qbvat vzcbegnag guvatf" jnl.

As far as "Hollywood short" - the joke with the book "Get Shorty" is, it could be ANYONE. Tom Cruise is infamously short (Also Michael J. Fox, Dustin Hoffman.) It is really annoying to me that they wimped out and put Danny DeVito in the role.

#89 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2017, 04:18 PM:

#86 ::: KeithS

Not just anti-Semites-- there are also conservatives who've been claiming that liberals (progressives?) believe the US has much more prejudice than it actually does.

They may be right on this one, at least for anti-Semitism.

#90 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2017, 04:41 PM:

#76 ::: Ingvar M @76, in re leading man heights:

I was aware that Gene Kelly was considered fairly short for leading men of his day (looks it up; 5'7") because of all the stories around Singing in the Rain and Cyd Charisse. First of all, she's a statuesque amazon of dancing wonderfulness, taller than him in flats. Then add in the heels she was wearing. The entire dream sequence on the set of stairs was choreographed, in part, to let Gene be taller than her all the time. It's also why when she's near him she's in plie almost all the time.

#91 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2017, 05:34 PM:

Nancy #89:

This Pew Center summary shows that Jews get about the highest favorability ratings of any religious group. Muslims and Atheists get the bottom scores, with Mormons fairly low as well.

I have no idea how this maps to any particular definition of anti-Semitism, but it doesn't seem particularly consistent with there being widespread hatred of Jews in US culture.

#92 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2017, 07:45 PM:

Nancy Lebovitz #89, albatross #91:

That high approval vale is an average, which indicates Jews aren't facing widespread hostility from the population-at-large, but even they note a minority of perhaps 10% that were a lot chillier. I wonder about the regional balance of their survey (coastal vs. midwestern and southern, urban/rural, etc). I'm sure there are still pockets of anti-Semitism , but I'd expect them to be mostly invisible from my east-coast background, lately transplanted to a "blue dot" in the South. In "my world", you don't really get away with anti-Semitic comments, let alone attacks -- but I've little doubt that there are pockets of the country where things are otherwise. That said, I suspect that these days, any specific anti-Semites are overshadowed and absorbed by the "anti-everybody" reactionaries who've lately taken hold of American politics.

#93 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2017, 08:14 PM:


I'm pretty sure that Trump DOES want the Obamacare repeal to pass. He hates losing at anything and if the repeal doesn't pass it's a defeat for him (although I fully expect him to say some version of "I meant to do that" if that happens).

It is, however, very likely that Trump doesn't understand much about what the repeal actually does.

#94 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2017, 08:45 PM:

Unicorn chaser: David Malki has been tweeting hummingbirds. (Note: I have no idea how that link works, but it does seem to gather the hummingbird tweets over some time. I don't know how long it will last.)

#95 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2017, 09:07 PM:

On anti-Semitism: my experience in the South would lead me to guess that anti-Catholicism is stronger than anti-Semitism, still. I had Jewish colleagues in both places I worked in Virginia, and there was a Jewish synagogue in Jackson TN where I started college long before there was a Catholic parish.

#96 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2017, 09:57 PM:

Anna's hummers, most likely. There's one nesting in the entryway to my apt building, inside the front door and across from the mailboxes. She's been sitting on the nest for about 11 days. (It's a couple of inches above my eye level, so I won't know about babies until I see beaks above the edge.)

#97 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2017, 11:42 PM:

TIL that it isn't only psittacids and flamingos who dance when they hear music they like. Behold the reaction of an ostrich to "The Shire Theme" played on a pennywhistle:

I clicked over to some footage of ostrich courtship, which does not include these particular moves. This isn't a mating display; the ostrich was indeed inspired to boogie down.

#98 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2017, 12:11 AM:

David #92:

Surveys are good at telling us about the averages, not so much about the extremes. The 1/1000 or 1/10000 extremely anti-Semetic people arent going to show up.

The good news is that those guys can't arrange widespread persecution or mistreatment when 99%+ of the surrounding population is against them. The bad news is, they can still do individual nasty actions like vandalizing synogogues or graveyards.

#99 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2017, 01:36 AM:

An amazing piece of collaborative microfiction in the comments to a webcomic (that has an amazing commentariat).

Thread contains no particular spoilers for the comic. All you need to know is that there is a supernatural being called in this thread the WFB, which appears with a plethora of magical spiders as its minions.

#100 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2017, 01:41 AM:

albatross @91, I dunno ’bout that survey. Scroll down to the part that talks about how many people say they know people from various religions. It says that 61% of US adults know someone who’s Jewish, yet only 58% know someone from a mainline Protestant denomination.

The mainline Protestants are Lutherans, Episcopalians, Methodists, Presbyterians, etc. They outnumber American Jews by more than 7-to-1, and are more widely distributed. There is no way in hell that more US adults personally know a Jew than personally know a mainline Protestant.

There’s also no way in hell that white evangelicals actually feel as warmly towards Jews as that poll says. I’m pretty sure this is a case of people reporting how they think they ought to feel, instead of how they actually feel.

#101 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2017, 06:54 AM:

Avram @ 100

I would agree that there's no way more Americans personally know a Jew than a mainline Protestant--the numbers just don't work--and share the sense that the poll may not be entirely reliable. I wonder if part of it, though, may be that (observant) Jews are much more obviously identifiable than mainline Protestants. (AKA, the only neighbors on my block who I know their religious affiliation, here in Massachusetts, are the observant Jews.)

I do wonder why you think the numbers for evangelicals are wrong. They look plausible to me; evangelicals generally are very friendly to "Jewish-identified" Jews who are not actively and overtly hostile. (AKA, I expect that a lot of evangelicals despise Mikey Weinstein and George Soros, and think well of Benjamin Netanyahu, Charles Krauthammer, and Rabbi Meir Soloveichik.)

#102 ::: Brenda Kalt ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2017, 09:18 AM:

Forty years ago, when I (Methodist) told an elderly cousin (also Methodist) that I was marrying a Jewish man, she said, "That's okay. That's 'roots'."

#103 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2017, 10:39 AM:

Avram #100:

I know polls can go wrong in a variety of ways. The Pew Center is a reputable organization and I think they try to get things right, but there could definitely be people shading their answers based on social availability, or subject to other biases. But I'm not sure how else to try to get an actual answer to the question of how widespread anti-Semitism is. News reports of hate crimes seem a lot worse--whether a hate crime gets reported has a lot to do with whether other media have been reporting them lately, many of the ones in the news appear to have been hoaxes, etc.

As an aside, how do you know that your intuition about how evangelicals feel about Jews is more accurate than the polling data? Do you hang around with a lot of evangelican Christians, so that you know their inner thoughts and beliefs that they wouldn't share with a pollster?

#104 ::: Sarah E ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2017, 11:03 AM:

Recently rewatched Trouble Bound (1992) which is basically a screwball noir.

#105 ::: dotless ı ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2017, 12:06 PM:

Lori Coulson@65: Agreed on Beauty and the Beast: it was beautiful, especially in the Busby Berkeley bits, and I really liked Emma Watson (even if my brain did keep trying to turn her into Hermione whenever there was magic flying around). I thought they did about as well as they could with the problematic aspects of the story, given how closely they were bound to stick to it.

I did find myself flashing frequently on Ursula Vernon's Bryony and Roses in a "but what if..." way, but that's not a bad thing.

#106 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2017, 12:20 PM:

I have just spent roughly 25+ work hours on my backyard, and it's finally getting to the point where we might actually be able to do something with it. We paid the neighbor's son and his buddy to do brush pile and log cleanup (from a tree that fell and was taken apart last year, but not removed.)

Now I have some privet removal (I've gotten everything I could with loppers, but we still have to remove the ones with delusions of tree-hood.)

Now, what to do with a lawn where the *best* part is bermuda grass...

#107 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2017, 12:43 PM:

dotless i @105 LOL! When the movie reached the point where Maurice is rescued by Agatha, my brain said, "Aha! We are in one of Lackey's 500 kingdoms, because there's the Fairy Godmother to save the day!"

That was only reinforced by the events that occurred when all hope was lost...

#108 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2017, 12:53 PM:

#103 ::: albatross

It's really hard to say how much anti-Semitism there is in the US, and harder to figure out the intensity level.

I'm not sure it matters if someone believes that Jews have too much influence on Hollywood but doesn't actually care very much, doesn't encourage hatred, and treats actual Jews decently.

The amount of anti-Semitism I've run into personally has been *very* small. On the other hand, it seems to be less than what many of the Jews I know have experienced.

There have been some anti-Semitic murders, but just a very few in the past decade or so. (None of them killed Jews, people were killed for being around Jews.)

Trump has targeted Muslims and immigrants much more than Jews.

I'd like to believe that Americans are about as destructively bigoted as they want to be, and Trump isn't making things worse.* I'm obviously not right-- there have been more violent hate crimes than usual, but not a lot more. As this point, I'm inclined to think there isn't a large reservoir of hatred waiting to be activated.

*I'm just talking about violence by individuals. Government policy and laws are another and more dangerous matter.

#109 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2017, 02:40 PM:

albatross @103, I actually had a bunch of conservative Christian friends in my dorm at college. They weren’t all evangelicals (at least one was a conservative Catholic, and another a Mormon), but I think some were. Still, that was over 30 years ago. I’m only still in touch with one of those people today.

Anyway, my intuition is based in a lifetime of watching evangelicals on television complaining about “those northeastern liberals who control our media and don’t support our Christian values.” The code is pretty obvious. They love Israel, because it occupies a special place in their religion, but they don’t talk like they have any particular affection for the Jews who are living here in the US.

#110 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2017, 04:41 PM:

B. Durbin - If you're still out near Sacramento, digging up that grass to plant tomatoes sounds like an obvious plan.

#111 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2017, 05:36 PM:

So... No vote on the AHCA, which means the ACA remains the law of the Land.

#112 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2017, 07:19 PM:

Some time ago, I read an article that posited that anti-Jewish prejudice tends to be qualitatively different from anti-anything-else. The article said that it's basically a scapegoating thing, where Jews are allowed to get close to the top but can be blamed for things, with a side of lying and betrayal because they aren't really Us, now are they. Also interesting was an article, possibly linked here, about an Aryan prison gang and the Jewish inmate who ate with them.

I find a lot of Judaism interesting, but this is probably because the friend who converted has a really interesting way of looking at religion, at festivals, at terminology, et cetera. It means I have a weird patchwork understanding of festivals, too.

In more local news, I have planted a wee succulent in my Bulbasaur planter and rearranged a number of other plants, which will hopefully not die immediately.

#113 ::: oldster ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2017, 08:54 PM:

If you phoned your representatives, then celebrate tonight.

If you went to a town hall, then celebrate tonight.

If you marched on DC with the Women's March, then celebrate tonight.

If you are a decent human being who wants more healthcare for more people and less suffering for the poor, then celebrate tonight.

We're going to have to fight every step, every day, until decent Americans regain control from the Russian moles.

But for tonight, we can celebrate.

#114 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2017, 09:15 PM:

Elliott Mason @ 75: in the heyday of Hollywood, there were a number of men picked for looks and acting skill rather than height, and a number of sleights used to disguise this. Some were mechanical, as Ingvar M. notes (cf the box Prince Charles stood on for the official photograph with Diana, who was much less than a head shorter). Some involved casting; John Houseman in Front and Center says that Alan Ladd would say of any significantly taller actor (either gender) that they just weren't quite right for the part and somebody else should be found.

albatross @ 83: Trump is certainly that selfish -- I don't think he believes in a government of three branches -- but I don't think he can think that strategically; he expects to proceed from triumph to triumph (even if he has to skew them, witness the latest justification of his claim of being wiretapped, or outright ignore the failures like the casino and the airline shuttle), and figured he could get the "Freedom Caucus" to fold. (Can you imagine him trying to campaign for civilized Republicans to beat teabaggers in primaries? Talk about unconvincing....) Interesting late-breaking tidbit: at 4pm EDT (GMT-4), the Boston Globe said that a Ryan spokesperson said Trump called and ordered the bill pulled. (Of course, the President couldn't make Congress pull a bill, but Trump doesn't know that.) However, I don't see that in the current crop of stories; the summary of the top story says Ryan did it with Trump's acquiescence, but the story proper says nothing. Given the crop of pathological liars in the White House and Ryan's unwillingness to deal with simple truth, I figure we'll be luck to know the truth in three decades; learning Deep Throat's name was easy compared to this mess.

#115 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2017, 10:09 PM:

This time is going to make one cracking good dark-comedy movie someday.

I hope today is the setup for the scene where the Young Conservative Idealist character hears his heroes tearing into each other through a closed door and realizes the whole mess is teetering on the brink.

#116 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2017, 11:31 PM:

And speaking of selfish politicians:
(from File:770, due to SF mention near the end.) I suppose Farage doesn't really care what Londoners think of him, as he (like Trump) draws support from people who despise current cities....

#117 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker To Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2017, 03:45 AM:

Stefan Jones @115

Have you seen the (late, lamented) TV series "BrainDead"? Medium dark comedy by the writers of "The Good Wife" which blames the current political climate on brain-eating insects from outer space. Very funny.

#118 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker To Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2017, 03:56 AM:

Nancy Liebowitz @47

Two of my favorite peculiar movies:

"Wristcutters: A Love Story" about the afterlife awaiting suicides (actually a somewhat funny and romantic story, unexpectedly)

"Map of the Sounds Of Tokyo Bay" a sad, but moving story about an assassin who falls in love, which introduced me to Rinko Kikuchi.

#119 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2017, 01:50 AM:

On the bluegrass Brandenburg, and "will cover anything": mandolinist Chris Thile did a wonderful cover of Bach's Sonatas & Partitas which were composed for solo frickin violin Here's Sonata 1 in G Minor

#120 ::: Emily ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2017, 07:43 AM:

I think this thread needs the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain...

#121 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2017, 12:15 PM:

#112 ::: Diatryma

Anti-Semitism is weird. There are a number of other middleman/market minorities (people who are better at commerce than the surrounding population)-- Ibo, Bengalis, oversea Chinese (incomplete list)-- but so far as I know, Jews are the only group that has weird conspiracy theories woven around it.

Anti-Judaism: The Western Tradition is about how non-Jews have invented a version of Judaism to be opposed to.

Some anti-Semitic tropes go back to ancient Egypt, and the author thinks it's because as a minority, Jews look to the top of the government for protection, and as a result, people who are unwilling to attack the top of the government directly attack the Jews instead.

This isn't the whole story. Christians made theories about people who were worshipping the same God but who wouldn't choose a superior religion. I am very grateful to be living in the modern era.

#122 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2017, 01:40 PM:

PNH "Disruption" Sidelight: I wonder how many Slate readers have actually heard of the Triangle Shirtwaist Company. A fair number, I hope, but I expect less than half.

#123 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2017, 05:30 PM:

Tom Whitmore #122: How many have been taught Marxist theory in that building?

#124 ::: D. Potter ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2017, 07:21 PM:

Fragrant Ledgister @ 123: It was mostly used for science labs when I went there (NYU's Brown Building).

#125 ::: D. Potter ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2017, 07:23 PM:

Me @124: Damn autocorrect! Sorry, Fragano.

#126 ::: D. Potter ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2017, 07:25 PM:

Me @124: Damn autocorrect! Sorry, Fragano.

(And this may double post. We're just error central today.)

#127 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2017, 08:49 PM:

Nancy Lebovitz at 121:

I think the Sogdians were the subject of conspiracy theories, but they no longer exist as a people.

#128 ::: HelenS ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2017, 08:53 PM:

At least "fragrant" has a good meaning. I once had autocorrect turn my husband's last name into "Stinks."

#129 ::: Louis Patterson ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2017, 05:28 AM:

#119 ::: thomas

A lot of this is convergent evolution, but mandolins are actually pretty similar to violins in a lot of respects. Same tuning, for example. Mandolins can't play as high up the fingerboard and generally aren't as agile, but it's pretty straightforward to transfer over most of the repertoire.

[there's even the mandolin orchestra or quartet, with larger mandolin relatives filling the viola and cello slots]

#130 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2017, 07:48 AM:

HelenS @128: My mom was issued an email when she went back to school. Their scheme was "first initial, first five of last, number if not unique." She was ebeltz, which was unique.

While writing papers, WP kept autocorrecting to "eyeballs".

It amused her so much she didn't teach it to the dictionary. Of course, she's also a massive fan of the original Gorey Addams Family, so. :->

#131 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2017, 09:13 AM:

Elliot: "the original Gorey Addams Family" ?

Do you mean>these?

Chas Addams was the cartoonist. (If you're not one of today's 10,000, apologies for overexplaining. And if Edward Gorey did some Addams Family work, I'd love to see it. )

#132 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2017, 11:42 AM:

...Although, to be fair, there totally ought to be a Gorey/Addams mash-up....

#133 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2017, 11:44 AM:

..."Psst! Chutney!"

Me: "Noooooo.... I already don't have time...!"

#134 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2017, 02:39 PM:

Seeing the Sidelight on Disruption! made me think of another great classic of Management Literature:

Donnie in the Room (with apologies to Ernest Lawrence Thayer)

The outlook wasn’t brilliant for Republicans that day.
They’d promised for six years that they’d repeal the ACA.
But when the caucus gathered, and they looked from man to man
They knew that not a one of them had ever had a plan.

“I’d counted on a veto,” said a rep from Tennessee.
“The blame Obama always took would fall on Hillary.
Then Pennsylvania went for Trump, and Michigan the same.
And now we run the government, we can’t just play a game.”

A colleague from Wyoming was equally concerned.
Shaking his head sadly, he stated what he’d learned.
“My hopes from the beginning always had one little flaw.
I’d pictured making speeches, never thought I’d write a law.”

Neither had the others, though they often said they would.
They knew what programs shouldn’t do, but not the things they should.
Then said a man from Texas, “We’ll never have success.
We got so used to saying No, we’ll never get to Yes.”

“I know,” said Ryan hopefully, “that’s sometimes how it feels.
But Donnie wrote the book about the art of making deals.
I know agreement’s hard to find, and deadlines closely loom.
But we can still succeed if we get Donnie in the room.”

Oh Donnie! Clever Donnie! How everyone agreed.
The plan that he campaigned on was just the one they’d need.
It ended it all the mandates! It set the markets free!
And still it covered everyone, from sea to shining sea!...

I won't spoil the ending.

#135 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2017, 03:16 PM:

John A Arkansawyer @ 134... Or maybe they had a very subtle plan that's still unfurling as we speak.

Baldrick: "I can't see any subtle plan."
Blackadder: "Baldrick, you wouldn't see a subtle plan if it painted itself purple and danced naked on top of a harpsichord, singing 'Subtle plans are here again!'"

#136 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2017, 05:19 PM:

Elliott Mason @ 130... While writing papers, WP kept autocorrecting to "eyeballs"

That reminds me of the day I escaped from the Gap and, as I wrote my goodbye letter, the word processor tried to change my boss's name, giving me a choice between 'valuator' and 'violator'.

#137 ::: Angiportus Librarysaver ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2017, 09:18 PM:

HLN: Area web-surfer, recalling a headline about a quasar "streaking across the sky", wonders if this is what they mean by a naked singularity.

#138 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2017, 10:25 AM:

Angiportus: ::applause::

#139 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2017, 03:21 PM:

Serge Broom @ 135: Well, of course not. If it's tap-dancing, it's not a subtle plan. Unless you're the Mad Thinker, I suppose.

#140 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2017, 04:53 PM:

AKICIML: My new computer, which I have named Plastic Pal, wants me to open a Web browser in order to read a PDF that I have downloaded to my desktop. Failing that, it wants me to use Word.


Does Adobe still make a thing that reads PDFs for free, and what is it called? I went to their site and was deluged with ads for clouds and apps and I don't know what, and I couldn't find a search window.

#141 ::: Sumana Harihareswara ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2017, 05:04 PM:

Slate's Triangle Shirtwaist piece -- OUCH. It hurt to read and it was perfect. So glad to be pointed to it.

#142 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2017, 05:04 PM:

Jenny Islander @ 140:

Adobe's latest and greatest is Adobe Acrobat Reader DC. Aesthetics are a value judgement, and I judge it to be kind of ugly. Remember to uncheck the optional offers on the download page before you click the install button.

I used to keep track of free alternative PDF readers that were lighter-weight, or had different features, or just had the advantage of not being made by Adobe. They were all terrible in various ways that encouraged me to put up with Adobe's standard product instead.

#143 ::: Em ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2017, 05:05 PM:

Jenny Islander @140:

Here's the link to download Adobe Reader. I personally quite like Foxit Reader.

#144 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2017, 07:39 PM:

I was doing my taxes the other day. At the end of the process TurboTax offers to save your returns as a PDF and print them up. It uses their own PDF viewer for both of these tasks.

I saved the PDF to a couple of places, then asked for a print job. I let it chunk off the 42 pages of forms and worksheets and such, stapled 'em together, and was about to file it when I noticed . . . high weirdness. Not PostScript code, but a churned-up mess of characters. Recognizably my return, layout-wise, but with nothing readable.

It turned out that my printer's "eco friendly" driver was responsible. Turned off "save the earth" mode, and it rattled off readable pages.

#145 ::: Errolwi ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2017, 07:40 PM:

Jenny Islander @140
I have a similar issue, with the hassle of a layer of corporate b*llsh!t. Edge/Chrome don't provide a competent PDF reader (about 20% of the time I want to rotate the scanned page I've been sent, for instance). Our local IT had to agitate for a separate reader to be installed, and it is clunkier than it should be to utilise it.

#146 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2017, 11:40 PM:

Recent weirdness from NPR: March Madness boosts urologists' business -- because a vasectomy is a great excuse to sit on a couch for three days.

And Davey and I were both wondering whether TNH (collector of strangenesses) knew about these collectable Bosch figurines; I guess they have the advantage that no Antarean parakeets were harmed in the making of these bizarreries.

#147 ::: duckbunny ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2017, 07:48 AM:


They've gone and done it.

I'm scared.

Now what?

#148 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2017, 01:38 PM:

duckbunny #147: You're not the only one.

#149 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2017, 06:57 PM:

It was a grey damp day in March, and the clocks were striking thirteen. The young vixen came out of Shadwell DLR, turned left, and headed for the river. She could have been any vixen, if a little skinny, wearing an army-surplus sweater, denims, and distinctly practical boots, just like any other in London, except there was still light in her eyes, still a subtle spring in her step, and her muzzle shifted towards a momentary snarl as she passed the derelict Kebab House, that still filled her nostrils with the scents of fire and death.

Anyone who noticed either didn't care, or sensed it would be better not to say anything. She seemed alert, and there was a certain hardness in her gait, that matched a certain sort of Police Officer who was recruited from far beyond the limits of the city.

Better, it felt, not to irritate her.

#150 ::: Sarah E ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2017, 08:33 PM:

HelenS @ #128: At least "fragrant" has a good meaning.

I think it might be turning into a euphemism for "foul-smelling" though -- I can't recall the last time I saw it used unironically.

#151 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2017, 10:13 PM:

Sarah E (150): "Fragrance" certainly means foul-smelling to me; most of the ones added to products* aggravate my asthma.

*It's in just about everything these days.

#152 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2017, 10:31 PM:


(Summary: Gigantic fossilized dinosaur footprints have been found on the coast of Western Australia. The largest previously-known such print was 106 centimeters; the largest ones at this site are 170 centimeters. There are literally thousands of prints from at least 21 different types of dinosaur.)

#153 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2017, 10:46 PM:

At least I can get unscented laundry detergent. That's the biggest offender in my life - the stuff you can smell 15 to 20 feet away. (I also avoid candle and perfume sections in stores, as much as possible.)

(I've heard that it's mostly artificial fragrances that do this, and I haven't had the problem with natural fragrances, like essential oils. Some of the artificial ones are "safe", also.)

#154 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2017, 10:54 PM:

PJ, Axe Body Spray (I assume) is my bane. When I go to a movie and there are teenaged boys sitting near me, my nose starts to run. (Because it's proximity to the teenaged boys more than the girls, I'm assuming it's Axe or some similar product.) But it's not just the kids; at plays, surrounded by adults, there's often an almost visible cloud of scent around some of the patrons, both male and female. Wheezing and sniffling does not enhance my play-going experience....

When I was a girl, I was instructed that you lightly dabbed perfume on your wrists; you didn't douse yourself with it.

...In a related note, you kids, get off my lawn...

#155 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2017, 10:55 PM:

<drenching the server with perfume>

#156 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2017, 11:12 PM:

Car license plate spotted today: "N VWLS".

#157 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2017, 11:34 PM:

I remember that there were some women on my train commute who had me holding my breath as they walked by. Perfume. Strong. Something very floral, like lotus.

(There weren't many teenage boys on the train, and they weren't objectionable in that way.)

#158 ::: Race Traitor Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2017, 01:28 AM:

So pissed off right now. Legion just established a male character as gay.

It's a villain, of course. What's worse than a show with no queer representation? A show where only villains are gay.

The character appeared in the pilot, but we didn't know anything about his personal life. We did know he tried really hard to kill the hero. Now that we know he's gay, he's also horribly disfigured. Of course.

I've really been enjoying this show, but this makes me so mad I could spit.

#159 ::: Devin ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2017, 05:17 AM:

My mom taught me, back when I was a teenaged boy, that the right amount of scent is just enough that someone can smell it when they hug you, but not so much that they'll catch more than a hint if you just shake hands.

I'm not saying you should always take fashion and grooming advice from your mom, especially as a teenager, but she was certainly right about that.

#160 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2017, 10:30 AM:

I have highly selective scent allergies. 90% of the time, shampoos and detergents and the like have no effect. But the right stinkum will hit me hard.

Perfume departments in departments stores -- the latest one I encountered was Harrod's, in London -- cause me to sneeze and weep. Really awful.

Parts of craft stores, the aisles with potpourri, do the same.

#161 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2017, 10:34 AM:

Xopher @ 158... "The Flash", "Supergirl", "Legends of Tomorrow" and "Riverdale" are doing a good job. And yes, all of these shows are produced by the same people, so I'm expecting a crossover where the Flash's Cisco crosses the multiverse and accidentally winds up having the Legends join forces with Archie, the Justice League of Riverdale and with Josie & the Pussy Cats as the Luthors do their evil thing.

#162 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2017, 11:08 AM:

Cassy B. @ 154:

It certainly was when I was a young teenager. Lots of he boys in the changing room would each empty half a can of Lynx (Axe) all over themselves. It would make the air hazy, and my tongue feel furry. Nasty stuff.

Later on in high school:

Girl 1: What's that you're wearing?
Girl 2: Oh! It's <some perfume name>. You can smell it?
Me (downwind): tries hard not to gag and choke from the stench

I often need to stay away from perfume counters, scented candles, and Bath and Bodyworks stores.

Race Traitor Xopher @ 158:

I hate this so much. It always seems like the largest percentage of GLB representation on TV (what trans people?) is lesbian/bi male-gaze-friendly female heroes with a side-order of gay/lesbian/bi male and female villains, you really have to wonder.

Then, of course, there were the people who were upset that, oh no!, there was a gay character in the new Beauty and the Beast, and what about the childruuuuuuuuun? And here's me groaning because of course it's a villain. Of course.

It's utterly sad that people get excited about a very brief scene in a Disney movie that might, just might, have Disney's first official gay couple in it, even though it's not ever explicitly said (family in Frozen, and the two loud roommates in Zootopia). My response is always that Disney has enough clout that if they really cared, they'd just do it and wouldn't resort to half a second of maybe/maybe not.

#163 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2017, 11:56 AM:

Oh, lord, perfume counters and candle shops... <wince> I buy one sister a specific perfume for her birthday every year; it's the only thing she wants, and I've been her birthday perfume supplier for some thirty years now. I breath as shallowly as I can and get out as fast as possible, dodging the Free Sample Try It Now! ladies like a football player heading for the end zone.

And as for candle stores (or candle/potpourri aisles in craft stores)... the last time I went incautiously into a Yankee Candle, I fled ignominiously with eyes streaming and nose dripping.

#164 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2017, 12:09 PM:

KeithS @ 162... "Riverdale" features a male homosexual character who - gasp! - actually kisses his boyfriend.

#165 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2017, 12:37 PM:

Keith S. @162:

Actually, "LeFou" is a side-kick, not a villain, and he does try to defuse or re-direct SOME of Gaston's behavior, unsuccessfully.

If he really were a bad guy the crumbling castle would have taken him out too...but look how he ends up!

#166 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2017, 12:44 PM:

I was out with my sister and one of her then-co-workers, a year or so back, and we went to a Lush store. I had to go back outside and wait for them; it was too much. (Oddly enough, I have some perfume oils that don't bother me at all - the "Tea Rose" from the Body Shop is one I enjoy. In small doses.)

#167 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2017, 01:11 PM:

One acid response to an overpowering fragrance I'm saving is "Nice perfume. Must you marinate in it?"

#168 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2017, 01:14 PM:

P J Evans (153): For me, natural fragrance is as bad as artificial. The gardenias blooming on a co-worker's desk almost killed me a few years ago. My big split is edible/non-edible: vanilla, cinnamon, citrus, etc. are all fine; floral and musk are very emphatically not.

Unscented laundry detergent is a god-send*. I haven't found any unscented dish soap, but I can handle the lemon and orange scents (see above re edible scents). For shampoo, I buy shampoo base in gallon jugs and decant it to a smaller bottle for use; it's sold for crafters making small-batch shampoo, but it works just fine as is.

*But stay away from All Free and Clear dryer sheets, which are very definitely scented. I was astonished; All Free and Clear is my go-to detergent.

#169 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2017, 01:21 PM:

Working at the reference desk at a public library, I get assaulted by all kinds of strong fragrances. When helping someone marinated in the stuff, I do my best to breathe shallowly and try not to get too close. It doesn't always work.

The main entry to the local Macy's is past the perfume counter; I always have to hold my breath as I go in and out. Bath and Body Works is so bad that I detour around the entrance to avoid choking.

#170 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2017, 01:44 PM:

I've found them. The one I have is colorless - I think it's one of the varieties of Palmolive, but I suspect that most of the big brands have one.

#171 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2017, 01:45 PM:

My dental hygenist has taking to wearing a face-mask at all times, not just when she's working on patients, because "scents".

Lately, I've been noticing a very light, delicate, juuuust detectable floral scent (think rose or orange-flower water). Entirely tolerable, and very nice. If this is a trend, I approve!

#172 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2017, 02:04 PM:

P J Evans (170): They may exist, but either none of my local supermarkets carry them or they're not labeled unscented/fragrance-free. I did buy Palmolive Pure and Clear dish soap once, thinking that it would be unscented; besides the name, it claimed to have "no heavy fragrances." The fragrance was so strong that I had to throw out the bottle* and rewash the batch of dishes that I had used it on. So now I am very wary of unfamiliar products. And I don't trust Palmolive any farther than I could throw their corporate headquarters.

*Normally I would have given it away, but I couldn't have it around for even a few days while I found someone who wanted it.

#173 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2017, 02:12 PM:

KeithS, #162: My partner has the same issues with B&BW and other scent-heavy stores.

I'm normally not scent-sensitive, but I've had a couple of cow-orkers over the years who were very hard to deal with. There was one office where it was a trial for me to go up to the executive offices because the secretary there not only bathed in rose perfume, she had rose potpourri all over the office. She left a trail thru the main lobby whenever she came in or went out. And smokers, of course, reek at 10 feet.

About Disney, I'm with you. It's not as though they ever let people bully them down about offering domestic-partner benefits, after all. They know perfectly well that the number of people who are going to get bent out of shape is minuscule compared to the number who either approve or don't care one way or the other.

P J Evans, #166: I love Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab and have a bunch of their essential oils. I don't wear them all the time, but they don't bother me and usually they don't bother my partner either, which is a huge plus. Experimenting with them taught me a lot about what fragrances do and don't work for me -- and they make it easy to experiment by selling sample vials for (last I checked) $4 each.

#174 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2017, 02:19 PM:

The allergy/scent tie is so random.

A few years back I . . . [shameful confession] found a nice sturdy bucket out by the dumpsters (OK, fine, in the dumpsters OK???) which was full of almost-full bottles of cleaning supplies.

I've seen this kind of thing before; neighbors moving out of an apartment do a lost-minute cleaning before inspection, and since their stuff is already on the truck they just toss away the floor cleaner, bathroom cleaner, and oven cleaner.

So, I wipe everything down, clean out the bucket, and put it and its contents into my cleaning inventory. [/shameful confession]

This one load of supplies included a gallon container of "Fabulosa," an all-purpose cleaner, seemingly marketed to Hispanics, with a rather astonishing floral scent.

I was really leery about opening the bottle, much less using it, given my sneezhistory, but damn if it doesn't cause a single watery eye, does a really good job, and the scent is actually welcome.

#175 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2017, 02:54 PM:

Stefan Jones: FWIW, I'm a shameless dumpster diver. Goes with my tree-hugger eco-fascist tendancies. Hey, we even have institutionalized trash recovery.

We've actually got this tradition well-installed in my condo complex. People leave stuff that might be "good enough" in a special spot by the dumpsters, meaning: "Here, take this away, I don't want it." (Typical college-town practice, I imagine.)

It's kind of embarrassing how much of my household kit came from there. And it's eery how often I'll be thinking "I need an [X]" and X will turn up in that spot.

#176 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2017, 02:56 PM:

Oh yeah and: that wariness about new products? I'm extremely conservative, after Lava started putting green dye in their soap, and I discovered it basically takes my skin off. Likewise, Irish Spring.

#177 ::: Adrian ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2017, 03:02 PM:

Devin #159, you (or perhaps those around you) were fortunate that your mother gave you such good advice. Mine wanted me to use lots of perfume. LOTS. As a remedy for being so sensitive to it.

When I was a teenaged girl, I had a terrible time with perfumes triggering my migraines. Not all perfumes set off my migraines, just some. I couldn't identify what made some perfumes safe and others problematic, other than by smelling them. Sometimes I only knew somebody in the room was wearing a problematic perfume, sometimes I could identify which person and dared ask what they were wearing. That's how I knew the names of a few perfumes that set me off.

Unfortunately, one of the worst perfumes was White Linen. My Spanish teacher loved it. Everybody (her, the principal, my parents) thought I was being unreasonable to ask her not to wear it. They thought I was saying she was giving me headaches because I hated her so much. Possibly even that the emotional strain of hating her so much was giving me headaches. But I shouldn't antagonize her.

It wasn't just her, of course. White Linen was a very popular perfume for a couple of years in the 1980s. They even made a shampoo designed to smell like it. "I'm not wearing perfume!" body lotion that was scented to resemble really popular perfume...

My mother may have honestly intended to be helpful. She came up with the clever idea that I could find a safe perfume, a perfume I liked, and wear so much of it that I couldn't smell anything else. That didn't help me. It just meant I had no warning before I got a perfume-triggered migraine. And, of course, it must have been awful for anybody who had to be in a small space with me. Everybody who is bothered by perfumes has different things that bother them, so when something was safe for me it likely wasn't safe for others.

#178 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2017, 03:21 PM:

"Lush"! We hates it forever, we do.

It's the one store that this moose will cross the street (or on one 'memorable' occasion walk around the (.uk) block so as to approach the target doorway from upwind) to avoid.


#179 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2017, 03:23 PM:

Stefan Jones @174:

Thanks for mentioning Fabulosa. Somewhere the other day (possibly here) was a discussion of juice-like beverages which looked like cleaning supplies, and I couldn't remember the name of the brand of cleaning supplies which looked like a juice-like beverage. Fabulosa is it.

#180 ::: HelenS ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2017, 03:39 PM:

I'm not allergic to any scent, that I know of, but there are a number of them I dislike. I've always LOATHED White Linen. There was a secretary where I worked once who wore it. I used to hold my breath delivering mail to her desk.

#181 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2017, 03:48 PM:

I have one coworker in my rather small office who wears (in my opinion) an excessive amount of perfume; enough to bother me when she's too close. Fortunately, her desk is on the other side of the office, so it's rarely an issue. Unfortunately, she will sometimes re-apply her perfume in the ladies room, and the lingering overwhelmingness of scent can take some time to clear....

I've found no diplomatic way to say anything. I just breath shallowly when she's too near. If I worked closer to her, I'd have to say something, but as it is I'm spared the social awkwardness.

#182 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2017, 04:10 PM:

I've said things to coworkers whose fragrances were bothering me, including the one whose gardenias were such a problem. One conversation went roughly like this:

"The perfume you're wearing today is a problem for me. Could you please not sit quite so close to me?"

"I'm not wearing perfume today. Just bodywash."

"Okay, then the bodywash is a problem."

"Oh! I never thought of that."

Fortunately, it was mild enough that as long as she stayed at least at arms length I could manage. Unfortunately, she was one of those people who likes to have their chair rightnextto yours, so I kept having to remind her to back off a little. Fortunately, she wasn't offended; she just kept forgetting.

#183 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2017, 04:57 PM:

I don't think I have a strong sense of scent or taste, but some things just come across as wrong. Others I notice, and like, but I sometimes wonder how other people will take it.

Latest example, a dehydrated pineapple juice which might have been handy this summer if it actually tasted like pineapple.

#184 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2017, 05:02 PM:

That appears to be the stuff I have - but I have to have my nose nearly in the bottle to smell it.
Clearly YMMV. (It's actually labelled "not heavy fragrance". Most "unscented" stuff seems to have some small amount of "masking fragrance", which isn't usually a problem for me.)

#185 ::: Race Traitor Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2017, 06:37 PM:

I can't stand artificial scent. I get the Wisk Free and Pure, the Clorox Free and Clear, and the Bounce Free and Gentle. I use unscented hand soap, unscented antiperspirant, and the most mildly-scented shampoo I could find.

When I wash my hands with scented soap, the smell persists for hours. I had to stop using soap when I washed my hands before eating, if I was going to have a sandwich; Brie with mustard on a rose-scented baguette is not a good flavor at all.

I once worked in an office near a woman who liked to wear perfume. Apparently most people could barely smell it, but it gave me an asthma attack (mild) all the way from my desk. When I finally told her, after much encouragement, she said "Oh, then I'll stop wearing it," and only forgot once or twice ever again, from that day until she died on 9/11.

#186 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2017, 07:03 PM:

#175: I have an entire Flickr album devoted to "Trashure:"

I miss my old apartment complex. It had eight or so wonderful dumpsters. Because it is near an Intel plant, there were many engineers who occasionally discarded quite decent computer hardware.

When the weather is better I should drive over and walk the dog around the place, looking for more goodies.

#187 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2017, 07:27 PM:

Race Traitor Xopher: Ouch. :-(

Stefan Jones: You would probably enjoy dumpster diving with Jon Singer. He turns up all sorts of exotic stuff.

#188 ::: Bruce H. ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2017, 07:46 PM:

Jacque @175 >> ... "I need an [X]" and X will turn up in that spot.

I had a similar experience several years ago with 5 gallon buckets. I decided and needed some, and they started appearing by the side of the road.

Sadly, when I tried the same experiment with walnut veneer plywood, it didn't work.

#189 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2017, 08:27 PM:

Not-so-local-news: Massive fire on I-85 South in Atlanta. This is not terribly far from my parents' house.

#190 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2017, 08:42 PM:

It takes a seriously hot fire to do that kind of damage (something like a gasoline tanker). What was under that freeway?

#191 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2017, 08:53 PM:

P J Evans (190): Some kind of industrial park, apparently.

#192 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2017, 09:04 PM:

Dave B., #183: ICE brand sodas have a flavor that they call Kiwi Strawberry, which is light green in color. I can't taste either kiwi or strawberry in it, but the first time I tried it my immediate reaction was, "This is what honeydew melon would taste like if it actually tasted good!" To me, it has a distinctly melon-ish flavor -- but pleasant, which I have yet to find an actual melon that is.

#193 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2017, 10:52 PM:

HLN: Area woman now has four quart jars with Meyer lemons in brine stashed in cupboard, pickling. Also six half-pints, each with one regular lemon, also pickling. Two of the quarts also each have a bay leaf in with the lemons. (They're big enough that only two would fit in the quart, without cutting them in halves or quarters. Several months from now, when they're reasonably well pickled, that might actually happen.)

#194 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2017, 08:56 AM:

Xopher mentions using unscented antiperspirant, which I do too--it boggles me that they make scented antiperspirant in the first place. Isn't the whole point of the stuff to avoid having to smell yourself all the time?

#195 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2017, 09:03 AM:

PJ Evans @153: We've used exclusively unscented for over a decade. But when I buy thrift-store clothes, it's not the mildew (if any) that offends: it's the mixed melange of clothing washed in so many CONFLICTING scented detergents hung next to each other on the rack!

It usually takes a hot wash with copious baking soda and then several more in our detergent to make them not stink anymore.

#196 ::: estelendur ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2017, 10:16 AM:

Carrie S. @194: Antiperspirant and deodorant are often conflated, but many people don't trust antiperspirant proper and plain deodorant doesn't stop sweat. So it's scented to cover the body odor. I think there are people this works for; I am not one of them -- I can smell like I've not bathed in a week within a couple hours of showering if I'm unlucky and adding any deodorant scent to this is just unpleasant. So it is unscented antiperspirant for me as well.

My partner gets nauseated by artificial scents. For dish soap, we use Seventh Generation Free & Clear, which seems to be genuinely unscented. It may not be available in less crunchy-granola towns, though.

#197 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2017, 01:47 PM:

There are passages in books that grab you and won't ever let you go. This one has stayed in my memory since the autumn of 1969:

"When did it begin? With every other emotion it is possible to define the moment, the circumstances of response. Admiration, hatred, contempt, pity, boredom, fear, even liking, all have their accessible reasons. Only love enters unobtrusively, furtively, and lodges to trouble you with its suddenly announced presence: like an uninvited, ruthlessly demanding guest ringing a bell for attention in a room you cannot find. A few months ago, at some reception, when Oliver made one of his rare surrenders to tipsiness, I overheard him disturbing one of those well-intentioned, determinedly liberal, wholesome and indefinably irritating Americans who wear their genteel seriousness like an academic gown: one is always tempted to cause them pain until one remembers their real decency, their unconstrained kindness, their enviable anxiety to be of use. “ Love!” Oliver was barking at this woman. “ Don’t believe what you have been conditioned to accept. It’s a venereal infection. Like syphilis. A side effect o f capitalism and the mobile unit of society. It only came into existence when feudalism began to decay. A neurosis. A huge psychic hire purchase acquisition to keep up with the Joneses. I’m not talking about homosexual love,” he added with quick concession as if she had pounced on an omitted line in his argument. “ That’s natural and healthy. Like the love of parents for children. But this business between men and women! We can’t do without it now and it’s more destructive than tobacco.” He continued the sort of talk that, remembering it in the morning, one winces apologetically; but perhaps he was obscurely aware of one essence. Our intuitive vocabulary does speak of “making love”, in a way that, for instance, we do not speak of “making hate”, reminding us that this is the only act to which we give the name of the emotion."

John Hearne, Land Of The Living

#198 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2017, 01:50 PM:

People who misspell my name as "Fragrant", btw, find themselves obliged to present at my department's weekly graduate seminar.

Exodus 20 vii.

#199 ::: HelenS ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2017, 02:08 PM:

I think our thrift stores spray the clothes with Febreze or something, because they all smell the same. I'm not sure if Value Village clothes smell different from Goodwill or Thriftko, but definitely all the clothes from one store smell the same.

#200 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2017, 04:20 PM:

Fragano, #197: I really like the first three sentences of that. After that point it rapidly descends into CWAA territory.

#201 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2017, 04:50 PM:

I read Lee@200's comment, and thought "I have no idea what that acronym means". Then I went and read the quote at 197, and halfway through thought "Oh, right." (For anyone else who also wasn't quick on the uptake, it's one of the New Yorker Universal Cartoon Captions people have proposed at various times.)

It was an interesting experience for me-- not just because I learned the meaning of an acronym purely by example, but also because the reply to the Hearne quote that immediately came to my mind was a passage in a *different* book that also hasn't let me go since I first read it decades ago. It's a passage spoken by by Proginoskes in Madeleine L'Engle's _A Wind in the Door_ that includes the lines "Love isn't a *feeling*'s what you do".)

Of course, there's an important difference between "passage that doesn't let you go" and "passage that perfectly reflects what you yourself think now", whether the passage is from Hearne or from L'Engle.

#202 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2017, 05:03 PM:

Lee #200/John Mark Ockerbloom #201 :

I can understand Lee's response, but wonder if it's to the author or the character. The words, either way, were written over fifty-five years ago.

In any case, over forty-seven years ago this passage of one of the first "grown-up" literary West Indian novels that I'd ever read just stuck in my head.

#203 ::: Race Traitor Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2017, 05:57 PM:

Serge 161: I gave up on Flash before there were any queers in it; is the gay character a speedster or a sidekick/plucky comic relief character? (Online research suggests that the identity of the gay character has not yet been revealed.)

Never watched Supergirl.

I disagree with you about Legends of Tomorrow; the queer character is a lesbian-for-the-male-gaze, as KeithS comments in 162.

It's Riverdale that's really touching the third rail with an out gay character whose dad just tries to keep him from cruising for anonymous sex, and with an intense male makeout scene. Kevin Keller is an extremely minor character so far, but we take what we can get.

I keep hoping for a reveal that Archie and Jughead used to "mess around" together, but only when I'm high on hopeful pills.

KeithS 162: ALL of what you say here. So much. Especially: I hate this so much. It always seems like the largest percentage of GLB representation on TV (what trans people?) is lesbian/bi male-gaze-friendly female heroes with a side-order of gay/lesbian/bi male and female villains, you really have to wonder.

Yeah, I feel that the message is "Lesbians are OK as long as they titillate straight men, and gay men are only there for the straight men to fight, hint hint." It's a very See Johnny Write (as I call him) viewpoint, really.

Who was queer in Frozen?

Serge 164: Boyfriend? What did I miss? Pretty clear they made out and probably had sex the night they met, but are they, like, actually dating? (If not, does the term 'fuckbuddy' mean anything to you?)

Lee 192: To me, kiwi has a distinctly melon-ish overtone, but if that were what you meant, I feel certain you'd've said so.

estelendur 196: I use the Seventh Generation Free & Clear hand soap, and I agree.

#204 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2017, 06:32 PM:

Fragano, #202: Primarily Oliver, who is overtly being a major asshole to a woman at a party. But the narrator comes in for some opprobrium as well, for both his internal description of the woman and the fact that he apparently doesn't see anything wrong with Oliver's behavior at all. And if/to the extent that the narrator reflects the opinions of the author, well...

In any event, none of my feelings about the passage have anything to do with you personally.

RT Xopher, #203: There's apparently a good deal of speculation in Archie fandom that Jughead is ace. There's also speculation that he's gay and attracted to Archie. The comic-book portrayal can be read either way, but insofar as I have an opinion, I lean emotionally toward the ace interpretation, because they are even less represented in pop culture than gays are.

#205 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2017, 06:58 PM:

And the thing I came over here to post and then forgot about: an amusing poetic take on a recent fad.

#206 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2017, 07:45 PM:

Xopher @ #203:

re: Frozen, there's been a lot of speculation about the owner of the trading post where Anna meets Kristoff, given his mannerisms and the fact that the cutaway to his family includes another man who's the right age to be a co-dad and no plausible candidates for a mom.

#207 ::: D. Potter ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2017, 10:08 PM:

Fragano Ledgister @ 198: My iPad would be happy to do so (I may not be giving it enough intellectual stimulation), but it's not allowed out of the house.

Lee @ 204: Jughead? (No, I haven't seen an Archie comic since 1975 or so, but Jughead was never paired off with anyone, so ace would work. On the other hand, Jughead may be the least self-aware character in comics, and I cannot imagine him giving sexuality any more thought than that hat of his.)

#208 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2017, 10:44 PM:

HLN: area woman has seen a teeny hummingbird bill sticking up out of the nest in the entryway of her apt building. (The edge is a bit above eye level for her, so the interior is not visible.)

#209 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2017, 10:49 PM:

more on a subject that has been discussed here before

#210 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2017, 12:13 AM:

D. Potter @207: But Jughead was (back in the 70s) always trying to avoid Big Ethel. He clearly had some thoughts about sexuality in that context, if only to be running away from it. Ace seems moderately appropriate in that context; gay is not ruled out, but not clearly supported. My reading of Archie comics is not much more current than yours, other than the zombie reboot (which I do recommend for those who read the older comics).

#211 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2017, 12:19 AM:

On the topic of horrible scented cleaning products, one of my new cats spent the night overnight at the vet, and came home reeking of Febreeze. (Yeah, I understand why, unlike at hotels, it's possibly better than what the vet's would smell like without it, but still, arrgh.) A day later, he still smells a bit like it, but it's a lot milder, so I'm mainly noticing his snoring rather than the smell.

This was an initial checkup for him, and he's got the same digestive problems as his brother (sigh), and needs wet food and the same medicines. Fortunately, they're both happy to eat drugged cat food, so I don't have to fight them to squirt meds in their mouth, which the other cat really hates.

#212 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2017, 02:40 AM:

I remember that back when Febreeze was introduced, it was unscented. I've been told that there was little market for that product. It doesn't make sense to me; I know lots of people who'd like to buy it.

It's based on cyclodextrins, according to my chem profs, but I don't know if they're modified, or what the concentrations are. They're mid-price-range as chemical compounds go; not super cheap, but nowhere near the high end of the organic chemical price list.

#213 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2017, 03:29 AM:

In the rebooted Mark Waid / Chip Zdarsky / et al. Archie books*, Jughead has been explicitly identified as ace. (Using that word, even.)

*Which are surprisingly good.

#214 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2017, 07:04 AM:

David Goldfarb #213: So The Kids These Days are now abbreviating "asexual" to "ace"? Interesting.

#215 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2017, 09:52 AM:

#208: Hold up a mirror gently?

#216 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2017, 11:37 AM:

Dave H., #214: At least since the start of Sherlock, which I think is when I became aware of it. And that means it was probably around earlier than that.

Demisexuality is also not completely ruled out as a possibility for Jughead -- but if so, then he's also completely het, or one would have expected it to come into play with Archie by now.

#217 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2017, 03:09 PM:

P J Evans @ 190: the stories I've seen (on the GA fire) that get into specifics mention stacks of PVC pipe. Such memories -- I worked on the first Ethernet installation at my early-1980's job, and remember management having a heart attack over having to pay ~5x the cost for not-PVC trunk cable, because the cable was going above the dropped ceiling, which was HVAC plenum which would spread the toxic fumes from burning PVC all over that floor. Hope Mary Aileen's parents are far enough away not to be breathing that stuff.

re deodorant scents: choruses have been aware of this issue for decades. Unscented deodorant (and no perfume) are part of the concert-wear spec for both the groups I sing in now, but I'm reasonably sure I remember my one Tanglewood gig (1978) including the observation that the smell of clean bodies was preferable to any perfume (especially relevant in an outdoor hall where the men were all supposed to be wearing jackets).

#218 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2017, 04:10 PM:

CHip (217): Toxic fumes--something else to worry about! My parents should be far enough away, thankfully.

#219 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2017, 05:40 PM:

The Meyer lemons having softened up nicely, each jar now has a quartered regular lemon in with it, so there are now only two half-pints of regular lemons. (And a small jar of kosher salt in brine, that hadn't dissolved.)

#220 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2017, 06:21 PM:

Lee #204: I wonder if that wasn't the author's own feelings about Americans being expressed (in any case, Oliver could not have been a vehicle for the auctorial ego for technical reasons, and the narrator rather less so). I was struck by the fact that such ideas about emotion, and particularly love, existed and could be uttered in a world with which I was then becoming familiar.

The character, Oliver, is in the process of becoming an asshole (in an earlier novel in which he had appeared as a secondary character, he had his life saved by another who went on to become a tragic hero). The narrator is finding his way in a strange land.

The bit about homosexual love being perfectly normal, and comparable to parental love, is fascinating. What makes it so is that it was written by a Jamaican more than half a century ago.

#221 ::: Race Traitor Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2017, 06:27 PM:

Well, Riverdale has a new take on all the characters. Jughead is definitely not ace, and at least partly het, because there's a girl he's longing for. This does not rule out some past with Archie, of course.

His hat isn't quite as goofy as in the comics, and he wears what he wears because he can't afford better.

I really like the part where Moose and Kevin find a body because they're down by the river looking for a place for some DL sex. Kevin later tells Moose sorry, no more closet cases for me.

In other news, I now have someone in the FB discussion about Legion telling me that the mutant-killers are the good guys, because people with powers have to be stopped from using them.


#222 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2017, 08:20 AM:

Xopher @ 203... Well, it looked like a date to me. :-)

When Supergirl's sister and the gang's cop lady came out about being each other's Significant Other, one of the guys turned to the Martian Manhunter and said "You knew?", to which he responded by pointing out that he IS a psychic, but he'd said nothing because it wasn't for him to tell until the ladies did.

#223 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2017, 04:44 PM:

I just got an automated email from the USPS telling me that my search request has expired. Ah, woe.

It started in January, when Scalzi said something like, "I may have to get this t-shirt. Well, I thought the shirt was cool also, so I went ahead and ordered one.

Three weeks later, it seemed to me that the package was taking an inordinately long time to reach me. I rechecked my email, and discovered that Dark Bunny Tees had included a tracking number. So I did the track. And discovered that it had reached the spot where the Royal Mail (DBT's is in England) was supposed to hand it over to the USPS, and gotten stalled.

So I went to the USPS web site, and tried to ask them to find it. Turned out I had to register an account with them. So I did that, and I jumped through their hoops. Well, it worked! Three days later, the shirt was in my hot little hands.

And two weeks later, the USPS emailed me saying, "We're sorry we can't find your package, but we're still looking." And I'm like, "Say what?" But there wasn't anything obvious to do about it, so I did nothing. I've continued to get emails at intervals, until just now when I'm told that the request has expired. So it goes.

#224 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2017, 05:54 PM:

Has anybody else, who relies mainly on supermarket fare, noticed that there is less variety available in the frozen and canned sections compared to even 5 years ago?

I can remember choosing among broad flat green beans (whole or cut into parallelograms--I think these were immature favas) and "green beans" that were really snap beans (whole, cut into short pieces, or julienned). Now I can get either the julienned snap ones or small bags of very expensive super-duper organic whole snap beans. If I want snap beans in any other form they are part of a vegetable mixture. And there are no flat green beans at all.

Vegetable mixtures--once upon a time, I could pay the store-brand price for a bag of black beans with corn, peppers, onions, and bits of broccoli (OK, whatever) that I could throw into a wok with some oil and seasoning, then fill out with whatever leftover salsa/sour cream/grated cheese/cooked meat I had in the house, and there was dinner in 10 minutes. They don't sell it anymore. They don't sell a lot of mixtures anymore in the store brand, and what they do sell is mostly ringing changes on broccoli, carrots, celery, snap beans, and onions; they all taste the same. I could pay the cost of steak for some of the mixtures I used to get in the store brand, but even there, it's mainly broccoli, carrots, celery, snap beans, and onions--just fancier.

Likewise, I could, once upon a time, choose among canned blueberry, gooseberry, blackberry, raspberry, strawberry, plum, rhubarb, apple, cherry, and peach pie fillings. Now I can have apple or cherry.

Is this just a regional thing?

#225 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2017, 07:52 PM:

I noticed it WRT canned food. The canned food aisle is one of those that was shortened at my store, to make room for the deli cheese counter and the in-store coffee place. (The other aisle most affected was cereal. They weren't the only ones, but the others seemed to have been affected less. Hot cereals, especially, where if you're not into Q-brand, too bad.)

#226 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2017, 08:32 PM:

#224 I've seen bags specially put together for stir frying. There might have been others. I'll have to pay attention next time.

#227 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2017, 08:49 PM:

Lee #216: And I had to google "demisexual"....

Xopher #221: IIRC, Jughead's iconic hat represented an actual teenage style of the 40's or 50's when the strip started; teenagers would cut up one of their dad's old fedoras.

Jenny Islander #224: what I've noticed is that some of my favorite varieties of Progresso soup seem to have gone bye-bye, notably the Pasta E Fagoli.

#228 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2017, 09:13 PM:

I remember it used to be possible to get a frozen mix that was corn and lima beans. That's not around - but it's easy to replicate. Nor is peas with pearl onions (and finding pearl onions? good luck with that).
I suspect that supermarkets are concentrating on the stuff that "everyone" buys, so those of us with different tastes get shut out.

#229 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2017, 09:20 PM:

Grumble. Grocery store selection, grumble. My local Safeway recently had a massive remodel after being bought by Albertsons. After they stirred the stock with a stick, I had a hell of a time finding the Lipton's tea (which they still don't carry in loose-leaf—though I haven't looked for that explicitly in a while). It was relegated to a spot on a lower shelf waaaay down on the end of that isle, because those freaking coffee-pod things had taken up like two thirds of one side of that isle. :-\ The good news is that at least they're carrying my preferred flavor of Suave shampoo again.

On coming home from the vet smelling like stuff: I took Donkey to the vet to get a couple of abscessed scent glands lanced (and an adventure that was!). On the way home, I stopped to get some additional kit. There was a dog tied up to the tree where I locked my bike. He was friendly to another cyclist who offered a knuckle to sniff, and he looked like he was going to come over and be friendly to me, too—and then he caught a whiff of me, and backed all the way back as far as his leash would let him, and stared at me in alarm the entire time it took me to lock up my bike. I'm guessing he recognized That Smell.

Rot-13ed for disgustingness:

Qbaxrl unq gjb fprag tynaqf gung unq tbggra vzcnpgrq naq nofprffrq. Gur ovttre bar unq tbggra gb or gur fvmr bs n fznyy tencr. (V unqa'g ernyvmrq vg jnf gung ovt! Jung V fnj ba gur fhesnpr ybbxrq whfg crn-fvmrq.) Bapr jr* tbg cnfg gur vavgvny erfreibve bs oybbq naq frehz, vg cebqhprq jung ybbxrq yvxr abguvat fb zhpu nf na nqzvkgher bs oenvaf, pnyvsybjre, naq xvooyr. Vg jnf whfg fcrpgnphyneyl tebff. (Sbeghangryl, zl irg yvxrf guvf cnegvphyne oenaq bs tebff.)

Gur fznyyre bar qvq cebqhpr fbzr znlbaanvfr, naq ybbxrq yvxr gur erfg bs vg jnf gur fnzr fghss nf gur svefg bar, ohg vg jbhyq abg fdhrrmr bhg. Naq nsgre gra zvahgrf bs wnpxvat jvgu vg, vg jnf na bhgvr engure guna na vaavr. Gur irg fnvq vg ybbxrq yvxr jr'q whfg riregrq gur tynaq.

Fur fgnegrq chfuvat vg onpx va (guvf yvggyr crn-fvmrq juvgr-cvax oenva-ybbxvat guvat). V fnvq, "Jungpun qbva'?" nyy pnfhny yvxr.

"Jryy, vg'f abg pbzvat bss, fb—" fueht. V fnvq, "Nsgre jung jr whfg jrag guebhtu trggvat gung bhg? Bu, uryy ab, lbh ner abg whfg chggvat gung onpx jurer lbh sbhaq vg!" Fur ynhturq, naq tbg bhg yvggyr fpvffbef naq gevzzrq vg bss.

So that was our afternoon today.

* I say we because, while she did all the technical work, I held Donkey's head and reassured him, and he, well, he put up with the whole experience with remarkably good humor, only complaining or twitching a few times. My pigs are generally very good at the vet, but even so, she gave him a hit of bupropion, so he was very chill through the whole thing. "High," I think was the word she used.

When we got home, I had him on his back to put silver sulfadiazine and Desitin on his pressure sores, and he just slid back and lay there, all, "Yeah, okay, I'll just know ... yeah. ... 'kay." I was almost tempted to get up and get my camera, but I decided he'd been through enough by then.

#230 ::: Bruce H. ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2017, 09:31 PM:

Things no longer available at my local supermarket: kimchi, beef heart, beef kidneys, tripe, small red beans.

The canned fruit selection seems a lot smaller than I remember.

On the plus side, I can buy frozen peas in a package with four individually wrapped servings, which I don't remember from 10 years ago.

#231 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2017, 10:45 PM:

I by the four-serving bags, where they're all in the one bag. It's less expensive (10 for $10) and allows me to do things like mixing peas and corn.

Peas and corn takes a surprising amount of time to nuke.

#232 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2017, 10:53 PM:

Sad news -- not knowing who here knew her, but Pamela Ann Rapinan, AKA Raven, who did massage at a lot of NorthWest conventions, died unexpectedly this weekend. She's had health problems, but this seems to have come out of nowhere.

I didn't know her half as well as she deserved, but I went out and supported her when she put together massage therapists to help the first responders at the big Oso mudslide. She was a bit crusty. She put her energy where her mouth was, and I respect her for that.

#233 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2017, 11:27 PM:

Tom: Is that the Raven of this parish? (Although there may be several folks who go by variations of that moniker.)

In any event, sad to hear.

#234 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2017, 01:38 AM:

The filk community has also lost Casey Sledge, of the Dallas area. He collapsed while mowing his lawn on Friday and could not be revived; a heart attack is the presumed cause of death.

#235 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2017, 02:14 AM:

@P J Evans no. 228: Playing it safe probably has something to do with it, but due to my job I also know that supermarkets can get money directly from vendors for putting stuff on the shelf. Sometimes that money is so good that the store will pull an old reliable item to make room for some new thing that generates more money per inch of shelf space even though fewer people buy it. I just have no way of knowing if those little bags of multi-colored frozen carrots that retail at $6.78 per pound are actually generating more sales profit than the old $2.79 Fiesta Mix, or whether the producer of the Organic Carrot Rainbow Pak paid mega-boodle for the opportunity to stock it.

Either way, I'm not actually buying the Organic Carrot Rainbow Pak, or the artificially colored cherry pie filling, or the apple pie filling that costs four times as much as just cutting up some apples and sprinkling stuff on them before I put on the top crust. If I'd wanted that stuff, I would've bought it back when I had more options. I'm buying the even cheaper remaining vegetable mixes and putting stuff on them to give them some variety, or throwing up my hands and getting fresh cabbage instead!

I guess I just don't know how to be a good consumer. Like those millennials who just won't get with the program and buy fabric softener like they're supposed to.

#236 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker To Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2017, 03:14 AM:

I am somewhat affected by scented soaps, perfumes, etc., but my wife is massively affected. We had to stop going to the symphony, because everyone wears perfume there, causing her to cough so deeply I thought she would injure her diaphragm. So we were both horrified to find that some of the products marked "unscented" do have a scent. It's as if the manufacturers think "unscented" is a kind of scent.

#237 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2017, 04:17 AM:

Current UK political outbursts make me seriously unhappy. I shall say no more on that subject, since that would likely induce ranting and possibly mouth-foaming, at least in myself.

#238 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2017, 12:31 PM:

Jenny Islander @ 224: I haven't looked for snap beans for a while in Boston, but the crosscut (non-julienned) ones were available in multiple brands the last time I looked. I don't look at frozen mixes or at canned fruits (although I'm surprised you ever found canned gooseberries), but I saw stories a month or so back about a shortage of broccoli -- just about the time the regular (non-organic) frozen broccoli was out-of-stock for a couple of weeks at Trader Joe's. Are any of your favorites cyclic (cf a chunk of kitchen-tools area going to canning jars for a few months each year), or are they gone for good?

P J Evans @ 228: I get the impression that grocery stores are trying to cover even more bases, rather than concentrating on what "everybody buys"; around here the footprints keep getting larger, by either closing 1-2 stores after finding a place for a much larger one (more common for Stop & Shop), or expansion-in-place (the Chestnut Hill Star had no lateral room and no abutters willing to fold, so the store was rebuilt on stilts with the loading dock underneath). Even Whole Foods (which took over some of the too-small-for-the-dense-chains spaces) has opened at least one local store big enough to need a central crosswise aisle.
      It's possible that covering more non-Anglo foods (jicama, sugar cane, batata, platano, ...) squeezes out \some/ food of our childhood, but I wouldn't assume it given the footprints. It's also possible that the stoppage is with the packagers rather than the stores; if enough stores slow orders because something sells slowly, running a high-speed packaging line may not be worthwhile. I saw this in miniature several years ago; two vendors the gigantic Madison WI farmers' market who used to have microwave-ready packages of special popcorns (black, red, "baby rice", ...) had to drop it because the packager wouldn't do less than 10,000 units of a type. (One of them had sold 20-30K units/yr of all microwave types together.) OTOH, I \know/ why nobody but WF carries ground pork in bulk; health laws (at least in MA) require a separate grinder, so everybody (else) buys fixed-size packages from a specialist.

#239 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2017, 03:07 PM:

Ingvar M #237:

You don't mean the sudden conversion of UK national politics into The Pirates of Penzance?

"I bid you yield in Queen Victoria's Name!" "You do? "I do!"

#240 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2017, 04:14 PM:

Bill Stewart @110: "digging up that grass to plant tomatoes"

HAHAHAHAHA! You obviously have no experience with Bermuda grass.

It's also known as Lazarus grass, is highly invasive, is both seeded and rhizome, and can provably survive multiple summers with no water whatsoever for five or more months. To "remove" it, you basically have to remove all dirt down several feet. And then use Roundup. Twice. And barrier. Maybe do three months of solarizing under plastic as well.

Napalm is not outside of consideration.

(Short version: The reason I don't currently have a garden is that I need to nuke the area thoroughly before even putting down sheet mulching, landscape fabric, and gravel as a barrier before putting in RAISED BEDS. It's that bad, and the grass ate my last garden whole.)

#241 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2017, 04:25 PM:

I have a friend who posts from time to time about The Cologne Cloud of Doom. Apparently the guy marinates in it and has resisted giving it up despite repeatedly being asked to.

#242 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2017, 05:15 PM:

And can take being mowed damned near down to its roots. It's been used on golf courses because of that.

We took out a back lawn that was about half bermuda grass and turned it into garden. The main reason we got away with it is because the garden plants tended to crowd it out: tomatoes and a peach tree on the sunny edge, leaf lettuce on the shady edge, and bush beans in between. (It beat trying to mow it with a push mower. Which was my job.)

#243 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2017, 08:10 PM:

Thanks for the warning, Jacque. As an experienced pet owner I can take it. And using the same kind of language that you did, you might be amused to know that I once called up the vet and made an appointment for my cat who had n intvany qvfpunetr gung ybbxrq yvxr gubhfnaq vfynaq qerffvat.

#244 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2017, 08:31 PM:

Allan: Oh my. That sounds—exciting? What did it turn out to be?

I wish I could take credit for the style of metaphor, but I think I picked it up from my coworker who used to be a vet tech.

#245 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2017, 08:37 PM:

Well, that's irritating. I dropped the pen for my drawing tablet (weird. I mistyped "cabinet") down into a cluttered, inaccessible corner a while ago, and left it there because I a) didn't need it at the moment and b) didn't have the spoons to do the excavation necessary to extract it.

Well, I've now done the excavation. (Yay! Formerly nasty corner, now clean.) But no joy. This is irritating, not only because my art project is now stalled, but also because replacing it will probably be non-trivial, potentially involving a system upgrade that will break a whole bunch of other stuff. Grumble. I love technology. :-\

#246 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2017, 09:33 PM:

A few weeks back, I was trying to put a lobster clasp (bright shiny silver) on something, and it got away, I heard it land, and I know the general area - but I can't find it. And it's an area that's lit.
I blame gremlins. Or elves.
Plus other stuff that's "around here somewhere" and I can't find it, even though I think I know where it should be.

#247 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2017, 09:34 PM:

Frack . . . I was planning on a career change at the end of this year, or at the end of next year if the stock market turned dodgy*, but for the second time in my career the business unit I work in is being sold off. No buyer yet. No idea when (if ever?) it would happen. No idea if I'd be laid off early to make the business more "attractive" as the HR lady put it.

Worst case is I'm given a choice between relocating or taking a minimal severance. (No idea if that would happen, but it is what happened 16 years ago.)

Grrrr. I really didn't want to start third career planning yet.

*Putting Goldman Sachs in charge of everything is just asking for a bubble.

#248 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2017, 11:01 PM:

Jacque @233: Not so far as I know, but I don't know.

#249 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2017, 11:19 PM:

Anthony's Law of the Workshop: Any tool, when dropped, will roll into the least accessible corner of the workshop.

Corollary: On the way to the corner, any dropped tool will first and always strike your toes.

Me: ... in such a way as to mislead you with regard to the direction it's really going. Which leads towards the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle regarding the product of the position and momentum of an object.

#250 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2017, 12:22 AM:

AKICML: Soooo I just got a Dreamwidth account, finally, and imported my LJ. Like a dodo, I went ahead and consented to the new LJ TOS in order to see and edit my own darn posts before I had a rush of brains to the head and went, "Oh, hell, Russians!"

So I was wondering if anybody here had some tips about how to really truly zorch my LJ. Is there something non-obvious that I really ought to do?

FWIW, both my LJ and my new DW account have unique passwords. I base my passwords on stuff that happens to be lying on my desk (mail, children's homework, library books, grocery lists...) with added l33t.

#251 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2017, 01:45 AM:

Jenny, #250: This must be brand-new. The post I made 2 weeks ago cross-posted with no problems; the one I made today failed with a message of "Terms of Service Agreement required" -- but I never got any sort of notice or request to sign one. Further information about this would be welcome, because I can't make a decision without it.

#252 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2017, 02:20 AM:

Somebody on that thing wot tumbles said that the TOS in English include fine print that only the TOS in Russian are legally binding and you have to click a link to see them.

#253 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2017, 04:01 AM:

Fragano Ledgister @ #239:

The fragment of (filked) song that comes to mind is "Springtime for Tessa in Brexitland" (which is depressing, becaiuse I thought writing down "Springtime for Donald" would've purged the urge to filk that tune ever again).

Jenny Islander, Lee @ #250 - #252:

Ah, darn, that probably means I'll have to stop cross-posting my "this is what I've been reading" posts to LJ and leave them solely on DW (from where I've been cross-posting them for a long good while now).

#254 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2017, 05:19 AM:

Saying that a specific language is authoritative for a company's TOS is reasonable, though the shift from English to Russian is worrying.

The way things are going in England, I may as well drop LiveJournal. I've not used it for years.

#255 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2017, 06:15 AM:

Lee @ #251:

It is brand new - last night was business as usual, this morning I went to look at my LJ friendslist and got a modal popup displaying the new TOS and not letting me continue without agreeing.

(I haven't agreed yet, and perhaps won't.)

Jenny Islander @ #252:

It does say that, although "fine print" is not the mot juste - it's in a highlighted box at the very beginning of the English-language TOS.

#256 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2017, 10:46 AM:

The 2017 Hugo Award finalists have been announced. Looks like there's plenty of good stuff in every category this year.

Some of my own thoughts:

Looks like there's only minor interference from the usual suspects.

I have some catching up on reading to do. What a hardship.

Yay, Hidden Figures is a finalist in Best Dramatic Presentation Long Form! It has some stiff and worthy competition.

There's only one Doctor Who episode in Best Dramatic Presentation Short Form. I am astounded.

#257 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2017, 10:51 AM:

KeithS @256, in a related note, File770 seems to be down. Slashdotted...?

#258 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2017, 10:55 AM:

Speaking of reading, I'm currently re-reading the first book in a series that young teenaged me thought was awesome. The story itself might still wind up being epic and amazing, but the prose goes "clunk". It's not bad, but it's constantly distracting. I'm a little disconcerted.

Cassy B. @ 257:

That would be my guess.

#259 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2017, 10:57 AM:

I'm really, really thrilled by the 2017 Hugo Ballot.

Looking at it, in a lot of categories I'm going "I think this is my first choice, but I've heard really good things about this work, and this one, and this one... so it's going to be hard." It's an excellent problem to have.

#260 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2017, 11:12 AM:

...and as soon as I posted the above, I was able to get to File770.... <wry>

#261 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2017, 11:55 AM:

So, somebody dug into the English legalese of the new LJ TOS. Here's the thread, or whatever Tumblr calls threads:

The gist: If you say dirty dirty things, like, "I think that gay people should not be rounded up and put in camps and murdered because I don't think that being gay is wrong," LJ will find and pass along your meatspace identity so that you can be punished.

So. Can I just follow the directions at LJ for deleting and purging my journal or is there a gotcha in there I need to be aware of?

#262 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2017, 12:11 PM:

KeithS: "There's only one Doctor Who episode in Best Dramatic Presentation Short Form."

There was only one Doctor Who episode in 2016! (If that was the joke, I apologize...)

Like all, I am pleased by the lists. I happend to have read nearly all of the novel and novella finalists, and every one I read was impressive in some way. Often in many ways.

The Best Series list, however, confirms my opinion that this is not a useful category. I can't usefully compare old favorites with new favorites. That is to say, I can, but it's comparing backrubs to oranges -- an exercise in arbitrary numbering.

On top of that, the Best Novel category already has a problem (IMHO) with previous authors attracting too much re-nomination attention. The Best Series list is, well, I'd say the effect is amplified. (I count ten prior Best Novel nominees there, of which eight are Bujold.)

I'm not saying that Best Series is a stain upon the Hugos' honor, just that I don't think it is a successful experiment.

#263 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2017, 12:50 PM:

P J Evans @246: I blame gremlins. Or elves.

"Zen Cosmic Sinkhole" is the story my family generally goes with.

Joel Polowin @249: Oh, definitely. "If I had a nickel for every time...."

Or if it's a prescription pill, it will lodge in the most obscure and inaccessible location that nevertheless allows the pets to eat it.

#264 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2017, 02:05 PM:

Andrew Plotkin @ 262:

Well, that explains why the category doesn't like Best Dramatic Presentation, Doctor Who Form this year.

I don't entirely agree on your assessment of the Best Series list. Seanan McGuire has been a finalist for best novel as Mira Grant, but never won, and has never been a finalist as Seanan McGuire. Ben Aaronovitch has never been a best novel finalist at all, and neither has Max Gladstone. That's three entire book series that have never had any best novel love.

That said, I don't know how useful it is as an annual category, since series are long-term affairs. Perhaps once every decade, without the restriction that a new book must have come out in the previous year. You still run into the comparison problem, but you have that to a certain extent anyway in the other categories.

#265 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2017, 02:48 PM:

KeithS @ #264:

If I remember the proposed language right, there's no requirement that a series has had a book in the previous year to be eligible for a finalist place. However, any series that reaches "finalist" is not eligible until at least a certain word count has been published since it was finalist (can't say I recall the exact number, but I think it was 250 kwords) last. Any series that's won, is then forever uneligible.

I think it'd be perfectly sensible to have it every year, based on the fact that more (probably many more) series are started, or have books published in them, every year. There may become a time when this is no longer true, but I am not sure it'd actually happen.

#266 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2017, 04:40 PM:

Okay, so LJ seems to be making a huge IP grab and putting some unacceptable language in their TOS. As it happens, I've been using my LJ as a mirror for my DW account (rather than the reverse, which it was when I first got on DW) for at least the past 4 or 5 years. And I ran an import recently, so I currently have all but about 3 LJ-side comments archived on DW as well.

This leaves me with the decision: Do I accept the new TOS long enough to make a "This is my last post here, and this journal will be going away soon, find me on DW at [username]" post, grab those last few comments, and delete/purge after a few days? Or should I simply refuse to accept the TOS and abandon it in place?

My partner is adamant that I should abandon in place. Because if you accept the new TOS even for a few seconds, then they'll have a copy. But if I leave it there, they'll have a copy anyhow. But they won't have your permission to use it. And like they're going to care whether they have my permission or not? This is a very nebulous argument that isn't making sense to me.

Someone elseNet has argued that if the point of this is to stifle political discussion on LJ, then deleting your journal is giving them what they want. I think that this argument is at best misapplied in this context. The political discussion will still be happening in a gazillion other places; what does one platform more or less matter (except for Russian citizens) at this point?

Personally, I'm inclined to the "accept, close, delete/purge" option. But I'm willing to consider abandoning in place if anyone can come up with an argument for it that doesn't sound like hand-waving.


#267 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2017, 04:58 PM:

Lee: I guess it depends to an extent on just how paranoid you are. Given the current climate, I'd be inclined to be more paranoid than less paranoid. What I can say with confidence is I'm glad I zorched* my account a couple of months ago.

How much would you lose if you access the page w/o logging in and just select-all and copy?

* Totally stealing Jenny Islander's word.

#268 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2017, 05:12 PM:

There was only one Doctor Who episode in 2016!

And 2015 as well. (Though both the last two years may have been the result of canine interference.)

#269 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2017, 05:52 PM:

Ingvar M @ 265:

I seem to recall when filling out my nominations for this year's Hugos that a book in the series had to be published in the period of eligibility. That might not be a part of the more general proposal, though.

Lee @ 266:

I haven't read the new T&Cs yet. I really don't have anything on LJ except for a couple of comments, so I'll probably let my account rot in place. Easier to do nothing for me.

For someone like you with an extensive posting history, it's a harder call. Worrying about whether to accept the T&Cs presupposes that they'll honor you saying no, and I don't trust them to do that. They already have all of your posts, since they're hosted on their servers, and they have them backed up too[1], so deleting them won't make a difference if they really wanted to go look at them.

Weighing the options of rot-in-place versus delete, I come down weakly on the side of delete. Sure, they already have your stuff, but no need to make it easy on them. Let them faff about with backup tapes if they really want to. You also have some friendslocked stuff on there which is not currently open to casual browsing, but what if they decide that in the glorious new future of LJ, controlling who sees your stuff is no longer acceptable? (Yes, this is blatant fearmongering whatiffery.) Easier to delete it now while you know you have account access.

If you decide to delete your stuff, you may as well post a pointer to your Dreamwidth journal.

IANAL, nor do I play one on TV, but it might be argued that if you have to accept the new T&Cs in order to delete your journal and/or close your account, it's a coerced contract and therefore unenforceable. See again that I don't necessarily trust them to abide by their side of things anyway, but if it makes you feel better about clicking "I agree" in order to clean up after yourself, then I'm all for that argument.

[1] At least, I'd assume they have them backed up, because that's just reasonable IT procedure.

Andrew M @ 268:

I checked IMDB after Andrew Plotkin replied to me, and there really was only one Doctor Who episode released in 2016. IMDB counts two, but it looks like one of them was a short or a teaser trailer, not an episode.

#270 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2017, 06:16 PM:

Jacque, #267: I'm not worried about my content; that's all mirrored on DW. But I can't delete my account without accepting the TOS -- if I could, that's what I'd have done and I wouldn't have to be asking these questions.

#271 ::: Race Traitor Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2017, 06:19 PM:

Jenny 261: Can I just follow the directions at LJ for deleting and purging my journal or is there a gotcha in there I need to be aware of?

I've just been trying and there appears to be no way to get to the page where you delete your account without agreeing to the UA, which is in Russian (the English version is bad enough, but you're agreeing to the Russian version, with no guarantee that they match).

I'm letting it rot in place for now. I'm regretting not zorching my account a long time ago.

#272 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2017, 06:55 PM:

In re the Hugo 2017 list, I am greatly cheered that the text fiction categories (the first however many until dramatic) are strongly woman-majority, and not entirely white.

#273 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2017, 06:56 PM:

I've read five of six Best Novel nominees, and had the sixth (Death's End) on my list. Ranking Too Like the Lightning, The Obelisk Gate, A Closed and Common Orbit, and Ninefox Gambit is going to be a difficult exercise. (All the Birds in the Sky is going below those four, and I strongly suspect that the Liu will also, although I'm not ruling out that it will knock my socks off.)

#274 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2017, 07:13 PM:

Let me say that I am not dissing All the Birds in the Sky, merely saying that it was less to my taste than the others. I'd say this is one of the strongest novel ballots in quite some time.

#275 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2017, 09:14 PM:

FOUND IT! me @245: It originally fell down behind a rack of open-grill utility shelves, parallel to the bars, so I not unreasonably figured it would be on the floor. But I thought of one last place it could possibly be, if it had bounced off the wall and landed in the gutter running along the rim of the last-but-one shelf. Well, couldn't tell, even with a bright light, without pulling the whole business out again, which I didn't want to tackle tonight (and besides it was unlikely anyway). But just as I was moving to get up, something caught my eye on the bottom shelf.

There it was. It had contrived to land on the bottom shelf, perpendicular to the bars, (near the front of the shelf—bwuh? How the hell?) and had been sitting there, within easy reach, the whole time. I hadn't seen it because it's black, I would have been looking at it end-on, and that was seemingly the least likely place for it to fetch up.

So whew! (And I got a couple of new clean spots for my troubles.)

(And meanwhile, have I mentioned how much I hate batteries? I have a lovely bluetooth trackpad, but the damn batteries had died, and the spares in my cabinet were too low to satisfy it. Rrrr. But I have a USB mouse, so I'm in business.) (It's a pain to use the laptop's trackpad in conjunction with the drawing tablet.)

#276 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2017, 11:19 PM:

Jacque, it was a treatable infection that cleared up before she succumbed to an unrelated terminal condition that the vet was already seeing her for. This was long ago so I don't remember all the details.

#277 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2017, 02:34 AM:

One recently rediscovered advantage of having new cats is that we can again say, when hearing a loud crash from somewhere, "Oh, it's just the cats", instead of having to actually wonder what happened. The cat who can see likes climbing, and there's a high windowsill in the bedroom that he's trying to figure out how to get to, trying different furniture to see if he can reach it from there.

#278 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2017, 02:55 AM:

Luckily, I have a User-ID on LJ which doesn't obviously connect with my ID on other services, though there are elements such as email addresses which will connect.

I am not sure that I will bother with Dreamwidth, and I haven't posted anything new for years. I may just nuke the account. Some of the LJ backup tools haven't been updated for years. They still pop up on Google but may not work any more.

( seems to be working for the text: Python script, and I am using Linux; a lot of the tools seem to involve Windows (spit).)

It's not hard to see how the USA and the UK might be headed in the same direction as Russia on internet use and privacy. Is that exaggeration? I hope so, but I wouldn't put money on that. Maybe there is a market opportunity for services based in the EU, who can honestly declare that they are following the EU laws on protecting personal data.

#279 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2017, 03:30 AM:

Well, that's it. Nothing posted to LJ since 2014, all the text now safe here.

ljdump works

Photos, incidentally, were stored on a defunct service. I've deleted the account. Stuff will linger on their servers for 60 days in case I should change my mind. It's hardly likely, now is it.

#280 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2017, 08:33 AM:

Question on Ursula Vernon's blog: I've been keeping an eye on the Red Wombat Studio site, where she apparently migrated, but there hasn't been a post there for some time.

Is she just busy? Or in her transition from LJ have I mislaid this connection?

I miss her.

#281 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2017, 08:58 AM:

Carol @280:

I haven't been to LJ since the changes in the Terms of Service (so I haven't seen first-hand what people are complaining about), but I recall seeing a new post of hers in LJ within the past couple of weeks. She is (or was) birding in the southwest, if I recall correctly.

#282 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2017, 09:10 AM:

Buddha Buck: thank you

Is my problem that I don't have a Dreamwidth account?

When I search for her using that and TKingfisher all I get is a spinning icon.

I was able to call up LJ Bark Like a Fish and find more recent posts. I hadn't been checking there as I assumed it had been abandoned.

#283 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2017, 09:21 AM:

Carol Kimball, I'm not on twitter but I kinda follow her twitter account; if you google Ursula Vernon Twitter it comes up and you can read it without having to sign up for anything. She's been birding with friends.

#285 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2017, 09:43 AM:

Carol Kimball @ 280:

She has not been posting much of late. Her Dreamwidth is

#286 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2017, 11:19 AM:

Thanks, everybody. Red Wombat's links haven't been updated for a while. I can live with that as long as I can find her.

#287 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2017, 11:29 AM:

She's been commenting the last couple of days at File770 - apparently she's been very busy; she barely got her Hugo nominations in before the deadline.

#289 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2017, 01:16 PM:

Keith@269: Ah, I misunderstood. Still, the point holds that it's been a while since Doctor Who dominated this category.

#290 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2017, 01:34 PM:

Dave Bell, #279:

Does "ljdump works" mean "for a user who has agreed to Livejournal's new Russian-language terms of service" or rather "even for a user who has not agreed to the TOS?"

(LJdump is apparently a Python program. I don't know how to run this, but can probably find help at a giant physics lab near here.)

Livejournal has been the site of my blog (username "beamjockey") since 2005. Guess I will have to start over somewhere else.

Because there are pointers all over the Web to stuff I've written on that site. I am reluctant to remove it entirely. I don't understand all the implications yet.

#291 ::: Jennifer Barber ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2017, 02:02 PM:

One thing I've discovered is that it's possible to navigate and copy/paste or print around the TOS box without agreeing, in case anyone else needs to do that.

(I haven't posted to my LJ in years, or even kept up with what's left of my flist, so with one or two exceptions losing it is no hardship from that perspective. OTOH, I have a lot of Memories from other people's journals that I don't want to lose--mostly fic I haven't seen on AO3 yet, or meta--and I'm trying to save what I can before more of those journals get deleted. The problem is, most of those memories are Private, so I have to be logged in to get at them, which means dealing with the TOS issue.... *sigh*)

#292 ::: Rob Wynne ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2017, 02:43 PM:

#175: When I moved from Atlanta to Seattle, there was a fair bit of stuff that was too big to take with us, but too functional or useful to just toss out -- most notably a less than 5-year-old king-sized mattress and box springs with frame. So my friend who finished closing out our apartment for us so we could get on the road left it all at the front of the garage, with the garage door open, and a sign saying "Free. Please take".

I got a call later that day, as we were driving through Texas, from an alarmed property staffer, who told me that all that stuff needed to be removed to the dumpster within 24 hours or they'd have to charge me to remove it. I said "I'm sure other people will take care of that. In any case, I'm a thousand miles away already and can't do anything about it. So, whatever you need to do."

It was never mentioned again. I have every faith in my neighbours that they saw good useful things and are, I hope, enjoying them to this day.

#293 ::: Zack ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2017, 02:51 PM:

I've been telling people to delete all the content off their old LJs, unfriend everyone, blank the profile, and change the password to a freshly-generated random string, but not to push the "delete account" button, because you don't want old external links to your posts to mysteriously turn into links to spam. This way, they'll be 404s permanently.

I did this for mine a couple-three months ago, and at that time it was possible to do it without agreeing to the new ToS; don't know if it's still possible now.

#294 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2017, 06:19 PM:

Didn't even know Ursula Vernon had a blog. I've been checking out her Tumblr regularly.

"Birding in the Rio Grande."

#295 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2017, 06:35 PM:

Two Tumblrs, actually: the other is "Kingfisher Feathers"

#296 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2017, 01:10 AM:

So... there's no way in hell I can go to Helsinki, but I'm thinking seriously about San Juan. The problem is that to get nonstop flights at convenient times, I may have to fly in on Wednesday and out on Monday. This adds 2 nights and over $300 to a hotel amount that was already *gulp*.

Is anyone here going who might be interested in a roomsplit? It doesn't have to be for the whole period -- even 2 or 3 days would help a lot. I don't smoke (and don't want a smoker, sorry), but I do snore (and am happy to supply earplugs).

The rooms are double/double (which may or may not mean queen-sized beds; in my day it meant double beds, but the usage seems to be shifting), so 1 person or a couple would work.

#297 ::: HelenS ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2017, 03:40 PM:

I'm told if you disable javascript in your browser you don't get the TOS popup and can do what you want, including deleting your account, without agreeing to the TOS. I have not tried this myself.

#298 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2017, 04:02 PM:

My feeling on Jughead is that he's ... not interested in girls [or sex, or both] yet? Archie was traditionally aimed at pre-teens and there was and may still be a huge "romance is stupid" feeling among preteens. I remember, like, at 11 I was absolutely not interested in girls, and at 12 the switch flipped. (To the girl I was horrible to because she had a huge crush on me at 11: I am sorry.) Jughead's sort of in the same category (maybe there's a cultural pendulum that's swinging back?) as the supporting characters in cowboy movies that don't think the hero should be wasting his time with girls that are going to make him take baths and settle down or whatever.

Is Jughead too old for "romance is dumb"? Realistically, probably. I think it's in the same category as "Why is Batman fighting crime with a 12-year old?" Because that's what the audience liked to see.

#299 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2017, 09:06 PM:

Random open threadiness: the current XKCD has a list of 'bad security advice' like "Change your maiden name regularly". One that might be appreciated here: "Only read content published through"

#300 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2017, 11:04 PM:

NPR extends the theme of @0 with a group that admits they stretch the term "bluegrass" to the limit.

#301 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2017, 02:00 AM:

Thomas @299: I think the idea is that the content on goes through a slushpile so snoopers cannot tell who it really came from. Or "Stubby the Rocket" is a pseudonymous bowser.

I like to recommend using the SHH protocol to connect to libraries.

#302 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2017, 02:01 AM:

Thomas @299: I think the idea is that the content on goes through a slushpile so snoopers cannot tell who it really came from. Or "Stubby the Rocket" is a pseudonymous bowser.

I like to recommend using the SHH protocol to connect to libraries.

#303 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2017, 02:06 AM:

I got the dreaded "Internal Server Error". Cleverly, I copied my post to the desktop, cleared it, and went back to the top of ML. No post. I reloaded this page. No post. I copied the text back in and submitted. Got two. The second attempt must have jarred the first one loose in the database.

#304 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2017, 11:17 AM:

Okay, this is driving me nuts. I just watched the trailer for King Arthur: Legend of the Sword and I know they're using a Led Zeppelin song as background, but I can't recall the title of it. Help?

#305 ::: D. Potter ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2017, 12:47 PM:

"Babe I'm Gonna Leave You." (Lyric actually in the title, who'd'a thunk?)

Beats "Kashmir" in the John Carter trailer.

#306 ::: Bruce H. ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2017, 10:48 PM:

How about some covers we'll never get to hear? I had a dream one time of Henry Rollins covering the Who's Substitute. I would have also liked to hear Type O Negative covering Veruca Salt's Seether.

#307 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2017, 01:01 AM:

TomB @ 301: Randall's playing on the name collision between Tor, the publisher, and Tor, the anonymized internet browsing software.

#308 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2017, 01:20 AM:

(URL below contains a Word Of Power that attracts gnomes looking for distributors of canned meat products. Sorry if it causes trouble.

Curing Jet Lag For Hamsters. (Eastbound hamsters only; sorry for those of you whose wheels are rolling west.) Smithsonian mag link. Apparently those pills which I shall not name here have uses other than their popular ones - they also reduce altitude adjustment problems in humans at smaller doses (friend reports 1/4-1/2 the usual is enough), and can help jet lag (at least in hamsters, at mg/kg doses lower also much lower than the typical human dose.) The article indicates that they have not yet been officially tested for jet lag effects in humans.

#309 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2017, 01:40 AM:

Clifton @307: And here I was thinking it was because Tor is ROT backwards.

I read somewhere that Tor stands for "The Onion Router". Does this mean that Tor anonymizes your browsing by translating web pages into satirical newspaper stories? That would be fantastic. I love The Onion. But will it scale? I don't think The Onion has enough writers on staff to satirize all traffic on the internet.

#310 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2017, 03:35 AM:

TomB @ #309:

TOR actually works by Shrekking your package, then sending it through layers of ogre, because everyone knows that ogres are like onions, they have layers.

Joking aside, it is essentially like giant game of pass-the-parcel. You as a TOR user go "hey, I want to browse site.tld, so I shall construct a route that is N layers deep, encryot each layer, so only the entity sending the package to the next layer can read the instructions, with the innermost layer having the URL of site.tld at hand!"

Then your browse request goes through this long and complicated process built mostly of somewhat fascinating math, until site.tld says "Oh, here's the page", it comes back and your browser then goes "darn, there's a bunch of pics here, lemme send off another 15 TOR requests for the GIFs", and those go off, each one using a different route through the TOR-cloud, all making it more than a little non-trivial to match the requests reaching site.tld to you.

#311 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2017, 01:21 PM:

HLN: Local woman slowly realizes, in the course of coloring a page-a-day calendar featuring samples of an entire line of doodle-esque "anti-stress" coloring books for grown-ups that is sold in big box stores, that the artist(s) liked drawing yonis. Like, really really liked drawing yonis. Leaves: yonis. Feathers: yonis. Fur: yonis. Abstract shapes (that is, doodles): yonis. Some of them are rather abstract, but others are pretty anatomical.

#312 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2017, 01:35 PM:

Am waiting for a thing to happen, meanwhile looking for funny videos. Like this!


A HUMAN: starts to play guitar

ONE BIRD: nods to the rhythm

OTHER BIRD does not

ONE BIRD: ~crest flarrrrrre~


ONE BIRD: headbangin!

OTHER BIRD: sidles away


OTHER BIRD: inches clear to end of perch

ONE BIRD: Oh, come on, this is AWESOME. *sidles closer, continues to rock out*

OTHER BIRD: leans awayyyyy

ONE BIRD: Fine, more room for me to STRUT.

OTHER BIRD: holds foot up, otherwise will not move


OTHER BIRD: combination hunch and side-eye

#313 ::: Older ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2017, 02:09 PM:

Tried to watch Jenny Islander's video recommendation, but the link had a misspelling. I managed to find it anyway, and it is funny. I see Other Bird thinking "can't take you anywhere..." Just imagine if they could find this dude a teeny little lampshade to wear.

#314 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2017, 02:20 PM:

I've found that many coloring books aimed at adults are very hard to color. They were probably very soothing to design, with all the fiddly patterns in there, but they are not to my taste. I prefer Theo Lorenz' work-- that can actually be colored.

#315 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2017, 02:50 PM:

Older @313: I get a "this video does not exist" from your link as cut&pasted into my browser.

#316 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2017, 03:53 PM:

Jenny Islander #312: OTHER BIRD: holds foot up, otherwise will not move

"Personal space, dude!" The quiet bird's raised foot seems actually to be pushing or holding the dancer away.

#317 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2017, 04:29 PM:

The link was a straight C&P. How in the heck did it end up with a misspelling?!

#318 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2017, 04:59 PM:

It didn't have a typo for me, Jenny Islander. Perhaps it's an autocorrect failure?

#319 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2017, 08:51 PM:

Older's link works for me. That is one seriously weird cockatoo; I wonder whether the singer's moves looked like a display to him?

#320 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2017, 09:14 PM:

The original link @312 works fine for me. If you or your autocorrect changed "birb" to "bird", that will break it.

#321 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2017, 12:22 AM:

@312 &seq: But, dang that boy's got him some moves on him!

#322 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2017, 01:15 AM:

@CHip no. 319: Videos of birds who boogie are all over the System of Tubes. Most of them are psittacids, but I've seen others as well. The dancing-birds-on-Youtube thing has actually attracted scientific interest. The last I heard, it appears that it isn't a misplaced mating display. They just love to git down to the beat. They even have favorite songs.

Here is a summary of scientific research as of 8 years ago, featuring the seminal video of Snowball the cockatoo who loves to high kick to the Backstreet Boys.

#323 ::: Sarah E ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2017, 10:14 AM:

Sandy B. @ #298
Is Jughead too old for "romance is dumb?"

Well, he appears to be in the same high-school grade as the rest of the characters, and *they're* a raging mass of hormones. I suppose he could be a late bloomer, but my money used to be on "loves Archie, but knows Archie's straight, so keeps quiet about it and channels his feelings into the pursuit of hamburgers." Asexual makes sense too, though, and U believe is currently cannon in the comics.

#324 ::: Sarah E ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2017, 10:14 AM:

Sandy B. @ #298
Is Jughead too old for "romance is dumb?"

Well, he appears to be in the same high-school grade as the rest of the characters, and *they're* a raging mass of hormones. I suppose he could be a late bloomer, but my money used to be on "loves Archie, but knows Archie's straight, so keeps quiet about it and channels his feelings into the pursuit of hamburgers." Asexual makes sense too, though, and U believe is currently cannon in the comics.

#325 ::: Sarah E ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2017, 10:23 AM:

^^ Damn, I've finally been hit by the double-post curse.

#326 ::: Sarah E ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2017, 10:38 AM:

On another topic -- I feel like it says something about the Puppies that they can't do a good imitation of Chuck Tingle.

"Alien Stripper Boned From Behind By The T. Rex" doesn't sound like a Tingle; it sounds like a mainstream porn cliché with the words "alien" and "T. Rex" thrown in.

"Stix Hiscock" is just aggressively tin-eared. Even something like "Styx Hitchcock," would have been a very tiny bit subtler and ten times easier to pronounce.

#327 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2017, 10:41 AM:

Dan Piraro lays it out on LGBTQ rights. (After the cartoon mentioning trangender folks.)

#328 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2017, 12:03 PM:

I have a question for the Fluorosphere: What do you do when a book has a brilliant premise, is fluidly written, yet keeps throwing you out every few pages because the linguistic affect is wrong. And not just the language, even nomenclature is incorrect, being American rather than correctly suited for the period/place/society where the tale is set.

I won't name the book/author, save to note that it was published by a house not unassociated with our hosts. It has a specific historical setting well-known to me, and quite a lot of other people here. The dialogue, however, was persistently contemporary American, except in one or two places. In those places, magically, it was even more wrong (wrong units of linear measurement, for example).

I feel rather irritated because, as I said, the premise is brilliant and the writing fluid. It's a wonderful story, except for the fact that I kept being kicked out every other page.

#329 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2017, 12:08 PM:

Did anyone here take part in the Place experiment on Reddit? They put up a blank canvas and let people place one pixel at a time, in various colors, with a wait before that person could place another pixel. The waves of collaboration and anti-collaboration are fascinating to watch.

Despite this starting on 1 April, I think it's real; and amazing in any case.

#330 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2017, 12:18 PM:

Fragano @#328: If it's been translated into another language that you're fluent in, try reading the translation instead.

#331 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2017, 01:23 PM:

Lila #330: I don't know if it has been. That might or might not help (French, for example, would preserve some of the errors).

#332 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2017, 01:59 PM:

I suppose 'seethe in frustration and complain to friends' has been done already.

I once quit a book because the author needed to grow some semicolons.

#333 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2017, 02:22 PM:

Diatryma #332: Indeed.

#334 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2017, 03:52 PM:

Fragano Ledgister @ 328:

For me, it depends on how egregious the issues are, and how invested I am in wanting to stick it out. I either continue to read the book anyway until the errors become background noise, continue to read the book and accept that I'm going to grind my teeth every few pages, or give up on it and decide it's not for me.

#335 ::: Older ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2017, 04:35 PM:

Fragano, I usually decide not to read that any more. Too bad if it's an important author, because I just can't stand it.

I am very old, and my early education was in the hands of some very old relatives, so I learned (among other things to be mentioned later) the correct use of "will" and "shall", and to hear them misused just drives me nuts.

I understand current usage, and I believe I speak it well enough, but there *is* no currently accepted way of dealing with these words, and every author mangles them differently. So there are books/authors I just can't read.

Among the things I learned as a child was whom to introduce to whom, and how to curtsey. I passed these skills on to my daughter, who said once that she was the youngest person she had ever met who knew them.

#336 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2017, 04:40 PM:

Open threadiness: I'm going to be in the East Midlands in two weeks (Loughborough). Anybody want to meet for lunch or even better a stroll, there or anywhere near-Leicester or beyond?

#337 ::: Older ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2017, 04:40 PM:

Diatryma -- You know, some folks have too many semicolons. I am a member of a writing group, and in critiquing other members' work, I almost always have to cut apart extremely long sentences that have been constructed by pasting together a bunch of shorter ones, often using semicolons as glue. "And" and "but" are also popular.

#338 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2017, 06:26 PM:


Would it help at all to think of the book as having been translated into contemporary American dialect?

#339 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2017, 06:44 PM:

KeithS #334: I finished the book.

Older: The last time I saw someone curtsey in the flesh, as it were, was a little while back (1971 to be precise). The person to whom the curtsey was addressed referred to it as "an old-fashioned curtsey" in his speech. He commended it as a sign of good manners in "these slacker times".

Michael I #338: Not really.

#340 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2017, 06:55 PM:

Sarah E @ #326:

Is there a reason to think that Stix Hiscock is a creation of the Puppies? My understanding is that 'mainstream porn cliché with the words "alien" and "T. Rex" thrown in' is an existing subgenre in online self-published erotica, with several authors working in it, and it was just the Puppies' bad luck that the first time they dipped into it for an obviously inappropriate nominee they pulled out Chuck Tingle.

#341 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2017, 07:10 PM:

Paul A @ #340

This moose neither knows nor cares, but by slating that piece onto the ballot they have provided the best argument possible for the introduction of 3-stage voting.

Every time they try to disrupt the Hugo awards they seem to create larger and more painful holes in their own feet.

They're almost a textbook example of the self-flagellating dead horse.

#342 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2017, 08:37 PM:

Just started reading Too Like Lightening, and I'm immediately tickled by the in story trigger warnings.

#343 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2017, 10:59 PM:

Jacque: I recently started on the second book. You'll be amused to know that it opens (more or less) with a brief official explanation of why the following chapter should be censored from publication.

BTW, those trigger warnings come back and bite just when you've almost forgotten them.

#344 ::: Derryl Murphy ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2017, 11:58 PM:

Ever-so-late to the party, and you therefore may miss it, but one of my faves is Ricky Skaggs & Bruce Hornsby covering Rick James' "Super Freak."

#345 ::: SunflowerP ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2017, 02:16 AM:

Sarah E @326 / Paul A. @340:

According to io9, Paul's surmise is accurate (though it sounds like the work in question is more genuinely SFFnal than that).

(Credit where it's due: The io9 article was linked from a comment by zombieflanders, deep in the MeFi thread Sumana linked @284 - which, I second Sumana's rec.)

#346 ::: Jen Birren ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2017, 06:21 AM:

Fragano @328:
In the fanfiction world this crops up frequently with (say) Americans writing Harry Potter stories or Brits writing Captain America; having someone of the correct nationality look over your story to get rid of tooth-grinders is regarded as good form. (Hey, look, a wild semicolon).
There's a name for this sort of editing- "Britpicking" is the one for stories with a UK setting. So what I'd say to that book is "aargh, needed a [setting]-picker, it really threw me out of the story."
(You do get the oddest ones. In Melissa Scott and Lisa Barnett's Armor of Light, set in Elizabethan England, it's pretty flawless except for an errant treefrog! The things the author doesn't know are region-specfic, thus never thinks to check, are the ones that trip them up.)

#347 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2017, 11:32 AM:

Fragano: I had an editor change the line "A promise, then," in my somewhat-medieval fantasy to "It's a deal."

I tried to be very polite when I explained why that would not do, but oh man, that grated. At least she didn't go through and put "Okay," everywhere. (And yes, my re-correction stood.)

#348 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2017, 02:01 PM:

I've been tossed out of otherwise really good LOTR fics because characters used "okay." It just doesn't fit!

#349 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2017, 04:02 PM:

The lord high god of terrible phrasing choices comes from Auel's Shelters of Stone:

"Ayla's train of thought derailed."

This is about CAVEPEOPLE. The ancestral Mary Sue, yes, but CAVEPEOPLE. And that's a joke about the phrase 'train of thought' anyway! You lose your train of thought, because it and choo-choo trains are related to the same origin!

It might be the worst sentence in all of fiction. I don't know; I haven't had enough of my cinnamon roll not to be hyperbolic.

#350 ::: J Homes ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2017, 05:01 PM:

Older @335, Fragano @339,

I do Scottish Country Dancing, and the curtsey is alive and well in those circles. I could probably manage a passable one myself, even though it's not usually taught to us men.

J Homes.

#351 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2017, 05:17 PM:

Jen Birren #346: I've seen some amazing things in published books (a mountain range of Rocky Mountain proportions in the west of England, for example, or the astonishing belief that the English university system is structured exactly like the American -- so that there are, say, pre-law and pre-med students, and everyone is planning for an optimal four years [making those of us who finished in the normal three into extraordinary geniuses, I suspect]). And language leads to a whole range of issues. Not only the problem of Brits speaking American (say an Englishman a century ago saying "truck" instead of "lorry"), but, and this one grates on me constantly, Caribbean Anglophones who say "mon". In 14 years of living in Jamaica, I never heard anyone say this. I've not heard it in Trinidad, in Belize, in Grenada, nor for that matter, on the Mosquito Coast, nor even in Guyana (the other parts of the Caribbean I've spent time in aren't Anglophone).

B. Durbin # 347: That was pretty awful.

Jenny Islander #348: Indeed so. It's one of those things that pulls you out of the high fantasy setting and into the modern world in an instant.

Diatryman #349: I've avoided Jean M. Auel, and that sentence is a good reason to justify my avoidance. You're reading a book set thousands of years in prehistory. All of a sudden a turn of phrase thrusts you into the Flintstones.

#352 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2017, 06:22 PM:

@nos. 349, 351: To give Auel some credit, she has a funny bit of business hinging on the idea that if we can identify distinct coeval toolkits, then the people who originally made the tools certainly could--and if you got two of them together in one room they could entertain each other (and bore everybody else) talking shop about their chosen style.

#353 ::: Race Traitor Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2017, 11:49 PM:

The writers of Doctor Who occasionally put Americans in, and they always get the American dialect a little wrong. Example: 'clever' doesn't mean just highly intelligent in America. It means quick AND original or surprising, even devious.

It can mean intelligent, but it carries a lot more connotation than that. An American character on DW used it in a way that clunked to my ear; I instantly thought "that's not how an American would say that."

#354 ::: Bruce H. ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2017, 04:53 AM:

RTX @353: Yes, and those American connotations of clever are what feed into Scalzi's bon mot, "The failure mode of clever is asshole."

#355 ::: Pfusand ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2017, 08:33 AM:

Every time I read it, I am thrown out of a particular Regency novel by Georgette Heyer. She uses (metaphorically) the term "burked." Just, no.

#356 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2017, 09:44 AM:

Pfusand @355: That may not be quite as bad. Burke and Hare did their deeds and became famous in the late Regency Period (admittedly, after George IV was crowned and no longer Prince Regent, but before William IV or Queen Vic).

I can see "burked" being used figuratively in this way (and in fact, the OED has a pre-Victorian citation supporting that: 1835 J. A. Roebuck Dorchester Labourers 6/1 (note) , "The reporters left it out... Those who spoke in favour of the poor men, were what the reporters call burked.")

But if the novel still had the Regent a Regent and not King, well, yeah, anachronistic.

#357 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2017, 02:01 PM:

Oh, Powers spare me, Auel... Escapist fiction, and definitely Mary Sue's many times great-grandmother.

I was able to suspend disbelief up through Plains of Passage...but Shelters of Stone? I had to restrain myself from pitching the book across the room at every repetition of the Mother's Song. So I slogged on through.

Being a glutton for punishment I read "Land of Painted Caves," supposedly the final book in the series. It's a rehash of EVERY SINGLE PLOT in the preceding six books, and by my lights she left openings for an eighth book, possibly about JonAyla. I cannot muster ANY enthusiasm about that.

#358 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2017, 09:34 PM:

I remember at one point joking with my ex that the plot of the next Auel book would have to be "Ayla invents steam engines and the atomic bomb."

#359 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2017, 10:26 PM:

Jen Birren @346: In reading Armor of Light, I kept getting thrown by the American spellings. In the title, frex.

#360 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2017, 10:37 PM:

Joel: how fair is the spelling complaint? IIRC, spelling in the period of the book was extremely fluid. (I note the 'our'/'or'/ especially because the professional copyeditor who looked over my first real editing job said ~"This is a US-published book; it should use US spelling uniformly", even for a ~UK-set story that IIRC had never been printed in a US magazine.)

#361 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2017, 10:49 PM:

Having read an 18th C diary (actual original paper diary), I can attest to the fluidity of spelling at that point in history. It's amazing how easy such a thing is to read, and how difficult it is to transcribe.

#362 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2017, 11:01 PM:

Auel has a place in my heart because I was eleven and loved the books to pieces, quite literally; we tried to chase down one of the segments to have her sign a few years ago, because of course they're still on a shelve somewhere, but couldn't find them in time. I don't even really read them any more; I just use the pages as shorthand for what my eleven-year-old self remembers. Which was extremely Ayla Shows Them All.

But only the first four. My family would have waited another five or ten years for a better fifth book.

#363 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2017, 11:49 PM:

LiveJournal (Bill @290 and others)
I went in with my BlackBerry tablet with JavaScript disabled. I was able to:

  • delete comments - reduces the quality of the social net extractable
  • set my account to revert to free and not charge my credit card
  • delete my user pic
  • remove "Memories"
  • delete my Schools
  • turn off notifications
  • change my time zone
  • maybe changed my password, I'm unsure if it took, no email received

So far I could not, without being challenged for the Terms of Service agreement

  • delete posts
  • unfriend

#364 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2017, 11:54 PM:

363 and earlier
D. Duane wrote about what she did with her LJ on her blog here

#365 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2017, 03:30 AM:

Tom Whitmore @ #361:

For my sins (I guess), I'm currently in the process of translating a Swedish "fechtbuch", published in 1698 to English. The inconsistency in spelling, phrase-marking and the like is astonishing. I swear there was one page that spelled the same word three different ways, two of them in the same paragraph (or, possibly, paragraph-sized run-on sentence, it was hard to tell).

In the end, I realised I could not go from "17th century Swedish in blackletter" to "ENglish" in one step, so my current tsrategy is "transcribe the book in original spelling; translate original spelling Swedish to something vaguely resembling English", but that gets rid of the cognitive load of the blackletter, so it kinda works, even if it's slow work.

#366 ::: duckbunny ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2017, 05:22 AM:

Thank you for the information on American usage of "clever" - that's a distinction I wasn't aware of and suspect I'll find useful.

I had a moment of revelation recently when one of the seasonal abundance of thinkpieces on "small town America" finally gave a population figure for one of the "small towns", and it was ca. 200 people. Oh, thought I. Oh. They mean a village when they say "small town". Sometimes even a hamlet. That explains so much.
For example, I lived in Crewkerne for a while, in Somerset. Crewkerne (pronouned "Cruk'n") is a small town. It has about four thousand residents, a Wednesday market, a monthly farmer's market, three small-ish supermarkets to suit a range of incomes, a swimming pool, multiple takeaway places and estate agents and cafes, and a main line train station with hourly trains to London. It's got a dentist and a community hospital and a garden centre. It has four antique shops. It's not exactly cosmopolitan - nobody actually catches that train - but it's recognisably a town, because there's stuff there.
Two miles down a winding, unlit road and over the hill is the village of Merriott, population two thousand. Merriott has a doctor's surgery, a corner shop, and a petrol station. If you want any other amenities or to buy anything after 5pm, you have to go to Crewkerne. You can tell it's a village because there's nothing there.
I had been reading "small town America" as meaning the first of those archetypes, and struggling to place the extreme insularity of some of that cultural shorthand, because a town to me is inherently a connected place, even if only to its surrounding villages. Learning that I should be including village-type settlements, even hamlets, in that concept made things much clearer.

#367 ::: Craft(Alchemy) ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2017, 08:35 AM:

duckbunny @366: ... thank you for passing on that nugget of information. That makes a great deal more sense to me as a similarly-confused Brit.

I grew up in a village with a population of 2,400. Wikipedia lists its amenities as "a convenience store and off-licence, two pubs, a library and two churches". I also remember a doctor, dentist and hairdresser.

For anything more interesting, you had to go into the city, but then the city was maybe a twenty-minute drive away. I still can't quite wrap my head around the scale of the rural USA, where you can live in a village-sized place and have nothing but other village-sized places for hours in every direction.

#368 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2017, 09:58 AM:

duckbunny (366)/Craft(Alchemy) (367): To further confuse the issue, here on Long Island (New York), the distinction between 'village'* and 'city'** is how the incorporation papers were written, and 'town' is township, kind of a sub-county. This is not the way the rest of the country† uses those words, and it confused me greatly when I first moved here. It still doesn't make much sense to me.

*most of the communities on Long Island
**there are at least two, Glen Cove and Long Beach. The latter is slightly bigger than the surrounding communities, but there are no real differences in amenities or housing density.
†New England has townships in this sense, but I believe they are all centered on a community of the same name, which is not true here. Actual New Englanders can correct me on this.

#369 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2017, 10:10 AM:

"We put the hospital back in 'hospitality'."

"Southwest... We beat the competition. Not you."

People have been having a field day with Untied Airlines.

#370 ::: Quill ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2017, 10:13 AM:

Craft(Alchemy) @367: The old saw about how "Americans think a hundred years is a long time, and the British think a hundred miles is a long way" is so true. When I (an American) was living in Bath I was astonished at the sheer age of things still in use; I had classes in a building older than my nation.

My brother spent some months at the Sorbonne during college. In one of his classrooms there was an old wall running through the back of the room, where the building had been constructed around it. He used to sit on it from time to time...and then was horrified when someone finally informed him it was part of the original wall that had encircled Paris.

On the other hand, a past friend startled me by reaching his thirties without ever going further from Bedfordshire than Wales; all I could think was “But France is right there!” Perspective, huh.

#371 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2017, 10:33 AM:

Quill #370:

You can take literal insularity even further; the historian Edward Muir recounts his experience, not that many decades ago, of talking to some older women in Venice who had never been out of their parish, a smallish island not far from the Rialto.

#372 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2017, 10:50 AM:

@duckbunny no. 366: The cultural assumption (as opposed to the technical description) varies by region in the U.S. In parts of the urbanized East Coast, a small town has "only" 50,000 people in it. Meanwhile, I live in a city of about 7,000 people in Alaska.

#373 ::: duckbunny ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2017, 10:57 AM:

When I was working in Somerset my colleagues regularly expressed astonishment that I would take the train to visit friends in London. They would never dare, they explained. They'd never been to the Big Smoke in their lives. They wouldn't know where to begin. What if I got lost? What if something happened? It was so far away!
It was two hours twenty on the train, and it only took that long because it's old single-track line down there - it was also a two and a half hour car journey. But they had never been. They could not process "going to London for the weekend" as a real possibility. They thought themselves very daring for going to Bristol or Exeter for university.

But, dear reader, before I disclaim my rural cousins completely: I grew up a quarter mile from the Heathrow runways, and a forty minute commuter train ride from the Eurostar terminus, and I have never been to Paris.

#374 ::: duckbunny ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2017, 11:02 AM:

Relatedly, on the subject of the antiquity of European things: Cambridge University predates the Aztec Empire.

#375 ::: RuthG ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2017, 11:05 AM:

Mary Aileen @ 368: Townships in NE, I'd generally say, are a town proper and the surrounding area, which might be forest, agricultural land, or suburbs. In Maine, though, we have a lot of unincorporated or unorganized townships, which are areas of land that have no formal municipal organization. According to the state website "the unorganized territory consists of over 400 townships, plus many coastal islands .... slightly over one half the area of the entire State of Maine" and has about 9,000 full time residents.

#376 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2017, 11:51 AM:

And townships in Illinois are (if memory serves from civics classes <mumble> years ago) of a more-or-less fixed size, which means that in densely populated areas there can be multiple towns in one township, and yet also multiple townships for one town if the township border runs through the middle of the city.

#377 ::: D. Potter ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2017, 12:40 PM:

I vaguely remember being told by other family members that there existed people of their acquaintance who, living in northern New Jersey urbs and suburbs with bus, train, and car modes and many ways leading thereto, had never been to New York.

And some of them were proud of that.

#378 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2017, 12:43 PM:

In New York, towns are subdivisions of counties, and are distinct from cities (usually, when a city incorporates, it separates from the town). Towns contain incorporated villages and unincorporated regions. Towns range in size from 0.74 square miles to 452 square miles, and populations from 38 to 760,000, with widely varying population densities.

#379 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2017, 12:44 PM:

Jenny Islander @372: In parts of the urbanized East Coast, a small town has "only" 50,000 people in it.

And by contrast, Boulder, which runs ~100K in population, counts as a small city. (Of course, we're tied in economically to the whole Front Range, including Denver, ~30 miles south, so that affects perception, too.)

duckbunny @373: They could not process "going to London for the weekend" as a real possibility.

I remember, the fall I spent in the Bay Area, a friend driving 2 hours up from Carmel, just to have dinner with me. Californians view the world from a whole 'nother scale. (And then, of course, there are Australians. There, if I've been told correctly, grazing range is measured in acres per sheep.)

#380 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2017, 12:59 PM:

I grew up 50 miles from San Francisco, and it was a day trip (an hour's drive each way, for a start). Going to Half Moon Bay or Santa Cruz, from that same location, was definitely a full-day trip. Longer trips were at least a weekend.

I also grew up with driving between the Bay Area and L.A (full day's drive), and this confuses people: why would I drive now when I can take the plane? ...well, I need the car at the other end. (And, actually, driving is currently less expensive than flying.)

#381 ::: Race Traitor Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2017, 01:09 PM:

I remember Californians being confused when I said I commuted 20 minutes in the morning and 15 in the evening. To them "20 minutes" was a distance. I live at the bottom of a hill and worked (then) at the top! (And the idea of walking to work was also unfamiliar to them.)

One of my favorite stories about UK/US distances: when Anne Laurie Logan (who lived in East Lansing, MI) and Avedon Carol (who lived in Kensington, MD) were co-editing a fanzine, Avedon wrote (words to the effect of): "One British fan appears to be confused about distances in the US. Kensington, MD is more than five hundred miles from East Lansing, MI. It is not convenient for Anne Laurie to hand your fanzine off to me when she's done with it. Don't send my trade copy* of your fanzine to Anne Laurie, and I won't send your copy of our fanzine to Germany."

*Note for younger readers: before the internet, people printed fanzines on paper and mailed them around. This wasn't for money; it was for "the usual," which was either a trade copy of the other person's fanzine, or, for people who didn't have their own fanzine, a substantial letter of comment (LOC).

#382 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2017, 01:15 PM:

@Jacque no. 379: Economics are at the root of the perception, definitely. The "small New England town" I went to for freshman year was a run-down riverside city the size of Fairbanks. But it had only two bookstores...the one that sold textbooks, and the one that sold porn. And you had to drive on the highway in order to see a first-run movie.

On the other hand, my tiny city has sushi joints, museums, art galleries--all plural--a municipal bus line, a first-run movie theater, an arts council that has attracted international acts, and three farmer's/crafter's markets.

#383 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2017, 01:21 PM:

P J Evans @380 -- sounds like you grew up near Gilroy (or maybe Hollister). Yes?

#384 ::: dotless ı ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2017, 01:28 PM:

Mary Aileen@368: In Massachusetts, at least, "town" vs. "city" basically describes the form of government (although there is a minimum size of 12,000 people for a city, and there are almost certainly weird edge cases), and I'm not sure if there's any formal meaning to "village". This has resulted in a number of cities (currently 14) whose names are "the Town of X", occasionally showing up in legal contexts as "the city known as the Town of X".

#385 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2017, 01:45 PM:

no - Livermore.

#386 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2017, 02:03 PM:

Where I live (Illinois), people use "city" and "town" fairly interchangeably, at least colloquially. (I believe there's a technical difference involving style of government.) But in the suburbs of Chicago, if you say you're going into the City (capitalization often audible) you're understood to mean you're going to Chicago.

"Village" is another term without a noticeable size limit; I work in Elk Grove Village, which has a population of 33,419 as of 2013. I believe, but am not sure, that "village" as a term of art also refers to type of city government.

I've never heard of a population center being called a "hamlet" except for in literature; if this term is used, it's not used locally to me. It sounds to me from the above that "hamlet" might be equivalent to the disparaging term, "a wide spot in the road". Or a "one-stoplight" town. Certainly there are rural, erm, population centers which are little more than a few farmhouses clustered together with perhaps a general store, train station, small school, and/or post office.

#387 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2017, 02:33 PM:


It seems around here (upstate New York) that a "hamlet" is essentially an unincorporated village: a small population center in a town that isn't big enough to have its own government. Wikipedia lists three in my county, including Podunk, NY.

#388 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2017, 02:43 PM:

Buddha Buck, <blink> Podunk is an actual place? My family uses it as a synonym for "tiny, insignificant place somewhere far, far away."

Which, on reflection, seems rather accurate, from your description... <grin>

#389 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2017, 02:48 PM:

Growing up in (suburban) Atlanta†, I always understood "city" and "town" to be divided by size; I didn't have a good grasp of exactly where the line was, but Atlanta and nearby Decatur were definitely cities and somewhere like Dahlonega* was definitely a town. Villages only appeared in books set in England, but seemed to be very small towns. Western Long Island was a shock, with its towns being subcounties and villages that are not only fairly large, many of them, but also all mushed together with no obvious dividing lines between one and the next.

†actually in an unincorporated part of DeKalb County, but our mailing address was Atlanta
*in north Georgia; I went to camp near there.

#390 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2017, 02:52 PM:


(first, sorry about misspelling your name in @387)

I have probably driven through Podunk, based on where Google Maps says it is. It's only about 20 minutes from here, right near a major local waterfall. I have no recollection if there's even a sign for it. I was able to find a street sign online for Podunk Road in Podunk. Apparently a meeting house was built there in 1811.

#391 ::: dotless ı ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2017, 03:20 PM:

Fragano Ledgister@351: a mountain range of Rocky Mountain proportions in the west of England

This sounds like something out of Middle Earth, although there it's clearly intentional (pace Kirill Eskov).

Race Traitor Xopher@353: The writers of Doctor Who occasionally put Americans in, and they always get the American dialect a little wrong.

This is more about accent than word choices, but I remember being young and seeing TV sketches from the UK that I only much later realized were supposed to depict (exaggerated) Americans; the accents didn't even register as mistakes. The mirror of that is a friend, born and bred in London, who said she was an adult before she realized that Dick Van Dyke's character in ''Mary Poppins'' was supposed to sound cockney; she grew up loving the movie, and that character was just the funny man who spoke in a funny way.

Race Traitor Xopher@381: UK/US distances

Some years ago we drove down from London to visit friends in Devon, about 3.5 hours of driving. Before our return trip one of our friends started to reel off a long list of places where we should stop and rest along the way. Eventually, the other looked our expressions and interrupted with, "Remember, they're Americans."

#392 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2017, 04:04 PM:

Wasn't there a novel about a big mountain range in the British Isles? Possibly dividing Scotland and England. And it was alternate geography/history, not a mistake.

This is a vague memory-- I think it was something I heard of, not something I read.

#393 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2017, 04:58 PM:

In the UK:

'City' is a jealously guarded title, requiring either a royal grant or immemorial custom. Historically, in England at least, the title went along with having a cathedral, but this connection was broken in the late 19th century, and there are exceptions both ways.

'Town' means a fairly large settlement, and 'village' means a smaller one. Although 'town' has since the 70's been the name of a particular local government set-up, with a town council, it's applied to lots of places which don't have that. In many cases the local government term is in fact 'borough', but that term is only used when actually discussing local government; no one says 'there's a borough over there'.

People can come to blows about whether somewhere which is a city can also be a town. As there is no formal definition of 'village', people can also come to blows about whether a particular place is a village, and there's lots of room for debate about the biggest village in England.

I believe historically 'town' was connected with having a market; nowadays it would at least be a place that looks as if it might have a market. 'Village' was sometimes linked with having a church and/or an inn, though I don't know how closely that was ever adhered to. 'Hamlet' was available for places that didn't have them. There's a football club called Dulwich Hamlet. because it was one in the 17th century, though it's long since become a village, before becoming a district of South London.

#394 ::: duckbunny ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2017, 06:01 PM:

I wouldn't expect somewhere to describe itself as a hamlet. I'd expect it to call itself a village, but if it was too small to sustain the communal things of life - a church or a village shop being the big ones - I would think of it as a hamlet. Hamlet as the accurate categorisation of the place, and village as the courtesy title.

I have very suddenly developed a preference for describing things in terms of approximate population, and this sort of thing is why. Iceland is the size of Sunderland, or the East Riding of Yorkshire - the size/importance ratio of a settlement is surely different there.

#395 ::: Race Traitor Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2017, 09:00 PM:

I guess a hamlet is a village so small that it keeps having to decide whether to be or not to be.

#396 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2017, 09:14 PM:

CHip @360: That might have some validity if the spelling throughout the book conformed to period fluidity. But the spelling used was consistently modern American, apart from archaic words that aren't used at all now, which nonetheless were spelled consistently.

Serge @369 - "United Breaks Grandpars".

#397 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2017, 09:20 PM:

I grew up in a suburb of Ottawa called/named Blackburn Hamlet. At the time it had schools and churches, a local doctor, gas stations; there was a sort of corner grocery store. A bit light on commercial options; it was more of a bedroom community than an independent village.

#398 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2017, 10:09 PM:

Xopher (395): Ouch!

#399 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2017, 11:27 PM:

I went to college with a lot of people from the moneyed Chicago suburbs (it was a private college, so 'moneyed' was kind of assumed for many). I deeply resented that some of them would talk about their small towns or villages and how no, really, they're from a small town, it has only X,000 people... and they can drive all the way to Lake Michigan on a road with constant stoplights. At a certain point, you have to give up being a small town and accept that you have been assimilated.

I refuse to believe that municipalities are separate unless there's agriculture between them. Corn or cows, or whatever else you have handy.

On distance: fiance and I spent the weekend of the first driving about eight hours to Oklahoma to visit some of his family for two nights. Friday, my mother is driving twelve or so to Pennsylvania to visit hers, also two nights.
Depending on what she reports, fiance and I might be spending a weekend driving fourteenish to Pennsylvania. Rather, spend Friday driving, spend Saturday visiting, spend Sunday driving. I do that drive every year for Alpha.

The record for our family is twenty-seven hours from northwest Illinois to Key Largo, Florida.

On the other hand, I live about three hours from the Field of Dreams and I've never been there, or to the future birthplace of Captain James T Kirk, or to the Mississippi River aquarium an hour away.

#400 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2017, 11:36 PM:

"Californians drive a lot & never walk" is a generalization that holds up only weakly. It depends on the part of California. Rural Californians drive a lot, generally, because they have to: & people drive more in Southern & Northern than in Central California. (I've had conversations with people from Southern California who were surprised at Santa Cruz folks' reluctance to drive certain distances for spontaneous purposes). Myself, I walked to work for years, rode a bike to work for some other years, took the bus for yet other years. I wish we had European-style public transportation here, though...

& we should never forget the bicycle centaur, so common in California cities and suburbs.

#401 ::: Race Traitor Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2017, 01:21 AM:

Mary Aileen 398: *bows*

#402 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2017, 04:14 AM:

Andrew M @ #393:

In Sweden, it gets complicated. Not least because for a long good while, there was only one city in Sweden, Sigtuna, everything else being mere "kommun central place*"s. But anything that used to have city privileges is now (I believe) a city again, including Stockholm. There's also the term "katedralsstad" (cathedral city) for any city that happened to also be the seat of a bishopry.

There's no (legal) term, that I can think of, that would correspond to 'town', but the colloquial term would be "småstad" (literally "small city").

The Swedish term for a village ("by") is the term used for a city in Danish and Norwegian (and a close cognate for the Icelandic), and the Swedish for farm ("gård") is a close cognate of the Russian 'gorod'. The colloquial "one-horse town" would either be a "village hole" (byhåla) or just a plain "hole" (håla), sometimes described as "there's one street crossing, that's where the Alcohol Monopoly and the hot dog stand is."

* It just occurred to me that the Swedish word "ort" can either be glossed as "place" or "mine tunnel" (and possibly an "adit"), I don't know if these things are connected or not, but it now amuses me.

#403 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2017, 05:57 AM:

me @ #402:

Note to self (and others). Yes, the colloquial term for a very small settlement is definitely a slur. It is perfectly fine to refer to your own place of origin as one, but it is quite impolite to do so for the place of origin as someone else.

#404 ::: tykewriter ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2017, 09:07 AM:

Picking up on Americans getting Britishness wrong, and of course it happens vice versa but this ticked me off royally (swIdt?). An author, who is known for his meticulous research, is imprisoned and forced to write a sequel to his series set in Victorian England. Bloopers included: a Church of England vicar, described as a Padre (I may have got that wrong), emerging at night from the churchyard where he has been administering the Last Rites to a parishioner; Cornish locals speaking with an accent like nothing ever heard in the Principality but more like Oirish; someone travelling from Cornwall to Doncaster for a day at the races; and chirping frogs in the English countryside. I really thought these were clues that were intended to alert his readership to his reduced circumstances (geddit?) and proximity to a crazy lady with man-eating porcines. Imagine my misery (I really must stop) when I found that these were not clues at all, but well, I hesitate to say. No American writer in the genre (sc. male, red-blooded etc.) would make such basic errors regarding, say, the range of a particular firearm, or the specifications of a make and model of vehicle. Would they?

#405 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2017, 10:15 AM:

P J Evans #380, #385:

And yet, there was a fellow opera chorus singer who lived and worked in Livermore and, depending on his musical commitments, would drive to Palo Alto or San Francisco multiple times a week for rehearsals or performances.

We always called the minimum one-hour startup time to get out of the Bay Area before you could actually *go* anywhere the "event horizon".

#406 ::: Jim Parish ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2017, 10:28 AM:

Nancy Lebov @392: Probably not what you're thinking of, but there was a short story by Fred Hoyle (in the Element 79 collection, which I no longer have) which involved the creation, by diabolic means, of a mountain range between England and Scotland.

#407 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2017, 11:12 AM:

Ingvar M @402

The "by" element for a village is very common in Northern England, though some have have grown a bit. "Selby" is technically a city, while "Mavis Enderby" is a civil parish, and has a church, but some call it a hamlet.

And, while some placenames pre-date the Norman Conquest, some don't. "Norton Disney" (and there is a connection) has a name referencing a French place, but "Normanby" just has the same "Northman" roots.

And some instances of "Newtown" and "Newport" are very old, while "Scunthorpe" is made up of "Ashby", "Bottesford", "Brumby", "Crosby", "Frodingham", and "Scunthorpe", and only became a municipal borough in 1936.

#408 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2017, 11:39 AM:

tykewriter @404:

I'm not so sure. I would expect that if an American author was engaging in gun or car porn ("he field stripped his Glock for cleaning, releasing the magazine and racking the slide to clear the chamber. Gently but firmly holding the slide, he slid it back to release the slide lock, letting the slide move forward until it was free...") then he would get all the details exact. But I would not be surprised to see someone cocking the hammer on their Glock in even a crime story. Glocks don't have a hammer, and don't need to be cocked in that way.

But despite the reputation in the US for guns and cars, most people aren't all that familiar with them, especially in the fine details. There are motorheads who can tell you the gear ratios in their favorite cars, and gun nuts who can tell you the powder and bullet weights in standard police ammunition, but they are hobbyists, who are only slightly more respectable than folks who stand on train platforms wearing anoraks writing down train car numbers in a notebook.

For the most part, to many people, a gun is a gun, a car is a car, especially in literature. People expect the bad guys to miss the hero when shooting him from 10 feet away but the hero to hit the bad guy from 100 yards with a pistol (the missing at 10 feet is surprisingly reasonable, the hitting from 100 yards is incredibly unlikely).

To me, the issues you site (calling Dawn French's character "Padre", giving Last Rights, driving 6 hours one way for a day at the races, chirping frogs) sound like more common knowledge for England, not minutia like range of a firearm, or the specifications for a particular make and model.

But I know people from New Jersey get thrown out of books when they read about a character pumping their own gas in Atlantic City, or accents/dialects are wrong, or people talk about a day-trip from Boston to Manhattan, for much the same reasons as you getting thrown out of books by an Anglican Padre performing Last Rites on a parishioner the night before a day-trip halfway across the country to the dulcet chirping of English frogs.

Yet books get written, and published, with self-service gas stations in New Jersey, with police driving from Annapolis MD to Norfolk VA and back in time for lunch, with Saguaro cactuses in Death Valley, and lots of other similar bloopers.

#409 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2017, 12:21 PM:

Lloyd Biggle, in Interface for Murder (a deservedly lesser-known mystery), had his detective buy a beer from a vending machine at a hotel in Los Angeles. How very not.

#410 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2017, 12:23 PM:

Buddha Buck @ #408:

I'd consider day-tripping Boston-Manhattan to be doable, maybe (get on the 07:15 Acela, get off at 10:45 at Pennsylvania Station, then take another train for, what, 10-15 minutes), then head back at ~5 PM and be home for 9 PM. But I wouldn't want to do it as a daily commute...

#411 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2017, 12:23 PM:

#406 ::: Jim Parish

That is almost certainly it. I read the Fred Hoyle collection long ago.

I'm amused that my livejournal/dreamwidth handle has made enough of an impression to overwrite my name.

#412 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2017, 12:33 PM:

That's probably a lot more recent than when we lived there - we left just before the interstate highways came in.

#413 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2017, 12:38 PM:

Ingvar M @410:

I have a carless friend who I'm fairly certain went to a MetroStars/Revolution game a few years ago from Somerville in one day, but even he felt that was unusual.

#414 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2017, 12:49 PM:

Buddha Buck @ #413:

When I lived in Linköping (Sweden), I did occasionally pop up to Stockholm to watch a movie in the evening after work. Now, this was normally paired with "early exit from work" (16:30, or so), catching the fast intercity train (~1h50) and a 19:30 (or so) show start, then pretty much straight back to the train, cab from the train station to home, then crash into bed.

For a while, I also did work at customer site(s) in Stockholm, with either "whole week at hotel", "couple of days at customer, rest in the office" and a few horrible weeks of "day-commute to Stockholm, Mon, Wed, Fri". Thus my firm conviction that "get to train station, then no more than 2h, then no more than 15-20 minutes" is my extreme for a livable-with one-way commute.

#415 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2017, 12:50 PM:

They've named a species of shrimp for Pink Floyd.
(Note: story comes with a couple of artworks that are worth seeing.)

#416 ::: dotless ı ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2017, 01:26 PM:

Ingvar M@414: fast intercity train

I love science fictional ideas like this.

(Grumble, grumble, US train infrastructure, grumble...)

#417 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2017, 01:29 PM:

Diatryma #349: I did a double-take when a friend was telling a story about a train-wreck on a mountain trail. It was a pack train. One of the mules fell into the river rapids and he jumped in and saved her (and her precious load of cheese).

But of course it still would be anachronistic for cave people to have trains before the domestication of horses and donkeys. And I'm pretty sure that horses and donkeys didn't haul on rails until modern times.

#418 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2017, 01:58 PM:

Xopher #395: The melancholy din you hear is the echo as your sleep is murdered by a Scottish chap.

#419 ::: Dicentra rubra ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2017, 02:53 PM:

Even our machines are soaking in it:

According to The Guardian, "as machines are getting closer to acquiring human-like language abilities, they are also absorbing the deeply ingrained biases concealed within the patterns of language use":

#420 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2017, 05:19 PM:

P J Evans #412

Yes, in the 80s.

We ourselves would drive up to The City from Palo Alto at least once a month, more if there was something musical going on. The event horizon began to come into play if we wanted to visit friends in Berkeley, but was much more obvious if we were headed south to Santa Cruz or Carmel.

#421 ::: Em ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2017, 06:05 PM:

@408 : Not Manhattan specifically, but once, when I had a six-hour layover at Newark airport, a friend came over from Boston for the day, and we did take the train into Manhattan for lunch. Granted, she drove.

#422 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2017, 06:43 PM:

I checked on something about guns- something "even I knew was wrong" - and found out that Jack Reacher's author was British and lived in NYC. Hence his impression that shotguns spew an SFnal giant cone of death out to twenty-plus yards, I suppose, in the first book. I didn't read another one.

#423 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2017, 01:49 AM:

I'm considering going to RavenCon, but am aware that 2 weeks is pretty short notice. Anyone else from this parish going there? Anyone know the situation with hotel room supply offhand?

#424 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2017, 01:59 AM:

Never mind the reservation-info request, I've belatedly found an actual link to the hotel, and discovered the main hotel sold out a month ago, overflowing to the Courtyard Marriot.

I'm a little ambivalent about going in any case (I'd apparently be taking the bus from Charlottesville, as Amtrak indicates insane transfers), but I'd still like to know if anyone from here is going.

#425 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2017, 02:17 AM:

And... further investigation (my browser is way flakier than it should be) indicates the overflow hotel is also sold out. Pah.

#426 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2017, 02:18 AM:

is it there are no frogs in the UK or that none of them chirp? As in all of them having low voices or what?

#427 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2017, 06:09 AM:

A character referring to Dawn French as "Padre" in "The Vicar of Dibley" could make sense. I'm not sure if it's current, but it suggests to me that the character has a background in the Army. (I don't remember much of the series.) It's not quite slang but it certainly was used, and became a marker in film and television. It's informal and conversational, in character-voice rather than narrator-voice.

I'd class it as correct but perhaps confusing.

But the way tykewriter @404 words it, I doubt that programme is the target.

#428 ::: Devin ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2017, 06:45 AM:

TomB @417

Depends on what you mean by "modern" times. Railways in mines were common even back to the later Renaissance (so technically the Early Modern period but not what folks mostly mean by modern times). I'd imagine they were mostly human-powered, given the circumstances, but I'd be surprised if none of them was ever horse-, donkey-, or dog-powered.

Interestingly, I suspect those would have been railways but without trains: no locomotive, obviously, and little reason to connect more than one or perhaps two carts, so no real concept of a "train."

#429 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2017, 10:11 AM:

duckbunny @366, in re small-town America: It's worse than that. There are no towns in England as far away from EVERYTHING as quite a lot of rural communities are in the US. The only thing that comes close is some of the outlying islands where they have one plane flight every couple days and a ferry that comes through once in a while.

It is not uncommon to have to drive an hour or more to reach a hospital, and by no means is every town within half an hour of a simple doctor's or dentist's office. In some towns you must drive your child more than half an hour to school -- that is the closest one.

Rural communities in the US can be very, very isolated, physically, though access to national media and the internet some are beginning to become more connected in thought.

#430 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2017, 10:23 AM:

joann @405: There's a member of my chorus who drives to Chicago from Beloit, WI for rehearsals every week (100mi). In certain performances it's just expected he can't possibly be on time, so which numbers he's in is adjusted to account for it.

For obvious reasons, he almost never stays after rehearsal for the "hang out at a bar and sing karaoke" afterparty ... rehearsal goes from 5:30PM to 9:15PM, and even at that hour he's got 45-60min of solid driving to get home.

He's a teacher at Beloit College.

#431 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2017, 10:43 AM:

Elliott Mason #430:

Now I think of it, there is a science fiction writer who lives at the further reaches of the next county north of Austin, and drives 45 miles each way in to a downtown church for rehearsals and choral services.

Looks like there's something about musicians ...

#432 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2017, 10:50 AM:

Devin @428: I remember reading an article about mine horses. They persisted long enough into modern times that there were photographs. They pulled carts on rails. Because of the constrained space, I don't think they had teams of horses or trains of carts. Not a great life for a horse but you could say that for the people in the mine too.

#433 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2017, 11:08 AM:

TomB @432:

One of the major branches of Morris Dancing (rapper) uses flexible steel "swords" (with handles on both ends) which supposedly were used to scrape dirt and coal dust off of pit ponies (the small horses which hauled carts on rails in the coal pits/mines). The style originated in the coal towns of Northumberland and County Durham.

#434 ::: Susie ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2017, 11:38 AM:

Joann@431, "Looks like there's something about musicians...":

A friend has described the lot of a folk/dance musician as providing opportunities to drive hundreds of miles to play for tens of dollars.

#435 ::: dotless ı ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2017, 11:51 AM:

Buddha Buck@433: Is there any evidence for the "pit pony scraper" theory of rapper swords? My memory is that the swords might been made from mining equipment, but there wasn't anything to connect them to the ponies. I haven't read up on the history recently, though.

Rapper history is fairly recent, given that it requires flexible steel—which, even these days, isn't always flexible enough not to crack in use. (I used to keep a set of broken rapper blades as cheese knives, which was more amusing than practical.) Whatever the source, there must have been some interesting sword failures in the earlier days, working with cast-off and stressed bits of metal.

#436 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2017, 12:00 PM:

Joann @431, "Looks like there's something about musicians..."

Inge feels like crap most of the time. But she saves up her spoons to get to the local SCA instrumental and choral music practises every weekend. Music is a passion, and it's a time for desperately-needed social contact, working with other people to create art for the enjoyment of others.

#437 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2017, 12:03 PM:

dotless ı @435:

Wikipedia says that rapper dance has to be late-19th century, as the steel wasn't available until after 1855 (and there is documentation of rappers in the late 19th century).

There was older rigid sword dancing in the area, apparently, but no one knows for sure when it switched to flexible swords.

And there seems to be less evidence of the pit pony theory than I had been lead to believe.

#438 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2017, 02:51 PM:

Lucy Kemnitzer @426: We don't have tree frogs in the UK. The frogs that we do have croak during mating season, but don't chirp.

#439 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2017, 05:04 PM:

Jacob Bacharach writes sonnets about contemporary events. I found today's entry very moving.

Dying In Moab

Aujourd’hui, the mother of all bombs is dead.
Or was it yesterday? I can’t recall.
The world was bombless once. She spawned them all.
Her ravening brood ate her, starting with her head,
and then, silk-borne on a breeze, her babies fled
into the vast sky above the wrinkled sprawl
of the Hindu Kush, on which they fell, and fall
still: indiscriminate, a wed-
ding or a funeral, a village or
a narrow road. Her million children live
but once and very briefly; none will ever
bear their own next generation; war
can only eat; it cannot love, nor give
itself any meaning whatsoever.

#440 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2017, 06:41 PM:

I once applied to a job where, even before listing duties, they basically said, "You know this is the middle of nowhere, right? Like Oregon Trail middle of nowhere. Apply wisely." Not quite as funny as the ones that began with, "BEARS. You will have to carry a shotgun and definitely use it against BEARS."

The weirdest thing about driving west for me isn't the towns becoming more scarce-- on the interstate, you can't necessarily tell anyway-- but the agriculture becoming more so.

#441 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2017, 07:30 PM:

I lived in Casper, Wyoming, for a year and a half in the late 1980s*. It was quite a culture shock after growing up in suburban Atlanta. What got to me wasn't so much the fact that Casper only had about 50,000 people** as that that made it the place that people came to from 100 miles around to do their shopping, etc. Outside of Casper was just empty country, with a few tiny communities dotted across the landscape. The nearest place that I would call a city was Denver, six hours away by car--when the passes weren't snowed in. Which happened quite regularly in the winter.

I was glad to leave there for Long Island.

*only librarian job I could get with a shiny new master's degree in library science
**compared to 2+ million in metropolitan Atlanta at the time (it's even bigger now)

#442 ::: Em ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2017, 11:40 PM:

I lived for quite a while in Corner Brook, Newfoundland (absolutely gorgeous town, definitely visit the area at some point if you're into geology), and "going to the city" (if you meant anything other than Corner Brook) involved fourteen hours of driving and an overnight stay. Corner Brook is "the city", generally, for an area roughly half the size of England. It has the major trauma centre, among other things.

Wikipedia tells me that in 2011 it had a population of about twenty thousand, plus about five thousand more in the "conglomerated area".

A lot of my family is in England, and even after visiting Canada a bunch, they still have a hard time with the concept that you can drive for more than about twenty minutes without seeing evidence of human habitation other than the road itself. I remember the first time I went to visit them by myself at nineteen, my plane was landing at Heathrow (early in the morning, mind!) and my seatmate asked me what I was up to next.
"Oh, I'm going to Victoria Station to catch a bus to Harrogate."
"What, today?"
"But that's all the way across the country!"

It's amazing how a sense of scale changes. I'm moving to Toronto in August, and I'm grateful that it's so close to my folks here in Montreal. Meanwhile my cousin, who moved a much shorter distance to go to university, feels so far away from home*.

*Despite the fact that she lives in a country where you can get the train everywhere, easily and cheaply, and it's generally very pleasant. There's another disconnect -- I don't understand why Brits are always harping on their railway system! It's magnificent by my standards! You can do things like "use it to go places"! :p

#443 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2017, 04:08 AM:

The last two working pit ponies in Britain retired in 1999.

There are numbers in the article for the post-WW2 nationalised coal industry. Pit ponies were still being used in those mines when I was in school.

Coal mining is an industry that routinely kills people.

#444 ::: Naomi Parkhurst ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2017, 07:26 AM:

I'm in the middle of submitting a thing to publishers for publication. I realized yesterday that I've been following people in the publishing business for years (editors and authors alike), because I like reading their comments on a variety of topics. But along the way, I've picked up a notion of what to expect from publishers and how I should conduct myself, even though I wasn't planning to ever write a book.

It's making a huge difference for me, both in terms of navigating the process and in terms of managing my emotional state.

I don't have a good way to say thank you to all those people. This was the best I could do.

Thank you for sharing your experiences and expertise. I don't know if I'll ever have this thing published, but if I do, your generosity will have helped me get there.

#445 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2017, 09:12 AM:

Re mine pit ponies: The feral Chincoteague and Assateague horses off DelMarVa were, it is thought, initially seeded from a wrecked shipment of pit ponies headed for Spanish silver lodes in South America.

#446 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2017, 11:09 AM:

I once heard someone sing,

"My sweetheart's the mule in the mines
I drive her without any lines
On the bumper I sit
As I chew and I spit
All over my sweetheart's behind"

which might have been a spoof of a song that went

"I'm in love with the man in the moon
and I'm going to visit him soon
Gonna hide in a cloud
Where no one is allowed
And make love to the man in the moon"

Anyone know the source?

#447 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2017, 12:18 PM:

Erik Nelson @446: Per, the latter is -- if I'm parsing the credits correctly -- from vaudeville originally, then the 1941 film The Parson of Panamint.

#448 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2017, 03:57 PM:

Is it just me, or was the opening episode of Doctor Who rather disappointing?

#449 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2017, 04:28 PM:

It was a standard enough new-companion story; but I am not quite sure why the Doctor got involved with Bill in the first place. The first ten minutes or so felt very weak.

#450 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2017, 06:57 PM:

Watched Moana yesterday. I love things that are (a) gorgeous, (b) wonderful, and (c) prompt me to go scurrying off to Look Stuff Up.

#451 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2017, 01:40 AM:

Didn't know that New Who was happening. DVR has been reminded. Thank you!

#452 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2017, 01:47 AM:

The Cartoon Network series Adventure Time is working through its final episodes; multi-part stories like "Islands," which reveal the origin stories of Susan Strong and Finn. Both really sad.

Another multi-parter the week after next.

#453 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2017, 03:11 AM:

We're learning about the Beatles (musical trends, changes in youth culture, international communications, mass media, fashion history, etc.) in homeschool. I have discovered that the more I listen to "Norwegian Wood," the less I like it. So this happened:

I once had a friend;
Actually he
Thought he had me.
We talked of Dore',
Art and the fire
Of his desire.

I was proud of my very first place, so I asked him up there--
A little dark sublet too small to have room for a chair.

He drank up my wine;
At our cafe'
He wasn't this way.
He fondled my knee,
Talked of the fire
Of his desire.

I told him I worked in the morning with a nervous laugh,
So he called me a bitch and threw up and passed out by the bath.

I sat up 'til day
At the cafe',
Worked anyway.
And while I was gone
He lit the fire
Of his desire.

Lennon I am not. It needs work. But it sort of had to come out.

#454 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2017, 04:33 PM:

Craft(Alchemy) @ 367: I was once asked by a Brit (IIRC in the ?naval? museum in Greenwich) about just how much larger the U.S. was and answered that from there to Athens was less than halfway across the U.S. That's a good-enough estimate -- the answer is less or more than that depending on where you measure, but never quite as much as London-Istanbul-London which I was also thinking of. (I'm sure there's an eastern-European capital that would come closer to the mean but I can visualize the Mediterranean better than that area.) And those distances contain vaguely similar numbers of people, so it's not surprising that they're more spread out in the U.S.

Jenny Islander @ 372: Where is 50K a town (mentally, not legally)? Perhaps only in the orbit of a metropolis? Coming from DC, I still thought of Northampton MA (pop ~35K in the late 1960's) as a city even before I knew that it was formally so (per below).

Mary Aileen @ 368 (continuing @384), more specifically: a town decides matters of import by a town meeting (although large towns' meetings have representatives for every small-number-of-people), where a city delegates them to a mayor and city council (board of aldermen to some Brits?). Anyone in eastern MA who forgot this has recently been reminded of it, as Framingham (perhaps the largest-in-area town) voted narrowly to become a city, and the losers are demanding a recount (having won twice before).

Xopher @ 395: augh.

Diatryma @ 399: I refuse to believe that municipalities are separate unless there's agriculture between them. Corn or cows, or whatever else you have handy. Boundaries around Boston are jealously guarded (e.g., it looks like a hand, with Brookline in the space between finger and thumb) for tax-base, historic-ethnic, and other reasons. The hinterlands can also be sticklers; a dead army air field that was an obvious place for a commercial nexus (nobody to displace) was refused permission to incorporate by abutters whose boundaries through the base were still known, at least partly because they wanted the apparently pain-free revenues.

Buddha Buck @ 408: add me to the Boston to Manhattan daytrippers; I've done it by car, as such once, and once ~past (to Borough Park); and at least twice by charter to sing in concerts. And the absence of self-pumping in NJ is an aberration that appears about to end; when did it start?

#455 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2017, 04:36 PM:

@CHip no. 454: It had become a bedroom community for NYC. The promotional material described the setting as "rural New England." I had a shock, to say the least.

I've seen communities of similar size in the Sea-Tac catchment area described the same way.

#456 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2017, 04:47 PM:

Rosa Parks's Detroit house transported to Berlin. Key quote: “It's resurrected in the month of Easter in a city reborn after a wall was taken down and was not valued in a country that's intent on building a wall,”

#457 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2017, 05:07 PM:

Ireland is roughly the size of Washington State, in area and population. Also, Dublin is roughly the same population as the Seattle metro area.

Apart from that, the rest of the country has many more small towns, more evenly spread out. And the rain is more uniformly distributed as well.

It is possible to take a longish day bike ride in Ireland and make a significant mark on the country wide map. (e.g, it's ~150 flat miles from the coast near Dublin to Galway, on the Atlantic)

#458 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2017, 06:15 PM:

CHip (454): New England towns may decide matters via town meeting, but Long Island towns have a supervisor and town council. Not sure how things are arranged in rural New York towns.

#459 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2017, 06:54 PM:

When I was in high school, we had the son of a Brit friend visit us on his trip around the world (he hadn't liked Australia, so he had some extra time to kill.) When we were driving through the northern part of the SF Bay Area, he mentioned that the countryside looked a lot like Britain—except that you could drive for fifteen minutes at a time without running into the next village.

Since then, I have driven 400 miles and back the next day* six weeks running (a move that we didn't want to drive a moving van due to LOTS OF WIND) and also driven 500 miles with my kids on a regular basis to see their Grandma. One way, one day. Without devices. People ask me how they tolerate the ten hours so well and I have to shrug and admit that the only reason they put up with it is because we've been doing that since they were babies.

*Well, within a 24 hour period—late night Wednesday and early morning Friday. Which was good the time a wildfire blew through the Columbia River Gorge on the "off" day and burnt an astonishing 60,000 acres. (I was working at a news radio station and could look it up.)

#460 ::: duckbunny ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2017, 08:54 PM:

I will grant that our trains will take you places, but I will dispute "cheaply". To get from where I am to central London - which takes forty minutes or an hour depending on how many stations you stop at - will cost me £40 for a return ticket. To go from here to, say, York, will cost me in the region of £80. To go to Edinburgh will cost a hundred.
These are not small numbers. They only sound like small numbers. I can get a hotel for five nights in Edinburgh for twice the cost of the train ticket. I can get a ticket to a West End evening performance for half the cost of the train. Going to York will cost me a quarter of my monthly disposable income (meaning after rent and council tax, but before bills and food).
Advance tickets are much cheaper, if you buy them at least a month in advance, but if the bus doesn't come on time, I lose the cost of the advance and still have to buy the on-the-day ticket, and I have to catch a specific train home.
The cost of train travel is a hot political topic. It's not helped by the loss of a lot of branch lines and connecting routes. Dr Beeching has a lot to answer for.

(Yeovil has a train line that runs London-Exeter, and another train line that runs Weymouth-Bristol. These lines physically cross. There is no way to transfer between them; the actual junction at Yeovil Junction station was lost in the Beeching cuts. The hub-and-spoke model makes it very difficult to get between any places - the trains take you into major hubs and out again, without sideways options. You can't even get the train between Oxford and Cambridge except by going into London and transferring on the Tube.)

(But we do, still, have a functioning intercity railway system where America largely doesn't. It's just that it's slow, expensive, unreliable, and difficult to use for lateral travel. It's increasingly cheaper to fly between cities than get the train and that aligns with my perception of how the system is being run - that trains are an inferior form of air travel, not a long-distance equivalent of the bus.)

There are parts of the South West where you'll travel more than an hour to reach a hospital, and similarly parts of Wales and other rural places, but that's as much about road quality as distance. Direct, fast roads are a recent alteration to the British landscape and building them requires a huge amount of negotiation with landowners and stakeholders. The main artery to the south west goes straight past Stonehenge and is consequently a single carriageway A-road - delays around Stonehenge routinely add an hour to journey time - and they've been unable to agree on a plan to widen, move or replace that road for decades.

#461 ::: Em ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2017, 11:01 AM:

It's pretty cheap in advance, though -- in July, I'm doing the London-York-Knaresborough trip for 23 pounds.* I do have the luxury of travelling in the UK as a "person who is having time off work" rather than "need to fit this around work schedule", and that probably is colouring my view of it since I can build more margin around getting-to-station timeframes. (Booking right now, it looks like the "refundable if I miss it" option is an extra two pounds). Once I'm up in Yorkshire, you can get between towns on buses as well, which is something that blows my mind ;)

*For comparison, a trip on the same day from Montreal to Toronto (a roughly equivalent trip) would cost me what google tells me is the equivalent of about 68 pounds, with no option to get to a smaller-town-near-Toronto, plus what it costs me to get to the train station -- from the place where I grew up, about thirty minutes' drive from central Montreal, it's a two-hour bus ride with a transfer), even booking in advance. Booking in advance isn't always practical, but it's nice to have the option.

#462 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2017, 11:49 AM:

Mary Aileen @458: Small towns in NY also have supervisors and town councils; the counties have a county executive and county council as well. My father was a town supervisor (elected, with a two year term) for a brief period in the early 1980s.

#463 ::: dotless ı ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2017, 11:58 AM:

CHip@454: Boundaries around Boston are jealously guarded

No kidding. And despite a large, apparently contiguous incorporated area, many things that could really scale more effectively to larger administrative units are generally handled at the town level, which…isn't always optimal.

A particularly silly side effect is that most/all books of street maps (remember those?) split up the maps alphabetically, town by town, regardless of how the towns tile together. "To go ten blocks north, go to page 33 and turn the book sideways (because of the shape of the town); until you cross the next town boundary five minutes later, at which point turn to page 66 and turn the book 90 degrees again."

#464 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2017, 02:30 PM:

At least the county-level map books we had (still have?) in California ignored that kind of thing: the pages went across from one edge of the county to the other. They used an assortment of colors for the cities, instead, with the main city being not colored (aka white).

#465 ::: dotless ı ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2017, 02:40 PM:

P J Evans@464: Yeah, maybe we shouldn't get started on the history of counties in Massachusetts…

#466 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2017, 03:28 PM:

Can't be much different from counties elsewhere. (I've read the legal descriptions of county boundaries in California. My favorite record of survey was run in the early 80s, rechecking one from 1862 or so, where the only record of the original was surveyor's notes filed in L.A., the ones in S.F. having disappeared with the Federal Building in 1906.)

#467 ::: Race Traitor Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2017, 06:31 PM:

Alternate-universe fiction idea: in the fictional world, the change from 'count' to 'earl' was carried over into descendant terminology. So they have Hudson Earldom, New Jersey (with its Earldom Seat and Earldom Courthouse in Jersey City) and so on.

#468 ::: Adrian ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2017, 07:04 PM:

Chip #454, my town (Arlington, MA) has the same number of people as Burlington, VT, yet Burlington is a city and we're a town. The form of government is certainly important to that.

I'm not sure what features make it socially "town" rather than "city." Maybe because we don't have industry here? I'm not sure what it does to urban/rural sensibilities to tell newcomers, "In the city across the street they can keep chickens, but it's not allowed inside the town border."

#469 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2017, 10:00 PM:

#467 Xopher:

Dukes Earldom presided over by the Duke of Earl?

#470 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2017, 01:02 AM:

@nos. 467, 469: Don't forget spelling reform! It's E-R-L-D-O-M, and if you spell it with a completely unnecessary A your teacher will know that you've been reading a lot of British fiction again.

#471 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2017, 04:05 AM:

And erldom is, of course, a region ruled over by an elf. (See erlking.)

#472 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2017, 04:28 AM:

Jenny Islander @ #470:

Not "Jarldom" (or possibly "Yarldom")?

#473 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2017, 09:07 AM:

In international news, UK politics has definitely entered "surreal". Possible new parlament election coming up in June.

#474 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2017, 10:32 AM:

Xopher (467): Wouldn't 'earldom' reeflect the older form of the term, not the newer? I'm pretty sure the Anglo-Saxon/Norse* 'jarl' predates the Norman Conquest, which is when the Frenchified 'count' would have reached England.

Unless I'm completely confused again. That's always possible.

*not sure which of those it is

#475 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2017, 10:33 AM:

470/471/472: And an URLdom is government by internet entity.

#476 ::: Adrian ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2017, 11:05 AM:

Applause for Jenny's song at #453. Especially "actually."

#477 ::: Quill ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2017, 11:15 AM:

duckbunny @460: When I was in England twenty years ago, I was delighted that I could get almost anywhere by train (I did have a student pass) and if not by train, then by bus; in the US just about anything but cities is reachable by car only.

However, I was also appalled to realize that the lack of elevators in train stations, and the steps into the cars themselves, meant that one could only travel by train if one could walk. Has that changed? I really hope it has.

#478 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2017, 11:17 AM:

The company that makes wooden eggs for the White House Easter egg roll referred to it as a "marquis event" .

#479 ::: dotless ı ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2017, 11:55 AM:

Quill@477: Speaking as an occasional visitor, not a resident: it certainly hasn't changed everywhere. Wheeling a strollerpushchair around London—meaning that had options not available to, say, wheelchairs—we still found it important to plan travel in terms of more or less accessible Tube and rail stations. Fortunately we had local friends who could warn us away from the worst spots.

After the London Olympics I recall seeing more signage indicating accessibility, but "accessible" and "easy" aren't synonymous. At least one station I remember had three levels and three different sets of non-adjacent elevators, with some connections requiring the use of all three elevators. There were diagrams posted, but a diagram can only simplify things so much and still be accurate.

#480 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2017, 12:14 PM:

P J Evans@478

marquis event

I suppose one could consider that phrasing a noble effort...

#481 ::: Terry Hunt ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2017, 12:47 PM:

@474 Mary Aileen
You're correct that the Normans introduced 'County' to the British Isles as a regional designation (earlier 'Comites'/'Counts' of the Roman and post-Roman era were military offices), but although Counts partly replaced Anglo-Saxon Earls, the notionally replaced Anglo-Saxon regional designation was not 'Earldom' (though this existed as an overlapping concept) but 'Shire'. Thus we wind up today with, for example, The County of Hampshire (in which I live) which lies within the notional domain of the Earl (and Countess) of Wessex (which title is actually a very recent creation, though other Earldoms are genuinely old).

(In Britain, we never entirely throw out the old stuff when we get new, we just mash it all together.)

#482 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2017, 01:07 PM:

Earls continued to be at least officially linked with counties until the reign of James I (though the terminology rather obscures this - although each earl had a link with a county, his title might come from the county or its principal town, or from his family name or estate).

From James's time on, there have been too many earls for the link with counties to be preserved in all cases, though some earls are still called after them. (While Hampshire seems to have no earl of its own right now - if it did, he would probably actually be called Earl of Southampton - I'm fairly sure some other counties within Wessex do.)

#483 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2017, 02:26 PM:

#477: Visited London last month. I don't need a wheelchair, and neither did my traveling companions, but I nevertheless noticed how unfriendly things seemed to be:

Pedestrian crossings didn't give you a lot of time. In some cases, a few seconds. Crossings with count-down lights were relatively rare. (And traffic is INSANE in London.)

There were tube stations with elevators and access, but they were few enough to have to be pointed out.

Do those double-decker busses "kneel?" Didn't see any in action.

Relatively few ramps, esp at historic places.

#484 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2017, 02:27 PM:

#477: Visited London last month. I don't need a wheelchair, and neither did my traveling companions, but I nevertheless noticed how unfriendly things seemed to be:

Pedestrian crossings didn't give you a lot of time. In some cases, a few seconds. Crossings with count-down lights were relatively rare. (And traffic is INSANE in London.)

There were tube stations with elevators and access, but they were few enough to have to be pointed out.

Do those double-decker busses "kneel?" Didn't see any in action.

Relatively few ramps, esp at historic places.

#485 ::: dotless ı ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2017, 02:40 PM:

P J Evans@466: Can't be much different from counties elsewhere.

I haven't looked much at the systems elsewhere, but the majority of Massachusetts counties were effectively dissolved 15-20 years ago, leaving only a couple of offices like sheriff (linking to Terry Hunt@481) and organizational divisions in the courts. The fact that they're not completely gone is itself a source of confusion, since every now and again people have to remember (or look up) what county they're in.

#486 ::: Odalchini ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2017, 03:17 PM:

In defence of British trains: most stations were built long before the era of disability-consciousness. London stations built or rebuilt since the late 90's have full wheelchair access, e.g. Jubilee line east of Waterloo, Docklands Light Railway, etc. Lifts are being gradually installed in mainline surface stations – I'm not sure about the London Undergound's surface stations. Retrofitting lifts in undergound stations can be tricky, and in deep stations, difficult to impossible. It all takes time, and lots of money.

I don't think double-decker buses can 'kneel', due to their height and weight. Modern single-deck buses can 'kneel'.

Stefan @484: if you think London traffic is INSANE, try Rome or Naples ...

#487 ::: Odalchini ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2017, 03:28 PM:

No,my mistake: modern double-decker buses can 'kneel'. The classic Routemasters can't, of course! AFAIK they're still operated on one 'heritage' route in London.

#488 ::: Race Traitor Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2017, 06:51 PM:

OK, now I'm confused. The Normans had only been French for, was it two generations? I had thought they had jarls/earls (being Norse themselves).

If it went the other way, and I'm sure you would know better than I would, why did they change the wife-of-an-earl title to 'countess'? That was why I thought 'count' had to be older.

(The wife of a jarl, as far as I know, is also a jarl.)

#489 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2017, 08:39 PM:

Off to see Scalzi in Boulder. Whee!

#490 ::: shadowsong ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2017, 09:52 PM:

Re: municipalities

I just poked around the census data for the Manassas area, where I grew up.

The area I think of as "Manassas" is a Public Use Microdata Area covering about 44 square miles, of which less than a quarter is the actual city of Manassas. It had 97K people when I last lived there in 2000.

I always described it as "the ass end of the DC suburbs", which is still pretty accurate. Another 5 or 10 miles farther out on 66 and things got less suburban and more rural; 15 miles in towards DC and you're at the outermost Metro station.

Anyone know how much the suburban/rural boundary has moved since I left? Have Gainesville or Warrenton been engulfed yet?

And of course now I have moved to not-quite-the-ass-end of the Seattle suburbs. I'm not actually sure where the border is - are Kent and Auburn suburbs of Seattle, or do they belong to Tacoma instead?

#491 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2017, 10:33 PM:

They're both south of SeaTac, shadowsong, so I think they belong more to Tacoma. They're also east of both. But that's kind of like asking if Palo Alto belongs to San Francisco or to San Jose -- it's a separate city between the two, kinda suburban but not really part of either. There's a large megapolis that includes the whole area, not very well defined, both here in Seattle and in the SF Bay Area.

#492 ::: idgecat ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2017, 12:34 AM:

I grew up in S. King County, between Seatac and Kent at the time, and all of the south county area is locally considered as related to Seattle, not Tacoma. Neither Kent or Auburn really counts as a suburb, heck, Auburn has 2 suburbs. In living memory, Kent was the main "city" in the valley in WA state terms given that "city" just means incorporated local population center. To count as a suburb of Tacoma, you really need to cross the county line, as even Federal Way is tied more to Seattle than to Tacoma.

#493 ::: Doug ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2017, 02:41 AM:

471: Except for the part that was previously Pennsylvania Dutch, which gets a Zwölf instead.

490: Friends in Warrenton describe it as suburbia. One of the pair commutes to downtown DC.

#494 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2017, 08:11 AM:

The Normans, by the time they arrived in England, were quite definitely French. They called themselves 'French', not 'Normans'. And they spoke French. So the weird local princelings who called themselves 'earls' were referred to, in French, as 'comtes', and their wives as 'comtesses'. Somehow the native word for the nobleman himself stayed unchanged in English, but not the word for his wife. (The names for other ranks of nobility, Duke, Marquess, etc., all come from French anyway.)

#495 ::: Allen J Baum ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2017, 09:33 AM:

Back to the Bluegrass side of things:

There is an entire CD of Bluegrass Grateful Dead - but of course, some of it was Bluegrass to begin with (e.g. Cumberland Blues).

At the annual Merlefest, the Hillside Album Hour - an entire album played bluegrass style by some of the top bluegrass musicians around- has been going on for 10 years now. They've done the Who's Tommy, Led Zepplin, Bruce Springsteen ...

You can Bluegrass anything, yes.

#496 ::: Quill ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2017, 10:27 AM:

Stefan Jones @484, Odalchini @486: Thanks. Yeah, I can see how retrofitting the stations would be a massive undertaking, especially since so many of them seem to be built over the tracks themselves--all those stairs...

I landed at Heathrow in 1996 with a lot of luggage (I was expecting to stay a year) and was promptly derailed from taking the train by the realization that I couldn't possibly handle the station stairs with all my stuff. It was my first experience of the cultural differences, asking where the elevator was and being told that there wasn't one.

The second came from waiting in the bus line later that day and seeing a young woman in the same line reading a fairly blatant porn magazine--and nobody paying the least attention. I could see a man in the United States doing that, depending on the venue, but not a woman.

#497 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2017, 12:16 PM:

shadowsong @490

Gainesville is being engulfed, Nokesville is on the edge but not quite there yet, Haymarket is still rural.

Warrenton, rather than being engulfed, is sprouting tentacles of development stretching along the 'major' roads (if you can call 15 and 17 major).

#498 ::: Race Traitor Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2017, 01:50 PM:

Andrew 494: OK, I accept that, yet Norman French does have some words borrowed from Norse. I just thought 'earl/jarl' might be one. Looks like I was wrong about that.

You say Somehow the native word for the nobleman himself stayed unchanged in English, but not the word for his wife.

See, having learned which way it went, as a linguist I'm looking for the answer to that 'somehow'. How? Why? It's very odd.

#499 ::: Louis Patterson ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2017, 04:49 PM:

Don't go down that rabbit-hole, Xopher.

[avoidance of near-homophones, is the reason I've seen suggested. But I don't think we know that for sure; not that we'd expect to have documentation on that point, of course.]

#500 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2017, 06:27 PM:

Since we're speaking of bluegrass again, my old friend Jenine is in "New Zealand's only all female bluegrass band" Hot Diggity. They're now raising funds on Pledgeme, the NZ Kickstarter equivalent, to put out their first album as a download + CD; while they just hit their minimum mark (meaning it's guaranteed to go forward) more funding would be helpful.
If anybody's interested, that number is:
(For reference, $1 NZ is about $0.70 US, so US residents can mentally knock about 1/3 off the pledge levels.)

#501 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2017, 06:37 PM:

Well, there may be no explanation beyond 'people are weird'. But at a guess: ordinary people were already familiar with earls, so would go on saying 'earl'. The other peerage ranks (in England) came in later: 'baron' developed gradually from being a form of tenure to being a rank; dukes were introduced, I think, by Richard II, and to start with were all from the royal family; marquesses and viscounts came in even later, and for a long time were quite rare, generally being given in cases of 'oh dear, this guy needs a promotion, but we can't make him a duke/earl, what shall we do?'. So there were no names for them beyond the French ones.

The only really puzzling thing is 'Why countess?'. Perhaps ordinary people had less to do with the wives of earls? Perhaps wives of earls didn't have a specific title before the Normans came? Or something.

#502 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2017, 06:41 PM:

Did someone mention the old form of an Earl's wife and I missed it? Because now I really want to know.

#503 ::: HelenS ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2017, 07:16 PM:

It seems that Anglo-Saxon women, apart from queens, simply didn't have titles.

#504 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2017, 08:36 PM:

dotless ı @ 463: most/all books of street maps (remember those?) split up the maps alphabetically, town by town. I was under the impression that was a matter of scaling rather than ~politics. I have a book that covers out to 128+ by sectors; another covers past 495 by municipalities -- with each map scaled to fit everything on a page (or sometimes spread). This means that all streets are findable in most places, instead of making an unmanageably large book or shrinking most areas until the streets are unfindable.

Adrian @ 468: I'm not sure Burlington has industries per se, but it probably has a lot more jobs (cf the office parks on both sides of 128 west of the former Readercon hotel). I saw the Framingham argument go by with no explanation of the reasons presented by either side.

Ingvar M @ 473: why is that any more surreal than any parliamentary-dismissal system? (says he snarkily while ignoring the effect of known election dates on U.S. politics, e.g. campaign financing.) May actually had a point: an election in the middle of Brexit would probably make matters even worse.

Xopher @ 488: (The wife of a jarl, as far as I know, is also a jarl.) Jarla, according an acquaintance who was one in the SCA -- but I can't disprove Helen S @ 503, since SCA titling was probably less policed in the 1970's; witness the friend-of-a-friend-of-Doyle (maybe &Macdonald?) who took his peerage as a bishopric.

shadowsong @ 490: I think DC will go on expanding forever. I grew up there 60 years ago, when there was a dairy farm opposite our house; the site of the 1994 Disclave (aka "how did they get that phallic display past the planning board?") had nothing but grass and forest behind it (quite a contrast with the Pike out front) but was massively developed several years ago (possibly in anticipation of the Metro passing through on its way to Dulles Airport).

#505 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2017, 09:51 PM:

re DC suburbs: on the Maryland side the county is the fundamental political unit. There are some towns and "cities" (and Baltimore City functions as a separate county-- it and Balto. County are disjoint) but there isn't a lot of rhyme or reason to it. Silver Spring is the largest city in Montgomery County (to the point of having a skyline) but politically it doesn't exist, whereas Chevy Chase is for some reason divided up into a town and several "villages". As a rule a city has its own police force and a town does not, but this isn't invariably true. Howard County has no incorporated places at all, but Columbia only exists as a set of covenants on the various properties in it.

The area bends the word "suburban" into a pretzel, between the intensely urban inner ring of "suburban" towns and the many fragments of housing on the edges. Hammond Village, fifty-five years later, is still a "development", isolated and with no commercial center, whereas Cloverly is a town because it has stores. There's this whole broad swath which isn't really rural but isn't classical suburbia.

#506 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2017, 03:46 AM:

CHip @ #504:

But an election before actually serving the Article 50 paperwork would've been even better (this is, technically, "an election in the brexit negotiations", although more towards one end than the other, and the scheduled election would've been post-due-date (scheduled for 202, 2 years from March 2017 is March 2019).

#507 ::: Sumana Harihareswara ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2017, 08:20 AM:

"A Day in the Life of a Food Vendor", from the New York Times. Touching and edifying.

#508 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2017, 10:13 AM:

Larry Skywalker?
And his weird bear?

John Oliver recently did a segment on France's upcoming elections and the top candidate is Le Pen's daughter, just as bad as her dad, but more 'polite' about it. The segment began with a recap of some of the other candidates, one of whom made a disparaging reference to Star Wars' Larry Skywalker and his weird bear. At least he didn't make fun of Dwayne Solo.

That being said... French politics look as dismal as America's.

#509 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2017, 10:48 AM:

Dreams reveal our anxieties.

Last night I dreamt that I was looking closely at my good headphones, and discovered hitherto unseen LEFT and RIGHT indicators. It turned out that I've been listening to them backwards these past three months.

Local Man wonders if his subconscious is reaching.

#510 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2017, 11:18 AM:

Kip, #509:

You've been listening to music from the Antimatter Universe!

#511 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2017, 12:18 PM:

In Hawai'i, the counties correspond to islands, or groupings of islands. Thus Hawai'i (the Big Island) is one county, Maui and Molokai make up one county, the island of O'ahu is City and County of Honolulu, etc.

Because Honolulu County also includes the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands out to Pearl and Hermes atolls, a little short of Midway, by some measures it's the geographically largest county in the US. (Though Wikipedia disagrees, I don't think the numbers given there are taking that into account.)

#512 ::: Race Traitor Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2017, 03:03 PM:

CHip 504: Xopher @ 488: (The wife of a jarl, as far as I know, is also a jarl.) Jarla, according an acquaintance who was one in the SCA -- but I can't disprove Helen S @ 503, since SCA titling was probably less policed in the 1970's; witness the friend-of-a-friend-of-Doyle (maybe &Macdonald?) who took his peerage as a bishopric.

Yes, Bishop Geoffrey. That definitely wouldn't be allowed today (in fact, by 1991 he was known as Master Geoffrey d'Ayr of Montalban, 'Bishop Geoffrey' having become a nickname with no official status). (I met "Bish," as he was known to his friends in the SCA, at ConStellation in 1983. I haven't seen him since, and I'm not sure what happened to him. He was a very nice, friendly guy, as I recall.)

I knew a woman who had been a Countess in the SCA, but changed personas (and I think to an Icelandic persona, which if true may be where I got the idea it was Norse) and became Jarl Embla.

But I don't find that in the SCA title tables. Closest (in this table) is 'Iarla', which is an Irish and Scots Gaelic version of 'Count' (the Irish also used 'Cunta' (pronounced COON-tuh), and 'Countess' is 'Cuntaois' (roughly COON-teesh).

The Old English table gives 'Eorl' for Count (and also for Duke), but the feminine title is 'Hlæfdige'. Can't blame Countesses for wanting to discard that in favor of 'Countess'! (For those who don't know me well, that's a joke. Of course 'Hlæfdige' wouldn't seem awkward to a native speaker.)

That actually sheds some light on the matter: if (as the SCA surmises) Eorl's wives were never called by any variation of 'Eorl', there's no reason for their wives to subsequently be called variations of 'Earl'. And, all kidding aside, I bet the Norman French did have some trouble pronouncing 'Hlæfdige'.

#513 ::: Chris ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2017, 03:23 PM:

Odd question related to recent personal experience:

Can anyone think of a reason why someone using stolen credit card information to shop online would have the goods sent to the cardholder?

#514 ::: Adrian ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2017, 03:28 PM:

Chip, 504, I meant to compare my little town of Arlington, Massachusetts with the great city of Burlington, Vermont, on Lake Champlain. It's not the state capital, but it's the biggest city in the state of Vermont. Commuters go TO work there. (Commuters in Arlington live here and work elsewhere.) In some ways, Vermonters treat it like we treat Boston--even if you don't live there, you expect to go there occasionally to see a concert or a medical specialist or to pick somebody up from the airport. I'm interested in the comparison because the numbers of people are almost exactly the same. (42,800.)

Comparing Burlington, MA to Burlington, VT is also interesting. It's organized as a town, and it's a lot smaller than Arlington if you count by people--it seems almost twice as big by square miles, but a lot of that is parking lots. There's a hospital and an enormous mall, which makes it a destination like Burlington, VT. People commute there to work, drive there to shop or see doctors, in ways that just never happen in Arlington.

#515 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2017, 03:39 PM:

Chris @ 513:

Using a stolen number typically works by ordering a <$20 item on the card, and, if it's not caught by the cardholder within a few days, then running up a massive bill and absconding with the goods. Maybe, while doing this, they forgot to send their purchase to a different address.

It's entirely possible this particular crook isn't too bright.

Other incredibly low-probability reasons might include:

  • They expected to be able to steal the item out of the mail and couldn't
  • They expected to pose as you while you were out on a trip, but you weren't out
  • The item was bought by drunk you ordering something you wanted but couldn't bring yourself to buy sober
#516 ::: Angiportus Librarysaver ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2017, 03:41 PM:

Kip, #509, Bill Higgins, #510--way back in the pre-CD days an audio mag had an ad for a turntable with the picture reversed, so the arm was on the viewer's left side. A bunch of people wrote in to point this out, and one asked if that was for hearing the evil messages supposedly inserted backwards in certain pieces. --The editors said yes, and it has a very sinister sound.

#517 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2017, 03:43 PM:

Chris @ #513

Stupidity? Most likely they tried to put in a shipping address that wasn't the cardholder address and the merchant ignored it.

Might give the card company (or the law) a lead on the crook.


#518 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2017, 05:04 PM:

HelenS #503: Lady, as counterpart of Lord, is of Anglo-Saxon origin. The OED's entry is too long to paste here.

#519 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2017, 06:42 PM:

Knitting question: so I'm making a wedding shawl and have been beading along happily. I discovered that, for the sake of symmetry, I should have added beads along one edge or not beaded along the other edge in one pattern section.

Can I remove the beads by smashing them with a hammer?

Will I regret this?

I mean, everyone has a point where they just want to destroy a project. Maybe this is the one time I can?

#520 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2017, 07:17 PM:

I'd crush them with pliers, myself, but it can be done if you're careful.

#521 ::: HelenS ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2017, 07:53 PM:

I'm pretty sure "Hlæfdige," referenced above, is the origin of "lady." I don't think of Lady or Lord as titles in the same sense as Duke or Duchess, though.

#522 ::: HelenS ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2017, 07:55 PM:

I'm pretty sure "Hlæfdige," referenced above, is the origin of "lady." I don't think of Lady or Lord as titles in the same sense as Duke or Duchess, though.

#523 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2017, 01:02 AM:

Kip notes:
". . . and discovered hitherto unseen LEFT and RIGHT indicators . . ."

I wish the earphones I have right there had those. I have to guess, in real life, every time.

Last night's anxiety dream involved leaving my dog tied to a tree in a park while I used mass transit to go to a AAA office, presumably to do something related to my car not being around. (Which turned out to be in a wonderfully shabby old mall full of marginal businesses. And was out of business; just an un-faded spots on the wall in the shape of the logo.) Of course the dog was gone when I got back to the park. The "how could I done something so stupid?" fretting continued for an hour after I was jolted awake.

#524 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2017, 07:43 AM:

Allen J. Baum@495: Speaking of bluegrass and the Grateful Dead, I knew I'd left the tab with my uncle's obituary open for a reason. I'd had it there because his youngest daughter (the only cousin of that generation younger than me) died and I couldn't recall her married name. March was rough that way. My mom (the last of Roosevelt's siblings) and another cousin died, too, so I've been thoughtful.

After that, all I can say is that anyone who thinks April is the cruelest month should think again. April's pretty sweet. I'm digging it.

#525 ::: Bruce H. ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2017, 09:40 AM:

Re: earlier subthread about being thrown out of stories: I've been binge reading the Eve Dallas book and got the large print version of one of them, because that's what the library had available. It didn't exactly throw me out of the story, but it was jarringly noticeable that the italics were rendered in a sans-serif face.

#526 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2017, 10:34 AM:

'Lady' can certainly be a title on occasion - for the wife of a knight, say, or the daughter of an earl - but has always been used in a broader way which does not make it a title. So if that was the only title for the wives of earls, it wouldn't be distinctive of them, and one can see why the Normans might feel the need of a more specific title.

#527 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2017, 12:50 PM:

"Hlæfdige" IF I remember rightly, roughly translates as "loaf giver."

#528 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2017, 01:08 PM:

Adrian @ 514: Dawn breaks over Marblehead -- I didn't parse the "VT" in your previous. Further addressing your original, the obvious guess is that a town is a dependent where a city is a focus; cf the city of Northampton MA, pop. 29K (which makes it much larger than the surrounding communities). At a guess, the closest foci to Burlington VT are Albany, Plattsburgh, and Montreal (Montpelier seems too small to be relevant even if it is the state capital) -- and all of those are 1-2 hours' drive away. wrt your latter, Burlington-the-focus lies right on a highway, where the nearest highway to the core of Arlington is more-or-less the boundary between it and Belmont, so Burlington is a more obvious destination (especially with Fresh Pond to draw people away from Arlington -- although I've gone to the Capitol movie theater several times as it's much less grody than Fresh Pond, and I'll be singing in Porchfest this June as our music director lives there). There's also the matter of intent(?); IIRC Arlington was dry until relatively recently, which made starting a good restaurant hard.

Xopher @ 512: I know Bish was still around in 1992 (my last Philcon) but haven't heard anything since. (Not that that means much, as I drifted from the SCA in 1985 and am back only very locally since 2007.)

#529 ::: Zack ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2017, 04:30 PM:

If I might change the subject a little: I'm doing a research project related to online censorship, which you can help with, by visiting in any reasonably recent version of Firefox, Chrome, or IE. (You must have JavaScript enabled. It doesn't work in Safari, which unfortunately means you cannot use an iDevice.) Press the Start button on the map, wait for it to finish, and then click the "Tell me more" button (which appears when it's done) and read the text and follow the instructions. It is especially helpful if you do this on a computer physically located somewhere other than Europe and North America.

The experiment is testing "active geolocation", which is when you try to figure out where a computer physically is by measuring how long it takes a packet of information to go round-trip between one computer and other computers in known locations. This has been studied carefully within Europe and the continental USA, but much less so elsewhere.

This is relevant to Internet censorship because, in order to measure Internet censorship, you need access to a computer within the sub-network run by a censorious country or organization. Commercial VPN services are one way to do this. Unfortunately, the countries that are most aggressive about censoring the Internet are also countries where it is difficult and expensive to host servers. I suspect that several commercial VPN providers' claims of widespread server hosting are false: they are placing servers in countries where it is easy to do business, and then adding false entries to commonly-used geolocation databases. If whatsmyip and the like tell their users that the VPN server is in the right country, that's good enough to make a sale...

I have run these measurements myself on many VPN servers, but I don't know how accurate they are, and the accuracy varies depending on the true location. By visiting this page, running all the way through a measurement, and then telling me honestly where your computer really is, you provide me with data that I can use to calibrate the VPN measurements. Again, data from places other than Europe and North America is especially helpful: I particularly want Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, and South America.

#530 ::: Older ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2017, 04:54 PM:

Chris at 513, My husband and I are even now reading a mystery story in which this happens. A woman, now deceased, is found to have, over some years, massively ripped off some of her college, ah, "friends". In each case, at some point she has sent each of them a dressing gown from Victoria's Secret, paid for by a card in the recipient's name.

We haven't gotten to the part where her motivation is revealed. In case you are interested, the book is _Confidence Woman_, by Judith Van Gieson.

If you don't care *that* much, I can post the answer, when we find it.

#531 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2017, 04:58 PM:

513: My sister once ordered something to be sent to me, and it was sent to her instead. (She still has it, five years later.) So I go with the 'merchant sent it to the wrong address' theory.

#532 ::: Em ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2017, 05:20 PM:

@513 : Speaking as someone who does customer service for a variety of online merchants, our billing system only requires the shipping address, not the billing address. It's not uncommon for people to not read the labels and get in touch with us going "I meant to send that to this other address and there was no way to put in the shipping address!"

I've also been responsible for tracking fraudulent purchases (though for a different company -- MMO currency and items are a very popular way to launder money), and "make a small purchase that might not get noticed to test that the card number on this giant list of stolen numbers I've purchased is valid" is fairly common.

#533 ::: Chris ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2017, 06:29 PM:

Em/KeithS: The only problem with the "small purchase as a test" theory is that this was not a small purchase. It was a pair of very nice ski jackets worth several hundred dollars. I re-checked the past several months of charges, and there was nothing there that could have been a test purchase.

Whatever happened, I'm very glad it did come to me. While I check for unauthorized purchases every month before paying my bill, this purchase was made just a couple of days after the last time I did. If it had been sent to the thief, my card could have been compromised for almost a month before I found out.

#534 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2017, 06:48 PM:

Zack @529:

Done. I've added my results to your North American data-set.

The "where your browser thinks you are" was disturbingly accurate.

#535 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2017, 07:40 PM:

re: #519 Diatryma

Can I remove the beads by smashing them with a hammer?

Simply smashing them (or crushing with pliers) may cut the thread/yarn. Safer is to put a pin (or thin needle) through the bead first and then have at it.

#536 ::: Rail ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2017, 07:52 PM:

Chris @533: It wouldn't happen to be a Kohl's card, would it?

#537 ::: J Homes ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2017, 11:10 PM:

Zack @ 529,

Actually Wellington, New Zealand.

It thinks probably somewhere in New Zealand, but it would believe the east coast of Australia, or our sub-Antarctic islands.

J Homes.

#538 ::: Em ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2017, 11:57 PM:

Zack @529:

IP and browser both place me in the same location, which is a six-hour drive West of my actual location. (I'm in Montreal; it's placing me in the Toronto area, probably Mississauga since that's where my ISP HQ is.)

It's also where I'm moving to in a few months, so maybe it's just displacing me temporally ;)

#539 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2017, 12:49 AM:

Zack: it placed me precisely in Seattle, where I am.

#540 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2017, 10:23 AM:

It puts me, I think, in northern Orange County, CA, where my ISP's (or the telco's) servers are. Physically (and according to my browser) I'm in the northwest corner of the city of L.A.

#541 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2017, 01:49 PM:

Zack #529: It accurately placed me exactly where my browser thinks I am.

#542 ::: Jim Parish ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2017, 02:01 PM:

It put me somewhere in North America, which is true but uninformative. (Honest, the inmost circle covered most of the continent.)

#543 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2017, 02:06 PM:

Zack @529

Result submitted from the UK. but there looks to be a huge imprecision, easily a 1500km radius, and I suspect a chunk of that is down to the relatively local part of the internet. Most domestic internet connections go through ISP networks based close to London, and in my experience the ping times to London are around 50ms, about a third of the total ping time to anything in the USA.

The totals are little different to what I was getting in the days of dialup, though it might save a few ms over an analogue modem, It makes me think that the main part is the hardware in the telephone exchange which connects a subscriber line to the digital network. It's been an all-digital trunk network since 1990, though some parts have changed.

The last named node in the UK was at 56ms, then one at 60ms, and then all the USA at around 180ms. Most of that jump is the trans-Atlantic wet string, of course, but it seems that the British trunk network has direct connections from every exchange to every other exchange (but can I believe Wikipedia on System X?) But it looks as though the ping times within the UK don't show a useful difference between locations.

Of course, the paranoid might think everything goes through GCHQ anyway.

#544 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2017, 02:06 PM:

Jack Dann-ism spotted in the wild:

Only God Forgives a Film by Nicolas Winding Refn

#545 ::: Steve Wright ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2017, 08:14 PM:

Zack @529: done mine. The active geolocation thing pinpoints me with eerie accuracy (which I suspect is because the Home Counties of England are pretty well stocked with computers and servers.)

My browser, on the other hand, thinks I am in Milton Keynes - I am moved to ask, rhetorically: why in God's name should I, or anyone, be in Milton Keynes?

#546 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2017, 08:49 PM:

Xopher, CHip, et al: Bish is retired and living in Charleston SC, doing as well as might be expected. He lost his husband, Sandy, about a month after they co-chaired Costume Con in 2015. I ran into him at an SCA event about a year ago, and we're FB friends.

SCA title trivia: Gaelic for Count/Earl/Jarl is Iarla. Gaelic for Countess is Ban-Iarla (woman Iarla). Iarla is masculine, not feminine in Gaelic. Gaelic doesn't work like Spanish.

#547 ::: Chris ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2017, 09:04 PM:

Zack @529: I did mine, and judging from the lines on the map, I'm probably somewhere in North America, maybe in the west. Looks like an internet connection as bad as mine is an effective defense against this technique.

Rail @536: Nope, not Kohl's.

#548 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2017, 12:28 AM:

Zach #529

In Auckland NZ (browser and are correct). The circle is consistent with that, but doesn't rule out anywhere in NZ or parts of eastern Australia.

J Homes #537: NZ location accuracy should presumably improve a bit when the Hawaiki cable gets here and our data aren't all routed through Oz.

#549 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2017, 02:19 AM:

Zack @ 529,
The "Let us know" link on the webpage (for if it doesn't work correctly) goes to a page requiring a Github sign-in. That is going to screen out a lot of people who might have given you feedback on problems, including me.

FWIW, I got no circles displayed as far as I could see, other than a couple sinusoidal not-quite-half-the-earth sections. (I'm located in Honolulu which should have been very easy to pinpoint given trans-oceanic cable delays.)

#550 ::: Sumana Harihareswara ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2017, 07:48 AM:

By the way, those of you who are doing Zack's research experiment -- are you doing the bit at the end where you input your GPS coordinates?

#551 ::: Cassy B ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2017, 07:51 AM:

This may be old news, but is it true that Peter S. Beagle was cheated and currently is destitute?

If so, I'm sending him some birthday cash.

#552 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2017, 01:01 PM:

Cassy B @551 -- it's a lot more complex than that. There's a New Yorker-sized article that could be written about the interactions of Peter and Connor, if not an entire book. And parts of it are based in Peter's long-term handling of money, which has been terrible for over 50 years; parts are based in Connor's over-promoting and not delivering on various items; and parts are based in the oddnesses of the legal system.

#553 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2017, 02:07 PM:

Zack @ 529:
I reran the test in Chrome rather than Firefox and got the same results, so I submitted them. (Only 2 circles displayed, each covering nearly half the earth.) Perhaps the geolocation algorithm doesn't deal well with locations such as Hawaii, where reaching any continent involves undersea cable delays.

#554 ::: Arwel Parry ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2017, 05:39 PM:

Zack @529. thinks I'm in London, about 160 miles away, on the other hand, the browser thinks I'm about two houses away on the other side of my street - scarily accurate!

#555 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2017, 06:00 PM:

I used Chrome to test the owlfolio geolocator, because Firefox has been acting up for a month (seems to be's Javascriptness at fault?) I got one of the three common incorrect results that geolocators give me, which is the city my ISP is based in. (The other common incorrect results are "whichever work firewall my work VPN is using", if I'm logged in there, and "halfway between home and my ISP" which I don't understand.)
FreeGeoIP thinks I'm pretty close to where I actually live.

#556 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2017, 06:07 PM:

Re cities / small towns / villages / etc.: we got back a few days ago from a 10-day trip to Seattle (3 days on the road each way, 4 days there) in which we drove thru a lot of extremely rural America, a good chunk of it on Federal highways for lack of an interstate route. There are towns in which 2/3 or more of the businesses along the highway are boarded up. Some of those towns are covered with religious signage, which made me think of Obama's statement about "desperate people clinging to guns and religion because that's all they have left". Some of them made me think of the fictitious town in Charlaine Harris' "Midnight, Texas" series.

Which leads into the discussion of what makes a city vs. a small town. I don't think of this as a binary category the way a lot of Americans seem to. I live in a large city (Houston); I used to live in a medium-size city (Nashville); there are places I think of as small cities (Beaumont, TX); and that's before you even get to the level of "town".

duckbunny, #460: It's increasingly cheaper to fly between cities than get the train and that aligns with my perception of how the system is being run - that trains are an inferior form of air travel, not a long-distance equivalent of the bus.)

That's pretty much my take on train travel in the US, what we have of it. You pay as much money as you would for airfare, but you don't get there any faster than you would by driving. For someone like me, whose purpose is to get to where I'm going rather than to have the "train experience", it's very much the worst of both worlds. Which is not meant as a slight against those for whom the "train experience" is one of the things they want, but I don't care one way or the other about it.

#557 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2017, 08:15 PM:

Mumble mumble not saying anything about the "train experience", but could go on at length about how much it's worth to avoid the "airplane experience".

#558 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2017, 08:15 PM:

Mumble mumble not saying anything about the "train experience", but could go on at length about how much it's worth to avoid the "airplane experience".

#559 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2017, 08:18 PM:

Whoops. Doublety.

There was a clear browser feedback failure there -- when I hit the "post" button, the URL bar did not start to progressbar as it should have. Tnat's why I pressed it again.

This is not a Javascript issue because I have JS turned off. (And that is fine for posting here.) It must be something weird about the way the HTTP request progresses? I dunno.

#560 ::: Zack ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2017, 08:37 PM:

Thanks to everyone who's been helping me run my experiment.

There seems to have been some confusion about exactly what you have to do once you get to the page. Especially, the pushpins aren't the experiment—they're just for you to compare to the circles that get drawn once you run the experiment. You need to push the "start" button on top of the map, wait for the progress bar to go all the way to the end, then push the button which used to say "tell me more" and now reads "yes I want to help", read all of the cautionary notices that the CMU ethics committee insisted I make you read, and then fill in the form at the very bottom of the page and submit it. I've made some adjustments to the page which will hopefully make this clearer.

@543 Yes, delays in your local network are one of the biggest problems with this technique. There are ways to correct for it, but they require "traceroute" information, which I can't collect from inside a web browser.

@545 I don't know why your browser would think you are in Milton Keynes, but if had done that, I would guess that your ISP had its offices there. That is a common mistake for IP-to-location services to make.

@549 Good point about Github, I have changed the text to offer a choice of that or sending me email about the problem.

I'm not especially surprised to hear that it can't pin you down in Honolulu. There are several possible explanations, of which the most probable is that all of your traffic is taking a detour through California, adding enough delay that most of it exceeds the "too big to be helpful" limit. This is called "boomerang routing" in the literature, and it happens quite often. For bulk traffic, it can even be the Right Thing, when the long way around is less congested than the direct cable.

#561 ::: Zack ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2017, 08:54 PM:

I should add: I still get useful data out of a run that doesn't pin down your location very precisely, because a key research question is how precisely it can pin down your location, as a function of where your location really is.

So, please do go through the whole process of sending in the data, regardless of the result, unless you get an actual error message (in which case it won't let you send in the data).

#562 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2017, 09:33 PM:

Zack @561/2: I'll be traveling and taking my computer with me to San Diego in a bit over a week. Does it help to have that location info as well?

And I sometimes connect through a hot-spot on my phone; does it help to run both versions? I could run connected to the hotel wi-fi and the hot-spot, for example.

#563 ::: Race Traitor Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2017, 09:44 PM:

Tracie 546: Good to know Bish is hanging in there, but of course sad about his husband. I'm sure he doesn't remember me, but if you find it appropriate, could you let him know he was remembered fondly here?

Zack 529: My browser puts me across the yard from where I actually am in Hoboken, NJ. The algorithm puts me some miles away in Long Island, partway out to Sands Point. I think it's in Port Washington, but I can't tell from the map. Puts me in the middle of Roger Drive near the intersection with Glen Lane.

I certainly hope my server isn't actually in the middle of the street!

#564 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2017, 01:00 AM:

The plane experience is part of why I drive the elevenish hours to Alpha each year*. Elevenish hours in the car, listening to music, drinking lattes like they're keeping me alive, feeling tough and drivery, vs... well, five or six, at least, including being on a plane? It's just not enough of a difference to be worth it to me. But then, I find time easier to spend than money.

*Other reasons: it's good to have more staff cars on campus; I want to visit my grandfather as long as I'm eleven hours closer; I can pack all the things.

#565 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2017, 05:26 AM:


I used to get told I was in Milton Keynes, but the ISP brand I had then has been taken over with another company, and they don't say very much about where their server-site is.

My current ISP has a head office in a northern city, but the servers seem to be somewhere near London. The Telehouse operation is west of the London Worldcon site, on the other side of the River Lea, and has been a key hub for the UK Internet for as long as I can remember.

It does look odd that so many circles of about the same size are centred in Europe, suggesting that England is at least as far from any European measurement points as is Timbuktoo. I suppose, with Brexit, we are going to have to get used to that.

#566 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2017, 06:15 AM:

Dave Bell @ #565:

A lot of the transit providers (basically "provides connectivity to outside UK") used by UK ISPs tend to have some amount of linkage to Europe (usually to Amsterdam, maybe some to Frankfurt) and the rest of the connectivity is heading straight across the Atlantic. There's a few that have cables to the Nordics and I suppose there must be cables across the Irish Sea, as well.

It's certainly been the case that there's been times when you get better bandwidth (although much worse round-trip) going from Europe to Europe via the US Eastern Seaboard (through a building owned by teh New Your Port Authority, most likely).

#567 ::: Zack ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2017, 07:49 AM:

Tom Whitmore @562: I haven't got anything from San Diego yet, so why not. Yes, doing the test once each via two different ISPs in the same region is useful.

#568 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2017, 09:55 AM:

Speaking of 2017 Hugo Awards, I got my "here's the voting!" link by electronic communication only a scant short while ago. I think this means I need to sit down and rank entries in the not-too-distant future. And also probably do some targeted catch-up on my reading.

#569 ::: Quill ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2017, 11:01 AM:

I haven't taken a train in the U.S. in some years, but I remember it as a pleasant experience on the whole, if no faster or cheaper than a plane.

Much as I love the sensation of flight, as a fat person of medium height, plane seats are becoming less and less comfortable for me. And trains may be no better than planes in terms of time/money, but for those of us without cars, they're at least an alternative to the discomfort of air travel.

#570 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2017, 11:03 AM:

Zack @567:

I'll do it again, this time at work. Physically, I'm less than a mile away from home. Network-wise, I'm going from a residential ISP to a university which is home to a supercomputing center with gobs of connectivity.

This time, my browser thinks I'm about 50 feet south of where I actually am. How does it know?!?

A suggestion for an enhancement: On the "type in your GPS coordinates" page, how about linking into the same map server as you do on the front page, allowing people to select their location by finding it on the map and clicking to fill in the fields?

This time, the smallest circle covered half the state rather than half the country, and my actual location wa just on the edge of that circle.

#571 ::: Zack ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2017, 11:40 AM:

@570 about linking into the same map server as you do on the front page...

That's a good idea, but unfortunately it'd be more coding than I have time for in the foreseeable future.

#572 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2017, 12:37 PM:

Bruce H. @525: it was jarringly noticeable that the italics were rendered in a sans-serif face.

I tried several times over the years to read Drawing Down the Moon, and simply couldn't.

The line corrections for the revisions were pasted in by hand, in a slightly different font. Blew me out of the water Every. Single. Time. "Is that a font change? Does that font change mean something? No? Ignore it?"

Like, several times a page.

Several times I tried, and every time, I'd get maybe ten pages in before giving up, in a cold sweat, with my shoulders up under my ears.

I notice there's a Kindle version out; maybe I'll give it another try. They'd have to re-key it (or OCR it, or something), right?

#573 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2017, 01:08 PM:

Bruce H. @525, Jacque @572:

I have found that it is hard for me to read books set in Helvetica, or some other clearly-display sans-serif for the body text.

Arbitrary font changes like you describe would drive me batty.

#574 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2017, 01:11 PM:

Is Wal-Mart actually doing something that's going to help their poorer customers in the long run?

It's tempting to think so, but given their track record, I can't help but suspect that at some point along the line these cards are going to quietly turn into "company store" instruments, unusable anywhere except at Wal-Mart.

OTOH, people who get started building up savings by means of a Money Card may eventually get to the point of being able to jump ship to a credit union, and that would be an undiluted Good Thing.

Buried in a parenthetical throwaway deep in the article is this: Last year, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced new rules that later this year will require card issuers to package their products with a standardized fee-disclosure form; some congressional Republicans are now pushing legislation that might block this change.

This is something progressives should keep an eye on and badger their Congresscritters about. A standardized form would help people who want a credit card to do comparison shopping, allowing the vaunted Free Market to shake out the ripoffs and junk cards offered by many banks. I'm not surprised at all that Republicans hate the idea. After all, they want to eliminate the CFPB (and any other sort of watchdog agency) altogether.

#575 ::: SunflowerP ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2017, 01:20 PM:

Xopher @ 512: "And, all kidding aside, I bet the Norman French did have some trouble pronouncing 'Hlæfdige'."

Yep. As you've likely triangulated from subsequent posts, they (eventually) pronounced it 'lady' :-).

Zack @ 529/561: I found the instructions as you currently have them clear and easy to follow - my biggest issue was with getting the error message, but reloading the page and starting over worked (third time lucky; I wouldn't have given it a fourth go if the third had failed, but I was willing to do three because I might be a NAmerican data point you don't have yet).

#576 ::: estelendur ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2017, 03:01 PM:

I know that Sumana Harihareswara is a GoH at Penguicon this weekend (as is Ada Palmer!) -- with there be enough other Fluorospherians present for some size Gathering of Light? It's my Very Local SF con, so I'm definitely going.

#577 ::: Sumana Harihareswara ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2017, 04:19 PM:

Thanks for the suggestion, estelendur! Here's my schedule of official events for the weekend. I am currently planning to have dinner with a Michigan pal on Sunday night and meet up with MetaFilter folks perhaps Sunday afternoon, and Ada is pretty busy too during the mornings and afternoons of the con. Maybe you could recommend a particular evening party we could try to piggyback on?

#578 ::: estelendur ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2017, 04:53 PM:

I don't actually know if information has been released yet about evening parties. Hmm, I will ponder this.

#579 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 24, 2017, 05:19 PM:

Spotted in the Portland March for Science:

Any care to guess which Sci-Fi writer is representing?

#580 ::: Sumana Harihareswara ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2017, 05:29 PM:

Crooked Timber is holding a book seminar on Cory Doctorow's new novel, Walkaway, which is out today. I enjoyed Walkaway a lot -- along with Rebecca Solnit's Hope in the Dark I found it inspiring and urgent when I was feeling a lot of political despair. I bet the CT seminar will be worth reading and I'm looking forward to it.

#581 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2017, 06:20 PM:

Lee @ 556: IME, train travel is faster than driving over longer distances, unless you have drivers who can spell each other all through the night. My parents used to do that when we drove DC-Jacksonville to see my grandfather, but that was long enough ago that it was almost entirely on federal highways; I wouldn't recommend it on interstates except for the very young and durable. (Note that this applies mostly if you're going between places serviced by trains and don't care that service is about once a day.) It's also typically faster for Northeast distances over ~200 miles, as NYC (either digging through or evading) eats driving time. (For someone my age, being able to walk around unkinking while the carrier keeps moving also reduces travel time -- although sometimes not enough to make up for having to meet the train's schedule.)

#582 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2017, 08:46 PM:

CHip, #581: For people who live in the Northeast or other areas well-serviced by passenger trains, that may be true. But here are my two experiences with seriously researching train travel as an option:

1) Going to Conadian in 1994. I have a lot of friends in the Chicago area who are train enthusiasts, and we considered the idea of getting enough people together to have our own "Worldcon party car"... until we discovered that the only way to get from Chicago to Winnipeg by train was to go thru TORONTO. Yeah, right.

2) A couple of years ago, looking at the train as an option for going from Houston to LA and finding that it would take 3 days each way, and neither the departure nor the arrival times on either end were remotely convenient. I can drive from Houston to LA in 3 days, and that includes 2 nights in a motel somewhere as well as food stops. But in that particular case, I chose to fly. And yes, the cost of train fare and airfare were comparable.

There have been other "check out the train" occasions over the years, but IIRC they all fell apart over the issue of "the train doesn't go there at all".

#583 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2017, 10:07 PM:

They found models in a Chinese tomb of looms that are capable of doing color weaving of geometric patterns - there were still threads attached to the models. The models are about 2100 years old.

#584 ::: Jim Parish ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2017, 10:22 PM:

Back when I was going to the University of Chicago, I took the train to go to San Diego for the holidays a few times. About 29 hours from Chicago to LA, then hop the local to San Diego.

The only real irritant was the one time a nearby kid played with his Speak-n-Spell *all night*. I think I was hallucinating by about midnight....

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