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May 15, 2011

Open thread 158
Posted by Abi Sutherland at 04:17 AM *

Crossover fic I’d love to read:

Doctor Stephen Maturin scowled at his reflection in the looking-glass and shifted his shoulders uncomfortably inside his borrowed coat. “I look like a dandy,” he complained untruthfully at his companion. “And I cannot understand how anyone can wear collars like these for an entire evening. Every turn of my head scrapes my jaw against them, and they sit in the corners of my vision like blinders on a horse. Why, pray, must we attend this function?”

Jack Aubrey, already dressed, laughed at his friend. “We are going because you wished to meet the owner of that ascending balloon that we sighted over Burnett last week. I spent a few days making enquiries here and there. It’s devilish difficult to discover anything about such a contraption, but I think I’m on the trail of it now.”

“How does that translate into our presence at a rout-party in Bath—on solicited invitations, no less? Are we expecting to meet the balloonist in the midst of a country dance, perhaps? Arrange to see the vehicle as we trot through a cotillion? Surely we could call on the aeronaut during the day like civilized men.”

“The balloonist won’t be at the party.” Jack smiled in response Stephen’s exasperated glare. He was alight with the childlike enjoyment that comes of possessing a secret, and pleased at the game of feeding information out by the ell rather than gathering what his friend let fall. “We’re going there to become acquainted his sister, without whose consent we haven’t a chance of meeting the pilot at all.”

“His sister? How does she affect the matter in the least? Who is this precious female?”

“Frederica, Marchioness of Alverstoke.”

Back to Open thread 157.

Continued in Open thread 159

Comments on Open thread 158:
#1 ::: SKapusniak ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2011, 06:12 AM:

Surely Felix would have advanced onward and upward to heavier than air vehicles by the time he'd be old enough to own his own balloon?

Aha! All those stories we read with an even more steampunky Nineteenth Century -- as if the 'real' nineteenth century wasn't implausibly steampunk enough aready -- those are ones where the events described in 'Frederica' took place exactly as described, and allowed the now brother-in-law of the Marquis of Alverstoke to have the funding to really get going, whilst we've ended up in one of the of ones where Charis failed to enter the room at just that precise moment.

#2 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2011, 06:30 AM:

The fact that Frederica controls access to Felix is significant. He's still a child here; I thought of the scene as taking place only a year or two after the marriage. It might be overly ambitious to expect him to have his own balloon by then, but he is a mighty skilled wheedle.

He might well have moved onto heavier-than-air flight later on. The encounter with Jack and Stephen would certainly do more than give Stephen access to an ideal vehicle for the observation of both nature and the enemy. It would also put an inventor with a thirst for information into contact with an expert on streamlined design and the interaction between wind and canvas.

What if there were vast Merrivilles crossing the land in the early-to-mid 1800's, huge steam-powered airships aloft long before Count Zeppelin was out of short pants?

#3 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2011, 06:52 AM:

Abi @157-924: But this one isn't exactly subtle, long term, or avoidable.

Not long term? As noted previously, we've been fighting this one since before the (US) Civil War! Similarly, it may not be subtle, but it's certainly avoidable for most of the country -- because they don't live there!

The Mississippi problem is conflicted by both racial and regional conflicts. (Note that in Katrina, both played a huge part in turning that crisis into a disaster....) The regional conflicts especially make any such project a hostage to politics (particularly to the neocons) As for "set-asides" to prepare for the problem... the politics are worse! Any such pile of money would be an ongoing target for politicos who think the money should be going to their buddies -- and the neocons are working very hard at making America so broke that it can't afford any such "extravagance".

#4 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2011, 06:56 AM:

David Harmon @3:

We may have been fighting this since before the Civil War, but I'd be deeply surprised if the Mississippi is still meeting the Gulf at New Orleans in 2050. It was long term, but much of that long term has now expired.

I am aware of many of the human problems that complicate the hydrological one. Ranting against the latter was, for me, kind of a way of grieving over the former.

#5 ::: chris y ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2011, 08:17 AM:

Awesome. Stop whatever you're doing and write it at once.

To the extent that Jack's career continued to track that of Lord Cochrane after his reinstatement in the Navy, he would probably have been as excited about these ideas as Stephen. Cochrane was a huge innovator and advocate of steam power and pretty much any other technology he could

(I love Frederica, but it's the only mature Heyer I've ever caught in a serious research error - the Soho foundry wasn't in Soho, London, it was in Birmingham.)

#6 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2011, 08:25 AM:

Seconding chris y! You've got oodles of spare time lying around, right, Abi?

I just read Frederica for the first time last month. No, I don't know why it took me so long either.

#7 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2011, 08:34 AM:

If anyone is interested in how Jack got invitations to the party, by the way, recall that there is one overlapping (historic) character between Post Captain and Frederica. It's someone who could arrange pretty much any invitation that she chose.

One does trust that Jack would have the delicacy not to mention to Stephen the name of the mutual acquaintance through whom he obtained an introduction. The morning-visit in question would be very interesting to write.

#8 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2011, 09:31 AM:

There are no magic secrets in the mud
beneath our feet, but worlds have passed away
while it was formed and our own great display
marks just a stage in passing drought and flood.
Each one of us from hero down to dud
knows that we have so little time to stay
and yet seems hasty to fritter our day
in silly matters that just waste our blood.
Time was we might have made some sort of stand
against the forces that push down so hard
to turn our efforts into so much smoke
but we are left with only a weak hand
remaining on what seems the final yard
and sense enough to understand the joke.

#9 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2011, 09:33 AM:

By the way, the last Babylon 5 post of Season One is up on Noise2Signal.

#10 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2011, 09:35 AM:

Isambard Kingdom Brunel and Richard Sharpe...

#11 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2011, 09:56 AM:

Me, I should have liked to see a cosy chat over tea between Caroline Herschel and Sophia. For that matter, I wonder what Caroline Herschel would have made of Stephen.

#12 ::: Sherwood ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2011, 10:13 AM:

I thought Miss Herschel was one of Stephen's friends?

Anyway I would read this fic in a nanosecond!

#13 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2011, 10:20 AM:

David Harmon: It's long term the same way California and Japan preparing for, "The Big One" is long term. Year in, Year out, the work to deal with what will be a sudden event goes on.

When the Atchafalaya does capture the Mississippi, it will be over. It won't take days for the new river to settle down to it's bed (though it won't want to be quite as rigid as we would like it, it also won't want wander quite as much as it did before).

As we've both said, the problem is the politics of the money.

#14 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2011, 11:07 AM:

Sherwood @ #12, it was Caroline who taught Jack to grind telescope mirrors. I don't recall (from my admittedly imperfect memory of the books) her having met Stephen.

#15 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2011, 11:11 AM:

Dreamed last night of a book that was about the size of my First Folio reprint, with small type in several columns, reprinting blogs with comments. I wanted to buy one — seemed like the greatest thing since sliced bread, or Warhoon 28. No illos, though.

#16 ::: EClaire ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2011, 11:13 AM:

Since it's an open thread, and since I'm typing on my phone anyway, I would just like to throw out some sincere love for Jane Yolen's children's books. Stefan loves the Baby Bear books (helped I'm sure by the fact that I've long called him my baby bear) and regularly asks for "How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night?" Since I know the author stops by occasionally, I wanted to express my heartfelt gratitude for books that are just the right length to read out loud and are fun for grown-ups too. It's a harder balancing act than I used to think.

#17 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2011, 11:54 AM:

I found The Emperor and the Kite at my grocery store, in their (occasional) book bin.
Seconding your recommendation.

#18 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2011, 12:14 PM:

Speaking of crossover fic...

#19 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2011, 12:15 PM:

Hyperlocal news... Man's wife, while watching 2005's "Rome", says that he looks better than Ciaran Hinds.

#20 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2011, 12:42 PM:

Well, this comes as a bit of a relief. Classical music isn't irrelevant after all. Some day maybe they'll make a movie where the hero surprises everybody at the stuffy rock institute by improvising a four-voice fugue and winning his girlfriend back from the obnoxious shredder.

#21 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2011, 01:08 PM:

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a man in possession of post rank, must be in want of a distraction. Lord! But what of an officer who doesn't like music or dancing? Harriet agrees we have never in our lives seen a man look so uncomfortable at a ball! Lord! But he is darling in his way and his stories are dashing. His last ship was even named after me! For that I will find a way to amuse him whether he likes it or not. Lord! Even if I must follow him around the world to do it.

(further diary pages were ruined by seawater)

#22 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2011, 01:59 PM:

Kip @ 20:
s/his girlfriend/his soul/
s/four part fugue/Paganini's Caprice #5/
and you pretty much have 1986's Crossroads. It's a dumb movie but kinda fun as I recall.

Of course nowadays the battle is increasingly whether rock is relevant in the age of rap, so you'd have to have - hmmmm - an opera singer in training who really wants to be a freestyle rapper. It's a dumb idea, but it could be good enough for Hollywood.

#23 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2011, 03:27 PM:

Just got back from "Thor", which was a hell of a lot of fun. Maybe not quite as good as "Iron Man", but damn nearly. Casting was incredibly good, Stan Lee had his usual amusing cameo, Loki stole the show. Go see it, it's fun.

#24 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2011, 03:59 PM:

Loki stole the show

Anything that's not screwed down.

#25 ::: Don Simpson ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2011, 04:02 PM:

I still want to read a good Jack Aubrey, Jack Sparrow, and Jack Harkness crossover....

#26 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2011, 04:44 PM:

Don Simpson #25: Me, I wonder if those folks could cope with Repairman Jack!

#27 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2011, 04:45 PM:

@Kip W. #20: As a toddler, my middle child would dance with equal abandon to "The William Tell Overture" and "Hip to be Square." My oldest was transfixed by "Fanfare for the Common Man" at about the same age and hugged the radio when it was over. My youngest would accept no comfort during his painful teething episodes except "Iron Man," the 1972 concert recording, turned up LOUD. I can't understand what makes any of these tunes less relevant to our lives than any other.

#28 ::: Jordin ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2011, 04:54 PM:

Don @25

Agreed, but the movie version could never be shown on an airplain:

"Hi Jack"
"Hi Jack"
"Hi Jack"

#29 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2011, 04:58 PM:

I don't know about good, but I once ran into a Jack Aubrey, Jack Sparrow, Jack Harkness, Horatio Hornblower, Richard Sharpe crossover.

Much hilarity was had as they tried to sort out their boots the next morning.

#30 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2011, 05:09 PM:

Speaking of even more (very short) crossover fic...

#31 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2011, 05:27 PM:

abi, #7: For the benefit of those of us who are fluent in only one side of this equation, would you mind identifying the overlapping character in question?

#32 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2011, 05:42 PM:

Lee @31:

I was referring to Lady Jersey, who was a close friend of the Marquis of Alverstoke in Frederica and had Diana Villiers as her guest in Post Captain. But on further research, I see that the timelines don't match up. Alverstoke's friend (Sally) was the daughter in law of Diana's hostess (Frances, who was mistress to the Prince Regent).

Drat. Another good crossover gone west. Unless it takes place later than I'd planned it originally.

#33 ::: CaseyL ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2011, 06:04 PM:

Heresiarch #18: I saw those a week or so ago. I've since found out that that version of "The Importance of Being Earnest" - with those actors- is one of the films being shown at the Seattle International Film Festival. I'm going to try seeing it, purely because I loved those Oscar Wilde/Jersey Shore vids.

Speaking of movies,I've just come back from seeing "Cave of Forgotten Dreams," which is about the discovery of the Chauvet cave art. Herzog has some silly moments, but they pale in significance: the movie gives us the only glimpse we'll ever get of the artwork, and does a damn fine job of that. I do wish there had been more cross-analysis with the Lascaux art: I thought there was a lot of stylistic similarity, which conjured speculations about traveling shaman exchanging technique tips, cave painting workshops and the like!

#34 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2011, 06:07 PM:

OK, I'm not familiar enough with EITHER side to have identified them without resorting to Google. Even with, I couldn't find out who Felix is.

#35 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2011, 06:11 PM:

abi, a quick trip through the google says that Sally was born in 1785 and died in 1867. (She married at 16, very young by our standards.)

#36 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2011, 06:33 PM:

Xopher @ 34

Felix is the scapegrace younger brother of Frederica.

#37 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2011, 07:24 PM:

Felix is the scapegrace younger brother of Frederica.

Felix the cad!

#38 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2011, 07:36 PM:

Noooo, Felix isn't a cad (though I do see what you did there)...he's 11 or so, and exceedingly interested in SCIENCE and STEAM-POWER and HOT-AIR BALLOONS.

#39 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2011, 07:48 PM:

My weekend high-tech arts & crafts project. (And the following five pictures.)

* * *

I saw Thor this afternoon too. Lots of fun. I didn't like the slick high-tech look of Asgard and its inhabitants, but I can forgive that for the action and humor.

#40 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2011, 07:56 PM:

Oh my ghod. Jack and Felix on the mechanics of flight. Nearby sheets of paper would be ruthlessly pressed into service to demonstrate various points, and Jack would call for cake to be brought.

I can't imagine Jack Aubrey, Jack Sparrow, and Jack Harkness. Jack Sparrow is a pirate, and Jack Harkness would be impossibly prejudicial to shipboard discipline.

#41 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2011, 08:03 PM:

Teresa: "I can't imagine Jack Aubrey, Jack Sparrow, and Jack Harkness. Jack Sparrow is a pirate, and Jack Harkness would be impossibly prejudicial to shipboard discipline."

But that's why it would be so much fun!

#42 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2011, 08:15 PM:

Teresa, 40: Harkness would spend all his time flirting with Aubrey, who is canonically oblivious; Sparrow would be a nuisance until Bonden made it clear that he ought to behave himself. Meanwhile Stephen is experimenting with the cursed doubloons in an attempt to make Bonaparte's life miserable.

#43 ::: Singing Wren ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2011, 08:17 PM:

Not really HLN:

My in-laws have just lost one of their two cats. While stopping at a motel in Birmingham, AL, my MIL was carrying Maggie between the car and the motel. A pack of dogs was barking, Maggie freaked out, wriggled out of MIL's arms, and ran into the woods. They (MIL, FIL, cousin) spent several hours searching for her, but to no avail.

They have to keep going to get to their destination on schedule, and are putting ads in the local papers in Birmingham. But honestly, we worry this may be the last they've seen of her. Maggie is skittish even around my in-laws, and strangers are Right Out.

Maggie is a Maine Coon with lovely long brown fur and a white belly. If anyone is in the Birmingham area, or knows anyone in the Birmingham area and happens to see her, you can post a message to me on whatever open thread happens to be current. Prayers, good thoughts, and positive energies for Maggie, her brother Ziggy (still safe with my in-laws, but no doubt missing his sister), and my in-laws are much appreciated.

#44 ::: Singing Wren ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2011, 08:18 PM:

Also, since I didn't get around to posting this on the last Open Thread...

Congratulations, TexAnne!

#45 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2011, 08:53 PM:

What about Jack Spratt?

#46 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2011, 09:02 PM:

For those of you who don't know, Mary Robinette Kowal is working on a puppet show for Renovation, but donations are needed. There are various levels of contribution, the highest of which will get you a pencil-necked weasel. Details can be found HERE.

#47 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2011, 09:09 PM:

The Soon-To-Be-Employed-On-The-Isle-Of-Long One 38: Noooo, Felix isn't a cad (though I do see what you did there)...he's 11 or so, and exceedingly interested in SCIENCE and STEAM-POWER and HOT-AIR BALLOONS.

OK, that sounds like it, by itself, would justify reading the book. What book is that, exactly? If there are several, in what book is the character introduced, and does the little punk dig the steam from the very beginning, or do I have to read a couple of books to get to those bits?

#48 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2011, 09:19 PM:

The Person Who Lives In New Jersey, Which As I Understand It Is Pretty Dang Close To Long Island, 47: It's Frederica, a Regency romance by Georgette Heyer. I will include my copy in the Giant Box o' Cranes (but only if I can avoid crushing said cranes). Or your local library probably has it; it's widely agreed to be one of Heyer's best.

#49 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2011, 09:27 PM:

Thank you, TexAnne.

On another topic: much as I like How to Train Your Dragon (and I like it a LOT), I fail to understand why the alleged Vikings (who are nothing at all like historical Vikings, of course) all have Scots accents (the adults, anyway...none of the teenagers do). Anyone know why they did that?

#50 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2011, 09:53 PM:

Xopher, if they went for Norse accents, they probably would have sounded too much like the Swedish Chef from the Muppets.

#51 ::: Madeleine Robins ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2011, 10:24 PM:

Abi, I throw myself at your feet. Your snippet of crossover fic made me laugh loud enough to scare the dog.

#52 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2011, 10:30 PM:

In Disney's "Island at the Top of the World", all Vikings were played by Norwegians, who spoke only Norwegian. To tie in with the thread's steampunk posts, the French airship's captain makes comments about his mechanic's relatives that go untranslated from the French.

#53 ::: JM ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2011, 10:55 PM:

HLN: Only after sending a story to 8 magazines (they all take simultaneous submissions; no worries) do I realize that I have named an alien god after a brand of artificial sweetener.

#54 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2011, 11:03 PM:

JM @53: The Unspeakable Splenda? Aspartame, Gibbering Horror of a Thousand Worlds? I both wince in sympathy and sort of want to know the details.

#55 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2011, 11:04 PM:

Well, OK, but then why did they use all American accents for the teenagers? Not like Berk is an immigrant community in Illinois.

The accents make no sense. Nor does the relentlessly Celtic feel of the music. But I like both, and the overall effect is stunning.

Someone on IMDB pointed out that while Hiccup claims that it snows nine months of the year and hails the other three, neither weather condition is ever shown in the film. I pointed out that this is completely realistic for an unhappy teenager describing hir hometown, even today. "A hellhole where anyone who has a thought is run out of town," for example.

#56 ::: JM ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2011, 12:41 AM:

Fade Manley: Truvia, which as it turns out is stevia, and is printed in very large letters on its packaging.

But I'm sure magazine editors will be so invested in the fates of main characters Hormel, Nabisco, and Chevrolet that they won't notice my embarrassing naming gaffe.

#57 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2011, 01:57 AM:

JM @ #56, if your heroine is named Chevrolet and looks like Dinah Shore there might be a problem.

#58 ::: Roy G. Ovrebo ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2011, 02:04 AM:

How to train your dragon: The original story is set in Scotland, it turns out. But maybe the kids grew up in Vinland or something...

I really should get around to seeing that movie. There's a local angle too for me. Apparently, the director of the film was at the Norwegian Film Festival and got some inspiration from a trip to Avaldsnes, five minutes from where I sit typing this.

#59 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2011, 03:27 AM:

Singing Wren @43:

Sympathies and good thoughts for the safe return of Maggie.

#60 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2011, 08:20 AM:

Singing Wren #43: My sympathies on your in-laws' loss! This sort of thing happens all too often.

Really, too often! Without wanting to be cold about this, can you suggest they get an effing cat carrier for the remaining cat, use it for all future travel? I wouldn't even think of hand-carrying a pet through an assortment of strange places, especially one that's known to be "skittish"!

When I came down to C-ville, the TSA insisted I take Gremlin out of her cage and hand-carry her through the metal detectors ("while maintaining control of your pet"), and I immediately declared that my personal example of "aggressive stupidity from the TSA".

#61 ::: Singing Wren ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2011, 08:49 AM:

David Harmon @60:

As it happens, I fully agree with you on the need for pet carriers. However, it also falls under the heading of "picking your battles". Due to other issues we're all dealing with*, I'm not at all sure it would be wise to pursue this one right now. It's more likely to increase everyone's stress without actually resolving anything in the short term.

(This is also part of the reason our own kitties never leave the house except in their carriers.)

*Related to physical illness, which I really don't want to discuss right now.

#62 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2011, 09:52 AM:

Singing Wren@ 43: My condolences -- and best wishes for a happy ending. It is so heart-wrenching to lose a cat like that. Perhaps the local cat-catcher can get Maggie back with some tuna in a Hav-a-hart trap.

#63 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2011, 12:25 PM:

Funny story from last week: Mom took her Yorkie, Isis, in to the clinic to be spayed. When she came back that evening to take Isis home, the clinic's resident cat was on the counter.

Mom leaned over to greet him, and the cat touched his nose to hers. So Mom rubbed her nose against the kitty's. The vet tech (after picking her jaw up off the floor) said, "You must have cats." Mom just laughed and said, "It's a very important greeting, but this is the first time I've had a cat that doesn't know me offer it."

Both of our Siamese love to either rub noses or headbutt the human family members.

#64 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2011, 12:54 PM:

This gets a really big Awwww from me. I hope the author can sustain it in this spirit.

Calvin's daughter (nicknamed "Bacon"?!) and Hobbes

#65 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2011, 02:19 PM:

#64: Did you see the "Don't throw away your childish things, save them for your children" comic? It might have been from the same artist.

#66 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2011, 02:21 PM:

I am pleased to report that gentlebeings in possession of an electronic device which can handle Kindle e-books* may obtain a copy of Frederica for just under US$8.00**. Just in case your local library does not have one on hand, and you can't count on your local bookseller to come through for you, either.

(Which reminds me, we need to see about getting flea-dope for our very own Baluchistan hound.)

Also, WRT #7 and #32--The Dowager Countess of Jersey (Frances) lived until 1821. I rather suspect her son and daughter-in-law† came across with small favors, such as invitations and introductions, when asked. Especially since Dr. Maturin, you know, poor Diana's widower, was a family connection‡ of sorts.

*But not the Nook. What is that all about?! You'd think it would be available for both; most of the others are.

**At AmazonUK for GB£5.69, (in English) for €7,98.

†Sarah Fane, (Frederica's Lady Jersey, was the heiress of the banker Robert Child, as the result of a family quarrel.

‡The Earls of Jersey were part of the Villiers family, descended from a half-brother of James I's very close friend George Villiers, raised to the nobility as Duke of Buckingham for reasons that seemed fitting to King James. Countess Sarah's husband added the surname "Child" to the "Villiers" in 1819, because when you have the good fortune to marry a bank of your very own some commemoration is called for. I'm not surprised Sarah AKA Sally was married before she was 20 (Wikipedia's dates suggest 18 or 19); she had been her late grandfather's heiress since her mother's death in 1793, when she was 8 or 9. Her father and stepmother were probably deeply relieved to get her married off. In further It's a Small World news, the eldest son of Sally Fane and the fifth earl married the daughter of Sir Robert Peel, and their son, the seventh earl, was named Victor Albert, and one does wonder who his godparents were.

Also, Countess Frances was the posthumous daughter of Philip Twysden, Anglican bishop of Raphoe, who was shot while attempting to rob a stagecoach. I am not making that up.

#67 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2011, 02:32 PM:

fidelio @66 The Earls of Jersey were part of the Villiers family

Please tell me there's an Anthony in the family tree somewhere.

Yes, I know we're off by more than a millennium. I still want there to be a connection.

#68 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2011, 02:45 PM:

fidelio, #66: If Sarah Fane hadn't been married before she was 20, she'd have been considered "on the shelf". Yes, 16 is a bit young even by Regency standards, but women in that social circle "came out" at age 18 and were expected to find husbands within the first couple of years thereafter. Note that the age of majority at that time was 21.

#69 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2011, 02:53 PM:

fidelio @66:

Note that Sally Jersey was married in Gretna Green at 19. I haven't dug into the story to find out why she resorted to a flight to the Border and marriage over the anvil. I'm sure there's yet more of a story there.

#70 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2011, 03:26 PM:

Lee @68/abi @69--it looks like she was 19 all right, but Wikipedia thinks she was married in London, in Berkeley Square, as does Genealogics, and this page, which covers descendents of the first Duke of Marlborough.

Her income, in 1808, was estimated at around GB£40,000, which works out to around GB£2.75 million in 2010 pounds. No wonder the earl added "Child" to the family name...

#71 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2011, 03:33 PM:

TexAnne 48: Turns out my friend Lenore, who lurks here and (rarely) comments, has a copy of Frederica and is willing to lend it to me. So you needn't send me yours, but thank you just the same.

#72 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2011, 04:43 PM:

Xopher: More-nearly instant gratification FTW!

#73 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2011, 04:45 PM:

Well, it would make more sense for Sally Jersey to have married in London; she built much of her public persona as a virtuous contrast to her notorious mother in law. I wonder whence the sources that claim she was married at Gretna?

While I was clicking around, I recalled a comment of Lady Jersey's that dates Frederica precisely: "The Lambs are all shattered by Lady Melbourne's death, and none of them more so than Emily."

Lady Melbourne, mother of Peniston Lamb, 1st Viscount Melbourne and Emily Lamb, Lady Cowper (among others), died in 1818. This means that the book takes place three years after Waterloo; given a couple more years for Felix to grow up, and we're well out of the frame.

I suppose we could elide the above details and transplant the book about five years earlier; very little else in it is datable (unlike, say, A Civil Campaign, which is firmly anchored in 1815).

I should have done more research. My pedant's soul writhes in shame.

#74 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2011, 04:51 PM:

Correction: A Civil Campaign is very much not anchored in 1815, at least not by any calendar we would recognize. Naturally, I meant A Civil Contract.

The similarity is not a coincidence, of course. But usually I don't get tripped up by it.

#75 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2011, 04:55 PM:

This forum seems like it might have some members who would know about this: I know vaguely about a custom in some ancient civilizations (I think including pharaonic Egypt?) that servants of a ruler and/or members of his court be interred with the ruler at the time of his death -- any idea if it's possible that this custom would have been followed in Mycenæan Greece? Thinking about a story which would include that as a plot element, trying to gauge if it would make any sense.

#76 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2011, 05:02 PM:

TexAnne: Quite. Especially since I literally cannot get to my apartment without passing hers on the stairs.

#77 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2011, 05:09 PM:

Modesto Kid #75:

If no-one with specific expertise shows up, this might be useful, from The Cambridge Companion to the Aegean Bronze Age (which at least sounds like a respectable source).

In case it's paywalled from where you are, the answer looks like "No". They describe burial of expensive goods, as a form of conspicuous consumption, but that's all.

#78 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2011, 05:20 PM:

Modesto Kid @75: Are we talking killing living wives, servants and court members? If so, some of the Chinese emperors are said to have done this, but to the best of my knowledge the Pharaohs didn't.

The Egyptian rulers did sometimes set up a tomb complex for their relatives who died before the Pharaoh did (See Valley of the Kings, Tomb No. 5). And sometimes, tombs were planed for the entire royal family (See Amarna, Tomb of Ankhenaten).

As for Greece, I've read that king's dogs and horses were slain at the tomb to be buried with the deceased, but not that people were...

#79 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2011, 05:22 PM:

Argh, that should be "planned" not "planed."

#80 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2011, 05:25 PM:

abi@#73--wife of the first viscount, I think you mean, although they did have a son who was named for his father. She was also Caroline Lamb's mother-in-law, a pairing that did not wear well at all, although it doesn't seem Lady Melbourne had a lot of room to find fault where issues of matrimonial fidelity were concerned.

Shame about the dates, though.

More It's a Small World news--Lady Cowper later married Lord Palmerston, after Lord Cowper finally got around to dying. (They had been holding hands under the table for close to twenty years; after he became Prime Minsiter, Palmerston pushed through the Matrimonial Causes Act of 1857, substantially altering divorce proceedings in the UK. Coincidence? I think not.)

#81 ::: Singing Wren ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2011, 05:26 PM:

That which has been seen cannot be unseen:
Bad Vestments

#82 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2011, 05:26 PM:

Oh, I bet they planed them too. At least the parts that were wood.

And the Tomb of Ankhenaten, were it not an archaeological site of great value, would strike me as a micturation target. (Whereas other Pharaohs were always called "Pharaoh," Ankhenaten was universally known as "that criminal." They had good reason for this.)

#83 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2011, 06:24 PM:

Thanks, Lori and Thomas -- back to the drooling boards...

#84 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2011, 06:31 PM:

Something that people here might like: Nicholas Tam's "Here Be Cartographers: Reading the Fantasy Map."

#85 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2011, 06:40 PM:

Xopher: Ok,I'll bite, where were the good reasons? Apart from his upsetting the religious structure; and their religious beliefs that mentioning his name could be beneficial to him in the afterlife.

He's certainly not the only pharonic presence to be "erased" and the eividence (of more purging of his name) shows that 100 years after his death he was still something of a known figure.

Moreover, his "reforms" had a really, limited affect on Egypt as a whole. So, The Great Criminal" or, "The criminal at Akhet-aten/Amara" seems to have been more a formulaic way to refer to him without naming him as it does a real distaste (something like the linguistic purges of Stalin during the Krushchevian reforms).

Yes, he did engage in some persecutions, but even at that he was backsliding by the end of his reign.

Given the, relative, dearth of records, and the gored oxen of those who did record what histories there are, I'm dubious about the justification of crediting those accounts with great veracity.

#86 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2011, 07:00 PM:

He forbade the worship of any gods but the Aten. That's enough.

#87 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2011, 07:35 PM:

Kip at #15:

Perhaps in the digital tomorrow, as we collect and collate all kinds of information, every fan can have his own Warhoon 28. But there will never be a Warhoon 28 quite like the first Warhoon 28.

#88 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2011, 08:09 PM:

JM @ 56... Phew! Thanks for bringing this to our attention. I myself was planning to write a story titled "Truvia, Maid of Mars". :-)

#89 ::: JM ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2011, 08:35 PM:

Serge: You know, that sounds more interesting than how I actually used the name...

#90 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2011, 09:08 PM:

Xopher: It's not clear (in fact the evidence is pretty strong) that the effect of his writ was really limited, not even running in the city he had built (where there were idols of the "old" gods in the houses of the workers making his new temples.

His later reign has evidence of that policy changing.

So I may disagree with it, but it doesn't make me think him all that horrid, not given the other things going on in the ancient world, and in the name of religion, by those who allowed for personal practice.

#91 ::: Rob Thornton ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2011, 09:55 PM:

Hi all,

You may or may not remember my music-obsessed posts from Open Thread 156.

Anyways, I wanted to let you all know that the Free Music Archive has graciously decided to host the mp3s from "Los Pollos Estrellas," a 1998 CD EP from the drummerless avant-rock trio the Shiny Brites (voice, electric guitar, electric bass).

I have a very high regard for this very strange music (called "low-slung sneering art rock" by British music mag the Wire in 1998). The fact that I was the bassist may have something to do with this attitude. :)

Anyways, if you would like to redefine your concept of the critical term "inaccessible," I strongly suggest you hie your browser to the following URL:

Thanks for your time,


#92 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2011, 09:57 PM:

Terry, I'll have to look into that. But they did kill him. And his nephew did hastily change his royal name from Tutankhaten to...well, you know. I think they pretty much wanted him gone right up to the point where he WAS gone.

And these were the people who had no word for "good" other than "what Pharaoh loves" and no word for evil other than "what Pharaoh hates." Not generally inclined to be rebellious, at least against Pharaoh.

#93 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2011, 10:18 PM:

Steve Martin's King Tut?
Or Victor Buono's?

#94 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2011, 10:46 PM:

There may be some good things in the "map" link, but I'm soured by the "aesthetics of fantasy" page they linked to. I was reading it going, "There's something about this that makes me want to hit the author."

It clicked when I read this:
"This model is also supported by the fact that young people will frequently buy whatever music is on the radio (rather than whatever music attracts the most critical praise) "

Oh yes. Sneering elitism and a total unfamiliarity with Sturgeon's Law.

#95 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2011, 11:37 PM:

All knowledge, etc.: A friend of mine found a cookie recipe in a 1955 book calling for "5 cents of ammonia." Google turned up an explanation that "ammonia" here refers to ammonium bicarbonate, an older sort of baking powder. But what does "5 cents" mean? I found one un-explained assertion that it equals 2 tablespoons, and one speculation that it was enough to cover a 5-cent piece.

Apparently recipes calling for "5 cents" (or 3 cents, or 10 cents -- of ammonia and oil of lemon, most commonly) date from 1900s or earlier, and seem to be USian. (They seem to have been passed down in defiance of inflation.) I can find no other data on The Google -- neither historical explanation, nor conversion to any units of mass or volume.

The curiosity! It burns! History-of-baking experts, please help?

#96 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2011, 12:01 AM:

Xopher: I don't think it looks like they killed him. The transition was strange, and sudden, but not in the sort of ways a regicide would have been. They gave him funerary rites in the old religion, which I don't think would have happened if they'd killed him, esp. not if they'd killed him from the sort of fervor that had them erasing his name for the next hundred years.

There is a fair bit of scholarly supposition the relaxing of his restrictions on the religion he was trying to supplant were because he had no sons with Neffertitti, and that Tut was his son by a concubine. There was a very short interim pharoah, name unknown. Tut changing his name was pretty much essential, and at ten years old, I don't know that he did it voluntarily.

The strongest case for his being killed, actually, was to get a young pharoah on the throne, so that the cult of Aten couldn't be solidified, and the biggest thing Ankhenaten seemed to be aiming for (but losing ground on as he failed to beget an heir) was some sort of declaration of Roman God King while living.

The resistance to him was as much because what he wanted was so at odds with what they believed. He was asking them to accpet an abstract god, one which wasn't seen to be doing anything for anyone. It wasn't (for them) believable, and that made it hard to believe in him.

But the religion they were still adhering to made out him in a place where rebellion (at least outright) wasn't all that easy. But he's not the only Egyptian figure to be lost to time because of being written out. Hatupshet got the unpersoning, and one of Khufu's line was lost just because of accident (he's the one they made the strange stories of his beaing hated, and murdered because he loathed his father and was engaged in incests the Egyptian nobility couldn't stomach; after killing his brother and I forget what all else). All that really happened was his tomb wasn't finished when he died, and the stones were almost all taken for other things and his inscriptions were lost for a really long time.

#97 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2011, 12:32 AM:

The resistance to him was as much because what he wanted was so at odds with what they believed. He was asking them to accept an abstract god, one which wasn't seen to be doing anything for anyone. It wasn't (for them) believable, and that made it hard to believe in him.

Wow. I can't believe you're defending that guy. He wasn't "asking" them to accept anything. He was denying everyone the protection of the gods they depended on. We're not talking about freedom of worship as we understand it today. They feared for their lives. The Aten wasn't a do-all monotheistic god like Yahweh or Allah. It was just the disk of the sun, that's all (and since That Criminal didn't actually deny the existence of the other gods, he was technically not a monotheist at all, but a henotheist). All the other functions of the divine world were to be ignored, and only he and his wife were allowed to worship at all.

Don't be misled by your own monotheistic (in a completely different sense) beliefs. Akhenaten wasn't some kind of enlightened reformer; he was a selfish, evil, crazy monster who almost destroyed Egypt, and the Egyptians' hatred of him was entirely justified.

Ay, the Pharaoh after Tutankhamun (who IMO most likely engineered the latter's death) was a pretty bad guy too, but at least he put Egypt back on track.

#98 ::: Nicholas Tam ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2011, 12:39 AM:

Thanks to Bill Higgins (#84) for the link to my cartography post. I was wondering why I got a traffic spike today.

Sandy M. (#94), re: the aesthetics of fantasy post that I linked to at Jonathan's old/dead site - being a big Tolkien nut, I don't completely agree with his value judgments about "fat fantasy" either, but I do think his post captures a few instructive dimensions of why the most mainstream-of-the-mainstream mega-fantasy tends towards safe, established, and present-goggled ways of seeing and telling stories. You typically see it in the prose, and what I meant to argue was that you also see it in the maps.

For instance, the maps of medieval-ish worlds I've seen don't look anything like medieval cartography, and indeed they betray late-20th- and 21st-century authorship on face. But the point is that for their target audience, it doesn't particularly matter; that's not what they want out of their maps, and that's not where they derive their sense of immersion. Rather, immersion comes from a sort of vast and literal feeling of high-definition accuracy.

I think this is often true of the use of language in fantasy novels, too (although Tolkien, for one, reads to me a lot like Walter Scott - very appropriate given his aesthetics and politics - and the care and attention he lavished on his invented languages is really beyond reproach). The fact that Big Fantasy of the Robert Jordan or George RR Martin school is communicated through conservative present-day lenses is very, very obvious once you pay attention to formal specifics, which I realize is more of a "literary" way of looking at things, for whatever that's worth. This isn't to say that this is a bad thing or has no place in literature; familiarity attracts a certain kind of reader, after all, and nowhere more than in a big fat serial.

#99 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2011, 12:49 AM:

I'm trying to chase down a bit of trivia about life in Britain in the 19th century. Specifically, how many servants might one expect to find on the grounds of a nobleman's hunting lodge when none of the gentry were there? The gamekeeper, obviously, would be a year-round resident along with his family, but who else might one expect to find? My searches give me pages about staff for hire or off-season entertainment in present-day hotels that were converted from hunting lodges--not quite what I need.

#100 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2011, 12:49 AM:

Xopher: I'm only defending him in an abstract way. You argued there was a perfectly valid value judgement in "the great criminal".

I don't think it's that cut and dried. The evidence is that his efforts were limited, even in the height of his power. All things being equal, I don't think he was all that much worse than a lot of other state leaders of religion at the time. He wasn't requiring his wives to hang themselves so he wouldn't be lonely after death, etc.

I am also not sure I believe the people who wrote the histories we have. They had an axe to grind. That there are contemporaneous idols to the gods he was trying to supplant, in his holy city, is part of the reason why. That the people, at large, were apparently still revering him 100 years, or so, later; and more purging had to take place is another part of the reason why.

I just have to look at the folks who are explaining the "causes" of The Civil War to know that all one reads isn't necessarily the truth. That's why I asked you, because what I know doesn't paint him a saint, but it doesn't raise him to the status of someone to paint as deserving of the level of condemnation you seem to have for him.

Then again, I don't think Tut was murdered, so...

#101 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2011, 12:50 AM:

Egyptologist Donald B. Redford (I got the quote from Wikipedia, so appropriate salt-grains):

Before much of the archaeological evidence from Thebes and from Tell el-Amarna became available, wishful thinking sometimes turned Akhenaten into a humane teacher of the true God, a mentor of Moses, a Christlike figure, a philosopher before his time. But these imaginary creatures are now fading away one by one as the historical reality gradually emerges. There is little or no evidence to support the notion that Akhenaten was a progenitor of the full-blown monotheism that we find in the Bible.

#102 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2011, 12:53 AM:

Xopher: (and everyone else, sort of). I'm sorry. I may be being more abrupt than I normally would be.

Not only do I feel I am behind in the preparation for my moving across the country in eight weeks, but some of the details of the closing are apparently looking to go caddywhumpus.

It's probably making me less charitable than is my normal wont.

#103 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2011, 12:55 AM:

Caroline #95.

This reports "cents-weight" as a recipe unit.

On the other hand, "enough to cover a sixpence" or "enough to cover a tanner" is a well-attested British term, supporting the surface area reading.

#104 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2011, 01:00 AM:

Xopher: I don't think Akhenaten's monotheism was anything like modern monotheism. If I had to guess, I think the cultic nature of pharoanic Egypt was feeding some minor megalomania (hence the drifting to a living god status) and the vast abstraction of his sense of deity was a gross odds with Egyptian understanding: which is why the ruling class he was dealing with was so resistant to it.

But I also think a lot of the vilification came from those who (in the wake of Tut's death) were engaging in the power politics of dynastic uncertainty) needed to have a justification for the state of unease/uncertain succession.

In short, I think it was a lot of people being people.

#105 ::: CZEdwards (aka the Other Constance) ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2011, 01:29 AM:

@ Jenny Islander: [em]Behind Closed Doors[/em] by Amanda Vickery addresses this a little, and you can make some decent inferences from it. A Townhouse had 4-7 permanent servants (butler, housekeeper/cook, housemaid and scullery maid, plus a chore boy, man of all work and additional house maid.) Those were the necessary bodies to maintain a house lacking their employers. A hunting lodge requires someone to feed everyone present, same to clothe them, someone to dust and wash, someone to organize all of the others and deal with the boss.

I can dig up the basic citations if you like.

#106 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2011, 02:30 AM:

I just finished the cartography piece and I have to say, if anyone wants to make me deliriously happy... a copy of the Russian translation of The Hobbit would do the trick.

The map is glorious, and the comments at that article make it seem better than I should have expected (one of the people points out, corectly, that works which were translated were done with as much faith as could be done; the dissection of the non-communist elements would then be done to the work as it stood).

#107 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2011, 02:42 AM:

@CZEdwards No. 105: Thanks for the title. So, inside: about half a dozen people, maybe less; outside: gamekeeper and family, assistant gamekeeper (probably), somebody to look after the hounds if there are hounds (with an assistant if there are a lot of hounds), and somebody/ies to look after the horses presuming that His Grace keeps his hunters on his hunting estate. Does that sound about right?

#108 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2011, 08:04 AM:

Hyperlocal news: woman spends just about entire night itchy due to unknown causes. Plans made to stop at store to buy more than one tube of cortisone cream for hands, feet, and various parts in between.

Seriously. I wasn't this itchy when I had fleas and was sleeping in diatomaceous earth to kill them.

#109 ::: scorbet ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2011, 08:15 AM:

Abi #74

They seem to have got her partially mixed up with her mother Sarah Anne Child, who eloped with John Fane at Gretna Green in 1782.

Even the name at the top of the page is wrong - she's either Sarah Sophia Fane, or Sarah Sophia Child-Villiers, not Sarah Sophia Child.

#110 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2011, 08:19 AM:

thomas @103, thanks for the leads!

Diatryma @108, do you think it's a histamine reaction? Might Benadryl help?

#111 ::: Steve C ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2011, 09:33 AM:

I'm wondering if Zod will run again.

Oh, wait, he is.

#112 ::: Zod ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2011, 09:59 AM:

Steve C @ 111... How dare you compare the epitome of Kryptonian biology and intellect with that?
Kneel before Zod!

#113 ::: Last Son of Krypton ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2011, 10:06 AM:

Zod @ 112 -

Come to my secret clubhouse up north. I have a surprise for you.

#114 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2011, 10:14 AM:

Terry and Xopher: What might be escaping your attention, is that all of the Pharaohs were considered to be the living image of Amun, just as the Heir (male) to the throne was Horus.

There is some evidence to suggest that the elevation of Aten worship was a political ploy by Amenhotep III to curb some of the power of the priests of Amun. Unfortunately, Amenhotep IV (Ankhenaten) "got religion" and proceeded to go off the deep end, proclaiming Thebes so tainted by Amun worship that the Aten had to have his (its?) own holy city...

The priests of Amun eventually got the military on their side, and Tut ends up on the throne. I'm convinced that Ankhenaten was murdered -- but the bigger mystery is that Nefertiti vanishes. No mummy, just inscriptions.

#115 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2011, 10:23 AM:

Jenny Islander @ 107 ...
@CZEdwards No. 105: Thanks for the title. So, inside: about half a dozen people, maybe less; outside: gamekeeper and family, assistant gamekeeper (probably), somebody to look after the hounds if there are hounds (with an assistant if there are a lot of hounds), and somebody/ies to look after the horses presuming that His Grace keeps his hunters on his hunting estate. Does that sound about right?

I'd think that much would depend on the size of the estate, location of the estate[0], how frequently it was visited, yada, yada...

In general, for the outside work, just based on the amount of work needed to care for a pack of hounds, exercise, clean and feed more than a couple of horses, and ensure that the hunting lands were being properly tended (and the local ne'er do wells kept out), I'd think there'd generally be several sorts for each position (gamekeeper + assistant, hound master + assistant, yada).

Inside, I seem to recall that some establishments took their staff with them when they travelled (eg: cook, maids...), while others maintained the same locally[1]; beyond that, I don't know how many estates would still have maintained their own farms and/or gardens.

Hm... I may actually have a useful reference for this as well -- I'll check when I go to look at the traps.

[0] I don't know if you'd have the same accumulation of hounds if you were spending your time shooting on the moor, for example.
[1] I'd suspect that location/distance would play into this as well -- it's much easier to hire-when-needed if there's a village-or-two handy.

#116 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2011, 11:16 AM:

AKICIML: If I'm moving to NY (which I am OMG eee!) then I need a GPS. Especially since the shortest route requires that I drive through New York City (OMG halp). Does anyone have any recommendations?

Also, how does NYC traffic compare to Houston or Dallas?

#117 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2011, 11:36 AM:

TexAnne (116): I like my Garmin, but it's an older model, no longer available. A few hints: "text to speech" models give you the street name you want instead of just telling you to turn right in fifty feet (or whatever)--I find that very helpful. My friends who do a lot of long-distance driving swear by the traffic reports feature, which will route you around jams when possible, but it's an added monthly fee.

Long Island, right? Where exactly?

#118 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2011, 11:38 AM:

TexAnne @ 116 ...
AKICIML: If I'm moving to NY (which I am OMG eee!) then I need a GPS. Especially since the shortest route requires that I drive through New York City (OMG halp). Does anyone have any recommendations?

Hm... I've a number of friends that quite like tomtom gear -- if you have a smartphone, that might also be an option, since many of them have some way to do GPS-ish things these days.

#119 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2011, 11:39 AM:

Mary Aileen: I dislike being specific on the Internet, but you may reach me at gknaar ng zr crevbq pbzzrepvny.

#120 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2011, 11:49 AM:

@Xeger #115: The place I'm thinking of is in Northumberland. Back in the day, it was a whopping two miles in a straight line from the nearest named group of houses, more by road (it's at the end of one). Nowadays it's next to a village put up for construction workers building a nearby dam. The place is considered isolated by UK standards even now, which makes me blink, but then, I'm from Alaska.

I was musing about who would have been living there year round when the place really was a hunting lodge. For the right sort of person, it might not be too bad.

#121 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2011, 11:52 AM:

TexAnne... If I'm moving to NY (which I am OMG eee!)

"New York, New York!"

#122 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2011, 11:58 AM:

Serge, 121: That song was indeed a formative influence.

#123 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2011, 12:03 PM:

TexAnne: You've got mail.

#124 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2011, 12:10 PM:

Nicholas Tam@98: No disrespect to your page- perhaps I should have said "I followed a link and got distracted."

#125 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2011, 12:21 PM:

Sandy B. @ 94: "Oh yes. Sneering elitism and a total unfamiliarity with Sturgeon's Law."

Yes, it's particularly precious in the second part where he explains that no, he's not criticizing fantasy fans for preferring the comfort of the same old Same Old to the daring dazzle of the challenging New (like SF fans do, of course), he's just trying to analyze why they have such common tastes ahem prefer their comfort food.

It's sad, because he did have some interesting observations about fantasy. But his analysis was larded down with so much nonsense and so many stock tropes of fantasy readers that it became increasingly difficult to find the will to sift for the nuggets.

Nicholas Tam @ 98: "For instance, the maps of medieval-ish worlds I've seen don't look anything like medieval cartography, and indeed they betray late-20th- and 21st-century authorship on face."

They don't look anything like modern cartography either--really, all those straight roads leading directly from city to city? It's like topography doesn't exist. I nonetheless find it a hard sell to argue that that's indicative of any strongly-held opinion on topography among fantasy readers. "Fah! Escarpments! Peneplains! Who needs 'em?"

"The fact that Big Fantasy of the Robert Jordan or George RR Martin school is communicated through conservative present-day lenses is very, very obvious once you pay attention to formal specifics, which I realize is more of a "literary" way of looking at things, for whatever that's worth."

I'm quite curious about what you mean by "conservative" lenses--do you mean political, social, narrative conservativeness? All or none of the above? And what elements of the "formal specifics" makes them so very, very obvious?

#126 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2011, 12:32 PM:

CaseyL @ 33: Speaking of movies,I've just come back from seeing "Cave of Forgotten Dreams," which is about the discovery of the Chauvet cave art. Herzog has some silly moments, but they pale in significance: the movie gives us the only glimpse we'll ever get of the artwork, and does a damn fine job of that.

I just want to second this. I enjoy Herzog's goofiness, but it's a must-see even if you don't.

#127 ::: CZEdwards (aka the Other Constance) ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2011, 12:40 PM:

@Jenny Islander, Xeger:

I was writing late, so a few of the questions I should have asked got missed. Early, mid or late 19th? Gentry or nobility? Grouse, deer, fox or something more exotic?

I don't know of a single source to point you at. What I've put together is that by the early 19th century, most hunting lodges south of the midlands were for hunting in name only -- think modern Spring Break ski chalet without the skiing. They'd been around for centuries at that point and were basically subsidiary estates with gardens and music rooms and libraries and two hundred staff when the owner was in residence. Fox hunting is a late autumn/winter/early spring sport on crop land (or should be, since racing hunters and dogs through a field of wheat means an economic loss); a shoot (grouse, usually) is also on or near crop land -- wide sight lines and gleanings to attract birds. Still need dogs, though -- retrievers, not hounds.

Deer pretty much means Wales, Scotland or Ireland by about 1815. Too much deforestation further south. Those regions were being enclosed for parkland from about the 1770s (the south was enclosed under the Tudors, the midlands under the Stuarts). Not that there weren't people raising their own semi-domesticated herds of deer on lodges further south, but they were a minority.

No matter if the employer generally traveled with his/her/their personal servants, a skeleton staff would be on permanent duty and the outdoor staff are attached. Even if the house doesn't have plumbing that can freeze, empty houses attract both two and four legged unwanted guests and after the 1750s, furniture started becoming attached to a house rather than being part of the traveling kit. As to whether the horses and hounds are based at the lodge depends on a lot of factors, but a pack of 12 dogs takes 4 people; one stable boy can manage 2-3 horses but not train them. And also -- expect variation. Just because the $Noble of $Place did something one way doesn't mean everybody did.

I am unfortunately entirely on the wrong continent to do the deep research, which is into household records that haven't been digitally archived yet. (fingers crossed.) In addition to the Vickery mentioned above, for early 19th century, try Philip Carter's Men and the Emergence of Polite Society in Britain 1660-1800; Alice Hillman's The Rake's Diary: The Journal of George Hilton and John Beresford's Memoirs of an Eighteenth Century Footman. The last might be public domain (1928 publication). For the later 19th century? /shrugs. I try to pretend the Victorians didn't exist.

And thanks -- I much prefer thinking about this period to the Mormon theology I'm supposed to be working on!

#128 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2011, 02:33 PM:

TexAnne, #115: We really like our Magellan for several reasons:

- Its "turn here" sound cue tends to be right on target, neither too early (when you might be confused as to where "here" is) nor too late. The sound cue also varies between "turn right", "turn left", and "straight ahead". Also, it will tell you what the next turn after the current one is if it's close, which helps keep you from getting stuck in the wrong lane.

- It has a 2-touch STFU function, for when you really don't want to be nagged by the voice and the sound-cue notes.

- The word "recalculating" is not in its vocabulary. (That drove us batshit on one trip when we'd borrowed a Garmin. Every time we pulled off the road for gas or food, "Recalculating... recalculating... recalculating...")

The downside of the Magellan, at the moment, is that they changed map providers on the latest update, and the new provider is... flaky. Routes that don't make sense. We had to go back to the previous map version, which fortunately you can DO with a Magellan. We're hoping they'll change back for the next update, but in the meantime that's a serious caveat.

The borrowed Garmin did have one feature the Magellan lacks, which we really liked: when you search for a category of something (such as a restaurant or hotel) near your current position, it shows direction as well as distance, so you can tell at a glance if Entry X is along your route or requires backtracking. But that's mostly important if you're traveling in unfamiliar territory.

AFAIK, the TomTom is the only one that gives you multiple voices to choose from (including GlaDOS and KITT). I don't know anything about its other features.

#129 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2011, 03:14 PM:

Driving to Long Island from points south:

Across Staten Island to Brooklyn and Loop Parkway?

#130 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2011, 03:25 PM:

Lee, 128: I'll keep Magellan in mind. I shall try very hard not to let the idea of KITT on my dashboard sway me.

Stefan, 129: I'd rather avoid having my first taste of NYC driving come at the end of a three-day trip.

#131 ::: Steve C ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2011, 03:29 PM:

Doonesbury had the idea of doing celebrity voices for GPS directions. I was thinking what's the worst voice they could use, and Gilbert Gottfried came to mind.

On the other one, I'd pay at least ten bucks to hear Ian McKellen intone, "YOU SHALL NOT PASS!"

#132 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2011, 03:34 PM:

Steve C @ 131:

TomTom also has the voice of Brian Blessed as of late last year.

#133 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2011, 03:43 PM:

#130: I don't think you have a choice. Getting to LI means crossing through The Bronx and Queens or Staten Island and Brooklyn (and then Queens) or Manhattan and Queens.

Unless you find a ferry . . .

#134 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2011, 03:48 PM:

Grouse shooting is a particular sort of shooting. Grouse depend on young heather, so they're not something you would find at, for instance, Sandringham. And a Grouse shoot in a remote place is a considerable logistic operation. You need a lot of people to drive the birds towards the guns, load the guns, and feed everyone (according to their station).

In the lowlands, the organised shoots are focused on birds such as pheasants and partridges, with various degrees of artificial raising and landscape management.

The Gamekeeper At Home looks like it might be useful for you.

Foxhunts are centralised, slightly collective. It's possible that the local senior aristocrat wouldn't be keeping the hounds on his estate. And each member of the Hunt kept their own horses. Amongst the costs they'd pay would be the horses for the hunt staff. Again, they're more lowland England, but there were packs in highland sheep-farming country, much more livestock protection by farmers than game-bird protection and showing off. D'ye ken John Peel? He ran that sort of pest control business, following the hounds on foot.

So, remote Northumberland is going to be focused on grouse shooting. But horses will be needed for transport.

#135 ::: Nicholas Tam ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2011, 03:48 PM:

Sandy B. (not M., my mistake - #124) - none taken! I thought I might chime in on it, though.

heresiarch (#125) - No, fantasy maps don't look anything like satellite GIS or elevation maps with contour lines, and the terrain tends to have an orderliness to it that wouldn't be reflective of real-world geological change, but they do embed what seem to be our high-level commonsense intuitions about what maps are and how they look. Coordinate systems, selection of detail, the overall degree of separation between paper representations and real space, and so on. What I'm saying is that those intuitions are modern and contingent, and a lot of them probably come from our early exposure to fictional maps themselves in a feedback loop of sorts.

As far as the conservatism of big fantasy goes, I'm speaking more of the aesthetic than the political, although there's a good set of arguments for the political dimension as well (and one that has gone on for years without me, I'm aware). I'm thinking of prose, dynamism of perspective, scene-setting and characterization, attentiveness to the muddiness of language, ordinariness of diction and sentence structure, conventions of plot design. That said, it's not all about form, and I would be remiss to overlook the genre's overwhelming nostalgia for past mythologies and forms of governance. But I'm primarily thinking of the writing style itself.

Obviously I realize that there's a world of difference between Jordan and GRRM in terms of what they're doing, having read them both (and liked GRRM a heck of a lot better), but the big-fantasy conversation doesn't intersect all that much with the transformation of English-language fiction over the past century or so of its history. I don't think this is controversial. It's simply the observation that mass-market genre mainstays are shy about experimentation.

#136 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2011, 04:23 PM:

Stefan Jones (133): There's the Port Jefferson ferry, but she'd have to pass NYC and come down from the north. Not recommended.

TexAnne (130): The trick is to try to time your transit across NYC for non-rush-hour. Veeeery early in the morning would be the least traffic, but somewhere between 10AM and 2PM is probably most reasonable.

#137 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2011, 04:38 PM:

TexAnne @ 140... I shall try very hard not to let the idea of KITT on my dashboard sway me

The idea that KITT's voice also is John Adams's is attractive though.

#138 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2011, 04:39 PM:

I wouldn't mind a GPS that sounds like Paul Bettany's Jarvis, or like Stephen Fry's Jeeves.

#139 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2011, 04:43 PM:

WRT Akhenaten and his family: isn't there a theory that Smenkhare, the brief interim ruler between him and Tut, was a regnal alias for Nefertiti? Still doesn't explain what happened to her in the end, though.

WRT fantasy maps: Regardless of cartographic merit, I wonder about their geological plausibility.

IIRC there was an Open Thread or Particle link a while back to Salon's interview with a Russian geologist who'd rewritten LOTR from Mordor's POV. He got into an impressive froth about the implausibility of the bunched-up mountainous terrain of Mordor-- it didn't seem to be in the middle of Middle-Earth's continental plate, and it wasn't evenly distributed all the way up along the coastal edge. I don't think there was any mention that the Middle-earth of LOTR had lost a huge chunk of landmass at the end of the Second Age.

(I always figured that Mordor's quasicircular layout had been formed by the caldera of a ginormous volcano that had blown the heck up, leaving only Mt. Doom as its active stub over the lava vent. There's no canon backstory that supports that, though.)

Heck, why stop with the landscape? What about the weather patterns and resulting agrarian economies?

(...okay I'll stop now)

#140 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2011, 05:09 PM:

Julie L. @139:

There are several theories as to Smenkhare's identity -- one, that he is Ankhenaten's son and Tut's older brother (their mother being the Mitanni princess Tadukhipa); two, that he's the younger brother of Ankhenaten; and three, that he's really Nefertiti.

We have some inscriptions that indicate that Smenkhare was wed to Meritaten, Nefertiti's oldest daughter, and they were made co-regents at that time. Both supposedly succumbed to an episode of fever (epidemic?) -- and I can't remember if their mummies have been found.

When the Egyptians decided to make someone an un-person they were pretty thorough about it.

#141 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2011, 05:14 PM:

Abi @ 73

Is there any reason they couldn't continue the connection through the daughter after the mother's unfortunate demise? Friends of the family and all that...

#142 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2011, 05:21 PM:

Terry, I'm sorry I got so worked up at you. I've belatedly realized that I wasn't so much reacting to what you said as to things very similar in form (but not content) that were said by...well, idiots...who a) regard any change from polytheism to monotheism as "progress,"* and/or b) insist on treating Akhenaten as some kind of saintly figure who tried to "rescue" Egypt from its awful, corrupt, and *gasp* Pagan ways.

Just because monotheism dominates the world** doesn't make all monotheists (or even monotheists generally) the "good guys." Fond as most of us are of The Good Guys Win, it's a literary convention, not an irresistible historical force.

I know YOU don't believe the nonsense denounced in the previous paragraphs, but I'm sure you can see why I've built up some anger over it.

*Note the assumption there that monotheism, no matter how grotesque (and Akhenaten's has been described as 'monolatry' by some) is automatically better than polytheism, no matter how enlightened (though admittedly there are better examples of enlightened polytheist societies than Pharaonic Egypt).

**Well, except that neither of the two most populous countries in the world has a monotheistic majority, and one of them has a Pagan majority.

#143 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2011, 05:25 PM:

Btw, I'm really enjoying Frederica. I missed the gym and was very, very late getting in to work (saii).

#144 ::: Jordin ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2011, 05:37 PM:

Apropos of absolutely nothing, three of the "Top Story" topics on Google News right now are
Maria Shriver, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, and Morganza Spillway.

Surely Morganza Spillway should be, as Edward Gorey once put it, "the heroine of a forgotten 19th-century novel," or someone equally fascinatingly obscure.

#145 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2011, 06:12 PM:

M. Organza Spillway, inventor of the fabric that bears her first name and of the peculiar surplice-like overgarment that bears her last name.

#146 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2011, 06:31 PM:

Mary Aileen #136:

Assuming with great confidence that TexAnne has experience driving Houston's 610, the Staten Island/Verrazano[*] way is doable in my admittedly limited experience. The thing to watch out for, we discovered, was not so much the other drivers, but all the miscellaneous crap in the road, some of it with very sharp edges.

[*] Did I read somewhere that bridge got renamed?

#147 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2011, 06:42 PM:

Hi all, I am hoping you won't mind taking a moment this evening or tomorrow to send some well wishes psychically my way; perhaps they will be of some value towards putting me over the top in my employment-related endeavors. Thanks much! While you're at it you are welcome to wish me a happy thirty-eleventh (or forty-oneth according to your stylistic preferences) -- tomorrow is a big day for me.

#148 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2011, 06:45 PM:

TMK: Happy Birthday and best wishes for Right Livelihood.

#149 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2011, 06:48 PM:

Best wishes all around to the Modesto Kid...

#150 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2011, 06:51 PM:

Morganza Spillway sounds a "Girl Genius" villainess who goes around in a pink submarine.

#151 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2011, 06:56 PM:

TMK, I wish you a happy birthday and a new job that's as euphoria-inducing as mine is.

#152 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2011, 06:56 PM:

joann (146): Across Staten Island is certainly the obvious way. Just don't do it on Easter evening in the middle of going-home-from-vacation-weekend traffic, like I did when I moved to Long Island. ;)

Also, the Verrazano* Bridge *sways*. Eeek!

*if the bridge was renamed, I missed it

#153 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2011, 06:59 PM:

The Modesto Kid: Thinking good thoughts in your direction.

#154 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2011, 07:00 PM:

joann, 146: My very first big-city rush hour was in San Antonio, when I'd had my learner's permit for about six months. It wasn't as bad back then, but it was plenty scary. And yeah...I've done 610 in all weathers and at all times of day. Thanks for the warning about the crap on the road!

#155 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2011, 07:12 PM:

Xopher @ 145 -

That surplice seems like a fictional item I could really use, due to the rather peculiar nature of gravity surrounding my bosom, especially when food is involved.

Alas, I don't think organza is particularly washable, or I would be sure to whip up some fancy Organza Spillways for myself and select friends, so that we could confidently eat while wearing fancy clothes.

#156 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2011, 07:17 PM:

Serge @93: Steve Martin's King Tut? 
Or Victor Buono's?
How about Billy Jones & Ernie Hare's? (More Jones and Hare here.)

Nicholas Tam @135: You know what'd be cool? A 'Tube map' of Middle Earth.

TexAnne @154: It's been over 25 years, but I remember doing 610 (and 59) in a Plymouth Arrow that often decided that moving forward was just too much work.

#157 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2011, 07:17 PM:

Kid Bitzer, where are you?

#158 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2011, 08:23 PM:

Found by way of TVTropes: an eighth Incarnations of Immortality book (Nox), available as an e-book.

#159 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2011, 08:37 PM:

Kip W @ 156:
Your wish is my command:
There And Back Again (Print).
Also available as a T-shirt.

#160 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2011, 08:49 PM:

David Harmion @ 158: The publisher has ebook and print versions for sale here.

(The site you've linked to has the whiff of bootleg to me.)

#161 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2011, 09:36 PM:

Nylon (or polyester) organza?
There is such stuff; I have some, left over from a spur-of-the-moment sewing project a few years back. (Black silky polyester, sandwiching the organza as the middle layer, then machine-stitching outlines and cutting away the black fabric to produce a Jolly Roger with see through skull and crossbones.)

#162 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2011, 09:38 PM:

Clifton Royston @159: Glad I didn't make the whole thing and come back here like a puppy with a stick and say "Look what -I- just made! Amn't I clever?"

#163 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2011, 11:33 PM:

For Fragano, #8, belatedly:

A field of ash was damped by dew or rain.
In birdsong dawn that Eden might create,
Three walkers left their marks. The first paced straight,
From verge to verge. He watched the vast terrain
In front. Another checked, went on again.
The last was small, with playful leaping gait
That stepped in prints ahead. To emulate
A father's strides? A child. That much is plain.

Was it a family? No one can say.
The dawn, the birdsong, even that is guessed.
The tales we humans tell! As for the rest,
Laetoli's silent. But a child at play,
Who stretched to greater strides, crouched low, uncurled,
And leapt three million years to mark the world.

#164 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2011, 11:35 PM:


#165 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2011, 11:47 PM:

@Dave Bell #134: Thanks for the link! I'm just skimming now, but it will be absorbing reading the next time I'm up with the baby. I've already come across one interesting anecdote about the effect of water-mills on the fauna of streams. At the time of writing (late 1880s), "coarse fishing" had decreased in streams in the southern English countryside. The author notes that large numbers of perch, tench, etc., used to live behind mill-dams. Then more people started sending their flour to large urban mills and converting the rural mills to housing, letting the dams go: and fish catches dropped.

IOW, rural water-mills may have been filling the niche left open when beavers were wiped out in England.

#166 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2011, 12:41 AM:

Any New York children of the sixties here?

Chuck McCann has a web chat show:

#167 ::: skreader ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2011, 01:39 AM:


The Herzog movie isn't "the only glimpse we'll ever get of the artwork"

Jean-Marie Chauvet published a book in 1996, "Dawn of art : the Chauvet Cave : the oldest known paintings in the world" (New York : H.N. Abrams, 1996) that has great photos.

There's also a website maintained by the French ministry of culture:

That said, I loved the book and the website and can't wait to see the movie!

#168 ::: Dave ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2011, 03:58 AM:

Re: Akhnaten -- has it actually been conclusively proved that the KV55 mummy is him? Last time I seriously looked into it, they weren't able to rule out the possibility that it was some other son of Amonhotep III and Tiye, especially since we still don't know for certain precisely how Smenkhare was related to the rest of the Armana-era royals.

(We do, however, know what he looked like -- Tut's second coffin and canopic jars were originally made for him).

#169 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2011, 08:12 AM:

re 168: If you wander through the Wikipedia pages, the identity of the KV55 mummy appears to be the only thing they are sure about, based on last year's DNA tests.

#170 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2011, 08:22 AM:

Dave Luckett #163:

That is excellent! Thank you.

#171 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2011, 08:27 AM:

I may be scarce for a while; second job's happening and I'm a lot more worn out than I expected to be due to itching. I've also warned many people that until I can sleep through the night, all communication with me is going to be itch-related.

I'll be reading at least once every few days, but posting will be infrequent.

#172 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2011, 08:40 AM:

Serge @138, you CAN get an alarm clock that wakes you gently with phrases in Stephen Fry's mellifluous voice, tailored for a male or female wakee.

#173 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2011, 08:56 AM:

Dave Luckett @163, applause

re monotheism, ObXKCD

#174 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2011, 09:18 AM:

Kip W @ 156... :-)

#175 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2011, 09:19 AM:

Janet Brennan Croft @ 172... Why am I not surprised? Meanwhile, I wonder if there is a GPS that sounds like a Dalek.


#176 ::: Dave ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2011, 09:38 AM:

@169: My reading of the Wiki pages is "probable, but not definite"

The DNA results proved that KV55 was the father of Tutankhamun and the son of Amonhotep III and Queen Tiye. I agree that makes Akhenaten the most likely candidate, but like I already said, there's the issue of Smenkhkare to consider -- it's possible he was Akhenaten's younger brother.

The other contents of KV55 aren't much help, because there was stuff in there from just about everyone who was anyone in the Amarna hierarchy, and it had been thoroughly ransacked at least twice.

Of course, IANAE.

#177 ::: Anne Sheller ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2011, 09:58 AM:

Happy birthday to the Modesto Kid, and good wishes winging your way.

Mine is tomorrow; I'll be 58. Since I work tonight and will get up just in time to go to choir practice, my birthday dinner will be whatever looks good on the Bob Evans menu after practice tomorrow. I do have a shrimp ring and a small tub of Extreme Moose Tracks ice cream waiting for me in the freezer, and will indulge in them a day late.

#178 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2011, 10:34 AM:

Now here's a righteous head-bump.

#179 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2011, 12:08 PM:

Dreamed last night of a book that was about the size of my First Folio reprint, with small type in several columns, reprinting blogs with comments.

Original post in the middle, comments in small type round the side? This sounds very like the Talmud.

#180 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2011, 12:35 PM:

nerdycellist 155: That surplice seems like a fictional item I could really use, due to the rather peculiar nature of gravity surrounding my bosom, especially when food is involved.

As the Stainèd One, I am forced to concur.

#181 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2011, 01:34 PM:

Open Thread Venting (to be followed by sonnets, one hopes): Last night, we had a Parental Adventure with our son. In short, he was led astray by a girl, resulting in his extremely late arrival "home", during which time the police were notified and searches begun. Some of his friends were honest and helpful; others -- not so.

Can he be any more grounded than this? He might actually have to dig for a long time just to reach daylight again. He has done a lot of damage to our trust in him.

This girl's text messages to him were explicit and extremely disturbing -- although he seems to be aware of the need for proper protection, he's just not mature enough to be making this kind of decision.

As for me personally, I can barely restrain my rage against her. She's done a lot of damage to my son. Only by thinking of my FG can I relax and not scare random strangers passing by.

#182 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2011, 02:07 PM:


You have my sympathy and support. Vent as much as you need to -- sounds scary enough second hand.

In some ways having four-feets instead of children is a lot simpler -- they can be neutered!

#183 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2011, 02:23 PM:

Xopher @49: much as I like How to Train Your Dragon ... Vikings (who are nothing at all like historical Vikings, of course) all have Scots accents (the adults, anyway...none of the teenagers do). Anyone know why they did that?

Because Scots accents are really cool, and Any Excuse Is A Good Excuse? (Hey, worked for me!)

#184 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2011, 02:36 PM:

Ginger @181, sympathies - sounds extraordinarily stressful. All the best to you as you navigate the fallout from this little adventure.

#185 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2011, 02:39 PM:

Count me into the stain-attracting frontage sorority. I have one drawer of stained shirts and one of not-stained. These days I only buy black tops for work or church. I have one really, really nice dress. I wear it once a year at DH's employee Christmas party and I try to eat beforehand so I can sip something clear and make conversation over a dry bread roll.

#186 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2011, 02:56 PM:

All of this Food Attracting Pectoral Region (FAPR?) agita would be moot if some jerkwad hadn't decided that grown-ups weren't supposed to tuck napkins into their shirts. Sometimes etiquette is totally bogus.

#187 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2011, 03:16 PM:

Ginger @ 181... Sometimes I wonder what it'd be like to be a Parent, then I read things like your post and I am glad to remain an Uncle. As for your offspring, I'd recommend taking away his "Atomic Robo" comic-books.

#188 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2011, 03:20 PM:

Behold the power of Light: three of the first four google hits on “Frederica, Marchioness of Alverstoke” point to Making Light.

#189 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2011, 04:32 PM:

Jenny Islander @120: Northumberland. Back in the day, it was a whopping two miles in a straight line from the nearest named group of houses, ... The place is considered isolated by UK standards even now, which makes me blink, but then, I'm from Alaska.

The American is someone who thinks a hundred years is a long time.

The European is someone who thinks a hundred miles is a long way.

#190 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2011, 04:34 PM:

TexAnne: Disclaimer: I do not drive, but I have ridden in many cars.

Another vote for across Staten Island and then through Brooklyn onto "the Island," as NYCers call Long Island. However, if you are on the North Shore, you will have to drive south to north at some point, and there are only a few places to do that.

If you are on the North Shore, you can consider the NJ-Manhattan-Queens route, aiming for the GCP (not the LIE, not not not, it is a horrendous road at any hour and is often called the World's Longest Parking Lot). If you do that, you definitely want to cross Manhattan no later than 2 PM as traffic worsens starting at 3.

Remember that most (all?) streets in Manhattan are one way, as are many in Brooklyn and Queens.

No Right Turn on Red inside the City limits, but okay on Long Island.

TMK: Happy Birthday and good wishes for employment.

Ginger: my sympathies and support. I have a 15yo and live in terror of such events.

#191 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2011, 04:38 PM:

Another AKICIML question from me:

In my other life, I am part of a group of moderators who run a number of groups on Yahoo. We are thinking of switching to the php BB system, which is very different from what we're currently using.

Does anyone have experience with php BB, pro and con, as user or moderator, they can share? I'm happy to take this off ML if people would prefer.

We have about 2000 group members. Some are very active posters and others are complete lurkers. Many have little technical knowhow. Some of our moderators have little technical knowhow, and are worried about having to update the BB software.


#192 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2011, 04:45 PM:

#144, #150:

Old Man Rivers is tired of living*. He had been the backbone of the town's economy for years, but folks had always assumed his inheritance would go to a local couple, Luke Pontchartrain and Bonny Carre, and things would go on much as before.

That was until out-of-town seductress Morganza Spillway turned up and started trying to charm Rivers into giving her the goods. She didn't care for the old town, and was fixing to move everything a hundred miles up the coast. Morganza also knew how much Rivers had tied up in disputes with the Army engineers, and was trying to get them to rule her way.

Up the coast, Morganza isn't any more popular. Folks there just want to be left in peace, and not be flooded with Rivers' inheritance. Straight-shooting sheriff Morgan Town is standing up to Morganza. Will Morgan and Luke and Bonny be able to fight her off, or will Rivers succumb?

* And feared of dying, but when has that ever made a difference?

#193 ::: Theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2011, 05:17 PM:

jacque @ #189:

The European is someone who thinks a hundred miles is a long way.
On Sunday, Marcia and I drove from our house in DC to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, VA to catch the show of Ife Art in Ancient Nigeria before it disappears. 110 miles each way; about two hours down I-95 (and three-and-a-half back, because of insane weekend traffic) for an hour or so of museum-going.

I guess we're Americans. It was well worth the trip.

#194 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2011, 05:32 PM:

Ginger @181: Sympathies. Keep venting - we don't mind listening. Venting is healthy, I'm told (must do it more often myself).

jacque @ #189: The version I'm used to is 200 years/200 miles and American vs. Brit. Interesting to see a variation.

#195 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2011, 05:33 PM:

Melissa #191 - I'm a moderator on a board that uses phpBB. The actual owner is the only one who monkies about with the code, although I suspect he just uses the modules and structures which come with it. Certainly he hasn't managed to break it yet. Neither have we managed to break the rest of it. We have a couple of hundred regulars and over 2,000 members on it, down from over 7,000 a month ago, nearly 5,000 of whom were spammers.
Although I don't know if it is set up in the best way possible, the moderating capabilities are broad and fairly easy to use, with a fair number of buttons and options that are obvious when you first see them. Actually banning someone or fiddling about with privileges is a little more time consuming, but speaking as a non-computer person who has plenty of experience with computers, it all works fine.
Our membership includes technophobes to lifelong computer geeks, and about the biggest problem some people have is getting a photo the right size for their avatar. So the system seems to work well enough for everyone.
It's also in use on a forum or three more which I frequent, and I don't have any real trouble anywhere else.

#196 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2011, 05:39 PM:

Dave Bell @134: D'ye ken John Peel?


John Steed. Emma Peel.

</contextual malocclusion>

#197 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2011, 05:49 PM:

@196: and I went to Robert Peel.

#198 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2011, 05:50 PM:


#199 ::: Slybrarian ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2011, 06:06 PM:

@Thomas #144

Now that's all slanderous lies. Poor Morganza is just trying to protect the town. See, upstream is Old Man River's cousin, Atchafalaya. Atchafalaya's been trying to steal away all of Old Man River's cash flow for sixty or so years now. Now, Old Man Rivers has been kind enough to spare Atchafalaya about thirty percent of his flow, by way of the Old River Control, but she keeps trying to get it all and leave Old Man River and the town with just a trickle. She nearly succeed back in '73. That's the last time Morganza stepped in, opening up to take the strain off the Old River Control, just like she's doing now. So really, Morganza is the best friend Old Man River and the people of the town have right now. Granted, there's some people none too happy with her, but that's why you should think twice before settling inside something called a spillway.

#200 ::: J. Random Scribbler ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2011, 06:37 PM:

De-lurking again to say:

Fragano @8: My hat is off to you, sir. Would that I could write even half as well, or a third as aptly.

Dave Luckett @163: Your last line made my hair stand on end. Wow.

thomas @192: Still chuckling!

#201 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2011, 07:51 PM:

At the moment, they're renaming New York City bridges that hadn't already been named after people, the Triborough and the Queensborough.

The Verrazano is likely safe for a while, even though it got the name via the Verrazano Narrows. (The Outerbridge Crossing may not be, if people forget that it's named for a Mr. Outerbridge, not the "outer bridge crossing." But that's interstate, so more or different levels of bureaucracy.)

#202 ::: James E ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2011, 07:52 PM:

Echoing Kip W@157: does anyone know what did happen to Kid Bitzer? He stopped posting rather suddenly but in no obvious dudgeon.

#203 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2011, 07:57 PM:

"She," I think. But yes.

#204 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2011, 08:00 PM:

Thanks all for the good wishes. Happy Birthday, Anne!

#205 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2011, 08:12 PM:

about the discussion about the year-round staff of people at the hunting lodge: there needs also to be people who attend to the physical maintenance of the structural parts of the buildings and outbuildings, and gardeners, as well as foresters. An institution of that size isn't goign to rely completely on the workers of the village for all that.

#206 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2011, 10:05 PM:

HLN: Please wish me luck in evicting the unwanted tenants in my chimney, so that I can avoid a re-enactment of 'The Cask of Amontillado' while completing repairs.

#207 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2011, 10:18 PM:

Just to say: After noting that the latest "Author's Big Mistake" thread was closed to comments, I linked to it from the TV-Tropes page for Dear Negative Reader, which is a slightly more general take the same phenomenon. (The Trope Namer is Laurell K. Hamilton's example.)

#208 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2011, 12:28 AM:

It's also not a good idea to live on ground where the second name is 'Bypass', no matter how it might look in the dry season.

Ginger, a former coworker had something similar happen to his teenage kid - the kid had 'friends' (my quote marks) show up one day when he was home from school, and he was fed a mickey via soft drink. As far as anyone can tell, that was all that happened - but it could have been much worse. (Teenagers, especially at that age, do really stupid things, and they usually live to, well, not talk much about it to others.)

#209 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2011, 01:36 AM:

Julie L. : "WRT fantasy maps: Regardless of cartographic merit, I wonder about their geological plausibility."

There have been many times I have looked at a map and said, "Rivers converge, not diverge!" One of those maps is for Melanie Rawn's otherwise lovely Dragon Prince series. There was also a time I made a pretty version of somebody's map and had to put in all of the feeder rivers, since he was also somebody who thought that rivers split as they go along. Grrr.

In terms of roads going straight in between places, I think that's acceptable under the idea that the map is to tell you basic directions; once you get on a road, if the road is of a sufficient size, it's usually obvious that you stay on that road. And if you're going at a walking or even riding pace, it's not really important to know of the large switchbacks. I guess. I'd be inclined to put at least a little bit of curviness in the line.

I do get you on the basic geologic plausibility though. As the daughter of a paleontology major whose family would often stop to look at rocks, I have sort of a deep-seated feel for basic geology. That makes me a bit unusual; most fantasy types don't associate "world-building" with "plate tectonics."

#210 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2011, 02:22 AM:

xeger @ #206, at least in "Cask" the reward was silence. For your own sake, don't emulate "The Tell-Tale Heart" or "The Black Cat."

#211 ::: Dave ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2011, 03:33 AM:

B. Durbin @ 209: "Rivers converge, not diverge!"

The Atchafalaya would beg to disagree.

#213 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2011, 08:28 AM:

Dave #211: On the contrary -- the Mississippi is trying to converge into the Atchafalaya!

#214 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2011, 08:44 AM:

The Atlantic has flood photos.

#215 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2011, 09:30 AM:

Linkmeister @ 210 ...
xeger @ #206, at least in "Cask" the reward was silence. For your own sake, don't emulate "The Tell-Tale Heart" or "The Black Cat."

Heh. Indeed -- I'm rather hoping for silence in the end... but would prefer to not have any problematic remains :)

Is this where I should note that I have a large black cat with a white patch on his chest?

#216 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2011, 09:50 AM:

Open threadiness: Tomorrow is the last day for the book fair for Ballou High School, a school in Washington DC that serves a population that badly needs education.

"... early this year there were just over 1,150 books on the shelves at Ballou; there are over 1,200 students in the school. So there was barely one book for each student (the ALA standard is 11:1)."

The linked post at Guys Lit Wire describes the need further. It contains a link to a long wish list at Powell's. You are asked to pick a book or books off the list that haven't already been bought, purchase them, and have them shipped straight to the school librarian, whose name and address is in the post.

There are a lot of genre and non-genre books at all price points - fiction, poetry, literature, science, graphic novels, cookbooks, art books. For genre examples, last time I checked some but not all of the Naomi Novik Temeraire books had been bought, and some but not all of the requested Neil Gaiman. Plus lots of others.

I have no connection to this except I read about it at Martha Wells's LJ and think it's a cool idea. I bought several books earlier in the week and will probably break down and buy a couple more tomorrow if I see some favorites left unspoken for.

#217 ::: Zelda ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2011, 09:58 AM:

OtterB @216:
Very cool-- thanks for pointing this out.

The closure of our local Barnes&Noble last year deprived me of my usual opportunity to buy an extra copy of whatever I was getting the niece and nephews and dropping into their collection boxes. This will do nicely as a replacement.

#218 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2011, 10:21 AM:

J. Random Scribbler #200: Thanks. I have to say that Dave Luckett's sonnet blew me away.

#219 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2011, 10:38 AM:

fidelio @214: I always look at photos like that and wonder what it would cost to use houseboats as standard structures in areas prone to flooding. 'Course, one would want to strap them down for tornado season....

#220 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2011, 12:33 PM:

Jacque @219--There's a community to the northwest of Nashville (just the other side of Ashland City for those familiar with the area) right where Sycamore Creek feeds into the Cumberland. They have embraced their existence as river rats, and so many of the houses are on stilts--the space underneath is usually high enough to be a car port, even for SUVs. It's fairly easy to clear out that bottom area at need, and except in the very worst situations the actual dwelling space will stay dry. This has always seemed to me, like mounded house sites, an eminently sensible approach to life in such locations. It's going to flood, at least a little, at some point--so work with it, instead of pretending there's no way that large stream over there could never be a problem.

Didn't abi post links to pictures of some new construction in the Netherlands that could be adjusted according to changes in local water level a few years back?

#221 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2011, 01:03 PM:

Open-threadiness: A few years ago, I fired off an angry screed to somebody who had publicly announced that:

1. She was pregnant;
2. She didn't want to be;
3. She was going to have the baby anyway;
4. It would be an interesting experiment;
5. The baby would know who was boss right away and be her servant, not the other way around;
6. She (the mother) would not turn into one of those parents who were the constant targets of her scorn. (She belonged to one of those comms that calls parents moos and duhs and children crotchdroppings and goes hyperbolic if a baby is tired and fussy.)

So I fired off a detailed explanation of what being a parent of a baby is like and the possible results of "teaching" a baby who is "boss." No response. I prayed for them occasionally.

I recently stumbled across a link to her YouTube account. She's a mom. Her daughter looks like an ordinary happy little kid, she acts like a parent, and she appears to have (Hallelujah!) grown the hell up.

Happy ending.

#222 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2011, 02:26 PM:

There was some mention of the band Poi Dog Pondering here a couple threads back, which sparked an effusion of happy-puppy burbling on my part. If you are interested in even more happy burbling, I have tickets to a solo show Friday night (tomorrow) by Frank Orrall, the mainstay of the band, at the Honolulu Art Academy where Poi Dog Pondering played their very first show. It sounds like he'll be playing mostly PDP songs, with a combination of unusual acoustic instruments (guzheng?) and electronics with video accompaniment. This is going to be great. He also just mentioned on Facebook that one of my good friends was in the very first iteration of PDP, which I never knew!

#223 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2011, 02:44 PM:

HLN: first run in 13 weeks, after go-ahead from physio to do this thing. Just 20 minutes at a gentle pace, on grass, covering two miles or so. No hills, hard surfaces or fast running allowed yet. But oh, it felt great to be out there running! Now waiting to see to what extent various muscles & tendons complain about the unaccustomed exercise.

#224 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2011, 02:44 PM:

All of you should go read this immediately. No, really...just go.

#225 ::: Singing Wren ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2011, 03:22 PM:

HLN: While out and about today, I saw a large number of police converging on a local pharmacy. News reports say it's a robbery gone bad.

That's not the interesting bit. The interesting bit is that I'm sitting in a Panera, with a wifi connection. The table next to me has one person with a computer, and another with a smartphone. The person with the laptop doesn't even appear to be looking for more info, just asking the person with the smartphone. Smartphone user is a) texting a friend, b) checking updates on Facebook, and c) looking on Google news for information. No indication of checking local news sites.

I've found the information on all 4 local TV news stations (and can tell you which one had it up first). It's not hard to find - it's the current "Breaking News" story on most of them.

Not that this will stop me from listening to hear their speculations, and any gossip.

#226 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2011, 03:35 PM:

Jeffrey Catherine Jones has died:

#227 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2011, 03:36 PM:

The CDC has posted preparedness guidelines for the zombie apocalypse. It looks like good, useful advice.

#228 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2011, 04:19 PM:

TomB @ 227: That's wonderful - and they've slipped in quite a bit of useful general emergency-preparedness advice.

#229 ::: Roy G. Ovrebo ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2011, 04:22 PM:

Re. Fantasy maps - I think it's silly to complain about improbable landscapes in a world like Middle Earth when, according to canon, it was shaped by divine intervention rather than plate tectonics. (Weather patterns though, hmm...)

What annoys me in fantasy (well, one thing that annoys me) is the "real-world parallel" nations. Tad Williams _Memory, Sorrow and Thorn_ though well-written was particularly grating, with Obvious AngloAmericans, Obvious Vikings, Obvious Celts and Obvious GraecoRomans.

#230 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2011, 04:41 PM:

re 219/220: I had the same reaction.

#231 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2011, 05:04 PM:

Bruce Cohen (StM) Re the power of light, and google-pointing Maybe

#232 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2011, 05:11 PM:

Melissa Singer @226: I'm sorry to hear that, having enjoyed Jones's work in National Lampoon and other venues over the years. I didn't even know she was sick.

#233 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2011, 08:18 PM:

PJ Evans @ 208... he was fed a mickey

Mouse? Rooney? Spillane? Mantle? Rourke?

#234 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2011, 08:19 PM:

I heartily second Skwid @ #224.

Skwid, thank you.

#235 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2011, 08:27 PM:

#223 Serge:


The canonical Mickey Finn is chloral hydrate, but other things (including nicotine) have been used in various times and places.

#236 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2011, 08:54 PM:

Another find from TV Tropes:

Referred to in the introduction to David Hume's Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals, in which he calls people who are "entirely disingenuous, and really do not believe the opinions they defend, but engage in the controversy from affectation, from a spirit of opposition, or from a desire of showing wit and ingenuity superior to the rest of mankind" the most irksome of all types of people. Hume goes on to state that "the only way, therefore, of converting an antagonist of this kind, is to leave him to himself. For, finding that no body keeps up the controversy with him, it is probable he will, at last, of himself, from mere weariness, come over to the side of common sense and reason."

This 18th-century quote wraps up their "Troll" page.

#237 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2011, 09:34 PM:

David Harmon @ #236, I was going to say Hume was defining the US Republican Party to a "T" until that final sentence: "it is probable he will, at last, of himself, from mere weariness, come over to the side of common sense and reason."

Nah. That'll die of unlikelihood.

#238 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2011, 10:27 PM:

Thanks all for the good wishes.

And, hm, they appear even to have the desired effect!

#239 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2011, 11:02 PM:

Roy @229: What annoys me in fantasy (well, one thing that annoys me) is the "real-world parallel" nations.

This is something that really irritates me about Jacqueline Carey's Kushiel/Naamah series. Or the first book, anyway, which was the only one I managed to finish. I keep flipping through new ones when they appear, though.

(Another reason that book annoyed me was that I kept thinking, "Richard Adams did this sort of mixture of sexual decadence and political intrigue back in the 90s with Maia." The character of Maia herself is arguably offputting to some readers, but hey, I enjoyed it.)

#240 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2011, 11:04 PM:

During our time in Virginia, there was an interval where the GOP had captured all branches of government, and there was much rubbing of hands, and Governor Macaca-to-be started making plans to wipe out the rest of the state treasury in the form of tax refunds and other giveaways.

A strange thing happened. Some of the Republicans in the legislature seemed to morph into de facto Democrats and put the brakes on the plan. It was as if the vision of seeing their rhetoric carried out sobered some of them up and caused them to act like responsible adults.

That seems like too much to hope for with the present crowd. Even too many of the Democrats, sad to say. Can't depend upon miracles.

#241 ::: shadowsong ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2011, 11:39 PM:

Kip W @156: You know what'd be cool? A 'Tube map' of Middle Earth.

Clifton Royston @159: Your wish is my command:
There And Back Again (Print).
Also available as a T-shirt.

i have that print! my husband got her to redo the color scheme to be colorblind-friendly for him.

#242 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2011, 03:16 AM:

Skwid @224: Thanks for the link. Yes, that was very worth the time.

#243 ::: Antonia T. Tiger ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2011, 07:43 AM:

After reading of Newt Gingrich's sheep, there's only one thing to do.

That bunch of furry anarchist commandos, the Army Union Landing Force, already features a bear called Wolf, and a skunk named Alberto Gonzales. So why not a sheep? But what to call him?

#244 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2011, 07:50 AM:

Linkmeister #237, Kip W #240, oh, a fair number of Republicans have in fact revolted against the neocons, they just don't get much (any) play in the media. IIRC the first few guys (in the Shrub era) even got their initial statements on a front page, but not anymore. Of course, the hate machine promptly gets turned against the "traitors" for their next election! There's a reason why the neocons have had to purge a lot of the old-school Republicans....

#245 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2011, 11:47 AM:

Captured in the wild:

Dear Sir/Madam,

We are team (THREE IN NUMBER) of troops writing from Baghdad, Iraq, we are
urgently seeking for your willingness to secure the below consignment, At
this moment, we have already ship these boxes containing US$120.5 million
in cash outside Iraq for safekeeping. After you have claimed this two
boxes, we will give you 20% out of total fund, Forward Your ACCEPTANCE,
TELEPHONE / FAX AND ADDRESS, Yours truly, Capt Jeffery Simpson and Team,

(email deliberately left in, in the hopes that capt. S(a/i)mpson gets an offer of his own. Many many offers of his own.)

#246 ::: Steve C ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2011, 12:11 PM:

So, is anyone but me tempted to leave a full outfit of clothing on your office chair and a sign saying, "IT CAME EARLY!" ?

#247 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2011, 12:29 PM:

@219 Jacque talks about houseboats, @220 fidelio talks abut houses on stilts

I can't remember the book or author, but I once read a short story in which the the periodic flooding of a river (possibly the Miss. or Ohio?) has become accepted by the populace and gov't, who put into place 'floating farms', sort of.

The buildings are anchored via long chains to some sort of columns which go down to the bedrock, and when the flood comes, the farmer removes the toggles to let them float at the ends of the chains... the crops are genetically engineered to withstand the flood.

I wonder if the chain-anchoring idea would really work?

#248 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2011, 12:29 PM:

Steve @ #246: A friend on Facebook suggested leaving pairs of shoes around town with bits of dry ice in them.

#249 ::: Steve C ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2011, 12:32 PM:

Clifton @ 248 -

I like that! The dry ice is a nice touch.

#250 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2011, 12:54 PM:

Cheryl @247, I read the story, and I think it was in Analog. I can't be more specific.

#251 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2011, 03:43 PM:

Open Thread assistance request.

In the course of my job I've learned how to:
-Paraphrase information which is written in technical (veterinary/medical/scientific) language, while maintaining the correct meaning.
-Bring pieces of information together coherently.
-Re-write the same piece of informative prose for different numbers of words required (1,500, 500, 250, 100...).
-Check websites for errors*: typos; inconsistencies (e.g. CD-ROMs/CDROMs/CD ROMs, capitalisation or not); hyperlinks going to a different window when they shouldn't, or not doing so when they should; wrong page titles coming up in header tabs - that sort of thing.
-Look at and correct really simple coding errors (necessary for mental survival when working in the supposedly WYSIWYG FrontPage).

Are there proper terms to describe these skills? At some point I'll have a performance review and it would be nice to be able to describe my skills succinctly. "Editing" doesn't seem an adequate description.

[*No doubt I'll have some really obvious error in this post.]

#252 ::: Steve C ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2011, 03:55 PM:

dcb @ 251 -

Information Developer/Analyst sounds closest, though that usually applies to someone more heavily involved in programming.

However, if you're involved in finishing up and packaging something for a team's development efforts, then a Quality Assurance Analyst sounds more like it.

#254 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2011, 05:48 PM:

dcb @ 251:

Technical editor doesn't quite cover all of that, but it's also a good start.

#255 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2011, 11:26 PM:

Cheryl @ 247:

That sounds like a short story by Elizabeth Moon, whose title I can't remember. Looking at her bibliography, I don't see anything that jogs my memory, sorry.

#256 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2011, 03:22 AM:

skreader@167, thanks so much for the URL for Chauvet. I saw the movie last weekend, and it's just amazing.

TexAnne, on GPSs, the big difference between brands is user interface style, and as someone who uses both vi and emacs, I can't give you good advice on that religious war; I happen to like Garmin. The other big differences are between models of the same brand - what does each extra $20 step get you? I generally prefer the wider-format to the squarer ones, and the one feature they've been adding recently that's critical for me is Bluetooth, since it means not having to use a headset in the car. Eventually you'll want to go driving around NYC yourself - my limited experience with Texas driving has been that Dallas was much easier than NYC, Houston was worse, but that was partly weather. When I was commuting out to Lawn Guyland for a project, I usually went across Staten Island and the Verazzano Narrows bridge.

#257 ::: J Homes ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2011, 04:24 AM:

Re #246, #249 et al,

Here in New Zealand, it hasn't come early, it's late.

While, naturally, none of us godless heathens would be raptured anyway, the promised earthquakes are nearly two and a half hours overdue.

#258 ::: GOD ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2011, 04:39 AM:

J Homes @257:

Please don't take this as any kind of slight on New Zealanders, but you must understand that I am American, and do not approve of your adoption of such a perverse time zone. You (or your ancestors) made the choice to move to New Zealand, and that choice does have consequences, however much you may want to deny it. You claim that your time zone is "natural", but all I have to do is look at the sky in California and see that it's all wrong.

Really, it's not personal. I don't have anything against New Zealanders per se. Indeed, I actually have friends in New Zealand, and though I may deplore their antipodean time zones, I do nonetheless love them. I just wish that they had chosen to live by My time zones, is all, so that they might not reap the consequences of living by their perverse ones.

The bottom line is that I cannot, in good conscience, reschedule the Rapture to comply with your perverse and unnatural time zone. As I said, it really is not personal.

#259 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2011, 04:51 AM:

GOD is conducting a Babylon 5 rewatch. Who knew?

#260 ::: Singing Wren ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2011, 10:41 AM:

Why would Ivanova need to conduct a Babylon 5 rewatch?

#261 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2011, 01:20 PM:

There's AP article today about an offer to buy Barnes and Nobel for $1B. Apparently the motivation is acquiring the Nook e-reader. I'm not posting this to make any comment one way or the other about e-readers, but this quote from the article gobsmacked me: "You don't want the old-fashioned bookstore customer who goes in and sits and reads a book for two hours. You want people going in there who are hungry for experience," said Richard Hastings, a consumer strategist with Global Hunter Securities.

I have frequently walked out of a bookstore having spent $100 or more. And I could have sworn that I was hungry for the experience of fabulous books.

#262 ::: Persephone ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2011, 02:46 PM:

dcb @251: The tech writer/tech editor skillset aligns pretty closely with that list.

#263 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2011, 02:51 PM:

Doctor Who today is the first half of a two-parter.

Guvax nobhg Ebel gur Ebzna.

#264 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2011, 03:24 PM:

janetl @ 261:

I'm terrified of what happens if that deal goes through. This looks so much like the clueless managers who think they can manage anything by virtue of being managers discussion we had here a little while back, it's not even funny.

#265 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2011, 03:41 PM:

I'm not sure that buyout would be better than the one Burkle was proposing, in which he suggested that supermarket experience was relevant to selling books. (I'm not sure he's ever actually run a supermarket, either: he's a money guy.)

#266 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2011, 04:16 PM:

Steve C / KeithS / Persephone: Thanks for the suggestions; as usual I don't quite fit into any of the pigeonholes. My job title is Senior Veterinary Editor, and mostly that's what I do - bring information together for a large electronic library on wildlife health and management - but I've been realising that actually I do more than my job title implies. Maybe I should just expand the list of things I indicated @251 (whenever I think of something else I do) and leave it at that?

#267 ::: Andy Brazil ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2011, 06:20 PM:

Skwid @224
Thank you for the link, that was stunning.

#268 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2011, 06:36 PM:

Is this another cultural difference? Janetl #261 quotes a comment about reading a book for 2 hours in a bookshop. Here in the UK, I can't say that i've seen or heard of it being done much at all. Maybe we have (had, the way things are going) too good a library service for people to need to read a book before buying it. Certainly merely standing reading the merchandise and dirtying it up without buying it would be frowned upon. By all means scan itto check it is what you want, but read it?

Or is the comment a gross over simplification by someone who has no idea of the book business?

#269 ::: jnh ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2011, 06:38 PM:

Antonia T. Tiger @243:
That bunch of furry anarchist commandos, the Army Union Landing Force, already features a bear called Wolf, and a skunk named Alberto Gonzales. So why not a sheep? But what to call him?

Baaaaad to the Bone?

#270 ::: Idgecat ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2011, 07:05 PM:

guthrie @261 -- reading a book for 2 hours isn't common in bookstores here, but one of the things B&N made their brand with is providing comfortable seating so people can and do read in their stores.

#271 ::: J Homes ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2011, 07:56 PM:

GOD @ #258

Your purported spokesman Camping was quite definite that our Time Zone was dictated by You. If You want him to speak for You, You should ensure that he is adequately briefed.

On the other hand, if You do not want him to speak for you, that is understandable.

J Homes.

#272 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2011, 08:11 PM:

Urbanism and prophecies of doom, via Fred Clark:

Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare. For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Do not let the prophets and the diviners who are among you deceive you, and do not listen to the dreams that they dream, for it is a lie that they are prophesying to you in my name; I did not send them, says the Lord.

#273 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2011, 10:18 PM:

thomas @272 (and Mr. Clark) -- Thank you! That passage is going into my notebook.

#274 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2011, 10:19 PM:

janetl #261, KeithS #264:

I agree that this sounds like the MBA mindset, but I think it's a different failing: They think they can improve profitability by ditching all the customers who "aren't profitable enough"... as if every sale was an independent event, free of context or reputation.

#275 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2011, 11:56 PM:

Antonia, #243: Fenton!

David, #274: It's painfully obvious that none of the people quoted in that article have ever read a book for pleasure in their lives.

#276 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2011, 12:30 AM:

David Harmon @274: Reminds me of a local service bureau (they had expensive hi-res printers for film negatives and photopaper to service graphic artists) that mailed their clients a letter that if they weren't doing $200 per month they didn't want their business. This came with a sales premium sewing kit (a needle, and several colors of thread in a plastic envelope).

I took this to be a 'kiss off' to their thread-bare clients.

#277 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2011, 04:18 AM:

Out of curiosity, does anyone know what the earliest version of the Harvard Rat Law appeared, and what the original wording was? Most of the versions I've found in online searches are some variant of "Under carefully controlled conditions of light, temperature, humidity, and nutrition, the organism will do as it damn well pleases." Since there is no mention of rats, I suspect this is a later version...

#278 ::: Rob Hansen ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2011, 04:51 AM:

A few days ago the Catholic Church asserted that it's current paedophile problem was a result of 1960s permissiveness - everything is the fault of those Damned Dirty Hippies, it seems. Yesterday it emerged that in the Netherlands a Dutch priest was on the board of a paedophile organisation calling for the scrapping of laws in that country that made it illegal to have sex with children, with the full knowledge of his immediate superior:

Expect an announcement soon that both were at Woodstock.

Ordinary Catholics deserve far better than the monsters currently running their church.

#279 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2011, 07:15 PM:

Bruce E. Durocher II @277: I remember reading this in an H. Allen Smith book, where I had assumed it came from somebody who'd worked with animals in Hollywood. A quick search in the house and online did little to promote this cherished old belief of mine, but here's a paragraph from PHARMACOLOGY IN OLD AND MODERN MEDICINE
University of Ghent, Ghent, Belgium
[Annu. Rev. Pharmacol. 1967.7:1-15. ]

"The attitude of nonconformism, which should prevail in experimental pharmacology, is permanently illustrated in one of the main rooms of our laboratory, where the young investigators also have their tea. Here a large picture is hanging on the waH, representing a funny dog looking in a very sceptical way at a syringe ready to give him an injection. Under this drawing the so genuine statement of Mark Nickerson is written: "Under the most perfect laboratory conditions and the most carefully planned and controlled experimental procedures, animals will do what they damned please!"
from page 11. In context, he seems to be talking about the present tense, which would be around 1967.

It's harder for me to pin Mark Nickerson down. Here's where I gave up. Several of these fellows fall in the right area and perhaps the right field. I know a fellow who'd find the answer in .07 seconds and then explain how easy it was, but I think not today.

#280 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2011, 07:18 PM:

Bruce E. Durocher II @277: Until my comment (with two! links) gets out of purgatory, I can only suggest you google
"animals will do what they" damn well please
And look at page 11 of the third result. After that, you can google
Mark Nickerson research
and you'll know as much as I do.

#281 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2011, 08:40 PM:

AKICIML: any advice for a traveler who will have a 6-hour airport layover in Amsterdam in August? For example, what are the odds of said traveler being able to buy a good book in English inside the airport? Or reasonably decent food?

#282 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2011, 09:14 PM:

For those of you who have mailed cranes to Missouri...I'm fine. But one of the hospitals took a direct hit, and the local high school has been flattened. Please keep my neighbors in your thoughts and/or prayers. It's going to take a long time to recover from this.

#283 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2011, 09:21 PM:

Good gods, TexAnne, I'm so glad you're OK. I hadn't really heard the news about Missouri. Best wishes to everyone there.

#284 ::: Singing Wren ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2011, 09:23 PM:

TexAnne: Glad to hear you're OK! My uncle works at that hospital, and when Mom called to tell me he was OK, I started worrying about you.

My prayers are with those in that area who were not so fortunate.

#285 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2011, 09:35 PM:

TexAnne, if that's the hospital I'm seeing pictures of (elsewhere online), I'm very very glad you weren't in the way of that one. (The radar views were more than a little impressive.)

#286 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2011, 09:50 PM:

PJ: Probably.

All: Haha, my theoretical pseudonymity is now even thinner than before, but of your kindness try not to out me?

#287 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2011, 10:08 PM:

Why? Because you're afraid they won't let you back into Green Gables?


#288 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2011, 10:21 PM:

One *smooch* for Xopher, to be delivered in August.

#289 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2011, 10:26 PM:

Dave Bell: Yeah, my thought on Doctor Who as well. But I don't think it's supposed to be much of a mystery for anyone who's a semi-regular viewer.

#290 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2011, 10:54 PM:

Notice how TexAnne never goes anywhere near kryptonite?

#291 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2011, 11:19 PM:

Father Andrew Greeley first pointed out that most of the Catholic pedophile priests were in fact ephebophiles, then also traced the roots of the epidemic to the '60s--but not to permissiveness. He pointed to certain attempts to keep incoming seminary students on the straight and narrow by keeping them emotionally immature, dependent on approval and reliant on authority. This resulted in men who might simply have been gay doing typical early-teenage sexual exploration without reflecting that they themselves were not actually in their early teens anymore. They did not see the power differential between themselves and their adolescent love objects. The men were still criminals, but they were also damaged and in need of counseling in order to be adults.

#292 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2011, 11:32 PM:

HL(and annoyed)N: My chimney continues to growl, hrrrrrrrr and meeeeeep? This is determinedly non-optimal.

#293 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2011, 12:00 AM:

Xeger @ 291: My chimney one yowled, until the damper was opened and the neighbor's cat was removed. He was filthy and upset, but unharmed. I'm not aware of what goes growl, hrrrrr and meeeeep, but suspect that it involves at least two generations.

My chimney is no more -- demolished two weeks ago. I don't recommend this as a method of varmint removal. It's gone because it was sinking and destroying the foundation. I am now learning all about gas fireplace inserts, and firmly avoiding all thought of what it will cost to re-do the siding.

#294 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2011, 12:21 AM:

Lila #280:

any advice for a traveler who will have a 6-hour airport layover in Amsterdam in August? For example, what are the odds of said traveler being able to buy a good book in English inside the airport? Or reasonably decent food?

The Rijksmuseum has a small exhibit in the airport, which is well worth seeing.

If you go out through passport control the chances of decent food improve noticeably. Good books in English, not so much.

If it's during the day, you might have enough time to take a short train trip to somewhere more interesting. Since it is only a short time, Leiden might be convenient -- it's a very old Dutch town, with canals and architecture and gardens, slightly closer than Central Amsterdam. There are two trains per half hour, and it takes 15-20 minutes.

Central Amsterdam has more trains but they take slightly longer, and the really cool sights aren't that close to the station. The red-light district and its canals and old buildings would be possible.

#295 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2011, 01:55 AM:

B. Durbin @288

It's a plausible motive for the character. I don't think there has to be an explanation there, but it's one of those neat linking threads binding things together. Of course, we then have a really obvious suggestion at the end of the episode, which might be an explanation for what we have seen.

Or it could be a red herring of unusual size. It feels a bit early to reveal this, if it is the answer.

#296 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2011, 03:39 AM:

TexAnne: Just heard about the tornado damage on the radio this morning. Glad to hear you're okay. Thinking good thoughts for all those affected.

Lila @ 280: Six hours is enough time to go and spend four hours in Amsterdam - I know, I've done it! It's enough time to go on a canal tour, which gives a really interesting view of the city. The rail station is right in the airport and takes you to Amsterdam Centraal in about 17 minutes, and there are about six trains an hour. Then it's maybe 10 minutes walk down to where the canal tours start. The option of Leiden sounds good as well - I might try that sometime.

Schiphol airport is actually not bad, for an airport. I keep meaning to spend a bit longer in the Rijksmuseum as suggested by thomas @293. You can find books in English IARC, but not a large selection (however there is a bookstore within walking distance of Centraal with a section of second-hand SF in English at the back). (I also know how to get to a fantastic beer shop and (just round the corner from there) a supermarket selling a large selection of Pickwick teas).

#297 ::: Thomas ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2011, 04:17 AM:


If the bookstore is the one I'm thinking of, on a canal south of Nieuwmarkt and the red-light district, with SF in the basement at the back, I definitely agree with the recommendation.

Leiden vs Amsterdam is like Cambridge vs London. Amsterdam is a great tourist destination, with hundreds of things to see; Leiden is a beautiful and historic small university town. I lived in Leiden for four months and I loved it (apart from being illiterate in the local language).

#298 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2011, 07:43 AM:

TexAnne, I too am glad you're ok and sending prayers for your neighbors.

Thanks for the Amsterdam advice, all--it's not for me but for my college-student daughter, who'll be returning from study abroad in Moscow. Of course, given her usual tendency not to sleep if there's anything more interesting to do, she may by that point just need to take a nap!

#299 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2011, 08:17 AM:

TexAnne@ 282: Wow, I'm glad you dodged the tornado, and so sorry the hospital didn't.

Thanks to everyone for the good wishes; my son is continuing to be sullen and sulky interspersed with periods of bright sunny cheerfulness. This morning we began with a dark cloudy attitude, which wasn't helped by my discovery of superficial damage to his wrists, where he's been "cutting". However, on the way to school (I drop him off as he's not allowed to go by himself while he's grounded), I fought back with a dose of "No matter how obnoxious, rude, disrespectful and nasty you get, I still love you." I think it was a palpable hit.

His medication does often change his attitude from angry and sullen to bright and cooperative, so I can only hope that he's feeling better by now. At least I did confirm that when he told his friends "I was so high my mom had to come get me" he didn't mean high as in drugs, he meant silly. He has no clue what "high" really means, only that his friends use the word.

In other news, the FG and I had a fabulous weekend. Next weekend we'll be able to get together early, because the Ex and the Son are going camping with their church friends, leaving early Friday afternoon. And the following weekend, there's another trip with the Ex taking the Son, so I am scoring triple weekends.

#300 ::: E. Liddell ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2011, 09:24 AM:

@247, 255: I also recall this as being an Elizabeth Moon story; the title may have been something like "Too Wet to Plow".

#301 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2011, 09:47 AM:

@247, 255, 300
Elizabeth Moon had a story entitled "Too Wet to Plow" in Analog, March '88, reprinted in the anthologies Lunar Activity and Phases. I don't remember having read it so can't confirm if it matches the original poster's story recollection.

#302 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2011, 09:49 AM:


You guys are in my prayers. Rapid cycling between sullen resentment and cheerfulness tracks pretty well with what I remember of being an adolescent male, along with a lot of hormone-fueled dumb decisions. (Really, at that age, once the hormones kick in, it's hard to keep the brain engaged in anything non-girl-related.)

#303 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2011, 09:54 AM:

janetl #261:

It seems like this kind of purchase is less like a normal investment and more like a long-shot gamble. There's some smallish probability that B&N will end up in possession of a big chunk of future e-book/e-reader business, which will be worth a lot more than a billion dollars. The downside is that a gamble for that purpose is likely to involve being inattentive to the rest of the business, perhaps even actively cannibalizing the rest of the business in order to maximize the chances of hitting a home run on the e-reader part of the gamble.

I remember this kind of investment happening a lot in the bubble. It usually ended badly for the invested-in company, but usually pretty well for the original owners of the company.

#304 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2011, 10:25 AM:

Open threadiness:

So, we've killed Osama Bin Laden, and we have the alleged mastermind of the 9/11 attacks and the alleged 20th hijacker in custody. (We'll never take the alleged mastermind, KSM, to trial. I assume that's to avoid details of his torture coming out in court, but perhaps it is to avoid the shoddiness of the case against him, or other stuff we don't want told, coming out. The political theater we got justifying never giving him a trial was obvious bullshit, so I assume there must be some other reason.) The Taliban has been out of power in Afghanistan for almost a decade now. Our reasons for invading Afghanistan, back in 2001, were to get the bastards responsible for murdering 3000+ people in the US, and to retaliate against the Taliban for sheltering them. That's done.

So, I guess we're going to repeal the AUMF and the Patriot Act, pull out of Afghanistan, and return to something like peace with the world, albeit perhaps with somewhat more police and spy resources devoted to fighting terrorists. Right?

#305 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2011, 11:13 AM:

albatross @ 302: Rapid cycling between sullen resentment and cheerfulness tracks pretty well with what I remember of being an adolescent male, along with a lot of hormone-fueled dumb decisions. (Really, at that age, once the hormones kick in, it's hard to keep the brain engaged in anything non-girl-related.)

That is oddly comforting to know. Frustrating, yet comforting. Thanks!

#306 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2011, 12:03 PM:

OtterB @301
@247, 255, 300
Elizabeth Moon had a story entitled "Too Wet to Plow" in Analog, March '88, reprinted in the anthologies Lunar Activity and Phases.

Found the synopsis on Amazon, and that looks like the one. Thanks! I have Phases, so that would be where I read it.

Still wondering if the idea would actually work... need to pick my engineer friends brains, I think.

#307 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2011, 12:21 PM:

Ginger 299: Continued best wishes. I hope he doesn't take your statement of unconditional love as a challenge! (Unlikely, I'd think.)

albatross 302: (Really, at that age, once the hormones kick in, it's hard to keep the brain engaged in anything non-girl-related.)

That's funny, I don't remember that. :-)

The crazy mood swings, though: oh, yeah, have I been there. Those I remember with excruciating clarity.

#308 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2011, 02:05 PM:

Kip W: Thank you! I suspect you've taken it as far back as possible without getting "Cecil Adams" on the case, and I'd prefer to leave him out of it for the meantime since I've been e-mailed that a question I asked him has made the initial cut! If he ever decides to answer it, I expect I'll be insufferable for days...

#309 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2011, 02:12 PM:

TexAnne: Glad you are safe and well. Looking at the aftermath leads to a sense of unreality. My thoughts are with everyone who was affected and everyone who lost a loved one.

#310 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2011, 03:38 PM:

What I recall (about being hormonally adolescent) was that the 'girl' induced distraction was far from constant.

When it was going on, yeah, I was less than aware of other activities, but it didn't keep me from other activities in a general way.

#311 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2011, 06:52 PM:

Oh wow, man

After watching for a few seconds, move your cursor slowly back and forth across the display.

#312 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2011, 06:53 PM:

I have a comment trapped in quarantine. Let me know if it's contaminated.

#313 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2011, 08:08 PM:

Bruce E. Durocher II @308: You'll have to let us know if you become one of the Teeming ones! I see my comment graduated to the page after a short time, links and all.

#314 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2011, 08:35 PM:

The afternoon report is much brighter, with actual demonstrations of responsibility breaking out. He was supposed to have a makeup exam in math after school, only the math teacher was out sick today -- which we didn't find out until he called, after school. Well done, there. In fact, he beat the school administrator who called to let us know that same information.

On our way to his orthodontist appointment, I rewarded him with a trip to McDonalds (and then a quick swing past the house so he could brush his teeth while I let the dogs out). He's been working hard on his English project, due Friday. He just had dessert, went off to brush his teeth again, and retire for the night.

If this is what they mean by the "ups and downs of adolescence", then let me get my seat belt securely fastened. In fact, I want a five-point racer's harness for this ride. And a helmet. Oy.

#315 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2011, 08:55 PM:

TexAnn, also glad to know you are okay. One worry of the day, my brother has reported in to his daughter (they live in Grove, OK, which was in the line of fire). the other: a co-worker's step-father-in-law, was in the nursing home that was just across the road from the the hospital, is okay. His wife was able to get the news out somehow.

Seeing the news is troubling and makes me cry. I know folks who live there and Joplin was one of the travel sites of youth, being dragged along by mom and Grandma to go 'junking'. It was a beautiful midwest town and it will take a while to get back to 'normal,' for some value of that.

#316 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2011, 11:06 PM:

janetl @ 293 ...
Xeger @ 291: My chimney one yowled, until the damper was opened and the neighbor's cat was removed. He was filthy and upset, but unharmed. I'm not aware of what goes growl, hrrrrr and meeeeep, but suspect that it involves at least two generations.

Heh. I'm pretty sure that it's at least two generations; I'm hoping it's only one species...

My chimney is no more -- demolished two weeks ago. I don't recommend this as a method of varmint removal. It's gone because it was sinking and destroying the foundation. I am now learning all about gas fireplace inserts, and firmly avoiding all thought of what it will cost to re-do the siding.

Speaking of problematic chimneys, fortuitously now gone...

#317 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2011, 11:18 PM:

Open-threadiness of the past: we were talking, a couple of threads ago, about Miss Marple and her lack of love life after the purported death of her "fella" during WWI. A program I saw recently on PBS remarked tangentially that more than half the men of that generation died during the war. (I don't remember the exact percentage given, sorry.)

At any rate, such a significant reduction in the pool of available men (novels, films, and television programs to the contrary) would, it seems to me, significantly decrease the likelihood that any individual heterosexual woman would find a long-term male partner.

Just sayin'.

#318 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2011, 11:33 PM:

xeger @ 291... My chimney one yowled

"The Chimneys of R'lyeh"?

The soot. The SOOT!

#319 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2011, 12:09 AM:

Melissa, the lore of Morris dancing has it that it was originally restricted to men between 19 and 25, and that there were no such men (able-bodied enough to dance) in England after the Great War. Thus if women hadn't taken it up the Morris would have died out entirely.

This means, among other things, that people today who say that women shouldn't dance the Morris are assholes. But it's telling about the destruction of the male population at that time.

"And half the seed of Europe, one by one."

#320 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2011, 02:15 AM:

Open-thready for layout artists, web designers, and those simply in need of cute kittens of arbitrary sizes:

You just use the URL with the dimensions, like, wherever you need a rectangular space filled with a cute kitten. (Courtesy of Sexton, god knows where he finds these things.)

#321 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2011, 02:52 AM:

Xopher @319, there's a lot of evidence that women were dancing the Morris all along (Will Kemp commented on female Morris dancers in Shakespeare's time, for example); and there's a lot of thought that the only reason women weren't part of what Sharp collected was Victorian sensibility intruding on reality, and warping it. If you'd like to be put in touch with my friend Jocelyn Reynolds who did her master's thesis on women in Morris, I can dig out her e-address for you.

#322 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2011, 03:33 AM:

Xopher @319

The UK population, which included all of Ireland at that time, was about 45,400,000. As a very rough estimate, 1 in 20 would be men in that 19-25 age range. Total WW1 casualties were 994,128, and you can add 183,000 from the Spanish Flu.

On that, it looks very close to 50% of the available male population, but the casualties were not limited to that age range. Older men did volunteer. And there were 1,663,435 wounded. Conscription laws made men from 18 to 51 liable for service, but around 40% were ruled medically unfit. Over 5 million served in the Army. Half of them were killed or wounded.

The casualty rates were highest among the subalterns... estimates for the mortality rates range from 65 to 81%. This was, at its lowest estimate, double the rate for enlisted men.

John Ellis, 'Eye Deep in Hell: Trench Warfare in WWI'

#323 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2011, 04:06 AM:

In the spirit of yowling chimneys: Go out into the garden and hear irregular splashing noises. Where??? Oops: squirrel swimming frantically round and round an open, 2 ft deep water container (with water level now down to about six inches). Grab plank of wood, dump one end in water. Smart squirrel goes straight onto offered escape route, past the giant humamns and vamooses along the fence, sopping wet. Poor squirrel.

Needless to say, we've now covered that container (which the squirrels were using as a water source, when it was fuller). I'm still trying to work out a way of making water safely available to birds and other local wildlife without making the more vulnerable to local cats.

#324 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2011, 08:57 AM:

dcb @323: Why not a small ladder into the barrel? As the water level rises, it will cover the steps, and as it drops -- they'll have a small platform to sit on as they drink, and a way to climb back out.

#325 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2011, 09:12 AM:

Reminds me of the time I found a drowned rat inside our watering can. Sure, it was a filthy rat, but that's not a death I'd wish upon even its likes.

#326 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2011, 09:14 AM:

I've been following the local news in Joplin pretty closely. I really liked the time I spent there.

This was in today's Joplin Globe.

#327 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2011, 10:12 AM:

Ginger... Here is a motivational photo about parenting you might pass on to the Son.

#328 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2011, 10:45 AM:

Terry #310:

Yeah, my memory is that I could concentrate on other stuff much of the time, but that cute girls definitely had a big impact on my ability to think about anything else. (Not that this has entirely gone away now, though it's not overwhelming the way it was when I was 15.)

#329 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2011, 11:22 AM:

I read something - I don't know if it's accurate, but it seems to explain the way I thought at the time. Without research, the claim was this:
Women's periodic mood swings are caused by elevated levels of testosterone. 50-year-old men have ten times the (elevated) level of testosterone in their system, all the time... and 15-year-olds have THIRTY times as much. It's a thing men get used to and work around, but it takes a few years.

[WebMD gives similar ratios of testosterone in the normal range; I don't know how to verify testosterone-to-sanity claims.]

#330 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2011, 12:08 PM:

Sandy, #329: There was apparently an NPR program some years back that touched on this. (I didn't hear it, but a friend did and told me about it.) The narrator was a woman who was being treated for some medical condition with testosterone, and an error at the pharmacy caused her to get a much higher dosage than was intended. She said that suddenly she was horny 24/7, and couldn't stop thinking about sex for more than a few minutes at a time, and how in the HELL did men ever get anything done at all?

To which the obvious answer is, as you mention, that they get used to it after a while. Also, anecdotal reports (my partner and a few other guys I've talked with about this) suggest that the effect is variable, with some men getting it more strongly than others.

#331 ::: Steve C ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2011, 12:28 PM:

Adolescence can indeed hit a boy like a 2x4. It's a lot like a squirting charcoal lighter on the grill. WHOOOMPH!

I certainly enjoyed the boundless energy and enthusiasm, but the emotional response to that flood of hormones could be a real pain. Wouldn't have missed it, don't want to repeat it.

#332 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2011, 01:23 PM:

@Tom Whitmore #321: One of the things I learned by joining the SCA was how much rewriting the Victorians did. Women may not have put on armor even with the relative rarity of female heavy fighters in the Society, but they ran home defense programs, picked their own husbands (sometimes forcibly), and in general did not sit around in distress waiting to be rescued. At a lower social stratum, women ran businesses; they were even hot-pounders in smithies.

They still had a raw deal in many respects, but they were considerably more free and active than the Victorians liked to think.

#333 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2011, 01:48 PM:

Am I the only one for whom the musical association of the word 'Joplin' is so strong that the pictures of the devastation are accompanied by (sad) ragtime music in my mind?

#334 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2011, 01:53 PM:

With respect to testosterone levels in juvenile primates, I can testify (sorry) that the levels are indeed scarily high. I once had to test three different monkeys (trying to diagnose one, I needed two others as "normals" for comparison). The adult male was 4,000 picograms; the healthy adolescent was 7,000 picograms, and the patient was 71 picograms. After treatment, his testosterone shot up to 14,000 picograms.

It makes a lot of sense, truly. Which is why I've told my son that although I would rather he didn't have sex now, I would rather he used protection and stopped lying, sneaking around, and being disrespectful. I'm even buying a box of condoms so he doesn't have to sneak around for those. My real problem is with her behavior, as it's way beyond his level of maturity.

#335 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2011, 02:09 PM:

Xopher, you too? (I've only an octave reach* on a piano, so Joplin's pieces are impossible for me to play.)

What I'm seeing on the news makes me queasy, for some reason the hospital bothers me most of all.

Energy and good wishes for everyone there.

*I have very small hands.

#336 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2011, 02:10 PM:

Gee, shoot people full of testosterone (when they're not used to it), make sure they're sleep deprived (high school starts too damned early, teenagers need 9-10 hours of sleep and usually can't get to sleep before 11 pm at the earliest), and treat them as adults or as children, whichever is most to their disadvantage at the moment...

...then wonder why they're fucking cranky.

I'm speaking of society here, not Ginger's parenting, with which I can can find no fault and would STFU if I could. We're terribly unjust to teenagers, and dualism is partly to blame (don't put in your quarter for that rant, please).

#337 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2011, 02:21 PM:

Lori, good to know I'm not alone. I thought the rag in my head was called "Solace," but I looked that up on YouTube and it appears to be a different one.

#338 ::: Doug ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2011, 02:39 PM:

This is for Jo Walton, because apparently hates my Mac and won't let me log in to put it in her profile's "Shout Box" thingie:

I just introduced a friend to your Suck Fairy column, and she naturally asked (as did commenter #13 and others) the name of the Fairy's opposite number.

My first suggestion was the Awesome Elves, but then I thought maybe there is only one: Awesomestiltskin. What do you think?

#339 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2011, 02:40 PM:

Jenny Islander @ # 332, true that. Margery Kempe ran her own brewery (independent of her husband, who had his own line of work).

#340 ::: Julia Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2011, 02:45 PM:

On the morris thing, I am told by a friend who is something of a morris obsessive that the "only men do morris" isn't even Victorian prudery -- it's partly about one person (male) trying to shove another person (female) out of the movement, and doing so by claiming that of course morris was traditionally male-only. I shall try to remember to ask her to come along and explain in more (and more accurate) detail.

#341 ::: JM ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2011, 04:17 PM:

Doug @338: Awesomestiltskin is fervently seconded from this corner.

#342 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2011, 06:01 PM:

Ginger @324: Yes, will try to do something like that. At least the temporary measure of covering the container prevents the next squirrel from actually drowning. For the present I am leaving a watering can full to the brim so birds etc. can sit on the rim and drink safely.

#343 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2011, 06:01 PM:

BayCon beckons... A few fluorospherians have expressed an interest in meeting so how about dinner on Friday? Let's meet in the hotel lobby between 5:30pm and 6pm then we'll decide where to go eat. Here is a photo of me.

#344 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2011, 06:17 PM:

Serge - Friday's good. (Hmmm. Even has a song about it....)

#345 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2011, 06:56 PM:

adolescence is called that because it addles your essence.

#346 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2011, 07:20 PM:

Not doing Baycon this year -- but if you're at Folklife, you might see me or Karen wandering around.

#347 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2011, 09:19 PM:

Hyper-local news: Well, that was exciting. Since my car was parked in a nice garage on campus all safe from hail, I decided to stay at the library tonight when all the other departments got sent home in advance of the severe weather. (Which NEVER used to happen, but this is the second early closure this year, the first being the February snowstorms). Anyway, word got out that not only were we a shelter, we weren't going to turn away pets. The lower two levels of the library were soon filled with entire families, dozens of dogs, cats, and even a bunny and a lizard. All was pretty calm, except for security frantically trying to get the storm chaser wannabes to come INTO THE BUILDING, DAMMIT when the sirens went off so we could get to safety too. No problems in particular here in Norman that I've heard of, but the storm that went through here had just killed several people and blown apart buildings in nearby Chickasha. Last I heard it had done some damage to Stillwater and headed on to Tulsa. I don't really like this time of year much in Oklahoma. And the house I've made an offer on doesn't even have a windowless room -- the best I can do is a tiny closet. (But as my real estate agent joked, it would actually be great if the roof blew off while it was under the current owner's insurance and I got a new roof out of it...)

#348 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2011, 09:25 PM:

Bill Stewart @ 344... See you soon. Tom Whitmore @ 346... Renovation, maybe?

#349 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2011, 09:27 PM:

There will indeed be many of us at Renovation. I'm helping in a staff position, so I don't know my schedule yet....

#350 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2011, 10:20 PM:

Tom Whitmore @ 349... The only thing on my to-do list at Renovation is to be in a friend's masquerade presentation. And having a good time. The only two things...

#351 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2011, 10:31 PM:

Xopher @ 336: Well, I am applauding your fine rant. In fact, I'm all for having later starts for our high schoolers. I cheat by giving him Benadryl to help him go to sleep earlier. He does have allergies. And nightmares.

#352 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2011, 11:18 PM:

Thanks, Ginger.

And...the rag I was thinking of WAS "Solace." I just didn't recognize it the way it was played on the first couple of YouTube videos I found.

#353 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2011, 12:23 AM:

I was looking at a radar view of one of them, and you could see the ring that's the tornado.

#354 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2011, 01:13 AM:


Glad to hear you're OK, and sad to hear about the town and your neighbors.

#355 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2011, 01:15 AM:


Yes to the strong musical association, no to the ragtime; my first response to "Joplin" turns out to be Janis, not Scott. Which is interesting, because I'm pretty sure I heard more Scott than Janis when I was growing up; but Janis is more likely to appear in the things I read these days.

That "Solace" is a beautiful piece of music, anyway.

#356 ::: Doug ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2011, 02:11 AM:

JM @341 Glad you like it! Any idea of a better place I could communicate the idea to JW?

#358 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2011, 03:23 AM:

Janet Brennan Croft @347: word got out that not only were we a shelter, we weren't going to turn away pets. I heartily approve! Hope the rabbit wasn't too traumatised by having all the cats and dogs around.

#359 ::: Doug ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2011, 08:28 AM:

Thanks, Soon Lee! (#357) I had realized she was on LJ but hadn't overcome my trepidations about connecting my online activities to be able to comment there. But since it's a Q&A, that's probably my best bet, so I did.

#360 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2011, 08:32 AM:

dcb @358, I don't think I saw the couple with the rabbit again after they came in, but they had it in a carrier. I'll have to talk to the crew who's usually on duty when tornadoes come through in the evening -- I don't think we've ever had so many people or animals before. Well, we had local news wanting to interview someone right after, so the cat will be out of the bag, as it were, that we are a good place to go.

#361 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2011, 09:24 AM:

Sandy B. #329: Sometimes phrased as "women show 'PMS' when their hormone levels most resemble those of men."

#362 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2011, 09:46 AM:

A sort of disspirited bit of open-threadiness:

I was outside the country recently, at an academic conference. I was sitting at dinner with a number of people one night, including three other Americans and a number of foreigners. Everyone at the table was highly educated and very smart, probably not people that have known much want, etc., so not typical Americans. However, as best I could tell, we probably weren't especially close in terms of default US political labels. And yet, during this discussion, one thing that repeatedly came out was that all four of us Americans are *incredibly* pessimistic about the future of our country. Our decisionmaking processes seem broken[1], the ruling class has a lot more power than understanding, the powerful interests in US society can and do get their way to the cost of the whole country on a daily basis, the public is amazingly ill-informed and mostly arguing about shadows, the media are both incompetent and corrupt, etc.

Maybe we're just a gloomy lot, I don't know. But this tracked with other conversations I had with other Americans there--folks who were reflexively skeptical about any official US pronouncement, who assumed that we'd run our economy off a cliff sooner or later, etc.

But it was interesting and dismaying to see so many other smart people have reached conclusions similar to my own. I think all but one of the Americans in that dinner conversation had voted for Obama, hoping things would improve, and all of us who had so voted were seriously disappointed.

I'm not sure where I'm going with this. I'm pretty thoroughly anchored in place (job, kids in school, mortgage, stay-at-home wife, monolingual[2] family, the usual network of friendships and commitments that make up membership in a parish and neighborhood and school community. And yet, the direction of this country is deeply disturbing to me. It's probably not headed off the cliff tomorrow, but our long-term prospects seem very bleak to me. I don't see how we will ever reverse our moves to build a turnkey police state. I think our sociopathic[3] foreign policy will end when we run abruptly into a financial/budget crisis, and will destabilize the world horribly as we very quickly pull out of foreign countries and cut off foreign aid to places that have come to depend on it. I think the decisionmakers driving US policy are overwhelmingly involved in internal power struggles over how to divide the pie, and act with little or no long-term consideration of consequences. And I think those guys can and eventually probably will run us off a hell of a cliff[4]. Rather like corporate execs trying to max out their current stock options, with little concern for long-term risks to the company, our leaders aren't thinking about stuff like that too much.

[1] One way you can see that they're broken: straightforward administrative decisions like "we have to make sure the number of prisoners equals the number of spaces for prisoners in our jails" can't seem to be made using by the legislative or executive branches, but instead must be imposed by the courts.

[2] I'm bilingual, but the rest of my family has about enough Spanish to ask where the bathroom is or to order dinner.

[3] I'm stealing Avram's descriptor here, which seems perfect to me.

[4] The big financial company bailouts didn't sink the US economy. But it seems far less plausible to me that that risk was the main consideration of the decisionmakers, than that the main consideration was taking care of their own, ensuring that the powerful, well-connected, generous-in-campaign-contributions oligarchs would be okay despite their bad bets. These bets usually work out. But when they don't, we'll pay a heavy price. (Recall that invading Iraq was sold as an easy-in, easy-out thing. Sort of like our current glorious adventures in Libya.)

#363 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2011, 10:23 AM:

Lori Coulson @335: I'm only good for a ninth — I have to roll a tenth — but I've never noticed any tenths (or even ninths) in Joplin anyway. Lots of tenths in stride piano, but that came a little later.

Xopher @337: "Solace" is an intermezzo (some say a tango, but that's not on the music). When I think of sad-sounding Joplin, I go to "Heliotrope Bouquet," which was a collaboration with Louis Chauvin, and the only music of Chauvin's that was ever written down or preserved in any way. (If you didn't stay for the second half of "Solace," you might not recognize it, since Hamlisch used only the C and D sections of it in his once-ubiquitous arrangement for THE STING.)
@352: Ah. Never mind!

Paul A.@355: There was a time in my life when I wondered if Scott and Janis were related! And I was naive in other ways, too.

#364 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2011, 10:40 AM:

Xopher @336, agreed on all counts, but wish to note: some of said teenage people are getting shot full of estrogen and progesterone (along with a bit of testosterone) when they're not used to it, which possibly has different emotional effects, but still helps cause crankiness. (I remember being prescribed a short course of progesterone as a teenager; it made me into Raving Queen Bitch From Hell.)

(I realize this was in response to Ginger's son's behavior and attitude, hence the discussion of testosterone, but had to poke my head in to a general statement about hormones and teenage crankiness.)

#365 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2011, 10:43 AM:

Jacque @ 311: That is AWESOME.

#366 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2011, 11:28 AM:

Kip W...I had trouble moving from chord to chord at tempo in the Joplin rags. One of my college roommates could play "Solace" but threw up her hands at "Mapleleaf."

#367 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2011, 11:35 AM:

Ginger: :-)

And, meanwhile, Jacque's head has not exploded due to trying to strike a balance between (a) complying with work's mandatory, inflexible schedule (b) keeping the household running despite being weeks behind in crucial chores, due to work demands and (c) finding ways to manage care for a guinea pig who has, for unknown reasons, decided to Stop Eating. Anything.

But I definitely could do with a good cry.

#368 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2011, 12:02 PM:

Janet @347--I'm glad that went off as well as it did, considering the possibilities severe weather presents. I'm glad to see shelters opening to pets, since a lot of people will stay when they shouldn't, because they're afraid the shelter wil refuse to take them--but it certainly represents some challenges for the people running the shelter, especially when it's a new drill for everyone involved.

I am always amazed by a tornado's capacity for obliterating one spot while leaving another one close by nearly untouched.

#369 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2011, 12:17 PM:

Lori Coulson: Slow it down! Learn it slow first. Also, a lot of people want to play ragtime too fast. They did when it was written, too. It seems like almost every one of Joplin's pieces has an admonition at the outset not to play it too fast!

#370 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2011, 01:45 PM:

fidelio@368, I just wonder how the word spread that we would let pets into the library! The last instructions I got from upper administration before they scarpered was basically: "if someone is walking their dog near the library when the sirens sound, let them in." How that morphed into cats, bunnies, and lizards in carriers as well I just don't know. But no problems, and it turned out an off-duty librarian was also here directing people with pets to the tiled areas and off the carpets, so that was good.

#371 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2011, 02:31 PM:

Ah, ragtime. Excuse to plug my old dentist. Who retired. The rat. (Finally found a new dentist who's good enough to replace him.)

#372 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2011, 02:32 PM:

Oh NOES! I've offended the posting ghods! (I have a comment trapped in review.)

#373 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2011, 02:34 PM:

Kip 363: Hamlisch used only the C and D sections of it in his once-ubiquitous arrangement for THE STING.

Ah, that explains why I had to go to a YouTube video labeled with the movie poster to hear a version I recognized. I had listened to a few seconds of the other ones (even skipping ahead a couple of times) before deciding they were the wrong rag.

At any rate, it's the C and D sections that I think of when I see the tornado pictures.

Caroline 364: Quite right, and I should have said 'teenage boys'. That my observations are also applicable to teenage girls does not surprise me, but never having been one I didn't feel I should presume.

Jacque 367: Best wishes for the health of the guinea pig, and for your own (mental and physical).

fidelio 368: I am always amazed by a tornado's capacity for obliterating one spot while leaving another one close by nearly untouched.

I have been known to hypothesize that this property of tornados has contributed to the growth of religious fundamentalism in the tornado-prone bits of the US. If your house is completely unharmed while your neighbor's is reduced to toothpicks, it's easy to understand how some might see the Hand Of God™.

#374 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2011, 03:03 PM:

Janet Brennan Croft, #347: "But as my real estate agent joked, it would actually be great if the roof blew off while it was under the current owner's insurance and I got a new roof out of it..."

As a matter of fact, this is very close to what happened with the sale of our friend Anne Braude's house. (I'm the executor for Anne's estate.) Last October, a bad hailstorm hit the Phoenix area, damaging thousands of roofs and creating a bonanza for roofing companies.

The offer on Anne's house was made before the roof (and rooftop A/C unit) were replaced (Anne's home insurance was thru a company that was very good at dragging their feet and trying to lowball everything), so the buyer essentially got a free roof and A/C when the sale concluded a few weeks later.

#375 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2011, 03:05 PM:

@362: The default seems to be "medium-gloomy". I drove down to graduation[1] with my father, who passed 70 without slowing down much, and he pointed out a couple of things in passing.

Like "Until recently, there was no belief that you could GET unemployment under about five and a half percent." Nine percent is high compared to six percent, true, but not as bad as compared to four percent.

And, for that matter, the sheer amount of stuff we have these days compared to When I Was Young- cars, TV's [and other glowing boxes], phone lines- we're a considerably wealthier country. Our income hasn't gone up that much in constant dollars, but when your car can make it to 100,000 miles without major repairs [2], and without having to fiberglass huge rust holes? You can spend less on cars.

Do we have problems? Yes. Are we capable of fixing them? Also, yes.

[1] Yay! Graduated! Boo! Jobhunting full time!
[2] If something major goes wrong on a car before 100,000 miles these days, we're appalled. At least my household is.

#376 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2011, 03:33 PM:

albatross @ 362:

Yeah, some days I really feel like Eeyore. Or maybe Cassandra.

I suspect that when the Pax Americana finally breaks, it will be very much like what happened to the Soviet Union after Afghanistan: a couple of years of retreat from global concerns concomitant with a lot of puppet governments falling down and dying, and a lot of dictators taking up residence in Switzerland. Then the US will start to fall apart into balkanized regional republics, with possibly some military action around the edges. I just hope nobody reaches for the nukes.

When the dust settles a little I would expect to see a half a dozen economically-crippled fundamentalist states, a couple of viable fundamentalist states1 and perhaps another 4 or 5 states on the coasts and the near northern midwest that are potentially viable, based primarily on trade and technology. Just how amicable the split ends up depends a lot on how close to non-viable the average region is.

I, for one, don't want to be in any of the fundamentalist regions; I'm hoping that I'm far enough from Idaho and Montana that the generally progressive leanings of urban western Oregon and Washington will allow either a Pacific Northwest State (possibly even assimilating with British Columbia) or a fusion with Northern California. Failing all that, maybe I'll emigrate to Scotland.

My guess is I've got about five years to finish the SF novel I started with that as a background, before it starts becoming a contemporary adventure story instead of SF.

1. One centered around Texas and oil money, for instance. I don't think the agricultural midwest is going to be viable in the face of climate change and loss of population.

#377 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2011, 03:46 PM:

How long before 'refugee from the former United States' becomes a label for real people?

#378 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2011, 04:02 PM:

HLN: Area man gives notice to his employer (the one that he started working for in February, the one for which he had such high hopes) that he will be leaving his job, do they want one week or two? Employer asks him to leave the building and the job immediately, and has a (relatively easy-going) thug escort him to the front desk just to be clear about it.

Well: so: area man has a 5-day weekend ahead of him and will start the new new job (for which he has such high hopes -- the one to which several Fluorospherans contributed their telepathic help last week) on Tuesday.

#379 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2011, 04:07 PM:

Sandy, #375: Except that the real unemployment rate in America is closer to 20% than 10%. There was a smoke-and-mirrors change in the way those numbers are measured back in the 80s, which had the effect of pushing about half of the unemployed OFF the official count. As I understand it, once you have run past the end of your eligibility for unemployment compensation, you are no longer considered "unemployed" for purposes of government statistics. This means that hundreds of thousands of people who are still trying to find jobs aren't counted. And this doesn't even begin to include the people who are under-employed -- who, for example, are working 2 or 3 part-time McJobs because they can't find anything in their field.

Add to this a growing trend for job listings to say things like "Must be currently employed, or unemployed for less than 3 months," and the picture gets even uglier.

#380 ::: Steve C ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2011, 04:24 PM:

Lee @ 379 -

As best as I can determine the official unemployment rate is determined by a monthly survey of 60,000 households and is not dependent on eligibility for benefits.

#381 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2011, 04:38 PM:

Another Cassandra/Eeyore here, pretty much since the full measure of ShrubCo's evil became apparent.

Sandy B. #375: when your car can make it to 100,000 miles without major repairs

And how likely will that be when neither the federal or state government can afford to maintain the roads? I visited Costa Rica near the beginning of this year; the 3-hour drives to and from the hotel were... memorable. My 5-year-old niece considered the music from the van's radio and announced, "the car's dancing!".

Also, adding to Lee #379, the unemployment statistics also don't count people who've given up on looking for a job.

Bruce Cohen #376: Yeah. I've been thinking about the Northeastern seaboard myself. The most immediate issue will be whether they have enough farmland to support its industries, but after that comes the question of whether those industries will end up underwater. I gather that the West Coast and Texas have slightly better prospects, but I tend to agree that the Midwest is probably screwed long-term by climate change, and the Southeast may be too.

And then there's the point that both our (currently-)internal commerce, and most of our farming, are heavily dependent on oil....

#382 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2011, 04:56 PM:

Lee, Steve C.

The official unemployment rate does indeed come from the Current Population Survey. The numerator is the number of people not employed but eligible and looking for work, the denominator is those people plus the currently employed. The definition has been very stable for seventy years, and other countries have based their definitions on the CPS one. (Well-established official statistics agencies are actually pretty resistant to political meddling.) The International Labor Organization likes the CPS definition and thinks it has proven to be a reliable indicator of overall labor market conditions and has performed quite well as a business cycle indicator.

There are limitations to the unemployment rate in comparing between countries or over long periods of time, because the labor force participation rate may be very different.

In deep recessions the unemployment rate doesn't indicate the full extent of underemployment. People who have given up on finding work until conditions improve are not in the denominator. People who have taken a temporary job but are still looking for the job they want are in the denominator but not in the numerator. That's why Brad Delong blogs about the employment to population ratio, which at least picks up short-term changes in labor force participation. It's much harder to measure the McJobs problem, since you have to distinguish people who have full-time work but are really underemployed from people who just wish their jobs were better.

It's not perfect, but it is honestly and consistently measured, and no-one has proposed anything that is clearly better. The BLS does publish six other unemployment indicators in its monthly Employment Situation Report (Table A15). The highest one is U6 "Total unemployed, plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force, plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force", which is currently 15.5%, down 1% from last year.

Incidentally, the BLS has a FAQ list that contains much of this information.

#383 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2011, 04:59 PM:

#376, #381

And it looks like Mother Nature is trying to scrub parts of the U.S.A off the map -- just look at all the tornado watches and warnings today.

I just hope we don't get an early tropical storm/hurricane in the Gulf...

#384 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2011, 05:34 PM:

Xopher @373: Thank you for the good wishes.

On the other hand, it looks like this morning I may have planted the seed for the next phase of my Plans for World Domination.

#385 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2011, 05:37 PM:

My brain is back!

I think the itchiness was related to the throat. When the throat got better, so did the itch. I went through almost 24 generic Benadryl, more than three ounces of cortisone cream, some generic Zyrtec, and a looooot of ice packs.

And now I can sleep.

It's amazing how much of a difference it makes. I knew I was really sick a week ago, when I found I was acting sick-- I didn't feel any worse, but I was making tiny sad noises all the time. A day off from both jobs* was spent resting.

My second-job output doubled from last Friday to yesterday. That is healthy right there.

*how do I count as unemployed, underemployed, or misemployed? I am sort of jobsearching, paused for Clarion West, and I am seasonally employed as work becomes available... which is does, for one job, and kind of doesn't, for the other, but the second job pays much much better.

#386 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2011, 06:05 PM:

A question about webspam. Is anyone else getting webspam by way of scripts from They've been implicated by error messages in the spam afflicting the POWDER website, but when I originally tried to contact them, I couldn't find a working contact address.

#387 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2011, 06:24 PM:

I don't mean to be a chirpy bluebird here, but something I've sort-of tracked for a while:
Average credit card debt, mid-2009: $5700.
Average credit card debt, last quarter: $4,700.
Apparently there are around 270 million consumers, so American consumers have paid off (or had written off) $270 billion of high-interest debt in two years.

... it's a start.

#388 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2011, 06:48 PM:

@Bruce Cohen #376: With the rump U.S. selling mineral rights in Alaska to whoever will give them the most money right away and no environmental oversight whatsoever. Offshore interests scooping up entire schools of fish without a Coast Guard to stop them. And those of us who can't leave or can't think of anywhere where they want to start over as refugees, left to scrape out a living among the polluted, depauperized remains.

Here's an article that needs some more signal boost, whether or not one agrees that the solution to the problem is "la revolucion binacional."

#389 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2011, 06:55 PM:


Glad to hear you're feeling better.

You may count as "Persons employed part time for economic reasons", in which case you're part of the numerator of the U-6 unemployment indicator.

#390 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2011, 06:56 PM:

Diatryma @ 385...

Glad to hear the brain is back.
Alive... It's alive!!!

#391 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2011, 07:21 PM:

I'd consider the 80,000 (possibly more) people who showed up at Maker Faire a good sign too.

Even if an unnervingly large number of people lined up to pull rocks around.

#392 ::: Craig R. ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2011, 10:15 PM:

There is a saying that has been attributed to trial lawyers, to the effect that you don't ask a question unless you know the answer -- Something that the GOP members of the Oversight Subcommittee on TARP and Financial Services that is investigating the establishment of the CFPB.

During a recent hearing of the oversight committee when they were questioning Elizabeth Warren.

From trying to claim that Warren and the CFPB had overstepped their brief by advising other entities than the Treasury department and the President. When the CFPB had already sent a latter to congress stating the extent of advising that they had done, at the direct order of the secretary of the Treasury.

Another GOP House member tried to imply that Warren had set up inflated salaries for staffers, yet those salary levels had been actually set by Congress.

There were other "misunderstandings" about the length of the appointed officials terms; about some claims that the CFPB would have exemption from oversight because they would be unique in not having to be funded by annual appropriations, yet no banking regulator is so bound; one of the members was trying to grill Warren as to why none of the complaints that the CFPB would be responsible for have been made public, when the agency is not yet accepting complaints; Even a dispute over when Ms Warren would be able to leave the hearing, which resulted in the GOP subcommittee chair calling Ms. Warren a liar about what was scheduled. Interestingly, another minority witness has blogged that he had not even been informed about changes in scheduling, but the majority witnesses had been so informed.

From where I sit, if Elizabeth Warren makes these GOP members so nervous that they feel so bound to block her appointment to this agency, with no real reason except that she might be effective, that it looks like she really is the right person to head the agency, as well as the right person to build it.

#393 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2011, 11:52 PM:

Craig R. #392: And of course, they will shortly claim that Ms. Warren set them up for humiliation, as part of her grand scheme to sabotage all oversight of the financial system... so Democrats can loot the country, of course!

Given any choice of actions, if you assume that the Republicans will choose the most destructive, least ethical, and/or downright stupid option, you will rarely be disappointed. And if you assume that they will then blame the mess on either the people they were victimizing, or the people who tried to stop them, or both, you will never be disappointed. Do not be deterred if either action requires the R's to openly contradict themselves or their stated goals, because they won't be!

#394 ::: Craig R. ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2011, 12:25 AM:

David Harmon (# 393)
"And if you assume that they will then blame the mess on either the people they were victimizing..."

Funny you should mention that -- in the middle of the grilling about the fact that complaints that were not yet being received were not being made public, one of the GOP members kept trying to get Warren to say that people who were bamboozled by these complex (or downright duplicitous) financial instruments should have not needed an agency like the CFPB, and if they got bamboozled it was because they didn't educate themselves on the complexities of mortgage finance (even if they were defrauded, I guess).

Excuse me, but wasn't one of the reasons that we, as consumers, *do* hire lawyers, or electricians, or plumbers, or realtors or tax preparers, is *because* we, as consumers, recognize that we do *not* have the expertise to navigate those shark-infested waters?

And that same critter was trying to get Warren to explain why the CFPB had a directive that he couldn't parse, and she (Warren) had to point out, several times, that the text he was quoting was from the law itself, which the *Congress* had drafted, not she or anybody at the (then non-existent) CFPB.

(and the bit at the end of the hearing where the GOP chair told Warren she was making up the scheduling agreement out of whole cloth? -- It's already being compared to Joe Wilson's yelling out "Liar!") But the Chair later released a statement claiming that Warren had a perception of her being "overly entitled" because she wanted to be able to get to another meeting that had already been rescheduled (15 minutes after the end of the hearing)so that she could be at this hearing -- part of why the chair wanted were to stay was because there were two other congress-critters who hadn't had a chance to ask Warren questions , and "it would only be 10 minutes more of questions" (5 minutes each) -- except that, as the ranking Democrat on the subcommittee noted -- neither of those people were in the hearing room, and there was no way to tell just when they *would* be in the room, so there was no way they could actually say just *when* the questions would be finished.

#395 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2011, 02:07 AM:

One of the changes which the employment statistics can't reliably reflect, here in the UK, is the switch to short-term jobs. A lot of employee-protection law only kicks in after six months, and a lot of jobs now last for less than six months.

No surprise there.

But one consequence is that there can be a higher number of jobs available for the same number of man-years of available employment. Also, the way the tax system works, it struggles to keep up with the changes.

The politicians, of course, are very pleased with the high number of jobs available.

#396 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2011, 02:37 AM:

Bruce Cohen @ 376: "a couple of years of retreat from global concerns concomitant with a lot of puppet governments falling down and dying,"

You mean like in Egypt?

I don't really believe that the US will devolve into smaller countries--as in Russia, the identity and the political infrastructure are, I think, too ingrained. Instead, we'll just become an overgrown kleptocracy. Well, a more explicit kleptocracy.

#397 ::: Devin ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2011, 04:24 AM:

Bruce Cohen @376 inter alia

I've been saying for a little while here that if you really care about the future of the US, you should be studying countries that used to be Great Powers, and trying to figure out how to be like the ones that stopped being a Great Power and became instead a really nice place to live (like the Dutch, the Swedes, the Japanese, or by and large the English, French, and Germans) instead of the ones that stopped being a Great Power and became a huge mess (like Russia, sort of*, and like interwar or cold war Germany, and Spain, and I guess you could shoehorn China in).

If I was as cool as I wish I was, I'd have a gameplan to go with the quip, but this is one occasion where I'm not really too disappointed in myself: that's kind of a big job, hey?

*Russia pretty much still is a great power, actually, but when you go from being probably the premier military force on Earth (from 1942 or 43 through somewhere around 1980) to being, you know, a seriously respectable regional power with a degree of global pull, that's pretty similar to going from great power to not-great-power.

#398 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2011, 06:58 AM:

I'm curious--why would the Midwest become less desirable because of climate change?

I've always assumed it would be the place to be--good soil, good water supply, not affected by ocean storms. So what is it I'm missing?

#399 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2011, 07:39 AM:

SamChevre #398: Short form: "continental effect". Being close to an ocean (or at least major bodies of water) moderates climactic extremes and local storms, while the middles of continents tend to get caught in positive-feedback loops. (Being in the line-of-fire for hurricanes is a different issue.)

The bigger the continent, the worse it is, so we wouldn't get hit as hard as central Asia (Mongolia and thereabouts) or central Africa... but we've already got a Tornado Alley, and that's likely to get worse.

#400 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2011, 07:41 AM:

PS: "good soil" is dated -- we already screwed that up. (q.v. Dust Bowl.) Now that's part of our petroleum dependency (fertilizers and such).

#401 ::: David DeLaney ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2011, 09:39 AM:

Open threadiness: I think I've missed it by a day, but still -


"How do they rise up?"

#402 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2011, 09:48 AM:

SamChevre, #398: Take a look at what's happening in the Midwest right now. Snowpocalypse, leading to heavy flooding when the melt hits; extreme tornadoes; extremes of both hot and cold weather.

Now, this could just be a really bad year, the way 2005 was an awful year for hurricanes -- but it could also be a harbinger of the "new normal". Remember that more heat energy in the atmosphere translates to more extremes of weather, and (as David mentioned) the further you are from large bodies of water, the less amelioration you have -- oceans, or even big lakes, soak up a lot of heat during the summer and slowly release it again during the winter.

#403 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2011, 11:23 AM:

SamChevre @398: Here in Central Ohio we are having more snowfall/rain, more intense weather, and earlier blooming/longer bloom period in plants.

The long wet spring has meant that the corn and soybean crops have not been planted (and those who did have dry enough ground to plant have watched seedlings rot in the fields). I'm told that if the farmers can plant in the next two weeks they'll still get a decent yield, assumming that we go back to a normal weather pattern.

The winter wheat seems to be doing ok barring wind or hail damage, the strawberries aren't -- cold and wet rots or stunts them. Orchards are dicey -- we've had little to no hard freezes, but the rain may have prevented the bees from polinating the trees. And the bees are having problems too, some of it weather related as well.

One of the home gardeners down the street is frustrated because all her cold weather crops have gone nowhere... I plant mostly for blooms, and I have noticed that everything has been coming into bloom earlier since I started keeping records in 1998 (we acquired the house in December 1997).

If this is the new norm and not an aberration, the Midwest is in trouble.

#404 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2011, 11:56 AM:

On hurricanes, the last I read was that warmer sea waters in the Atlantic meant more energy to form hurricanes there, and warmer waters in the Carribean mean more energy to transfer to hurricanes as they approach the Americas. On the other hand shifts in high level atmospheric winds might cause greater wind shear and help cut down the number of hurricanes.
The problem comes with trying to get long term trend data, since decades ago some hurricanes formed in the Atlantic and were never recognised as such, but now we have satellites.

Meanwhile, to far too many people a hurricane only exists if it hits the USA. To add to the fun, getting long term trend data on damages to try and sum up potential losses due to climate change is difficult precisely because of the random nature of land fall, and the increased value of coastal properties over the last decade or two.

#405 ::: Steve C ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2011, 12:07 PM:

It's virtually impossible to tie any single weather event (or even a chain of them) to global warming. The most that can be said with any reliability is that a greater or lesser likelihood of X is possible because of a changing climate. The variability from year-to-year is significantly higher than the decade-to-decade changes evidenced from climate change.

#406 ::: Craig R. ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2011, 12:11 PM:

In Re more severe weather patterns:

This change is just what is predicted by the increase in overall temp. "global warming" does *not* mean that winters will be milder or that summers will be hotter -- it means that there is more available energy dumped into the weather patterns. And that means changes in seasonal norms and more "energetic" weather -- storms will be more violent, more rain, more snow, more wind, new equilibriums being reached.

*not* that winter will magically have less snow, as some conservative pundits and cartoonists want to tout.

#407 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2011, 12:52 PM:

Open Threadiness Shameless Plug:
Wildpro, the Electronic Encyclopaedia & Library on wild animal health and management, and emerging infectious diseases, which I write/edit, is now officially Open Access worldwide. I've been working on this since 1997, and I'm quite proud of it (I'm not the only one who's been involved in writing it, and the original idea wasn't mine, but I've done more work on this than anyone else).

If anyone would like to take a look, go to the Gateway to Wildpro and click where it says "Wildpro" (or "Click here to launch"). Several of the photos on the Gateway site are mine as well (not the polar bear), and I'm rather pleased with the shelduck in flight on the page "Wildpro CD-ROMs".

#408 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2011, 01:26 PM:

Watching Black Swan. ::shudder:: There's my Dysfunctional Families post pre-written....

#409 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2011, 01:32 PM:

dcb@407: Wow! Congratulations!

#410 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2011, 02:38 PM:

Craig R:

The problem is, humans are pattern-matching machines, so it's pretty easy to convince yourself you're seeing a pattern you *expect* to see in ambiguous data.

#411 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2011, 02:47 PM:

dcb @407 -- that is fabulous! I've just passed the information on, and poked around a bit myself. Interesting and very easy to navigate.

#412 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2011, 02:52 PM:

albatross: yes, and the reason we do that is that our ancestors are all the ones who did so, while their relatives who waited for conclusive proof before reacting all perished without progeny.*

By the time we can definitely establish a pattern of increased severity in weather being traced to global warming, it will be too late to do anything to stop it, if it isn't already. I think there's enough evidence to justify acting.

If that stripy pattern turns out to be a trick of the light, and not a tiger, well, I'll feel foolish. But assuming it's a trick of the light until you can PROVE it's a tiger will get you et.

*Yes, I know it's more complicated than that.

#413 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2011, 03:05 PM:

On the other hand, a number of respectable people are saying that the Russian heatwave last year is exactly the sort of thing that was worsened by global warming and we are likely to see more of, although to some extent that does depend on how the jet stream and such shifts due to greater energy in the system. For example, we may well be getting colder winters in the UK because of more open water in the Arctic and elswhere. In the example of Russia, it was a degree warmer and several weeks long a heatwave than the previous record, which is rather what you would expect to see with global warming adding a certain intensity to what is otherwise something to be expected.

#414 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2011, 03:15 PM:

thomas @ 382:

A useful attribute of U6 is that it's essentially the measure that was used during the Great Depression, making it possible to make comparisons between that and the Current Financial Unpleasantness. I suspect that's why it's not being publicized: no one in authority wants to make those comparisons, because it would make it clear just how much they're lying about "recovery".

ETA: You have to hit "POST" in order to post a comment. This sat in a tab for most of a day because I didn't. Sorry for the staleness.

#415 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2011, 03:17 PM:


This is quite plausible. But I'm a lot more interested in falsifiable predictions than retrospective explanations, particularly when the amound of uncertainty surrounding the models used is quite large and given that weather is famously variable.

#416 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2011, 03:39 PM:

albatross: That would be the scientific interest, but in this case that isn't what should be driving policy. There's enough evidence that caution dictates action.

#417 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2011, 03:44 PM:

412: But since we cannot1 act particularly fast on this, we are going to get some period of future data to test predictions out. So if/when the predictions fail to pan out, they are just going to make further action even more difficult.

1"cannot" here being a composite of political resistance and technical advance: at the moment the technology doesn't support reductions which are big enough to do any good and which are also politically palatable.

#418 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2011, 04:07 PM:

Well, what is politically palatable may change. In fact it will have to, if our civilization is to survive.

The intractable stupidity of humans, especially when manipulated by corporations with gigantic amounts of money to spend and (by definition) no conscience or morality except "enhance shareholder value" may mean that our civilization does NOT survive.

If that's the case, the descendants of the now-living will curse our memory as they fight over the remaining bits of dry land, or as they choke on the poison gas arising from the sea (anærobic bacteria thrive once the ocean is too warm to hold enough O2 for the ærobic ones, and emit toxic sulphur compounds as waste products on a massive scale).

#419 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2011, 04:45 PM:

"If that's the case, the descendants of the now-living will curse our memory"

Yeah, but at least they can thank us for fighting the deficit and keeping taxes down!


#420 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2011, 04:47 PM:

albatross @410: The problem is, humans are pattern-matching machines, so it's pretty easy to convince yourself you're seeing a pattern you *expect* to see in ambiguous data.

I handle a lot of phone and account numbers. It seems I see a disproportionate* number of repeating digits, like account number 004466, and suchlike.

Especially spooky with account numbers, I get a non-contiguous set of accounts, sort them numerically, and end up with sequences like:




I know I'm suffering from a bad case of confirmation bias, but that makes some of these only marginally less spooky.


*Some kind mathematician-type can now supply the actual odds of numbers with contiguous digits coming up, which will doubtless work out to be ∓chance.

#421 ::: Steve C ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2011, 05:50 PM:

I watched the Too Big to Fail HBO movie last night, and I recommend it to anyone. It's a smart, well-acted, and suspenseful movie about the 2008 financial clusterboink and how we narrowly avoided disaster.

William Hurt is superb in his role as Henry Paulson.

Sometimes you don't get a choice between good and bad. Sometimes it's between sucks really bad, and sucks a tiny bit less.

Too Big to Fail

#422 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2011, 06:24 PM:

heresiarch @ 396:

You mean like in Egypt?

Yep, only closer to home, like in Nicaragua, Columbia, etc. Also expect Central Asia to be almost completely destabilized as we leave Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan at a dead run.

☪ Unless, of course, we've already left them to go on to other wars in the meantime.

☮ I am not advocating that the US should keep troops in those countries to prevent destabilization. We've already guaranteed that destabilization; it's just being a little slowed by the presence of our troops. And the long term effect of that slowing is likely to be that when it finally happens, it will be even more severe.

#423 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2011, 06:30 PM:

Steve C @ 421:

we narrowly avoided disaster

I've got that movie queued up on my DVR; I'm going to have to watch it soon, because I'd really like to know in what way we avoided disaster when the crisis precipitated us into a slow-motion depression that's getting deeper despite all the politicians yelling "Look, over there, a recovery!".

#424 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2011, 06:40 PM:

Bruce Cohen @ 421 -

Disaster would have been a repeat of the Great Depression, only with a much faster onset. Credit would have been frozen entirely, including the day-to-day commercial paper transactions that keeps corporations going. 25% to 35% unemployment, with deficits two or three times larger than they are.

I disagree that we're in a slow-motion depression. All the indications are that we're in a slowly expanding economy, still held back by an over-valued real estate market. GDP is still rising and jobs are being added.

#425 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2011, 06:52 PM:

Xopher @ 377:

How long before 'refugee from the former United States' becomes a label for real people?

That's exactly the question I asked myself when I started thinking about that novel. I had just read some predictions by UNHCR on the number of refugees worldwide by 2010 (this was in 2007 or so), and I started wondering about the refugee situation circa 2025-2030, and how exiles from the US would handle it.

Which brings me to a question for the Fluorosphere: I'm not well-acquainted with the current political situation in southern India and Sri Lanka; can anyone tell me if there's a significant Tamil revanchist movement, possibly in exile in Tamil Nadu? I've gotten rather fond of one of minor characters in that book, who fled arrest in India after several years of smuggling arms to the successors of the Tamil Tigers (LTTE) from Tamil Nadu across the Palk Strait (which for the purpose of the flashback car chase scene now has a causeway clear across it). So I'm wondering if my extrapolation of the situation, done before the defeat of the Tigers, is anywhere close to possible.

David Harmon @ 381:

The most immediate issue will be whether they have enough farmland to support its industries

The US already imports much of its food (we're still the breadbasket of the world, but only just), so I don't see that as a major obstacle to the Northeast's economic survival.

#426 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2011, 07:11 PM:

Bruce Cohen@414

A useful attribute of U6 is that it's essentially the measure that was used during the Great Depression

That's actually not true. The estimates of unemployment from the Great Depression that are generally seen are fairly comparable to what is usually quoted as the unemployment rate.

Quoting from the notes to Chapter D of "Historical Statistics of the United States, Colonial Times to 1970" (Census Bureau, 1975) (D1-74 General Note):

"The estimates shown here, prior to 1940, were prepared on as comparable a basis as possible with the concepts used since 1940"

#427 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2011, 07:11 PM:

@423: It's easy to forget about bad the falling domino effect could have been.

My wife makes ink for, well, nearly everything that gets printed in supermarkets. [Sample conversation in our house: "Did they change the red on Coke cans?"/"GRRRRRRRR"/"Sorry I asked."]

One or two of her company's customers went bankrupt and failed to pay. If bank credit had completely frozen, MOST might have gone bankrupt and failed to pay. And then her company [owned by a Japanese company with solid financials] has layoffs because, no customers with money.

That's how it woulda played out in our household... for the first three months. After that I imagine it would have gotten considerably worse. Cause nobody's going to hire ME in the middle of the Great Recession for either my old job [embedded software for... the stuff people can't afford to buy] or the new job [green energy that's only remotely cost-effective with a 30% subsidy, for energy that people don't need because the factories are all closed.]

That's totally ignoring things like "What if your bank goes under, nobody rescues it, your credit cards all get frozen and you can't get any cash out of the ATM?" Because that's an _obvious_ bad-case scenario. So is "What if there's a run on everything and 90% of the world's wealth disappears into the bit bucket?"

Things could have certainly been a bit worse.

#428 ::: Andy Brazil ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2011, 07:12 PM:

But I'm a lot more interested in falsifiable predictions than retrospective explanations, particularly when the amound of uncertainty surrounding the models used is quite large and given that weather is famously variable.

But we don't need either weather or climate models to show climate change: we can use the other life forms on the planet. We have been monitoring the distribution and phenology of plants and animals for a long time. Here in the UK we have data going back to the mid 16th century in the Elizabethan herbals, and C17th for insects and birds. So we know that plants are flowering earlier (average of 21 days) and that creatures are moving northwards.

Currently in the UK warm-adapted butterflies are moving north at an average rate of 20km per year, while cold-adapted mountain species are retreating up those mountains at the rate of 150m to 250m a year. In Spain some mountain butterflies have now disappeared from the Sistema Central range as they ran out of mountain to retreat up. Those butterflies were ice-age relics, left behind on the mountain tops when the glaciers retreated - which itself shows that the current climate hasn't occurred since the last ice-age (or the butterflies wouldn't have been there for us to record them). Similarly in the US, warm-adapted sub-species are meeting and cross-breeding with more northerly sub-species, resulting in the loss of differentation as they blur together: again if this had happened before there wouldn't have been the sub-species for us to see. So again an unprecedented event (in the period it takes to develop a couple of distinct sub-species at least).

In the UK we have since 1995 added a new species of dragonfly to the list every two years - prior to 1995 we added just one since the first list in 1850. And it's world wide: naturalists are finding warm-adapted species moving in and cold-adapted species moving out in every country in every continent. There simply isn't any other explanation other than climate change that can account for a sudden, massive shift in the distribution of creatures across the whole planet.

So forget arguments about hockey sticks and computer models, the natural world proves that climate change is happening and that it has not happened on this scale for at least 13,000 years.

Oh, and falsifiable predictions? That's how we found out about the Systema Central - someone predicted that climate change would force those relic populations higher up mountains, found a survey done in 1975 in Spain that showed the distribution on the slopes of their mountains and then went there and repeated the survey in 2005. And the evidence showed that all the species were now found higher up the slopes, and that six species were extinct. And showed that each species inhabited a range bounded by thermoclines for max and min temperatures, and that they still inhabited the same range of temperatures - what had changed was where on the mountains those temperatures were found. And showed for five of the six that their temperature ranges no longer existed on the mountains - neatly showing that they had run out of mountain. So, predicted, falsifiable and verified by experiment.

#429 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2011, 07:24 PM:

I got distracted by what I came in here to write about... I haven't decided where I stand on this one yet.

NJ gov. Chris Christie has just pulled NJ out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. ("The what? Who cares? ")

The RGGI is ten states from Maine to about Maryland that decided that, as states, they had the power to follow Kyoto even if the rest of the country didn't. (Massachusetts was in-again/out-again and ended up in. I think.) The point of this is that if you generate solar energy in Jersey, you can sell the "greenness" separately from the actual electricity. It's called a SREC, Solar Renewable Energy Certificate, and last month they were selling for over $600 a MW-h. Which is about five times the price of the actual electricity. You could pay off your solar panels in about three and a half years instead of twenty. The utilities paid for the SRECs and passed the cost along to the consumers, is my limited understanding.

This seemed a little too good to be true. People were putting up masses of solar panels absolutely everywhere. Bubbles are obvious in retrospect, of course.

I'm pretty sure with Christie's move, the price of an SREC has just dropped to ... zero.

And a solar panel now pays 5% (if it needs no maintenance ever) instead of 25-30%.

Now the place where I stand up and say "Wait a sec" is that, searching for details, before I found the actual article I found this: 'Vowing to be "New Jersey's #1 clean energy advocate" if elected governor...'

#430 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2011, 07:39 PM:

Bruce Cohen:
A useful attribute of U6 is that it's essentially the measure that was used during the Great Depression, making it possible to make comparisons between that and the Current Financial Unpleasantness. I suspect that's why it's not being publicized:

That would be U5 (U6 includes part-time workers as well).
U5 and U6 aren't ever particularly highly publicized -- they are in the monthly press release of the BLS, but I don't see any change in how they are handled during the Current Unpleasantness. In any case, on the issue of recovery, the unemployment rate fell about the same amount during the past year whether you use U3, U4, U5, or U6.

However you measure it, the employment situation is appalling, and improving slowly. Also, it's not as if the people arguing against more government action are saying "Why worry? It's only 10%." Instead they're invoking the invisible bond vigilantes or the deficit.

In 1940, well into the recovery of the Great Depression, when the definition of 'unemployment rate' was essentially the same as it is now, it was over 15%. And, of course, the employment to population ratio was much lower back then -- while more discouraged workers may have been counted in the labor force, many fewer women were counted.

#431 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2011, 07:45 PM:

Albatross #415 - If you mean falsifibiable predictions regarding exactly how bad heatwaves can get, or how bad the hurricane season will be, as far as I can tell we're still years away from that sort of thing.
But in order to discuss this further, you're also going to have to be more explicit with comments about models, since the professionals are well aware that climate is the average of weather. I also don't understand your problem with retrospective explanations, if they are properly grounded in the physics. It is the interplay of observational records and physical modelling which makes this sort of thing interesting but also complex.
Often the problem is simply a lack of long enough data series. Not helped by an earth observation satellite being denied funding by the US gvt, even though it would vastly improve data collection.

#432 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2011, 07:52 PM:

Andy Brazil #428 - I think Apbatross' problem is more to do with attribution of extreme events to climate change than whether or not it is actually occuring.

#433 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2011, 08:04 PM:

It is truly amazing how quickly the Republican Party has reformed itself since '08. It's almost admirable, how quickly they've redefined themselves as the party that will brook no compromise in becoming crazy fuckers out of touch with reality and refusing to live in the 21st century. That is what their base seems to want, and they seem hell bent on delivering it.

#434 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2011, 08:28 PM:

Jacque at 420:
Many account numbers have things like confirmation digits and checksums, which could affect things.

#435 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2011, 08:30 PM:

What idiot thought it was a good idea to load a brownie with 8mg of melatonin, and market them at convenience stores?

#436 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2011, 08:33 PM:

Stefan Jones #433: To (mis-)quote Laurell Hamilton before her series went from Monty Hall to Fanny Hill: "It's kind of impressive, in a psychotic sort of way".

#437 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2011, 08:49 PM:

Re that weird garment in the Particles: If that's what you put on this morning, how on earth do you use the toilet without getting naked? And how do you use a public toilet without getting something nasty on your clothes as you take them off and put them on?

It's a shame. The silhouette would be cute if it were a sleeveless top and a separate pair of leggings.

Tangent: I remember hearing about an arrangement that warehouse owners use to have in some U.S. cities, where they would have a basic apartment built into the structure and pay someone in kind, providing free rent and utilities, in return for keeping an eye on the place. Presumably their employees had another source of income, such as a retirement account, to cover groceries and so forth. Do people still do that?

#438 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2011, 09:14 PM:

Storage places often do something like that.

#439 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2011, 09:16 PM:

On the subject of weather: yesterday, near Chico, north of Sacramento. No serious damage, fortunately.

#440 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2011, 10:25 PM:

Spotted on

Today, both of the roads leading to my small town were washed out by rising flood waters. I now live on an island in the middle of Wyoming. FML #16357497 (83)
On 05/26/2011 at 1:54pm - misc - by Anonymous - United States (Wyoming)
#441 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2011, 12:58 AM:

Well, he's doing it again. He failed to wait for me at the main office, and never came home. I drove around the school several times at the appointed hour, and never saw him.

He hasn't called, and his friends don't know where he is. His current girlfriend, when called by the police officer (using my cell phone) claimed not to know who he was or why we had her number. Her father, bewildered by the police officer calling his daughter, said there was no strange young man around.

It's after midnight. I walked him into the school this morning, around 8. He was supposed to be waiting for me after school, which lets out at 2:10, although he supposedly did his math test after school. Neither he nor his math teacher called when the test was completed, so I don't know if he actually took it today. Yesterday, he'd come home late claiming he'd taken it, but an email from her this AM indicated that had been a lie.

Well, the police are looking for him. We've done all we can do for now. If they find him, they'll call me. If we find him, we'll call them. I'll check with the school in another 6 hours, when they open up.

In the meantime, I've got a cup of tea, the cordless phone, and the laptop, plus a kitten going crazy with a random toy. Any toy at all.


#442 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2011, 01:01 AM:

Steve C @ 424:

GDP is still rising and jobs are being added.

GDP is not rising at anything like a healthy rate, and jobs, well the jobs that are being added aren't as good as the jobs that were lost (lower wages, less benefits, many more temp jobs, etc.), and we're still getting over 400,000 new unemployment claims every week (424,000 reported today, 10,000 more than last week).

And the economy is still contracted as result of the loss of several trillion dollars of liquidity that we pumped into the banks as a bailout, and which they are sitting on. On top of which the invisible bond vigilantes are going to be the death of our economy yet, as the Republicans and their co-dependent Democrats keep tightening the screws on the rest of us.

Not a disaster? We're working on that.

#443 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2011, 01:25 AM:

Ginger: Oh, man. Best wishes to you that this resolves in the least stressful way possible (i.e. he gets a Clue.)

General economy talk: I work at a radio station once a week and one of the programs I (re)broadcast is a money program. I don't pay too close attention—while it's not a shill program, neither am I the sort to have investable funds—but something that was said a few weeks back caught my attention: The unemployment in Washington, D.C. is around 5 and a half percent.

As the commenter said, that explains a lot of things.

#444 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2011, 02:17 AM:

This Washington Post article from 6 days ago says DC unemployment is 9.6% in the most recent figures. It's (significantly) lower in both VA and MD. DC is not a town with a lot of industries (government and tourism are the biggies).

#445 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2011, 02:30 AM:

Most of the Congresscreatures, Cabinet members and pundit classes live in the NoVa or Md. suburbs where the unemployment rate is hovering around 5% if my memory of an article I read recently is accurate.

I'd also bet there are no Mexicans or Nicaraguans hanging out at the local Home Depot looking for work in those suburbs.

#446 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2011, 04:33 AM:

Ginger: keeping fingers crossed on your behalf. (The good news is that, once everybody survives the teenage years, the teenager often becomes a wonderful, interesting, smart adult. Cling to that thought.)

Tantentially, I saw an inspired offspring-management technique on the Mall today. Ingredients: two presumably rambunctious female tweens, one (1) fancy-shiny scarf. Append one end of scarf to each tween. Voila! Mutually-leashed kids. "Because it's pretty!"

#447 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2011, 05:55 AM:

Linkmeister @445: I live in one of those suburbs, with a Home Depot not too far away, and I can see plenty of Central American men gathering, looking for day labor jobs.

Jacque and B. Durbin: Thanks. I can only hope he is somewhere relatively safe. After this, I don't know what to do.

#448 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2011, 07:06 AM:

Ginger: Hugs and good thoughts headed your way.

#449 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2011, 07:32 AM:

Ginger: best of luck in your parental travails. I hope you've told "Girl's Father" explicitly why you were calling... and I mean explicitly, to set off his parental instincts!

#450 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2011, 07:32 AM:

Any of you who are in Duluth ought to head down to the corner of 5th Ave. West and Michigan and see if the manhole lid has been stolen yet for a souvenir.

#451 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2011, 08:12 AM:

Ginger, ow. I hope he's home safe and figures it out soon. Teenage rebellion isn't nearly as easy to deal with as some people think it will be.

#452 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2011, 08:38 AM:

Ginger--I hope things are better this morning.

#453 ::: Persephone ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2011, 08:48 AM:

Linkmeister @445, I can second that, no matter what DC metro-area neighborhood you live in, there are men gathered at the local 7-11, Home Depot, etc. looking for day labor work. The people who gather at the U-Haul rental places are particularly aggressive: they cluster around your car as soon as you drive in.

#454 ::: Persephone ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2011, 09:15 AM:

Ginger, it's almost 9 a.m. EDT now, so I hope he's been found.

My (much) younger brother, L, was 13 when my parents' horrific divorce began. He went from a bright, reasonably-well-adjusted tween to a delinquent who brought knives to school and acted out* in every way possible.

At 16, he's doing quite a bit better. He has his less cooperative moments, but they're more "standard"** teenager behavior and less "disturbed youth who's threatening to hurt his mother."

He's fixed up an old car and has an annoying habit of wandering off in it without telling Mom he's going. This resulted in her getting a terrified phone call the other evening from L, who was babbling about someone shooting at him and the cops coming and that he'd be home soon.

See, his car had some sort of problem where occasionally it would just die with no warning. Being a teenage boy, he thought this was actually kind of cool, and he'd just steer it off onto the shoulder, wait 20 minutes and it would magically start again. It was also very loud, which is relevant.

That evening, he'd left to take his friend B home, and was driving along a rural road when the car died. He pulled off onto the shoulder at the intersection of the road and a dirt road leading to a house about a half mile away, just off the road, and the two of them popped the hood and bent over the engine to try to get it started again.

The next thing L heard was someone yelling. He turned around to see a middle-aged man running toward them from the house. This fine specimen of belligerent humanity, wielding a shotgun and clad in only his underwear, was bellowing something about thieves and getting off his property and calling the cops, and pointing the gun at them, despite the fact that the two were clearly on the highway easement and just trying to fix the car.

L and B panicked (not that I blame them!) and jumped back in the car, which miraculously started. L got the car back on the road as the upright gentleman shot at the car and missed.

L took B home, but apparently was forced to drive back that same way to get home. At this point it was fully dark, and he didn't see anything of our fine specimen, but after he passed that house, a sedan drove up behind him and began tailgating him, flashing its lights, and so on.

L had no idea what to do, so kept driving until he eventually found a closed, but lit, gas station, and pulled into its parking lot to let the other car go by. Instead, the car pulled in next to him and rolled down the driver's side window to reveal a middle-aged woman in the driver's seat, who stared at him with no expression. L says there was also a teenaged boy in the passenger seat with a frighteningly empty grin.

After a minute, L (who should have driven on, but was probably too terrified to move at this point) asked her what she wanted. The backseat window rolled down, to reveal the middle-aged guy with his shotgun, pointed at L.

Thankfully, L's car cooperated, and he took off for home, placing that terrified call to my poor mother, who didn't even know he was gone. On the way he realized that he didn't want to lead the crazy guy with the gun to his house, so he did some creative circling and finally lost them, then headed home.

Well, no one shoots at my mother's children, so though the local cops didn't want to take L seriously at first, she harassed them into investigating. Our fine specimen, when questioned, freely admitted to everything but the actual shooting, so there's a court date coming up.

Poor L. What a horrifying experience. Here in a few years, though, he's going to have the best. story. ever. to tell.***

The point of all this is that even though little bro has had an extremely rocky few years, he bids fair to become a completely normal, smart, interesting adult, as Jacque at 446 said. I think for a lot of us, teenager-hood is like some sort of years-long bad dream.

*I don't like that phrase, but can't think of another word for it.

**Well, as we as a society currently construct "standard teenage behavior."

***Which, in previous, makes this the Longest Comment Ever. Oops.

#455 ::: Persephone ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2011, 09:16 AM:

Er, the *** footnote should have said "in preview." That's what I get for not previewing a second time.

#456 ::: Juli Thompson ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2011, 10:54 AM:

WisCon is this weekend. We had some desultory chat about a gathering. What about breakfast on Sunday? I'm trying not to conflict with programming, but I'm certainly open to better ideas.

We're leaving in about half an hour. I'll put a note on the bulletin board with my room number. (I'm not a WisCon member this year, so I can't attend programming, but I am staying at the hotel so I can get messages.)

#457 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2011, 11:05 AM:

Persephone: That's exceptionally bad and I hope someone gets to visit our fine penal system.

Ginger: I said once the only advice I could give a teenager that I thought they'd follow was "Don't hit yourself in the head with a hammer". I'm not any wiser now.

436-7: I know someone who used to have that type of apartment in the back of an Elks club or similar. Fell apart when she went somewhere,got someone to cover for her, and the someone turned out to be irresponsible and dumb.

#458 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2011, 11:52 AM:

Ginger: I hope he's found safe and sound. Thinking of you all.

#459 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2011, 11:59 AM:

Ta-Nehisi Coates really loves Moby Dick. I especially commend the second sentence in the fourth paragraph from the end.

#460 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2011, 12:12 PM:

re459: and the best-rated comment is inevitable yet perfect.

#461 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2011, 12:35 PM:

To soothe the still-worried: Ginger has reported elsewhere that he reappeared this morning. I'm sure she'll fill us in as time allows.

#462 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2011, 01:37 PM:

I hope Ginger can resolve the conflicting urges to hug him to death and to shake him until his teeth fall out without a) indulging either urge or b) having a cardiovascular incident.

I hope the kid is safe and well, above all.

I wish Ginger all luck and aid and bright blessings in her efforts to deal with this.

(And wouldn't it be nice if the deep need to be independent and live your own life came with or after the competence to do that same? Instead of years before?)

#463 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2011, 01:53 PM:

Ginger: The following is offered in the spirit of "Free advice is generally worth what you pay for it." Does your son have a trusted adult he feels he can talk to freely?

I think the worst thing for me when I was that age (well, and every other age that I lived with my parents) was that nobody freakin' listened to me without some kind of judgement, opinion, or penalty. Looking back, if I'd just had someone to talk to (read: rant), things would have gone a lot better.

#464 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2011, 02:09 PM:

Jacque, if you'll accept this as friendly: no matter how open and trustworthy and in-all-ways perfect a parent may be, s/he CANNOT be that trusted adult, and this is because the relationships are fundamentally incompatible.

#465 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2011, 02:12 PM:

Xopher: I had the descriptor "who is not one of his parents" in my post, then took it out. Why, you ask? Talk to the Brain. As previously noted, I only work here.

#466 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2011, 02:41 PM:

All: I was obviously wrong in my assumption about Central American men and convenience stores/Home Depots in the DC suburbs. That'll teach me to talk through my baseball cap.

#467 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2011, 06:50 PM:


And Moby Dick also inspired the greatest literary point-mutation: "Call me, Ishmael."

#468 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2011, 07:13 PM:

Ginger via Jacque and Xopher: If there's an aunt/uncle available, that's one of their traditional roles.

#469 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2011, 08:00 PM:


It has been A Day.

First, thank you all for your supportive comments and words of wisdom. Some of those words will come in handy, and only time will tell which ones those will be.

As Clifton kindly posted, yes, he reappeared this morning, at school. Nonchalantly, as if nothing had gone wrong.

When his math teacher saw my emails, she replied at once that he had (1) taken the test yesterday afternoon (good!) and (2) just seen him at school on her way in (what??!?!?). An email to the admin resulted in a phone call from that person, indicating that they had our Errant Son in the health room, claiming that he'd passed out.

The Ex, a police officer, and I joined the school admin and the nurse. I brought his meds, and a good thing I did: he was surly and nasty, and totally unlike his normal self. The nurse said she'd seen him every morning (when he dropped off his back brace, which he is supposed to wear 22 hours a day...), and he was not acting "normal".

We called the pediatrician, and got an urgent appointment. We called the psychiatrist, with whom he was already scheduled to meet, and updated her. She requested the same things we wanted, namely a tox screen.

We took him to the peds, got very little information out of him, although his attitude gradually improved. She sent us to the lab to draw blood and urine, for which we spent the next two hours mainly waiting.

After a quick jaunt to McD's for lunch (no one had had anything to eat until well after 1 pm), we caravanned over to the psych, during which time we received an email from the school admin.

I must digress slightly here: one of his friends had lied to us during his first "disappearance" and I had been pushing him about redeeming himself. While waiting at the peds, I'd texted this young man that my son claimed to be with him when he passed out. E replied that he knew what had "really happened", so I told him to go talk to the school admin. This email was the update from that chat, and informative it was: my son has been drinking alcohol, and had passed out from overdoing it.

We notified the psych, and confronted our son. At first he gave us the same lies, but then we told him his friends had actually (finally!) come through and told the truth. He eventually admitted to having some alcohol in his soda, although he didn't know what kind. He also claimed this had been only the second time he'd had any. This all occurred at the house of a recent graduate from the same high school, so she's old enough to be legally liable.

The doc referred us to a local hospital with a program for teens with substance abuse issues, for which we will have an intake meeting some time next week (with luck). He's now officially required to have adult supervision all of the time, no excuses.

Right now, he's with my Ex, preparing to go on their camping trip, which they were supposed to leave on this afternoon. I am emptying my house of alcoholic beverages -- he hasn't gotten to the stage of stealing from me, and I intend to prevent that part. My Fabulous Girlfriend has offered to stash it all at her place, so once I finish packing tonight, it's going to her house.

I know what it's like; I abused alcohol while in vet school and came perilously close to full-blown alcoholism myself. My father's family has it, and he's battled it for years (with my mother's help). Life events conspired to change me, so I no longer have the high risk that I once did, but I do remember that little voice. I am determined to get him through this, by attacking the disease now.

His maternal grandmother, my Ex's sister, and her husband both drank too much; he died of chronic alcoholism and she still drinks too much. Her daughter, his birth mother, is a drug addict as well as an abuser of alcohol. He's a high risk patient. It does not have to end in alcoholism, if we work hard on it now.

It does mean he will have to be careful for the rest of his life. And so will I.


Now, before my adrenaline subsides (I've been awake since 5:30 am, with 3.5 hours of sleep), I need to move this bounty out of my house, and find my way to my FG. Only then will I relax.

I'll be busy all weekend, on call as usual. I have next week to myself, and next weekend as well. I will be pampering myself just a tiny bit.

I hope you all have a wonderful and safe holiday weekend.

#470 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2011, 08:15 PM:

Ginger #469: In a word: wow! That's a serious issue. I hope you can get him through this. The important thing is to get through to the underlying issues.

#471 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2011, 09:07 PM:

Ginger #469: Ouch! And my sympathies....

How much does he know about that family history? I'd suggest he get a thorough review, with emphasis on all the nasty and embarrassing incidents you can recall. And lines drawn from there to the points that he's already both lied to his family and passed out in public.

#472 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2011, 09:13 PM:

Ginger: I'm sorry it's as bad as it is. I'm VERY glad it wasn't worse. All bright blessings.

#473 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2011, 10:32 PM:

Ginger: what Xopher said. I'm glad you get a bit of a breather here. Take care of yourself, too.

#474 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2011, 11:09 PM:

Ginger: hugs and good thoughts from here. Glad he's mostly OK, glad you've got professional help, and hope you can get some rest soonest.

#475 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2011, 12:20 AM:

Ginger: Yow! I just... Yow! It sounds like you're dealing with this with both hands, and as my offspring is only nine now, I have no experience or experiences to offer. I wish I could produce an ice cream sundae or something, but my usefulness is limited in this case to wishing you well. Did I already say Yow?

#476 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2011, 01:04 AM:

My best wishes, Ginger...

I'm at BayCon. I introduced myself to GoH Mary Robinette Kowal, puppeteer and author of novel "Shades of Milk and Honey", who was on a panel with my wife. I then had dinner with a few Fluorospherians at a restaurant that serves Chinese Islamic food. I'm kind of tired right now, what with the long ride from New Mexico. At least I didn't have to worry about the Tehachapi pass being snowed in. I'll probably call it quits for today now.

#477 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2011, 01:04 AM:

Ginger -- my empathies and sympathies, to say the least!

#478 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2011, 03:56 AM:

Much love, Ginger. We're here for you, if that's any help.

#479 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2011, 10:07 AM:

Yikes, Ginger. You're all in my prayers. That's hard.

#480 ::: Juli Thompson ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2011, 10:37 AM:

Wow, Ginger! You seem to be holding it together really well, for someone short on food and sleep. Best wishes for all of you.

#481 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2011, 11:06 AM:

Ginger: What Xopher said goes for me as well.

#482 ::: Julia Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2011, 12:32 PM:

Ginger @469: I am very glad to hear that he re-appeared more or less in one piece, and that you now have some idea of what the problem is and help in tackling it.

Seconding what David Harmon said about the family history, not least because it may drive home the point that for him this is a genetic disorder that requires treatment, not "what everyone at school does".

#483 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2011, 02:49 PM:

Gil Scott-Heron, A Tribute

The revolution will not be televised;
Or if it is, the irrelevant punditocracy
Will blather in vain, their voices drowned
In a roiling stew of tasty sound bites.

The revolution will be tweeted, facebooked,
Blogged by citizen journalists eager to scoop
The oblivious, trundling MSM, eager to viddy well
Today's Rodney King Reenactment Society skit.

A riot by any other name bleeds just as red;
An internet kill switch won't stem the flow.
Information wants to slip the surly bonds
Of censorship, of filtering, of jamming, of untruth.

Truth will find a way to propagate, by word of mouth
If need be; the revolution doesn't need television at all.

#484 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2011, 03:38 PM:

Ginger: Thank goodness he's (relatively) all right. I'm glad you were able to find out what happened, and extend my best wishes for successful treatment.

#485 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2011, 05:45 PM:

Ginger: Whew! And wrt alcohol issues, "oh crap."

I got lucky, if you can call it that, in that all of my first-order relatives were/are alcoholics. (I suspect a sibling would claim otherwise, but I have my doubts.)

The good news derives from three factors:

1. None of the relevant family members were people I had any desire to emulate. Watching their behavior in relation to substance abuse left me with a strong desire to stay as far away from that influence as I possibly could.

2. I was a loner all through school, and the "cool kids" all seemed rather stupid and repellent to me; "peer" pressure was never an issue I had less than no desire to "join" them.

3. I am deeply and profoundly lazy. Far and away the easiest way to quit a bad habit is to never start. From very early on, alcohol was simply just not part of my consciousness or worldview.

Not sure from your annecdotes where he lands on item 1, and it sounds like he's getting bitten by item 2. I just hope you can find a way to sell him on item 3.

Good luck.

#486 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2011, 06:03 PM:

Well, the guinea pig who had stopped eating has been shown to have a Damn Good Reason; his back teeth were severely overgrown, to the point of stabbing into his cheeks. Hell, no wonder he didn't want to chew, poor baby.

He's back from the guinea pig dentist (my wonderful vet), and I love him and am relived it was something we could treat, but I'm really hoping I can spend next month's disposable income on...something other than vet bills.

They gave him The Good Drugs for his proceedure, which means that he's doing a remarkable imitation of a furry wet sock right now, and probably won't be doing much until late this evening. (Which reminds me, I probably need to go turn him over.)

Meanwhile, I'm being told emphatically that I really ought to share my nori, and am not being believed when I say that, despite being rustly-crackly, it really isn't proper guinea pig food.

#487 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2011, 06:04 PM:

Relieved. ::sigh::

#488 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2011, 06:18 PM:

Earl Cooley III:

A great tribute!

Jacque @ 486:

Congratulations on getting your guinea pig's teeth fixed, and best of luck with next month's disposable income. I can relate to that; I just got back from the vet after a final checkup to make sure that our blind Lhasa Apso's eye infection has cleared up; it has, after three office visits and much medication.


Wow. Teenagers certainly are exciting, aren't they? As nasty as all that was, I'm glad you found out what was going on and now have a chance to influence the situation. Better to know than not, I think. We found out only a few years ago that our older son was making nighttime runs to Seattle for liquor as a teen, when we thought he was sleeping over with his best friend. That's a 4 hour round trip at 75 mph, with Jagermeister, a really scary thought. He hasn't become an alcoholic (I don't think, though he and his wife do drink a lot, certainly as compared to us), but that may just be because he's genetically predisposed not to, not for lack of trying; there's none in either of our extended families.

The good news is that both of our sons were real problems in their teens and early 20s, and both have settled down and are even developing good relationships with us. This is not something either Eva or I expected, and I promise you it is very welcome. So it's not true that things have to go along as they started.

#489 ::: Jörg Raddatz ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2011, 07:30 PM:

I got a phone call today, thankfully by my wife herself, that a addle-headed SUV driver had overlooked her and backed right into her while she was crossing the parking lot. The wheelchair is practivally destroyed, the handbike seems less affected. Heike is quite in pain and has a lot of bruises, but no concussions or fractures.
While the driver was comparatively reasonable and admitted her guilt, a few bystanders were rather nasty in their unsolicited comments - basically stating that wheelchair users should not leave the house, especially not alone. A**holes.

#490 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2011, 07:51 PM:

Jörg 489: Wow. A**holes indeed.

Makes me wish I'd been there with a 4X4 (the wood, not the car) with a nail in it. Bastards.

#491 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2011, 07:54 PM:

My Maker Faire flikr set. Many of the photos require a pair of those embarassing red/green glasses.

#492 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2011, 08:08 PM:


"a few bystanders were rather nasty in their unsolicited comments . . ."

I honestly thought this would be followed by something like: " . . . about how inconsiderate SUV drivers are."

SIGH. Some people.

I'm glad things weren't worse.

#493 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2011, 09:10 PM:

Jörg @ #489: please convey to your wife my wishes for a fast recovery.

I see the same phenomenon in the comments to our local paper: someone gets injured in a fashion that is clearly due to someone else's negligence--and a bunch of people pile on the hurt person.

When I was a child, I saw our dog get hit by a truck coming out of a parking lot--and then another dog jumped out of the back of the truck and started worrying the hurt dog. Situations like this tend to bring back that memory.

#494 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2011, 09:39 PM:

Back on May 13th, on open thread 157, I grumbled that Home Depot online shipped me a heavy workbench kit very poorly packaged, and UPS dumped the broken and crumpled mess in my driveway in Oregon. The saga continues. I reported the problem the evening of the 13th, and they promised to pick it up. They've promised that several times. It has now been 2 weeks, and it's still there, with the box getting soggier and more a mess every day.

They charged my credit card on May 8th, presumably when the box was put on a truck in Illinois. They say that they will refund my money 7 days after the box arrives back in Illinois. I clearly should be charging them interest! I'll never order anything from Home Depot online again.

#495 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2011, 09:43 PM:

Hm. I'd suggest a chargeback against Home Depot via your credit card company and/or calling up both UPS and Home Depot and chewing on them until you get someone sensible. Maybe both.

#496 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2011, 09:57 PM:

Thanks again for the wonderful support! Yes, he has known of the family history, and we did point it out again in the confrontation.

After I arrived at my FG's place last night, the adrenaline finally subsided and I crashed for the night.

I know we've got a lot of work to do, and we're only just heading to step one. It could have been much worse.

#497 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2011, 10:34 PM:

Ginger, I add my voice to all the others. He's alive and not hurt, and it sounds like you are dealing with this with all your considerable strength and wisdom. What Xopher said.

#498 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2011, 11:06 PM:

Benjamin Wolfe @ 495: I have started the paperwork for a chargeback, but it looks like it might take quite awhile. I'd hate to have Home Depot not pick it up, because then I have the hassle of disposing of a large, heavy item.

I have been in touch with Home Depot, repeatedly. I haven't bothered to pursue UPS. Whoever at UPS first put that box on a truck was negligent, but Home Depot has acknowledged that it was a packing problem, so that leaves UPS off of the hook financially.

#499 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2011, 11:28 PM:

janetl #498: Hmm. Perhaps you should look into the local Small Claims court. Then, the next time you talk to Home Depot, mention that you're considering suing them for disposal costs, but of course they can make that go away by arranging to pick up the package first.

#500 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2011, 11:34 PM:

janetl, 498: I think you should talk to your credit-card company--you certainly haven't gotten what you paid for.

#501 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2011, 01:02 AM:

BayCon... Day Two... Got to manipulate Mary Robinette Kowal's pencil-necked weasel and the Fuzzy she's building for John Scalzi. I also bought Lisa Goldstein's new novel "The Uncertain Places". I also met a Tiki Dalek.

#502 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2011, 01:18 AM:

My goodness, Ginger, how adventuresome! Positive but slightly incoherent thoughts at the moment. But definitely positive/supportive.

On a wholely unrelated tangent, my husband and I will be in Las Vegas mid-June, for a family reunion (How did it get so soon?). Knowing us, and knowing my family, I would be appreciative if anyone could recommend a couple quiet activities in the area that might allow us to justify escaping for a short breather or two...

#503 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2011, 01:35 AM:

Jörg Raddatz @489: stating that wheelchair users should not leave the house, especially not alone. A**holes.


You know, I've had my periods of Failure of Compassion. But.

The fantasy I have is that these people promptly fall down and break something, such that they get to spend a few weeks in a wheel chair. ::steam::

And, Xopher, while I agree entirely with the sentiment, I would point out that, while you probably have the upper-body strength to manage the 4x4, a 2x4 will be ergonomically superior, and allow for a more effective back-swing. I endorse the nail, though.

I hate it when people do things that prompt this kind of reaction in me.

I'd much rather fantisize about Heike healing up unexpectedly quickly.

Jörg: You-all have doubtless already got this base covered, and no amount of preparation can make up for an oblivious opponent, but a number of my more stylish neighbors use safety flags. For the wheel chair rider who's really fashion conscious, it's mounted alongside a thirty-inch length of 6" pvc pipe which serves as a scabbard, suitable for handy tools like canes, grabby tools, broadswords.... Or perhaps 2x4s. :-)=

#504 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2011, 01:39 AM:

HLN: While fuzzy white patient has finally (if very reluctantly) regained consciousness, when offered water, he responds, "Ma, don't you know that my mouth hurts!?" When asked about his condition, he adds that he feels like warmed-over crap. With a side of day-old crap.

Ma is sympathetic, but still insists on the injestion of water. And before long, food will be added (with drugs).

#505 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2011, 01:48 AM:


For a half-day escape there's some very nice rocks and mountains in the Red Rock Canyon area near Las Vegas, but mid-June may not be the best time to visit them.

#506 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2011, 01:59 AM:

me @504: Addendum: While he doesn't feel well enough to drink water from a syringe, talking to his next-door neighbor (who's female*) is entirely within his capability.**

She's currently touching noses with him and nibbling at the bars of his cage, like she wants to "kiss it better."


* It's incredibly cute: while he was at the vet, she kept checking his cage. "Where is he?"

** I'm not sure Ginger would agree just now, but sometimes, hormones are glorious things.

#507 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2011, 02:08 AM:

janetl @494: I would echo Benjamin Wolfe @495's advice, with the addition that you might want to address a detailed (if polite) complaint to the CEO of Home Depot. In writing. On paper.

People apparently rarely think to do this, and it can sometimes be remarkably effective. Friend of mine was having a hell of a time with a defective oscilloscope, wrote a letter to Bill Hewlett, and something like a week later, a service tech showed up at his house with a new 'scope, installed it, tested it, and verified that it was functioning to my friend's satisfaction.

#508 ::: David Goldfarb sees spam ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2011, 02:23 AM:

Serge@501: Lisa Goldstein has a new novel out? Why does nobody tell me these things? As soon as I get home, I'm hieing me to my local online bookseller....

(When I get home, because I'd rather not send my credit card number over public wifi, even with an encrypted connection.)

#509 ::: David Goldfarb says oops ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2011, 02:26 AM:

Didn't mean to flag spam -- I'm used to posting from my Mac, which automatically reverts to "David Goldfarb". Safari for Windows on my laptop evidently doesn't.

#510 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2011, 07:08 AM:

HLN: Area man is riding his bicycle past City Nails in Maplewood and has the sudden fantasy of owning a digital beauty salon under the name, "Hyper Local Nails"...

#511 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2011, 11:51 AM:

David Goldfarb @ 508... Yes, Lisa Goldstein indeed has a new novel published. I don't think it's officially out until one or two weeks from now, thus my surprise at finding it in BayCon's dealer room. I quickly overcame my surprise.

#512 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2011, 01:42 PM:

Today's sermon joke! "When trying to discern God's will, Catholics believe in the Pope, Baptists believe in the Bible, and Episcopalians believe in the Altar Guild."

#513 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2011, 04:38 PM:

The Modesto Kid @409; Debbie @411: Thank you!

Ginger: Many sympathies; hope he comes to his senses soon.

Jacque: Really pleased that your guinea-pig's problem has been diagnosed and sorted out, and he's now on the road to being more comfortable. Sympathies to you for the worry and to guinea pig for the pain.

Jörg Raddatz @489: More sympathies; very glad your wife isn't badly injured. Mental kicks up the backside to the idiot bystanders.

janetl @ 494: Sympathies again.

And since I'm feeling great ('cos the physio has allowed me to run again, and Wildpro has gone Open Access, and because I've read two books this weekend as well as going to a beer festival and volunteering at my local parkrun and catching a T-shirt at the Rush concert on Wednesday night): I hopefully have positive energy to share at present, so lots of positive thoughts to everyone who needs them.

#514 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2011, 04:48 PM:

dcb @513:

You went to the Rush concert? My best friend from university, who became my friend partly as a result of my knowing the lyrics to Subdivisions, went to every show in their UK tour.

(Because that's what one can do when one is a grownup and has money.)

I followed his progress on Twitter.

(Because that's what one can do in the twenty-first century.)

#515 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2011, 05:21 PM:

In the miscellaneous injuries department, one of my hiking buddies hurt his ankle the last time we hiked (a few weeks ago), and it seems to be pretty bad. Looks like he's going to be off the trails until at least August, and the docs are muttering about surgery. He's in his 70s, so his recuperative powers are naturally somewhat limited. Damn....

#516 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2011, 05:30 PM:

A new Babylon 5 post is up on Noise2Signal, if anyone's still following from here. First episode of Season 2, when the story arc starts firing up.

#517 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2011, 05:55 PM:

re 512: Would that that were true... an awful lot of the stupidity that happens in Episcopal services would have been nipped in the bud if the altar guild were heeded.

#518 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2011, 06:01 PM:

Drop what you're doing and go watch the time-lapse astronomy from Teresa's Particle. (Don't forget to set it to fullscreen mode.) Mind-blowingly gorgeous doesn't *begin* to cover it.

#519 ::: Older ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2011, 07:28 PM:

Ginger, I suppose you are sure it's not "self-medication" as it is called?

I am also one of those whose first degree relatives are all alcoholics, and that is why I was able to recognize that my (adopted) son was not really an alcoholic, but in fact self-medicating for some other problem. In time the problem became only too obvious, and he admitted that he was drinking and drugging "to make the voices shut up". But by then it was too late; he was over eighteen and not legally under our care any more.

The local mental health clinic told me that before they could help him, he would need to get to all of his meetings on time, under his own power, and sober. (!) To which I replied, "But if he could do that, he wouldn't need your help". Just one of the through-the-looking-glass experiences we had while trying to find help for him.

#520 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2011, 07:39 PM:

Hey, Karl T... I meant it when we met today in BayCon's dealer room in front of Dawno's table. There are still plenty of spots open in the "Making Light and Faces" gallery.

#521 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2011, 09:01 PM:

Mary Ailee @518: When people leave me feeling especially annoyed or frustrated, I'm known to mutter darkly, "Humans! Can't live with 'em, can't eradicate them from the planet...."

But every once in a while, when I see stuff like this, and this*, I don't even want to.


* Thanks, Bill Higgins!

#522 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2011, 09:28 PM:

Having my own not-quite-grown-child worries tonight -- phoned, texted, emailed, Facebook messaged both her and her girlfriend and no answer anywhere for over 24 hours. Maybe I DO have to get on World of Warcraft to get hold of her. (Or drive over, but it's not _quite_ to the point where the potential embarrassment could easily be laughed off.)

#523 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2011, 10:34 PM:

I must be getting old and dull.

Found out this morning that China Mieville was giving a reading at Powell's this afternoon. The suburban branch, an easy trip.

Decided I would have more fun cooking up a batch of pasta and sausages.

What is wrong with me?

#524 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2011, 10:43 PM:

Older #519: The local mental health clinic told me that before they could help him, he would need to get to all of his meetings on time, under his own power, and sober.

Gaah. I actually know where that's coming from (misguided ideas about "willpower", reinforcing budgetary constraints), and I still think it sucks.

#525 ::: Persephone ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2011, 10:48 PM:

Ginger: I'm so glad he turned up safe and sound, and that you're providing him the support and care he needs. I'd been wondering in the back of my mind for days if he was all right, but driving two hours each way to run a dealer's table at Balticon every day this weekend, plus hotel internet that wasn't built to serve a con full of geeks...phew.

#526 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2011, 11:16 PM:

Stefan Jones @ 522 ...
I must be getting old and dull.
Found out this morning that China Mieville was giving a reading at Powell's this afternoon. The suburban branch, an easy trip.
Decided I would have more fun cooking up a batch of pasta and sausages.
What is wrong with me?

Nothing that I can think of :)

#527 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2011, 11:45 PM:

Jacque @ 504: I'd want a safety flag that comes with a skull & crossbones option. Or rainbow dragons.

When I get a bike & trailer, there are going to be bright & colorful windsocks popping up from the sides. a) Pretty & b) VERY visible.

#528 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2011, 11:47 PM:

Stefan Jones @491: Some nice pix! My problem with the anaglyphic glasses (mine are red and blue — I've never seen red and green ones) is that one image is fine, and the other is a double image. Also the colored lenses cut out about half the light. I put 3Ds on my flickr page as freeviewed stereo pairs. People who prefer cross-eyed pairs, well, I won't say they're heretics...

#529 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2011, 11:48 PM:

P.S. Jörg Raddatz @489: That's the sort of behavior that is apt to have me go utterly ballistic.

I used to think I didn't have a temper. I have since found out that I am very controlled, because I don't like me when I'm angry.

#530 ::: Devin ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2011, 12:32 AM:

David Harmon @523

If I had just a little money to help a severely underserved community, that might be a good triage rule. (Better that I help some of the people that I can help than that I chase after folks I don't really have the resources to properly help and end up helping nobody.) But "times you have to do triage" is pretty well a subset of "times that suck," so we're in agreement.

#531 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2011, 01:18 AM:

Stefan Jones @ 522:

I actually had that set up in the calendar on my phone, and it beeped an hour before the scheduled time. I looked at my phone and decided on staying home and working on software, because I'd spent most of the afternoon to talking to my older son on the phone. So I guess I'm pretty much a stick-in-the-mud too.

♊. And have I mentioned that we're about to be grandparents for the first time? Our granddaughter will be born in Baton Rouge, LA, this week. Our son and daughter-in-law will both be taking 3 months off work to get the kid off to a good start (they're both professors, and don't have any teaching scheduled this summer). Eva and I are really happy; we weren't sure either of our kids was going to want children, and only found out in the last couple of years that our older son and DIL had decided on it.

#532 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2011, 01:29 AM:

#527: I don't know what you mean be free viewed.

I prefer side-by-side pairs that I can merge by crossing my eyes. There are a few of those in another of my Flickr sets.

I put up anaglyphs in the Maker Faire set because I found that it's more likely that someone will have a pair of the glasses (technically, they're red and cyan, but I find most people think of them as "red and green") around than know how to merge images with their eyes. I certainly understand their drawbacks!

#533 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2011, 02:37 AM:

I second what Mary Aileen said @ #518 about the time-lapse photography in the Particles. Go, watch. And if anyone can identify the music which has been edited so well to go with the photography I'd love to know what it is.

#534 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2011, 02:58 AM:

B. Durbin @526: I'd want a safety flag that comes with a skull & crossbones option. Or rainbow dragons.

Given this crowd, I'm sure such a thing could be generated in moments.

When I get a bike & trailer, there are going to be bright & colorful windsocks popping up from the sides. a) Pretty & b) VERY visible.

So happens, I know just the place.*

When I was in there last week, I discovered they've added the traditional black-light alcove, with several of the appropriate posters, plus a display of lava lights and variants.

* Shameless plug.

Kip W @527: freeviewed stereo pairs

Here's how you know when you're Too Tired: Last week, I was sitting in the restroom at work, doing my bidness. Staring at the floor, as I am wont to do. (Never picked up the habit of reading in the bathroom.)

Our restrooms have the traditional hexamethyl bathroom tile. It's possible, I've discovered, if one lets ones eyes cross, to fuse the images out of alignment by one or two tiles. (This works with keyboards, too, if you ignore everything but the alpha keys.)

I was doing this, noticed I was doing it, and got to trying to do it deliberately, and then actually focus. Once I got that right, I'd follow over to the base of the stall post. The effect was quite entertaining. It was as if I and the bathroom stall were floating about a foot off the floor. WoooooOOOOOoooo.

Like I say, too tired....

#535 ::: Jörg Raddatz ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2011, 05:17 AM:

Wholehearted thanks for all the good wishes.
Update: The pain and anger have subsided, the stress of dealing with the bureaucracy can begin ...
The wheelchair was specifially built and can only be checked by the maker on the other side of Germany. The health insurance isn't thrilled abouit shipping it there, presumably getting the info that it must be replaced completely, paying for another 10,000-Euro-thingy and providing a replacement for the expected six to eight weeks until everything is done.
Well, I guess every American has much "better" stories about dealing with health insurance.
But still there will be visits to various doctors, a lawyer, the medical supplies provider* etc. - time we could have used for much better things. It is a wonderul spring out there.

* The German term is "Sanitätshaus" - and my first impulse was to write "sanity house", which really sounds like a Call of Cthulhu reference.

#536 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2011, 06:55 AM:

abi @ 514: Yes, I went to see Rush at the O2 on Wednesday. We were about 6 rows from the front (we have a friend who is a -serious- fan). I like their stuff but at the last concert I went to* I was frustrated because I don't know the words well enough and I was catching just enough to know I wanted to hear them properly. In the interval I asked my husband why they don't put the lyrics up as sur titles, like they do for opera! (Everone else boggled at the idea, but i still don't see why not**). So this time he found me the complete play list, with lyrics, and printed it out for me so I could follow it properly.

And yes, I know all the real die-hard Rush fans will be really envious that I got one of the T-shirts (the "Gershon's" one, in case anyone interested is reading this), but since it bounced off my husband's throat and landed at my feet, I think we deserve it. And it's a size Medium (and smallish at that) so I'm the only one it will fit.

* My first ever rock concert, a few years ago - now I've been to two rock concerts!

** Okay, so most people there will be fans who know the songs backwards, but, as I prove, not everyone there will know all the songs that well.

#537 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2011, 07:00 AM:

Older @519: That is a very good point. I think in our case, since he's been seeing therapists most of his life, we probably just have peer pressure and the family predisposition. (Therapy because of his very early childhood with his birth mother, and then because of his ADHD.)

Persephone @524: I had wanted to go to Balticon this weekend. Drat.

#538 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2011, 08:46 AM:

Mary Aileen @518: Thanks for the advice -- I followed it and am glad I did.

#539 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2011, 09:06 AM:

Huh. My post from last night about not being able to reach my daughter must still be in moderation for the use of a Word of Power or two. Never mind, as Emily Litella used to say. Somehow one expects younger people to be surgically attached to their phones, but not all of them are.

#540 ::: Persephone ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2011, 10:45 AM:

Ginger @537, Shore Leave is in early July and it's lots of fun as well. This is probably the last year I'll be selling at cons, though; four hours per day on the road for the duration of the con, plus not actually selling much (some cons we don't even make booth fee), plus never having any holiday weekends free is adding up. After Farpoint next February I'll probably just concentrate on the Etsy shop and online sales.

#541 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2011, 11:41 AM:

Jörg--good luck sorting through all the details. I hope Heike feels better soon; in my experience, even a "no-injury" wreck leaves you feeling as if you'd been rolled downhill in a barrel.

Ginger--arg. I wish you patience, and your son luck.

#542 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2011, 12:24 PM:

Stefan Jones @532: Free viewing is putting the left eye view on the left and letting the two images merge naturally into three dimensions. Cross-eyed viewing gives me a headache and makes the image look smaller than it really is. More information can be found. Some obliging folks simply put three images side by side, allowing both sorts of viewing. I should look into that.

Jacque @534: Yeah, I often find myself freeviewing repeated items in a similar way. It's a cheap, nay, a free thrill.

Oh yeah, I came here to mention the CDC's web page on preparedness for a zombie apocalypse, which I gacked from the latest issue of the MT Void. (Apa poly logos if it's been linked already and I overlooked it.)

#543 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2011, 01:00 PM:

Persephone @ 540: I took my son to Shore Leave last year, so we probably walked right past you. Well, with any luck, I'll be at Shore Leave this year, with or without Son, FG, and various friends. Balticon is more problematic because I am traditionally on call this holiday weekend (as in, my boss usually defaults to assigning this holiday to moi). I had hoped to swing up there anyway, but events conspired and so on.

#544 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2011, 01:30 PM:

To add to the general FML I've been experiencing, my home computer (writing this from the office) has become infected with some kind of malware. What it does, apparently, is shut down all other programs (except, oddly, McAfee), prevent you from opening Task Manager, and then run a "scan" which purports to find many files that are infected with this or that, and offer to clean them for a fee (that being the point where I bailed).

It uses the MicroSoft shield icon to try to make you think it's MicroSoft, but never says so. It "recommends" that you "install Protection," but then (this is why I don't think it's MicroSoft) says you have to buy it for $60. I assume this is a ruse to get my credit card info.

I ran a full scan with McAfee, and it found nothing, which leaves me a little confused. All those "worms" the malware "found" probably aren't really there, but what about the malware itself?

Turning off the computer and turning it back on doesn't help. The malware starts right up again and runs its alleged "scan," and won't let me start anything else. I could probably fix this if I had an XP boot disk, but as I don't I most likely have to wait until the local computer store opens...tomorrow.

#545 ::: Persephone ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2011, 01:48 PM:

Ginger @543, we haven't actually done Shore Leave in years. The one time we tried, literally half the dealer's room was jewelry booths and it was a disaster. The Shore Leave dealer's room coordinator convinced my business partner, who handles con logistics, to try again, so we'll see how it goes. We're the booth with jewelry on a pretty tree display in the center of the table. Say hi if you see us! (I'm the blond one who arrives at noon, bearing lunch.)

#546 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2011, 01:51 PM:

Xopher: Argh! Hope you can get it eradicated soonest!

#547 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2011, 02:50 PM:

Arrgh, I have dealt with that one or a very similar one for a client a couple years back. (Charged her fairly steeply but she was happy to have me get rid of it for her.) This malware program can hook into and disable most commercial antiviruses, including Symantec and Mcafee. If you give them your card, it will shut up for a bit, then claim to have found more infections and want to be paid again and again. In the meantime, all your actual antivirus software has been turned off.

I believe you want to run this: Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware and then follow up with the (genuine) free Microsoft Defender program. See my notes here from last year:

This is why I run Firefox with NoScript on all my machines, and put up with the mild inconvenience of having to enable Javascript for the sites I decide to trust - it eliminates most of the avenues of attack for junk like this.

#548 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2011, 02:50 PM:

Yep, that's a pretty common one. It's called "scareware." All the infections that it pretends to find? None of them are really there. The ad itself is the virus.

I presume you're on a Windows machine.

What you should do: From a known-clean machine, get a copy of SuperAntiSpyware Portable Edition. Put it on a thumbdrive.

Get a copy of Malwarebytes free edition. Put it on a another thumbdrive.

Boot your computer in Safe mode. Run Superantispyware.

Reboot your computer. Run Superantispyware.

Reboot your computer again.

See how things are progressing.

Run Malwarebytes.

You should be okay.

#549 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2011, 02:54 PM:

Clifton, thank you! I will attempt this when I get home tonight. (Not sure it will let me run Firefox to download Malwarebytes, but if it will I'll do that.)

#550 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2011, 02:56 PM:

Aha, James, thumbdrives, check, will do.

#551 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2011, 03:04 PM:

dcb @536: it bounced off my husband's throat and landed at my feet, I think we deserve it. And it's a size Medium (and smallish at that) so I'm the only one it will fit.

That t-shirt was clearly Meant For You.

Xopher @544 We ran into that at work. The real catch is that, once that dialog appears asking if you want to run a scan (or even just click OK), the malware is already at work. If you click anything, even the X to close the box, it gets in. The only way (as of six months ago, anyway) out is to do a hard reboot. Once you've let it in (again, this is a while ago, so things may have improved), the only way to get rid of it is to burn the system to the ground and re-image the disk.

Ah hates Microsoft, ah does....

And in other news, Bobby says, "Noooooo! Not the syringe! Anything but the syringe!!!" But I did manage to stuff five CCs of food down his little gullet. Well, mostly.

#552 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2011, 03:09 PM:

James, one question: I only have one thumbdrive with me right now. Can I put both fixit programs on the same one (if they'll fit) or do I really need to have them on separate drives?

Jacque, I sure hope you're wrong and Clifton and James are right, because I have no way to reimage that disk.

#553 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2011, 03:28 PM:

Sorry, that was a dumb question. I'm just really nervous about this whole thing.

#554 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2011, 03:35 PM:

You know, there's just no pleasing some people.

I moved into this neighborhood twenty-five years ago, and for the first ten or so, I always contrived to be out of town over Memorial Day weekend. Which was very handy, as the start-line for the Bolder Boulder race was right at the entry to my apartment complex. Humans, traffic, and heavily amplified music, AFA overflights (at about thirty feet altitude, it seems like).

Altogether a generized pain in the butt for those of us who want to, like, be asleep at six-freaking-am on a holiday. Not to mention that it basically shuts the town down to motorized traffic. Which, in general, is not a bad thing, but businesses I like to use are generally shut down, too, because of lack of access.

So this morning *POP* I'm awake at 6:40am. I listen. Birds. Wind. Distant traffic. Hm. Doze off. 7am *POP*. Still quiet. Hm This goes on until about 8:30, when I hear a neighbor walk by chattering away "Something something so they cancel the Bolder Boulder something something."

"Oh, cool. I can sleep in peace." tick ... tick ... tick "WHAT!?" I think to myself, fully awake now. "That's heresy. That's like cancelling Thanksgiving!" Then I start thinking about all the racers who've trained so hard. (You see the hardcore ones out on the bike paths starting in April.) I think about all the tourist revenue local businesses will lose.

The Bolder Boulder, in one form or another, is an excuse for an all-day (in some cases, all-weekend) party, all over town.

I can just envision the recessional penny-pinching mindset of the bureaucrats who made this decision. (Though Boulder generally doesn't suffer from too much of that kind of thing. Hell, property taxes increased after the last election.)

And now I'm feeling all weird and grief-stricken. No more Bolder Boulder?'s a Tradition!

So I get up and set to Googling. (Strangely, it's really hard to find out when this race started. KBCO says this year's is the 33rd.)

Ah, whew! Turns out they just changed the course. It now starts about a mile south of here (instead of just outside my freakin' bedroom window), and actually manages to miss most of the main traffic arteries. What a concept.

So: this is a good thing, right? So why do I still feel weird about it all?

#555 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2011, 03:41 PM:

When my laptop got a serious malware infection (rustok rootkit I believe) I ended up installing Linux.

The Windows malware removal tool said the job was done, but when I tried to upgrade Vista to the new service pack there still seemed to be something wrong. I'd well and truly had it and let the Fedora rescue disk I'd booted to to rescue my data complete the job.

I keep one Windows system to play games on; I do a Norton update and full scan every time I turn it on.

@Kip: Thanks. From your description, I think I've been "free viewing" all along.

#556 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2011, 03:44 PM:

Xopher @552: Jacque, I sure hope you're wrong

Yeah, me too. As I say, this was six months ago (or maybe even a year), so I'll wager the state of the art has improved somewhat. Good luck! Keep us posted.

#557 ::: JeanOG ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2011, 03:57 PM:

Xopher: I see that class of virus on a fairly regular basis thanks to a certain coworker. This is the most recent iteration I've seen. Following the directions at the link didn't clean everything, but it did allow me to run msconfig and disable everything that loads on boot. (Never could get the computer to boot into safe mode.) I'm not sure what RKill missed, but that allowed another Malwarebytes scan to finally clean it all out.

Once you see the first popup, it is sometimes possible to avoid installing the virus by killing the browser in Task Manager.

A common vector for these are advertisements. Firefox with AdBlock Plus and NoScript works well as a defense.

#558 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2011, 04:06 PM:

Got AdBlock Plus. Have to look into NoScript.

#559 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2011, 04:06 PM:

Xopher, if they'll both fit on the same thumbdrive, it'll be fine. I just like to keep things separated so that if one blows up I still have another trick to play.

Best of luck and tell us how it goes.

One thing: When you get your system clean, change all of your passwords.

#560 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2011, 04:23 PM:

While we're talking about viruses and stuff: if you Google for something, click on one of the sites it recommends (which is "clean" according to AVG) and find yourself at a different site, such as "" (but showing items related to what you were looking for), and when you hit "go back" it takes you to "", but once you manage to get back to your original search and click on the page you wanted a second time, it takes you straight there: is it your computer, Google or the site you're aiming at that's compromised?

#561 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2011, 04:33 PM:

Jim, including ones that aren't stored on the machine (all of them, since I don't do that) and haven't been used since the malware installed itself (most or all)?

#562 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2011, 04:45 PM:

Let your conscience be your guide, Xopher -- but changing all your passwords on a regular basis is just good OPSEC.

#563 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2011, 05:10 PM:

Stefan @555: Freeviewing is a very handy skill, for viewing stereo slides on the web, in books, or at sale venues out in the field where a viewer may be unavailable, or if you don't have a lorgnette (in simplest form, this is a pair of plastic lenses on a stick, which make seeing images very easy, and they don't take up much space).

Oh, and here are stereo pairs (plus two ringers that have 'stereo' in their names) from my flickr page. A small sampling from ones I've taken over the years. I use a regular camera and a non-moving subject.

#564 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2011, 05:18 PM:

Xopher #561: The problem is that the installed virus may have not only monitored your keystrokes, but raided the your browser's password history. And are you sure you've used unique passwords for all the sites you frequent?

#565 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2011, 05:25 PM:

I do change my passwords regularly, and recently switched to unique passwords from using the same one for everything. I guess I'll change them early this time.

That's assuming, of course, that I can get my computer clean; I'm still at work currently.

#567 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2011, 05:31 PM:

Xopher: Please let us know as soon as you have your home computer up. We're all rooting for you.

#568 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2011, 06:00 PM:

Luck, Xopher! I got bit by something similar about six months ago, I think. A moment of inattention and bam, slurgh, ow.

#569 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2011, 06:07 PM:

Xopher, I had that a couple of times last year, both at home and at work. Nasty thing -- I took it to a computer shop to get rid of it. In addition to Malwarebytes, I also run Ad Aware and AVG, and I switched to Firefox for my browser. It doesn't seem interested in my netbook, at least so far, just my laptops.

#570 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2011, 06:23 PM:

Home and catching up after a long, too-hot and not-profitable-enough weekend...

Persephone, #454: In the spirit of locking the barn door after the horse is stolen, tell L that if he ever gets into another such situation, he should head for the nearest police station and pull into the parking lot there. The same advice can be used by anyone who thinks they're being followed in a car by someone who doesn't wish them well; I found it in a book called How to Say No to a Rapist and Survive, which is full of healthily paranoid, thinking-outside-the-box techniques for getting oneself out of a situation before it goes bad.

Ginger, #469: My profound sympathies, and you do seem to be handling it as well as you possibly can. I don't have anything else useful to say.

Earl, #483: Very nice!

Lila, #493: Victim-bashing of all sorts seems to have become much more socially acceptable than it used to be. I consider this to be "acting out" as a result of some serious underlying problems with our society as a whole.

Persephone, #545: Agh, I hate that! I'd much rather be told, "We're full up on jewelry dealers," than arrive and find that kind of situation. Sounds like they run that room on a strictly first-come-first-served basis, which is really not the best way to make your dealers happy. (ConDFW in Dallas has the same problem on a smaller scale. This year there were EIGHT people selling jewelry in a room sized for a 500-person con.)

#571 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2011, 07:43 PM:

Back from Wiscon. Saw Juli, who I don't remember if she uses her last name here or not. I think others were there, but it's hard to be organized at a con. I am proud enough that I managed the carpooling and the roomsharing, and I had help on both.

#572 ::: Singing Wren ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2011, 09:03 PM:

HLN: Woman receives possibly antique silver ring as birthday present from Grandmother. Is informed that rings with flower of the birth month used to be very much in fashion. Is also informed that ring was made from handle of a (sterling) silver spoon.

Further investigation confirms that ring is sterling (marked). Other marks on inside of ring suggest original spoon may have been Gorham (lion, anchor, G). Interior of ring is similar to this one on ebay, but exterior has a lily of the valley design (for May).

#573 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2011, 10:13 PM:

Appeal to the vast knowledge of the fluorosphere:

What would be a French (ideally, Canadian French) equivalent of the term "free lunch", eg, in the TANSTAAFL sense?

Google Translate comes up with 'repas gratuit', which makes sense, but is it unduly literal?

#574 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2011, 10:37 PM:

And today's moment where I'm too mean and not clever enough to add anything good. I keep trying to stuff too many ideas in there. The 140-character attention span... governor of a state with less people than El Paso... wife of a guy who wanted Alaska to secede from the United States... Trump with better legs ... I'm like a whirling dervish with rabies.

If you're writing a voiceover for the trailer, would it be low to start it with "Grandmother at 44"?

#575 ::: CZEdwards (aka the Other Constance) ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2011, 11:12 PM:

Begging the Fluorosphere's assistance:

My partner is at that point in his wardrobe again -- the ink & coffee stains, snags, fading and wear are getting critical. He works in a business casual environment, meaning his daily wardrobe tends towards geek-standard: polo and black BDU cargo pants. He prefers that his polos be dark, but not plain. He loves with a passion beyond my comprehension two shirts we bought at cons -- one with a Miskatonic University logo over the breast; another embroidered with the Borg symbol. He would very much like to purchase more subtly geeky polo shirts (actually, he wants me to purchase subtly geeky polo shirts for him) but I cannot find a source for said items.

Does anyone know of a source? Cafe Press is a no, since most of their articles are white, and most of the geek specific shops are t-shirt oriented.

#576 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2011, 11:25 PM:

Sandy, #574: Yes, it would. See the discussion on the "False Equivalency Litmus Test of the Week" thread to understand why. Insults which start from the assumption that a woman having a sex life is a problem that should be controlled are Right Out.

Other Constance, #575: Try here. And it's a good time to be looking -- they appear to be having a major sale on embroidered polo shirts.

#577 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2011, 11:41 PM:

Enjoyed dinner with Serge and other Fluorospherians at Baycon, and wasn't that Tiki Dalek cute?

It was a smaller con this year, down 10-20% from recent years, and felt even smaller. There was some discussion about how much this was related to the economy, or the local con's own issues, or to having Baycon and Westercon here in Northern California this summer and Worldcon nearby so out-of-towners who often attend may be planning to do other cons here instead, or the Greying of Fandom, or whatever. I spent more time hanging out with friends and their families than doing panels and music, and one of the better panels I did go to (Chris Garcia and Adrienne Foster predicting the Hugos) was too sparsely attended. Mostly a quiet weekend, and water fell from the sky, which it's not supposed to do this time of year.

#578 ::: Patrick Connors ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2011, 12:58 AM:

#577, Bill:

Yeah, dinner was fun. I missed the tiki Dalek, though.

Regarding Baycon shrinking: There's a whole lot of choices out there this weekend. There's an anime con here in the Bay Area opposite BayCon. A couple friends of mine commuted to both cons this weekend. If we had stayed in Phoenix, I would have gone to Phoenix ComiCon at least one day of the weekend. A friend I usually see at BayCon went to WisCon instead. And so it goes.

So many cons, so few TARDISes available.

#579 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2011, 01:10 AM:

@576: I'm frustrated because "Grandmother at 44" does the wrong things so WELL. (Yeah, she's immature... gave her kid shipped-broken sex ed... we shouldn't be judging the person we want to give nuclear launch codes by hotness... still not right.)

How 'bout "Shut Up, I Know What I'm Doing: The Sarah Palin Story"?

#580 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2011, 02:00 AM:

Other Constance @ #575, you may find what you want at Computer Gear. I have been gifted with several items from that outfit and they've all been good quality. T-shirts, polo shirts, caps; there's lots there.

#581 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2011, 08:56 AM:

Sandy B @574, 579--

I know some perfectly nice people who were grandparents at 44--even if you give your kid good information and guidance, there comes a point where you can't control what they do. You do not want people like these to sympathize with your target.

She's lazy, greedy, refuses to deal with things she doesn't like, spiteful, vengeful, and quits when things look like they're going to get complicated. She whines when people won't give her what she wants. Surely there's something there you can work with, since the a lot of the people who find themselves grandparents in their forties don't much care to deal with people who exhibit all the qualities on that list.

In fact, to be a grandparent at 44 requires no more than having had a child at 21 or 22 who has a child of their own when they're 21 or 22. Which is really not the same as adolescent imprudence, at all, and those who are in this situation won't like it much if you suggest that it is.

I'd call her a whiny quitter myself, and have done so to good effect. It's the sort of thing that makes people who might be on her side stop for a minute, because a lot of people who feel like they are the Real Americans that lie-bruls make fun of don't have any use for whiny quitters. You have to think about how they see things, not about how you see things, if you want to make an impression on them.

#582 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2011, 09:47 AM:


Yeah, it seems like, if the worst thing you can say for Sarah Palin's qualifications and suitability to be president is that she was a grandmother at 44, or that her daughter got pregnant before she was married and had the baby, or that she's a relatively nice-looking woman, perhaps you haven't got much to add to the conversation. None of those is remotely disqualifying. Apparently not knowing what the hell she's talking about in multiple interviews, a history of weird local scandals and small-time vindictiveness, and her strange decision to resign as governor of Alaska in mid-term, all seem like much better reasons to not want her as president.

#583 ::: CZEdwards (aka the Other Constance) ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2011, 10:17 AM:

Lee@576: thanks! That's perfect. If my beloved fashion paper plate can't find seven there, I'm going to give up.

Linkmeister@580: yes... They have great quality, and they provided last year's acquisitions. Computer Gear and Think geek were my go-tos, but this year, my beloved finds CG a bit... Staid. Thanks!

#584 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2011, 10:38 AM:

janetl: You may also want to try contacting The Haggler at the NYTimes, who has done amazing work on behalf of consumers in the past.

I suspect he only helps if he decides to write you up, but he does do round-up columns from time to time. "E-mail: Keep it brief and family-friendly, and go easy on the caps-lock key. Letters may be edited for clarity and length."

You may also want to search back columns to see if he has tackled Home Depot/UPS before. (link omitted since it's the NYTimes, but you should be able to find it without much difficulty; the name of the column is The Haggler.)

You may also want to see if your local newpaper or television station has a consumer ombudsman of any sort. NYC has at least 2 on local tv but I'd be surprised if such things didn't exist elsewhere.

#585 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2011, 12:23 PM:

CZEdwards @ #575, xkcd has a velociraptor polo shirt.

#586 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2011, 12:46 PM:

dcb @ #560

The Wikipedia page on "Page Hijacking" mentions this but has no clear description of how the hack works. The fairly elderly page at suggests it's Google that's been fooled. But it's unobvious to me how going back to the search results can then deliver you to the correct page.

Keywords "Page Hijacking 302 Redirect" get me some relevant links.

#587 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2011, 01:51 PM:

Solutions given me to the scareware problem appear to have worked. Thanks Jim and Clifton!

Bad moments:

  • When the computer wouldn't boot after the first scan (which eliminated nearly 700 "adware cookies" and the like). Turned out that the computer was trying to boot from the thumb drive, but I didn't realize that until morning.
  • When I tried to go to my regular user (not available in Safe Mode) and the fake scan began to run again. Stayed in Owner after that, and MalWareBytes killed it. I also took the precaution of manually deleting the "defender" program from the directory it was hiding in.
Haven't tried going onto the internet with it yet, since I had to go to work. My only trep on that is that SuperSpyWare may have killed all my cookies, but even if it has it's a small price. I'm also going to make sure I get the real MicroSoft Defender and install it.

Thanks again, Jim and Clifton, for all the info, and everyone else for your good wishes.

#588 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2011, 02:26 PM:

dcb @ 560

Just thinking it through, I believe that the behaviour you are seeing could be done with a simple redirect on the initial page.

It would work like this: Google points to "", "" redirects to "" after checking a cookie; "" sets a cookie, so the second time you go to "" it does not redirect.

(This is entirely theoretical--I think it would work but I'm not a web page expert.)

#589 ::: SamChevre has a comment stuck in moderation ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2011, 02:29 PM:

Probably because I used illustrative web page names in quotes, and it was thought to be badly rendered html.

#590 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2011, 02:41 PM:

Am I the only one to whom this xkcd seems like (among other things) a cautionary tale for Linux users? (I don't mean "don't use Linux" but "Hey, you have control now...with this power comes responsibly.")

#591 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2011, 04:26 PM:

fidelio #581:

In fact, to be a grandparent at 44 requires no more than having had a child at 21 or 22 who has a child of their own when they're 21 or 22. Which is really not the same as adolescent imprudence, at all, and those who are in this situation won't like it much if you suggest that it is.

That was my reaction -- I didn't see it as related to the 'slut' issue elsethread, since I think 'grandfather at early age' is, if anything, more negative. You can easily come up with scenarios for being a grandparent at 44 that are so cute and wholesome you could just puke.

Even if it did indicate adolescent irresponsibility, we have plenty of testimony on this very thread that adolescent irresponsibility happens to undeserving people.

I think it's really hard to beat "Undefeated" as the title of a Palin film, though "Misson Accomplished" has possibilities.

#592 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2011, 04:38 PM:

Academic versions of the vanity press:

In my email this morning, a solicitation from
Bentham for e-books.

They don't even claim to do any editing or selection.

They want either the copyright (permanently) or $900 for 'open access' e-books.

You can commission an 'independent book review', which is free if you've already paid them to make your book open access, or $450 otherwise.

They describe their author list as including Nobel Laureates, leading scientists and talented researchers from various fields. No further details.

The same company says it's launching 200 open-access journals (ie, author-supported journals). While there are first-rate open-access journals (like PLoS Genetics), I'm not sure I'd trust these people to run one.

#593 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2011, 05:43 PM:

Jacque@534: I learned to do that with hexagon-tiled bathroom floor when I was a kid; I did it with chain-link fences too. It's the same kind of viewing that the "Magic Eye" posters from a couple decades back used, so when those came along I was well-prepared.

I note that you say "let your eyes cross" fact what is happening is that you're letting your focus drift outward to infinity, and your eyes are uncrossing, moving towards being parallel to each other. It is possible to do 3-D free viewing by crossing your eyes -- back when I was working part time at "The Other Change of Hobbit" there was a book there I'd look at called 3-D Wonderland, which had pictures using both what it called "parallel style" and "cross-eyed style". I found cross-eyed harder to learn, but eventually I caught the knack of focusing on the page without letting my eyes uncross.

As Kip notes above, cross-eyed style makes images look smaller. Counterbalancing this, because of the greater range of inward movement than outward, you can use larger pictures for cross-eyed style. Also the two styles reverse each other's depth; what looks convex in parallel will look concave in cross-eyed, and vice versa.

#594 ::: Andy Brazil ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2011, 05:50 PM:

I was a grandfather at 42*, as it happens. Being a grandparent at 32 would, I grant you, be somewhat disconcerting in a presidential candidate, but I can't see 44 as a problem. Is this a US thing?

*and at 45, 46 and 51

#595 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2011, 07:01 PM:

Andy Brazil #594: Not so much, it's just that we're all human, and when someone has earned as much contempt as Sarah Palin has, it's hard not to generalize that to everything about her, even things that wouldn't earn contempt in isolation.

#596 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2011, 07:02 PM:

Persephone@474, besides the obvious "that sounds terrifying" reaction to your story, one thing struck me: is that beater car possessed of a carburetor? The car's behavior reminds me of Beaters I Have Known, and the "it starts again after a rest period without a jump start" is calling up memories of tricky carburetors & the need to adjust the idle set screw.

I can't remember offhand if the beast is more likely to stall with the mixture too rich or too lean, but it's probably easy to sort out, and might avoid it happening again in the neighborhood of scary people with shotguns.

I'm glad he's okay!

#597 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2011, 07:03 PM:

Andy, #594: In point of fact, in most of the world's cultures until sometime in the 20th century (and in some of them even now), it was normal to be a grandparent in your early 40s. That's because it was also normal for women, at least, to marry in their mid-to-late teens and start popping out babies. Men a little less so, since the norm was for them not to marry until they were established enough to support a wife and family, but Palin would have fit right in.

What you're seeing here is an attempt to invoke the specter of "children having children" -- but, as noted above, the math makes it shoot wide of the mark. 22 is perhaps a bit young to start having kids in modern American culture, but it's not young enough to be seriously frowned on.

#598 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2011, 07:43 PM:

HLN: Of all the books that might turn up in a giveaway pile at a U.S. workplace, The Pastel City by M. John Harrison seems among the least likely. But there it is. There may be fen about.

#599 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2011, 07:53 PM:

Lee @ #597: yup. I married at 19 and had my first child at 23. I am not yet a grandmother, however.

#600 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2011, 08:23 PM:

My S-I-L had her first kid at 17. She didn't become a grandparent early, though - her kids waited until their late 20s to marry.

#601 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2011, 08:47 PM:

I'm 37. The kids I knew in high school, some of them have kids who are in high school.

I'm not old enough to have kids yet, but there are people my age who are grandparents.

This disturbs me mightily, for reasons I have not yet parsed.

#602 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2011, 11:54 PM:

Oh, well, it took me until 64 to be a grandfather (and Eva is 63, so she didn't start early either). On the other hand, my grandmother had 31 grandchildren, and I doubt very much I'll get anywhere near that.

#603 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2011, 01:38 AM:

And once again I climb on my hobby horse of "what's the accurate quote?" If you do a search for the phrase "pray for Shackleton" you'll find a number of variations, credited to a number of different individuals. (I doubt the ones for Sir Edmund Hillary, by the way--I think that was attaching a famous UK resident who worked in cold places to an earlier quote.) It's a great quote--it almost matches in quality the wonderful newspaper classified claimed to be used by Shackleton when recruiting for his crew--but I can't find a primary source listed on it anywhere. Pooh.

#604 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2011, 03:00 AM:

This discussion just made me realize that my daughter is very nearly the age I was when she was born.

#605 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2011, 07:11 AM:

While we're discussing the topic, I'd justr like to point out that the whole "get married before having kids" rule is anything but universal in itself -- IIRC, the Euro-American version comes from having too many nobles running around gentrifying the property values.

#606 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2011, 09:33 AM:

Let me reiterate what Dr. Doyle has said at various times. If you want to influence people's opinions in favor of your cause, do not insult them in the process.

I would also add that while irony and sarcasm play well with this crowd, this is not universally true, and using them can be dangerous in political advertising that is not tightly focussed on a specific group. It should probably be avoided in widely-used materials. Keep in mind that someone like the blogger TBogg aims his stuff at people who are already pretty much disposed to agree with him and find him funny; the same is true of quite a few on the right. When you try to reach out to a wider group, you are no longer preaching to the choir, and cannot count on getting an "Amen!" unless you make an effort to appeal to people who aren't already going to agree with you. Making them feel that you think badly of them in the process is a bad plan.

#607 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2011, 10:07 AM:

More floods!

The Missouri is now getting into the act, as melting begins in the mountains. This is what the National Weather Service has to say about it.

This Missouri is in some way more fearsome than the Mississippi when it floods; the gradient of its descent from Montana towards its confluence with the Mississippi near St. Louis is steeper and it is a faster river. It carries a lot of material with it as it goes along, as well.

The levees in Louisiana benefitted from being dry when the spring floods came along; will they have dried out in time for this lot? Because of course the water will have to go down the Mississippi sooner or later. The Missouri has a lot of dams along its upper length, built by the Army Corps of Engineers in the hopes of managing the floods to some extent. The floods in 1993 demonstrated that while it might be possible to manage smaller floods by controlling when and where water was released, major flooding could and would occur when there was enough water in the system.

#608 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2011, 01:15 PM:

Thinky thinky . . .

My grandmother was born in 1899.

Dad born in 1934.

My oldest cousin was born on my father's 9th birthday, 1943. (I grew up thinking of him as '"Uncle" Jimmy.')

So, my grandmother was 44 or 45 when she became a grandmother.

I never asked the details, but I suspect there was some low-key scandal about my aunt becoming a relatively young mother. I don't know if she was married to the guy. He was certainly long out of the picture by the time I came around.

#609 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2011, 02:45 PM:

Sometimes being an "old parent" is as bad as being a "young grandparent" in the eyes of your local society.

My youngest aunt, who is about 6 years older than me, was born after my parents were married (about 9 months after, in fact, lol). My grandparents were in their mid-to-late 40s at the time; their next-oldest child was 11ish and my mother was around 21.

It was something of a scandal for my grandmother to have a baby "at her age." In fact, for a couple of months early in the pregnancy she thought she was in menopause.

It's easy to make someone look like an outlier.

#610 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2011, 02:51 PM:

Melissa, #609: Yeah. My partner was a "surprise baby" for his parents -- his 2 brothers were much older -- and in fact his oldest brother's first son is some 6 months older than he is, which has been a family joke for a long time.

#611 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2011, 04:13 PM:

David Goldfarb @593: Also, have you ever noticed that there are lion faces in hex-tile? Complete with manes. Eyes closed, of course.

#612 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2011, 04:16 PM:

Rikibeth @596: Actually, the real cause is that cars, like computers and copiers, have stress sensors in them, and when the operator gets too anxious or rushed, the stress sensor will trip and cause the mechanism to cease functioning.

#613 ::: Older ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2011, 04:34 PM:

Can anyone help me with this? A while back someone gave the name and address of the librarian at a school in DC who was asking for books.

It happens that I am helping to dispose of books from the library and text-book collection of a small private school that closed a few years ago. I'd like to compare their list with ours, in case we have anything they can use.

I did make a note of where the information was, but I was in a hurry, and when I next looked at the note it was as comprehensible as those notes one makes while still asleep (but imagining oneself awake) of something "important" in a dream.

In our family the well-known note is "baximltr", which a family member chalked on a wall so he wouldn't forget this Very Important Message. Alas, my note to myself was equally enigmatic. And, hey, I was awake!

#614 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2011, 05:14 PM:

General note for homeowners: If you're going to take photos of the interior of your home for official purposes, it's probably a good idea to (a) wear clothing and/or (b) make a note of the location of any mirrors in relation to the camera.

#615 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2011, 05:16 PM:

Older @613
I had posted this link about a book fair for Ballou High School in Washington DC. That post includes the librarian's name and the school phone number; it doesn't have an e-mail address for her.

#616 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2011, 05:31 PM:

My town has a tornado warning until 8:00 pm tonight.

#617 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2011, 05:51 PM:

Jacque #614: Actually, if you poke through the Lovely Listings site on the Cheezburger network, you'll find that there seems to be an avid competition to get reflecto-porn past the censors. Yes, I do know why the offenders find this so gratifying, and I don't want to go there.

#618 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2011, 06:08 PM:

Jacque @612: but Persephone said the teenage boy thought the intermittent failure mode was kind of cool! So it's probably something besides an emotional TILT sensor.

#619 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2011, 06:13 PM:

One of the hobby discussion boards I frequent has a usership with (ahem) markedly different average political stance than here.

The kind of place where a thread titled "GLOBAL WARMING IS A HOAX!" will be 3/4 grunts of approval and the few dissenting voices bailing out in frustration.

There's a thread there today full of folks lamenting the drought and/or floods blighting their region. The last post I read there ended:

"Someone is trying to send us a message."

I'm debating whether to reply with something like:


But really, I don't want to rub it in.

#620 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2011, 07:04 PM:

Melissa @ #609, my eldest sister is 20 years my senior, and got married when I was a month old. (There are only 4 of us, but I was born 12 years after the 3rd.)

On the other hand, my 2nd eldest sister married and had kids rather late, and I did so early, so her kids are only a few years older than mine, although she's technically old enough to be my mother.

Generations are peculiar in my family.

#621 ::: David Wald ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2011, 07:18 PM:

James D. Macdonald@616: My town has a tornado warning until 8:00 pm tonight.

Mine too (same area, from the standpoint of a large storm). I'm really not used to them around here.

#622 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2011, 07:27 PM:

Some silly jokes that occurred to me:

What does T. Rex wear on his legs?
T. Rousers

What does T. Rex wear on his head?
A T. Rilby hat

Who does T. Rex want to vote for in the election?
T. Rump

#623 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2011, 07:28 PM:

Rikibeth @618: but Persephone said the teenage boy thought the intermittent failure mode was kind of cool! So it's probably something besides an emotional TILT sensor.

I speculate that these sensors are of insufficient resolution to distinguish between anxiety and teenage macho excitement. Hell, the endogenous organic sensors belonging to the users are hardly any better at making this distinction.

#625 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2011, 09:13 PM:

I've probably said this here before, but recent generations in my family run like this:

My father was an only child.

My mother has 2 sisters. One is almost 11 years younger than my mom; the other is about 20 years younger than my mom. So each sister is about a decade apart.

I'm the oldest in my generation. My brother is 5.5 years younger than me. My older aunt, who is about 15 years older than me, has 2 children. They are 8 and 10 years younger than me.

My young aunt, the one who is only 6 years older than me, also has 2 children. They are 30 and 32 years younger than me. One is in college; the other is a senior in high school.

My daughter, who is the oldest in her generation, is 4 years younger than my youngest first cousin.

dd is 15. By the end of this year, the rest of her generation will be 10, 7, 7, 7, and 5. (The 7-yos are cousins.) Currently, there are only 10 years between my daughter and the youngest cousin in her generation, but given that the two boys are still in college, my expectation is that there will eventually be a longer gap, though I doubt it will be as long as the 32 years between me and my youngest first cousin. Though you never know . . . .

#626 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2011, 09:53 PM:

#616; 621:


No tornado here, but reportedly one touched down in Jefferson, New Hampshire. Which isn't all that far away, as such things go.

The forecast calls for the temperature to drop 40 degrees tonight.

#627 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2011, 10:33 PM:

My condolences to Ben Yalow on the loss of his mother, and the rest of us on the loss of an amazing scientist and woman in Rosalyn Yalow.

#628 ::: Persephone ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2011, 10:40 PM:

Jim @626: Here in Virginia, it was still 90 degrees at 8 pm.

Lee @ 570: That's a good idea, and I'll tell him so for future reference. Thanks!

Rikibeth @596: After that little episode, he fixed it pretty quickly. Good incentive! However, I'm filing your comment away in the "strange things cars do" folder of my mind (and Evernote) just in case.

#629 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2011, 10:51 PM:

#627: I seem to remember Rosalyn Yalow attending an SF convention or two back in the day . . . and for me the day was a long time ago.

Just short of ninety years old is quite respectable.


#630 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2011, 11:26 PM:

Patrick, thanks for linking to the obituary of Rosalyn Yalow. She is one of my heroes. My thoughts are with her family.

HLN: I'm not having an easy time of it right now. I don't feel like going into specifics, but I could use some kind thoughts from friends.

#632 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2011, 11:43 PM:

Lizzy, 630: Here are mine.

#633 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2011, 11:48 PM:

Kindest of thoughts, Lizzy. You'd probably be surprised to know how often I think of you with kind thoughts.

#634 ::: Wyman Cooke ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2011, 12:51 AM:

Jim @ 631: Yikes! I survived the storms of April 27th and six days without power afterwords. The F5 that capped the day twisted over a hundred transmission towers like they were bread ties. Its thee-quarters of a mile wide path was frighteningly impressive.

#635 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2011, 02:12 AM:

Thank you, TexAnne and Tom. Appreciated. Truly.

#636 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2011, 06:50 AM:

Good thoughts from here, too, Lizzy

#637 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2011, 07:17 AM:

Lizzy, good thoughts from here too.

My personal definition of "too hot": when I need the air conditioner in the car on the way to work at 7:30 a.m. Like yesterday.

#638 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2011, 08:16 AM:

Lizzy L: support and good thoughts.

#639 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2011, 09:13 AM:

Lizzy L: Good thoughts and bright blessings.

On my own FML: I am now unable to print (first time I've tried since the malware problem). Excel says no printers are installed; Word just doesn't do anything when I try to start Print from the menu.

The Add Printer wizard says "Operation could not be completed. The print spooler service is not running."

I start the print spooler with 'net start spooler' from the command line, and it starts successfully. Then Add Printer just says "Operation could not be completed." Attempting to run it again gets the first error message, so it's apparently halting the print spooler.

Any ideas?

#640 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2011, 09:37 AM:

Lizzy L--kind thoughts always available, for you and everyone else here on Making Light.

#641 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2011, 09:38 AM:

Open-thready HLN: My proposal for an anthology of criticism on Lois McMaster Bujold has been accepted at McFarland! Anyone who might be interested in contributing, please message me (jbcroft at the place where the mail is hot)and I will send you the CFP as soon as I have it ready. Forward Momentum!

#642 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2011, 09:52 AM:

So, Wikipedia has an article on sphinxes. Nothing remarkable at all about that. And they have pictures of sphinxes in the article, and also over in Wikimedia Commons. Nothing remarkable at all about that, either. A picture is worth a thousand words and all that. People have been making sphinx images for a long time, and there are a lot of interesting variations on the basic theme out there.

If you all have time, do drop over to the article and take a look at the picture of the sphinx made out of lead.

#643 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2011, 10:05 AM:

Melissa Singer @609: Some people assume I'm Sarah's grandfather instead of her dad. What can I say? Younger people than me are grandparents these days. What does bother me is that somewhere down the line, we'll be leaving her while she's still kind of young, and that seems like a raw deal for her. Well, maybe we'll hang around until we're 90, assuming that's better…

Lizzy L: Best hopes!

#644 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2011, 10:10 AM:

Lizzy L warm thoughts and fuzzies.

#645 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2011, 10:10 AM:

Lizzy L warm thoughts and fuzzies.

#646 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2011, 10:17 AM:


#647 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2011, 10:19 AM:

Astronomy videos redux: Turnabout is fair play!

#648 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2011, 10:38 AM:

Kip W # 643: While I haven't been mistaken for my daughter's grandmother (good genes and an overall youthful affect), I do regret at times that her "family" is smaller than it would have been had I a) married and/or b) had her sooner.

I had 4 grandparents until well into adulthood; my last grandparent to die did so about 11 years ago, when I was 40ish.

My daughter, otoh, only had 2 to start with (socially speaking; biologically, I've no idea if her donor's parents were living at the time she was born, though they were at the time of donation). Her grandfather, my father, died about 8 years ago. Her grandmother, my mother, is in her late 70s.

If my child waits until her 30s to have children, I'll be in my late 60s when they're born. I'm working on being here and healthy for as long as possible, and I don't think I'd've been a good parent earlier in my life, but I do sometimes feel like I've shortchanged the kid.

#649 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2011, 11:32 AM:

LizzyL, good thoughts.

#650 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2011, 12:25 PM:

Any Ontarionians out there: You should consider heading up to Ottawa this month for the Ottawa fringe festival, where a live theater adaptation oof Subnormality will be premiering. (If you don't know about Subnormality, well, head on over to and take a look. Do it when you have some time to spare as you will inevitably spend a long time looking through the archives.)

#651 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2011, 12:48 PM:

AKICIML: Terry Karney or anyone else who knows: what are good options for day trips or weekend trips in the area of Moscow? My daughter's looking for things to do between classes this summer.

#652 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2011, 02:36 PM:

Lizzy L:

Good thoughts and positive feelings headed your way.

#653 ::: JeanOG ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2011, 02:42 PM:

Xopher: Is UPnP running?

Have you tried completely uninstalling the printer and all its associated software? Your symptoms sometimes indicate a corrupted printer driver.

#654 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2011, 02:57 PM:

A miscellany of answers (as I have been way behind in energy to respond):

Ginger: Hugs!! This is likely to be difficult and long and slow (in fact if he seemed to "get it" and accede too quickly I'd be very suspicious that he was faking compliance in the hopes that he could escape observation faster and go back to drinking.) There really do seem to be a lot of neurological changes that go on in the teen years as the ability to do longer-term thinking develops, and some kids get them earlier and some get them later. If you can keep him from drinking himself into trouble in the meantime, he should get there eventually.

Xopher: You're very welcome, glad it worked!

Lizzy L: Good and affectionate thoughts sent your way. Hope whatever it is improves or shapes up soon.

The Modesto Kid: Good luck on the new new job!

#655 ::: Bjorn ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2011, 03:17 PM:

I'm born in 1969, my parents in 1909 and 1928. My grandparents in the 1860s and 1880s. My maternal grandmother lived until I was 13.
My great-grandfather was born in 1795. Not sure if many others here could claim that, despite being a bit older :)
As for older parents, my father lived until he was 90, so I wasn't deprived at an early age. I don't think I'd want to follow in his footsteps though.

#656 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2011, 03:17 PM:

Thanks, everybody. It helps.

#657 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2011, 04:30 PM:

JeanOG 653: Is UPnP running?

I have no idea. I have no idea how to find out. Not at that computer now, but I'll check the processes in the Task Manager when I am, unless there's a better way.

Have you tried completely uninstalling the printer and all its associated software? Your symptoms sometimes indicate a corrupted printer driver.

The printer list is empty. The instructions I was able to find online for removing a corrupted printer driver assume that the printer shows in that list; similarly, the instructions for adding a new printer driver assume that Add Printer works when you click it.

Is there another way to check for the presence of a corrupted printer driver? Add/Remove Programs, maybe?

#658 ::: JeanOG ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2011, 05:28 PM:


Start -> Run -> Services.msc

Make sure the Print Spooler is set to Automatic and that UPnP is not disabled.

Is there another way to check for the presence of a corrupted printer driver? Add/Remove Programs, maybe?

Yes, look in Add/Remove Programs for any software associated with the printer. For the driver list in XP:

Start -> Printers and Faxes -> File menu -> Server Properties. Check in the Drivers tab.

#659 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2011, 05:35 PM:

I will try Services.msc and Add/Remove Programs when I get home. As for Server Properties, it was also throwing an error when I selected it. Thanks so much!

#660 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2011, 06:34 PM:

Random bit of disconnected open-threadiness:

Is there some reason it's supposed to be okay that we've been at war in Libya for more than 60 days, in apparent violation of the War Powers Act?

I'm having a hard time seeing this as anything other than a continuation of the pattern of the Bush administration, where the president just went ahead and ignored inconvenient laws, confident that the Congress would never work up the courage necessary to call him on it.

#661 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2011, 06:51 PM:

albatross, there's a theory popular in DC right now, along the lines of 'whatever the President wants is legal'.
Congress and the courts are mostly willing to turn over their duties and responsibilities to the executive branch, while still collecting their paychecks. (And they complain when anyone else points out that that they aren't doing their jobs.)

#662 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2011, 06:56 PM:

I would also note that the intervention in Libya was specifically authorized by the Security Council. And the U.S. has at the very least a distinct moral obligation to actively support any NATO military operation.

#663 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2011, 07:15 PM:

The Constitution gives treaties the same force as itself, that is, transcending and limiting US law. That means that if the NATO treaty says we gotta do it, Congress doesn't have sufficient authority to say we can't.

#664 ::: TrashedMyCookies ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2011, 07:25 PM:

Attention knitters:

Ravelry has been hacked. The intruder got user passwords, in encrypted form. No plaintext passwords were available to be taken. No financial information is believed to be at risk.

However, the realities of modern computing power make it probable that working passwords can be derived from the hacked information, in unfortunately short lengths of time. The prudent user would update her Ravelry password, at the earliest practical opportunity.

Furthermore, if your Ravelry username/password combination is also used on other sites, the prudent user would update her password on those sites as well, at the earliest practical opportunity.

#665 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2011, 08:40 PM:

Cool neologism found elseNet: "guanopsychotic".

#666 ::: Singing Wren ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2011, 08:54 PM:

TrashedMyCookies @ 664:

Thanks muchly for the update. I've passed it onto a classmate as well, since I don't know if she's been online since the hack to get the message.

#667 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2011, 10:03 PM:

I'll be passing through NYC on the 8th, if anybody would like to do lunch or something. Coming into Penn Station sometime in the morning, have to be at JFK by 3 or so.

#668 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2011, 11:23 PM:

Michael! How are you and your math-loving daughter? And the rest of your family, of course.

#669 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2011, 12:53 AM:

@ #554 Jacque in regards to Bolder Boulder:

There's a bicycle tour of California, a race called Amgen. Big deal, lots of big names and suchlike. It was originally scheduled in February, which of course meant lots of rain. So they switched the date to May a year back.

Sunday afternoon, two weeks back, they cancelled the first leg at the starting line right before the race was due to start. The location? Lake Tahoe. The reason? Horizontal snow.


Yeah, I wasn't particularly looking forward to the injury stories if they'd run that leg.

#670 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2011, 01:13 AM:

Damn. Why would someone hack Ravelry?

While we're on the subject: if anyone here has gotten odd email from Steve Brust lately, it's not from Steve. Don't click on the links in it. They're malwareiferous.


The other news is harder to tell. Last night, Joel Rosenberg had some kind of cardiovascular event, stopped breathing, and was anoxic for too long. He's in the hospital now, in critical care.

#671 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2011, 01:13 AM:

Damn. Why would someone hack Ravelry?

While we're on the subject: if anyone here has gotten odd email from Steve Brust lately, it's not from Steve. Don't click on the links in it. They're malwareiferous.


The other news is harder to tell. Last night, Joel Rosenberg had some kind of cardiovascular event, stopped breathing, and was anoxic for too long. He's in the hospital now, in critical care.

#672 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2011, 01:16 AM:

It is likely a mistake to attempt to explain myself, but two drinks into the night, here goes.

Lemma 1:
Politicians work Primitive Human angles- I had originally couched this in "Republicans do this" terms but it's not fair. Primitive Humans think it's a good idea to vote for the taller (larger, fiercer) candidate. Movies where the president personally kills terrorists [e.g. "Air Force One"] make sense to the Primitive Human even if they make no freaking sense in actuality. Some people judged Bill Clinton by the attractiveness of the women he cheated with. Michael Dukakis got a measurable bump in the polls after his wife got caught on mic saying "Well, you're not getting any sleep TONIGHT". [can't find a link for that.] Anyway. Alpha male/female behavior resonates.

Lemma 2 is "Sarah Palin works the Heathers angle." I can't find a picture of the "coldest state/hottest governor" bumper sticker in the wild, so it may be an urban legend. (This lemma was originally "Republicans push the story that their women are hot", but people in general push the story that "their person" is hot. I can't winnow out my own selection bias. )

So Theorem 1 is "Using the word 'Grandmother' in connection with Sarah Palin is going to throw off the Heathers angle." (sidetracking myself again: English has a collection of glorious words for mean old ladies which are falling into disuse. Maybe we could find a good home for "termagant" and "virago"? )

Theorem 2 is "Grandmother is not a leadership role." You do an image search on "grandmotherly" and you get tea sets and rocking chairs, not shooting wolves from helicopters. [I turned "safe search" on; I did not repeat the experiment with it off.]

Theorem 3: Causing conservatives to recast Sarah Palin as a grandmother- but so young!- might make them consider how she got that way. The dogwhistle here is that when a teenage girl gets pregnant, it's because of the way she was raised. (Googling "Jamie Lynne Spears blame" is one data point, but only one.)

Final conclusion: "Grandmother at 44" is a tacky personal attack on her family on one side, and a weapon against her age and gender on the other.


#673 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2011, 01:20 AM:

Xopher #663:

I'm almost certain that's not right.

This New York Times article[0]:

discusses the issues, and doesn't bring up any idea of some kind of NATO or Security Council exception to the War Powers Act. Similarly,

the story in the Washington Post, covers the issues without any mention of the treaty idea. I've seen this idea before, and seen it apparently shot down[1], but I can't find a link.

My understanding is that the Security Council resolution supporting this means that, under international law, the Libyan war is allowed. But I don't think that has any bearing on the War Powers Act. (Among other things, the WPA was passed long after we became members of both the UN and NATO.)

From what I can tell, what's happened here is simply that the Obama administration has decided to get and keep us in this war[2] in Libya, and finds the WPA's requirements inconvenient. And understanding that Congress has no spine and no interest in actually pushing back on executive power grabs, Obama and his advisors have decided to simply ignore that inconvenient law.

This seems like a pretty unambiguous bad thing, to me. It's not scary and evil in the same way as the Bush administration's torture and domestic spying policies[3], but it's another example of the same disease, the same determination that the president will not have his power limited by trivialities like laws passed by congress over the veto of a previous president to limit presidential power.

[0] For some reason, linking to either URL is currently causing Making Light to give me an error message.

[1] I have no confidence in my ability to evaluate this kind of argument, though. The fact that the administration doesn't seem to be making it in public seems like a reason to doubt it's a valid argument.

[2] Or was it a "kinetic humanitarian intervention?"

[3] Which the Obama administration seems to have decided to cover up to the extent possible, while making sure that nobody but the whistleblowers in either case face jail time.

#674 ::: Devin ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2011, 02:22 AM:

Sandy B @672

The first (and for a long time, only) place I'd encountered the word "termagant" was in "The Dragon Masters." It was clear from context that the word didn't normally mean "a small but vicious dragon" (all the other dragon breeds had repurposed names, so I figured this one did too), but that's still the first thing I think of when I see the word.

#675 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2011, 08:15 AM:

"Keef" reports Gil Scott-Heron, 1949-2011.

#676 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2011, 08:57 AM:

Sandy B @672--all very well and good, but I think you're overthinking this, and that most of the people you want to move on this issue are not going to be making those same connections and coming to the conclusions you want.

Yes, people can easily be led to think if Heathers when they've seen too much of the woman, and working that angle is not a bad plan. However, not only are you annoying the people who are, may be, or have family who were grandparents in their forties, but you are also faulting her for being physically attractive, which is an area women can't win on--if we're good looking, we catch it for things like vanity, being "too" sexy--for whatever values the viewer cares to assign to that, including the ever-popular "good-looking but wouldn't do it with me"--and the possibly unsettling experience of having total strangers loudly declare in public venues sentiments along the lines of "I'd so do that". If we aren't lovely enough, then there's a whole range of other things that get dumped on us. Finally, there's the whole aging thing, and trust me, women catch so much heat over daring to not stay 20 and lovely forever that if you want to annoy women who might be on your side already, this is the card to play.

Speaking as a middle-aged liberal woman, your concept leaves me cold. If it doesn't work with me, I doubt it would work with other women, who aren't in my part of the political spectrum, and the people who aren't already agin' her are the ones you need to reach.

If you want to play the Heathers angle up, I'd go with "Remember that mean girl from back in high school? Well, she's all grown up now, and she still thinks she has the right to tell people what to do."

Bill Clinton's campaigns were works of genius, and one of the things that they adhered to as closely as they could was the concept of "Keep it simple". Simplicity in communication takes a lot of thought and planning, but the message that comes out as a result is one that people can listen to or look at and respond to without having to puzzle it out. You have to be the one to do all the work, not your audience. This is one of the reasons the GOP's campaigns often do so well, even when a little thought will tell you they're selling you a shoebox full of dog turds.

Reminding people that this creature is mean, spiteful, lazy, and yearns to be the center of attention while other people do the hard work is a winner. Trying to make an issue out of her family life or her personal attractiveness is a loser. In the words of H. Ross Perot "It's just that simple".

Still not sure? Take a look at the reaction of the women here to seeing another woman--one they don't much like--called a slut. None of them have much reason to like or approve of Laura Ingraham, and many of them can think of negative things to say about her, but none of them are happy with the term slut. Consider this, and grow wise.

#677 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2011, 09:18 AM:

I'm told by Diane Duane that Joel Rosenberg has in fact passed away. She got email from Felicia.

I didn't have a lot of exposure to Joel's good qualities, but it's patently obvious to me that he had them, given the particular people I know who called themselves his friends. Much sympathy to them.

#678 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2011, 09:33 AM:

Hey, TexAnne! The math-loving daughter just captained her science team to a decisive victory at the state championship. She's torn about college (just finishing 11th grade *today*) - not sure whether she wants to go into physics like her mother before her, or aerospace. Depends on who gives us money, I think. Although TU München is looking good for aerospace, if and when.

But a couple of her friends from Puerto Rico are going to MIT, so ... she's angling for that. Lord knows we can't pay for it.

My wife finished her visiting professorship; IU East didn't see fit to extend it. She's livid, even though she hated the job (IU East's academic standards shocked her to the core). But for the past week she's actually been doing research; we more or less have to stay in town for another year for the daughter to finish high school, but another teaching job is not on the table. So the idea is to get a publication out there to make the next job search easier. We'll see about it - she's got a conference in August and she's been hitting the field theory books hard.

The boy just finished grade school. We'll home school him next year - actually he'll be doing 9th grade classes with IU High School, which offers a complete online Indiana diploma if he stays with it the whole time. Since my wife's been working, the kids and I have spent more time together this year, and I'm really looking forward to home schooling with him in the coming year. He's 12 and I enjoy being worshipped as a hero. Never thought I'd go in for the father-son male bonding thing, but I've been wrong before and this seems to be yet another case.

The three of them are heading to Budapest on Monday, staying until July 1. The idea was that I would work on the house, and not go, to save money. But our niece is getting married on the 10th, and it was communicated to us that my absence would be unacceptable. So I'm heading out on the 8th, coming back on the 22nd, and I'll have a whole 8 days to work undisturbed.

The House has gone very slowly this winter. Seasonal Affective Depression, I think. All I know is, this was the first full Indiana winter I've experienced in five years, and I really, really, really didn't like it. Maybe they always affected me like this - but I didn't know it.

So in February, it's probably back to Puerto Rico for at least a few months. Then, we'll see.

#679 ::: Older ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2011, 11:56 AM:

OtterB, thank you! I'm sure that was the link I needed, although I apparently didn't recall the details corectly.

#680 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2011, 12:02 PM:

Regarding PNH's "Orlando: Feed the homeless, go to jail", I saw the same 20-odd years ago in San Francisco, with Food Not Bombs. I probably still have the arrest ticket somewhere....

As usual, I came out of that with a rather more cynical view of both sides.

#681 ::: Dr. Psycho ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2011, 12:09 PM:

Regarding relative ages of parents and siblings: I wonder whether anyone else can beat my own spread: I'm 50, my spouse is 73, my mother is 72, my grandmother is 93, my youngest uncle is 52, my oldest "stepchild" is 51 and my youngest child is 4.

Things happen....

#682 ::: Older ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2011, 12:17 PM:

Lila and Melissa Singer:

Generations are confused in my family also. As a child, I learned to call everyone who seemed roughly my age a "cousin", and those who seemed older I called "aunts" and "uncles".

All but one of my own children have married people of a "different generation". My youngest son is younger than my daughter's son (he enjoyed introducing his "baby uncle" to his friends) and my oldest son is married to a woman almost as old as I am. As for me, I am married (for almost 30 years) to a man whose mother is younger than I am.

#683 ::: Dr. Psycho ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2011, 12:26 PM:

Fidelio @642, I have always been fond of sphinxes (I suppose that should be "sphinges"...?). I once wrote a D&D article in which I classified all of the sphinx monsters as members of a single family, including manticores, lammasu, chimerae &c.

I also once wrote an erotic parody of The Time Machine, in which I noted that the Time Traveller first realized just how foreign the 803rd Century was going to be when he noticed that the metallic sphinx he arrived under had a completely unconcealed vulva. Just thought that was a good touch to add.

Awhile back, I heard someone say that the "enigma" of the Sphinx was not a riddle no-one could successfully answer, but an attack no-one could successfully oppose, and that Sphinx was just the name of a bandit chieftain. An interesting notion.

#684 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2011, 01:12 PM:

Dr. Psycho--I found the bit in the Wikipedia article correlating sphinxes (who strangle their victims, apparently) and lionesses (who kill with a throat-crushing bite) interesting, if gruesome.

Sphinxes/sphinges are cool.

I do love that winsome lead example.

#685 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2011, 01:25 PM:

My condolences to all those who held Joel Rosenberg dear.

#686 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2011, 01:48 PM:

Apropos of absolutely nothing, I heard a piece on the radio the other day (about Eli Pariser's new book) where a businessman pointed out that if he Googled the name of his company from his company PC, it was the first hit, but if he went outside the company and did the same search it was on the second page.

Personalization means you can't tell what other people are seeing.

For us, that means that we can't rely on "that Making Light page is now the first hit for that topic on Google," because Google knows we go to Making Light a lot.

The same piece pointed out that even with a brand-new computer they can still tell a lot about you. Among 50-some things they can tell are what kind of computer you have and where you're logging in from.

#687 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2011, 03:09 PM:

Lance Mannion combines religion and baseball:

Even the nuns who taught at my school seemed more fervent about baseball than about teaching the Catechism. They never ended our school day early to break out the bible or start saying the rosary, but they’d do it to roll in a TV during the World Series. This is probably how I got the idea that I can’t shake to this day that God is a Mets fan. I imagine debates in theology classes beginning with the question, If God is a Mets fan, does this mean he is A.) a cruel and unjust God? B.) That He is not omnipotent? C.) He really is committed to this idea of free will and so He’s not going to step in and stop the Wilpons from trading Jose Reyes no matter how stupid and destructive that would be?
#688 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2011, 03:36 PM:

Xopher @686: Personalization means you can't tell what other people are seeing.

Nuts. I mean, nuts! What's the point of Googling myself, or something I'm interested in, if gdmn Google's just going to hold a mirror up to try and please me?

#690 ::: Naomi Parkhurst ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2011, 04:13 PM:

TNH @ 670

The prevailing wisdom in the relevant informational forum thread on Ravelry is that it's not so much what's on Ravelry (though people do share private info in private messages) but that it's more likely that the hacker was hoping to collect passwords to correlate with usernames elseweb, particularly for things like Paypal, since so many people use the same username and password on many sites.

#691 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2011, 04:55 PM:


Yep. Password reuse is very common, and to the extent crooks can automate the attack (run the password search on the ravelry passwords, and try the same username/password on a large list of interesting sites (facebook, gmail, paypal, etrade, etc.), it's perfectly okay with them if they only succeed a small fraction of the time.

This is a good example of a common pattern of crime--a thief is willing to destroy a million dollars of value to get a hundred bucks out, so long as it's not his million dollars that gets wrecked. Crimes from huge scams involving multinational companies all the way down to busting out windows to steal GPS units and sell them cheap all follow this same pattern.

#692 ::: Naomi Parkhurst ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2011, 05:23 PM:

albatross @691


Fortunately, the passwords were encrypted. Unfortunately, it's not impossible that they've been decrypted. Also unfortunately, some people in the thread have been scared when they realized they'd used the same password for so many different sites, including sites that are of far more personal importance than Ravelry.

I'm just glad that the Ravelry PTB have responded well. First they secured things, and then they have been working hard to publicize what happened and learn from their mistakes.

#693 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2011, 05:53 PM:


I'm assuming they were hashed (sometimes people call this "one-way encryption"). The way to defeat this is to try a very large set of likely guesses, compute the one-way hash of each guess, and see if it matches the stored hash value. It turns out that for the kind of passwords most people choose, this isn't too hard--short passwords, anything in a dictionary, anything very common, even simple variations on those things ("s3cret" or "yoyo1") will fall to a pretty small amount of computing power. (Cloud computing adds an interesting twist to this, since you don't even need to pay the costs to own the network of computers you run your dictionary attack on.)

An annoying bit of this is that the thing you need to make a password good and the thing you need to make it hard to remember are very close to the same thing. (Slightly different notions of "entropy" in the information theory sense, more-or-less.) A halfway decent password in this case is something like 19ph0bos+2, and a really good one (usable for disk encryption, say) is something like "!n_trouble13dayz*damn".) There are various nice tricks to make up memorable decent passwords, but in general, they don't work when you need passwords for twenty different sites.

#694 ::: Naomi Parkhurst ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2011, 06:08 PM:

I went and read the thread again; Casey says he used bcrypt, which I gather is reputable. But yeah, my sweetie was just explaining the brute force possibilities to me.

Well, at least there's a bunch of people on Ravelry who now have more information about better passwords.

I've become a fan of a long string of the initial letters of a string of lyrics, with some changed to numbers or punctuation. I suppose that's not necessarily all that great, but it seems better than dictionary words, anyway.

#695 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2011, 07:29 PM:

They were using bcrypt? That's a good choice, and pretty much the standard of care WRT password hashing.

That puts them about 10+ years ahead of Sony.

#696 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2011, 07:30 PM:

Naomi, albatross.

If they used bcrypt, which is designed to be slow and inefficient, the attackers shouldn't be able to rapidly break anything except really weak passwords -- dictionary words, names, etc. At least people should have time to change their passwords if they've been re-used somewhere that matters.

Password reuse isn't always bad -- it's password reuse on high-value sites that's dangerous. Bruce Schneier has said that he reuses the same password for low-security applications. And writes down his passwords to remember them.

#697 ::: Lenny Bailes ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2011, 07:32 PM:

Just FYI, in re Joel Rosenberg:

Apologies, if this has already been posted in a thread where I missed it.

#698 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2011, 07:42 PM:

Naomi: I use a similar though not identical approach for the passwords I need to actually remember. As you say, it's not perfect but much better than using dictionary words.

I have found the program "1Password" to be the best solution to the problem of needing passwords for many different sites, and of needing them to be 1) all highly random and difficult to guess, and 2) all different, and for many people 3) accessible from a number of different computers in the course of a day. It uses a high-quality encryption method (AES-128) to encrypt all your passwords and login info, so you have to remember just one good password to unlock them all; it also has a strong password generator. The browser plugin can then plug the usernames and passwords into websites via your browser, can learn the passwords for websites as you log into them, and gives you access to the password generator whenever you need to quickly create a new password for a new site. That has let me finally change all my passwords on different websites to something different on each, as I've known all along I should be doing.

The 1Password encrypted password and login info can be shared between machines using Dropbox - and because they're encrypted, this is one application where it really doesn't matter too much whether a Dropbox employee (or for that matter the government) could snoop on them. The killer part is that even the Linux, BSD, and other OS users are covered, as long as you have one Mac or Windows machine to run the program on - it can spit out an HTML page containing a Javascript implementation of the decryption code, which you can then put onto a USB key drive or the like for access on any machine with a web browser that supports Javascript. (You could also use the USB key and carry it around with you if you don't want to trust Dropbox at all.)

I highly recommend it. It cost me around $30 after discount for a "family license", good for 5 users (it allows install on an unlimited number of machines for each user) and I feel it was money well spent.

#699 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2011, 07:44 PM:

My sympathies to Joel Rosenberg's friends and family.

#700 ::: vee ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2011, 08:52 PM:

KayTei, way back at 502:

Second Red Rock Canyon for a quick getaway from the Las Vegas strip. Definitely go early morning. There are feral burros!

Alternatively, there's The Neon Museum/Boneyard which is nifty, and not quite so far from the strip. Needs reservations, though.

I also have some not-on-Strip food recommendations, if you like :)

#701 ::: Magenta Griffith ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2011, 11:58 PM:

Here is Joel's obituary in the Minneapolis paper, the Star Tribune:

#702 ::: Devin ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2011, 02:37 AM:

WRT password storage

Writing things down is good, just don't write the username with the password and think about where you keep it. Under your keyboard at work is bad (anyone who sneaks in after hours can use your passwords), but in your wallet is probably okay (first they'd have to steal your wallet, then they'd have to break into your work. If you're already a pickpocket, why not just steal a couple more wallets rather than trying to get good at a whole different kind of crime?) Likewise, Bruce Schneier once pointed out that writing your ATM PIN next to the ATM is fairly safe: no one else will know which card that number goes to, so they have no way of using that information.

I use Password Safe, personally. It generates encrypted "safes" which can be opened by a number of different programs on different OSes (Password Safe is probably the best on Windows, there are a couple decent ones on Linux, I don't have a mac but I'm sure there's something workable, likewise don't know about iOS options but there are a couple Android apps). It's open source and has been vetted by some well-respected names (IIRC it's what Schneier uses).

#703 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2011, 07:03 AM:

Password Storage: I use Firefox's browser store (with a global password), with KeepPass as a backstop. I got something else for my iPhone too, but rarely use it. I should look into finding a suitable plugin, but in fact I don't want to unify my storage completely. (SPOF!)

#704 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2011, 07:55 AM:

Making light. (via Twitter)

#705 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2011, 11:56 AM:

Re the sidelight about Orlando, here's what I tried to post there except that they wanted me to get personal before I could do so:

"Feedings?" Are we talking about fellow human beings or howler monkeys? Why is the Sentinel referring to people as if they were stray dogs or pigeons? If I lived in Orlando and my family became homeless, would we also become vermin?

Does the law specifically target providing free meals to crowds of people who don't have houses or apartments to go back to, and if so, how do the police tell that the people getting the free meal are homeless? Do they only step in if the people eating the free food look a certain way, and if so, what appearance do they screen for?

If Orlando Food Not Bombs had not said that they were specifically inviting people who had no houses or apartments of their own, but had just called the event a free community barbecue, what would the police have done?

If the people who ate the food did not get any free food, what do the people who wrote the law imagine would happen?

#706 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2011, 01:14 PM:

Jenny Islander #705:

"Feedings?" Are we talking about fellow human beings or howler monkeys? [...] If I lived in Orlando and my family became homeless, would we also become vermin?


Does the law specifically target providing free meals to crowds of people who don't have houses or apartments to go back to, and if so, how do the police tell that the people getting the free meal are homeless?

Most likely, the law simply forbids serving food in public without a restaurant license or suchlike. Of course, Food Not Bombs needn't apply, because they don't have a known address in a commercial district, an inspection certificate from the health commissioner, a list of employees with tax numbers.... And if they came up with those, the lawmakers would suddenly discover that their supply sources weren't properly documented, or some such rot.

Do they only step in if the people eating the free food look a certain way, and if so, what appearance do they screen for?

"Oh, you know, those people!"

If Orlando Food Not Bombs had not said that they were specifically inviting people who had no houses or apartments of their own, but had just called the event a free community barbecue, what would the police have done?

A public event serving food would certainly need some sort of permit, granted at the pleasure of the City Council, police, or other representative of the Powers That Be.

If the people who ate the food did not get any free food, what do the people who wrote the law imagine would happen?

Presumably, they'd either die, go off to some other city, or give the police cause to jail them for long periods. ("The law, in its infinite majesty...".) Any of those would make them cease to trouble the august leaders of the City of Orlando.

Cynical, me? Now, my own experience with FNB suggests that they can be quite confrontational... but even then, they were facing a situation where the Mayor etc had made it quite clear he wanted the homeless out of "his" city. Given what I've learned since, I have to assume that even if funds were available, an application for, say, an indoor soup kitchen, would have been used for toilet paper.

#707 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2011, 01:53 PM:

Doctor Who is a week behind in the USA, now?

You poor people.

#708 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2011, 02:29 PM:

Dave Bell @707:

I know. Poor lambs.

#709 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2011, 02:46 PM:

And the next episode title...

#710 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2011, 03:28 PM:

Now, that's just silly, really.

#712 ::: Antonia T. Tiger ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2011, 04:07 PM:

abi @710

Isn't that supposed to be the one thing you should never do?

#713 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2011, 05:46 PM:

Jenny Island, David Harmon.

#705: Does the law specifically target providing free meals to crowds of people who don't have houses or apartments to go back to, and if so, how do the police tell that the people getting the free meal are homeless?

#706: Most likely, the law simply forbids serving food in public without a restaurant license or suchlike.

The actual text of the ordinance is available, so one doesn't need to guess:

Large Group Feeding is defined as an event intended to attract, attracting, or likely to attract 25 or more people, including distributors and servers, in a park or park facility owned or controlled by the City, including adjacent sidewalks and rights-of-way in the GDPD, for the delivery or service of food.

So: it doesn't specify who is being fed or by whom-- a free community BBQ would violate the law, and it's not to do with restaurant licensing.

The way the law targets feeding the homeless is that there's a 'shall issue' permit, but only to a maximum of twice per year. So, you can have two big school outings or fundraising BBQs or family reunions per year, which is probably enough, but if you're feeding the hungry it's a long time between meals:
The Director of Families, Parks and Recreation or his/her designee shall issue a Large Group Feeding Permit upon application and payment of the application fee as established by the City. Not more than two (2) Large Group Feeding Permits shall be issued to the same person, group, or organization for large group feedings for the same park in the GDPD in a twelve (12) consecutive month period.

It's quite clever, in an evil sort of way. They've set it up so they don't have to discriminate by differential enforcement.

#714 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2011, 07:08 PM:

Dave Bell, abi: Did I ever tell you I like you?

I lied.

-Xopher, who lives in a place where BBC America, and therefore Doctor Who, is not available on cable, and who can't afford FIOS or satellite.

#715 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2011, 07:14 PM:

heresiarch @711 -- now that is one fascinating data display! Thanks for the link.

#716 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2011, 09:46 PM:

Xopher@714: There are other alternatives. You may refrain from using them for ethical reasons, perhaps.

#717 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2011, 10:05 PM:

Well, we're about a year behind on Doctor Who. (We don't get pay-TV, but are currently watching the fifth season on DVD.)

It's still fun, but I try to avoid current discussions while the season's underway.

#718 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2011, 10:19 PM:

This is just to say that I spent much of today at our local fiber festival, the Maine Fiber Frolic, and came home with rather more wool than prudence and wisdom would have preferred, and I have just spun up some of it with my elderly improvised drop spindle, and it looks something like this:

(I hope that works. I hate facebook, but it's where my crafting girlfriends are.)

#719 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2011, 11:29 PM:

Thena @ 718: I can follow that link and see the photo without being logged into Facebook. It's lovely!

#720 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2011, 12:45 AM:

Xopher@714 - Netflix Streaming has a lot of Dr. Who. I don't know how much of the current series, but it's probably worth a look.

(And starting July 1, Netflix will be streaming all of Star Trek. By which I mean, all of Star Trek. Which is pretty great news for me, as I haven't seen a lot of the series.)

#721 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2011, 12:58 AM:

I'm a few episodes away from finishing the previous season of Doctor Who.

Comcast's "Xfinity" service allows watching of current episodes on my PC. I'm not a BBC America subscriber, so that's way good news.

#722 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2011, 04:01 AM:

Michael Roberts @720: Netflix is currently streaming Doctor Who Seasons 1 through 5.*,**

Stefan Jones @721: Comcast's "Xfinity" service allows watching of current episodes on my PC. I'm not a BBC America subscriber, so that's way good news.

Are you a Comcast cable subscriber? I get their high-speed internet, but not cable. Watching their Dr Who appears to require me to subscribe to BBC America.


* Dangit. I wish they'd demarcate the season designation so one knew whether we're talking old Dr Who or new Dr Who. Or at least indicate if the season number is relative or absolute.

** abi: This is where you-all get yours back for us flaunting our online TV: Netflix is a year behind you.

#723 ::: Devin ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2011, 06:21 AM:

Jacque @ 722

If they're talking in single-digit numbers, I'd strongly suspect new-Who. It's possible Netflix decided to stream 1963-1968 episodes and stop there, but I wouldn't bet on it. If they had old-Who episodes up, I'd expect something more like "Seasons 8-26" (particularly since in that case the early stuff would be the hardest to get ahold of).

Thomas @713
"a free community BBQ would violate the law"
Well put. I'll put a ten-spot on that violation going completely unchecked, any takers?

#724 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2011, 07:49 AM:

Netflix streams old-Who under the name of the arc story, i.e. "The Caves of Androzani," "The Aztecs," etc.

#725 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2011, 08:08 AM:

Devin @773

While there were exceptions, original Who mostly ran in nominal half-hour slots, with a single story spanning several episodes.

#726 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2011, 01:52 PM:

heresiarch @ 711: That certainly makes it clear that BART (SF) is really a commuter rail system.

#727 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2011, 02:02 PM:

David Bell, abi: Evil Rob's contention is that the next episode title sounds like the most horrendous fanfiction title they could think of. I personally think it's brilliant.

As for big reveal, they leaked enough details for me to figure it out. And I think the Doctor 'rose higher and fell further' in Waters of Mars, to be honest. That was a definite psychological crash & burn.

(Have I mentioned that we hate commercials? No? Consider it mentioned.)

#728 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2011, 07:47 PM:

Open threadiness: did I really hear an f-bomb during that brief cameo in "X-Men: First Class"? Or was it an implied f-bomb cleverly masked by ambient noise?

Time was when you couldn't get away with that in a PG-13 film.

(Whatever. It was a hell of a good movie. I went about 35 minutes without taking a deep breath.)

#729 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2011, 10:31 PM:

PG-13 movies have been able to get away with using the f-word in non-sexual contexts, but it depends on the movie. There have been a couple of Harry Potter films that have been PG-13, but those were for violence and intensity, not language. Though it would have pleased me mightily to hear Hermione or Harry cut loose with, "Not another effing potion!"

#730 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2011, 12:39 AM:

I've heard Claims On The Internet that there's a limit of one F-bomb per PG-13 movie. (when I was a youth it was "boobs a max of once per PG movie". Do they even pop the top in PG or PG-13 any more? I don't keep track of these things like I used to.)

#731 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2011, 01:06 AM:

thomas @ 505 (With apologies for late response)

It sounds lovely. I'm wondering, however, if there are any really easy walks (or even drives, or particularly striking vista points, though I know it's not the same thing). On the general principle that I'll be about six months pregnant by then, and I probably ought to play it a bit safe.

vee @ 700

Oh, wow. How can I pass up a museum like that? That's just amazing.

Also, yes, food recommendations would be much appreciated.

#732 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2011, 02:35 AM:

I have an off-the-wall prediction for the second half of the Doctor Who season: perrcl rlrcngpu jbzna vf cbfg-geniryyvat-jvgu-gur-qbpgbe Evire Fbat. V'z snveyl fher gung'f yvgrenyyl vzcbffvoyr, frrvat ubj fur qvrf va ure svefg-rire rcvfbqr, ohg abarguryrff. V pna'g funxr gur srryvat.

#733 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2011, 06:47 AM:

Lila: Yes, that really was a F-bomb during that cameo.

#734 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2011, 08:25 AM:

My determination not to be One Of Those People Who Never Finished War and Peace has paid off.

I'm afraid I don't like it much more now than I did eighteen months and 1300 pages ago, when I blogged that the only thing in the first 30 pages to stir my interest was the arrival of Boris and Natasha (and that only until I remembered it was unlikely to be followed by the appearance of Moose and Squirrel).

It has, however, had the effect of making me want to read some good nonfiction about 1812. Anybody got suggestions?

#735 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2011, 09:47 AM:

I enjoyed War and Peace right up to the damned text bomb. A thing like that's bound to give ideas to some lesser writer with a burning needs to explain her dimestore philosophy down the line somewhere. *cough*youknowhow*cough*

I know, I know. It was the writer's right, and maybe his whole reason for writing the book, but damn! It just wasn't what I was there for, and it made my eyes glaze more than any number of Russian names.

#736 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2011, 12:49 PM:

KayTei: It's been a while, but as I recall Hoover Dam is not that long a drive from Las Vegas, and it's a pretty cool place to visit IMO. An amazing impressive view, a place to ponder "We made something *this* big?", and some cool Art Moderne/Art Deco statues and ornamentation to make you wonder why big things aren't decorated as nicely any more.

#737 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2011, 02:21 PM:

Abi @ 708... The TAAAAAARDIS?

#738 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2011, 02:23 PM:

I think I should do something spcial on the Fourth of July's weekend.
After all, 25 years ago, "Big Trouble in Little China" was unleashed on July 2.

Wang Chi: "Here's to the Army and Navy and the battles they have won; here's to America's colors, the colors that never run."
Jack Burton: "May the wings of liberty never lose a feather."

#739 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2011, 02:33 PM:

Palin supporters have gotten into an edit war, trying to use her notability as basis for "correcting" accounts of Paul Revere, and thus making it possible to point to an, "outside source" which supports her.

This, btw, is one of the ways in which intel gets corrupted, with one source of information being used in two ways, and so seeming more credible (as with the brits being given a piece of info by us, and then when it shows up in their report stream, it being treated as though they had generated it independently).

Paul Revere Talk Page

I get a page load there which is a bit below the best parts of the discussion, and am not very good at navigating wikipedia talk pages, so one wants to scroll up to see the better parts of the discussion.

#740 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2011, 02:37 PM:

Serge: "Chinese girls do not come with green eyes."

I will always have a soft spot for that movie for that one thing I had always wanted to see happen (involving firing a weapon vertically upward).

#741 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2011, 02:43 PM:

Chinese girls do not come with green eyes

They do, however, in certain particular cases, come with green skin.

#742 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2011, 02:53 PM:

Terry, it's also why Wikipedia is so unreliable.

Also what makes it seem impossible not to dismiss Palin supporters as completely stupid, amoral, conscienceless scum.

#743 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2011, 03:06 PM:

Terry #739:

Yeah, it seems like this is a strategy that's common now: if there's some question of fact that you are on the wrong side of, it's often possible to raise some objections, make up a dispute about it, and thus get many/most news sources to report it as a dispute rather than as your side talking bullshit. Editing Wikipedia is one way to do this, but far from the only one. I wonder if there have been search engine poisonings used for political gain yet--if not, we'll surely see them soon.

Our tools for communicating on the net are, in many ways, vulnerable to all kinds of nasty attacks. I hope that over time, we can harden them.

#744 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2011, 03:08 PM:

Xopher #742:

I have little good to say about Palin, but I seriously doubt most of her supporters are involved. I would be unsurprised if the Wikipedia edit wars were being done by a smallish group of people ultimately taking a paycheck from her or someone who supports her.

#745 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2011, 03:20 PM:

Lila @ 740... :-)

"I'm not scared at all. I just feel kind of... feel kind of invincible."
"Me, too. I got a very positive attitude about this."

By the way, did you ever notice that the man who questions Egg Shen at the movie's beginning is X-files's Deep Throat?

#746 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2011, 04:48 PM:

re 739: Well, I can see in the history that this isn't what happened at all. There weren't multiple editors; there was one established Wiki-nerd who adopted the position that, since it was reported in the LA Times, it was reliable material and needed to be included. He was quickly shouted down and that was the end of that. People further along claimed that their edits fixed stuff based on Palin's misstatements, but they were wrong. Most of the editing going on related to a substantial overhaul by a different Wiki-nerd who decided to cut out all the unreferenced material and then put it back piecemeal as he found references. That's not commonly done, but it's entirely legitimate. The whole thing seems to have been a typical Wiki-tempest in a teapot, I imagine partly by people who have some need to play up the unreliability of Wikipedia, and by people who suffer from the delusion that Sarah P. needs more discrediting.

#747 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2011, 05:07 PM:

HLN: Woman goes to 35th HS reunion and is delighted to see that the vast majority of classmates have their "own" faces, with no obvious plastic surgery.

#748 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2011, 05:10 PM:

C. 746: people who suffer from the delusion that Sarah P. needs more discrediting

But she does, C. She still needs more discrediting as long as anyone pays any attention to her at all.

Now, if what you meant is that the sort of people who read or edit Wikipedia or care about what it reports are already entirely (or at any rate sufficiently) convinced that Palin is a useless waste of perfect skin, I will not contest that statement.

#749 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2011, 05:16 PM:

That is such a fun movie. Other scenes I love: Jack clutching his love for a kiss, and then striding into the final confrontation - with lipstick smeared all *over* his face.

But really, the best thing about the movie - I've probably said this here before - is that Jack assumes he's the hero of the movie, and never realizes (as probably much of the audience doesn't) that he's not actually the hero, he's the hero's comic sidekick.

#750 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2011, 05:25 PM:

Jack Burton: "I'm supposed to buy this shit? 2000 years, he can't find one broad to fit the bill? Come on, Dave, you must be doing something seriously wrong!"
Lo Pan: "There have been others, to be sure. There are always others. But you know, Mr. Burton, the difficulties between men and women. How seldom it works out? Yet we all keep trying, like fools."

#752 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2011, 06:37 PM:

HLN: Arghhh! Of course I've managed to have one of the two cufflinks I was polishing spin out of my hand ... and of COURSE it seems like the only likely place for it to have vanished into at this point is the (rather full) trash basket. ARGHHHHH!

#753 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2011, 06:39 PM:

xeger: I'll note from experience that platinum wedding rings can sink quite far quite quickly in cat litter.

#754 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2011, 06:43 PM:

From the Newspeak Dictionary:

duckspeak - (To quack like a duck). To speak without thinking. Can be either good or bad, depending on who is speaking, and whether or not they are on your side.

blackwhite - The ability to accept whatever "truth" the party puts out, no matter how absurd it may be.

The former describes Palin's utterances, the latter her admirer's ability to remain admirers.

I hope she runs for president. I hope she gets the nomination. The chance that she'd win are miniscule, but if she did this nation's last years would be vastly entertaining.

#755 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2011, 06:55 PM:

Stefan...we all thought Reagan was a laughable candidate at the time. And the Republican Congresscritters in office now prove that being a ridiculous waste of oxygen won't keep you from being elected.

#756 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2011, 07:01 PM:

eric @ 753 ...
xeger: I'll note from experience that platinum wedding rings can sink quite far quite quickly in cat litter.

Heh. Okay -- that makes me feel better about having just gone through the trash...

... although as it turns out, (dammit!) it's not in the trash. Grrrrr!

#757 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2011, 07:04 PM:

Stefan @ 754... After the disastrous 8 years of the unqualified moronic Dubya, I prefer my entertainment to involve Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse. That's Entertainment!

#758 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2011, 07:08 PM:


However, I don't think there's any reasonable doubt that Palin might lose under circumstances where, for example, Pawlenty or Romney would win and might lose big under circumstances that (again for example) Pawlenty or Romney wouldn't lose big.

Since I don't really see any important practical difference between the policies that a President Romney (or Pawlenty) would follow and the policies that a President Palin would follow I therefore rather like the idea of Palin getting the GOP nomination.

(For the same reason I rather hope that Paul Ryan makes a run for the GOP nomination.)

#759 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2011, 08:16 PM:

Michael, if you think that Romlenty wouldn't be any less bad than Palin...I think you underestimate how bad "bad" can be.

We're talking about a lady who believes in witch hunts. Not the HUAC kind, the kind where you go looking for actual witches and kill the people you find.

Pawlenty and Romney are bad, evil, selfish, right-wing men. But they are not completely crazy and stupid like Palin.

#760 ::: Ambar ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2011, 08:28 PM:

Another vent (mostly): Can ML provide a trained moderation team for interventions on out of control Internet insanity? I am not temperamentally suited for the particular task at hand, but oh, it needs doing So Badly.

I'm visualizing the moderatorial equivalent of UN troops. ;)

#761 ::: Persephone ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2011, 08:45 PM:

Ambar at 760: David Eddings has trained me to mentally follow any mention of the name "Ambar" with "of Kotu."

#762 ::: Ambar ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2011, 08:50 PM:

You're not the first one to mention that to me, but I remember working out (the first time it came up) that my use of the name predated Eddings'. That and $5 will get me a fancy coffee at any coffee emporium in town, I admit. :)

#763 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2011, 09:36 PM:

re 748: Unfortunately things have reached the stage where all the refuting "proves" that she is someone who has to be taken seriously.

#764 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2011, 09:37 PM:

HLN: Woman packing library for upcoming move has worked backwards through the fiction to Bujold. Working forward through the Dewey nonfiction, she's up to 635 Gardening. Woman wonders why she planned this move for the summer when it's 100F out, then is chastened by remembering moving TO Oklahoma in mid-December and the moving van trying to slide backwards down the icy driveway. Someday woman will learn her lesson and plan to move in, say, October instead.

#765 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2011, 10:05 PM:

Janet @764: How's the predicted humidity for your moving date (asks the woman who last moved 4 years ago in a New England July)? Remember all of Jim's excellent advice about heat stress!

#766 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2011, 11:02 PM:

Today's "The Brilliant Mind of Edison Lee" strip establishes that it is set in Locust Valley.

The town where I grew up.

(I refuse to Google how many Locust Valleys there are in the country.)

#767 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2011, 11:26 PM:

HLN: Finally found the blasted cufflink... wondering if something changed the local laws of physics, and installed a temporary wormhole.

#768 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2011, 01:41 AM:

xeger, obviously the set builders in the chroma-key blue suits forgot to put it back in place in all the sets for the intervening minutes. Don't you remember that episode?

#770 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2011, 07:45 AM:

Ambar #762: I also noted a "Casa Ambar" in a Costa Rican resort (trip @ beginning of year). But it was just guest suite #10 at the Paradisus Playa Conchal. AFAICT, every one of the guest suites there had a unique textual name as well as a number. Different sections had names running in themes, and that one was apparently just female names (if the names had other significance, it was lost on me).

#771 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2011, 08:25 AM:

Rikibeth @765, humidity hasn't been TOO off the charts recently. Still, I'm going to see what the movers would charge for doing the whole thing rather than just the bulkiest, non-knock-downable furniture.

#772 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2011, 08:28 AM:

Hyperlocal news... Man in New Mexico wakes up and finds that the smell of the fires in Arizona is finally going away.

#773 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2011, 08:42 AM:

"Ambar" also means "world" in Elvish, as in "tenn Ambar-metta" "until the end of the world", the end of a speech by Elendil later quoted by Elessar.

#774 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2011, 09:36 AM:

Janet @771, we didn't have movers, we just had a biggish U-haul and two station wagons, but we were only moving four miles and could spread it out over the course of a week. Even so, we drank a LOT of Gatorade.

I'm looking forward to the day I can move to the Boston area, but not entirely thrilled that the earliest possible date will be summer.

#775 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2011, 09:36 AM:

Janet @771, we didn't have movers, we just had a biggish U-haul and two station wagons, but we were only moving four miles and could spread it out over the course of a week. Even so, we drank a LOT of Gatorade.

I'm looking forward to the day I can move to the Boston area, but not entirely thrilled that the earliest possible date will be summer.

#776 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2011, 09:44 AM:

Open thread research question: How much of a hassle would it be to make iron bullets? Once they were made, would they fire correctly?

Someone on the Science channel (I think) did a program about silver bullets, but I can't seem to dig it up. There was a bunch of stuff about the molds used for lead giving the wrong sizes, and I assume there'd be a similar issue for iron; can someone with more experience in this sort of thing set me straight?

#777 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2011, 09:50 AM:

Speaking of biggish U-hauls, does anybody know anything wonderful that would make moving a grand piano (658 pounds, 5'8" x 4'9.5" x 3'4") from Michigan's upper peninsula to the Rochester, NY area cheap 'n' easy? I figure I may as well ask.

Ambar @762: You're not the first one to mention that to me, but I remember working out (the first time it came up) that my use of the name predated Eddings'. That and $5 will get me a fancy coffee at any coffee emporium in town, I admit. :)
Indeed, it did me a hell of a lot of good when a pizza chain took my zine title for a national mascot. Bastards.

#778 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2011, 09:59 AM:

How much of a hassle would it be to make iron bullets?

I thought they were dry-clean only.

#779 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2011, 10:06 AM:

Kip W @ 777 ...
Speaking of biggish U-hauls, does anybody know anything wonderful that would make moving a grand piano (658 pounds, 5'8" x 4'9.5" x 3'4") from Michigan's upper peninsula to the Rochester, NY area cheap 'n' easy? I figure I may as well ask.

If you're planning to be able to play it afterwards, not really, no.

#780 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2011, 10:06 AM:

How much of a hassle would it be to make iron bullets?

They make steel-jacketed ones, so I doubt it's that big a hassle. Won't have nearly the impact of lead bullets, though.

#781 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2011, 10:14 AM:

This is beginning to remind me of cop show "Castle" episode "'punked", in which Nathan Filion concludes that, since a man was shot dead with a musket ball, it obviously had to mean... A time-travelling killer! He feels vindicated when he finds that the victim owned a DeLorean.

#782 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2011, 10:17 AM:

They make steel-jacketed ones, so I doubt it's that big a hassle. Won't have nearly the impact of lead bullets, though.

Yeah, the density is on the order of three-quarters as much as lead. A short-range projectile, certainly.

I'm not sure jacketed will do; I'm looking for, basically, a bullet to shoot a fairy with. I guess it mostly depends on how important symbolism is in the rules I'm using. If it's "Fairies have a serious iron allergy", then clearly an iron, possibly even steel, jacket would be fine. If it's "Only a weapon of cold iron can harm a fairy", the bullet has to be solid iron and steel won't cut it.

I don't *really* need iron bullets to be practical; the person claiming to have them is bluffing (and banking on the fairy in question knowing little about ironworking, for obvious reasons). But if they wouldn't work, I'd like to put that information into the narration afterwards.

#783 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2011, 11:03 AM:

Would someone mind providing me with a link to the XKCD cartoon about a computer's upgrade that ends with the rising tide and sharks circling close by?

#784 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2011, 11:18 AM:


I was just looking for this one the other day myself. :)

#785 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2011, 11:29 AM:

Kip W. - The only thing that comes to mind, other than a U-Haul or similar, would be one of the ABF U-Pack pods that I used to move from Nashville to Berkeley last summer. If memory serves, the piano will fit fine - you'll probably want to tie it down hard inside the pod, since it is smaller, but it should work fine. Another option would be trailer space from ABF, which is (I think) cheaper.

#786 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2011, 11:34 AM:

Carrie S @ 784... Thanks! Some of my teammates are involved in a system upgrade the state of which isn't dissimilar to the cartoon's. They'll appreciate. Our higherups might not be amused though.

#787 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2011, 11:42 AM:

Carrie S. @782: If it's "Fairies have a serious iron allergy", then clearly an iron, possibly even steel, jacket would be fine. If it's "Only a weapon of cold iron can harm a fairy", the bullet has to be solid iron and steel won't cut it.

Maybe a rivet/nail gun at point-blank range?

#788 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2011, 11:57 AM:

Kip W. @ # 777, my first inclination would be to sell it and buy another one when you get there. Of course, if there's sentimental value attached, that won't work.

Julie L @ #787: Oooohhhh! Remind me not to piss you off!

#789 ::: Steve C ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2011, 12:02 PM:

Forging an iron bullet shouldn't be hard, though it would be even easier to make iron buckshot and use a shotgun.

That should do the job.

#790 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2011, 12:07 PM:

Argh! DD's generally wonderful 9th grade English teacher is urging her to read Ayn Rand over the summer. But hasn't recommended a specific book.

I've never read Rand, having been utterly uninterested.

Recommendations on which one is good for beginners? Note that dd has slight socialist leanings at the moment and has read a lot of utopian/anti-utopian fiction this year.

She also highly recommends Divergent by Veronica Roth, which she recently devoured. I've read the first two chapters and plan to soon read the rest.

#791 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2011, 12:13 PM:

Melissa Singer @ 790: Recommendations on which [Ayn Rand book] is good for beginners?

Whatever's shortest.

#792 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2011, 12:27 PM:

HLN: If there's anything more small-scale humiliating than waking up with hiccups and scaring the cat, local woman doesn't want to know what it is.

#793 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2011, 12:32 PM:

Whatever's shortest.
That would be Anthem.

[iron bullets] I was thinking "that would play hell with the rifling"... but steel jackets already exist. How do they not destroy the barrel? Also, it might be possible to put a chunk of iron in the hollow point of a hollow-point bullet. That's what I'd do if I were a RPG character. . . and then I'd fire off about ten rounds with the gun clamped in a vise, Mythbuster style, to make sure I didn't overlook something that would make the gun blow up in my hand.

Nailguns have a safety feature- something that has to be pressed down [eg against a board] before it will fire. I've seen my brother hold that down with his off hand; no safety feature is unbeatable. But nails are not likely to fly straight, and probably lose airspeed really fast; do not be fooled by Quake.

#794 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2011, 01:04 PM:

joann @792: I've displaced many a cat due to hiccups, though I don't usually wake up with them. I do sometimes have them right before falling asleep, though.

While dd was in utero, for a while she had nightly hiccups at around 11 PM, which persisted for a few weeks after she was born. Watching/feeling someone inside you hiccup is a very strange thing.

#795 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2011, 01:28 PM:

Ambar @760:
Can ML provide a trained moderation team for interventions on out of control Internet insanity? I am not temperamentally suited for the particular task at hand, but oh, it needs doing So Badly.

I have done so once or twice, in communities wherein I was but an infrequent commenter. If one can identify the heart of the community* and arouse in it the passion to defend the health and wellbeing of the conversation, much can be done.

Without carrying the heart of the community, there is no way anyone can parachute in and solve anything.

* Which does not necessarily overlap with the official moderators, site owners, people who pay the bills, or front-page posters.

#796 ::: Chris Suslowicz ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2011, 01:51 PM:

Julie L. @ #787

obASR "When the only tool you've got is a nailgun, every problem looks like a Messiah."

I think I'd prefer an iron projectile in a plastic sabot for use against putative fairies, similarly pure silver bullets in sabots or with copper driving bands for werewolves.

See also this.

#797 ::: shadowsong ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2011, 01:56 PM:

Open thready:

What is your favorite MilSF series with a female lead?

I've read some of Weber's Harrington, Moon's Vatta, Moon's Serrano, and Shepherd's Longknife. McCaffrey's Sassinak, Lee & Miller's Liaden Universe and Gardner's League of Peoples are edge cases, I think.

What else should I try? Which do you think are best, and which do you like even though they're not necessarily good?

#798 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2011, 01:58 PM:

Does anyone know how to reliably remove Win32/Cryptor without formatting the HDD and reinstalling everything? We can't do a "Restore" back to before it became infected because one of the steps we already did (suggested on an appropriate site) before we knew what we were dealing with was deleting the restore points so it couldn't keep restoring itself from those...

#799 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2011, 02:00 PM:

Melissa, have her read Atlas Shrugged after reading Scalzi's discussion of it.

#800 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2011, 02:10 PM:

Melissa -- There's also Matt Ruff's (somewhat hard to find) Sewer, Gas and Electric, which is sort of a rebuttal to Atlas Shrugged, but mostly a chaotic comedy. It's a good antidote to taking Ayn Rand too seriously.

#801 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2011, 02:58 PM:

Platypus, murnival, serpentine, vortex: I have finished stringing cranes! For my next trick, I will find a box big enough to hold all 1017* of them.

*unless there are more; I kind of forgot to stop. I could probably have left out the early ones that resemble pterodactyls, but then I remembered that pterodactyls are awesome.

#802 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2011, 03:03 PM:

Jason Mamoa afficionados who haven't been following the HBO Game of Thrones series might want to direct their gaze to this clip of Drogo being epic, though fair warning: it does end with a goodly bit of gore.

#803 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2011, 03:06 PM:

Platypus, murnival, serpentine, vortex: *yay*

Yay is a noise now.

#804 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2011, 03:14 PM:

Pterodactyls are, in fact, Teh Ossum.

#805 ::: Steve C ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2011, 03:20 PM:

James @ 799 - Thanks for pointing out the Scalzi piece. I'm sharing the link on FB.

(It never would have occurred to me to compare Atlas Shrugged to Revenge of the Nerds, but by God, it works.)

#806 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2011, 03:22 PM:

Alan Ryan has died:

#807 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2011, 03:37 PM:

shadowsong (797): Have you tried Tanya Huff's Confederation series? I'm quite fond of those.

#808 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2011, 03:50 PM:

TexAnne @ 801: re. Platypus, murnival, serpentine, vortex - well done!

And after you find a big enough box and post them, Xopher has the fun of unpacking them, possibly untangling some strings, and gently pulling all the wings to horizontal!

#809 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2011, 03:54 PM:

Thanks for the suggestions! I'll look up ABF. Lila @788, the thought of selling and buying another did occur to me, but I'm not in Michigan, and would not oblige my family members there to sell it for me — even if there were enough buyers in the Escanaba area, which I doubt, so the price would be lower than what I could buy something comparable for here.

Melissa Singer @790: Anthem is the shortest. It's also the one I will never, ever, goddamn read again. Getting through that little piece of shit was harder than reading Atlas Shrugged three or four times (I'm not sure how many times, and at least one of those times I skipped the "A is A is A is A is A is A is A…" diatribe.). Atlas, at least, has some kinds of entertainment value, including wacky characters who explain themselves constantly while behaving in insane ways*, and massive set pieces. Anthem is just some kind of bubbling goo compounded of pretension and condescension, smeared with preciousness. There's a 'graphic novel' version of it out, illustrated by Joe Staton (who's now rehabilitating Dick Tracy), and I doubt I could get through that either.

* Why, just today I was thinking once again that the only real suitable medium for an Ayn Rand show would be as a quasi-Gilbert-and-Sullivan operetta, where standing around and explaining yourself is not only an art form, but entertaining.

#810 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2011, 04:20 PM:

Kip W @ 809... the only real suitable medium for an Ayn Rand show would be as a quasi-Gilbert-and-Sullivan operetta

"Calling B Durbin... B Durbin to the front desk..."

#811 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2011, 04:43 PM:

If you go through them, call them - I did when I moved, and got a much, much better rate than I was expecting.

#812 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2011, 04:44 PM:

I am further enlightened by my daughter: apparently one of the reasons the teacher wants her to read Ayn Rand is because of the essay contest sponsored by the Ayn Rand, in which one can win up to $10,000.

One must read one of the novels and write on an assigned theme.

#813 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2011, 04:44 PM:

I am further enlightened by my daughter: apparently one of the reasons the teacher wants her to read Ayn Rand is because of the essay contest sponsored by the Ayn Rand Institute, in which one can win up to $10,000.

One must read one of the novels and write on an assigned theme.

#814 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2011, 04:45 PM:

Apologies for the double-post--I was editing and must have hit post by accident!

#815 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2011, 05:19 PM:

Hmm. Is it worth ten thousand smackers to pretend that Ayn Rand could write her way out of a paper bag, that she could create characters and situations as plausible as those in, say, La Forza del Destino, or that her so-called philosophy was anything other than self-valorizing selfishness?

Well, your DD has college to think of. Maybe. But it might be less morally injurious to become, say, a qeht zhyr. (Lrf, V'z rknttrengvat sbe rssrpg.)

#816 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2011, 05:28 PM:

Melissa @ #794 re hiccups in utero: my middle one did that. It was indeed very odd.

Now I am daydreaming that Scalzi wins the $10 grand. Kind of takes the curse off it. For extra bonus points, he reads "Being Poor" as his acceptance speech.

#817 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2011, 05:44 PM:

Next on "Doctor Who", the Tiki Dalek...

"Intoxicate! In-to-xi-cate!!!"

#818 ::: The Me who is Not Me ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2011, 05:53 PM:

HLN, potential in-depth think piece, if it doesn't turn into a rant, a whine, or get deleted by the reporter as a waste of space...

Nothing to do with anything upthread. Nothing to do with any recent discussions else-site that I can point to. Nothing to do with anything except my need to vent frustration and fear and Ghu only knows what else. Feel free to skip, as there is no guarantee of any redeeming value in this post whatsoever.

So...several years ago, I turned my back on a decently paying job with decent benefits because I realized that I must be changing while the job was not and I Did Not Like It, Sam I Am. Since chances the job would change were nil or worse, I could either change to become the kind of person who would love the job again (shudder) or continue at the job while remaining myself and wind up severely depressed and (likely) under some form of chemical treatment for said depression (bigger shudder). It took me several months to work up the nerve to quit, but I had plenty of savings, not to mention a fairly healthy 401(k).

Fast-forward a few months and see this reporter in conversation with a mortgage broker in hopes of finding a refi that would reduce payments and save money. See the mortgage broker NOT fully explain all the ramifications of a neg-am pay option ARM, but instead point to the lowest payment option--the one that would add to the principal balance of the loan at a rate about three times greater than reporter would be able to pay off at the other end, plus other vastly not-to-be-wished-for outcomes--and say, "See? Lower monthly payment! Sign here!"

Reporter signed, believing that the mortgage broker, who had come highly recommended as an ethical professional, was.

Fast-forward through several years where reporter tried to find freelance work in a couple of fields, and did poorly due to lack of self-confidence as well as lack of knowledge of many useful bits of info re: being self-employed/a freelancer/a "solopreneur", not to mention the habits of a lifetime where nothing really horrible had happened to jump-start the education process. See savings be withdrawn to pay monthly bills, like the mortgage and the credit card bills that just never seem to get any smaller...

See the consequences of the Lowest Payment come home to roost when reporter's loan balance meets its cap and triggers the "now you have to pay both interest AND principal" provision of the loan.

See monthly payments triple.

See several years of the sorts of education mentioned above, gleaned from various sources, finally start to gel for reporter in the middle of last just about the time reporter's savings, including the 401(k) (value much reduced by the down market ), ran out.

See reporter default on the mortgage.

See reporter ask a particular set of friends for help, friends who had not just the resources (which all other friends lack, being in varying stages of financial difficulty themselves) but a likely willingness to help due to shared history...and be turned down flat, most likely through the advice of their financial professional.

See reporter acknowledge to self that maybe reporter wasn't the best risk at that, and maybe being turned down really was for the best.

See reporter attend an event as a guest (after deciding not to go because hey, $20 to get in vs. being able to buy food for the critters...) and wind up in conversation with a business owner looking to expand into an area where reporter's skills had overlap: hey presto! Job offer!

Hey presto! See reporter's recurring (perceived) lack of self-promotional skills result in very little income.

See reporter receive notice of default and announcement by bank of foreclosure proceedings. See also scrambling to keep everything else paid up (including the Credit Card Debt at a Rate that Would Be Usury under rational financial regulation), and mostly failing.

Then see business owner mention need for another employee to do Something Completely Different for the business--and see reporter speak up for self (yay!) and gain a more steady paycheck (if lower in hourly rate than the job for which reporter was originally hired, which reporter still gets to do occasionally, at the original and higher rate of pay).

See reporter get notice of trustee's sale of home where reporter has lived for 2/3 or more of lifetime.

See reporter submit loan modification request, now that there's actually some income to deal with. See reporter be told by bank that, due a difference in the definition of "business day", submission deadline to stop trustee sale was actually the day reporter expressed loan mod package to bank, hence sale would not be stopped in order to evaluate submitted materials.

See reporter file bankruptcy while dealing with the Dead Parent's Voice that insists the only people who file for bankruptcy are liars and cheats and between reevaluating a lifetime of behaviors and realizing that Reactivity is a killer.

See reporter work to change the unhelpful habits of a lifetime in mere months, with both attendant successes and occasional backsliding.

See reporter get caught up on month-to-month expenses and actually have money in the bank!! (If not a fortune, or even enough to get caught up on mortgage arrearages). See reporter begin to think that Things Are Going To Work Out--that reporter will be able to keep home AND critters (who are the closest thing reporter has to family in the dark moments of the night).

See reporter be warned of impending cuts to hours at work, due to the business undergoing a lack of income increase to match recent outlays. See reporter find out yesterday that 35-40 hours per week will now, if lucky, be 25 hours a week.

See reporter arrive home after work yesterday to discover another notice for a trustee's sale of home.

See reporter call bank this morning to find out how this can happen when, as far as reporter knows, the original loan modification request has never been dealt with. See reporter's shock upon finding out that the bank says the loan mod request was denied TWO MONTHS AGO--and that notice of same was forwarded to reporter's bankruptcy attorney.

See reporter call attorney's paralegal and be informed that no, they never received such a notice from the bank.

See reporter call an individual recommended by a relative in the loan industry. See said individual tell reporter that current best options are Process X, which can give reporter a year to get financial life in order, ducks in rows, etc., without risking trustee sale--but it costs $7000 and the whole amount would be needed as soon as possible to allow maximum time to put Process X in place. See said individual tell reporter that a second option, being able to reduce interest rate from current level (monthly payment, nearly $1800) to about half that (monthly payment, $960), exists...but would require reporter to have monthly income of at least $3000.

See earlier comment re: reduction in weekly work hours.

See reporter attempt to remind self that Fear really is the mind-killer, that fear will help nothing and will only result in paralysis.

See reporter crying at keyboard.


In the great scheme of things, I know--I KNOW--I am better off than millions, even billions, of my fellow humans. I know that money trouble is as nothing compared with health troubles, the loss of loved ones, issues with children...but this is what I've got, and I'm scared to death.

I don't expect anyone else to solve my problems for me--many of them are a result of that lifetime of habits I mentioned, and many are the result of what's going on in the wider world, and it may be that I just don't have the money to buy myself the extra time--I've already tapped my network to help me pay for the bankruptcy attorney, and if they had more to loan me, they would.

But helpful suggestions and a good word to whatever's running the universe this week would be appreciated.

To anyone who read this far...well, thank you for your attention. I apologize for being a downer.

#819 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2011, 06:04 PM:

If Jim MacDonald ever does a piece on workplace safety:

Yesterday morning at work, one of the remaining unoccupied retail spaces had workers installing the infrastructure for the store set to open up there in a few months. Wiring, plumbing, air conditioning stuff, etc.

The space is about twenty feet high inside, and one of the pieces of equipment mounted up by the ceiling was a large air handler. A big metal box, basically, with metal hatches to access the guts of the machine.

For reasons yet to be determined, at about 7:40 yesterday morning, one of those metal hatches... fell off. Meaning a large steel plate, fairly sharp-edged, was now falling thru the air towards the workers below.

Essentially, it was now operating as a guillotine blade.

The guy it hit was named Mark, one of the guys who installs and trouble-shoots the alarm system for the shopping/office development I work at. The Main Alarm Panel for the system is on one wall of the same room I usually spend about half my shifts working in (the security camera monitors take up most of another wall), so I know the alarm company guys to some extent.

Now here's the good news: He survived. And here's the reason he survived: He was wearing his hardhat.

He survived not just because he was wearing a hardhat, but because he was wearing a full-brim hardhat.

The most common type of hardhat has a small, visor-type extension in front that sticks out about an inch. A full-brim type hardhat, though, has that inch-wide projection going all the way around the hardhat.

When the hatch cover came down, it came down where it would have just skimmed by the outside edge of a regular hardhat, alongside the side of Mark's head, possibly slicing off a section of ear before hitting and driving into the side of his neck. That would have been Game Over.

Because that extra bit of brim was there, the hatch cover hit the brim first. This did several things: It reduced the velocity of the hatch cover by a bit. It altered the angle of the hatch cover by a bit, so it wasn't quite a straight-on hit with the metal edge when it continued on and actually hit flesh. And it moved the point of impact a fraction of an inch over from where it would have originally struck.

He got hurt, and he got hurt badly. The shoulder muscle where the plate hit was severed ("shredded" was how it was described to me). And there was blood. Lots of blood. But it missed (barely) the major blood vessels in the neck. And it stopped an eight-of-an-inch away from his spine.

So he'll recover, and come back to work eventually. (Though probably with some restriction of movement on that side of his neck.) And have one hell of a scar for his eventual kids and grandkids to ask about.

Be safe, boys and girls.

#820 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2011, 06:10 PM:

The Me who is Not Me (818): Thinking good thoughts for you, and *hugs* if you'll accept them.

#821 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2011, 06:14 PM:

Me who is not me, no suggestions, but a word has been sent on your behalf to the universe.

#822 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2011, 06:19 PM:

The Me who is Not Me: I also have no suggestions, but: All Bright Blessings, good wishes, good thoughts.

#823 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2011, 06:59 PM:

The Me Who Is Not Me @818:

Reporter, dear one, I read your post and had to stay up a little bit into my sleep time to say something.

You spend a lot of time comparing yourself to some mythical other-you, someone with the self-promotion skills, the financial acumen, and the general all-round shininess that you feel that you lack. It's always a temptation to compare yourself to the spherical normal person of uniform density. Don't do it. It's a mindset that can eat your heart and your joy.

That person does not exist. If there were a person with those traits, they'd probably be missing the articulateness, the self-awareness, and the dogged persistence that makes you you. (Whoever you are. I'm going by this one post, but there's a lot in there to tell me what kind of a person you are. I like what I see. I admire what I see. Frex: changing habits under stress? Wow.)

Over here on another continent, I haven't any suggestions to offer apart from what I read on the net: can you check if the bank really has your deed? Can you make them produce it?

Beyond that, I'll say a word where words are said. If talking about this stuff helps, please continue to do so; this community is here for its members in bad times as well as good. We care.

We love you.

Sterkte, as they say over here. Be strong.

#824 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2011, 07:22 PM:

I'd never heard of the Abstruse Goose web comic before today.

I already love it:

#825 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2011, 07:39 PM:

Me Who Isn't: What abi said. "Produce the note" is not just a desperation move. In many cases, the bank does not, in fact, have the deed. In some cases, NOBODY KNOWS who has the deed, and the foreclosure cannot proceed until that is cleared up.

#826 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2011, 07:40 PM:

Grr. Note, not deed. *grumble*

#828 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2011, 08:08 PM:

Melissa @ 813: As you might have guessed, the essay contest is basically a marketing campaign to try to get people to read Rand and say something good about it at an age where there's a decent chance of them internalizing her philosophy.

I think it's a bit like trying to tell a Vogon how good his poetry is. But if your DD is curious to have a taste of Rand, I'd recommend Anthem. It's relatively short, and not too badly written, from what I recall. Plus it's online for free reading (she neglected to renew the copyright on time).

Rand's collection of essays, Philosophy: Who Needs It also hits the main points of her thinking, in fairly short, straight doses, which I found easier to deal with than long chunks of speech dropped into doorstop novels (for which see her later fiction). Plus, you get to see her commit logical fallacies mere pages from her describing them! (I recall a bit stridently asserting "it's Objectivism or Communism" not too long after she describes the fallacy of the "package deal", or false dilemma.)

#829 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2011, 08:55 PM:

John Mark Ockerbloom @ #828: "(she neglected to renew the copyright on time)"

Thereby proving not even she could follow her objectivist/self-interest over-all-other-things philosophy correctly.

#830 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2011, 08:58 PM:

Though the daughter wants to go to college (and is a bit boggled at the idea that It Won't Be Cheap, regardless of where she winds up), she is not actually much motivated by the money. Probably because she's never not had money.

(otoh, my father was unemployed for several years while I was in my teens. A year before I went to college, my father and I cashed in all the savings bonds my grandparents had bought me over the years because the family needed a new car.)

The Me Who is Not Me: good thoughts being sent on your behalf.

Also, hindsight is always 20-20, but we all need to remember that at the time, we were making the best decisions we could, given the information we had at the time, given the people we were at the time. And cut ourselves some slack.

#831 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2011, 09:16 PM:

In The Vor Game, there's a bit where the admiral tells Miles that he doesn't second-guess the man on the ground, or something along those lines; this idea also shows up in Moon Called by Patricia Briggs. I remind myself of that. Past Me is the me on the ground. Present Me is not. Past Me is the poor beleaugered ensign doing the best she can under strange and unsettling circumstances* and Present Me is the admiral she reports to when it's all over. Present Me can say, "Oh, hell, let's not do that again," but cannot say, "Are you a moron? Anyone could have seen that coming!"

*this is normality by any other name

#832 ::: JM ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2011, 11:40 PM:

Me Who Is Not Me: Oh, you poor thing. Best wishes to you for outer success and inner serenity.

Kip @809: Renting space on an ABF trailer has been, in my experience, significantly cheaper than the pods but comes with the following drawbacks:
1) You have to load all your stuff twice on each end -- into whatever conveyence you use to get it to their terminal, into their truck, off their truck, off your conveyence into your new home.

2) The trailer spaces are separated by bulkheads that you have to put up yourself, which process will cause you to fight with your spouse, and if you don't get the bulkhead in securely enough, it might fall over en route, allowing your stuff to tumble everywhere.

3) During the final unload, when you're exhausted from moving, you might well doze off in rush hour traffic on the way to the terminal and let your car drift into the pickup truck in front of you so that the trailer hitch punches a hole in your front bumper and you have to hang your front license plate off-center forever after that.

I would use the ABF trailer again if I had to move far enough to make it cheaper than a Budget truck, but you do get what you pay for.

#833 ::: JM ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2011, 11:42 PM:

Did I seriously just spell "conveyance" wrong twice? D'oh.

#834 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2011, 12:47 AM:

Serge 827: I'm pretty sure that top box isn't included in the shipment...

#835 ::: The Me who is Not Me ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2011, 01:59 AM:

Mary Aileen, OtterB, Xopher, abi (dear abi!), Lila, Melissa Singer, Diatryma, JM: Thank you all. Just...thank you for your kind words and Bright Blessings and hugs. (Mary Aileen, Hugz is Teh Ossum. ;) As you may have guessed, I do post here on occasion under a different nym, and I always enjoy reading the discussions. Knowing that people I only know from the aether but admire greatly, and who don't even know my "other" identity, are pulling for helps.

I haven't given up hope of a solution just yet, and I do work at not second-guessing myself. Because I know that I'm dealing with hindsight and all the rest of it, and it's useless except as a learning tool.

What just occurred to me is an image, or rather, a pair of images. One's complete slapstick: someone walking along and slipping on a banana peel, then regaining balance only to wind up on a rug that is immediately pulled out from under hir, and finally winding up windmilling along and falling into one of those open-door-in-the-sidewalk things with accompanying crashes, bangs and howls of pain. (Or in this case, a card from a silent movie indicating the crash-bang-howls.) The kind of thing that, if you really think about, isn't funny at all.

The other image is of a magician pulling the starched cloth out from under the accoutrements of a perfectly set formal table...and not even the bud vases quiver. The balance of the latter is what I'm striving for now, since it seems likely to be easier to see options when not down a hole.

Thank you again. I'll keep you posted.

#836 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2011, 02:04 AM:

Too long to rewrite @835 -- People were saying the concrete things I might have, but I send good thoughts and hope your way anyway.

#837 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2011, 02:13 AM:

Xopher @ 834... Alas no. It was a subterfuge on TexAnne's part to hide details about the addresser and the addressee.

#838 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2011, 02:39 AM:

Me Who Is Not Me @ 818

I really sympathize. Somehow, things often seem to go wrong all at once, which is a miserable experience. I'll second Abi -- you aren't doing it wrong, no matter what it feels like. And you didn't do it wrong when you started out. Despite what certain people will inform you, it is not possible to perfectly plan for all of life's eventualities -- you just do the best you know how to do, with the information you have at the time, and you handle the inevitable deviations from plan to the best of your ability. You seem to be doing a fine job handling a really tough situation, even if it doesn't feel like it from where you are.

I'll offer my own good wishes for things to resolve kindly for you. Also, speaking only for myself, I would be happy to read more updates -- or even much-needed ranting -- as events continue to take shape, to the extent that you feel inclined to express such thoughts.

#839 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2011, 03:18 AM:

HLN: Area man gets a phone call out of the blue from a Grand Life Master offering to play bridge. (For those who don't know bridge, "Life Master" is no big deal...but Grand Life Master is.) GLM's partner couldn't make it, so he called me. I managed not to disgrace myself, and actually had a good time. We came in first, albeit out of only eight pairs playing at the club.

#840 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2011, 08:04 AM:

"Me Who Is Not Me" #818

Sympathies! Frankly, the advice from your friend "in the loan industry" sounds fishy. Aside from seconding the "produce the note" response, you were sold an impossible loan under deceptive terms, and that in itself is likely grounds for challenging the terms if not voiding it. Bluntly, banks get away with a lot of shit because people don't push back. Look for public-defense programs, too -- I don't have names offhand, bit I'm sure there's something specifically intended to help loan-abuse victims.

#841 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2011, 08:49 AM:

Me Who Is Not Me @ 818
Sympathies from me as well. I, too, took mortage advice, which turned out to be bad advice, from someone who was supposed to be a competent professional. I've been lucky and will come out of it financially down by an amount which is irritating, but thankfully won't put me into the sort of hole you describe.

Try not to blame yourself.

Update or vent as you want/need. We're listening.

Hang in there.

#842 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2011, 09:22 AM:

Bruce Arthurs #819:

Yes, wear all of your protective gear all the time, and wear the best version of it you can get, rather than the cheapest that'll pass. If you're a boss supplying it to your people, get top-shelf equipment. Cheaper in the long run. Trust me.

Best of luck to your friend. He's going to have a long recovery, but it'll be straight-forward.

#843 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2011, 09:49 AM:

Me Who Is Not Me @818--
I'm glad you are working on the Not Hitting Yourself thing. It's not you, for the most part. The system was structured to virtually guarantee you'd be screwed over. I say this with some confidence because the boat you are in is so big, and there are so many other people in there with you. I hope you are able to manage a transfer to anothr boat soon, and I second the "produce the note" approach.

#844 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2011, 10:07 AM:

Platypus, serpentine, murnival, vortex: Xopher, be on the lookout for the small white box Friday, and for the big brown box Tuesday.

#845 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2011, 10:34 AM:

The Me Who Is Not Me:

Contact your State Attorney General, there is a great deal of bank fraud happening at both ends of the financing process (i.e. selling mortgages and the securities resulting from them).

The AGs of all 50 states have a joint investigation going on this, and some have started filing suits agaisnst many of the banks. If you signed on to this mortgage in the last 10 years the odds are very good that the bank's
documentation is totally fraudulent.

My best wishes, and please keep us posted. You are, and will be, in my prayers. May She-Who-Hears-the-Cries-of-the-World intercede for you.

#846 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2011, 12:23 PM:

MwinM: Best wishes.

David Goldfarb: 1) congratulations! You have to be "good enough to notice" to get that opportunity; and then you have to be good enough to not lose your ability facing the GLM.

And I'm envious - I haven't had that opportunity (although I've played with players who will make GLM in 2000 MPs or so, when they had about 700). I have had your experience of "not totally embarrassing myself", though - 16 boards with the person that sets my directing schedule, at 0830 (and what does the "oh" stand for?).

For the rest: David is somewhat understating the experience. LM is effectively an attendance record; one needs some basic competence, but think "golf pro" - there's at least one at every course, no? GrandLM means that you've attended enough, true, but also that you have *won a nationally rated event*. 2nd doesn't count, and there are World Class players who aren't GLM because they've just missed, 8 or 9 times. Out of ~150 000 registered duplicate players, there are 277 GLMs.

#847 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2011, 12:29 PM:

Did I work for the only mortgage company in the U.S. that flatly refused to help its clients get anything but a flat-rate 15- or 30-year mortgage and provided extensive counseling about the feasibility of monthly payments before anything was signed? I can't count the number of times my former boss said, "Yes, you could get an adjustable-rate mortgage or one of those things with a balloon payment, but unless you have a signed piece of paper saying that you are going to get a large sum of money X years from now, I recommend against it."

#848 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2011, 12:35 PM:

Me Who Is Not Me:

You're also in my prayers.

Although we managed not to get screwed over the way you were, we also dealt with the optimized-for-fraud mortgage market, and had many adventures of people offering to sell us nooses and maps of tree limbs of the appropriate height. Those guys make sharks look like friendly, benign swimming companions.

#849 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2011, 12:36 PM:

Open threadiness:

Dad waves at his son's school bus every day for a year.

Wearing a different costume every day.

#850 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2011, 12:44 PM:

Jeny Islander @847--I hope not, but I am beginning to fear that you did.

Folks, the egregious Senator Richard Shelby and others in Congress are vehemently opposed to having Elizabeth Warren head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau; she's taken a strong line against bad mortgages practices, among other things. If this whole mortgage situation upsets you, it might be worth a call to your Senator, if you're in the US, expressing support for her and the work of that bureau.

#851 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2011, 12:51 PM:

You who is not me (or however that's conjugated in the second person): I offer a parable, when dealing with loud yappy members of the bank and their servants.

A friend of mine got in a ... full-volume discussion ... once, with an individual of italian extraction who said something like "I know connected guys. I'm gonna put you in a landfill." My friend, who is of anglo-saxon extraction, said with no expression "I went to school with the son of the director of the NSA. They will come in the night, kill you, and make it look like you never even lived there. "
*beat* "You see how stupid it sounds coming out of someone else's mouth?"

If you feel stressed, feel threatened, set up a scenario in your head. You find out the paperwork is not in order. You find the person who sat across from you while you filled it out; they probably gave you a business card. You press criminal charges for fraud against that individual in the amount of [cost of house]. Juries are like grenades, they can take a funny bounce and end up in weird places.

You have a voice. You have power.

... and by all means require them to prove that they're foreclosing on your house, and not stealing it.

#852 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2011, 01:04 PM:

This article combines prosecutorial misconduct and cyberpunk-like corporate influence over government in one story. There are echoes of the Peter Erwin case here. Basically, Cisco got a whistleblower forbidden from coming into the US so he couldn't testify against them in a hearing, and then, when a session of the hearing was moved to Vancouver so he could participate, Cisco got an extradition request from a US prosecutor, and had him arrested at the hearing.

#853 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2011, 01:16 PM:


Roommate of Area Woman subjected to recent allergy tests, which show she's no long allergic to cats. Area Woman now devising way to convince non cat-person roommate that addition of cat is necessary and desirable, as well as place for cat box that is unobtrusive and inaccessible to kitty roca loving dog.

#854 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2011, 01:24 PM:

nerdycellist: I'm assuming you'd be getting a kitten? If so, there's a new litter system by Tidy Cat you might want to consider:

Breeze Litter System

We use it for our four cats, and there really is less odor, as well as being easy to clean.

#855 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2011, 01:25 PM:

I've got a post being held for moderation -- no idea what word of power I invoked.

#856 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2011, 01:32 PM:

Daniel Ellsberg says everything Nixon tried to do to him is now legal. In fact, Bradley Manning is being treated quite a bit more harshly than Daniel Ellsberg was, and will probably be spending the rest of his life in prison of some kind. If the US authorities can manage it, so will Julian Assange.

Here's the transcript of the interview.

#857 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2011, 01:40 PM:

Lori #855:

It was a munged URL in your post #854. The usual cause of that is forgetting to put the quote marks around the URL in the link.

#858 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2011, 01:52 PM:

I think if you want easy to read Rand, "Anthem" is a good place to start. It is also the only book by her I've actually read. I read it at uni, but I couldn't quite get what the fuss was about. Of course a regimented dystopia is a bad place, duuhhhh, that doesn't mean that communism, socialism, mixed economy or anything else like that is bad. Basically I couldn't connect the story with real life, so was not affected by it.

Oh, and then in perfect illustration of the fallacies which objectivist type people seem to make, the book ends jvgu gur ureb naq urebvar fvggvat cerggl va n ubhfr yrsg oruvaq ol cerivbhf vaqvivqhnyvfg zvaqrq crbcyr va hapynvzrq jvyqrearff. Jung, ab fgnegvat ng gur obggbz? Ab eragf gb or cnvq gb ynaqbjaref?
Sne zber qnatrebhf gb lbhat zvaqf vf fghss yvxr Fgnefuvc Gebbcref, nygubhtu V guvax zbfg crbcyr ner vagryyvtrag rabhtu gb jbex bhg riraghnyyl gung nyybjvat bayl irgrenaf naq fhpu gb ibgr vfa'g n tbbq vqrn.

And Hurrahh for health and safety and the wearing of appropriate equipment.

#859 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2011, 02:03 PM:

Thanks Jim!

#860 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2011, 02:33 PM:

_We The Living_, and the play _Night of January 16th_ are both relatively easy, worth reading, and not too overloaded with philosophical exposition. I liked _Anthem_, but it's much more symbolic and philosophical. (And honestly, I think L Neil Smith did it better in the opening part of _Pallas_, which is an obvious reference to _Anthem_. However, I do think Rand did it better than Rush did in their homage, _2112_.)

_Atlas Shrugged_ is a really wonderful book, but it's not an easy read. There are parts of the world of _AS_ that simply don't work like our reality does--almost all smart, productive people basically think alike, to the point of liking the same books and music, sharing the same politics, etc. (The few really smart, capable people who don't share the politics of the good guys are serious, if tragic, villains.) And the development of the philosophical ideas of the main characters, especially Hank and Dagny, is the main driving thing in the plot, even though the plot involves some spectacular action events. That means you won't get much from it if you don't read the speeches, among other things.

_The Fountainhead_ has some really good things happening in it--the sense of Roark and his conversations and friendship with Dagny and Wynand and the sculptor were worth the time spent reading the book. But there are a few places that I really bounced off of. For one thing, I'd be reluctant to recommend it to a teenaged girl (or anyone, really) without warning them that there's a truly messed up and ugly example of courting the woman of your dreams by raping her. (Helpful hint: Don't take Rand's dating advice unless you have *very* good lawyers, or better, diplomatic immunity.)

#861 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2011, 02:35 PM:

Lori -

Thanks for the tip! The litter box is a big stumbling block for people who aren't cat people. I have space on my bathroom floor for a box, but that makes it easy for the dog to get in. I'm wondering if one of the expensive, space-age self-cleaning machines could be put discreetly in the corner of the living room. My mom has also suggested training the cat to use the toilet, but I am much more confident in my dog training ability than cat training.

As far as age of cats, I'm really not all that enamored of kittens (blasphemy!) and normally given to adopting adult pets from a shelter. Non-cat roommate has a fondness for Scottish Folds and Big Friendly Orange Kitties. If she can be convinced that a cat would be a nice addition, we would probably either hit up the local shelter for a Big Friendly Orange Kitty, or possibly find a respsonsible Scottish Fold breeder, who tests for genetic problems and socializes the cats, and adopt a kitten.

Right now it's all theoretical; we had been considering getting Ardala another dog companion, but the expense of the dog walker, the grooming, the kennelling when we travel and the vet bills (In my experience, dogs require more vetting than cats. There are always unforseen circumstances of course.) makes a cat a more practical addition. Plus, Ardala loves cats. We'll see how things work out in January.

#862 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2011, 03:03 PM:

Nerdycellist -- You're welcome, Good Kitty Hunting! If you want fabulous BIG Orange Cats, have a look at Maine Coons. I agree that shelter cats are wonderful -- we adopted a syringe-fed kitten this past winter.

We went to the Breeze system after I started having back spasms when moving 20# bags of cat litter. Handling 2# bags of pellets is a lot easier.

If you have your own separate bathroom, you might want to put the litterbox IN the bathtub. I have done this in the past. It should be no problem for an adult cat to reach. (For those who have kittens, anchor a towel on the side of the tub -- they'll be able to climb that to get to the box.) This should make it hard for the dog to reach. (Or you can baby-gate the bathroom door.)

The bonus here is if the cat does miss the box, the tub is a lot easier to clean than other surfaces...

Jim -- thanks for liberating the earlier post.

#863 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2011, 03:11 PM:

"The Fountainhead"... My favorite scene in the movie is Patricia Neal lustfully looking at Gary Cooper holding a jackhammer straight out at waist-level.

#864 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2011, 03:12 PM:

One more interesting link--Radley Balko reporting on several cases in Chicago where the police/prosecutors have decided to arrest and charge people for recording the police.

If someone in Syria or Saudi Arabia or Bahrain or Iran were arrested for recording police misconduct and posting it to Youtube or Facebook, we'd all understand what to call that. Indeed, at least in the case of Syria and Iran, our media would helpfully provide a heroic narrative of freedom-loving young people fighting tyranny. But somehow, that doesn't happen so much in these cases. I wonder why.

#865 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2011, 03:12 PM:

Kip W. @777: Also, check if the legs are detachable-reattachable (probably don't want to chance the former without verifying the latter, ahem).

Might simplify things?

#866 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2011, 03:20 PM:

joann @792: HLN: If there's anything more small-scale humiliating than waking up with hiccups and scaring the cat, local woman doesn't want to know what it is.

Being startled when your human does something inconsequential like coughing, and giving yourself hiccups?

This happens to my guinea pigs on a moderately regular basis.

A guinea pig with hiccups is a very silly sight, indeed.

#867 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2011, 03:40 PM:

The Me who is Not Me @818: Whew! ::shudder::

Went through a patch not dissimilar to that a few years ago. First time in my life I ever experienced anxiety-induced anorexia. Don't recommend it.

No specific recommendations to offer, just good wishes.

#868 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2011, 04:27 PM:

nerdycellist: your roommate likes Scottish Folds?

#869 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2011, 05:01 PM:

Xopher @834 & Serge @837: Actually, unless I miss my guess, that top box is the one that Nikki grabbed to ship the Boulder contribution in.

#870 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2011, 05:03 PM:

Jacque @865: The legs are always detachable, and it's been part of the plan from the start, but thanks for thinking of it.

Me…not me: Best of luck, and be sure to follow up on the suggestions people have made. It's possible, on proof of fraud, to get things fixed, but you basically have to push it all through yourself, as I understand it.

#871 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2011, 05:14 PM:

The Me who is Not Me @835: Just occurred to me; in addition to the "produce the note" advice above, some states require that property foreclosures go through a state office. In Colorado, it's the Public Trustee's office. You might check if your location has a similar requirement (your local tax assessor's office would be a place to start inquiry). If such an office does exist, they probably can't give you legal advice, but they might be able to give you some practical advice, as well as pointers to advocacy groups.

#872 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2011, 05:26 PM:

Jacque, 869: Right! The big box couldn't hold them all, so the overflow is in the smaller one.

#873 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2011, 05:36 PM:

TexAnne (872)/Jacque (869): I believe Xopher and Serge were referring to the flat "box" (computer) on top of the two shipping boxes.

#874 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2011, 05:52 PM:

Mary Aileen: Oh, right. Sorry, my higher functions are completely occupied by _Digger_; yesterday I decided it would be the perfect displacement activity, and now I can't stop.

#875 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2011, 09:41 PM:

TexAnne @ 874.. Need an Intervention?

#876 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2011, 09:44 PM:

Serge, 875: Nooooooo, the Wounded Heroic Hero is about to heroically to buy time for everybody else to save the world!

#877 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2011, 10:12 PM:

Yup. TexAnne does need an Intervention. Sad.

#878 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2011, 10:27 PM:

Serge: Nope, I'm done!

#879 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2011, 11:11 PM:

Mycroft@846: And he called me back today suggesting that we might play again. (Possibly as early as this coming Saturday, depending on how his pro date schedule works out.) I'm chuffed.

#880 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2011, 11:13 PM:

TexAnne @ 878... "I can quit any time I want!"

#881 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2011, 02:25 AM:

I have a weakness for books on writing, and have more of them than any rational being should. That being said, one of the few I've ever given away was a book on writing created from audiotapes of a class on writing taught by Ayn Rand...

#882 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2011, 02:42 AM:

Jacque @869: Niki has no memory of precisely what box got grabbed to do what with at this stage, so I'm glad y'all were able to work it all out. At some point paper got pasted over previous addresses on the box so that it wouldn't get sent somewhere it wasn't meant; I hope that didn't cause confusion.

Very glad to hear cranes got where they were going!

#883 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2011, 02:45 AM:

Are going. Cranes are going where they are going. Not got. Friday will have been got.

...It made sense in my head.

#884 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2011, 03:18 AM:

Check out the latest Google Doodle. Point your cursor at the horizontal lines and drag down. If you feel adventurous, click the black button at the bottom and record your efforts.

It's to celebrate Les Paul's birthday. He'd have been 96 June 9th.

#885 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2011, 10:26 AM:

Linkmeister - how do you access Google Doodle? All I found was a list of holiday graphics.

#886 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2011, 10:34 AM:

A Civil Contract, followed by Frederica, have me firmly in the Heyer camp (followers?). I picked up Charity Girl at the library yesterday. Should I stop while I'm this far ahead?

Next will be to party with Aubrey/Maturin for the fourth or fifth time.

#887 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2011, 10:59 AM:

Carol Kimball (885): Just go to Google. The 'doodle' is what replaces the regular logo on special occasions.

#888 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2011, 11:03 AM:

Duh! Thank you, Mary Aileen.

The Me...

I've been thinking about you and hoping things lift. Your courage and willingness to keep going are inspiring.

#889 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2011, 12:34 PM:

TexAnne, you *have* read Ursula Vernon's Regency-with-ninjas pieces, haven't you?

#890 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2011, 01:06 PM:

Lila: I have! That's what reminded me of Digger.

#891 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2011, 01:20 PM:

When I read 'Digger', I usually think of the toy Digger the Dog, which probably betrays how old I am.

#892 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2011, 01:24 PM:

Me who is not Me:

All good thoughts, as expressed by others, and I agree that bits of this sound very fishy: If the bank did not *actually* send the legally required notice to your attorney of record on time, they might be committing a fraudulent sale. IMHO, you need an attorney who will aggressively raise that point, because it certainly appears many banks are frequently doing that kind of thing because it's less work, and assuming nobody will call them on it. Ditto if they are trying to foreclose on you without actually holding the title and being able to prove it, possibly also if there wasn't an actual foreclosure hearing at which you had the opportunity to appear. Moreover, if the mortgage broker misrepresented the nature of the loan you signed for, or didn't fully represent it, since they were acting on behalf of the bank - as an "agent" in the legal sense - the bank may have had "dirty hands" at the outset which limits what action they can take against you. With a lawyer who is willing to aggressively raise questions like this, it is possible you might at least get them to think twice about foreclosing and end up settling for that loan modification.

Maybe this is already covered by Process X and Process Y you've looked into; maybe it costs money you don't have; but maybe you can find an attorney who is willing to set up a payment plan. I'm not trying to suggest you're ill-informed or have skipped something, I'm just throwing out ideas, because your situation sounds horrible and I can easily imagine myself there. I had to leave a relatively steady job at the company I founded about 6 years back, and although my wife was still well-employed and I found contract work and things worked out fine for me, it could very easily have gone differently. Hell, these days I worry that some bank will try to foreclose on us without our having even been late on a payment because that has happened to people too.

Here's something I stumbled on recently which might make you laugh, despite your present sense of desperation, and might give you some hope, whether it turns out to be realistic or not:
"Could It Be That the Best Chance to Save a Young Family From Foreclosure is a 28-Year-Old Pakistani American Playwright-slash-Attorney who Learned Bankruptcy Law on the Internet? Wells Fargo, You Never Knew What Hit You."

#893 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2011, 01:26 PM:

Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little @882-3: Very glad to hear cranes got where they were going!

I believe the tense you're groping for here is the future perfectly plausible.

At some point paper got pasted over previous addresses on the box so that it wouldn't get sent somewhere it wasn't meant

But we didn't paper over the big black letters that said "Braille paper." If memory serves. My hindbrain says I recognize that box. My forebrain admits to nothing.

#894 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2011, 01:29 PM:

Serge! Drop what you're doing and go here.

You're welcome.

#895 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2011, 01:31 PM:

Jacque, Nicole: Yes, I re-reused your "Braille paper" box.

#896 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2011, 01:47 PM:

The Me who is Not Me: Addendum to my @871: Colorado also has something called Declaration of Homestead which, if I understand correctly, prevents (within limits) your home from taken from you. Your location may have something similar.

#897 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2011, 01:48 PM:

TexAnne @ 894... must... resist...

#898 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2011, 01:54 PM:

Carol Kimball @886 (and also Xopher, back wherever it was)--I would speak up for The Talisman Ring (which has two couples, one pair Terribly Romantic, the other--not) and The Toll Gate--both these have Adventure!, as does The Quiet Gentleman--as well as False Colours (the supporting cast is outstandingly amusing here), The Unknown Ajax, and Faro's Daughter.

I think in Venetia the Wicked Rake is not so much as Reformed By Love as tired and ready to settle down. I'm also apparently one of the few here who don't find The Reluctant Widow all that dreadful; the female lead is pushed somewhat, but she is more or less ready to go along with being pushed. Please don't kill and eat me for this.

#899 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2011, 03:09 PM:

HLN: Local man struggles to type 'NYBC' as the abbreviation for 'New York Blood Center', and not 'NYCB', which is quite another organization.

"Amusing as it is to contemplate what would happen if the two organizations were to merge," he says, "it's still important to keep them separate. Well, I guess not amusing so much as horrific."

Blood Ballet? Donor Dances? Enquiring minds want to know.

#900 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2011, 03:16 PM:

Mentioned hypothetical cat research to absent roommate in email; am told that perhaps 2nd dog would be better idea.

In related news...

This morning I got up a half hour early so I could be home in time to properly feed/walk/pet the dog and feed self before jaunting off to rehearsal tonight (that public transit takes 50 min to accomplish what could otherwise be done in 15 is one of the reasons I'm going to be yet another a-hole in a car next year), dog refuses to eat breakfast, wants more bellyrubs. When bellyrubs are completed, dog barfs bile ever so gently on her blanket (not fed soon enough I guess) has to be further coaxed and coddled into drinking and eating. Dog then takes forever and a half to do the necessary outside, dawdles in front of elevator, demands more attention to compensate for missing servant monkey. I get out the door only 12 minutes earlier than normal. Consider taking dog to rehearsal this evening, as she is apparently at the edge of her tolerance for benign neglect, and I fear coming home to either more puke or some heretofore unknown behavioral issue. (the first time roommate was out of town, dog ate plastic buckle off collar.)

Oh yes, frequent conference-going roommate, another dog is certainly MORE CONVENIENT than a cat.

#901 ::: Rymenhild ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2011, 03:18 PM:

@898 Fidelio: In Venetia the Wicked Rake was never that interested in being rakish in the first place. He just thought he didn't have other choices. Meanwhile, the Innocent Heroine may not have life experience, but she's read widely enough to be less innocent than she looks.

Quiet Gentleman has always been one of my favorites, but I know several people who severely dislike it.

The one I can't abide is Cousin Kate.

#902 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2011, 03:40 PM:

nerdycellist @900:* Mentioned hypothetical cat research to absent roommate in email; am told that perhaps 2nd dog would be better idea.

Obvious solution: split the difference and get a cheetah.

#903 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2011, 03:40 PM:

* Oops.

#904 ::: Steve C ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2011, 03:50 PM:

Jacque @ 902 -

The trouble with kittehs is that they grow up. :)

#905 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2011, 04:00 PM:

nerdycellist @900:
that public transit takes 50 min to accomplish what could otherwise be done in 15 is one of the reasons I'm going to be yet another a-hole in a car next year.

Perhaps you could be yet another not-a-hole in a car? We need more of them on the roads: they raise the average, lower the blood pressure, and generally improve everyone's day.

(Had a lovely fellow turn across my path while I was biking home yesterday evening. I had right-of-way, but he was in a panel van and making too oblique a turn to have very good visibility. I was just preparing to stop when he caught sight of me. He braked, and his face had such a charming combination of sheepishness and kindness that I could not but smile. Which caused him to smile. And we both went our several ways, improved by the encounter.)

#906 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2011, 04:04 PM:

abi -

I will try. I've been a pedestrian and public transit rider here for nearly a decade, so I think I have some empathy. Also, I've noticed when I do borrow my roommate's car I have a tendency to drive a bit like the stereotypical "old lady". I just feel a bit hypocritical cheerleading transit usage while simultaneously saving money for a personal vehicle. (which will allow me to walk the dog on my lunch so we don't have to pay the dog-walker anymore. I really should be allowed to choose the next pet.)

#907 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2011, 04:06 PM:

Xopher @899: In the Balanchine era, I thought most of the women at NYCB looked like a vampire's victims, given their overall paleness and a cultivated air of fragility. Or possibly like Dracula's Brides; Karin von Aroldingen was a predator!

#908 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2011, 04:11 PM:

nerdycellist @906:
It is a bitter fact of life in many places that a car is a necessity, or so near to one as makes no difference whatsoever.

The solution is to do what you can, and try to change the circumstances that make it a necessity. Vote for better public transit, take it when it's feasible, be aware of and careful of cyclists and pedestrians.

#909 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2011, 04:33 PM:

Steve C @904 -

Do you think using the "squirt bottle method" of cat training on those kitties would result in...

a.) Cheetahs who know to stay off the counter


b.) getting your leg eaten off?

I've heard that there are numerous behavioral differences between domestic dogs and wolves, but the only difference between cats and wild cats is size. I love cats, but I find the idea of a 300 lb house cat pretty terrifying.

#910 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2011, 04:45 PM:

fidelio, #898: Venetia also includes one of my all-time favorite conversational exchanges:

Damerel: [My aunts] drew me a very moving picture of the advantages of becoming regularly established.

Venetia: I can see they did -- it moved you all the way to Yorkshire!

Generally speaking, I tend to prefer the novels with older heroines, women who for one reason or another are considered "on the shelf" but still find a life-partner in the course of the story. There are exceptions, of course (in both directions).

nerdycellist, #900: This is precisely why we have cats rather than dogs; we travel a lot, and dogs are simply too high-maintenance. And if you're the one stuck with doing most of the maintenance, this seems to be a perfectly reasonable place to take a stand.

#911 ::: Steve C ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2011, 04:50 PM:

Nerdycellist @ 909 -

I don't think it's an experiment I'd like to try...:)

As I understand it, domestic adult cats stay in sort of a state of arrested kittenhood, where they see the people as the leaders. I've heard that lions raised since infancy by people don't bite limbs off, so I guess that's a trait that felines share.

#912 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2011, 06:21 PM:

Steve C @904: But then, so do dogs.

#913 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2011, 06:38 PM:

nerdycellist @ #909, there's a conversation in Helen MacInnes's Decision at Delphi in which the (Wyoming-born) heroine finds cats winding around her legs under a table in a Greek taverna. The hero notices her discomfort and asks "Don't you like cats?"

She responds "Yes, but I keep thinking 'what if they grew to the size of horses?'"

#914 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2011, 07:34 PM:

Open threadly:

Last weekend we took a day trip to Salem, OR (backwards famed in moral and story) to celebrate the birthdays of our younger son and daughter-in-law1. We spent several hours walking around Schreiner's Iris Garden, where discovered that our fears that the blooms would all be past their prime were unfounded: the weather this year has delayed blooming enough that many of them were just opening.

I shot over 100 frames, and put the best of them up on Flickr. Enjoy.

1. In our family, including in-laws oddly enough, most of the birthdays occur in a period of just over 2 months between the beginning of June and the second week of August.

#915 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2011, 07:47 PM:

"Complete history of DC retcons" isn't.

It omits the rationalization of the Shazam! TV show with the comic book.

i e creators were under pressure to make the comic like the TV show (in which show Billy and his older friend Mentor travel the country in a Winnebago) and they did that by deciding that Uncle Dudley was the same person as Mentor.

Another piece of useless trivia brought to you by the Useless Trivia Foundation.

#916 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2011, 08:24 PM:

wasn't there some film clip of one-armed boy and lion in a circus act together?

#917 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2011, 10:53 PM:

@904: I want one! I blame the half bottle of wine.

#918 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2011, 11:37 PM:

Steve, #904: I am so torn between "KITTY! WANT!" and having been told that you can't truly domesticate the big cats, so that having one as a pet is always risky. ISTR that there was some C&W singer whose child was killed by a pet ocelot, and that's not even a big cat! But OMG those cheetahs are adorable!

#919 ::: etv13 ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2011, 03:07 AM:

fidelio @ 898 -- I really like The Reluctant Widow. The opening with Elinor arriving by stagecoach at night is really atmospheric, and there's a nice blend of comedy (e.g., Nicky and his dog), governess-gothic, and adventure. Not to mention the way Carlyon makes his really outrageous scheme seem perfectly sensible and reasonable.

Thinking about Carlyon's relationship with his siblings makes me think: Heyer generally shows sibling relationships in a very positive light. Frederica and her family, Freddy Standen and his, Arabella and hers -- the instances of siblings being seriously at odds with each other, or even less than affectionate, are relatively rare.

Which leads me to Rymenhild @901: I also really like The Quiet Gentleman. Drusilla is smart and practical and unintimidated by Lady St. Erth, and she completely deserves Gervase. Who, it occurs to me, is the male counterpart of Venetia, down to the golden hair -- except that The Quiet Gentleman is quite a different kind of story.

#920 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2011, 03:16 AM:

One exception to the "good sibling relationships" (but an example of the "on the shelf heroine" set) is Lady of Quality, where Geoffrey is forever trying to control Annis' independence. One really does understand how she ends up falling for someone who treats her like a sentient adult.

#921 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2011, 07:30 AM:

abi @ 920... the shelf heroine

"Yes, my name really is Tabula Rasa Butterworth. Why do you ask?"

#922 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2011, 08:19 AM:

another dog is certainly MORE CONVENIENT than a cat.

Next weekend, my boyfriend and I are both going to be out of town from Friday morning through Monday afternoon. We've arranged for a friend to come in, check on the cats, and refill water and whatnot as required--but if no one could do it, it'd be perfectly feasible to fill the kibble dispenser and the water, and scoop out the litterbox, and they'd be fine, if miffed, when we got home. This trick wouldn't work with dogs. I will happily provide your roommate with testimonials on this subject, if you like. :)

having been told that you can't truly domesticate the big cats

It's not so much that you can't as that no one has. From the Russian fox experiment, it only takes ~20 generations to get a domesticated animal, but no one's kept a line of big cats that long yet. I don't know how many generations Siegfried and Roy's cats have been living with humans; they're probably the closest we've got. I don't think zoo animals really count.

#923 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2011, 09:14 AM:

Lee @ 918--That would be Joe Savage, and it was a leopard. As I recall, Mr. Savage opined that he prefered having the leopard kill the child to having her grow up and become a drug addict.

I have heard that cheetahs are easier to tame than other big cats, as they have such high metabolic rates that they are quick to respond to food rewards.

#924 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2011, 09:26 AM:

My dad had a pierced ear before it was fashionable.

When Dad was very young, he and his folks lived in a tent on someone's farm in Oregon for a while. Ocelots were raised there. One of them put a claw through Dad's ear. I don't think it was just the lobe, either.

The hole, of course, eventually went away, and Dad was never fashionable again.

#925 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2011, 10:05 AM:

"Sorry, Michael Palin, you're not the funniest Palin anymore."

John Cleese about the Other Palin after comparing her to a parrot.

#926 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2011, 12:26 PM:

Fidelio @ 923 -

That's a very strange choice; either on drugs or Dead from Leopard. I personally would rather my ankles be attacked by rats than be killed by a jello salad made with cottage cheese that had e coli, and that makes just about as much sense.

Dog update: I got home early enough to spend sufficient time with feedings, squeakings, walkings, pettings, bellyrubs and butt skritchings. Nevertheless, as soon as I sat down for a quick sandwich, Ardala made a nice little nest in her bed and proceeded to bark pointedly at me. I would have skipped rehearsal, but we have only one week to go before our annual "Follies" fundraiser, so instead I brought her with. She proceeded to charm the hell out of anyone, and then settled down to fart through one of the anthems we're doing this month. As much as I agree with her about that particular setting of "Holy Holy Holy", it was still pretty embarrassing.

I think the key to the "a dog would be easier" argument is for me to leave Ardala with the roommate for a week. Unfortunately, my vacation is less generous and I do not go to work-related conferences, so it would be rare for me to get that kind of time off. I'm still thinking of it. The Roommate, despite having grown up with dogs, has less tolerance for Ardala's shenanigans. Whether her increasing frustration with the little monster pushes her over to the CAT side, or just convinces her one pet is enough has yet to be seen.

#927 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2011, 12:41 PM:

Xopher @899: Blood Ballet? Donor Dances? Enquiring minds want to know.

Not NYC, but the Royal Winnipeg Ballet participated in something along that line.

#928 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2011, 12:42 PM:

The problem with John Cleese referring to SP as a parrot is that Fatherland Security might consider that a death threat. If they had a sense of humor....

#929 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2011, 12:59 PM:

Tom Whitmore @ 928... Because of Norwegian Blue parrots pining for the fjord?

#930 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2011, 02:37 PM:

nerdycellist @923--yeah, it sounded that way at the time too. Local reaction was perhaps not as positive and supportive as Mr. Savage and his wife might have expected. Although plenty of people in the greater Nashville area would have been distressed to have a child become a drug addict, having said child die in childhood from being attacked by a large dangerous animal kept by the parents did not (and does not, even now) sound like a good alternative.

Ardala might fuss less if she had another critter to hang with. Dogs often are happier in a group, even if that group is not all dogs.

My feeling is that if your roommate is not going to do an equivalent amount of pet care, her vote has less weight. I admit to prejudice in this matter; of the two dogs and six cats we currently have, I introduced exactly one into the domestic economy (although in fairness, I must admit that one dog and at least one cat came when my roommate's mother had to move into an assisted-living facility that doesn't take pets) and yet I do most of the work involved in looking after the cats.

#931 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2011, 02:54 PM:

The Me Who Is Not Me: I second the good wishes, and wish to stress that Bankruptcy Is Not Failure. Look up the history of "Jubilee," for example.

Good luck with everything. I can't add to the advice already given.

#932 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2011, 03:44 PM:

There's now an open thread 159.

There's a soda and cake, and hummus for the grown-ups.

#934 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2011, 11:30 AM:

@917 & 918: A former coworker makes a lifework out the results of similar impulses. As bad as it can be for the humans, I think it's fair to say it's usually worse for the cat.

#935 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2011, 11:43 AM:

piste de navigation pour le Fil Ouvert 159

#936 ::: David Harmon sees Chinese spam ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2011, 09:25 AM:


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