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July 16, 2005

Open thread 46
Posted by Teresa at 03:15 PM *

First, would I have you know, for every gift Or sacrifice, there are—or there may be—
Two kinds of gratitude: the sudden kind
We feel for what we take, the larger kind
We feel for what we give. Once we have learned
As much as this, we know the truth has been
Told over to the world a thousand times;—
But we have had no ears to listen yet
For more than fragments of it: we have heard
A murmur now and then, and echo here
And there, and we have made great music of it;
And we have made innumerable books
To please the Unknown God. Time throws away
Dead thousands of them, but the God that knows
No death denies not one: the books all count,
The songs all count; and yet God�s music has
No modes, his language has no adjectives.

—Edwin Arlington Robinson

Comments on Open thread 46:
#1 ::: Jeremy Osner ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2005, 09:14 PM:

Have any of you read "Under the Jaguar Sun" by Italo Calvino? (I am speaking of the story which is the first story in the book of the same name.) It grabbed me when I read it yesterday morning, like he was writing about me. I'd be interested to hear if anyone else had a strong reaction to the story and what you thought about it.

#2 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2005, 10:45 PM:

I have "Iron Chef America" playing, half-watched, on the TV. (Pizza Dough battle.)

In the 40 minutes I've been watching, they have had two different adverts for sprays that remove pet urine odors.

Ignoring the aesthetic issues a moment: What does this say about the Food Network's demographic?

#3 ::: Melissa Mead ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2005, 10:58 PM:

One of those ads promised to "remove invisible odors."

It's the visible odors you've really got to watch out for.

I never knew you could make cheese balloons until I saw that show.

#4 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2005, 11:08 PM:

I never knew you could make cheese balloons until I saw that show.

After the unfortunate business of the R103 over Wensleydale, they went out of fashion until after the war.

#5 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2005, 11:53 PM:

"Cheese balloon" sounds like a euphemism for a certain invisible odor.

#6 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2005, 01:27 AM:

Today, I found Kaiju Big Battel (sic). I've yet to plumb its depths, but be sure to check out the DVD trailer. Caution: Sound, Quicktime file loads in page!

Basically, WWF (or WWE as its now known) meets old Japanese monster movies. If they ever get to Seattle, I'll be there!

#7 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2005, 08:12 AM:

I've got a guess for what "God's music has no modes" could mean--it's all essentially unique and doesn't divide into types--but I can't figure out what's intended by "his language has no adjectives". Why adjectives?

The part about books seems to say that God values everything that people make, but there's more to adjectives than good vs. bad.

#8 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2005, 11:44 AM:

Does anybody know the origin of Shangri La? Of course, it comes from James Hilton's wonderful novel "Lost Horizon", but did Hilton make the name up? Or does it actually mean anything?

The reason I'm asking is because of the miniseries "Into the West". I haven't watched it, but I saw one excerpt where one character refers to California as the Shangri La of the West. And it's set around 1850, I think. It's probably just an anachronism - like Tom sizemore in "Saving Private Ryan" when he yells 'Let's rock & roll!'

#9 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2005, 01:51 PM:

I have a question about the new Harry Potter book, having finished it yesterday: don't worry, I'm not going to discuss anything involving the plot or the characters, or the setting--no spoilers here. I just have a question that Our Glorious Hosts in their editorial hats, or Tom Whitmore as extremely well-read collector, or Mr. Ford as damn good professional writer could probably answer easily if they've read it.

Am I mistaken, or is Chapter 2 the longest "As you know, Bob" in the history of young adult fiction? Because halfway through the chapter I found myself fondly remembering the well-integrated ending of Pel Toro's Galaxy 666, and the explanations of Meyer Meyer's name in the 87th Precinct series. I liked the book overall, and I expected something like the small overview included in Chapter 1 for those just starting to read Rowling's books, but this...

#10 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2005, 02:02 PM:

Teresa, thank you for posting this poem. It's a better expression of the reasons I bind books than I have been able to come up with myself. It shows, as well, why I gave away my early bindings and still felt rewarded.

I think the Unknown God has no ajectives because it doesn't evaluate quality the way the self-critical craftsman does, though I agree that it's not clearly stated. My dad's like that too, and gets a lot of my daring experiments as a result.

I'm neck-deep now in the bindings I'm doing for Worldcon (another source of the larger gratitude, but no more on that here till All is Revealed). I think I'll copy this poem out onto some scrap of paper to refer to as I bind.

And speaking of things done badly but (I hope) still appreciated, the Atlanta Nights binding is done and ready for its charity auction. I was going to wait till my new site is up and running, so bidders can see pictures, but that's only a few days away now. And I won't be displaying it at Worldcon, because, frankly. it doesn't show me in a very good light as a binder. (Except insofar as it reflects the text in the design and style, of course...)

Mr Macdonald, will you or one of your representatives be at the con for a handoff, or shall I post it somewhere?

#11 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2005, 02:05 PM:

Nancy Lebovitz:

"'his language has no adjectives'. Why adjectives?"

In Process Theology, does one say "God's language has no adverbs?"

Does Sunday School instruction have no ejaculations? Oh, those multi-hundred megabuck lawsuits. Never mind.

#12 ::: Harriet ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2005, 02:09 PM:

Completely OT (if one can be OT in an O.Thread?) Has anyone else been struck by the little "From the Wires" headline/linky-thing on Salon just now, the one that reads "Miles' Space Assignment Raises Questions"???

I guess it's clear I don't watch enough CNN (er, actually I don't watch any CNN, as I can't get cable in my building) because Miles O'Brien certainly wasn't the first Miles to spring to mind when I spotted that!


#13 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2005, 02:12 PM:

When I saw that title, I assumed it had something to do with the number of plane seats assigned to frequent flyer programs.

#14 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2005, 02:40 PM:

Bruce E. Durocher II:

I take it that you were as satisfied with Chapter 1 as was I?

"Am I mistaken, or is Chapter 2 the longest 'As you know, Bob' in the history of young adult fiction?"

Actually, this was a change of pace from the prior chapter, but it gave me an interesting World War II espionage novel sense. You know, top SS guys arguing about who's personally closest to Hitler?

One key to my expectations to Harry Potter 6 was the growing question: "just what is the interface between the magical and muggle worlds here?"

Chapter 1 addresses that head on.

But, related: how clear is it that the muggle world here is NOT our mundane reality? When did it diverge?

We've heard from J. K. R. why America doesn't appear in the saga. But, internal to the novels (and not her concerns about fan reactions), why?

Where is the saga, in the ensemble of all possible fictional universes?

I mean, I believe that Nicholas Flamel was a real person in our History, and all that.

But how did Magic come to the Harry Potter world, by way of contrast to "Lud-in-the-Mist" or Susanna Clarke's "namless slave," or J.R.R. Tolkien?

And, finally, is there any way that we can tell until Book 7, whether or not J.K.R. has Pulled It Off? Not in sales, of course (i'd pred8cted after Book 1 that she'd be the first Billionare author). But in what she's doing in Subcreation.

Is she reacting to WWII, the Cold War, The War on Terrorism, the War of the Books [Swift], anything so grossly hostorical, or what?

Dr. George Hockney reminds me that the Ballentine edition of Tolkien has an author's introduction where he denies LOTR is allegory, or related to World War II. J.R.R.T. then gives a hint of the outlines of an alternate history in which he DID write LOTR in terms of WW II.

#15 ::: Mary Aileen Buss ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2005, 02:52 PM:

Change of topic: Back in Open Thread 36, Jill Smith was looking for a children's book in which the kids were turned into mice, and I told her that I thought it was The Witch Next Door by Ruth Nash. Nope. The author's name is Ruth Chew (not Nash), and I must have the title wrong. I'm not sure which of Chew's several zillion books it was, though.
Sorry to steer you wrong before, Jill. I hope this correction helps.
--Mary Aileen

#16 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2005, 02:58 PM:

Nancy: I take him to mean that to God every single thing in creation is unique, its own glorious noun. (Or if you prefer, its own unique verb.) It is an alternate statement of what you understood by "God's music has no modes" which I was a little confused by. A fragment of Borges comes to mind here (probably misquoting badly): "The steps a man traces from birth to his death form a geometric figure of inconceivable complexity. The Divine Mind grasps that shape as easily as we grasp a triangle."

#17 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2005, 06:30 PM:

Thought folks might like to see some pretty (mathematical) pictures.

(Fractals based on the Newton-Raphson approximation for finding the roots of an equation)

#18 ::: Michael Turyn ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2005, 07:52 PM:

At the bottom of a graphic featured in the enlarged version of this page for the Bello Script font linked-to from the New York Times' piece about the same (reg. req.) is something that is both better than lorem ipsum and is also a sneek-peak of the opening of the Bad Magic sequel:

We took a breezy excursion and gathered jonquils from the river slopes. Sweet marjoram grew in luxuriant profusion by the window that overlooked the Aztec city. Jaded zombies acted quietly, but kept driving their oxen forward.

Note that these zombies, like those infesting San Diego, like heavy sunlight---and that I'm not sure I want to know the particular nature of their "oxen".

(There's also a nice echo of Molly Bloom in the beginning; good going, Stephan.)

#19 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2005, 07:57 PM:

Aha! Unscrupulous cattlemen are using zombies to drive oxen. Now we know where BSE comes from!

Brains! Braaaiiins!

#20 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2005, 07:59 PM:

Michael Turyn:

Actually, those are rather pretty pangram, much more novelistic than "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog." I personally like:

Pack my box with five dozen liquor jugs.

We promptly judged antique ivory buckles for the next prize.

and some of the others at Pangrams. There are other pangram sites on the web.

The "perfect" pangrams, exactrly 26 letters long, require Roman numerals, or denizens of deepest crosswordpuzzlia, and are incomprehensible without footnotes.

#22 ::: Jill Smith ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2005, 08:15 PM:

Wow - thanks, Mary Aileen!

#23 ::: Glen Blankenship ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2005, 08:15 PM:
It's probably just an anachronism - like Tom sizemore in "Saving Private Ryan" when he yells 'Let's rock & roll!'
I haven't seen SPR in a while, and don't have a copy to hand, but are you sure he didn't say, "Let's lock & load!"?

I've seen sugestions that the phrase was orginally "load & lock" in WWII (which makes a bit more sense with an M1 Garand), but was reversed by John Wayne in 1949's Sands of Iwo Jima.

It wasn't until Vietnam that troops began substituting the sound-alike "let's rock & roll" as they headed out on patrol.

As for Shangri-La, the OED, the American Heritage, and Merriam-Webster's Third all attribute it to Hilton's novel.

#24 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2005, 09:04 PM:

I always thought that Sisyphus, that great sinner of Greek mythology, before some dyslexic monk inked it backwards on a parchment, was doomed to gaze once again at his private Hill and say, with infinite weariness, "Let's roll a rock!"

#25 ::: Michael Turyn ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2005, 10:15 PM:

For my good deeds for today
I introduced Sisyphus his rock to C4
Drained Tantalus' pool
Ate all his grapes
And left my Ionian translation
Of Buddhism for Dummies

#26 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2005, 10:30 PM:

To the person who invented iced coffee:

Thank you. Thank you, you wonderful bastard.

#27 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2005, 11:06 PM:

Stefan - I'd like to offer an addition to your words of thanks - Thank you Peet's for making decaf coffee that actually tastes like good quality coffee - even on ice, which I'm enjoying this very instant.

#28 ::: Maribeth Back ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2005, 01:13 AM:

"Two kinds of gratitude: the sudden kind
We feel for what we take, the larger kind
We feel for what we give."

A great description of one reason that the open source movement is so compelling for many people...and, Jules, thanks for the fractal image links. Because of your post, it strikes me that this crew might like these Electric Sheep (run by a friend, Scott Draves; and disclosure, I composed a soundtrack for a DVD of this work).

Electric Sheep is open source algorithmic art/artificial life propagating via p2p (and is named after Philip K. Dick's work of course):

#29 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2005, 09:05 AM:

Thanks, Glen. Just like I figured, a western where someone refers to Shangri La is a sign that someone dropped the ball behind the camera. Or in front of it. Or somewhere.

As for "Saving Private Ryan", I don't think Sizemore said 'lock and load'. But I haven't seen that scene in quite some time. I did catch some other bits on TV not long ago and I thought: hey, isn't that the guy from the Riddick movies? And, HEY, the wrong Ryan is Nathan Filion from "Firefly".

#30 ::: Cassandra ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2005, 09:29 AM:

Nancy wrote:
I've got a guess for what "God's music has no modes" could mean--it's all essentially unique and doesn't divide into types--but I can't figure out what's intended by "his language has no adjectives". Why adjectives?

My guess about the modes is that they're using the word here in the musical sense, which refers to seven different scale-types extrapolated from ancient Greek mathematical and musical writings and appropriated by medieval churchmen. They're a traditional mode of writing music, and many sound as off to modern ears (most of us are trained to hear in terms of a Western European cultural musical scale tradition) today as, say, the harmonics of Indian music or traditional Japanese koto. Like them, with time you can listen and learn to appreciate subtleties--it's just harder than, say, listening to Bach.

The two places I have been able to find public examples of these other modes are at the Kendall Square T stop in Boston (the "Pythagoras" public artwork seems to play a true Pythagorean scale--pump the handle slowly, and it only works on one side of the station), or the fancy 50-dollar six-foot windchimes you sometimes see hung in garden and hardware stores. These last will often have a tag telling you the history and harmonics of the mode in question.

A lovely quote from Robert Jourdain's "Music, the Brain, and Ecstasy" explains it better:

There is actually more than one kind of Pythagorean scale. The gaps left by the five excluded tones can be distributed in various patterns to produce seven different scales, and these form the classical church modes that bore fancy Greek names like Phyrgian and Mixo-Lydian [...] With time, we've settled upon just two of the seven, the Ionian and Aeolian modes, which today we call the major and minor scales. Both kinds of scale are conducive to building extended harmonies, and they work well in combination. But they are not heaven-sent.

#31 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2005, 10:26 AM:

Dripgate continues, how I wish there would be an end to Roving leaks and that he and his boss and that whole crew get flushed down into the barred dungeon cells....

Report Shows Karl Rove May Have Lied to Federal Agents, a Federal Crime, During Oct 2003 Testimony Into CIA Agent Leak

by Jason Leopold

>Looks like Karl Rove did break the law, the same federal law that got Martha Stewart sentenced to six months in prison...

Moreover, evidence suggests that President Bush was aware as early as October 2003 that Rove and I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, were the sources who leaked Plame’s undercover CIA status to reporters and after the president was briefed about the issue the president said publicly that the source of the leak will never be found.

#32 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2005, 10:33 AM:

A great deal of your Appalachian folk music is modal.

#33 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2005, 12:46 PM:

I notice particularly in the Sidelight Rove to the Rescue that never once in the course of the story does Karl Rove mention Valerie Plame by name.

Wow, talk about your keeping secret that which should be secret!

#34 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2005, 12:51 PM:

This is more fun when you recall who originated the phrase "corridors of power."

Tory Stories: Neo-Con Novels
by Jeet Heer
Toro (May 2005)

"... Lynne Cheney, the vice-president’s wife, has written three novels, as well as several children’s books. Before becoming the vice-president’s chief of staff, Lewis Libby made his literary debut with a historical romance set in early twentieth-century Japan. And, Richard Perle, who has been a formidable advocate for an aggressive foreign policy as the erstwhile chairman of the Pentagon’s Defense Policy Board (DPB), is the author of a Cold War thriller. At the DPB, Perle shares the table with Newt Gingrich, who also has a thriller to his credit..."

"... The presence of so many novelists in the corridors of power raises all sorts of questions. For starters, is there some hidden link between a powerful imagination and real-world power politics? And, what do these novels tell us about how political decision-makers really see the world? ..."

#35 ::: Andrew Willett ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2005, 01:10 PM:

Larry Brennan, I have seen a live Kaiju show. They perform all over the place, so don't feel obliged to trek to Seattle; I saw them in NYC, and I know they were playing Philly a month later. It was one of the most aggressively weird things I'd ever seen, and not just because I'd been awake for something like 24 hours straight by that point. The giant crimefighting bananas fought their evil twins, and Silver Potato (with the nice arms) got clobbered by a bunch of flagrant cheaters, and the steel cage was filled with little cardboard skyscrapers. Plus! The opening act was the Trachtenberg Family Slideshow Players! So, yeah, a singularly surreal evening. (More details in my blog entry here if you're interested.)

#36 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2005, 01:51 PM:

Andrew - Thanks for the link to your Kaiju experience. Now I want to go even more. BTW - Seattle's not a trek for me, I live there, er, here. It's just that Kaiju seems to have their Battels mostly on the East Coast.

#37 ::: Michael Turyn ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2005, 02:30 PM:

My thanks go to Peets for their free tea samples, and for their swiping the jasmine-tea/lime-juice combination from Vietnamese restaurants without mucking it up too much---I've in fact had worse in some restaurants.

The lime juice cuts the soapiness of the (cheap) jasmine tea, the half-dose (for tea-drinkers) of caffeine is just the thing if the last dose has worn off but it's too late for another whole cup.

I must admit, though, that their teas don't hold a lumen to those available from the Upton Tea company,, Uva.

For that matter, fresh whole-leaf Lipton is quite good by my lights (all tea is good _to_ my lights), and the bag stuff adequate if fresh. I think many people get driven to premium teas because their general experience of Lipton emerges from of a box that's been sitting on their paren[t's,ts'] kitchen shelf for a decade.

#38 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2005, 02:37 PM:

The review by Laura Miller of Harry Potter 6 on Salon is thoughtful, but has spoilers. I agree with her that ""Half-Blood Prince" comes together, making it not quite the most graceful novel in the series, but perhaps the most impressive."

Also, of interest to me as I continue research on my General Theory of Genres (and the SFRA 2006 theme of "Genres in Collison"): "The penultimate book in J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series was always destined to be the trickiest of all seven novels. The books are a clever mixture of two hallowed genres -- the British boarding school adventure and epic fantasy..."

An interesting point is the connection between the fantasy and our contemporary reality, which begins to be clearer in HP6. Did I already mention J.R.R. Tolien's denial that LOTR connects in any way with WWII?

"... What Rowling clearly didn't plan out in advance are the novels' alternately amusing and somber reflections of current events.... here the echoes show an eerie sense of timing. Now that even the bureaucratic Ministry of Magic has finally admitted that Voldemort is back and can strike anywhere at any time, a rash of mysterious deaths and acts of violence have the wizard community spooked."

"In the wizard world's version of the War on Terror, friends, neighbors, even relatives, might be under an 'Imperius Curse,' forced to secretly aid the schemes of Voldemort and his underlings, the Death Eaters.... The Ministry of Magic hasn't really got a handle on the situation, but it has managed to arrest three harmless people... in order to convince citizens that it's doing something."

Feeling Safer Yet?

#39 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2005, 12:02 AM:

Maybe Rove should be extolled for not breaking the speed limit driving in front of a police car recording car speeds... The law I think is rather explicit that it's EXPOSING an agent is the crime--one doesn't have to provide an actual name if the person can be identified in other fashion such as "person who lives at this address and [sufficient information to narrow the person down to that person] or "married to X," or other information that make for unambiguous identification. The name never has to be mentioned to blow someone's cover and get them identified as an operative and expose the people who were their contacts thereby also.

There is a muskrat resident in drainage ditch in the center of the locality I live in. That creature is a much higher integrity lifeform than anything involved in the Oaf's Oval Orifice Operations.

#40 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2005, 12:17 AM:

James, what was the remark about Appalachian folk music being modal in response to?

(I ask because I missed whatever it is and I'm interested in reading it)

#41 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2005, 12:43 AM:

Adding to James's remark -- perhaps the best-known modal tune is "What'll We Do with a Drunken Sailor". (Dorian mode: pick it out in D on a keyboard and you'll find you use all and only white keys; minor and major modes would both require black keys.)

#42 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2005, 01:18 AM:

"Scarborough Fair" is also in the Dorian mode.

Mixolydian examples include "She Moved Through The Fair," "My Lagan Love," and "Lola."

The Aeolian mode is the same as the modern minor scale, but is still considered modal if you don't raise the seventh degree even for cadences.

I can't think of any famous tunes in Phrygian, Lydian, or Locrian, but heavy metal guitarists like the former, and John Kirkpatrick wrote a song in the Locrian mode as a sort of tour de force.

#43 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2005, 01:36 AM:

Lucy: I was replying to Cassandra's post of July 18, 2005, 09:29 AM.

#44 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2005, 02:10 AM:

Hard to believe no one has asked this yet, so it is time for intervention:

Where does the theomusical postulate cited above place the Holy Modal Rounders?

#45 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2005, 10:26 AM:

Who the heck is Clement?

inquiring minds want to know.

Anyone have a good link that sums her up?

She was confirmed 99-0 back in 2001, so either she's good enough that everyone supported her, or a bunch of senators weren't doing their job.

#46 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2005, 01:05 PM:

I was going to ask which of the modes' Greek names translate to "pentatonic" and "heptatonic" which are the modes I'm used to talking about, but a quick google indicates that none of them do, because they all have half steps in them and the lack of half steps kind of defines the pentatonic and heptatonic scales. So now I'm confused. I did take a music theory class thirty-five years ago, but it was taught by a choir teacher who put Ayn Rand quotes on the board every day and we only dealt with major and minor there. Anybody know of a good basic, basic, basic ethnomusicology book? (not something New Agey: something more, well, scientific)

#47 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2005, 01:08 PM:

Knowing from previous exchanges in & around this area, that there might be a fair amount of interest in medicaments here, I wondered if this might create a bit of a stir.
Bitter pill poppers cut costs by Mark Coultan [Sydney Morning] Herald Correspondent in New York (July 20, 2005)

The US has the highest prices for medicines in the world, so five American states have decided to import them from Australia ... Under US pressure, the Canadian Health Minister, Ujjal Dosanjh, recently announced moves to restrict the export of personal prescription drugs ...
The scheme, I-SaveRx, operates in Illinois, Wisconsin, Kansas, Missouri and Vermont and allows residents to buy cheaper drugs by having prescriptions, written by American doctors, filled in other countries, including Canada, Ireland and Britain ... Australian drugs [are], on average, 51 per cent cheaper than in the US. Canadian drugs are 31 per cent cheaper ...
It is illegal to export Australian drugs subsidised by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme but other drugs are often cheaper in Australia because drug manufacturers have to compete with PBS-approved medicines.
The combined population of the five US states participating in the I-SaveRx scheme is more than the population of Australia and a potentially large market for Australian drug manufacturers and pharmacists.

#48 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2005, 01:18 PM:

perhaps the best-known modal tune is "What'll We Do with a Drunken Sailor"

Much Spanish music is in the Phrygian mode; I'm not sure if this is related to the lowest note on a standard-tuned guitar being 'E' and 'E' Phrygian comprising the same tones as the other two most popular scales: 'A' Aeolian and 'C' Ionian (Major). A lot of heavy metal music uses unusual modes too. Metallica's "Harvester of Sorrow" is in E Phrygian.

I understand that the Dorian mode is popular in Jazz. According to wikipedia, Hendrix's "Purple Haze" is in Dorian, also. Blues uses an 8-note scale that's a cross between Aeolian and Lydian (IIRC, it is an Aeolian or natural minor scale that has an additional sharpened 4th tone, which would usually be considered part of the Lydian mode).

#49 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2005, 01:19 PM:

My roommate has a copy of Cat Bordhi's latest knitting book, The Second Tresury of Magical Knitting, and is contemplating the possibilty of converting one of the felted Jester Tentacle Bags into something a bit more Lovecraftian. In addition to wrestling with the question of whether Cthulhu would be greenish- black, instead of blackish-green, she's wrestling with the issue of cilia. I think this is mostly because she wants an excuse to blend eyelash yarn in with the wool, but does anyone here have a position on Cthulhu with cilia, vs. Cthulhu without?

On the extreme off-chance that anyone here would want to look at a website where they can see knitted baskets with moebius-strip handles, here's Ms. Bordhi's:

#50 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2005, 01:24 PM:

To clarify for those who aren't familiar with these modes, this is the way I think is easiest to understand it: there are 7 modes, which can be thought of as rotations of the standard 7 tone scale; the "natural minor" is Aeolian, "natural major" is Ionian, etc. So, if you play with the white keys on a piano keyboard, you get A Aeolian (or Natural Minor), B Locrian, C Ionian (or Major), D Dorian, E Phrygian, F Lydian and G Mixolydian. As you'll see, Locrian is really tough to use well. The rest can be quite interesting though.

#51 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2005, 01:35 PM:

That would be Treasury. I checked that twice, too.

#52 ::: theresa ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2005, 02:35 PM:

Those look like fun books, fidelio! I'm glad there's that preview of the second book, the projects look quite good.

You may also be interested in these:
Cthulhu Mask (untested pattern, AFAIK. The creator has fibro and was unable to make it.)

#53 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2005, 08:03 PM:

Lucy: "pentatonic" and "heptatonic" aren't modes, at least not in the sense used here; all the named modes are heptatonic (having seven discrete tones).

Wrt not including half steps: what did you get from Google? 3 of the first 4 items I get from "heptatonic" (Va Tech dictionary, Wikipedia, and Britannica) say right in the summary that it includes major and minor scales. I have heard of a scale composed of six whole tones, but don't think I've heard any music written in it. (I suspect it would sound strangely atonal -- the unevenly-placed halftones give us some reference point for the home tone even if they're placed differently in different modes.)

The usual pentatonic scale doesn't have halftones (it has to cover the same ground in fewer notes). It's plausible in terms of simple harmonics, but I expect somebody has come up with a stretched-and-compressed pentatonic scale with a halftone -- just as some joker came up with the "scala enigmatica" (C, Db, E#, F#, G#, A#, B, C if memory serves -- it's been a long time since I did the "Ave Maria" Verdi wrote in it just to disprove the claim that it couldn't be harmonized.)

#54 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2005, 08:46 PM:

"scala enigmatica" (C, Db, E#, F#, G#, A#, B, C if memory serves

That'll teach me to post a fact without googling; a bit of poking led me to this encyclopedic list; if I read the notation right, I forgot that it was an octatonic scale, e.g. C, Db, E, F, F#, G#, A#, B, C.

#55 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2005, 08:47 PM:

One more try: this encyclopedic list

#56 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2005, 08:49 PM:

Oh well, I already know IE6 losed -- it's just what I have. Try -- a collection of a great many things I've never heard of.

#57 ::: Alex Cohen ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2005, 09:19 PM:

I've always wondered - why are the modes named after names of ancient kingdoms in Asia Minor?

#58 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2005, 10:47 PM:

Alex - medieval romanticization, AFAIK. No relationship to the actual kingdoms.

CHip - I'm led to understand that the bits of the Phantom's opera Don Juan Triumphant in Phantom of the Opera are written in a whole tone scale. They don't last long! Trying to create your link.

I've gotten a little mileage once in a while by playing in one whole-tone scale with my right hand (on the piano) and in the other with my left. Just for funky playing around stuff, of course. (It's more interesting - to me anyway - to play left-hand black and right-hand THAT's weird.)

#59 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2005, 12:14 AM:

Just a random comment from left field. I think I'm gonna miss y'all while I'm in the UK. Like in that aching longing for a community that I belong to. It was such a great break this last weeked (in Tulsa from Thursday evening until Monday, road trip takes 4 hours), to come here and get away. The hotel had free high-speed ethernet and (probably unknown to them) a pretty fast, free wireless thingie.

The con in Tulsa was satisfying in a lot of other ways, in that I got to spend time with one of my best friends(we all were in college together), and another very good writer-friend that doesn't get out much, and who used to live very much remotely from just about Everything Deliberately.

Unfortunatey, Making Light is probably the most ephemeral thing I look at AT LEAST daily, and IF we can get online on the Dell laptop that belongs to the bid in the UK, it's going to be doing things like checking email.

We're leaving Friday night (7/22) and not going to be back until Monday night, 8/8. Sigh. I AM going to do a travelogue while I'm away, probably longhand on a pad then transcribed, I'll post my LJ access then.

#60 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2005, 12:59 AM:

CHip (...with help from Xopher):
Your Encyclopedic List of ALL the modes made my brain explode.

Thank you.

#61 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2005, 04:35 AM:

Okay, I am thoroughly overwhelmed by the list of modes. I did find a bunch of pentatonics listed there, and some others that will break my head if I think about them (two notes! That's not possible!)

I think I am remembering something incorrectly when I use the name :heptatonic" -- it lodged in my memory as the name for another kind of scale with no half-steps, but that seems to be wrong.

Backing up from the modes page there's a page for a program called Scala -- Much more technical than I would ever need.

Is Scottish pentatonic the name for the scale used on the Great Highland bagpipe? What is the name for that used in "Shady Grove?" (or "Little Betty Ann," same tune)"Little Maggie?"

#62 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2005, 09:42 AM:

Lucy, so far as I know, the Great Pipe uses a mixolydian scale. (F is really F-sharp, etc.)

This fellow has a more complete discussion of the subject than I should prove capable of.

#63 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2005, 10:21 AM:

Graydon, thanks. I don't know how I listened to my kid's bagpipe corps for four years and missed those two half-steps. Actually, I do: preconceived notions.

It was altogether very interesting, and explains quite clearly without ever saying so why you so seldom see ensembles of pipes and other melodic instruments, and probably also expl;ains why some people hear them as unmusical -- the tuning is not even myxolidian, as the intervals are non-standard with respect to other Western instruments.

I wonder what the Real Mackenzies and other groups of their ilk do about tuning.

#64 ::: Jeremy Osner ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2005, 10:24 AM:

medieval romanticization, AFAIK.

Didn't Plato refer to a couple of the modes by name? Or is that just an artifact of the translation I read? If so, any idea what names he used to refer to the modes?

#65 ::: Anton P. Nym (aka Steve) ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2005, 12:37 PM:

Those looking for an interesting take on the Kansas school board fiasco, er, conference may wish to read this open letter to the KSB, just brought to my attention on LiveJournal. I believe this letter brings a new and interesting viewpoint to the debate on teaching intelligent design in the classroom.

(Did I manage to keep a straight face all the way through that?)

#66 ::: Jimcat Kasprzak ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2005, 01:11 PM:

Spotted on Making Light over the past few weeks, courtesy of one of its most prolific posters:

" correspondance with Feynman about poetry, which led to our often anthologized sonnet, was (through malpractice by a permissions editor) left out of the new collection of letters edited by daughter Michelle Feynman..."

"...his wife, now ex-wife, worked very hard to make me an unperson in the History of Nanotechnology..."

"I know exactly what it feels like to be fired with no proper cause..."

"...supporters of the plagiarists that cost me my aerospace career, and a quarter of a megabuck or so in legal fees..."

"...the fault is at the feet of my (former) attorney..."

"The uncertainty was also due to a weirdo named Ron Jones ..."

I will be combing further back in the archives to gather material for my upcoming biography: They're All Out to Get Me: The Many Enemies of Jonathan Vos Post, and Why He is Nowhere Near as Famous or Successful as He Deserves to Be.

#67 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2005, 01:19 PM:

Lucy --

You're welcome! ("Into the making of a piper go seven years"; I put in two and a half of them twenty five years ago, and have recently been attempting to see how much I've forgotten.)

Pipe bands, at least the higher end pipe bands, put a good deal of effort into making sure everyone's chanters play well together; it's not a given that any two stands of great pipes, even any two that are excellent for solo play, will get along musically.

So I suppose it shouldn't be surprising that getting along with other instruments entirely is such a challenge.

You can get small pipes that use traditional A and D scales (good for playing English and Irish folk dance music); I have heard those used in company with stringed instruments for dance bands.

The really traditional pipes, well, I have heard recordings of someone playing a replica of the Great Speckled Pipe, which dates from the early 1700s. (This is all via my memory, so I could be a bit off, there. Pre-1745, is the interesting bit.)

Two drones, with twisty square bores (drilled with a red-hot iron bar!) and a chanter carved out internally with narrow knives; irregular elliptical bore with a variable, rather than a constant, change in section from reed to sole.

It gives one a feeling for just what wild music it must have been, when the MacCrimmons taught it by singing and the Western musical tradition didn't want to know.

(this is a tactful way of saying "makes the hair on the back of one's neck not so much stand up as attempt to run away".)

#68 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2005, 01:33 PM:

the tuning is not even myxolidian, as the intervals are non-standard with respect to other Western instruments.

Quick pedantic note: "Mixolydian" (or any of the modes) is defined purely by its sequence of half- and whole-steps, and is independent of the tuning system used. In medieval times it would have been Pythagorean tuning; in the Renaissance, mean-tone (which is not worlds away from bagpipe tuning, sharing the 5/4 major third); in the Baroque, well temperament; in modern use, equal temperament. But all would be called Mixolydian.

#69 ::: Janet Croft ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2005, 02:17 PM:

Since this is an open thread -- James Doohan, Scotty on Star Trek, has passed away.

#70 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2005, 02:28 PM:

Thank you for not saying "beamed up." I'm thoroughly tired of that already.

#71 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2005, 02:45 PM:


Your point is well-taken. There is a legitimate question as to whether my position is paranoid, or not paranoid enough.

It might not matter to anyone but me, my friends, and my family, but for the fact that Feynman, Nanotechnology, fatal corruption of the Space Shuttle contractors, and the like are objectively important.

By being in the right place at the right time, in terms of being before the early adopters, I have also been unusually exposed to politics and personalities in these fields.

I have a risky and somewhat self-defeating romanticism about acting in ways that I consider heroic, but which can equally well be taken as confrontational and provocative of those in power.

I have no problem with the Feynman family, quite the opposite, as I stay in touch with Feynman's sister, and daughter. That a permissions editor utterly failed to pass on extensive materials to Michelle Feynman, and this lapse resulting in my initially selected for inclusion in the collection of letters, then cut, was surely the fault of the permissions editor -- Michelle told me so.

That's not a "they're out to get me" stance. It's more of a "sh*t happens" stance, and my being unforgiving of those under whose aegis it happens.

I have a nuanced awareness of fame, as anyone living in Greater Hollywood must have, as well as anyone who's been close to celebrities who've suffered for their celebrity. I am not interested in being more famous. I have done work in several fields which I think has a degree of immortality, but that's for History to judge.

I agree that I'd like to have earned more money, but I have, as say, acted NOT in my immediate economic self-interest, but according to my perceived code of conduct for how authors and scientists are supposed to behave, as well as those tasked with, say, preventing death, and having management side with a lunatic and make policy decisions which did, in fact, lead to death.

Lone cowboy --> Noir detective. Myths of America. But I am taking an ethical position, as I see it, and am suffering for it. I know that I run the risk of seeming, well, eccentric to the point of irritating. But in the Making Light community, I get some very kind and constructive feedback, and am willing to have my hand slapped when my tone gets strident.

Thank you for taking the time to evaluate my position in this. Your opinion is self-consistent. And, once again, I may be wrong.

#72 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2005, 04:48 PM:
The Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame (SFM) in partnership with the Seattle International Film Festival Group (SIFF), today announced the launch of the first-annual Science Fiction Short Film Festival, to promote and encourage awareness, appreciation and understanding of the art of science fiction cinema.

The press release is here.

#73 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2005, 05:31 PM:

JVP, your explanation just makes it worse.

#74 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2005, 05:34 PM:

Need a job? Apply to Google Copernicus.

#75 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2005, 06:04 PM:


Thank you.

I consider myself an intellectual. That means that I define myself, in part, as someone who lives FOR ideas.

It seems to me that the mass of men and women live FROM ideas.

What Caltech woefully failed to teach me was that the world is also filled with scoundrels who live FROM the work of people who live FOR ideas.

It took me years to realize that academic and scientific protocol does not stay the hands of these malefactors, who (from my point of view) not only lack conscience, but watch others carefully for signs of conscience, which mark us as targets.

I am eternally grateful to SFWA Grievance, which at least ensured that I could keep some partial advances from books where there came to be a difference of opinion. And to MWA Legal Defense Fund, which helped me when I was arrested for asking those uncomfortable questions as a Town Council meeting about marked bills in officials' hands. And to the National Writers Union, which was doing fine in getting me credit and pay for my work as Technical Consultant on Philadelphia Experiment 2 until the grievance officer lost the files. And for other writers and scientists who have taken my side, in part because I do have some loyal friends, and in part because if you don't stand up for the intellectual property rights of oddballs who get ripped off, there may be nobody to help you when you get ripped off.

It took me more years to realize that one could litigate, to recover financial damages.

It has taken 15 years of litigation, sometimes successful, to realize that winning lawsuits and recovering money from crooked employers and publishers does NOT result in anyone admitted that one was right in the first place, let alone right to have proven so in court.

Hence my father's advice to me, posed as a question: "Would you rather be right, or happy."

My answer at the time was "Both!"

I no longer think that possible.

In a sense, the remedy for having one's freely disseminated ideas claimed and profitable used by others, who defensively attack you when you raise your voice in protest, is this: keep having good ideas. They can't all be stolen.

As I say, History will judge which ideas were good. Problem is, History is written by the victors. The easiest time to revise an incorrect account of History is when the parties are all still alive. Otherwise, the only option for the non-rich non-powerful is: outlive the parasites. Then tell the story as you know is right, without rude interruptions.

As to being fired without cause, I'd say: unless you can go to work knowing that you will choose to do the right thing, even at the risk of gettinbg fired, you should be working in some other field.

#76 ::: Alan Hamilton ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2005, 08:52 PM:

In addition to the Google lunar job, they have a lunar version of their aerial photography online at . Be sure to check the detail at the maximum zoom level.

#77 ::: MD² ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2005, 07:23 AM:

Just thought some of you might be interested in this.

#78 ::: vassilissa ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2005, 09:44 AM:

Jeremy Osner wrote:

Didn't Plato refer to a couple of the modes by name? Or is that just an artifact of the translation I read? If so, any idea what names he used to refer to the modes?

Yes, there were Greek modes named by region. Then, in the middle ages, there was a big revival of interest in Boethius' and Pythagoras' writings about music, and the church modes we know now (dorian etc) are all named after the Greek modes.

More recently still, people have been trying to reconstruct musical instruments of antiquity and, from them and the writings and the few surviving fragments of written music, perform ancient Greek music. There's a CD.

#79 ::: vassilissa ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2005, 09:58 AM:

JVP, your reply to Marilee just made it worse. Try saying less unless people specifically ask for details.

#80 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2005, 10:21 AM:

Tim: I don't see how what you said changes what Graydon said or what I said. Graydon said bagpipes are mixolydian because of the pattern of whole steps and half steps. I said that they deviate from the mixolydian because the intervals are not all standard half steps and whole steps. The most prominent deviation I read about in Graydon's link is that the top A is flat relative to the rest of the scale. It gives a reason for it, but I think what it does is make the pipes sound sharper and shriller.

#81 ::: Mris ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2005, 10:30 AM:

I don't know where else to put this but on an open thread: last night I dreamed that the Making Light regulars were helping me clean out an elderly aunt's home after she'd died. We were sorting the neat stuff from the useless, and James Macdonald was extremely helpful on the subject of how to safely dispose of various medical supplies and which things could be usefully donated to low-income clinics.

Those of you I know in person or have seen in photos did not look like yourselves, though. Lydy, for example, was a curly-haired, very very short platinum blonde. I kept asking her how she'd done it (leaving aside *why*), and she kept saying it was for the masquerade after my aunt's funeral. (None of my actual aunts have had masquerades at their funerals. Perhaps I should feel cheated.)

The brain is a very strange place.

#82 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2005, 10:35 AM:

vassilissa and Marilee:

My son suggest that someone write a book or story entitled: "Stop Blogging, You're Only Making It Worse." He also thinks the Olens' nanny was foolish for keeping her blog. He is disgusted by his fellow teeneagers wasting times on blog, and thinks I'm old enough to know better.

#83 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2005, 10:45 AM:


Oh. I thought that the Flypaper Theory particle would link to:

How a Fly Escapes Your Swat
By LiveScience Staff
posted: 12 July 2005

Trying to swat a fly can be among the most frustrating household activities. Now scientists know why it is so hard.

The fly's escape secret: It jumps rather than just trying to fly.

In a new study, researchers were interested in how a fly's brain executes the life-saving move. Gwyneth Card of the California Institute of Technology dropped black disks from different angles, each on course to squash a fly. She videotaped the scenes....


That, of course, reminded me of the line:

"As flies to wanton boys are we to the gods; / They kill us for their sport."
[King Lear IV.i.37–38]

Also, I wondered what her grant application looked like...

#84 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2005, 10:56 AM:

And I do agree with Patrick's link about what I suspected:

"Is Your Boss a Psychopath?"
Fast Company
From: Issue 96 | July 2005 | Page 44 By: Alan Deutschman Illustrations by: Christian Northeast

"Odds are you've run across one of these characters in your career. They're glib, charming, manipulative, deceitful, ruthless -- and very, very destructive. And there may be lots of them in America's corner offices."

"... 1% of the general population that isn't burdened by conscience. Psychopaths have a profound lack of empathy. They use other people callously and remorselessly for their own ends. They seduce victims with a hypnotic charm that masks their true nature as pathological liars, master con artists, and heartless manipulators. Easily bored, they crave constant stimulation, so they seek thrills from real-life "games" they can win -- and take pleasure from their power over other people."

So those of us who have many jobs and many collaborators are statistically likely to have roughly 1% of them claim credit for our ideas, fire us without cause, and that sort of thing. It's not me. It's a numbers game...

If it hasn't happened to you, just wait until you have also submitted 1,200 publications, and have as lengthy a resume as mine. There's a psychopath out there waiting for you to roll the dice one more time...

#85 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2005, 06:29 PM:

I've called my father a lot of things, but according to the Hare, he's a corporate psychopath. I wonder how much of that goes away with Alzheimers.

#86 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2005, 07:22 PM:

I said that they deviate from the mixolydian because the intervals are not all standard half steps and whole steps

This is what I'm (again, very pedantically) disagreeing with. Whether an interval is a half or whole step depends on its musical function rather than its exact tuning. If that weren't true, we wouldn't really be able to talk about the mode, since the tuning in use when it was named is no longer in use.

So the bagpipe's scale is just as Mixolydian as one on your piano. Same mode, different tuning. This is why we recognize "Amazing Grace" or "Scotland the Brave" on either instrument.

But, of course, you're exactly right that this tuning difference is very important in giving the pipes their distinctive sound. Like I said, I'm being very pedantic, probably pointlessly so.

The most prominent deviation I read about in Graydon's link is that the top A is flat relative to the rest of the scale.

That is definitely the weirdest thing about it. Octaves are usually constant across tuning systems (except gamelan). Other than that, it's a typical just intonation tuning (to the extent there is such a thing).

Speaking of "Amazing Grace" and just intonation, the Kronos Quartet's performance of Ben Johnston's theme-and-variations version of "Amazing Grace" (on White Man Sleeps) is a great place to start listening to just-intonation music.

#87 ::: Jeremy Osner ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2005, 08:09 PM:

What I like about stringed instruments (quite coincidentally, the only type I play), is that the tuning is totally up to the player. Now that said -- on a guitar you don't have much choice about the size of a half step, it's all laid out for you. But on a violin -- on a violin, you are free to create your own step sizes according to your ear and the placement of your fingers. I imagine trombonists feel the same freedom.

#88 ::: michelle db ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2005, 08:17 PM:

about all this neat music stuff:

Is there a book? I mean something for someone who's not a musician. A layman's book that helps the musically ignorant understand modes and scales and tuning and intervals.

Maybe with a CD?

#89 ::: Kathryn Cramer ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2005, 08:21 PM:

Paging Philadelphia convention fandom: These people need you. They're planning "Eschacon" (as in Eschaton) for Labor Day weekend in Philadalphia and, judging from the comment sections, seem to be trying to invent the art of the convention from the ground up.

#90 ::: Cassandra ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2005, 08:41 PM:

My recommendations of basic music books for beginners:

Aaron Copland's "What to Listen for in Music." A very good, basic introduction. Mostly helpful for someone who does not already play or sing music.

As quoted from above, Robert Jourdain's "Music, the Brain, and Ecstasy: How Music Captures our Imaginations." Serious reams of notes and a bibliography--no fluff here. The meat of the book deals with sciences ranging from psychology to pure anatomy; later on you get into chapters that might start answering questions like "why does Chopin make me cry?" Starts off at the basic (chapter one is entitled "From sound...") and goes from there. The best basic music book I've seen. For people who already play or perform, this book will give them lovely anecdotes and a new appreciation. For beginners, it opens a world.

For a really technical but historically fascinating discussion on modes and temperament, "Temperament" by Stuart Isacoff is good.

#91 ::: Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2005, 09:07 PM:

Marilee: From experience I can tell you that if the Alzheimer's goes on long enough everything goes away. One thing that made a real difference in my father in the earlier stages was that they gave him the 1/week version of Prozac. He'd resisted taking the stuff before because it made him feel "weird", but during the failing fitully stage it made him a much more pleasant person to be around. I'm pretty firmly convinced the biochemical problem is from that side of the family -- his father, my paternal grandfather -- had the same sort of depression. And one of great granpa's wives is not spoken of -- I found out she died in an asylum -- which could easily have been depression. Anyway, since mother had taken over making sure he took the proper pills at the proper time it was easy to slip the Prozac in and just tell him it was one more thing the doctor had prescribed.


#92 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2005, 09:44 PM:


Regarding your "Google Earth, Google Moon, and Beyond?" link, your readers may or may not know that NASA already has partially implemented the top level domains:


for the purposes of a planned web-based XML thingie for data from planetary probes.

Will there be a big showdown between Google, NASA, and Virgin Galactic over others? And how about the confusion between .xxx and .eros? Heavenly bodies, you know?

#93 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2005, 12:15 AM:

Speaking of "Amazing Grace"

Umm. We weren't. We were speaking of Great Highland Bagpipes.

Yes, I know how you got there -- but "Amazing Grace" was never a bagpipe tune until about the time that it showed up in that Star Trek movie (no, I don't think anybody thinks that was the initiator of it). My kid's bagpipe teacher is generally opposed to it, but when the school had yet another kid washed off the rocks he taught the pipers that tune because he knew that's what people expect nowadays for funerals.

It is pretty on the pipes.

#94 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2005, 12:35 AM:

I can add a data point to that: my one bagpipe record (not counting some albums with intermittent uilleann or Northumbrian pipes) is called Highland Pipes And Drums (Including Amazing Grace).

So in 1977, AG was popular enough on pipes to be a selling point.

It is odd that an American tune should end up associated with the Highland pipes. But at least it's a great tune.

#95 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2005, 03:23 AM:

Working in DC late last night,
He didn't looked left he only looks right.
He blocks out all thought of libety,
A skunk needing squashing in the land gone unfree.

You got your dead skunk
In the middle of the Rove
Dead skunk in the middle of the Rove
Dead skunk in the middle of the Rove
Stinking to high heaven

The Bush regime, that ain't no rose.
See Faux News and hold your nose.
The whole world looks and the whole world sees,
And it reeks in your olfactory.


Ari Fleischer gone and Colin Powell too,
But Karl Rove's got more dirty tricks to do,
It's a lying shame the vile things he's done
A dead skunk in comparison's a bright shining sun,


There's a huge stench arising from within DC,
For the legions of Dobson it's a place to be
And watch as they take all our liberty,
That dead skunk far better off than you and me,

You got your dead skunk
In the middle of the Rove
Dead skunk in the middle of the Rove
Dead skunk in the middle of the Rove
Stinking to high heaven

#96 ::: Lenore Jean Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2005, 08:45 AM:

For anyone still moping about being unable to afford Glasgow this year, round trip air tickets from Newark (NJ) to Manchester (UK) were still at $795 last night, including taxes. There are trains from Manchester to Glasgow and Edinburgh - it's a few hours, but direct. That's how John and I are going.

I priced it again because I wanted to change our return flight by half a day, and I wanted to know the damages. The price hadn't changed at all, so we only had to pay the change fees ($200 each, so bad enough by themselves).

Our beloved choir director, organist and friend is leaving! He's taken a wonderful job at a wonderful church in Asheville, NC, and we are bereft. August 14 is his last Sunday here, and we were due back from the UK that afternoon. So now we'll get back the night before instead. *sigh*

#97 ::: Sean Bosker ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2005, 09:11 AM:

About the Christmas in Tokyo billboard (sidelights), my wife translated it at "Christ was killed and Christmas was born"

I guess they kinda mixed up Good Friday and Christmas. Ah, the Japanese.

#98 ::: adamsj ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2005, 09:16 AM:

What con was this in Tulsa, just across the state line from me, that I missed?

#99 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2005, 11:01 AM:

Iran has executed two teenage boys for homosexuality.

The older one was 18, and the "offenses" were committed about two years ago; they've been in prison being tortured ever since.

I know it's not reasonable for this to change my opinion so that I'm now in favor of forced regime change in Iran. I expect I'll calm down. Right now nothing would give me more pleasure than to garrotte the members of that "Islamic Court" with piano wire; I'd consider their blood flowing over my hands a holy blessing.

Wow, I sure hope I do calm down. I've told my coworkers Do Not Feed the Christopher today. I heard about this a couple of hours ago, and I'm still in a rage. I really, really want to kill someone.

I think it was seeing the pictures of them with the nooses around their necks that did it.

Goddam murdering assholes.

#100 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2005, 11:19 AM:

Amazing Grace's quite inexplicable (to me, anyway) popularity for funerals aside, the traditional tune, and the one still played at Commonwealth military funerals where there's a piper, and not a bugler, is The Flowers of the Forest.

It has the advantages of being an old tune, of being wrought as a lament, and of being capable of a greater dignity of expression in skilled hands, at least as I see these things.

It's kinda like how Scotland the Brave can be readily outdone as either boast or menace by a number of much more obscure traditional marches.

#101 ::: Will Entrekin ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2005, 11:26 AM:

Xopher: The most alarming thing about that story is that could be argued as reason for a forced regime change here in America, as well.

#102 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2005, 11:35 AM:

Adamsj - it was Conestoga, Jim, Margene and I were fan guests of honor and Brad Denton did a bitchin' toastmaster intro for all of us (it helps == or not==that we've known Brad for mumblty-mumpfh years). They've already posted next year's guests, see

I hate missing this as much as I hate missing our local convention, ConQuesT (always Memorial Day). And their plays are wondrous.

#103 ::: Andrew Willett ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2005, 11:55 AM:

Many of you out there will be mildly pleased to learn that a new 'international' Serenity trailer has gone online.

#104 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2005, 11:58 AM:

I dunno, Will. While gays are certainly oppressed here, and there are certainly factions that would like to kill us all, no one (much less a teenage boy) has been executed with that as the legal justification AFAIK. There was a guy whose homosexuality was an argument in favor of the death penalty in a murder case, but that's as far as it goes.

Tim Walters, I always thought the melody of "Amazing Grace" was a Scots pipe tune; am I wrong? The words are American, I know that. And if the tune is too, I suspect it's Appalachian - in that area the Celtic cultural influence is very strongly felt, and a lot of the music from there could easily be Scots or Irish if one didn't know its true provenance.

#105 ::: punkrockhockeymom ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2005, 12:01 PM:

Xopher, thank you for the link, I hadn't heard. (Now I'm seething too, and a bit ill, really, but knowledge is better than not knowledge).

#106 ::: Will Entrekin ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2005, 12:30 PM:

Xopher: I hope you didn't take my comment as trying to reduce the severity or atrocity of the story to which you linked. It made me ill.

A lot of things make me ill. And your point is valid, i.e., America only oppresses gays but doesn't actually intentionally *target* them (yet). I just wonder, when you deny individuals their liberties and pursuits of happiness, how far away are other "inalienable rights"?

#107 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2005, 12:37 PM:

Will, I didn't. We're cool.

And I know. Even the Pagan community has been seriously discussing whether we might need to flee this country at some point in the future...Margo Adler led one such discussion recently, saying that her grandparents fled Europe, leaving behind other people who said it could never happen there, that they were safe...and who subsequently died in the camps.

As a Gay Pagan (and leftie), I'm not sure what patch they'd sew on my uniform. I hope I never find out.

#108 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2005, 12:45 PM:

Nigeria has issues beyond sending spam. The first 3 stories are one case, the last is another. Nigerian man sentenced to stoning for gay sex ABC Online, Australia - 8 Jul 2005 (Short piece)
Nigerian faces death by stoning for gay sex PM - Thursday, 14 July , 2005 (Transcript of longer radio piece) ... Nigerian women have also had their sentences overturned. But for men involved in homosexual sex, there's been little response ...
Nigerian man sentenced to death after admitting to gay sex Southern Voice Online, Friday, July 15, 2005 (printer-friendly version)

Gay Nigerian men face being stoned to death Mail & Guardian Online, 13 July 2005

#109 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2005, 12:47 PM:


My mother's parents liked to play Mahjong at the beach with friends who happened to be concentration camp survivors. I found myself speculating, as a child, what number I would someday get for my tattoo.

One of my brothers married the daughter of two concentration camp survivors.

A great uncle of mine was the only survivor of a village, when the Nazis stuffed the entire village into the synagogue, then burnt it down -- my relative hid under the stairs outside.

Another relative on my father's side escaped a death camp and fought with the Polish partisans against the Nazis.

At Boeing, I had a writer friend who dated the most depressed ladey I'd seen in years. Turns out that she's been a child sex slave of nazi officers at a death camp. They "liked" her. She survived. But at what cost?

Oh yes, it can happen here. It did in WWII if you were Japanese (and in aomse cases, Italian). Is is in Gitmo.

It can happen after they round up the guns, as they did in the Warsaw ghetto.

If you wore eyeglasses, the Khmer Rouge would kill you on the grounds that you could read books, and thus could have Ideas.

How big a step is it from burning Harry Potter books to burning pagans?

#110 ::: michelle db ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2005, 12:54 PM:

Cassandra-- Thanks for the recommendations. They sound like just what I'm looking for.

*clicks over to Amazon*

#111 ::: Alex Cohen ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2005, 12:58 PM:

As a Gay Pagan (and leftie), I'm not sure what patch they'd sew on my uniform.

<humor type=gallows>
Presumably a pink five-sided star.

#112 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2005, 01:08 PM:

Alex: appropriately uncomfortable laughter. Thanks, I needed that!

#113 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2005, 01:18 PM:

Tim Walters, I always thought the melody of "Amazing Grace" was a Scots pipe tune; am I wrong?

Beats me, actually.... google google... here:

The origin of the hymn's melody is, however, unknown. Most hymnals cite it as an early American folk melody since the hymn came to America without a definite melody. (The Olney Hymnal had words only.) In his PBS documentary on the song and its history, host Bill Moyers suggests the melody for Amazing Grace may have originated, as many then did, from a slave song.
#114 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2005, 02:15 PM:

Just to carry forward the thread of people mourning missing meetings. For some years I've been hoping that Neil Gaiman would visit Australia so I could hear him, rather than simply read his journal, & perhaps meet him briefly across a printed page.

He's here this month. He came to Sydney for 1 day. Guess which day I am booked immovably into hospital for some follow-up work after the cancer a while back? Right.

Oh well; I hope someone takes him on a trip either into the hinterlands and wilds, or some of the stranger non-natural parts while he's on the Great Southern Land.

#115 ::: Eric Sadoyama ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2005, 02:23 PM:

Neil raised my hopes when he said he was going to stop in Hawai'i on the way back from his current Far East tour, then dashed them a month later when his publisher decided not to. Rats.

#116 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2005, 06:06 PM:

Amazing Grace was written by John Newton. He was English.

Tune's older, of course.

#117 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2005, 06:44 PM:

I had a very Raymond Chandler experience today. Have to suppress details, for reasons of confidentiality.

Ground up into the hills above L.A., a hundred degrees and unseasonably humid, on Legal Services business.

Client in a genuine late 1940s Frank Lloyd Wright home, like a bachelor pad in heaven. Unusual angles, water, wood beams, washed out road, cactus, madrona, and manzanita. Amazing views.

Papers signed, attorney and other present. Talk wandered into the Mystery genre, Dorothy L. Sayers, others. Jokes about murder. Client dragged out 50-year-old photographs, very professional, black & white, camping trips in Mexico, pyramids, jaguar sculptures, and then startlingly:

a vivid and unmistakable wide shot of Leon Trotsky's house, solid as a fortress.

"Icepick in the brain. Never knew what was coming."

A story about Bernard Wolfe.

After the papers were signed, the client accepted a short of vodka on the rocks.

I wasn't offered one.

I would not have refused.

Back down towards L.A.; a moment out of time.

#118 ::: Steve Eley ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2005, 10:11 PM:

On a lighter note... If this isn't the right place to post anachronisms of Internet fads, I have no idea where they belong.

#119 ::: Andrew Sigel ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2005, 10:18 PM:

A follow-on to Lenore's earlier post about WorldCon airfares: there's actually a Virgin Atlantic $765 fare from Newark, NJ (EWR) to Glasgow (GLA), and the same fare from Kennedy (JFK) in NYC. Both are one-stop, changing planes and terminals in Heathrow (LHR), though British Midland handles the Heathrow/Glasgow leg under a variety of codeshares. I only checked for leaving on Aug. 2 or 3, and returning on Aug. 9 (the Aug. 8 returns don't seem to be available at that price).

I found these on ITA software, which is the engine behind Orbitz and a bunch of others, but you can't buy tickets from them so listings do not include service charges -- it's the first place I check when looking for fares, just to see what's out there.

#120 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2005, 01:24 AM:

Say, I notice that I've fallen off Making Light's listing of friendly blogs. I've afallen and I can't get up. If I don't fit in "Slightly Annoyed Scientists" then perhaps I can be branded "Slightly Annoying Scientists." Or not.

Some Making Light folks have noticed that my magicdragon2 livejournal is active again, and have emailed me offline. Again, I thank Teresa, Patrick, and their friends for, ummmm, encouraging me to get on livejournal, so as to, at least, be less of a drain on others' bandwidth.

#121 ::: Doug ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2005, 08:58 AM:

Why there aren't any new Barry Hughart books:

"The Master Li books were a tightrope act and hard to write, but not, alas, very remunerative. Still, I would have continued as originally planned if I'd had a supportive publisher: seven novels ending with my heroes' deaths in the battle with the Great White Serpent, and their elevation to the Great River of Stars as minor deities guaranteed to cause the August Personage of Jade almost as much trouble as the Stone Monkey. Unfortunately I had St. Martins, which didn't even bother to send a postcard when I won the World Fantasy Award; Ballantine, which was dandy until my powerhouse editor dropped dead and her successors forgot my existence; and Doubleday, which released The Story of the Stone three months before the pub date, guaranteeing that not one copy would still be on the shelves when reviews came out, published the hardcover and the paperback of Eight Skilled Gentlemen simultaneously, and then informed me they would bring out further volumes in paperback only, meriting, of course, a considerably reduced advance."

Surely Tor would be a better home?

#122 ::: Cassie Krahe ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2005, 11:16 AM:

I posted this down in the blackberry liqueur thread, sorry for the inconvenience.

With the liqueur recipe, about how much does it make and need? About two liters of berries can't make more than two liters of liquid stuff, but beyond that, I'm lost. And are there any guides to doing this sort of thing with regards to bottling? Everyone's made it sound so yummy, I've decided to risk making it.

#123 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2005, 12:16 PM:

Cassie, I also posted this link somewhere else obscure and I don't remember where. It has an extensive discussion of liqueurs, techniques, and so on.

#124 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2005, 02:55 PM:

Xopher: not to downplay your anguish -- but were you at Torcon? If so do you remember what was in the papers all that week?

It's no secret that the US, for all its faults, is at least ahead of large parts of the ]"Third World"[ in terms of personal liberties; note for instance the movement to split Anglicanism when Canterbury didn't immediately condemn and expel the diocese near me that seated an openly-gay bishop. And I'm seriously pleased that Canada now allows gay marriage nationwide; it will make even clearer the disconnect between Santorum et al. and the facts. But I was fascinated at the huge attention given to \one/ wrongful death; you'd have thought nobody in Canada knew that Iran (regardless of the grievances its people against the West) was largely controlled by religious psychopaths. Made me think of what the US acts on (9/11 and less cases) and ignores (Darfur, ...).

#125 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2005, 06:23 PM:

CHip, no, I don't. Was it Gene Robinson?

And I didn't see huge attention given to this case. Maybe there was in Canada, but even NPR didn't mention it in this country.

#126 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2005, 09:34 PM:

Xopher: "Gene Robinson" sounds correct; there was enough hoohah over the threatened split that the name escaped me.

Canada during Torcon was acting as if it had just discovered that Iran was controlled by psychopaths; I don't know if they've paid attention to this story.

Interesting note on the current story: the squib in the Boston Globe (didn't note original source) said the two were executed for raping children (i.e., not for having sex with each other). No further info, but if true it changes the slant -- although it could be simply another slander to reduce sympathy; cf Mahathir Mohammed (sp? Malaysia), to whose bill of charges the government added homosexuality in a blatant attempt to cost him public support after he challenged the ruler.

#127 ::: Lenore Jean Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2005, 09:49 PM:

Gene Robinson is indeed the name of the NH bishop. He was apparently at the NYC pride parade, though I didn't see him; our Newark bishop, Jack Croneberger, was there as well. He rode in the Oasis ministry's car, accompanied by the several churches sponsoring the Oasis, including ours. (The Oasis is the Newark diocese's outreach to GLBTI people.)

I met Gene Robinson at an Oasis anniversary service a year ago. He's extremely personable. I liked him.

#128 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2005, 10:40 PM:

The link to the Christmas in Tokyo image moved here, apparently because of the BoingBoing traffic.

I suspect that lots of Asians chuckle at big Buddhist gaffes in the West, too.

#129 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2005, 02:48 AM:

We're having trouble identifying a mysterious raptor that hangs around at the dog park. Some people think it's a golden eagle, which is possible, but I'm not confident. I don't think it's a red tail. Can anybody tell from the pictures? They're not great.

#130 ::: punkrockhockeymom ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2005, 09:33 AM:

Hey! Breaking into open thread: I'll be in NYC on an extended business trip on and off throughout August. I'll probably be there for two weeks straight and then on and off through the latter half of August. I might be there for my birthday!

I'm coming in on Sunday morning or Saturday afternoon, but that's not finalized. Mostly, I'll be working--egads, I don't know if there will be a minute I won't be working between now and November!!!--but of course there will, that's just me panicking.

So, Teresa and Patrick and other New Yorkers, where should I eat? What should I do if I get some free time? Where should I shop for books? Where should I shop for music? Patrick, if Whisperado is going to play during August I would love to come hear.

I hate business travel but have never really had a chance to see NYC; I've only been for a couple of meetings and a hearing before now. So I'm going to try to make the best of the extended absence from family.

#131 ::: Lenore Jean Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2005, 09:41 AM:

Lucy, I could be wrong, but I think it's an osprey. It made me think osprey when I saw it, and when I looked in my nearest bird book (I have a lot of them), the osprey picture looked very similar. A closer look at the head would help, but I'm pretty sure already.

#132 ::: Jeremy Osner ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2005, 10:15 AM:

punkrockhockeymom, Here are some things I like to do with free time in NYC:

-- Go to museums. My faves in Manhattan are the Natural History and the Cloisters. If you like sculpture you should certainly think about riding to Queens to spend an evening at the Socrates Sculpture Park, if you wanted to you could also take in PS1 art museum, one of the coolest places I know to see contemporary art, and the Noguchi museum, dedicated to the work of that architect, which is quite close by. And, you would have an excellent chance to eat dinner at Kabab Cafe, which for my money is the only You Absolutely Must Do This While You're In The City experience. In Brooklyn, the Brooklyn Museum is fun and you can go to the botanical gardens next door, and there are lately some very nice places to eat in the neighborhood.

-- Go to bookstores. (Well duh.) My stand-byes are Coliseum Books in midtown; The Strand in the Village; Books of Wonder (children's books) in Chelsea; Bank Street Bookstore (children's books) uptown; Labyrinth (philosophy and social sciences) uptown (Oh and when you go uptown be sure to gawk at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine); A couple of good used bookstores on Bedford Ave. in Williamsburg; Community Bookstore of Cobble Hill (except I think they may have gone out of business so check first) (and while you're in Cobble Hill make *sure* to swing by the Lebanese groceries on Atlantic Ave; make yourself a picnic and eat on the Brooklyn Heights Promenade); ...

-- Eat. Too many places to go into here but: get yourself a copy of the Chowhound Guide to New York City -- it will keep you busy -- and if you're in Midtown around lunchtime, try and drop by the Japanese market at 41st and Madison where you will find excellent lunches for cheap. And give me a call, that is where I usually eat lunch on weekdays and I'd be glad to meet you.

-- Drink. If you like beer, then another Absolutely Must Do This type of thing is, to visit Spuyten Duyvil in Williamsburg. (And there are lots of other good bars in the city.)

Contact me for any addresses or directions you need. My first name at readin dot com.

#133 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2005, 11:15 AM:

Interesting note on the current story: the squib in the Boston Globe (didn't note original source) said the two were executed for raping children (i.e., not for having sex with each other). No further info, but if true it changes the slant -- although it could be simply another slander to reduce sympathy

The way I heard it they were accused of raping a 13-year-old at knifepoint. They confessed to this under torture, and you would too. Remember that at the time of the alleged offense the alleged perps were 14 and 16. One scenario: all three of them are discovered "messing around" and the 13-year-old gets legal advice first. He accuses the others of raping him, which saves his own life, since even if consensual it would be punishable by death. The other two are tortured until they confess, that being how they do things in Iran. They spend two years under the lash and are then executed.

Of course, it's possible they actually raped the other boy. In that case they should be punished, but:

1) IMO the death penalty is barbaric, period. No country that practices it, including mine, can truly call itself civilized. I first became sure that my objection to the death penalty was absolute when Matthew Shepard was murdered; though I wanted to beat his killers with my own fists, I couldn't bring myself to say they should be executed.

2) Executing people for crimes committed when they were children or adolescents, neither of whom have a full adult understanding of the consequences of actions, is yet a deeper level of barbarism. Our country has taken a step back from this one, thanks to a recent Supreme Court ruling. We still can't call ourselves civilized, however.

3) Even if one believes in the death penalty, from a practical standpoint applying it to any crime less than murder is bad public policy. Especially in the case of rape: the victim is frequently the only witness. If the perp can kill the victim without incurring a greater penalty, canny and conscienceless perps will do so. Even if you think rape is a fate worse than death, surely being raped and murdered is worse than being raped alone.

I don't buy for a moment that these boys did what the Iranians said they did. Even if they did, their execution was a crime, an outrage, and a sign of barbarism, as well as deeply stupid on the part of the Iranian authorities.

#134 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2005, 11:51 AM:

Lenore Jean Jones: Thank you. I hadn't considered the osprey because the pictures I saw were crested, but now I see there are some non-crested pictures of ospreys. But all of the pictures I've seen look too light-colored. Is there a darker phase?

Xopher, you've put it very well.

There's no way to excuse execution: there's no way to excuse the execution of minors: it's very simple.

If the US keeps up the wrong kind of pressure on Iran, we'll see more of this extreme internal nastiness too.

#135 ::: Will Entrekin ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2005, 01:32 PM:


I second Jeremy's mention of the Cloisters, which is *waaay* uptown in Fort Tryon park and totally worth the effort to get there. Take the A,C,E subway line uptown to 190th, and forget the shuttle from the subway stop to the museum; Fort Tryon park is beautiful and has great views, too. There's a little cafe right in the middle, I can't remember the name of it, but I believe Bette Midler owns it, and it's great for a quick lunch before the museum.

There is, of course, a reason the Metropolitan Museum has the reputation it does, as well.

The Guggenheim, on the other hand, is one of the least interesting places in Manhattan.

For food, there's a great restaurant just off of Union Square, on 16th street, I think it is: Candela. I love the food there. There's also a place called Chumley's, you'll miss it if you don't already know it's 86 Bedford Street; it used to be a speakeasy, and it's a great little pub (not sure how the food is).

The Strand (also mentioned by Jeremy) is a great bookstore, 12th and Broadway, but it's not a leisurely bookstore. It's very cramped and dusty and, really, you go to buy used books dirt cheap and then get out of there. If you like books, expect to leave with several shopping bags, because how can you not buy a book when it's a dollar?

I used to go to the Virgin Megastores all the time, off Union Square and in Times Square; huge selections. Sometimes you get good deals, other times, not so much.

I'll post more if I can think of anything.

#136 ::: Jeremy Osner ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2005, 01:50 PM:

WRT Chumley's, it's easy to miss even if you know it's there, know the address and are looking for it. Nice place to have a drink but get good directions. And eat dinner somewhere else. (Shopsin's on Carmine St. comes to mind as a nice pre-Chumley's dinner. And it is a nice excuse to check out some other good stuff on Carmine St., like specifically a guitar shop and a used record shop. (Oh and, if you're in the mood for used records, Do Check Out: Bleeker Bob's, on W. 3rd St., and the little place on Cornelia St. -- I don't know the name but you can't miss it, Cornelia is only one block long, it's in the basement of a building on the east end of the block.) (Oh and speaking of Cornelia St., a very nice afternoon of walking is to be had in and around Washington Square.)

#137 ::: Jeremy Osner ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2005, 01:55 PM:

--- Come to think of it, punkrockhockeymom, given your musical preferences as expressed on your LiveJournal bio, Bleeker Bob's and the place on Cornelia are going to be more up your alley than the place on Carmine.

#138 ::: punkrockhockeymom ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2005, 02:32 PM:

Will and Jeremy!!! Thank you for so many great recommendations. Hotel and NYC office are mid-town. Many days I'll be tied up in court. Other days, probably working at hotel or office so able to do lunch and things.

Oh, and Jeremy? My apologies about the info dump of a bio. I suffer from a bad case of verbal bloat. Now that you know everything there has ever been to know about me...:) I keep meaning to edit that but we have been so busy with pre-trial that everything else is kind of falling off. I thought maybe I'd try for mysterious, next time around, as opposed to "crazed chatterbox." I'm going to pick, I swear, only four of the most pertinent details and delete all of the rest.

#139 ::: Jeremy Osner ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2005, 02:47 PM:

It's not such a bad bio... more info is always better... So give me a holler about meeting up for lunch when you're in town if you desire. (As long as it is not August 22-30, when I will not be around.) Oh, and: work exigencies aside you really ought to make time while you are here to go out to Astoria one evening and have dinner at Kabab Cafe. It is one of the little gems of New York City. 25-12 Steinway St., not far from the Astoria Blvd. stop on the 7 train.

#140 ::: echidna ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2005, 03:05 PM:

Lucy, your mystery bird isn't an osprey, not with that dark head. The other possibilities you mentioned in your captions aren't likely either; it doesn't look like a Merlin (as well as being much too big, given your comments about the size compared to a kestrel), and a Merlin would be quite rare this time of year in California. Golden Eagles don't have the pale underparts even as juveniles. Red-tailed hawks have many different color morphs, some of which have the contrast between a dark head and a paler breast that your bird has. Under the "assume it's a Red-tail and work from there" method of North American raptor identification, I'm going to guess that's what it is. (It could be a dark morph Swainson's Hawk, from the pictures, but in that view it's quite similar to a Red-tail, and Red-tails are much more common in California; without seeing the tail it's hard to tell, though.)

#141 ::: Ariella ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2005, 03:45 PM:

CHip, coverage of Iranian politics has been pretty steady in Toronto papers for some years, since there are some 40,000 Iranians living in the city. If the news story you're referring to was the murder of Zahra Kazemi, you have to admit that it's rather unusual for Canadian journalists to be brutally murdered in foreign prisons. Most psychopathic regimes just deport them.

#142 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2005, 04:09 PM:

Okay, we're back to the red tail. I've seen unambiguous red tails at LIghthouse Field in the past. And now that I think about it, one of the things about red tails is their variability, which makes it more likely that a slightly odd looking bird is one. Thanks!

#143 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2005, 07:09 PM:

Ariella -- how many naturalized female Canadian reporters go back to their natal, intensely patriarchal country and annoy a pathological regime? I think what got me was pitch of the outrage, as if nobody writing or reading the stories had previously realized what brutes were in charge, or how many reporters are killed every year.

#144 ::: ElizabethVomMarlowe ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2005, 08:32 PM:

I was delighted to read about Ann Coulter's (alleged) plagiarism here: Raw Story and expanded post.

Thought you all might enjoy this, as plagiarism is an occasional topic here, and who better to be outed than dear ol' Ann?

#145 ::: Lenore Jean Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2005, 09:27 PM:

Lucy and Echidna - I still think it's an osprey. There is white on the head - it's especially visible in picture 11. The head is not well enough shown to really pin it down, but red-tails don't as a rule have that much white on the head, and they have longer tails than that. This bird's shape and attitude look more osprey-like to me. I agree that it's not an eagle. By the way, crests aren't part of the structure of the bird, but are behavioral. The osprey pictures I've been looking at are certainly as dark as your pictures.

#146 ::: Barbara Gordon ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2005, 11:42 PM:

I was moaning about the house how I had come up with a brilliant literary theory, and there was nobody I knew who would have the rather specific background to agree or disagree. Causing my husband to ask "Not even on Making Light?" So. Um. Open thread. Okay.

I think a strong case can be made that Venetia, by Georgette Heyer, is a retelling of the ballad Tam Lin.
The obvious difficulty is that in Heyer's rather thorough correspondence with her editor, friends, etc. there is no mention of this, or even a suggestion that she was familiar with the ballad. But never mind that.
Texts for Tam Lin can be found here:

Here's a few points of correspondence.
Venetia, dressed in a faded old dimity frock, stout boots and a sunbonnet, goes to pick blackberries in the grounds of Elliston Priory, accompanied only by a spaniel, though she has been told it is unladylike to walk about without at least a footman.
Janet kilts her skirts above her knee and braids up her hair and goes to Carterhaugh, though she has been warned not to, for fear of Tam Lin.

Elliston Priory is owned by Lord Damerel, the Wicked Baron of local legend, said to have run away with a married woman and either abandoned or murdered her. Tales are told of his wild goings-on when he is in residence.
Tam Lin is said to demand payment of any woman found in Carterhaugh, the payment being clearly sexual (green mantle or maidenhead).

Venetia, "on excellent terms with Lord Damerel's bailiff, was at liberty to roam where she liked in his domain". While she is picking blackberries and entangled by the thorns, Damerel (unexpectedly back at the home he was once banished from) discovers her.
Janet picks a double rose, and Tam Lin starts up, asking her why she pulls the rose, and by what right she comes to Carterhaugh. She answers that Carterhaugh is her own, and she need ask no leave of him.

After releasing Venetia from the briars, Damerel, taking her for a local lass, kisses her, rather forcibly, and they banter, with quotations. Through the rest of the book, they fall in love. The quotations and literary reference proportion in this book is probably only slightly lower than in Busman's Honeymoon, but that's not part of my theory, I just mention it.
Just what exactly happens between Tam Lin and Janet, and how long it takes, is unclear from the ballad, but after she comes away and back to her home, she is clearly pregnant (the strange time changes that come from being in Faerie?).

Damerel tells Venetia (eventually) the full story behind his fleeing England - he fell in love with an older woman and being a romantic young fool, ran away with her to the Continent. She left him for an older and wealthier man. He believes that the scandal killed his father. Venetia, by unromantic commonsense, releases him from his father's curse and the humiliation of his first love affair.
Tam Lin tells Janet how the Queen of Fairies caught him and took him to live in the green hill, and that at the end of seven years in Faerie, he expects to be given as a "teind to hell".

Venetia's family (except her brother Aubrey - a significant name!) and neighbours, are opposed to her marrying Damerel. Damerel, obviously, is not changed into an esk, an adder, a bear, lion, or burning brand, but he too considers the match to be disastrous for her, and pretends coldness and to have been amusing himself with a flirtation. She is taken to London and parted from him, then makes the long journey back to Yorkshire alone. When she confronts him at the end of the book, he is at first drunk (foxed), then sober and restrained, denying his first passionate embrace - transformations of feeling.
Tam Lin tells Janet how he may be released (he is more obliging than Damerel, and Venetia has to work it all out for herself) - she makes the journey to Miles Cross alone at night to save him. She drags him from his horse, holds to him despite his transformations, and "young Tam Lin did win".

There's probably room for some interpretation of the Queen of Faerie as well - she manifests herself once as Lady Sophia, who 'catches' Damerel as a young man, but I suspect that Venetia's long-lost mother (not dead, as she has always believed, but divorced and happy with an indulgent old beau in France) is another face of her. I admit that smacks rather of Robert Graves - but hey, all's fair in love and litcrit. After all, Venetia does say to her "I was used to think, you know, when I was a little girl, that you were like a fairy."
I'm not sure what to make of Mrs. Scorrier - the Hag aspect of the eternal feminine, perhaps?

Then there's the association of both Venetia and Janet with the colour green - Janet wears a green mantle, and is known to be pregnant because she is "as green as onie glass", while Damerel repeatedly calls Venetia a "green girl" and later a "Greenhead! Oh, greenest of greenheads!"
Oddly, in Janet's case the colour stands for sexual experience, and in Venetia's, for inexperience.

I could probably go on, but this is long already. For those few who think the making of comparisons between Child Ballads and Regency romances is worth comment - what do you think?

#147 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2005, 03:45 AM:

Well, there are science fiction stories that draw on the Child ballads, but I'm not positioned to discuss the topic.

And in other late-bending news:

Introducing Googol Earths
Because there are a lot of worlds out there, but calling them infinite might be actionable.

The High Energy Number Theory Laboratory at Huxley College (West) today announced broadband access to Googol Earths, providing highish-resolution images of alternate, parallel, perpendicular, and "just plain strange" worlds just like our Earth, only not.

"For a long time," said Kurt Gogol, one of the project managers, "it's been supposed that there might be worlds in which something was just a little different from our history -- like, the dinosaurs didn't die out and now they want the vote, or Marilyn Monroe married Bobby Kennedy and the war on organized crime was a lot more like a Tarantino movie. We're obviously delighted to have proof of one of science fiction's favorite cheap excuses.

"We discovered the access through a means that's frankly too darn hinky-fazoo to discuss in public, and we're theoretical mathematicians, okay? We haven't completed a full count of the accessible worlds -- we're hoping to sell enough subscriptions to get another meg of RAM in the computer -- but we think a googol is in the ballpark. We'd like to point out that this site is not intended to be confused with Google Earth, or Froogle, or Goo Goo Clusters -- which got us through all those bad moments of low blood sugar in development -- or anything else that might have an attorney attached. We've actually found thirty-eight worlds that don't seem to have any lawyers, although we have to extrapolate -- that is, guess hard -- from what we can see on the street. Which reminds me, you can't actually go to any of these places, just watch them on a computer screen. We're hoping the ESRB doesn't give us an AO rating, but, well, you know."

Asked to describe a "googol," Gogol snarled and left the room. His associate Karl Fleder Maus said, "Imagine one followed by a hundred zeroes, like anybody can. Anyway, it's a lot; it even impresses astronomers. As for the name, you wouldn't believe me if I told you."

#148 ::: Martin G. Larsen ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2005, 07:39 AM:

For those of you asking about a good book on modes etc: A good introduction to modes, scales, chords and other musical theory is A Jazz Improvisation Primer by Marc Sabatella, which is online here in its entirety, which is also a good place to start if one wants to get in on improvisation theory. It's also free, which is good.

#149 ::: Janet Croft ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2005, 10:43 AM:

Barbara Gordon -- Okay, now I have to add _Venetia_ to my reading list, because Tam Lin is one of my favorite stories. Interesting parallels, but it could just be the power of story that Terry Pratchett makes so much of -- if you have a determined and headstrong young lady, and a mysterious gentleman all the young ladies have been warned about, who was at least at one time in the thrall of a magnetic older woman, then perhaps you must have a Tam Lin type story, where the young lady must break the older woman's spell and win her lover. It's Cupid and Psyche all over again -- well, in that one the older woman is Cupid's mother Venus, but her control of her son echoes the fairy queen's control of her lover. And Psyche, like Janet, has many labors to go through to win Cupid back from her after they are separated. But hey -- you've got a great Popular Culture paper there -- the Cupid & Psyche/Tam Lin Theme in Regency Romance. Write it up and hit the conference circuit!

#150 ::: Dave MB ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2005, 10:52 AM:

[When was "Amazing Grace" associated with bagpipes?]

According to

a version of the song by a Scottish military band was the
#1 single in Britain in 1972. This was just after the hit
Judy Collins version in 1970, and I vaguely recall that there
was a single released with both Collins and the military

#151 ::: Lois Fundis ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2005, 10:59 AM:

Yesterday's Ask Yahoo! question was "How can I get a short story sold and published in a magazine?"

The reply really doesn't say anything that would be new to most of the folks here, but I thought I'd mention it. It was succinct and has what appears to be useful links.

The best part, actually, was the first line of the reply:

For crying out loud, if we knew that, do you think we'd be here?

which has been struck through, with the serious reply following. But I can't get the strikethrough part to copy here in the comments. I've tried with both "s" and "strike".

#152 ::: Barbara Gordon ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2005, 11:12 AM:

Janet Croft - a good point. I hadn't thought of the Cupid and Psyche parallel (though I had thought of some of the fairy-tale versions of it). Considering the number of romance stories that employ the theme of heroine undergoing ordeals to redeem the hero, it must have deep appeal.

Have you read these versions?
Tam Lin, by Pamela Dean
Thursday, by Catherine Storr
Queen of Spells, by Dahlov Ipcar
Fire and Hemlock, by Diana Wynne Jones
The Perilous Gard, by Elizabeth Marie Pope
Red Shift, by Alan Garner

#153 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2005, 11:18 AM:

Lenore Jean --

It can't be an osprey with those bright yellow feet. (For what little it's worth, I concur with the identification as a redtail.)

#154 ::: Janet Croft ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2005, 11:26 AM:

Barbara -- no, except the Pamela Dean -- but I've just added a section to my reading list called "Tam Lin retellings"... Thanks!

#155 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2005, 11:53 AM:

Carterhaugh's a rich girls' spa
If your skin's gane a' tae crap
They'll fix ye wi' a mud rub-down
Or else a seaweed wrap.

If you go by Carterhaugh
You'd best be on your guard
They'll charge a bundle for their stuff
And nail your Mastercard.


She had nae sat a moment down
At Bistro Scottish Blight
When up an' started young Tam Lin
Says "I'll serve you the night.

"Our specials are are the salmon roast
Wi' portobellos set,
Or, if ye'd rather something light,
A romainge vinegret."


Then frae the shadows spake the queen
An' a tough PI was she
Sayin'if you want the negatives
Ye maun pay doun my fee.


#156 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2005, 12:02 PM:

I thought people here might find some frissons of familiarity in the answer to this question:

Dear Yahoo!:
How can I get a short story sold and published in a magazine?

BTW, our local late-night news program had a special post-midnight screening, with Paul Scully-Powers - the first Aussie astronaut - commenting on the live coverage of the launch of Discovery. He seemed quite impressed by the view from the camera attached to the fuel tank. Off to bed now, knowing they *finally* got off safely.

#157 ::: Mina W ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2005, 12:40 PM:

Barbara and Janet,

Thanks for the interesting thoughts and reading list; Tam Lin is one of my all time favorites. It always makes me want to go back to school and be an English major this time instead of Marine Biology. The comparison to Venetia never occurred to me, of course. Any others?

I was recently thinking about fantasy, because I made my bookclub read The Secret Country, also by Pamela Dean, and I wanted to explain to them some of the mindset I thought fantasy readers brought with them to the experience.

The question I thought of, that I didn't have an answer to, [but may be commonly known here] was: "Are there plots unique to fantasy [& SF] that don't or can't occur in other types of fiction and other centuries."

I thought that the answer might depend on whether we're taxonomic splitters or lumpers in how we divide up plots. Also now I see, on whether we were to categorise fairy tale ballads, and Greek and Roman mythology as fantasy. In the latter cases, I don't think we can, since aren't those the sources of most of the classic western plots, as well as the psychiatric explanations of them?

#158 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2005, 01:54 PM:

Mina: the one that springs to mind is "All You Zombies."

#159 ::: Mina W ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2005, 09:01 PM:

TexAnne - That one I don't know, thanks, I'll have to find it.

I did think that the plot [and especially the fantastic premise] of The Secret Country might be unique to F & SF. Does anyone know of another book in which the creativity which would become fiction & plays & poetry in our world creates magic in the alternate world?

#160 ::: Lenore Jean Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2005, 11:10 PM:

Graydon, Lucy and Echidna - perhaps you're right, though bright sun can make anything look yellow. I'll tell you what was throwing me, though - that short tail. Almost everything that looks like that has a long tail. So if we allow for the possibility that this bird has molted or otherwise lost its long tail feathers, a lot more species open up, including the red-tail and some others. However, they're all beginning to blur together for me, so it's time for me to give up. Frankly, I find it easiest to identify based on behavior, which pictures give us very little of. Oh, well!

#161 ::: Barbara Gordon ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2005, 11:24 PM:

Uncle Jim - was it the seaweed wrap that was making poor Janet look so green?

Mina - I think in one of Mercedes Lackey's series she has mortals/humans able to create and dream, and elves able to do magic.
There is an argument to be made that mortality makes the best spur to creativity. I believe there's a short story or novella (Kate Wilhelm? LeGuin?) where immortality becomes medically possible, doctors induce it secretly, only to find that the immortals no longer have any understanding of art or ability to create it.
Some time ago I tried to track down a rant by Harlan Ellison about when science fiction is not science fiction but rather a western or detective story or whatever with sf trappings. If found, that might have some relevant points to your question.

Janet - I do recommend Venetia, especially if you enjoy romances that are more about becoming friends than being hot for each other.
I've just noticed that except for the Pamela Dean and F&H, all the Tam Lin novels were marketed as YA. Hm.
It would be rather difficult to research, but I wonder if any other ballads have been adapted or used as source material as often as Tam Lin has?
Dahlov Ipcar also used Child 40, The Queen of Elfan's Nourrice, as the basis for her book A Dark Horn Blowing.
Fair Day and Another Step Begun, by Katie Letcher Lyle, is based on Child Waters (Child 63).
The Nine Questions, by Edward Fenton (his only fantasy novel) is based on a version of Child 1, Riddles Wisely Expounded, fairly close to the one sung by Jean Ritchie as The Devil's Nine Questions.
But that's only one each.
Kemp Owyne (Child 34) has been done as a children's picture book at least once, but has it been done as a full novel? I'm sure it has plot enough for one.

#162 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2005, 12:16 AM:

Open thread, right?

Did anybody ever read a children's book about a child who has to make a perilous journey to get to a Weaver who would ask questions straight from Texas Gladden's "Nine questions" song? THere was another one done by the same author, I think, based on a different song, and maybe a third one, but the only one I remember is this one. ANybody know the title and/or author? I've been longing to reread it for years.

#163 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2005, 12:19 AM:

Barbara, tell me more about Edward Fenton? when I googled I could only find a 17th century diarist.

#164 ::: Clark E Myers ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2005, 02:09 AM:

How fallen are the teachers when people think Google is end of all of research?

Try Amazon or ABE or look for the many volumes of American Authors with their eye-catching blue with racing stripes at the library.

The nine questions
Publisher: Doubleday; [1st ed.] edition (1959)
Language: English
hard to find

Fenton, Edward (1917-1995) mostly I think YA as himself
wrote SF or possibly Sci-Fi and tie-ins as Henry Clement (Henry Clement more than a dozen books, including The Sugarland Express -Goldie Hawn and Darling Lili - Julie Andrews; Rock Hudson - tie-ins not the movies) no idea how Hal Clement (Stubbs) felt about that

#165 ::: Barbara Gordon ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2005, 03:02 AM:

Lucy, as you may have guessed, that is the book I mentioned. The Nine Questions, by Edward Fenton. Bloody hard to find, as I know from experience. I did have a second copy, but gave it away to another seeker. Inter-library loan may be your friend here. (I'd offer to photocopy mine but I don't know what the copyright issues would be.) But I'm awfully pleased to find someone else who loved this book and remembered it.

Dj blurb: "An ancient watch, a tattered hunting cap, a tarnished silver whistle, a warm feather bag - Willie collected his meager possessions, for the time had come to seek his father and his fortune in the Weaver's country, far away.
"Barely had the journey begun when he met a mysterious peddler who tried to bargain for Willie's few treasures, but Willie managed to reist the temptation, and on he went to the next stop - the glistening town of Eldorado, where the streets were paved with fools' gold and no one who stayed would ever again be able to tell the truth. Here he found Gabriella, who welcomed the chance to escape the inn where she worked.
"Together, Gabriella and willie managed to overcome the obstacles on the way to the Weaver's country. They crossed the fearsome forest, outwitted the wicked master of the St. Cosmos fair, escaped from the icy crystal grotto, and finally came to the empty castle where the Interrogator waited to ask the nine questions and decide Willie's fate."
Back flap:
"Edward Fenton, who is the author of several books for young people, has also written poems, articles, and stories that have appeard in distinguished national magazines, including Harper's Bazaar and The Atlantic Monthly. Greece and Italy, where he lived for several years after the war, provided the background for Aleko's Island and The Golden Doors, but his most recent book, Once Upon a Saturday, is set in a small New England town. Before he decided to devote most of his time to writing, Mr. Fenton was associated with the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and his own art collection is one of his major interests. Mr. Fenton, a native of New York City, now lives in an old farmhouse upstate, very conducive to writing and to gardening, which he also enjoys."

I've read probably another half-dozen of Fenton's books for children. Once Upon a Saturday is a sort of Arabian Nights tall tale set in New England. Hidden Trapezes has some fantastic elements but isn't a fantasy. As far as I've been able to discover, Nine Questions is the only fairy tale he wrote. Which is a pity, because I think he did it very well.

#166 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2005, 07:06 AM:

Mina: re creativity becoming magic: Christopher Stasheff wrote one which I believe is called Her Majesty's Wizard, about a Gilbert and Sullivan fan who gets transported to a world where lyrics = spells. Mind candy, but fun. (I read it once in college, so it might not have held up well.)

#167 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2005, 08:37 AM:

Lenore Jean --

Redtails are buteos, and not so long tailed as all that. The picture Lucy has up certainly looks like the certain red tails that sit on the streetlights around here.

#168 ::: Madeline Kelly ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2005, 09:23 AM:

The modal discussion seems to have fizzled out, but I wanted to add a couple of things.

CHip said: I have heard of a scale composed of six whole tones, but don't think I've heard any music written in it.

Debussy and Ravel made use of the two whole-tone scales and the harmonies that could be derived from them (mostly augmented chords, which always sound a bit other-worldly to me). They also used pentatonic scales. Presumably they were after gentle non-semitone dissonances. The most obvious example I can think of is Debussy's "The Snowflakes Are Dancing" from his piano suite, "Children's Corner".

Thelonius Monk used the whole-tone scale a LOT in his improvisations and compositions. If you can find any recordings of Monk playing the piano, then you'll probably find at least one example of whole-tone improvisation, especially long scales running down the piano.

Graydon said: so far as I know, the Great Pipe uses a mixolydian scale. (F is really F-sharp, etc.)

The mixolydian mode is very convenient for melodies over a major chord (jazz improvisation) or perfect fifth (pipe drone) because the sharpened 4th note doesn't jar against the 3rd, and it clashes beautifully with the 5th. If you try playing the ionian mode over a major chord then the natural 4th note sounds horrible.

To impress non-musical friends, I recommend noodling mixolydian tunes over major chords (ie. C major chord with C mixolydian, D major chord with D mixolydian, etc). It will always sound good.

#169 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2005, 01:37 PM:

Madeline, you're thinking of the Lydian mode (major with sharp 4). Mixolydian is major with flat 7. You're exactly right about why it works, though.

#170 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2005, 02:25 PM:

Mina W: If it's not too late; try not to read about "All you zombies" (Heinlein) before you read the story. I would like to hear someone's fresh reaction to it.

#171 ::: Madeline Kelly ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2005, 03:06 PM:

Tim: Oops! Thanks for the correction. I do know my modes, honest -- I just got confused in all the excitement of being able to join in on a discussion here (it doesn't happen often).

And now I'm wondering how the mixolydian can work over a drone. I suppose there's no 3rd in the drone to clash against the natural 4th in the mode. Something like that, anyway.

#172 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2005, 03:39 PM:

Re Tam Lin: Patricia McKillip's _Winter Rose_ is an altered version of the Tam Lin tale. (I missed it the first time I read it, but the second time my eyes opened; the family name 'Lynn' is an obvious clue.)

I've always liked the Tam Lin ballad/tale in part because Janet is just so damn headstrong and yet makes a virtue of it. The very first verse of the ballad warns all the young maidens not to go to Carter Hall; and as soon as Janet hears that, she's off to Carter Hall 'as swift a' she could run'. Clearly nobody is going to tell her what to do.

She is not going to let anybody comment on her pregnancy or tell her whether she can or can't keep the baby - she tells her father's knight quite rudely to hold his tongue, and in some versions of the ballad it appears she's picking an herb to induce an abortion when she meets Tam Lin again - but once she knows he cares for her, it's that same stubbornness that wins him back from Faerie.

#173 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2005, 08:24 PM:

Barbara: There is an argument to be made that mortality makes the best spur to creativity

I'm not sure of Wilhelm or Le Guin citations. (Wilhelm in Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang spoke of loss of creativity in clones.) IIRC, Damon Knight predates both of them with "Dio", in which immortality is specifically a perpetually extended adolescence; Dio, who by happenstance breaks through into adulthood, is the only creative person in the world.

#174 ::: Will Entrekin ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2005, 09:48 PM:

Sorry, not to do with Tam Lin, but rather related to the "You got your sex in my violence" sidelight posted by Patrick:,0,1432940.story?coll=la-news-comment-opinions

It's a piece by Steven Johnson, who wrote *Everything Bad for You Is Good for You Again.*

#175 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2005, 10:22 PM:

CHip, does the Knight pre-date Zelazny's "The Key to November" (I think that's the story with the folks being frozen so they can attend Only The Good Parties)? It'd be easy to look up, but I'm lazy today.

#176 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2005, 11:23 PM:

Huzzah! My mailbox produces wonders! Guess what I just found?

Nigerian film festival spam!

With pictures!

With luck none of you will ever get it!

#177 ::: Lenore Jean Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2005, 11:28 PM:

Graydon - yeah, I know. It just didn't look right to me, but red-tails are famous for their variability, it's true. Never mind!

#178 ::: Barbara Gordon ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2005, 01:06 AM:

Thanks, Clifton! It sounds as if Winter Rose has added a helping of Child 267 The Heir of Linne to the mix (there are references to it in the Ipcar version as well).
There are a good many strong-minded girls in the ballads, and the Crafty Maid is a frequent figure. I'd recommend Martin Carthy or Frankie Armstrong for performances of pieces like Maid on the Shore, Broomfield Hill, Willie's Lady, Bonny Lass of Anglesey, and so on.

#179 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2005, 04:37 AM:

TexAnne: I think that Her Majesty's Wizard holds up reasonably well. I don't remember any Gilbert & Sullivan in it, however -- as I recall it, the hero gets most of his spells out of Shakespeare.

#180 ::: Clark E Myers ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2005, 10:23 AM:

For the Children department:

"A rap artist has translated some of the best known works of poet Geoffrey Chaucer into hip-hop to make them appeal to schoolchildren.
Baba told the BBC News website: "All the themes of rap music are there in the tales: jealousy, anger, greed, lust.
He said: "I tried to keep the rap versions as close as possible to the original, so I went through the tales line-by-line.

"It was a painstaking process to convert Chaucer into a rhyme scheme that young people would like.""

#181 ::: Arthur D. Hlavaty ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2005, 11:14 AM:

I've got a new Man Who Melted Jack Dann for you. On a remainder table:


#182 ::: Jeremy Osner ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2005, 02:17 PM:

I wonder if any of you good people have experience with writing grant proposals. My dear Ellen is trying to turn her remarkable ability to make kids into readers, into a source of income; she has several projects that she has been working on where she has been spending money to teach children to read and we are thinking the best way to reverse this dynamic, is to fund it with grants -- there must be some organizations out there that want children to learn to read? We're both pretty clueless about how she should go about putting this together though. If anyone with this kind of experience could get in touch with me (my first name at or with her (pageturners at or post reading recommendations -- we would be in your debt. Thanks,

#183 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2005, 02:29 PM:

Jeremy Osner:

My wife and I, between us, have won grants, for our employers, from Army, Navy, Air Force, NASA, Department of Energy, Strategic Defense Initiative Organization, and other government agencies. Learned how, on the job, over decades. I've also helped win a State of California and City of Los Angeles grant for Spanish opera premiere in L.A. and Tijuana.

HOWEVER, We've also lost many grant competitions, including to National Endowment for the Arts (twice). So we're not expert enough to teach it.

I have been shown several times that there are organizations which give Grant Writing seminars for nonprofit corporations. These are sometimes held at community colleges. So, odds are, there is something of the sort that you seek, within driving distance, but will cost a bit.

Same basic rules as any other kind of professional writing: (1) Know your audience; (2) format precisely.

#184 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2005, 03:13 PM:

Jeremy, you might get in touch with your state department of libraries. You might be a perfect match for some grant proposal they are trying to get together for literacy. If not, they would also be a good source of info for grant-writing workshoips.

#185 ::: Jeremy Osner ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2005, 03:16 PM:

Interesting, Ellen has been working with some librarians on developing her program and has taught some workshops in libraries around our county -- definitely sounds like a good resource to use.

#186 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2005, 03:43 PM:

I went to the Artrain today, it's here in Manassas, its only stop in the DC area. This year it's contemporary Native American work, most of which had resonance for me. I had to go through quickly because the entrance and exit was on uneven ground and wobbly steps -- I asked staff to help me, and they happily did -- and by the time I was back to the parking lot, I was trying to figure out if a bench was closer than my van.

#187 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2005, 05:20 PM:

Headline from the Guardian:

Discovery Flips for Damage Checks

I hope that when they're done they scratch it on the belly, give it a biscuit, and tell it it's a good shuttle. (Well, no, it won't answer; in space, nobody can hear an "Arf!") As everybody who has worked with real live machinery understands, this is one of the soundest of engineering principles.

#188 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2005, 06:24 PM:

And it did it so well! (Yes, I think it's a living creature also. I have this image of Columbia and Challenger doing tandem victory rolls past the Pearly engines needed)

#189 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2005, 02:01 AM:

Further, I would tell the Shuttle that it has earned a good, long, honoured retirement, and it no longer has to chase satellites. I'd put it in a great museum, next to the Wright flyer and the DC3 and the Boeing 707, and I'd go right out and get a new spaceplane designed, incoporating all the things we've learned and all the new materials developed since 1980.

And I'd use that to build a genuine spaceship in orbit, and then I'd fly the latter to the planets. For starters.


#190 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2005, 03:30 AM:

[Trusting you'll all forgive the uncharacteristic sentimentality;]

Have you got an empty seat for me
Near Earth Orbit's where I want to be
Give me a blueprint fair and fine
For a reusable design

Oh Skylark
We've all seen the view from satellite
Oblate blue spheroid floating in the night
But she has cousins 'cross the way
And we should visit them someday

It's not so far up there
And yet it's half the way to anywhere
And there'll be music
Faint in the silent deep
Some old familiar tune
From serenaders standing on the Moon

Oh Skylark
It's a pull that we can't quite explain
I'll be looking back for Marc Duquesne
So if you see him, say hello
We've both got very far to go

#191 ::: cd ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2005, 06:58 AM:

On an utter tangent (this is, after all, an Open Thread): Wonderful stormchasing pictures.

#192 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2005, 08:35 AM:

I remember the joy and the triumph
It was the year that I turned eighteen
A man spoke a word in the silence
Of a world words had never been.

Thirty-six years gone, and somehow
Silence no longer seems to call
So this is the last filksong
The very last filk of all...

#193 ::: Michelle K ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2005, 09:12 AM:

Happy Rain Day everyone!

#194 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2005, 11:45 AM:

In Scotland, every day is Rain Day. Today certainly is.

#195 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2005, 01:47 PM:

Michelle K: Happy Rain Day everyone!

Marvelous! Did anyone else notice this paragraph?

John Daly had won hats from such notables as Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, Johnny Carson, Cassius Clay and Arnold Palmer just to name a few. He also would bet local TV personalitites from the Pittsburgh Area. In 1967, he bet Del Miller, who owned the Meadows Race Track in Washington, PA. That year, not only did Mr. Miller give John Daly a hat, he gave him a complete set of racing skills.
I wonder if the New Yorker is looking for submissions.

#196 ::: Eric Sadoyama ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2005, 04:37 PM:

The results of the annual Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest are now available. Oy, they're bad!

#197 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2005, 05:45 PM:

The results of the annual Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest are now available. Oy, they're bad!

Good to know that there are some standards still being upheld.

"It was a wocky and jivvy night, when suddenly, somewhere in the black and fuliginous murk, a wergle flumped . . ."

#198 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2005, 06:09 PM:

We *have* a shuttle in a museum, the Udvar-Hazy Center (which is part of A&S). It's the Enterprise and it's missing a bit of one wing so scientists could practice foam-lobbing at it.

#199 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2005, 06:11 PM:

I've been trying to tell myself that since I don't have a garden, I don't need these cool Tubtrugs.

#200 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2005, 11:46 PM:

Tom: my copy is in SFBC's Three Novels (from the late 60s, hence my uncertainty about the date) and calls the story "The Dying Man", but the fine print behind the title says "(c) 1957 by Royal Publications" (what did they publish?), so it certainly predates both Zelazny and Le Guin. I remember the story you describe, although I couldn't have placed the title; it was in a slim pb with "The Furies", "A Rose for Ecclesiastes", and "The Doors of His Face, The Lamps of His Mouth", all of which dazed and baffled my 14-year-old mind in similar proportions.

#201 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2005, 01:02 AM:

"The Dying Man" was originally published in Infinity, a short-lived SF mag. The Zelazny collection was Four for Tomorrow, probably one of the top 20 single-author collections ever, and the story is therefore "The Graveyard Heart", and my memory is shown as faulty once again. Never mind that I knew we had a box with an anthology that contained Harry Bates' "Alas, All Thinking" in the basement of the store that had been packed over a year ago....

#202 ::: Jill Smith ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2005, 07:30 AM:

Marilee - I've seen those on British gardening shows and thought they looked incredibly useful. Was just bemoaning the lack of them (at least that I had seen) in any gardening or big-box outlet.

It just goes to show that a link to them would appear on ML.

#203 ::: Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2005, 02:53 PM:

And there's Ellen Kushner's Thomas the Rhymer. I read it only recently and then I spent all night online researching the ballads and their possible historicity. I mean I just started looking for the actual text and the next thing I knew it was 5am. I did find some interesting stuff though. I'd like to see a fantasy or historical novel about Sir Patrick Spens -- it's always been one of my favorites.


#204 ::: Lis Riba ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2005, 04:16 PM:

Pardon my nonsequitor, but the latest Bulwer-Lytton finalists are in, including one by a "James Macdonald of Vancouver Canada"

Might that be our James Macdonald, by any chance?

Mitzi's wet T-shirt clung to her torso like paint on the nose cone of a jumbo jet.
Sounds worthy of an author of Atlanta Nights...

#205 ::: Jeremy Osner ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2005, 09:01 PM:

Marilee -- we have a garden; and yet we use our tubtrugs for laundry baskets. I did not know until I followed your link, that they were called tubtrugs. And they certainly did not cost $40 when we got them!

#206 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2005, 09:33 PM:

Might that be our James Macdonald, by any chance?

No, it isn't, but ... at least he spells his name right.

#207 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2005, 11:19 PM:

Another ballad just sproinged to mind: Is "Juniper, Gentian, and Rosemary" one of the Child ballads? It's certainly a ballad.

#208 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2005, 11:50 AM:

Juniper, Gentian, and Rosemary, as far as I know, is entirely original. There are references to the whole body of demon-lover stories, and some other stories and superstitions, but there's no retelling involved at all as far as I can tell. I've never heard a song by that name or having that as a chorus, but that doesn't prove anything.

#209 ::: Juli Thompson ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2005, 11:59 AM:

OK, I'm now really interested in ballads. Where can I learn more? Are there basic reference books? Recordings that are "must have?' Someone who podcasts on the subject?

Any information would be appreciated, thanks!

#210 ::: Barbara Gordon ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2005, 01:07 PM:

Hi Juli - the key text for ballads is The English and Scottish Popular Ballads, edited by Francis James Child. He grouped them into types - those are the numbers sometimes added to the titles (Child 36 and such). I have the Dover reprint, but I've heard rumour that Dover isn't printing it anymore because they got tired of buyers complaining that there wasn't any music. (head-desk icon here) It's a 5 volume set.
If you want the music, that's another scholar's work, a Professor Bronson - I can find the full ref if you want. Also OP, and I don't know how findable.
For folk-songs, Cecil Sharp is your man, but unfortunately most of his collections that are easy to find are the prettified and cleaned-up versions of the songs, with accompaniment for piano. There is a two-volume set that has the original texts, no clean-up, but I haven't been able to find a copy of that for sale anywhere, so I just take our library's copy out all the time. Again, I can get you the full citation if you want to look for it yourself.
The best beginner's book on ballads that I know of is The Penguin (or Viking) Book of Folk Ballads of the English-Speaking World, edited by Albert B. Friedman, which has an excellent introduction to the ballad characteristics and style. If you can't get Child, or want to start without a major investment, I'd suggest Friedman.

#211 ::: Barbara Gordon ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2005, 01:20 PM:

Clifton, I haven't read Juniper, Gentian, and Rosemary, but the title sounds like a variant of the refrain in version B of Child 1, Riddles Wisely Expounded.

There were three sisters fair and bright,
Jennifer gentle and rosemaree
And they three loved one valiant knight.
As the dew flies over the mulberry tree

The eldest sister let him in,
And barred the door with a silver pin.

The second sister made his bed,
And placed soft pillows under his head.

The youngest sister, fair and bright,
Was resolved for to wed with this valiant knight.


For what it's worth, there's a less tidy version C, with a different refrain and earthier wording:

There was a knicht riding frae the east,
Sing the Cather banks, the bonnie brume
Wha had been wooing at monie a place.
And ye may beguile a young thing sune

The auldest ane's to the bed making,
And the second ane's to the sheet spreading.

The youngest ane was bauld and bricht,
And she was to lye with this unco knicht.

In this version, the unco knicht turns out to be the devil, and when she answers all his riddles correctly, one answer names him (Clootie's waur nor a woman was), his true shape is revealed and "he flew awa in a blazing flame".

Woo! The Child Ballads are online at Sacred Texts!

#212 ::: Andrew Willett ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2005, 02:01 PM:

If I may toss a knitting question to the gallery: I just made one of these hats for a niece/nephew due soon, and it's time to felt it. I've never felted anything before. Being a Manhattan apartment-dweller, I lack a convenient top-loader washing machine, so I'm hoping I can just throw it in a pot of hot water on the stove and stir it around for a few minutes. Will this work? Is there anything I should bear in mind?

#213 ::: Sundre ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2005, 03:02 PM:

Andrew: I've never made felt yet, but I've been looking into that myself for some fuzzy feet.

In any case, I get the impression that felt needs soap + hot water+ agitation. Some people seem to be able to manage this in the kitchen sink, or in the bathtub for larger projects.

Maybe test with a swatch first?

#214 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2005, 03:06 PM:

Juniper, Gentian, and Rosemary is a spectacularly original book in the telling - those who haven't read it should go read it at once! Pamela Dean comes up with amazing stories. (I'm still trying to wrap my head completely around The Dubious Hills.) But it definitely takes off in some respects from a combination of the texts above, starting with the three "fair and bright" sisters. Besides the title, there's an interview somewhere with Pamela Dean where she says so; I'd usually call the author's claim fairly decisive.

Going back to Tam Lin for a moment, here's a very comprehensive bibliography that will keep you busy for a few years, including fiction based on it even tenuously; it mentions a number of fiction versions not listed above. I found this a few years ago when I got fascinated with the legend, and just found the URL again.

An Annotated Bibliography of The Ballad of Tam Lin

She doesn't mention Heyer, so you can break new lit-crit ground, should you so desire!

#215 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2005, 03:09 PM:

Well, Pamela Dean does claim Juniper, Gentian and Rosemary was directly based on a sung version of Child 1 - though if anyone can point me to the band & album, it might help.

Jennifer Gentle and Rosemaree strikes me as a mondegreen of the herb names, noted by someone who isn't an herbalist (Or, of course, the herbs are a mondegreen of the names, but oddly, it "feels" more right the other way around.) But then, everything I know about ballads I know from listening, not books.

#216 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2005, 03:45 PM:

Jeremy, I've been thinking that I need a larger thing to hold/carry recyclables in. And maybe I need a new trash can in the workroom. Where'd you get yours?

#217 ::: Jeremy Osner ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2005, 08:40 PM:

Um... not sure... I am thinking "either Pottery Barn or Bed, Bath and Beyond [the housewares store most frequently patronized by retro cartoony spacemen]"; but could be wrong. They are handy though.

To Bed... and Beyond!

#218 ::: Jeremy Osner ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2005, 08:46 PM:

Strike that misremembering -- Ellen says she got them at the gardening shop next to Dr. Schwartz's office. Dr. Schwartz is our dentist, his office is on 58th Street between Avenues 6th and 7th, on the isle of Manhattan. So who knows, they may have been that expensive, that gardening shop does not have a lot of bargains -- I was apparently thinking of a different pair of laundry baskets we bought at BB&B, which were superceded by these. This was 4 years ago, no guarantee they will still be available there.

#219 ::: Kathryn Cramer ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2005, 09:13 PM:

Regarding the Belly Masks in the particles, I noticed them when I was pregnant. I thought they were pretty cool, but didn't order the kit. However, partly inspired by things like the belly masks, I did have the all-seeing eye painted on my exposed navel when very pregnant at the San Jose worldcon.

#220 ::: Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2005, 01:37 AM:

The English and Scottish Popular Ballads by Francis James Child is online here. Though they say it is incomplete, it's probably the best version online.


#221 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2005, 02:32 AM:

I did not remember that version of Child 1. How odd. The only version I know is "Ninety-nine and Ninety" which is Texas Gladden's version of maybe 1D or 1E according to those texts.

When you get into reading about or learning to sing the ballads, it's helpful, I think, to remember that in the time of their composing, these songs were the cultural equivalent of Chucky movies, Die Hard movies,chick lit books, fotonovelas, WWE wrestling (are those the current initials? I forget), The National Enquirer, Star Wars, Beck, and Britney Spears, not to mention a bunch of other stuff. Of course, this is also true of Shakespeare and the Odyssey.

When you go to reading the Robin Hood ballads, for example, you're going to find the kind of casual violence and crude humor that you expect from car chase and explosion movies. (Robin Hood and the Tailor? Pedlar? There are too many of them for me to search each one -- I know, I started to do it just now and gave up: one of them tells the other that he's going to beat him so bad that "you'll rather shite than shoot." And in another one --The Gest of Robin Hood? -- we find him cutting off the head of a defeated foe and sticking his sword into it for fun)

The thing about the ballad tradition is that it is all-inclusive of everything that stories do for us. And that's cool. The thing about the ballads existing into an age when there are other forms of entertainment is that they take on new roles and new meanings and that's cool too.

#222 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2005, 02:56 AM:

And in another one --The Gest of Robin Hood? -- we find him cutting off the head of a defeated foe and sticking his sword into it for fun)

The Lyttel Gest of You Know Who. But hey, the knifework is a plot point; Robin is going to pass Mr. Slashy Head Onna Bowstave off as his own and claim the reward for Robin's head. Uh, Hood. You know. (The identity of Mr. Head, the reward Robin asks for, and why this is a Good, if not necessarily Noble, Thing, are left for the reader to discover.)

#223 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2005, 09:18 AM:

Andrew, my housemate has been felting knitted baskets lately, and her preferred technique involves using, for preference, a small cooler (keeps the hot water hot longer), or else a medium-sized bucket or plastic wastebasket, filled with the hottest tap water + a teakettle's worth of boiling water + dish soap. For an agitator, she prefers a plastic 2-liter bottle--full is more effective than empty.

It's safer to do this with the container in the bathtub or sink, because of the slop factor.

Once the item is felted, she shapes it over a bowl until dry. If one cycle of this does not felt the item enough, a second go-round can be done.

#224 ::: Barbara Gordon ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2005, 01:22 PM:

Re: the Child 1 version that Pamela Dean heard.

Okay, I can't vouch for this, as I haven't heard the song myself but found this web-crawling:
"A really excellent version by Magpie Lane under the title 'Juniper Gentle and Rosemary' appears on their CD 'Six For Gold' BEJOCD-42."
A review of the CD says "They also have a very nice version, with massed vocals, of Pete Coe's Juniper Gentle And Rosemary ... Pete Coe taught the Magpies "Juniper Gentle and Rosemary," Marguerite's lead being stunningly fleshed out by all."
The Pete Coe version can be found on this CD: Long Company - Pete Coe - BASH CD45 which also has the intriguingly titled "The PR Man from Hell".

I haven't been able to track down any versions where the refrain definitely runs "Juniper, gentian". However, I wonder if "Juniper, gentle and" wouldn't be heard pretty much the same?
Oh, and there's a herbal shampoo called Juniper Gentle.

#225 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2005, 01:40 PM:

OK, regarding the Lateral Thinking Test particle...WTF is Stingray? Seriously, 2/3rds of that page seems to depend on the reader knowing about it...

#226 ::: TChem ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2005, 01:59 PM:

Andrew: I throw my stuff-to-be-felted in with the rest of my laundry (warm or hot water, check on it halfway through the dryer cycle), with the idea that if it's good enough to ruin sweaters, it's good enough for slippers or bags. The dryer, being a source of both heat and friction on the already-damp items, does a lot more than the washer. It seems to take a little longer than described online, maybe 2 or 3 cycles, but it gets the job done without using up extra quarters.

For a washer-free variation of the method fidelio describes, I've heard that using a clean new plunger with the soapy very hot water works too.

#227 ::: Andrew Willett ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2005, 02:29 PM:

Thanks, TChem and fidelio, for the tips. I think I'm going to go with the at-home method; the weather in NYC being what it is at present, I just can't bring myself to go sit in the laundromat across the street for a moment longer than absolutely necessary.

#228 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2005, 02:35 PM:

Stingray was one of the Brit marionette TV shows from the early 'sixties.

#229 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2005, 06:39 PM:

James, I was thinking of Stingray, that 80's show about some former military type who went around like the lone ranger fighting the bad guys. Except his "hi-ho Silver" was a black stingray corvette. Your version might actually make more sense.

#230 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2005, 06:42 PM:


Can anyone in the biz explain why =30= was used to mean "the end" or whatever? some google results give several possible answers. None of them very interesting, and was wondering if someone might have actually seen it in actual use and knew why.

#231 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2005, 08:13 PM:

I've seen -30- "in actual use" (heck, I use it myself at the end of short mss.), and it's definitely a newspaper term, but I've never gotten a definite answer on where it comes from. (When I was very young, one of the local newspapers used it in the cut that headed their obituary column; I suppose it was classier than Hey, Lookit the Dead People, which would have been closer to their editorial style.) I doubt as the true story (and I'm sure there is one) is particularly interesting, at least, not in the "Did you know that it was actually Marc Antony who invented the Orange Julius?" fashion.

And in a completely different irrelevant aside, noting the discussion of book distribution territories over on Neil Gaiman's blog (which references mine hostess), I had one of those odd urges to design Book Risk, with little wooden cubes competing for Global Rack Dominance. And the smiling whale would of course be reading Moby-Dick.

#232 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2005, 11:15 PM:

Dang, I remember Stingray! It must have run here in the late '60s. I was little enough to have to be reassured by my mom that the characters wouldn't die no matter how much danger they were in.

I also recall buying a plastic model of the tititular submarine.

#233 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2005, 01:46 AM:

Gerry Anderson, who did Stingray and other shows, was a guest of honour at the last Glasgow Worldcon, IIRC.

And -30- was, if I'm not mistaken, used by people who thought ending an article with -XXX- was a pretentious use of Roman numerals.

No, really. I'm not making that one up!

#234 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2005, 03:20 AM:

I'm just reading an interview with Michael Swanwick in which he mentions that he *might* be collaborating with Gene Wolfe on a new project. The interview is not incredibly old (post _Bones of the Earth_).

Would anyone know if this project is in progress or if it never happened?

(Interview is at:

#235 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2005, 10:52 AM:

My understanding is that " -30- " is descended from the Teletype character " -XXX- ", which was used to indicate "end of this story". (I am just old enough to have seen teletypes in use.)

Interestingly, googling for that Dead Medium "teletype" yields virtually nothing.

#236 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2005, 10:56 AM:

...and googling for "XXX" brings you into a whole 'nother universe.

#237 ::: Michelle ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2005, 11:23 AM:

Terry Prachett against shoddy Journalism...and what all those crazy people think about it. Plus the article Prachett was responding too.,10987,1083935,00.html

#238 ::: Jeremy Osner ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2005, 03:07 PM:

Say -- here for your delectation, is a poem that I found very affecting when I read it last week.

"The Limits"
by J.L. Borges

There is a line of Verlaine I shall not recall again,
There is a nearby street forbidden to my step,
There is a mirror that has seen me for the last time,
There is a door I have shut until the end of the world.
Among the books in my library (I have them before me)
There are some I shall never reopen.
This summer I complete my fiftieth year:
Death reduces me incessantly.
#239 ::: Michelle ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2005, 05:06 PM:

Pratchett responds:

#240 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2005, 06:37 PM:

The BBC has discovered Lulu.

#241 ::: Stefanie Murray ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2005, 06:38 PM:

Marilee, et al:

If you're still looking for Tubtrugs and don't want to plonk down 40 bucks (and the color thing isn't vital), the excellent Gardener's Supply Co carries them in 3 sizes from $14-$22:

#242 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2005, 09:16 PM:

abi wrote:

> The BBC has discovered Lulu.

Nothing against Lulu, but are they doing anything Cafe Press haven't been doing for years? The article makes it sound like a brand new idea.

#243 ::: Barbara Gordon ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2005, 11:15 PM:

The best Gerry Anderson Supermarionation show was Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons.
Opinions may differ, but this is based on my childhood watching of Thunderbirds Are Go!, Stingray, Joe 90, Supercar, and Captain Scarlet, so not without some basis for comparison. It is the only one for which I can still sing most of the theme song (both of them) and recite the catch phrases.
Has anyone else seen a rather odd Asian puppet wuxia, Legend of the Sacred Stone? There's a review here:

#244 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2005, 03:34 AM:

Instructions for making your dalek army:

It's particularly nice to see it on an official university website. Go RMIT!

#245 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2005, 12:35 PM:

Yay! Cap'n Scarlet was my fave too. I specially liked the Mysterons - high quality SFX <g>

The DVD box set is around, and I was going to buy it for my birthday (same as Goethe, Tolstoy, Charles Boyer, Donald O'Connor; St Augustine's Day), but pre-ordered Civilization and Ascent of Man box sets instead, which are arriving in Oz this week! <thrill>
There was a definite squeee!!! in the air when I saw them, stifled respectfully by possible disapproval from the shade of Lord Clark (Sir Kenneth to his chums) -- though his most (in)famous book is "The Nude".

#246 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2005, 01:34 PM:

Ah. Is that what Mysterons are...Portishead has had me wondering for quite some time, now.

Thanks for several puppet-related mysteries solved, folks.

#247 ::: Mina W ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2005, 01:54 PM:

About felting - I took a fiber arts class last semester. Here's some of what we were taught:

Different wools felt differently, not to mention other animal fur, like llama. To test before starting a project, take a small handful of wool, wet it and add a generous dollop of dish soap, circle hands against each other for 5 min or less. If it hasn't felted well in that time, the wool is not a good prospect for felting.

Things which have existing structural inegrity, like thrift store sweaters, may felt safely [shrink] in the washer and dryer, but otherwise only put things in the dryer to finish felting [already partly felted] which are contained [in an old stocking, for instance, for small round items] or basted in a resist.

Dish soap works for felting. Even better is felting gel [made, if I remember correctly, from Fels naptha soap]

Heat, moisture and agitation is correct. [Have to be careful not to felt the wool in the dyepot. Don't stir.]

For flat projects,including those with a resist in the center, baste them sandwiched between plastic window screen [nice because you can see through it, for inlaid patterns] or an old pillowcase etc.

Basic technique; roll up sandwiched item. [for an open shape it should have a resist in the center so it doesn't felt together] Put it in the hot tap water in a dishpan. For the first 5 minutes felt very gently, for instance by tapping with a wooden spoon. After that it is partly felted and can be beaten. For a shaped item like a hat or bag, at this point it should be worked over a form [bowl], &-or from the inside using your hand. An open resist, bag-shaped, can make this easier. You can spot felt, working with your fingers on areas that need to felt down more [to become smaller and sturdier] like the rim of a hat.

Everybody has their own technique. The larger the project, the more work. Traditional method was dragging the rolled up rug behind some horses!

#248 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2005, 04:37 PM:

Thanks, Stefanie! I must admit, it's the colors that I'm attracted to, as well as the utility.

#249 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2005, 04:38 PM:

The local NBC anchor just made an interesting speako: "Fahd has been detracto leader for years.

#250 ::: Barbara Gordon ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2005, 10:26 PM:

From an AP wire story on a Harry Potter counterfeiting ring in New Delhi:

"Young men and boys hawking pirated copies of bestselling books, at a fraction of their original prices, are a frequent sight at New Delhi's traffic lights. Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code, Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist and the Zahir, and assorted John Grisham thrillers are also favourites among the traffic-stop vendors."

It's not that I approve, exactly, but there's something very sfnal about this, to me. It could be something out of a Ballard novel, or maybe Brunner.

#251 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2005, 12:32 AM:

I've been thinking of trying to do NaNoWriMo this year, as a forcing-myself-to-finish-something-longish exercise. Actually, I've been thinking about it ever since last year. I feel like it's time to push myself to start writing again.

I realize I'm unlikely to get anything more than a decent first draft at best, and quite likely something that needs to be scrapped, or stuck on the shelf and looked at again in 6 months. 've never been able to actually finish writing anything longer than a short-short story, and perhaps it might be good to try.

What do the writers here think of Nanowrimo as a writing exercise? Useful or counter-productive? Or depends on the individual?

#252 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2005, 08:59 AM:

Clifton Royston wrote:

> I've been thinking of trying to do NaNoWriMo this year [...]
> What do the writers here think of Nanowrimo as a writing exercise? Useful or counter-productive? Or depends on the individual?

I'm not a writer, but I did complete NaNoWriMo a few years ago and I found it tremendously liberating. I'm sure different beginning writers have different problems, but in my case I'm acutely and painfully aware that I'm writing crap and I can't forgive myself for it.

NaNoWriMo gave me permission to leave all that behind me, and I had a few great moments when I was just flying over the page, and the glow when I finished was wonderful.

Conversely, if your problem was that you could write easily enough, but you let yourself do sloppy work, NaNoWriMo would be useless!

Anyway, I loved it. And you should do it.

Be sure to find other people doing it in your city and go to whatever parties or coffeshop meetups they have.

#253 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2005, 12:32 PM:

Yarncraft-ish question for the sundry:
My wife has been doing ribbon embroidery for years, and is wondering about purchasing ribbon and other supplies online. Does anyone know any reliable suppliers of quality ribbon & embroidery supplies?


#254 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2005, 12:53 PM:

OK, I have a plea here. On a community where I'm known as Criostóir, someone quite understandably typoed my name. He then jestingly posted

*notices he mispelled above, ducks out before criostoir notices*
I responded with
Actually I hadn't noticed...but I did notice that you misspelled 'misspelled' "mispelled" in your most recent post!
My contention is that no reasonable person would expect a dyed-in-the-wool word nerd like me to resist the temptation to legitimately use the same word (albeit spelled differently) three times in a row -- and make the three usage, citation, and quotation respectively!

I plead not guilty by reason of irresistable provocation. How says the jury?

#255 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2005, 01:19 PM:

Xopher: dyed-in-the-wool linguistic nerd. It's not only pardonable, it's expected that you would find some pleasure in that kind of play.

Clifton: one of my best friends is doing NaNoWriMo this year (Along with her boyfriend and some others, so she definitely has the local encouragement Steve mentions as so beneficial). She's finished roughly two stories ever, both Gaming fanfic, but she's had ideas she's toyed with otherwise, and she's admitted her big problems are A) Getting it down in the first place, and B) Nitpicking what she does write so much she never gets any further. I think it will do her wonders.

OTOH, I write and/or edit to the detriment of housework, work-work, and most of my hobbies. Getting me to stop writing is the trick. I've never seriously considered joining NaNoWriMo, because I don't think it would cure any of my current bad writing habits, and might exacerbate some.

#256 ::: Jonathan Shaw ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2005, 04:20 PM:

Xopher: Your plea for pardon is clearly a thinly disguised skite, in the Australian 50s slang sense of the word.

#257 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2005, 04:54 PM:

Fake data and Bush is lying,
The Bill of Rights is undone,
Rightwingers' junta ruling,
Vote fraud in Ohio.

Gotta get down to it.
FBI reading our mail.
What if you knew him and
Secret jails swallowed him
How can you let it slide by.

#258 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2005, 04:56 PM:

I don't know if I mentioned it here before or not, someone by the name of Scott Fessler a decade or so ago on WUMB (91.9 FM in eastern Massachusetts) went through the Child ballads trying to find at least one example of each, and played the results on the station.

#259 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2005, 06:07 PM:

Your plea for pardon is clearly a thinly disguised skite, in the Australian 50s slang sense of the word.

Ya think?

#260 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2005, 05:09 PM:

Lovely headline on BoingBoing:

Beautiful Photograph of Water Ice in Carter on Mars

Properly magnified and enhanced, perhaps it will show reflections of the towers of Helium, and maybe the streak of a hurtling moon.

Yes, the word is spelled correctly in the text, and yes, it is a darn fine photo, for multiple reasons.

#261 ::: Will Entrekin ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2005, 10:30 PM:

General query; are there rules one must abide by when writing fiction in which actual people appear? I don't mean thinly disguised autobiography; I mean like a celebrity. How far can a writer go? Can Angelina Jolie appear in a story, but one can't mention "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider" by name? I ask because I've read of two different approaches:

I read a book called "Teeth," by Hugh Gallagher, in which a character goes to a concert very similar to Lollapalooza (it's even called something really close to that). He meets a band called "Rage Against the Chili Pepper" (which is obviously Rage Against the Machine and Red Hot Chili Peppers) and even has an altercation with a music channel veejay named Carson (who was obviously meant to be Kennedy [it was written before the Daly years]).

On the other hand, I've heard Keanu Reeves and several others appear as actual characters in Bret Easton Ellis' "Glamorama."

Is there a rule here? Can a character or celebrity be mentioned in the story, but, if, say Angelina Jolie appears in a story, she, as a character, can't actually speak? Or is it, as long as the characters and events bear no relation to actual goings-on, and the writer flat out declares, yes, of course, it's fiction, I made it up, it's scot free?

#262 ::: kate ::: (view all by) ::: August 06, 2005, 08:58 AM:

Another place about a hoarder. (I recall that's one of your interests.)

This one gets a lot of her stuff from online auctions.

#263 ::: kate ::: (view all by) ::: August 06, 2005, 09:00 AM:

Neat. I kept getting denied for questionable content, there. As it turns out, according to your software, the word ebay isn't questionable content, the word that involves bidding on things is.

#264 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: August 06, 2005, 03:05 PM:

Steve, Lenora:

Thanks for the feedback. I am indeed thinking about Nanowrimo precisely because my biggest problem in writing has been not writing enough, and (often) being paralysed with frustration/revulsion over the quality of what I've just written. I think some of the short pieces I've written in the past and posted online were decent; at one time I had an appreciative audience for some of it, but I let that writing stall, mostly for reasons mentioned in another thread.

#265 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: August 06, 2005, 03:16 PM:

Today is the 60th anniversary of Hiroshima.

#266 ::: Will Entrekin ::: (view all by) ::: August 06, 2005, 05:14 PM:

Clifton, I missed your NaNoWriMo query the first time, but figured I'd offer my thoughts, not that they'll be any use or not, who knows, really, because the big thing is that what works for some people doesn't work for others. I think it's a good motivation if you haven't found one. If you're the sort who likes that concrete a goal, that set a time limit, that deadline, it may work well for you so long as you bear in mind that, chances are, what you get down will be crap. Because it will be a first draft, and first drafts are always crap. But good crap. Liberating crap. Fun crap.

But a good thing is getting it down. I'm a writer. I do it a lot, and I can't tell you how often I've a)been asked if I'd write someone else's idea, or b)heard someone say, oh, I have a great idea for a novel, etc, I've always wanted to wrie a book (John MacDonald, in an introduction to Stephen King's *Night Shift* said his response to that was "Oh? I've always wanted to perform Brain Surgery!"). But, you know, it's a liberating thing to say, "I've written a novel."

Regardless of the quality, and content. Just writing it is something to be content with.

The other thing is, just because it's crap doesn't necessarily mean it's not usable. I did a NaNoWriMo by accident; I got laid off, and sat down and wrote, and ended up writing 120,000 words in three weeks. I did nothing but.

And some of those words were actually pretty good. Not all of them. I've done a bunch of revisions, and I've literally lopped an entire novel off that word count, but I have a good feeling about the novel, and it *gives* me a good feeling. I'll be revising again, and, honestly, several writers (no less than Will Shetterly, in fact) have said it's good, just needs a little work (Shetterly actually gave me good advice, and I think an upcoming rewrite, with some polishing thereafter, will be enough).

It's already good, just not great yet. And it could be, which is probably the infuriating part.

Point is, do it. Go for it. Jump on in, and tear that shit up. If nothing else, you'll have fun, and no matter how much you finish during that month, chances are you'll finish the novel anyway, and then you'll have a novel. You'll like parts. You'll cut the parts you don't, and write new ones you do, and someday you'll have a story you like all of.

What you do with it from there is another story all together.

#267 ::: Jeremy Osner ::: (view all by) ::: August 06, 2005, 10:35 PM:

Hey if anyone is reading this right now and interested, there is a great Pink Floyd show on WBAI 99.5 FM until midnight (Eastern) -- lots of old and rare recordings. has it streaming.

#268 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: August 07, 2005, 11:40 AM:

Kate, at least most of the stuff in the "crazy eBay mom" house is in boxes or stacked fairly neatly. If anyone ever has to clean the place out, it'll be a LOT easier than sorting through mounds and drifts and layers of anything and everything. (Speaking from about 200 hours of experience.)

#269 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: August 07, 2005, 03:31 PM:


Not entirely coincidentally to this discussion, I am expecting to be laid off in a few weeks. I have a reasonable hope of landing some contract programming work to pay the bills so there will be some money coming in, but I may have more free time than I'm used to for a bit, depending on whether the contract work happens and on how fast I have to go out for steady employment. And I have a couple of SF-y horror outlines and fragments from a few years ago, so now might be the time.

120K words in 3 weeks? Now that gives me something to hope for.

#270 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: August 07, 2005, 03:35 PM:

Belated response re: The Seven Words You Can't Say in Kindergarten

I am happy to say that I performed the proud parents' marriage. Really.

#271 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: August 07, 2005, 03:48 PM:

Question re word-counting: doesn't dialogue throw things off a bit? I mean, does

"Yes!" she replied.
really count for as many words as
because her substance had become inextricably intertwined with that

I've always been confused by this, and it's probably answered somewhere already...if so, just link me, rather than explaining again. Thanks.

#272 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: August 07, 2005, 05:11 PM:

Wordcount is not literal enumeration of the words. It's a measure of how much space the manuscript will take up in print.

A commonly accepted way of doing a manuscript word count is:

-- Determine the length of the line in characters. This can be done by margin setting; a one-inch margin on an 8.5 x 11 page gives 6.5 inches for type, which is 65 characters in 10-pitch and 78 in 12. (Many editors' eyeballs really prefer 10-pitch. Using proportional for submission is a bad idea.)

-- Divide this by 6, a "standard word" being five characters plus a space. Rounding is okay -- it results in 10/11 or 12 words, depending on pitch. A short line ("Jesus typed") takes up as much space on the page as a full one ("Peter drew his sword for the first editorial pass, but the Lord said unto him, 'stet'").

-- Count the lines on a full page. Multiply this by the previous number to get your standard page wordcount. Widow/orphan control means that there'll be a small variation in page length we didn't get in the days of stone typewriters, but just base it on margin setting -- one-inch margins and six lines per inch double-spaced give about thirty lines. (If you want, you can do the multiplication first and then divide by 6; it doesn't make much difference.) As long as you keep the same page settings, you can make a note of the standard page count, generally in the neighborhood of 325-350, and reuse it.

-- Multiply the words per page by . . . well, you can probably guess. This is the figure you put in the top right corner; most folks round it to the nearest 50 words or so.

-- Poetry's normally counted by line.

#273 ::: Barbara Gordon ::: (view all by) ::: August 07, 2005, 05:29 PM:

Way back on the thread - I was looking through the piles of books under the bed (my son sent me the ebay hoarder link a couple of months ago with a warning not to end up like that) and I discovered a second copy of
The Nine Questions, by Edward Fenton, no dj, exlib but pretty clean.

Lucy, if you're still looking for this, you can email me, at my first name at my husband's domain name, which is

#274 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: August 07, 2005, 05:31 PM:

Thanks! That makes sense again. It's really the first para that I had a question about, but I'm going to hold onto this and use it.

I'm thinking of doing NaNoWriMo, though I must say there's a part of my brain that screams "NOOOOOOOO!!!!" whenever I think of it.

#275 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 07, 2005, 06:36 PM:

Ansible copped the Best Locus Hugo!

#276 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: August 07, 2005, 11:11 PM:

Dept. of We Humorless Skiffy Folks Always Find Something to Grouse About in the Warmly Accommodating Mundane Press:

A "delegate" is someone who is sent to a gathering, normally as a representative of some larger body. That's what the word means. For the Times to describe the attendees at Glasgow as "delegates" isn't condescending -- as indeed their article is not, at least by the accustomed standard . . . it's just wrong. A minority of attendees, such as bid committees, or people doing presentations for forthcoming movies, could be considered to be delegated (particularly the latter, who might not have attended had they not been sent), but that still misses the point of how the Worldcon is structured. (And yeah, that word works in this context.)

Now, to be fair, I've been known to wear a badge somewhere alongside my Official Sigil of Conliness identifying me as a delegate from some external organization or another -- like the Martian Invasion Feasibility Survey Earthling Opinion Project or the Upper Midwest Working Group for Analog Hedonics. (Once it was Bretton Woods. Nobody noticed, but as you know, Bob, there's always a lot of badge noise.) Maybe the habit's resurfaced. And if if hasn't, maybe it should.

#277 ::: Mina W ::: (view all by) ::: August 07, 2005, 11:12 PM:

For those who knit :, a great dye supply place, has just started carrying natural yarns for dyeing - cotton as well as silk, wool,etc.

#278 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: August 07, 2005, 11:38 PM:

Mina: Ooh, look! My Visa card is hiding under the couch!

For the knitting- and Firefly-enabled: Tahki Cotton Classic, doubled on a 10.5 needle, makes a dandy Jayne hat. It's mercerized, and therefore not fuzzy and rustic-lookin' like Ma Cobb's. But a cotton hat, for a premiere in a Texas September, is much more cunning than a wool one.

#279 ::: sennoma ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2005, 01:32 AM:

Noted without comment: Vienna Days.

OK, one comment: *gag*.

#280 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2005, 02:51 AM:

New from Acme Food Enhancement
Dining for the Posthuman Era

Olfactor X
La Recherche du Pain Perdu
(Canadian sales only)

Bakery Components
PanSlik 9000

Pastry Loads
Sploo Plus

Industrial Coatings
(specify matte or buffing)
(specify grain, meat, or Cook's Surprise)

Salad Armatures
Refurbed Beans
Yaga Ganoush
(specify regular or w/chicken)

Colloids and Seasonal Adjustments

Marshmallow Dingbats

Food Maintenance Supplies
Soup Defogger
Al Dente in a Drum
Souffle Sealant
Pastry Weld

#281 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2005, 04:17 AM:


We notice, in the growth of the World Wide Web, an analogous situation to population biology, where certain information (generally classed as "spam") survives through throwing out hundreds of thousands of offspring, expecting only a few to survive. These are like insects, or fish -- the technical term in population biology is "r-strategists", where r represents the reproductive rate. On the other side, there are those bits of information that are lovingly tended by their parents, who produce relatively few offspring but work very hard to make sure they are viable. These are "K-strategists", where K represents the carrying capacity of the environment. K-strategists try to take up as much of that capacity in a small number of offspring as they can. High-level blogs (like Making Light) are an excellent example of this.

r-strategists by their nature will try to invade the "offspring" of K-strategists....

(excerpt from an unwritten paper, "The evolutionary ecology of the Internet")

#282 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2005, 07:19 AM:

Here's a thought about Lulu...

It makes it possible to include black-and-white images in a book as easily as text; a decorative chapter-heading or an illustration. There's almost too much scope for bad art and design, but the sort of art seen in the magazines is quite possible.

Yes, there's admin-side work involved, but does the actual printing process in conventional publishing have any barriers to this sort of art?

Or is it simply that sourcing the art and the more complex page layout adds too much cost.

(I can imagine something like The Phoenix Guards with a decorative chapter-heading.)

#283 ::: Clifton Royston makes an antispam suggestion ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2005, 02:47 PM:

Suggestion for our esteemed host and hostess:

Email antispam tactics are part of my job. I don't know if Movable Type is customizable to this extent, but here are a couple professional suggestions which may help with the comment spambot that's getting through:

1) If you don't already, run all URLs through an URL blocklist like those at and, and discard any hits. Unlike keyword checking, this is unlikely to have a noticeable false positive level, especially with the list.

2) Hold anything with an all lower-case username and an URL; this will have occasional false positives.

#284 ::: coln roald ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2005, 03:36 PM:

Noted without comment: Vienna Days.

Is that the sequal to Atlanta Nights, then?

#285 ::: Lisa Spangenberg ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2005, 03:48 PM:

PNH is already doing all he can do, short of turning off comments, using the MT anti-spam filters. The scripts that are getting through are specifically designed to thwart MT. That is, they work by using Google to locate MT sites with high page ranks, then formulate the URL so that MT can't automatically block it. There are many many more spam comments that don't get through.

#286 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2005, 04:22 PM:

When you get right down to it, the comment spam situation isn't that bad here: The volume is low, people are good about reporting it, and it gets eliminated quickly.

Yes, it is still annoying, and a burthen, but I've seen much worse.

#287 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2005, 06:54 PM:

Compare and contrast Nell Gwyn, Protestant Whore, with the Oval Orifice Oaf who deserves ousting!

1. a. Nell Gwyn, mistress (one of serveral) to Charles II

b. Oaf, whore to Energy Industry including foreigners, and right wing religious bigots, also

2. Public demeanor:

a. Nell Gwyn stopped the carriage when the crowd was yelling "Catholic whore" to apprise them that she was the Protestant whore.

b. Oaf rides bicycle INTO policeman, and aides plan his appearance to avoid and screen out any detractors.

#288 ::: Jeremy Osner ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2005, 10:03 PM:

Anyone familiar with the music of R.B. Morris? I just saw him performing his one-act play, "The Man Who Lives Here Is Loony" and now I'm excited to hear more.

The play is Morris reciting a mash-up of bits from James Agee's books and letters, accompanied by an acoustic bass and his own percussion (a manual typewriter and a hacking cough) -- it knocked me for a loop!

#289 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: August 10, 2005, 12:14 AM:

According to today's SF Chron, the Livermore library has just had its misspelled mural corrected.

Artistic license could have forgiven "Shakespere" (mostly because he pre-dated standard spelling), but "Eistein" was just plain unacceptable.

(Now I'm carefully scanning the above for typos...)

#290 ::: Jeremy Osner ::: (view all by) ::: August 10, 2005, 08:42 AM:

Also -- here's one question inspired by my reaction to "The Man Who Lives Here is Loony": a friend asked last night whether Morris had successfully gotten across Agee's persona. And I realized I didn't actually know -- I mean he certain was successful in getting across a persona and I assumed it was Agee's that was being communicated, since that was who he was reading; but I am not that familiar with Agee beyond reading a book or two. The author that I'm familiar with that I was thinking about when I watched the show, was W. S. Burroughs. So here is my question: did Burroughs have much influence from Agee, or much personally in common with him?

#291 ::: L.N. Hammer ::: (view all by) ::: August 10, 2005, 11:15 AM:

If I'd known you hadn't seen the TUH rip-off, I would have pointed it to you sooner. It's been in my bookmarks for over a year, possibly two. I return to it often.


#292 ::: Harry Connolly ::: (view all by) ::: August 10, 2005, 05:24 PM:

James Nicoll has been blogging about violence in sff, and he's surveying some Tor Books to see how they break out.

It's interesting.

#293 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: August 10, 2005, 07:37 PM:

Artistic license could have forgiven "Shakespere" (mostly because he pre-dated standard spelling)

A plague of all dyslexic muralists! If I do not beat the gesso out of them, with their paintings on lath, and drive them from the river a-down to the kahlo -- for as you know, Hal, my corita, as the Espaniardos call the heart, lies in Kent -- like a flock of wild geese with ARTnews bylines, I shall never wear black in SoHo again.

"Shakespere" indeed, when all men know 'tis Shagspeare, preserving, as it were, the wit of the country. "Eistein," too, for a relative folly, when had the fellow's brain two slits for light to pass through he would painted "Heinberg?"

#294 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: August 10, 2005, 08:55 PM:

On the subject of foodthings, I am strangely uncomforted by the note, "The dye Orange B is allowed only in hotdog and sausage casings."

(Ah, hot dogs. As quoth the Arrogant Worms, "They're the particle board of meat.")

#295 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: August 10, 2005, 09:01 PM:

James Nicoll has been blogging about violence in sff, and he's surveying some Tor Books to see how they break out.

His view seems pretty simplistic. My experience is that "joy in violence" only appears rarely in the SF I read, but much of it, on some level, is about violence...because it's about humanity. I love SF because at its best it throws its arms around the entirety of life and attempts to understand it. Violence is a huge part of that. We're in a frickin' war, for gods sakes, and everyone of my age grew up worrying about being nuked, and at least half the women I know have been assulted, and there's kids getting their asses kicked at schools all over the country, and every day brings piles of suicides and homicides and what have you. The idea that it's bad for literature to engage with all that drives me up a wall.

Personally, I don't find utopian, let's-be-peaceful, Trek-TNG stories at all inspiring or uplifting. To me, they're sheer escapism and don't offer useful lessons for living in the world we're actually stuck in. The stories that make me breathe easier are the ones about overcoming unspeakable evil, winning against ridiculous odds, surviving unbearable traumas. I'm not saying that all violence-containing SF is like that (90% of everything, after all, is crap) but some of it truly is.

A Deepness in the Sky, for example, contains war, torture, slavery, rape, more torture...but it uses those things to tell a story that makes my soul sing.

#296 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 10, 2005, 10:23 PM:

A first-person account of being arrested by the Mukhabarat in Iraq.

#297 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: August 10, 2005, 11:51 PM:

Mary Dell - He does say at one point that this isn't a good vs. bad question, just a yes vs. no - but then, one of his readers points to Tooth and Claw only as, "Fight scene culminating in cannibalism", which strikes me as missing the mark so badly on what that novel is about and how much violence is present (Or rather, not) in the story. I know he's not responsible for his readers, but it seems to be representative of what he's looking to hear about books.

I have to say, though, you're right that his discussion is missing the whole aspect of what the attitude of the characters is towards the violence they use and face.

There's also the fact that story tends to be larger than life, with higher stakes, and the heightening of the stakes often leads to using violence in one form or another to reflect theme or develop character, not for "gosh-wow, ain't blowing people up neat?"

#298 ::: Harry Connolly ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2005, 12:16 AM:

And he's not advocating utopian pacifist fiction by any means. He's just measuring the prevalence of it.

And no, not everyone there is without an opinion, and not everyone is an impartial posting robot who never lets their opinion show. But there's nothing wrong with collecting some numbers.

#299 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2005, 09:45 AM:

Lenora Rose: the person who mentioned the "fight culminating in cannibalism" concluded with "Lovely stuff." I've known her for years, and I'm certain she didn't miss the point of the book. (Of course you can't tell that from a two-sentence comment, but I think we're agreed that context is everything.)

#300 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2005, 12:48 PM:

Harry Connolly - just to clarify a bit:

I took his view to be specifically against violence in SF because he talks about his own work in progress and says "unfortunately" it starts off with some violence. Certainly he's not presenting this round-up as a highlight of what's good about the books he discusses. He seems specifically to be complaining that Tor publishes too many "violent" books.

I find his approach simplistic because he sums up several diverse books with the word "Violent," and other books get glib comments like: "Jane Lindskold, WOLF CAPTURED, Wolves basically not your symbol of non-violence." If he was presenting an analysis of each book, or an overarching theory of what SF should be and why these books don't suit, that would be very interesting to me. The list as he's pulled it together, unfortunately, is more like those sites that tell you how many times a cuss word is uttered in a film. I don't personally find that a useful way to judge anything.

#301 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2005, 03:46 PM:

James has been reading mountains of SF and he's been testing impressions he's gotten about quite a few things: violence in SF, the relative direction of SF in different countries, the end of US hegemony in SF, and the directions taken by certain SF writers' careers. He's actually a very smart and subtle guy and has really interesting things to say and I've been disagreeing with him a lot lately.

#302 ::: Harry Connolly ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2005, 05:37 PM:

Mary Dell, I have also had the impression that there's an undercurrent of distaste for violence in his ongoing survey. I also think your "Utopian SF" rant was overwrought.

But you know what? I'm conceding to you on any subject you like for the rest of the day, because you're the first person to spell my last name correctly in quite a while. :)

#303 ::: adamsj ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2005, 05:37 PM:


That's a very interesting question, and I've never heard it asked before. I'd guess that Burroughs and Agee had a milleau in common (and thus could spell it correctly) and not much else.

Agee is sincerity without sentimentality. Burroughs isn't measured on that scale.

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