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April 30, 2013

Open Thread 183
Posted by Jim Macdonald at 11:50 AM *

Y’know The Bonnie Earl O’ Moray, the guy who gave us Mondegreens?

The question was, “Ye Hielands and ye Lowlands, O, whaur hae ye been?” The answer is, they were off burning Auchindoun. Y’see, the Earl of Moray was a Mackintosh, and Huntly owned Auchindoun. The rest follows.

The Burning of Auchindoun Child #183

Balvenie Castle1 in Dufftown used stones from the ruins of Auchindoun in its construction.

1. Not to be confused with Balvenie Distillery. Rome was built on seven hills / Dufftown stands on seven stills.

For those in search of trivia, the Earl of Huntly was George Gordon, who may well have been the “Geordie”2 of that other ballad.

The Gordons cam, and the Gordons ran,
And they were stark and steady,
And ay the word amang them a’
Was, Gordons, keep you ready.

2. As opposed to some other Geordie.

Continued from Open Thread 182.

Comments on Open Thread 183:
#1 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2013, 06:53 AM:

Everyone planning to go watch the morris dancers in their town at dawn tomorrow?

#2 ::: Tim Hall ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2013, 06:57 AM:

Aren't we putting British Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne in a Wicker Man to save the Brtish economy by appeasing the angry Gods of Economics (Ayn Rand and Karl Marx?).

Makes as much sense as any of his actual policies...

#3 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2013, 07:05 AM:

Well, over here in The Orange Place, we've performed the first stage of our monarch-swap. The Queen's resigned, but the King is about an hour from swearing allegiance to the constitution and accepting the oaths of those of the government inclined to swear allegiance to him.

Republicans are protesting by having concerts and reading poetry in the designated protest areas (which include some of the premier locations in Amsterdam, by the way; this isn't Free Speech Zones out in the boonies).

The rest of us are wearing orange and wishing it were a bit warmer.

#4 ::: oldster ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2013, 07:12 AM:

I remember learning long ago that the town of Auchinleck

is pronounced "Affleck" by the Brits, on the model of "Lester" for "Leicester", "Wooster" for "Worcester", and so on.

I take it that they have probably reduced "Auchindoun" to "Own." An old joke has it that in time they would pronounce "Niagara Falls" as "Niffles."

#5 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2013, 07:16 AM:

And of course, not the same as this Geordie, either!

I must express my gratitude for alerting me of the existence of a Wikimedia collection of the Child ballads, though. Adding to my bookmarks folder...

#6 ::: Rikibeth has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2013, 07:18 AM:

And I even disguised my expression of gratitude, so if it wasn't the link to a Steeleye Span recording, it was punctuation or spacing, I expect.

Shall I pick up bagels for you as well when I go out, o Gnomes?

#7 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2013, 07:45 AM:

Geordie? Of the NCC-1701D? With the air-filter visor?

#8 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2013, 08:13 AM:

Seven hills and Seven Sons perhaps?

#9 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2013, 08:40 AM:

Seven Hills for Seven Brothers?

#10 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2013, 08:47 AM:

I am part of a filk vocal-harmony band called Lady Mondegreen ... of COURSE, we cover the Bonnie Earl in polyphony! (recorded evidence available, but only on our 10-year-retrospective DVD).

I also, when performing with subsets of the group not eligible to be called Lady Mondegreen on the setlist (or with outsiders, but using LMG material), sometimes perform as The Earls Moray.

#11 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2013, 08:50 AM:

abi, please accept my sincere wishes for healing for your country in its time of constitutional crisis. I hope everything is resolved without bloodshed.

#12 ::: Walt ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2013, 08:53 AM:

Why does ML seem to think this thread started on June 30, 2014?

(And in case anyone's interested, Google Reader managed to capture the start of the other Open Thread 183 that Abi started just before this one. Isn't RSS wonderful?)

#14 ::: David Weingart ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2013, 09:32 AM:

I always look on this king/queen/royal things with amusement and interest, since we don't have those sorts of things over here in the Yoosay.

Other than Miley Cyrus, P!nk, Rihanna...

#15 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2013, 10:02 AM:

Hey, folks, no spoilers for the folks back in 2013, okay? Walt, you weren't supposed to notice.

#16 ::: HelenS ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2013, 10:16 AM:

Speak for yourself. I wanna know some stock prices.

#17 ::: Anne Sheller ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2013, 10:20 AM:

No Morris Dancers to be watched, but I do intend to load up the CD player with every version of Kalenda Maia that I possess.

#18 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2013, 10:23 AM:

Who will win the Hugos this year? I mean, aside from the short-form dramatic presentation which will go to "Doctor Who" and nobody needs a Time Lord or a time machine to find that out.

#19 ::: thanate ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2013, 11:00 AM:

I continue to be disappointed that the (at the time I first heard it) otherwise unintelligible Trace Adkins song "Rough and Ready" does not actually include the lyric "Comrade Polecat don't take no crap."

I'm also disappointed that I don't have sufficient genre knowledge of old west song lyrics to do justice to "The Ballad of Comrade Polecat."

#20 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2013, 11:54 AM:

Yeah, I blew it twice over. First I didn't realize Jim had a post tucked away and ready for 183, so made my own. Then I forgot to redate his.

I blame climate change.

#21 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2013, 12:50 PM:

John A Arkansawyer @11:
abi, please accept my sincere wishes for healing for your country in its time of constitutional crisis. I hope everything is resolved without bloodshed.

Thank you. Amsterdam is a scene of chaos and disorder right now. (Also, drunkenness, dancing, street markets and endless, endless orange.) I'm sure a fair few people there will need healing from their hangovers tomorrow.

#22 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2013, 01:01 PM:

Dave Bell @13:

You missed the song everyone here has been talking about: Het Koningslied (the King's Song).

A large portion of my Dutch-language Twitter stream has been dedicated to excoriating this monstrosity. It was composed from suggestions solicited from the public, and is a lapidary example of why language by committee is a byword for awfulness. I'm not actually suggesting that anyone click on the link; indeed, if you have a fighting chance of understanding Dutch, it's actively contraindicated.

The original plan was to have a massed choir perform this at some point today. Then that was scrapped, possibly because the nation doesn't have enough earplugs. Then it was back on, due to simple institutional momentum. But I don't know if it was, in the end, performed, or will simply hang over the memory of the day like a bad smell.

#23 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2013, 01:31 PM:

#7 ::: Serge Broom

Geordie? Of the NCC-1701D? With the air-filter visor?

Air filter?!? It's a banana hair comb! I had a longer version of one of these that, other than the color, was an exact match.

#24 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2013, 01:42 PM:

abi @ 21: Bloodshed bad, bloodshot good!

#25 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2013, 01:55 PM:

Dave Bell @13: Willem is a good name for a King to have.

Even if he's a queen.

#26 ::: Jacque, gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2013, 01:56 PM:

But we have purple oatmeal on offer.

#27 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2013, 01:58 PM:

An English translation of the lyrics to Het Koningslied can be found HERE. Read them if you're feeling brave.

#28 ::: Wyman Cooke ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2013, 02:00 PM:

Abi: "Then that was scrapped, possibly because the nation doesn't have enough earplugs."


Abi's sentence is one of my favorite sentences now.

#29 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2013, 02:11 PM:

Abi @ 21... street markets and endless, endless orange

Place gone to seed again?

#30 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2013, 02:19 PM:

My question/Mijne frage, for the Dutch is what is it like having a king after 123 years of queens (Wilhelmina,* Juliana, and Beatrix)?

* This was a very popular name in Jamaica in the early 20th century. There were quite a few older ladies named "Miss Wilhel" when I arrived there at the end of the 1960s.

#31 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2013, 02:20 PM:

An AKICIML question:

While I was being generally unpleasant about Nice Things and Nice People this week, a long-lost thought surfaced: What is the carbon cost for transporting a bunch of grapes grown locally and trucked to town in an old pickup truck as opposed to one grown in South America and transported in bulk? When I look at a farmer's market that thought passes through my mind.

Does anyone know?

#32 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2013, 02:21 PM:

There are no answers, but the simple fact
that we have asked will make some things more clear
even to those for whom the worlds appear
as cheap illusions, or as the abstract
daubings of visions that might not attract
the subtler gaze. Here in this colder air
what we must ask is that the wise compare
the truths of things and then that they just act.
Not all who reach this place have learnt to look
at the right angles where they might discern
those matters not for ordinary sight,
yet what we find, in not so secret book,
for those who have the time truly to learn
is that there is each day for all some light.

#33 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2013, 02:22 PM:

Tim Hall #2: Give Osborne a 0.3% chance of escaping from the Wicker Man.

#34 ::: Leah Miller ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2013, 02:27 PM:

Speaking of ballads, I recently stumbled upon something that might be of interest to Abi and any other Avengers fans here.

It's a duet, written from the perspective of Tony Stark and Bruce Banner, called Science from the Heart. I spent several days last week absolutely entranced by the vocals, arrangement, and lyrics.

#35 ::: Leah Miller has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2013, 02:29 PM:

Maybe the internet was just not ready for the level of awesome that my link offered. Or maybe I just made a typo.

#36 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2013, 02:29 PM:

abi @22

I was aware of that piece of music. I was taking steps to avoid it. Bloody long ones!

#37 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2013, 03:02 PM:

Fragano @30:

I don't think it's going to feel any different. It will be a relief not to have to remember how many n's are in Koninginnedag (it'll be Koningsdag from next year...moving a WHOLE FOUR DAYS from 30 April to 26 April.)

But we shouldn't get too used to it. Willem-Alexander's eldest child is a girl (she's Fiona's age). So in 30 or so years, we'll be back to a queen for another generation.

#38 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2013, 03:07 PM:

Leah Miller @ #34, that is indeed excellent! Science Bros FTW.

#39 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2013, 03:18 PM:

John A Arkansawyer #31.

I believe that Chilean grapes come to the US by air freight, in which case the carbon cost is non-negligible and combined with trucking within the US might well exceed that from the local farmer's truck.

For products that come by container ship (like NZ apples and lamb) the long-distance freight emissions are usually minor and can easily be outweighed by lower-carbon growing.

#40 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2013, 03:19 PM:

And the difficulty of answering this sort of question is exactly why we need carbon pricing.

#41 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2013, 04:31 PM:

Leah, #34: Downloaded, and added to my "Comics" and "Media" filk playlists. I just wish their voices were a little less similar.

#42 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2013, 04:33 PM:

HLN: Local woman finishes stuffed two-headed calf, inspired by a discussion here of same.

#43 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2013, 04:50 PM:

Why am I suddenly possessed of an image of a two-headed spherical cow? (Which then inescapably morphs to Pushmepullyou style.)

#44 ::: Cygnet ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2013, 04:50 PM:

Elliot @ 10 -- I followed your link and found a trip down memory lane. It's amazing how small fandom is sometimes! I haven't spoken to Batya in a LONG time (late 90's?), but she was a brilliant writer and all around awesome person.

#45 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2013, 04:57 PM:

Jacque (43): Ha! You can't chutney me with that. ;) A two-headed spherical cow would just have a face on both sides, I think. On the other hand, I've already made a pushmi-pullyu.

#46 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2013, 05:00 PM:

David Gerrold just launched a Kickstarter for a new series based on his "Star Wolf" novels. DC Fontana is involved. Details can be found HERE.

#47 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2013, 05:08 PM:

thomas @ 39/40: What put my onto this line of thought most recently was helping put on a workshop about organic farming. There was a long description of all the different stuff they had shipped in from all sorts of places to build their soil for some crop or another. If my memory is correct, there was volcanic pumice involved. I got to wondering whether this was ecological or eek!-no-logical.

#48 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2013, 06:24 PM:

Jacque @43: I imagine the surface tension would inexorably spread the heads around evenly. (help me, what is wrong with my brain?)

#49 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2013, 07:37 PM:

Cally @27, I swear to ghod that I read one line of that dreadful thing as "I'll wear a banana with your name!" And all I could think was "bananas aren't orange...."

#50 ::: Susie ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2013, 07:55 PM:

Tom @1 et al.:

Those bereft of a local morris side may follow some of tomorrow's escapades via the CDSS blog.

In Ann Arbor, Michigan, the traditional location is Nichols Arboretum: follow the sound of the bells and accordions in from the Geddes Road entrance, anytime from sunup till 7:30ish.

In Princeton, NJ, I assume it's still the Battlefield, by the Mercer Oak, from first light until breakfast.

#51 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2013, 08:02 PM:

Better than a spherical cow with two tails.

#52 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2013, 08:08 PM:

The Duke of Earl of Moray?

#53 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2013, 08:13 PM:

Erik Nelson @ 51 has obviously not been around cows enough.

(Cows are butting animals, not kicking animals, and are amazingly large and strong; the head is the dangerous end.)

#54 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2013, 09:34 PM:

Cassie B @ 49... I'll wear a banana with your name!

Carmen Miranda would.

#55 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2013, 09:36 PM:

Open threadiness: OMG you guys, the Russians are taking the Olympic Torch on a spacewalk!

This may eclipse my previous favorite Torch incident, the torch lighting in Barcelona (best bit @ 4:25).

#56 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2013, 09:56 PM:

Lila @55, thanks for both of those. I love the symbolism of the torch relay.

I think I'm going to have to apply the tactics of Being a Fan of Problematic Things to my fondness for the Olympics.

#57 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2013, 09:57 PM:

@34 Leah Miller

I don't suppose anyone here posts on Whedonesque? Joss Whedon has been know to Enthusiastically Approve of this sort of thing...

#58 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2013, 11:56 PM:

xkcd1190 is still running - that was a scene-changing-fade.

#59 ::: Cygnet ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2013, 01:20 AM:

#53 SamChevre -- I dunno, the first and last time I tried to help a neighbor with a cow in labor, I ended up with a bruise the size of cow's hoof in the middle of my thigh. At least you can stick the head in a stock.

I've resolved to stick with goats in the future. The bruises are smaller.

#60 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2013, 02:20 AM:

abi@22 (and Cally Soukop@27) - Oh, dear. Too silly for words. It was already a train wreck before breaking into rap in the middle; I just had to stop.

But if you don't have enough earplugs, you can fall back on drinking beer in self-defense.*

(*Beer has been used in self-defense before. When the Dutch were invading the Swedish colony later known as Delaware, the Swedish fort had run out of ammo, so they rolled a beer-barrel down the hill at the Dutch. It did not succeed at scaring away the Dutch, so they surrendered.)

#61 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2013, 02:28 AM:

I'll be watching Morris dancers in the next town over tomorrow (although I suppose by the reckoning of the period, it's already May Day, being after sundown tonight.) The Deer Creek Morris Men, Mad Molly, and any guests they may have this year dance at the Palo Alto Baylands; they tried a traditional hilltop location their first year, but it was too cold and windy up there, and it's pretty down by the bay. There's a sculpture locally known as Concretehenge.

#62 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2013, 05:13 AM:

I love the way linguists have continued the tradition of naming mistakes after examples.

As well as mondegreens, there are Cupertinos, crash blossoms, eggcorns, and probably others.

#63 ::: xegerIsAGnomom? ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2013, 06:48 AM:

... at least it seems plausible -- unfortunately I'm not awake enough to be sure...

#64 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2013, 09:19 AM:

MST3K's Frank Conniff pointed out that today is the 10th anniversary of "Mission Accomplished".
I still have my Commando Codpiece action figure.
I should probably place it next to my Ebonite Inquisitor action figure.

#65 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2013, 09:34 AM:

May Day is Labor Day, in lots of places that aren't the US--but it started here, with the May 1, 1886 parades and demonstrations supporting the eight-hour workday.

Right after that came the Haymarket Riot in Chicago, and the martyrdom of, among others, Albert Parsons, the most unlikely Confederate veteran ever.

#66 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2013, 09:37 AM:

Abi #30: Ease of spelling is one benefit I hadn't thought of.

Only three decades or so of having a king before going back to the norm of having a queen? The Dutch are much more a queendom than a kingdom it seems to me (they were reigned over by kings from 1815 to 1890, rather less time than 1890 to 2013; if Koning Willem-Alexander lasts to 2043, he will not redress the balance, and his daughter will extend the period of queenly rule significantly). They might as well rename it the Koninginnenrijk van de Nederlanden and have done.

#67 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2013, 09:47 AM:

In re Fragano Ledgister @66--He shoots! He scores!

#68 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2013, 09:53 AM:

fidelio: "Eight hours for work, eight hours for sleep, eight hours for what we will." Well, we can't have THAT, clearly! It would (somehow magically) destroy civilization!

#69 ::: Theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2013, 10:14 AM:

The Eel of Moray?

#70 ::: Theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2013, 10:20 AM:

Dave Bell @ #7: Seven Hills for Seven Brothers?

Well, since the musical was based on Stephen Vincent Benet's "The Sobbin' Women", which in turn was based on the legend of the Rape of the Sabine Women, yeah.

#71 ::: Theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2013, 10:21 AM:


Hooray, hooray!
It's The First of May!

#72 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2013, 11:10 AM:

The eye, without looking directly at an object
Can change it to something else, something desired.
Thus, a notebook just outside of one's focus
Shifts within its outlines and acquires substance here and there
And becomes, say, a slim tortoise-shell cat;
Relaxed, alert with momentary interest
Shining green eyes focus for a few seconds,
Before shifting attention changes fur back to plastic
And the illusion is gone.

In the same way, a foot, detecting a minor weight in the night
Might suppose it to be the full pressure of a compact, self-willed body
And expect a night like many others
Vainly seeking the last inches of rest
Only to find that the apparent burden
Was a momentary illusion; ounces and grams piled just so
And there is, after all, no limit or constraint now
On the freedom of my toes to fidget in the dark
Searching for that weight.

And at all times, the ear rushes ahead of a sound commencing
And reshapes it as something else;
Thus an electronic peep or the squeak of an unseen gear
Might seem the onset of a wordless voice
Whose two-note song's rising inflection sounds
Like a question lacking language.
The illusion quickly resolves itself
To the noises made by artificial processes in an empty house
Requiring no reply.

#73 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2013, 11:18 AM:

Lila @ 68--Pretty much what people like George Pullman, Andrew Carnegie, Henry Clay Frick et al. thought and said at the time.

#74 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2013, 12:47 PM:

Many days, one date.

Among others, it's Victims of Communism Day. (Explanation outsourced to Ilya Somin at the link.)

(Fertility, the 8-hour day, and victims of communism is a bit of a hodge-podge, but there's good reasons for all three.)

#75 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2013, 01:30 PM:

SamChevre@ 74: I think I'll go on celebrating International Workers' Day.

But it is in a tradition I'm fond of: What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?

#76 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2013, 02:44 PM:

'Illusion of Cat'?

#77 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2013, 04:14 PM:

An additional advantage to the post-coronation reality that I hadn't really expected...

I was at a Dutch-speaking party this evening. I said something about how my Dutch wasn't all that hot, and mentioned my accent as one of my failings.

"It's no worse than the Queen's," my interlocutors replied. And you know what? They're right, both in detail and in general thrust. She does have an accent in Dutch. And she is, by her very existence as an immigrant, making everyone rethink what it really means to be Dutch.

I told my daughter on the way home that if her classmates go back to teasing her for "not being Dutch", she should tell them she's as Dutch as the Queen. Should give them something to think about.

#78 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2013, 04:59 PM:

Morris, Shmorris. It's dumping snow on Boulder. Summer is icumin in, my foot.

#79 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2013, 06:06 PM:

Hey! This is an entirely reasonable Boulder spring. Have you already forgotten the first half of the week? Slept with my windows open Sunday and Monday nights.

Store clerk: "Where I come from, I'm used to having seasons."

Me: "We have seasons. We just have them all stirred together."

#80 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2013, 06:35 PM:

Word balloon for the Sophie Particle: "Oo! OO! YUM! MINE! MINE! Gimme!"

I've had guinea pigs who react that way to some flavors of medicine. The catch, of course, is that they don't realize they need me on the other end of the syringe to make it go.

#81 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2013, 06:48 PM:

Kip W @72 - condolences. (And appreciation.)

#82 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2013, 07:11 PM:

Rats react like that - at least, some rats do - to vanilla-flavored protein-drink powder.

#83 ::: Leah Miller ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2013, 07:33 PM:

First, a driveby AKICWML query:
I'm looking for a quote by a writer. They're saying that every writer needs to simultaneously believe their work is genius (so they finish it) and crap (so they're capable of accepting rejection.) I know I've seen it reference here, but the words involved are so nonspecific that it's proving impossible to google.

Second, replies!
I'm glad people liked the link. I've never really been into filk before, but now I might have to go down yet another fandom rabbit hole.

Lee, #41 I believe both vocal parts are being sung by the same girl. I'm really fond of the acting she does, and I think she captures both personalities really well... but because it seems that she recorded the piano and main vocals for both voices as one track, and the interjections as another, it's confusing without the annotations. I really wish there were a recording with very slight effects applied to each voice, at least enough to distinguish them. Didn't stop me from listening to it on a loop for several days, though.

#84 ::: Bruce H. ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2013, 08:30 PM:

@ Nicole and Jacque on snow in Boulder

I'm too lazy to look up the numbers, but I suspect we have now had more snow since the equinox than we had all winter before it.

#85 ::: Wyman Cooke ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2013, 08:39 PM:

Jacque @ 79:

The Braves last week went into Denver to face the Rockies. Their first game was snowed out. A sentence not often associated with baseball. They ended up playing a day-night doubleheader on Tuesday. The first game the temperature was 23 F; the evening game was a little warmer.

Amazingly, the Braves won both.

#86 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2013, 10:15 PM:


I am getting first aid training at work, with CPR and AED.

It is your fault.

Thank you.

#87 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2013, 10:25 PM:

#60 Bill Stewart

Rap with snare drums kind of works.

I was reminded of The Least Wanted Music, which includes operatic rap, tuba, cowboy music, bagpipes, children singing, etc.

#88 ::: Cygnet ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2013, 12:56 AM:

Open thread randomness -- I just moved 6 cats, two dogs, and five goats from Hidden Valley, AZ to a remote community east of Payson, AZ, with my father's help. We also cleared out my storage unit. I'm TIRED tonight, LOL!

I'm disabled and I'm moving into a fifth wheel on my folk's property. (I'm to the point where I can't maintain a home by myself.)

Moving in with my folks is a good thing. I love my dad and stepmommy and the trailer is gorgeous. It's basically like living in a one bedroom apartment. Though as my stepmother says, you know you're a redneck when you have to scrape the price tag off your new home ...

My whole zoo survived the move with no major incidents. Some of my animals are seniors, and one of the dogs is a rescue with a past history of trauma, and who is now in his mid teens. I was pretty worried about a few of the animals.

As long as my animals are safe, everything else is gravy.

(I am SO lucky to have my father's help in keeping all my animals. I don't know what I'd do if I couldn't keep my cats and dogs. They're all that get me up some mornings, when the pain is really bad.)

Cats have a way of getting you out of bed when it's feeding time, and big brown puppy eyes and a cold nose work pretty well too. Goats are NOT quiet when they feel neglected. They keep me going. Having family willing and able to help ... that keeps me going too. :-)

Life's good, sometimes.

#89 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2013, 01:01 AM:

I hope you get settled in quickly, Cygnet!

#90 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2013, 08:24 AM:

I'm sitting at home marking papers and this sentence bashed me on the head:
This thesis will future prove the affects that tourism has on native Hawaiian culture and policies that support tourism and it negative impacts it has on native Hawaiians.

#91 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2013, 08:41 AM:

Fragano... Ow.

#92 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2013, 10:14 AM:

It's May. Why is the wind blowing?

#93 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2013, 11:00 AM:

A bit of Open-Thready self-interest, for the attention of any Liaden readers who may happen to be here:

I have decided that I am going to re-read all the novels and stories set in the Liaden Universe, in chronological order.

Phase 1 is everything-up-to-Balance of Trade, with the plan of having it finished just as Balance of Trade's sequel comes out.

Before that, however, comes Phase 0, which is coming up with a practicable definition of "chronological order" for a milieu where stories can overlap as much as four deep.

I have created a space for discussion. Any assistance you may give would be appreciated.

#94 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2013, 11:03 AM:

Time to quote what one of the copyeditors at The New Yorker told Brenden Gill: "If you tapped this sentence at one end it would never stop rocking."

#95 ::: Paul A. has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2013, 11:03 AM:

Yes, I know, the gnomes don't trust links to blogs.

*bows to gnomes, guest-to-adult-of-the-House, and offers strawberry cheesecake*

#96 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2013, 02:25 PM:

Okay, I'm sorry, but I have to brag for just a moment:

Yesterday, I wrote possibly my best one-liner ever.

#97 ::: little pink beast ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2013, 04:20 PM:

AKICIML: I've been trying to remember the title and author of a book I read as a child. It was set in a city in Germany; the main character was a girl whose widowed father had fallen in love again, only this woman and her son were both cruel and bullying to the girl, so she ran away to live with her aunts disguised as a boy. Eventually it turned out that this woman and her son were in fact the missing statue of one of the Foolish Virgins and the gargoyle that perched over it, come to life and trying to bring back a wicked former ruler of the city. Anyone know what it might have been?

#98 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2013, 08:55 PM:

If anyone can identify it, I want to read what little pink beast asked about.

#99 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2013, 09:23 PM:

HLN: Area woman is pleased to report having received a raise--6 months ahead of schedule based on hire date! Per her department head, raise was suggested by none other than the company's head honcho, the intention being to assist area woman return to financial stability more quickly. (Area woman assumes work is also up to snuff...) No idea if this now precludes anniversary-date raise possibility, but even if so, area woman is extremely grateful for the jump. :)

Area woman is also ridiculously happy to report that she has made arrangements to take up one of her former "hobbies": showing up unannounced at musician friends' out-of-town shows. Said show will be 6:00 PM on June 2, 2013, in San Francisco at a place called the Lost Church; tickets available here. (Not including names of musicians in question in case they have some sort of alert system in place; area woman wishes to maintain surprise factor!) Music-loving Fluorospherians in the area are strongly encouraged to check out the June 2 show in particular, since another friend's band is opening for the main band. If it might become a mini Gathering of Light, so much the better!

Did area woman mention she's ridiculously happy? :D

#100 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2013, 09:38 PM:

Syd, that is magnificent! Congratulations!

#101 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2013, 09:42 PM:

Congratulations, Syd! That's wonderful.

#102 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2013, 09:54 PM:

Yay, Syd!

#103 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2013, 10:22 PM:

little pink beast@97: I think the book you're after is The Wicked Enchantment, by Margot Benary-Isbert.

#104 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2013, 10:23 PM:

Oh Syd, that's great!

#105 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2013, 10:32 PM:

John, #96: I'll second that. Brilliant.

Syd, #99: Yay for good news!

#106 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2013, 10:46 PM:

Good-oh Syd, I was just the other day wondering how things were going.

#107 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2013, 10:53 PM:

Comment seen at SFGate, on L Lohan:
'Give her the Amontillado, and bring me my trowel.'

(There are a few more following that lead.)

#108 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2013, 11:07 PM:

Yay Syd!

#109 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2013, 11:34 PM:

Congratulations, Syd!

#110 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2013, 11:53 PM:

Congratulations, Syd! And have a lovely time at the concert.

#111 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2013, 12:23 AM:

For those who have heard the story of Jane and the Skylark: the dog food version

#112 ::: little pink beast ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2013, 12:42 AM:

Debra Doyle@103: Yes, that's it! Thank you so much!

#113 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2013, 02:04 AM:

Congratulations, Syd - if there is a mini-Gathering of Light come next month, I might be able to make it.

#114 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2013, 03:19 AM:

Oh, Syd, that's wonderful.

(Tiptoes up to possibly-sensitive subject): How are the cats?

#115 ::: David Wald ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2013, 10:17 AM:

Congratulations, Syd. Very good news.

#116 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2013, 10:45 AM:

Yay, Syd! Good for you!

#117 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2013, 11:00 AM:

Yay Syd!

#118 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2013, 08:15 AM:

Syd, adding to the congrats. So glad to hear things are going well.

I just got home from a business trip to San Francisco. Too bad I won't be in town for the concert.

#119 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2013, 08:34 AM:

Yay, Syd!

#120 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2013, 11:52 AM:

Syd: Congratulations!

#121 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2013, 01:58 PM:

Syd - so happy to hear this!

Not-quite-HLN: I was teaching fashion sketching in Boise last weekend and had a Gilbert & Sullivan moment when I was asked to draw a pilot's boot. I'd been staring at the bronze statue in the security queue at the Denver airport a few days before, where Jeppson's boots were at my eye level, and noted the interesting ankle level detail. Unfortunately you can't see that here.

Yeah, yeah, pirate's boots (ARRR!*). Thigh-highs folded over, square toes. Barrie set Hook anachronistically as from James II's court, hence the frock coat, jabot and long greasy curls. I remember because as a kid I had no idea who JII was. I'm not about to reread it as now Barrie creeps me out.

* doubly appropriate

#122 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2013, 03:15 PM:

Over in the Dysfunctional Families thread, there's a mention of PTSD by Proxy, which is usually described as PTSD from seeing someone you're close to get hurt.

It seems to me I've heard of PbP from doing extensive research into atrocities. Is this a real thing?

#123 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2013, 05:10 PM:

It is almost the end of the semester. I am knee deep in final papers with more to come. I have come close to calling the Samaritans a couple of times. Notably when one student wrote that New York City's stop and frisk policy was a violation of the fourteenth, sixteenth, and nineteenth amendmendments to the US Constitution. I am at a loss as to how the NYPD's harassment of young people manages to interfere either with the federal government's ability to tax incomes or with the right of women to vote.

I am also at a loss as to how to deal with these statements:

The City of Atlanta is a major pulse in the U.S. and South Eastern Atlantic Region of the U.S.

The difference in come for Charlestown and Newton is 16% showing that Newton residence earn more than residents in Charlestown.

It is an important piece of literature because she divided it into three different appendixes. I will only cover two of those appendixes because I deemed the other two very important.

#124 ::: Fragano Ledgister is in Gnomistan ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2013, 05:11 PM:

I have tasty dates. Tasty, tasty dates.

#125 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2013, 05:14 PM:

Carol 121: Barrie set Hook anachronistically as from James II's court

What's anachronistic in Never-Never Land? Many of them could have been living there for hundreds of years.

#126 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2013, 05:38 PM:

Fragano (123): I'm pretty sure that second one is trying to say "the difference in income". Then add a comma after the "16%", and it makes a certain amount of sense.

#127 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2013, 05:58 PM:


As you point out, it is Never-Never Land.

Hook also insists that John and Michael swear "Down with King George!" so he's up on current events. It's a "patented 90-year alarm (alarum?) clock" the croc swallows. As far as I can remember, Peter and Tink are the only ones who leave the immediate area around the island. Lost boys do come in - what might they drag along?

I am boggling at this stuff bubbling up.

#128 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2013, 06:03 PM:

Since all of the Georges are after James II/VII, Hook could as easily be thinking of George I as George V.

#129 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2013, 07:27 PM:

Well crap. I just realised I didn't put in for the Starstruck kickstarter after saying I would.

We need new modern penances for new modern sins.

At least they made their kickstarter goal.

#130 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2013, 08:39 PM:

Overheard at the comic book shoppe at Free Comic Book Day:

"If you see something that scares you cover your eyes. Some comics are funny and some are scary so if you see something scary turn your head away."

I tell you, the Free Comics table in that place was CLEANED OUT. There were two dwindling piles left, of mainstreamy superhero titles. No kiddie stuff at all.

The shop was selling Owly and Korgi books way cheap. Good way to get the young'uns hooked.

#131 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2013, 09:16 PM:

Mary Aileen #126: Indubitably. Nonetheless, the sentence as written is enough to give me pause.

#132 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2013, 09:22 PM:

Stefan Jones @ 130: I'm so glutted with comics from Stumptown Comics Fest that I didn't make it to my friendly neighborhood comics shop today. I'm glad to hear they were busy. Kind of remarkable, given the glorious weather we're having!

I finished Howard Cruse's Stuck Rubber Baby yesterday. Wow. The blurb on the cover of the 2005 edition says "Maus, move over; as a great graphic novel, you've met your match." I wouldn't say SRB knocks Maus off its perch, but they both go on a very high shelf.

#133 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2013, 10:52 PM:

Nancy Lebovitz at #122: Supposedly Iris Chang committed suicide because of documenting the Nanking Massacre.

#134 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2013, 12:36 AM:

Hyperlocal news... Local fan sees bumper sticker that makes him think of TexAnne.

"Knitters for Obama"

Of course the 'O' of 'Obama' was a ball of yarn.

#135 ::: Kevin Reid ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2013, 03:06 AM:

Found on the internet: I'm Not A Corpse, But I Play One On TV (Ish). Emergency response practice.

#136 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2013, 09:04 AM:

Nancy Lebovitz @122: Not exactly by proxy, but PTSD has been documented in the Air Force joystick-jockeys who fly those missile-carrying drones. Apparently the brain considers what the thing on the other side of the screen to be sufficiently 'what I did' to react to it the same way as if they were physically present.

#137 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2013, 09:29 AM:

Mary Aileen @ 126: Don't mess with perfection.

#138 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2013, 09:54 AM:

John A Arkansawyer (137): Sorry. My relentlessly clean mind wasn't parsing 'come' as anything but the common verb, the opposite of 'go' (until Fragano's further comment in response to mine). Read that way, that sentence makes no sense whatsoever; I was just trying to make the madness stop.

#139 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2013, 01:41 PM:

As I wrap up marking papers for the weekend (though not, alas, for the semester), I note the following which have caused me to look for the Samaritans' phone number:

In conclusion my hypothesis was proven right that the pole and the government are not doing their jobs to help combat man trafficking.

Politically a nation is trying to accomplish a promising transformation reducing “the vulnerability of a nation”.

I should be required to undergo review if the old methods and laws do not fit a particular case that has been brought forth to the courts.

#140 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2013, 02:23 PM:

Fragano -
I enjoy your grading excerpts, though I spend most of the time while reading them making squinchy faces.

#141 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2013, 03:56 PM:

#136 ::: Elliott Mason

I have a faint memory of someone (Jane Yolen?) at an sf convention talking about the emotional cost of doing Holocaust research.

#142 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2013, 04:52 PM:


Area woman plays cello in public (continuo on Purcell anthem), fails to bring shame to her ancestors. Area woman reminded how much she enjoys playing the cello in general, considers working on that Faure again.

#143 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2013, 05:49 PM:

HLN: local woman goes to see Iron Man 3, is reduced to incoherent burbling. "Be sure to stay after the credits," she advises.

Also: the sun came out. Local residents astounded by appearance of bright light source in the sky, heretofore believed to be legendary.

Re: PTSD, search dogs get it too. They get depressed during recovery operations, and the handlers sometimes take turns hiding so the dogs can "find" a live person.

#144 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2013, 06:14 PM:

Well, I've never before gotten an invitation to participate in a WorldCon program. Unfortunately I'd already decided I wouldn't be attending LoneStarCon (for a variety of reasons). Too late, really, to change my mind now (and the reasons still apply).


Life sucks some more.

#145 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2013, 06:35 PM:

Xopher: oh rats! Here's hoping the invitation will be repeated in a time when you can accept it, and that that will be soon.

#146 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2013, 06:40 PM:

Thanks, Lila. That's my hope.

#147 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2013, 06:43 PM:

Iron Man 3 was a good deal of fun, perfect opening to popcorn season. Dastardly villains, witty, and be sure to stay to till the end of the credits for a really clever Easter Egg.

#148 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2013, 09:31 PM:

What would you say are the prerequisites to seeing Iron Man 3? I assume Iron Man 1 is required, can one get by without having seen 2? Are there any other movies one has to see? What other movies are not really required, but would enhance the experience?

#149 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2013, 09:43 PM:

I would say you need to have seen Iron Man 1 and at least be familiar with the characters and general plot of the Avengers. Iron Man 2 isn't really necessary.

#150 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2013, 10:02 PM:

Seconding Lila's assessment above. I just saw it this morning, and it was a satisfying helping of what I've come to expect from the Marvel movies. And it didn't ping my "all the action sequences need to be cut by 20%" reaction. It felt to me like they broke up the fights with plot bits in the pauses.


#151 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2013, 10:31 PM:

Oh, hearing that it didn't ping the "all the action sequences need to be cut by 20%" reaction just moved it several spaces up on the "might see this" list, as I'd had that exact reaction to The Hobbit....

I've seen Iron Man 1, so it's just a case of seeing the Avengers movie, which I'd been sort of kind of meaning to get around to anyway.

#152 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2013, 10:33 PM:

To clarify, I felt that The Hobbit needed its action scenes cut, not that it didn't. I just realized that one could parse my post either way.

#153 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2013, 10:38 PM:

While I was quite eager to see the LOTR movies, I had a yawn reaction when the Hobbit (first installment) came out. To me, Peter Jackson had already proved he could film the unfilmable novels, and I had a good helping of Middle Earth. Was this story going to be so different?

#154 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2013, 10:55 PM:

I watched IM3 this morning, and thoroughly enjoyed it. The villain-twist was very surprising, and very well played out.

The Easter egg was a goodie. I've come to expect a "things to come" type treat from the big Marvel epics. Avengers and now IM3 broke that pattern.

(The one at the end of the Avengers' credits . . . oh man. There were maybe twelve of us left in the auditorium. Perfectly unexpected, yet somehow unsurprising.)

#155 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2013, 11:00 PM:

Cally, #151: I thoroughly enjoyed the Avengers movie despite not having seen any of the lead-ups to it. And while I was a moderately active comics fan back in the day, the Avengers and their component characters weren't especially high on my list; I had vague background knowledge (which I hadn't much thought about for 20 years, either) and that was about it. So I'd say that if you at least know who the characters are, you'll probably enjoy that one whether you watch any of the Iron Man movies or not.

#156 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2013, 12:21 AM:

Thanks, Lee; that's good to know! And it's nice to have somewhere to ask my hardly-sees-any-movies questions and not get a "you mean you HAVEN'T seen that?" back, but instead get helpful responses!

#157 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2013, 08:18 AM:

The one at the end of the Avengers' credits . . . oh man. There were maybe twelve of us left in the auditorium. Perfectly unexpected, yet somehow unsurprising.)

The bit at the end of Avengers has yet (4? watchings) to fail to make me giggle uncontrollably, despite being a fairly mundane scene.

#158 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2013, 09:15 AM:

Carrie S,

The bit at the end of Avengers has yet (4? watchings) to fail to make me giggle uncontrollably, despite being a fairly mundane scene.

The bit at the end of the Avengers movie inspired a dining location choice after seeing it. (Attempting to be circumspect, here....)

#159 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2013, 09:54 AM:

My favorite Marvel after-credits extra scene has to be the one from Iron Man 2, which does not require having seen Iron Man 2 or any other Marvel movie to enjoy, IMHO. It's an amazing introduction to the character of Agent Coulson in a beautiful little nutshell, and as such seeing it before one sees Avengers may help one enjoy Avengers more (it did for me). Or not. Whatever. :-> It's four minutes of why-I-love-the-Marvelverse-movies, distilled.

The bit right at the end of it is a teaser/setup for Thor, slightly, but not in any way a spoiler.

#160 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2013, 10:39 AM:

Nancy Lebovitz @122--Apparently, therapists dealing with recent war veterans have reported developing PTSD symptoms after listening to a sufficient number of horrendous recollections. That might be a starting point for a google search.

#161 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2013, 10:42 AM:

Elliott, #159: That scene is why my RPG writeup of Coulson (for Fate, a really neat system if anyone's into tabletop gaming) has the Aspect "Crouching Milquetoast, Hidden Badass". :)

Of course it's his Trouble, but hey.

#162 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2013, 12:57 PM:

We just bought Beka a big-girl bed from the thrift store. Dark wood, four-poster, made to accept a canopy, very awesome. $75. We are not made of stone, OF COURSE we bought it.

We got it home, started taking off the tape that bundled the pieces together, wiping down the dust, etc. Right away it became clear that the spindles/posts were hand-turned and carved -- and that our headboard's posts didn't match the footboard's. They're not recent replacements, they all match -- except the finish on the head and foot are slightly different, too. Our current theory is that it was mis-assembled sometime much closer to its original sale.

Why do we think it was originally sold a long time ago? A variety of reasons, including:

-- It was clearly made as fairly cheap furniture. But it was made in ways that NOW are markers for VERY EXPENSIVE furniture, so when it was made, hand-labor was cheaper than machine-turning, etc.

-- The way it goes together is not how furniture goes together nowadays (though it's very intuitive). The side rails slide into metal guides embedded in the posts at head and foot, and there are stamped/branded-into-the-wood numbers discreetly beside them, presumably once matched to assembly instructions in the paper documentation.

-- It had three casters on its feet; the fourth is lost. When we took the other three casters off, we discovered that the wheel part of the caster was MADE OF WOOD. So, again, it was made at a time when wood was significantly cheaper than hard rubber/plastic/whatever. The casters are far better engineered and sturdier than what comes on low-end furniture now.

It has a maker's stamp on it, for Kindel of Grand Rapids, and a model name/number (Oxford 488-B). Kindel's been making furniture since 1901, and some of their stuff is currently listed online in fine-furniture auctions. I can't find anything on the 488-B, so clearly the Kindel fandom is not as pervasive online as, say, Singer sewing machine fandom.

Still, an amazing buy (we just spent as much on a low-end mattress for it as on the bedstead, plus a set of IKEA bed-slats), and we're very happy with it. I'll have to rearrange the kid's whole room to fit it in, but I knew I would. :->

Oh, another odd datapoint: the bed is about 6" longer than the mattress. A different standard 'twin' size, or another sign that it's from before there were such rigid standards?

#163 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2013, 01:11 PM:

Elliott Mason, the extra 6" would accommodate a standard twin-extra-long mattress, now found typically in college dorms and nowhere else. The selection of sheets for them is limited.

Be glad it wasn't built for a 3/4-size mattress. That size was very common in beds the age yours appears to be, and both mattresses and sheets are REALLY difficult to find for them! That size is larger than a twin but smaller than a double. People who do have them often just use full-size flat sheets as both top and bottom sheets.

#164 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2013, 02:09 PM:

Elliott, #162: All hail the Great Goddess Bargainia! That was a SCORE.

#165 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2013, 02:12 PM:

Once upon a time, some trundle beds had a twin mattress on the bottom bed and a long twin on the top one - the legs were straight, instead of being bent out to accommodate the length of the lower bed.

(It's worth noting that cats really enjoyed these beds: a comfortable invisible sleeping place.)

#166 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2013, 02:20 PM:

PJ Evans: Ooooh you are RIGHT, we could totes fit a twin trundle underneath this. Very relevant to our familial interests, especially for any future sleepovers.

#167 ::: estelendur ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2013, 02:22 PM:

*waves hello* Got eated by finals; took a break from studying to pop in and catch up on ML.

Susie @50: omg Ann Arbor! Would that I had been there on May 1, because I could have actually gotten to the Arb, as opposed to the location in $currentcity. As it is, I'll be there (home!) starting the 20th.

Jacque @79: "We have seasons. We just have them all stirred together."
I think this applies to most parts of the US that have snowy winter at this point. (Or perhaps just those proximate to big geography, like the Great Lakes or Rocky Mountains? IANAMeteorologist.) And it is a wonderful phrasing.

John A Arkensawyer @96: Appreciative snaps.

Syd @99: Congratulations!

Fragano: I have a sentence from a long-ago peer review* which is, alas, the only fragment I have of that particular train-wreck of a paper:

Pets among sailors is hard to tell.

Not quite as misbegotten as your excerpts, but, I hope, also entertaining.

* I'm reasonably convinced that the professor gave me that paper to peer-review (it was not symmetric) because he knew I was one of if not the best writer in the class.

Elliot @159: That short is one of the reasons I am completely okay with Coulson's memetic badass status in Avengers fic and love him to pieces. Also 'being that quick-thinking in a crisis someday' seems like not a bad half-joking life goal.

#168 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2013, 02:44 PM:

Estelendur #167: Oh dear me.

#169 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2013, 02:52 PM:

HLN: Local woman has strep for the third time this school year, just in time for a job interview Wednesday. "Well, at least I'll be on the meds for 24 hours before I go," she said.

The woman was heard to say that the universe can leave her alone any day now.

#170 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2013, 03:01 PM:

HLN @ 169... Bleh

#171 ::: oliviacw ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2013, 03:36 PM:

Elliott @ 162 - I actually have seen beds intentionally designed with different turnings at the head and foot, so that could be intentional. However, since you notice a finish difference too, this may not be the case in this case.

#172 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2013, 03:39 PM:

Syd @99: That's really GREAT news - congratulations! One presumes that while the raise may have come early to assist you, it is well deserved.

Enjoy your musical experience.

Paul A. @93: Hm, I may have to match you on that re-read! To let me be be lazy, please could you provide the chronology of the short stories yuo've sorted so far?

Cygnet @88: Very glad to hear that both you and the animals are okay after the move.

Kip W @72: Lovely!

Fragano Ledgister: Sympathies for the mangling of English which you have to deal with!

#173 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2013, 04:03 PM:

oliviacw @171: The difference in both turning and finish is subtle. In fact, when John called my attention to it, I only saw it on the elbow-height bulgy part, where hands would go, and explained it as the footboard being touched more than the headboard -- but he pointed out a similar tonal difference down low on the flat, not-likely-to-be-fondled parts too. Regardless, I definitely find it a plus and not a minus. :->

I took photos of the assembly process so I can blog it.

#174 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2013, 04:14 PM:

Syd @99: That's really GREAT news - congratulations! One presumes that while the raise may have come early to assist you, it is well deserved.

Enjoy your musical experience.

Paul A. @93: Hm, I may have to match you on that re-read! To let me be be lazy, please could you provide the chronology of the short stories yuo've sorted so far?

Cygnet @88: Very glad to hear that both you and the animals are okay after the move.

Kip W @72: Lovely!

Fragano Ledgister: Sympathies for the mangling of English which you have to deal with!

#175 ::: dcb apologises for double-post ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2013, 04:14 PM:

It said it hadn't gone through!

#176 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2013, 04:47 PM:

The OED is crowdsourcing some of its linguistic research, mostly in the area of looking for earlier citations of a word or phrase (or a particular usage of one).

#177 ::: Lee has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2013, 04:48 PM:

Would Their Lownesses care for some BBQ chicharrones?

#178 ::: Cygnet ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2013, 06:56 PM:

#173, Elliot Mason -- they may have stained the pieces as they finished them. Quality control being somewhat less then, one batch of stain may have been slightly different than another.

#179 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2013, 08:41 PM:

Cygnet, #178: Given that color-consistency of stains and dyes is still enough of a problem even now that knitting and crocheting patterns advise you to be sure all your yarn is from the same dye-lot, it could also be that the builder just didn't care (quite possible for a cheap piece).

#180 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2013, 10:05 PM:

Patrick Farley has resurfaced again:

Steve and Steve, as in Wozniak and Jobs.

#181 ::: Cygnet ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2013, 10:09 PM:

Moving update:

Five of six cats have settled in. Cat number six wants the entire world to die slowly in a fire. Since this is close to her normal outlook on life, I'm ignoring the green-eyed calico glares of death from the loft. It's hot up there. She'll come down eventually.

The community I moved to has 24 homes and eight permanent residents (including myself), plus vacation residents and investors. It doesn't have land line phones, and it didn't get power until the year 2000, when a few of the residents got together and put in a power line themselves. The closest paved road is six miles away. The mail box is a mile away.

I just watched a pair of elk cows ("Next Year" and "Cow Tag" -- they're local characters) drift through the trees.

The little girl in me who wanted to run away and live in the woods is thrilled.

(And it has internet! There's a microwave tower several miles away with great high speed service.)

#182 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2013, 10:14 PM:

Princess Bed Update: there are pictures on my flickr feed. Also, it's a 488-B model, but the "Oxford" is part of "Oxford Mah(ogany)", the color.

#183 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2013, 12:55 AM:

dcb @ #172: To let me be be lazy, please could you provide the chronology of the short stories yuo've sorted so far?

The Liaden Wiki has a Timeline which includes all the stories whose ordering is known. I've added a comment on the re-read blog about the remaining stories and where I'm thinking of putting them.

I will of course post a proper list of intended reading order on the blog closer to time.

#184 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2013, 11:27 AM:

re 123: I just hope that my end-of-first-semester German presentation on Richard Wagner didn't sound quite as bad as all that.

re 182: It appears to me that the likely cause of the difference is that, for some reason, the headboard of the bed was refinished, but not the foot. The appearance of the foot is extremely typical of old used furniture of the period; the head picture looks to me as though someone decided it was getting too dull and laid another coat of varnish over the original finish. It's also possible that it originally came in two different finishes, and that what you have is a composite of two different pieces. But it's definitely not just variation from the factory.

#185 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2013, 11:29 AM:

re 176: One could certainly advance the argument that the original OED is the prototype of crowdsourcing projects.

#187 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2013, 11:42 AM:

I've just read Laurie R. Hill's A Letter of Mary. This is the novel in which "Peter" not surnamed, but very obviously Wimsey, makes a brief, but very useful, apppearance. It is strongly hinted that he is on friendly terms with Holmes though they don't actually meet in the novel. Drat. He is promised a chance to see the eponymous "Letter" of the title and is glad to hear that it is a first edition.

Russell also recounts a meeting at Oxford with a rather odd lecturer from Leeds, specialising in Anglo-Saxon, named Tolkien.

#188 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2013, 11:45 AM:

dcb #174: There are reasons why I abstain from hard liquor until marking is over.

#189 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2013, 11:51 AM:

Fragano... Does the writing of those students eventually improve?

#190 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2013, 01:07 PM:

Cygnet @ #181:

Good for you!

#191 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2013, 01:26 PM:

Serge Broom #189: Sometimes it does. In some cases, however, I get them right at the end of their time at university and I can do little to help them improve. I try. But the samples I just provided are from senior theses. In those cases (for example in the case of the student who described Atlanta as a major pulse) it really is too late for anything I can do.

Sometimes, I have students who are very bright but who need a little bit of help to discipline their writing. That is, their minds are going much faster than their fingers can type. Most of the time the problem is that they don't read and, in consequence, don't really know how to produce decent standard expository writing. Fortunately, the students who break "god's peace and the queen's English" are a small minority, but they still represent a cumulative failure of primary, secondary, and university level English teaching to get across the basics of good writing, and their own failure to understand that good writing is something that sells them as skilled people.

#192 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2013, 02:04 PM:

Fragano @ 191... the samples I just provided are from senior theses


#193 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2013, 02:05 PM:

Stop-motion's champion Ray Harryhausen has passed away.

#194 ::: Steve C ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2013, 04:21 PM:

Serge @ 193 -

Damn - I know he was getting on in years, but still. I remember seeing Jason and the Argonauts when I was ten, and how deliciously terrifying those skeleton warriors were.

May he rest in peace.

#195 ::: Steve C was gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2013, 04:22 PM:

Some boneless ribs for the powers?

#196 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2013, 04:55 PM:

You have to love the AP story (as run at SFGate), which includes the line "Though little known by the general public".

#197 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2013, 06:53 PM:

PJ Evans @ 195... Humph. Then again the general public has little memory about anything. What matters is that the people who mattered to him do remember him.

#198 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2013, 07:48 PM:

So I'm excavating my parents' house in preparation for sale, and I found my old mimeo machine from my fanzine days. My parents were weird enough that giving their daughter a mimeo machine for Christmas seemed normal. These were the parents who let me go to my first Worldcon, unaccompanied, at 16. They also gave me a sword and my first harp as Christmas gifts. I found my chemistry set for girls (the 50s were sometimes more enlightened than today) and the castle my brother and I had, with some surviving accessories like a working ballista and little archers that shot teeny little arrows.

My parents were very supportive of my strange interests, but then again, they has some strange interests themselves. (Strange unusual, not strange creepy, I hasten to add.)

Anyone in the Washington DC area want an old mimeo?

#199 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2013, 10:41 PM:

Tracie @197, I don't want your mimeo, but I'd love your childhood....

#200 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2013, 11:04 PM:

Fragano, you're making me flash back to editing an undergrad senior thesis that was so bad that we started to refer to it as the "senior fesis." A horrible amalgamation of "feces" and "thesis," because it really *was* that bad.

Urgh. You'd think that graduating Seniors from Berkeley would have better writing skills than that.

#201 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2013, 11:57 PM:

Open threadiness: I follow Sherman Alexie on twitter*, and today he shared this link Coverflip: Maureen Johnson Calls For An End To Gendered Book Covers With An Amazing Challenge . She challenged her readers to take a well-known book, and design an "alternate gender" cover for it. The webpage has a slide show of some of the the ones she received, and they're very good, and ... awful.

*and recommend doing so. He often tweets about once a day, and is interesting. A good signal-to-noise ratio.

#202 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2013, 12:51 AM:

janetl, #201: I looked at those samples, and then clicked thru to this essay about what it's been like for one woman with a long and distinguished (not that you'd ever hear about it) career in writing. If there is ever going to be a searing indictment of the publishing industry, I think that's it.

#203 ::: Lee has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2013, 12:52 AM:

I'm having serious bad luck with the filters this week.

#204 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2013, 01:08 AM:

Lee @ 202: That's a remarkable story of a writer struggling against sexist discrimination. Kogan is brave to speak out: What I will do, however, is open my kimono and make it personal, though I've been warned not to do this. It's career suicide, colleagues tell me, to speak out against the literary establishment; they'll smear you. But never mind. I'm too old and too invisible to said establishment to care.

But what else would you expect from a war photographer turned writer? Whoops! My mistake. I meant to say "stay-at-home mom", because if you're a writer, and you've reproduced, you must be identified first as a mom. Just like that rocket scientist.

#205 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2013, 02:22 AM:

The BBC reports on the changing legal status of cannabis in Washington State, and one might not notice the significance of the second paragraph.

#206 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2013, 07:39 AM:

Lee @ #202: Wow. Just wow. Contrast that with the treatment of pretty much any male author you care to name.

Dave Bell @ #205, as a 51-year-old, severely underemployed woman, I appreciate the notice. Alas, I am no entrepreneur, and we have far, far less than $20K in savings.

#207 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2013, 08:07 AM:

I think Dave is referring to this paragraph here:

Kimberly Bliss and her wife, Kim Ridgway, have been looking for ways to get back on their feet.

I had to read it twice to catch what he meant. Then I read it a third time just because.

#208 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2013, 10:02 AM:

Then there was the line from the Doctor Who Christmas Special. Madame Vastra says: "Hello, I am the lizard woman from the dawn of time - and this is my wife."

The BBC is not an American media company.

#209 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2013, 12:32 PM:

Anyone who enjoys the prose and style of the inimitable disaster-preparedness/disease/etc posts here may be pleased to know that a new Things I Won't Work With entry, on dimethylcadmium, has been posted by my favorite chemistry-blogger, Derek Lowe.

And in case you were curious, it is uniquely tedious (not the worst I've encountered, just uniquely so) to try to hand-build URL links on my Nexus 7 tablet.

#210 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2013, 02:17 PM:

Twerping Birdies, pt 2.

like unto the gentle, polyphonic susurration of the wind
through the leaves of the sibylline vuvuzela tree,
the evocative, resonant, goldurned whiny two-stroke
of the kargyraa engine of progress that powers
the early morning hunting call
of the over-the-shoulder leaf-blower holder
comforts the twerping birdies
with the sure and certain knowledge
that they are not alone in the world.

#211 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2013, 03:56 PM:

Dave 208: And then the Victorian to whom it's addressed faints dead away, IIRC. It's not at all clear which clause of that caused the faint.

#212 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2013, 06:10 PM:

Elliott Mason @209: it is uniquely tedious (not the worst I've encountered, just uniquely so) to try to hand-build URL links on my Nexus 7 tablet.

Is this of any help?

#213 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2013, 06:21 PM:

HLN: frustrated by the difference between what you can prove beyond a doubt, and what you're absolutely sure is the case and the cause of a problem.

There are days...

#214 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2013, 06:48 PM:

Jacque @212: Maybe once I get better at switching sites rapidly; one of the things that's annoying on my Nexus is getting stuff to highlight so I can cutpaste it. The other annoyance involves the keyboard (ok, 'keyboard'; it's on a touchscreen, no real keys involved). I can thumbtype on it reasonably quickly ... except that I end up 'missing' the spacebar about half the time for some reason. I think I might want a different Android keyboard.

Oh, and sometimes it aggressively autocorrects and sometimes it puts in only exactly what I typed, with no notice of which mode I'm in.

#215 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2013, 09:30 PM:

Before I forget, I just had to give a shout-out to Mark Gatiss, the writer of the last Doctor Who, who had the nerve to have a young character named Thomas Thomas give directions to the Sontaran.

Tom Tom!

That was cheeky.

#216 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2013, 09:39 PM:

And it was the before-the-last Doctor Who, actually.

#217 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2013, 10:14 PM:

AKICIML: Is there a specific category name for songs that contain an ever-growing list of items, such as "The 12 Days of Christmas"?

#218 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2013, 10:40 PM:

Elliot Mason @ #209, My goodness, Corante and Derek Lowe are still around and still connected? I'm shocked. I used to read his blog 10 years ago when I had biotech clients. That's about a century in Internet time, isn't it?

#219 ::: Dylan O'Donnell ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2013, 11:56 PM:

Lee @217 : Wikipedia calls it a cumulative song, though I don't know whether that's an actual musicological term.

#220 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2013, 12:12 AM:

Steve C.@215/216: Actually you were right the first time: it was in fact the last Doctor Who -- at least, until the next one airs, in (as I type this) a bit under three days.

#221 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2013, 12:24 AM:

@215: I knew there was a GPS-related joke in that scene, but I didn't quite get it, not having heard of Tom Tom before.

#222 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2013, 12:35 AM:

@215: I knew there was a GPS-related joke in that scene, but I didn't quite get it, not having heard of Tom Tom before.

#223 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2013, 02:48 AM:

I work for TomTom. All the geeks in the office have been snickering all week.

#224 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2013, 07:56 AM:

Xopher @211

Madame Vastra caused another Victorian to faint in The Crimson Horror, just from seeing her.

#225 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2013, 09:27 AM:

The other night I was mainlining a whole bunch of thinky workout 'how to strength train and not hurt yourself' videos, and I suddenly happened across a brilliant little gem of Verbal Self-Defense. I think he independently reinvented the technique. The way he crafts the video leads the viewer in to being actually open to learning the technique.

Elliott Hulse is now one of my manliness icons, because HELL YES. He's a bulgy bodybuilder/strongman type, but he speaks polysyllabically, is emotionally accessible, a good communicator, and doesn't take macho bullshit or misogynist girl-shaming.

#226 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2013, 10:20 AM:

Elliott Mason @ 225: HELL YES, indeed!

#227 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2013, 10:21 AM:

Elliott: I particularly like the second one.

#228 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2013, 10:28 AM:

Lila @227: Considering the primary audience for whom his videos are made are gymrat dudebros, I absolutely love how he sets up the 'I'm on your side' body language and stuff before turning around and smacking them in the face for stupid misogyny. :-> He's fighting the good fight for feminism in a constituency that doesn't always get One Of Their Own advocating those sorts of things.

#229 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2013, 10:41 AM:

Elliott: I once interviewed Forrest Griffin, one of his trainers, and a woman who trained with them for a magazine story. I was pleasantly surprised by the level of unselfconscious respect and the lack of macho bullshit posturing.

I think there are more non-misogynists in the martial arts/strength training world than they get credit for.

#230 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2013, 11:36 AM:

This morning I posted 274 words in the Ray Harryhausen thread.

For no particular reason, I took a look at my own
View All By page.

I dumped it into Microsoft Word and punched "word count."



I have contributed a book's worth of words to Making Light.

Granted, a portion of those words are quotes from somebody else. And the count includes strings like "Posted on entry Open thread 23 ::: June 08, 2004, 01:02 PM:" But, still.

There are 1131 discrete comments.

Year	Number of comments posted
2003 29
2004 67
2005 85
2006 111
2007 177
2008 219
2009 128
2010 112
2011 78
2012 82
2013 43

I am far from being the most prolific Fluorospherian. Who else is in the 100K Club?

#231 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2013, 01:08 PM:

Elliott Mason @ 225:

Scott Sonnon also has an injury-avoiding exercise (strength, flexibility, complex movement) system.

#232 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2013, 01:09 PM:

Elliott Mason @214: one of the things that's annoying on my Nexus is getting stuff to highlight so I can cutpaste it.

I have a stylus that I tried (it works on trackpads; probably works on touchscreens) and doesn't really do what I need. If you'd like to give it a try, email me at jacquem at the com of the panix with a shipping address.

#233 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2013, 01:16 PM:

Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey @230: 100,163

Piker. I get 363,325. (What? I do not have logorrhea!)

#234 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2013, 01:23 PM:

Bill Higgins @230: 94205, with this email address not counting my DFD nym's activity. Which isn't bad, since I'm pretty sure you've been here longer than I have. :-> With my previous email address, 84775. So total? 178,980. :->

Current email:
2013 118
2012 586
2011 1

Total: 705 comments.

Previous email:
2012 37
2011 43
2010 210
2009 173
2008 7

Total: 470 comments.

#235 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2013, 01:52 PM:

I would like to give a shout-out to an outfit that knows how to do customer support right. I visited on Wednesday during my break at work, and saw they had a link to a new website, I decided to try it out on my iPad. A glitch came up that was iPad centric, and I dropped The Taunton Press an e-mail about it and received an automated response they'd received the e-mail and would respond within two days--not a shock because it was way, WAY too early in the morning for anyone to be in the office on their end.

Here's where it gets great: four hours later I got a response that their web team was working on it, two hours after that I got a response that they had a fix that should be working shortly, ten minutes after that I got an e-mail that the person doing the e-mails had just checked with an office iPad and the glitch was still there so they'd referred it back to the web team, and eight minutes after that I got an e-mail that a fix was in place and my correspondent had tested it on an iPad and made sure it was working. THIS is how you handle customer support, friends. All I can say is buy lots and lots of stuff from The Taunton Press and subscribe to their magazines: they've got your back!

#236 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2013, 02:05 PM:

Bruce E. Durocher II @235: You should email them with a link to your comment, just to return the favor. :-)

#237 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2013, 02:16 PM:

Jacque: already did so--I've been doing tech support for years, so I know just how much better you feel when someone takes the time to commend good work.

#238 ::: Mary Aileen reports a malformed link ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2013, 02:17 PM:

Jim's Diffraction on Singularity University has a malformed link that makes it point back to this site.

#239 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2013, 02:22 PM:

142,704 words, 2789* comments since 2004. (And there were a handful of comments under another email address when this one got caught in the spam filter briefly.)


*This comment makes it 2790.

#240 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2013, 02:35 PM:

Open threadiness: Allie Brosh of Hyperbole and a Half is back!

And she brought something back with her: the single best description I've ever seen of what clinical depression feels like.

(Thanks to The Bloggess for the heads-up! And Allie--you RULE.)

#241 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2013, 02:58 PM:

Lila @240: one of the most empowering things in there for me (along with all the horrid-but-true bits) is the montage of all her ancestors who survived to reproduce because they didn't want to die THAT day. Culminating with a tetrapod on the shore being chased by something aquatic, crowing, "Not today, m*f*er: I HAVE LEGS!"

I have legs. I'm going to walk to WholeFoods and damn the torpedoes, I mean the rainclouds. :->

#242 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2013, 03:00 PM:

Dave 224: Yeah, but that guy fainted when he saw the Sontaran too. He's kinda fainty.

Bill 230: I have 11,864 comments, not counting this one. Didn't want to wait for the All Comments page to load.

#243 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2013, 03:20 PM:

HLN: Local woman is bemused by new notices at work. "They must be a joke," she explains. "If they were intended to be real, they wouldn't have used such inordinately obfuscatory verbiage."

(The staff bathrooms have manual sliding signs: Occupied/Vacant. The trouble is that they aren't used consistently, so they're wrong at least as often as they're right. This afternoon, someone added notices underneath: "To facilitate adjust signs accordingly." Say what?!)

#244 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2013, 04:06 PM:

Barrayar, visualized.

(Pinterest account collecting images that could be thought to represent people and places on Barrayar.)

#245 ::: Lee has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2013, 04:07 PM:

Presumably for a suspicious link.

#246 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2013, 04:10 PM:

OpenOffice gives me a count of 139,660 words, over the course of 2135 comments.

I'm a bit skeptical, because a lot of my comments are fairly short (especially the spam flags, of which I have a fair number because I keep different hours than many of the people here). Still, I wouldn't be surprised if I was over 100,000 words of actual original content...which spread out over a decade really isn't so very much.

#247 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2013, 04:41 PM:

I have 5954 comments, according to my VAB page. I have no idea how to port them into a word-processing program to get a word-count.

#248 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2013, 04:49 PM:

@244: Oh, that's delightful!

#249 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2013, 05:03 PM:

Lee (247): I did File-->Select All, then copied and pasted into Word.

#250 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2013, 05:47 PM:

Mary Aileen writes:

Lee (247): I did File-->Select All, then copied and pasted into Word.

I should think "Select All" would appear rather under the "Edit" item in a browser's menu bar.

Another method is to choose File-->Save (or "Save Page As), save the page as an HTML file, then open it in your word processor, if your word processor can interpret HTML files.

At this point, Microsoft Word prompts me with "Convert file from:" and if I choose "HTML Document," the thing Word shows me looks a lot like reading a Making Light page and is pleasant to read.

If instead I choose "Convert file from plain text," I get a page of HTML code, you know, the stuff that starts <!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01//EN" and goes on.

#251 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2013, 05:52 PM:

Geek Masculinity and the Myth of the Fake Geek Girl

I see some interesting parallels in that discussion to some of the post-Worldcon threads here.

#252 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2013, 06:06 PM:

Okay, I went the Select All, Copy & Paste method, and came up with 716,530 words. Allowing an estimate for headers, quoted text, etc., that's probably in the neighborhood of 700,000 words of actual original text. Yikes.

The Word document is 1402 pages long in default format. Reformatting it to 1" side margins and 0.7" top & bottom margins knocks it down to 1225 pages. I'm considering, just for fun, going thru it and taking out all the trivial posts (spam flags, gnoming gnotifications, etc.) and see what that brings it down to.

#253 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2013, 06:51 PM:

I have about 400K words, going back to 2005.

It seems to be a lot easier to write a lot when it's in small pieces.

#254 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2013, 07:07 PM:

Bill Higgins (250): I should think "Select All" would appear rather under the "Edit" item in a browser's menu bar.

You are right, of course. I mistyped.

#255 ::: Raul Flugens, Duty Gnome ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2013, 07:09 PM:

The Gnomes' filter is 115 pages long. Single spaced.

#256 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2013, 07:36 PM:

Oh good grief.

Linked to from the page referenced by Lee @251:

Boys can be heroes; girls have to wait around for one.

#257 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2013, 07:44 PM:

Mary Aileen @243 "If they were intended to be real, they wouldn't have used such inordinately obfuscatory verbiage."

A long time ago (but I still remember it well) I took some kind of corporate communication training. There was a little animated skit where the plant manager sends a memo to the maintenance worker to "remove the extraneous vegetation from the periphery of the property" when he means pull the weeds along the fence. The maintenance worker reads it, shrugs, and rips out all the landscaping.

#258 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2013, 07:53 PM:

Incongruous Observation Time: I just took a long walk through neighborhoods unfamiliar to me, on a spring day that had just had high winds. A lot of trees had flowers at the "I'm done with it, but I haven't let go yet" stage. The wind knocked them down.

This meant that several blocks away, I could instantly identify the maple trees by the fact that it looked like someone had spraypainted a huge chartreuse circle on the pavement underneath them: it was all their dropped flowers.

#259 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2013, 09:59 PM:

Well, this is depressing:

What job does your state's highest paid employee have?

I bet a lot of you know, or suspect, before you click on that link.

I mean . . . damn. Some frigging priorities this country have.

#260 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2013, 10:54 PM:

#259 ::: Stefan Jones

Nf Onor Ehgu fnvq jura ur jnf nfxrq nobhg uvf univat n uvture fnynel guna Cerfvqrag Ubbire: "Jryy, V'z unq n orggre lrne."

#261 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2013, 11:01 PM:

Stefan Jones @ 259 -

I was going to say something snarky about athletics and its quasi-religious status, but it's just too damn obvious.

#262 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2013, 11:45 PM:

My "read all by" points to 2058 comments and a bit over 135K words. My.

#263 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2013, 12:18 AM:

Dave Bell @208, what exactly is there (other than Doctor Who) in that line that marks it as non-American? Are you unaware of the existence of same-sex married couples on US TV?

#264 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2013, 12:28 AM:

Avram @263: They're absolutely unremarkable in British media in a way they just are not in the US, I believe was his point. Almost any story I run across in the Chicago Tribune, for example, that includes a same-sex-married couple, there's at least a sentence devoted to explaining it, instead of just a matter-of-fact "so and so and her wife, such and such, etc etc sentence continues."

#265 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2013, 12:59 AM:

At least one episode of Doctor Who (set in a society where everyone drove all of the time) featured a couple consisting of a human woman and what I guess was an uplifted cat-man. They had kittens. It was treated as rather unremarkable.

#266 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2013, 01:03 AM:

Stefan 259: That's unbelievably stupid and depressing.

Speaking of stupid and depressing things, I just watched this week's Grimm. The opening card begins, or was supposed to begin, "Tell me, o Muse..."

Some idiot changed it to "Tell me, O'Muse..."! The Muse is not a friggin' Irish lady! (Well, OK, there are probably Irish Muses, but that's not the point.) Unbelievable. What was this fugghead THINKING? It doesn't even make sense.

#267 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2013, 07:45 AM:

Xopher @266, for Irish Muses: wouldn't that be Brighid?

O'Muse sounds like a Damn You, Autocorrect error.

#268 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2013, 08:01 AM:

I have seen O followed by an apostrophe in circumstances that made me suspect the writer was using the apostrophe to indicate a missing 'h' (as the apostrophe in Good Ol' Boy indicates the missing 'd'). But the lack of a space between the O' and the Muse suggests that's not what's going on here.

Either way it's tooth-grindingly wrong.

#269 ::: Sumana Harihareswara ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2013, 08:19 AM:

"this is a thing that happens." Especially applicable to those currently looking for work.

#270 ::: Tam ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2013, 10:25 AM:

Sumana Harihareswara @269:

Thanks for that. It's drives me nuts how people assume that because one's current situation doesn't exactly dovetail with the desired situation one isn't a good candidate. I'll take aptitude for learning over plodding same-ole any day.

And (hopefully) I'll soon be in an interview for a job I have the skills to do but haven't done, and be able to use a similar line.

#271 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2013, 10:33 AM:

Open Threadiness: The OED tweeted about the word "filker", and their first citation is from 1989. (Their earliest example of "filk" is from 1959.)

ISTR the word being used in Boskone promotional material in 1984, some of which would have been distributed in 1983. I remember it because I entered the filk composition contest & got an Honorable Mention for "most promising young filker".

Would this stuff still exist, say, in NESFA archives? Or would any of the dedicated filkers here have examples of earlier uses in print? I tweeted back to them about my notion that the word appeared earlier, and they said they'd love examples. Their submission guidelines are here.

#272 ::: Rikibeth was gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2013, 10:36 AM:

Contained a link to the OED. And I was even careful to skip linking to the Site of the Chirping Bird.

#273 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2013, 11:13 AM:

Wiki provides a link to an APA by Karen Anderson in 1955. With a scanned image.

#274 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2013, 12:39 PM:

P J Evans: Thanks! I submitted it.

#275 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2013, 01:47 PM:

Rikibeth in #272:

A quick search for earlier uses of "filker" turns up a Usenet posting by Charles Colbert on 25 November 1982. He addresses Arlan Andrews, saying:

I'm a member of the New Jersey Science Fiction Society, and when I read the filk you posted a few weeks ago, I passed it along to our filker and editor of the club newsletter, Margret Purdy, and she loved it. Can we get some more?

Here's one in a book. In On the Good Ship Enterprise: My 15 Years with Star Trek, the legendary Bjo Trimble writes:

Other, more fannish things happened in line for the latest Star Trek film. A group in the Midwest took their guitars and sang Trekkish filk songs all night to the waiting line. I have no information on how long they sang, but the average filker can go on for hours, given practically no encouragement at all.
(Is the OED looking for "Trekkish" as well?)

When I examine the OED's SF Citations site, I see that they already have a citation for "filker" from 1983. So I don't know why they would tweet about 1989. Right hand knoweth not what the left hand is doing?

"Filker" could probably be pushed into the 1970s with a bit more work, possibly into 1960s fanzines with diligent work.

(I checked the filk issue of PyroTechnics (the General Technics fanzine to which I frequently contributed), number 12, from April 1978, but found that I did not have the foresight to use the word "filker" exactly in that form.)

#276 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2013, 02:09 PM:

I wonder if the OED takes Usenet posts as documentation?

#277 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2013, 02:11 PM:

I knew I'd run into the word in the mid-70s. I figured there had to be uses before that.

#278 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2013, 03:44 PM:

So I took a while to get out of Hotmail and my stuff ended up in Outlook. I'm setting up a Gmail account. Why the hell do they want to know my gender and my birthday and blah blah blah? (Yes, I know, so they can try to sell me stuff. I'm venting here.)

This feels like getting an exam from a doctor I don't know. Ick.

#279 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2013, 03:47 PM:

Oh for CRAP, it's going to display my birth name to the entire Western world, I use this address specifically for stuff I keep out of meatspace!

Damn it, I should have gone back to Juno.

#280 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2013, 03:55 PM:

Do I have to do all this socially-chatty-profiley-plus-one-y stuff just so I can have a non-business e-mail address? I only have two e-mail addresses so that I can separate work and school e-mail from my online life. I hate social networks and I never go near them. I don't WANT Google Plus, I just want to look things up! I don't WANT to curate an online identity! I can't afford anything in those stupid ads anyway! Has anybody heard anything bad about Juno? I used to have Juno.

#281 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2013, 04:05 PM:

So I backed out in a hurry when it started telling me about public profiles and stuff like that. I thought Google had my preferred identifier all locked up under my birth name. I went back to gmail dot com and it automatically signed me in, yay (/sarcasm), so I looked around for the thing about my profile and it says I can change my publicly given name. Yay . . . ? But in order to change my username I have to join the plus thing? So if I refuse, I can't change my public profile? And if I want to change my public profile so it no longer displays my birth name, I have to join the plus thing and have people bug me for chats and other stuff I Do Not Want?

It looks like my choices are:

1. Sacrifice my chosen identifier and hope that account withers away and dies for lack of use. Accept islander6777788 or whatever it's going to stick me with.

2. Change my username to Jenny Islander by "upgrading" to the plus thing and have all this social stuff and tailored ad crap bugging me all the time.

3. Stay with Outlook and just live with the security issues.

4. ?

#282 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2013, 04:55 PM:

HLN: Local woman has to acquire copy of birth certificate due to new driver's license renewal requirements; is startled to note that said certificate includes a line for "usual occupation" for the baby's father, but not for the mother.

Local woman is OLDER THAN DIRT. Jesus, a lot has changed in my lifetime. (The year I graduated from high school was the first year female college enrollment equalled male enrollment.)

#283 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2013, 05:20 PM:

Jenny, FWIW, I have a G+ account that I almost never log into, and the worst I get from it is occasional "nag" e-mails telling me that so-and-so shared a link with me (or something like that). OTOH, I also don't use Gmail regularly, and if I did, it might bug me more often.

#284 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2013, 05:34 PM:

Xopher Halftongue #266: Forty years ago, the Statesman's Yearbook in its listing of Jamaican government ministers informed all the world that the minister of commerce was one Wills O'Isaacs. This rather strange Hiberno-Semitic blend was in fact Wills O. Isaacs (the O was for Ogilvy).

#285 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2013, 05:49 PM:

I haven't bothered to do a profile for Gmail. They can lump it. (They do nag me to give them my cell number, in case I forget my password. Not doing that, either.)

#286 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2013, 06:19 PM:

So if I just plain don't log in to Google Plus, and stick to Gmail, nobody's going to see my profile ever?

#287 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2013, 06:30 PM:

Jenny, you won't have one that anyone can find, if you don't give them one. There's a Google group I occasionally post on, but I have no profile, just the email.

#288 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2013, 07:23 PM:

Your humble and obt. svt. is engaged in the deathmarch to the end of the semester. This one is not as bad as some, but in some respects may be worse.

What do I mean? The pile of finals is not as big, but some of them are truly daunting. For example, consider these, ahem, pearls:

The bad news though is that the success stories are rear.

We now know that the colonization of countries have had many cases of negative effects; division of land resulting in a need to result to crime such as piracy which establishes a weak centralized government if we analyze Somalia, Africa.

As a result, scholars such as Walter Rodney, Eric Williams, Frantz Fanon, Robert Marley and others began trying to answer the questions of oppression using post-colonial thought.

Nevertheless, the issues and oppression is argued by Rodney to be a result of colonization but wither he is able to make a difference or not he believed that it was time for a new world to begin.

Williams believes in the majority because actions are what creates results and success of independence dependence on the actions.

I am at a loss to explain these. The students had ten days to prepare. The examinations were take-homes, not in-room. They had the ability to take their time, consult sources, think their answers through.

All but the first of these come from one examination paper (two essays, both word-processed, both written in what appears to be ESL by a Martian even though the student in question is a middle class American who is privileged -- he sits in class pretending to take notes on his iPad -- and not unintelligent).

#289 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2013, 08:49 PM:

@P J Evans #287: The problem is, I think I already did. I started a Gmail account. Up at the top was a place to put my legal name, and like a dummy I did. Then I found out that that was my Public Profile That Everybody Could See Isn't That Just Wonderful Sweetie. So I went to my Gmail page to see if I could fix that. If I am reading the page correctly, and frankly all this Yay We're Social Whoopie We're Connected Hooray We're AGGREGATED stuff makes me confused and tired, I can in fact change the name on my profile--but only if I "upgrade" to Google Plus.

So: If I don't "upgrade," it is apparently possible to use reverse lookup to get my legal name. If I do "upgrade," but never log in, I may not have to deal with people and bots wanting me to act like Chatty Cathy when I just want to be over here trading posts about mekosuchines with like-minded folks who I found all by myself or reading fanfic.

So unless I come back to this thread and see a message like "Augh! No, don't do it! It won't shut up about household cleaning products and the latest crop of reality TV stars!" I'll fix my account later today.

#290 ::: Kevin Reid ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2013, 12:00 AM:

Jenny Islander: Try going to For me, there's an option “Delete profile and remove related Google+ features.”

On the other hand, the message you describe suggests that you have a profile but not G+, which I thought was a condition that didn't exist any more.

(Disclosure: I currently work for Google. One very small part of Google. I either have no inside information about the exact details of the operation of accounts and G+, or I can't tell you.)

#291 ::: dancingcrow ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2013, 07:39 AM:

Jenny Islander: While I do not know about the intricacies of G+ and gmail and how they relate, I will mention (with fervent gratitude) that adblock makes my internetting experience much quieter and nicer.

#292 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2013, 08:15 AM:

I've (somewhat) recently found myself in dire need of increasing quantities of music to wake up by (there's nothing like neighbours with a toddler to reduce your sleep time, and cause your need for things to help you wake up to skyrocket).

This morning's choice is/was a selection of David Lowe's BBC themes, which led to me trying to find Bill Bailey's Apocalyptic Rave -- and, tangentially, to wordnik, who then quote makinglight

“Slightly tangental, the BBC dancers do the BBC post-apocalyptic rave theme”
Making Light: Boomdeyada boomdeyada boomdeyada boomdeyada

... at which point I discover that I'd posted the thing to makinglight in the first place.

It's a small, small world.

#293 ::: xeger-is-a-gnomoned ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2013, 08:17 AM:

I have clearly triggered words of power (probably due to my lack of patience in making steak pie for breakfast).

I apologize, and assure the gnomes that my steak pie would not be worth waiting for, and is merely a wistful hope.

#294 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2013, 10:58 AM:

Open threadiness, tangentially related to Russian dash cams:

University of Georgia/National Geographic project equips free-roaming domestic cats with video cameras. Interesting hijinks (and a LOT of napping) ensue. Check out the "selected videos" in the sidebar.

(Note: I am not an advocate of allowing house cats to roam freely outdoors, at least not in places that have as many cars and coyotes as we do.)

#295 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2013, 11:49 AM:

Jenny Islander:

Have you considered Yahoo? I don't know if they have any profiling stuff on their newer email accounts, as mine is as old as dirt.

#296 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2013, 02:20 PM:

I recently learned of the phrase "Atomic typo" for those typos that spellchecker doesn't catch: unclear for nuclear being an example.

Fragano's first example put me in mind of this. Not that it helps him, poor soul, but I thought it was a useful and pleasing phrase and I wanted to share.

#297 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2013, 03:02 PM:

Fragano, my sympathies.

Reading those examples (aargh) I conclude that the students who wrote them do not give a flying fuck about writing. They may have appreciated and enjoyed the class, they may even have learned something, but the practice of writing their thoughts down is a mystery to them.

This conclusion is preferable to concluding that they do not give a flying fuck about thinking.

Both could be true.

Hooboy, I'm cranky today. Beam me up, Scottie.

#298 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2013, 04:15 PM:

Wow . . .

Last year, when I was house hunting and going through the whole vetting process, I jokingly expressed concerns that my new place wasn't built on an Indian graveyard, or had a howling purple vortex of evil in the pantry.

Well. It turns out that the place had, after the last legal tenant, a squatter. A squatter who had a small but intensive marijuana grow operation in the garage. This morning my neighbor pointed out where he had knocked a hole in the garage ceiling to install a sort of dumbwaiter up to the living room.

How did this come up? On warm days, the insulation gives up the funk of skunk. Not enough for me to smell, what with the allergies, but the neighbors could and wanted to be sure it wasn't from a fresh operation.

I have to say, based on the descriptions of how torn up the joint was, the people who fixed up and flipped the place did an amazing job.

#299 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2013, 04:52 PM:


I think that's a little harsh to #1, which is a pretty straightforward typo (rare -> rear; exactly the sort of thing that you can easily get wrong if you're typing fast) to a real word. Certainly not caught by a spellcheck, and missable by all but the most careful human proofreading; I can easily see myself missing it.

#300 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2013, 06:43 PM:

Stefan Jones #298: Ahem: I have to say, based on the descriptions of how torn up the joint was, the people who fixed up and flipped the place did an amazing job.

Smoking torn-up joints is not advisable.

#301 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2013, 06:51 PM:

lorax #299: You're right. The problem with it is that it is the kind of sentence that jolts the reader before you make sense of it.

#302 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2013, 06:58 PM:

The deathmarch of grading is over. Now I have to turn in my gradebooks and deal with some red tape (I am reminded that the Dutch for red tape is simply bureaucratie).

Anyway, here are the last of my selection of, ahem, gems for the semester:

In one of Marley’s famous songs, “Get Up, Stand Up,” he sings a chorus that says, “Get up, stand up – stand up for your rights! Get up, stand up – don’t five up the fight!” This song became interesting because during that time Marley was probating the lack of domination and oppression in Jamaica.

Marley believed he was a profit who was meant to use his artistic ability to promote social change.

Animals need the chance to be free and lie animal life.

The current story of Haitians in the media brings about racist thought among people in the world.

To provide some background, Grenada was the first Caribbean country that spoke English.

This dilemma was not a concept or focus for humanitarian and in the disaster relief efforts.

IHRC did not properly regulate the misuse of appropriated funds.

However, Puerto Rico adapted to the control of the U.S. as a US territory.

Between 1950 to 1980 women labors were integrated in global industrialized development policies.

Ghost towns were also urban slums.

While the female population exploded, the Puerto Rican population grew greatly per square mile.

Many educated women were also nontraditional females.

#303 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2013, 08:08 PM:

I just helped my college-age sister copyedit her final papers of the semester. Fragano's examples remind me somewhat of her writing: she has a lot of "That word -- I do not think it means what you think it means" problems. For example, she repeatedly used, in one paper, the word "ideological" when she actually meant something closer to "propagandistic". When I bounced off each of them I stopped and interrogated her about what, exactly, she was TRYING to say and then we rewrote around it.

#304 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2013, 09:57 PM:

Beautiful street art (by which I mean, art drawn on streets) in Montreal.

#305 ::: Undercover Wikipedian ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2013, 10:39 PM:

Question here from a regular who needs a little plausible deniability on identity:

There is some conflict on Wikipedia at present over how much (or even whether) the article on should talk about the AIDS denialism that appears on the site. There is one reference to book about AIDS denialism which is been quashed because it's the only thing that's been found. Now, I look at the LRC and I find that this is just the start of the moonbat material there: we have Kennedy assassination stuff, other medical quackery, and various governmental paranoia. It beggars my imagination that none of the various liberal mouthpieces has nothing critical to say about the site, but I'm having a terrible time finding anything. If anyone can point me at something I would be very grateful.

#306 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2013, 11:51 PM:

Having stayed up late for other reasons. I just looked over my file of student errors and noted a few from the past semester worthy of sharing before I toddle off to bed:

Both men and women possess different qualities that make each species special.

Is the United States still justifiable?

This was known as the policy of “repartimento,” by Bartoleme de Casas whom most well-known of indigenous members who returned to Spain.

Cuba and Jamaica pioneered as dependent states from US and old colonial British, Dutch and French rule.

Conceivably, Marx may have been in fact excessively secure about the human strength.

England, Scotland, and Great Britain were regions that Wells-Barnett toured in order to bring awareness to foreign leaders concerning her anti-lynching campaign.

After being admitted to the Union in 1959 and the “illegal overthrow OF Hawaii’s native monarch in 1993; the United States has not given native Hawaiians legal claim to their native land.

#307 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2013, 12:02 AM:



#308 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2013, 01:27 AM:

Fragano, #306: "Is the United States still justifiable?"

IMO, that may actually be a valid question. But I'm pretty sure it's not the one the student thought they were asking.

#309 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2013, 09:20 AM:

Pardon my quasi-commercial interruption:
There is one week to go on the Bifrost Kickstarter and they're a long way from making their numbers. Bill Willingham and Frank Cho working together on a graphic novel. I want this.

(Also, is "Kickstarter" capitalized?)

#310 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2013, 09:46 AM:

Lee #308: I agree, it's a perfectly valid question. I doubt very much that the student realised what they were asking, however.

#311 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2013, 11:16 AM:

Just in case the intersection between the sets "reads Making Light" "owns an iPad 2" and "has an ICD" is nonzero:

14-year-old researcher (whose father is a cardiac electrophysiologist) discovers iPad 2 magnets can turn off implantable defibrillators.

Don't rest your iPad on your chest if you have an ICD.

#312 ::: Sumana Harihareswara ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2013, 11:20 AM:

I use Panix for my email; I like being a paying customer of a real business where a person picks up the phone if I call. But it does cost money.

#313 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2013, 06:05 PM:

Apropos of absolutely nothing, as someone who's actually been beaten bloody in the street by guys who were shouting "faggot" as they did so, I really, really hate it when people use the word 'bashing' to describe internet denunciations that aren't even violent in tone.

I've just been accused of "bashing" by someone whose definition is apparently "thinking a show I really like is bad."

#314 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2013, 07:32 PM:

Xopher: heard and witnessed.

I'm guessing you've also been accused of 'intolerance' when calling someone out on their bigotry.

May there be a reckoning.

#315 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2013, 08:55 PM:

Lila, indeed yes.

To clarify, I wasn't being accused of bashing the show, but of calling anyone who liked it "the wrong kind of geek" (which I never said or thought) and thus of "bashing" anyone who liked it.

#316 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2013, 09:06 PM:

#311 ::: Lila @ 311 ...
iPad 2 magnets can turn off implantable defibrillators."
Don't rest your iPad on your chest if you have an ICD.

Less problematic, but still annoying -- if you rest them on the wrong side of your apple laptop, they'll also persuade your laptop that the lid is closed...

#317 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2013, 10:49 PM:

My comment on the Dairy Industry's petition to amend the standard of identity for milk to allow undisclosed addition of artificial sweeteners (that is, they want to be able to put aspartame (or any other "safe" sweetener) in milk without telling you.) Here's what I said:

I oppose this petition for the following reasons:
1. In general, undisclosed additives to a generally-uniform product are a bad thing. Every ingredient in the world, however "harmless," has someone who's allergic to it. If this is allowed they will have no way to tell if the product is safe for them or not.
2. In particular, artificial sweeteners are bad in many ways (including making people who consume them crave sugar, which increases obesity).
3. I am personally quite sensitive to aspartame and get terrible headaches when I consume it. I will not be able to trust milk at all if you allow this. I know lots of other people with sensitivities to aspartame and other artificial sweeteners; it's not at all uncommon.
4. I have friends who are trying to raise their kids without artificial sweeteners, and limiting sugar. This is not uncommon either. THEY WILL BE UNABLE TO BUY MILK FOR THEIR CHILDREN.
This is the worst idea I've heard in a long time. It makes me want to punish the dairy industry for suggesting it at all! Please, please don't allow this.
You can comment on it here.

#318 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2013, 11:15 PM:

Thanks - commented on it. (It's a really bad idea, and I expect the dairy industry to be smarter than that.)

#319 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2013, 11:54 PM:

Xopher @317: Reading the materials on that attempted amendment, I don't think they're asking for the ability to add the sweeteners in an unlabeled way: I think they're asking for the ability to add it only if it's labeled. All of the examples they use are things like flavored milks, which require listing the ingredients other than milk (like sugar). They're wanting to be able to use artificial sweeteners instead of/as well as sugar in milk products that are already sweetened, and the current laws don't let them without marking the product as "reduced calorie" or something similar. I'm not 100% certain on this, but it's the way I read it.

#320 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2013, 12:09 AM:

Tom, it's an amendment to the Standard of Identity to include artificial sweeteners. That means that when the ingredients say "Milk" that can include what they now call milk and artificial sweeteners, with no further listing of them. I'm sure they try to obfuscate that fact by giving more reasonable examples, but that's what this change would let them do.

#321 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2013, 12:13 AM:

You know, I might have misunderstood this. I need to check. I thought I knew exactly what a standard of identity was.

#322 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2013, 12:18 AM:

I think that the Standard of Identity applies to what the main name is. "Chocolate milk" is a type of milk product that's called a milk -- but it has to include the listing of other ingredients. Similarly with other flavored milks. Ice cream or ice milk -- also have to list the ingredients. But you can't call an artificial creamer "milk" because it doesn't have any milk in it. I could be wrong also, and I appreciate your willingness to research it!

#323 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2013, 12:21 AM:

If they're going to put sweeteners in, they really should label it - it matters to a lot of people, even if it's 'just' flavored milk.

#324 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2013, 12:24 AM:

Reread it in case it really just applies to flavored milk. No, they're talking all around it and emphasizing the flavored milk products, but then they say

Accordingly, the petitioners state that milk flavored with non-nutritive sweeteners should be labeled as milk without further claims so that consumers can "more easily identify its overall nutritional value."
Which would be Newspeak for "to make it harder for consumers to know what they're getting."

I read that as meaning they want to say that artificially sweetened milk is just milk. Maybe I'm not reading the legalese correctly; IANAL. But it seems plain in the quote above.

#325 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2013, 12:41 AM:

Besides, I don't even want a kid to go buy a chocolate milk that just says "Chocolate Milk" and have to check the ingredients list for aspartame! Should be something on the front to indicate that that's necessary (like, but not limited to, the current "reduced calorie" labeling).

#326 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2013, 04:45 AM:

Renowned author Dan Brown woke up in his luxurious four-poster bed in his expensive $10 million house – and immediately he felt angry.

#327 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2013, 06:13 AM:

On the milk issue I see some point to what the Dairy Industry wants, "reduced calorie" for a milk product seems strange, but it looks open to abuse.

Maybe there should be a counter proposal that milk products with added sugar should be called "Increased Calorie"?

Milk is a complicated natural product, with varying amounts of fat, protein, and sugar, but this is about adding something, and we shouldn't be hiding that, whether it is sugar or some other sweetener. And the fact that aspartame is involved is, to some extent, irrelevant. The fact that we're generally bad at judging risk, and susceptible to scare stories, is not enough reason to hide ingredients.

If it comes to that, the newspaper my father reads, which is very good at repeating stories about miracle cures for the diseases of lab mice, has recently reported that sugar makes you sickly in later life.

Let's not tell people that this stuff has sugar in it, shall we?

#328 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2013, 07:55 AM:

I can see their point from a marketing aspect - calling artificially sweetened chocolate milk "Reduced Calorie" has a slightly weird effect if you don't habitually think of ordinary chocolate milk as having more calories.

However, I think they should be expected to put "Artificially Sweetened" in big letters on the front of the label. Or the NutraSweet pinwheel, how about that? Even kids too young to read could be taught "don't get anything with the pinwheel."

From age five, I knew I was allergic - deathly allergic, anaphylaxis - to paraffin, which was at the time frequently used as an emulsifier in chocolate. And not listed as paraffin, either - just as 'emulsifier'. I had to learn to read the small print & distinguish "emulsifier" from "lecithin (an emulsifier)", which latter was safe, if I wanted a candy bar.

But I was an early reader, and it's not fair to expect that level of label-reading from most five-year-olds.

#329 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2013, 08:34 AM:

Food labeling is one of those subjects that really rattles my cage. I don't even have any allergies. I just think people have a right to know what the hell they're buying to put in their mouths--even if they don't have allergies/health issues/religious beliefs/whatever.

#330 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2013, 08:59 AM:


I agree about the food labeling, though I can see why you might want to be able to simplify it for good reasons instead of evil consumer-decieving reasons. My eleven year old son has a serious peanut allergy (we had to give him an epi-pen shot on the way to the hospital last year), and has had it since he was four or five years old. He's been reading labels carefully almost since he could read anything more than single words. A lot of food labels are really awful for anyone trying to figure out a critical question like "is this food going to kill me?" Like, there's a column of text longer than this post that's all unfamiliar words, from which you must extract the one word that translates to "poisonous to you." Often, it's white print on a transparent background over a light-colored product, and almost always it's rather small print. Some, but not all, of these will highlight common allergens, or will put a line at the end that says Contains: [list of common allergens].

Far more people don't have life-threatening allergies, but have food ingredients they know will leave them with a headache or stomach ache for the rest of the day. My impression is that most people have a kind of informal list of foods they avoid when they can--if you know broccoli gives you gas or nutrasweet gives you a headache, you can avoid it.

I wish the warning labels were made more user-friendly. One nice tech innovation I wish someone would make is a machine-readable format for ingredient labels , so that you could use a phone app to scan for things you wanted to avoid automatically. This obviously doesn't solve all problems--there are still people without cellphones, for example--but it would make things better than they are now.

The other thing I wonder why nobody does: lunchables are mainly targeted at kids, and kids have a lot of food allergies. And yet, the ingredient labels are *awful*--a running-together list of the ingredients of each component. The components have the little one-line summaries of common allergens, but they're inline, so it's very hard to find them. If they put a summary line at the bottom saying what common allergens the whole meal contained, this would be a huge win.

#331 ::: albatross gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2013, 09:01 AM:

Them gnomes, them gnomes are gonna walk around
them gnomes, them gnomes are gonna walk around
them gnomes, them gnomes are gonna walk around
oh hear the word of the Lord.

#332 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2013, 09:55 AM:

I'm pretty sure that Standards of Identity are for front-label names, not for ingredients. Here's one helpful link to a general discussion.

Here's a link to the standard of identity for Milk. It looks like an array of things may be added to milk (section c) but everything has to be listed on the ingredients label (section f).

#333 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2013, 10:54 AM:

SamChevre @331:

Thank you for the link. Do I understand correctly that the proposed changes would mean that milk with aspartame could be labeled solely as "Milk" with no qualifiers, but that the ingredient list would still need to include aspartame, and that the current state of affairs is that milk sweetened with aspartame would need to be labeled as "artificially sweetened milk" or some such?

#334 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2013, 11:04 AM:

There's a lot of chatter about some commerical recordings of the Doctor Who season being released early, a few people getting it over the weekend, and both gloating about having it and declaring they are not going to release spoilers.

It might be guerilla marketing.

There's a trailer around, and people analysing it, and a convincing match of a tree in the trailer with one in an old episode. I've seen the shots and the match is as solid as any I have seen, which suggests a link with an old episode. Though how anyone knew which tree to compare is beyond me.

It might be guerilla marketing.

But remember that the BBC is making a drama-documentary about the creation of Doctor Who, fifty years ago. Which production is a recreation of a scene meant for? The shot in the trailer is definitely current, and seems to involve using a still from the old episode as a background plate.

We shall, I expect, find out on Saturday. If people want to gloat, let 'em. And be a little bit careful: if the leak is genuine somebody might blow the gaff. But, so far, nobody has blabbed.

(Different broadcast times, UK and USA, but I have not seen any sign of the faintly silly anti-spoiler wailing I recall from the days of Babylon 5.)

#335 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2013, 11:31 AM:

lorax @ 333

That is my understanding, but I'm very uncertain of how the current labelling standard works. I am pretty certain that the change discussed is to add "non-nutritive sweeteners" to the list in c.2 ("coloring, nutritive sweetener, emulsifiers, and stabilizers") of "things that can be added to milk"; what I'm not certain of is whether those things can be added to something labelled "milk" or only to things labelled as "xyz (flavored) milk".

#336 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2013, 02:47 PM:

Rikibeth @271: I think I first encountered the term "filk" at Iguanacon in '78:

It also shows up in their glossary:

(For some reason, my browser is choking on these URLs when I try to embed them.)

#337 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2013, 03:04 PM:

Further to my report on the Doctor Who leak.

Avoid the Wikipedia entry.

#338 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2013, 03:06 PM:

Back in 2007:

Accompanying a 35-page petition signed by a diverse set of culinary groups -- juice producers, meat canners and the chocolate lobby -- the appendix charts proposed changes to food standard definitions set by the Food and Drug Administration, including this one: "use a vegetable fat in place of another vegetable fat named in the standard (e.g., cacao fat)."

Chocolate lovers read that as a direct assault on their palates. That's because the current FDA standard for chocolate says it must contain cacao fat -- a.k.a. cocoa butter -- and this proposal would make it possible to call something chocolate even if it had vegetable oil instead of that defining ingredient. Whoppers malted milk balls, for instance, do not have cocoa butter.

(Washington Post)

You would think they'd have learned something from that experience.

#339 ::: P J Evans has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2013, 03:07 PM:

I have some just-ripe (not spotted) bananas...

#340 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2013, 03:28 PM:

Dave Bell @334: the faintly silly anti-spoiler wailing I recall from the days of Babylon 5.

'Minds me of the time I went to Chicago for a Capricon. JMS & several of the actors were there. At a panel early in the con, they started talking about that week's episode. "NO SPOILERS," I bellowed. Y'see, it was a significant arc episode and, due to the vagaries of PTEN's scheduling, I had left Denver too early to see it, and arrived in Chicago too late.

Earned me a raspberry from the Great Maker himself, it did.

#341 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2013, 04:52 PM:

Looks like I need to look at the milk thing more carefully.

As for Doctor Who, various Who IDs on the [place of bird noises] were asking people not to post spoilers, and claiming that if people cooperated they'd release a special video right after the UK broadcast.

Got that? Spoilering things for the US isn't important to them. And in fact UK Whovians live-tweet Doctor Who all the time. That's how I found out that [place of bird noises]'s List feature is virtually useless: I was trying to make a List of non-UK Follows, so that I could watch only that on Saturdays. I could have done it, but it would have taken me hours, because the feature is so badly designed (and actually buggy).

There must be something big in the finale, that's all I can say. And I feel confident that UK viewers will be discussing it openly on the web as soon as their broadcast is over (or before).

I'm just going to find something to do Saturday until broadcast time.

#342 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2013, 05:20 PM:

Jacque @336: the OED is looking specifically for "filker", as they've got "filk" dating back to 1959 and I submitted the 1955 evidence given above. Does your 1978 source show "filker"?

#343 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2013, 05:20 PM:

Jacque @336: the OED is looking specifically for "filker", as they've got "filk" dating back to 1959 and I submitted the 1955 evidence given above. Does your 1978 source show "filker"?

#344 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2013, 05:36 PM:

Marriage equality passed the Minnesota Senate! yay!!

#345 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2013, 06:20 PM:

Do Superman and Batman eat food that has a Standard of Secret Identity?

#346 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2013, 06:31 PM:

Rikibeth @342: Does your 1978 source show "filker"?

The fanspeak page:

Under the "Filking (aka Filksinging)" category:
"Fans who enjoy amateur music are called 'filkers.'"

#347 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2013, 07:24 PM:

Jacque, I'm not sure I can use that, unless there's something that documents it as being a transcription of a 1978 publication. Now, if anyone has a paper copy of the 1978 program book, that'd be another story!

#348 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2013, 08:29 PM:

HLN: Local woman is surprised to find that James Cagney actually does a quite respectable job of playing Bottom in "Midsummer Night's Dream". Alas, not so the teenaged Mickey Rooney as Puck.

#349 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2013, 08:38 PM:

Also: Victor Jory as Oberon sounds astonishingly like Tom Hiddleston's imitation of Alan Rickman.

#350 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2013, 08:41 PM:

I can produce an odd sort of negative confirmation on the use of "filker" -- the Norwescon 5 program book, from 1982, refers on p. 8 (middle column, under "Filksing" at 8:30 PM) to "Notorious filksingers from all over creation...." If "filkers" were in common use at that time, they would most likely have used that term instead of "filksingers" -- especially since "filksingers" is broken between the k and the s, and "filkers" would have fit (in my estimation) on the single line, judging by the length of the line two lines below its appearance.

So while the word may have been used earlier, it wasn't the common term.

#351 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2013, 08:54 PM:

There's an earlier use:

All of the Filkers are Singing
Words: Mark Bernstein
Music: "Banks of Sicily"
From The Westerfilk Collection, Volume One Words copyright 1979 by Mark Bernstein.

online here:

I'm pretty sure someone here will have a printed copy (I may - but it's in a box).

#352 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2013, 09:03 PM:

After consideration of what's been said here and elsewhere, I decided I really may have gotten the facts somewhat twisted. So I commented as follows:

It has been pointed out to me that I may have misunderstood the proposal. If it doesn't allow putting artificial sweeteners in milk without listing them in the ingredients, it's still a bad idea, but not the outrage on its very face I thought it was when I posted my prior comment.
It's a bad idea because I should be able to buy milk without checking an ingredients list.
That goes double for children. If they buy chocolate milk, they shouldn't have to check...and ingredients lists are often too small for children to read anyway.
At a MINIMUM you should require "Artificially Sweetened" to appear on the front label. That way kids who a) are not allowed to have artificial sweeteners or b) are allergic to one or more of them will know to reject that carton. Teaching them the names of all the possible artificial sweeteners, and providing them with magnifying glasses, is too much to ask of parents.
And if the dairy industry thinks "reduced calorie" is a negative, they should be happy with "Artificially Sweetened." If they are not, please tell them to shove it! Protecting consumers (especially children) is more important than their profits.

#353 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2013, 11:38 PM:

Good grief! Look at this. No way this is anything but good. Completely unexpected from my point of view, but definitely in the right direction. Good on you, Mormon Church! (And I never thought I'd be saying that, ever.)

#354 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2013, 11:50 PM:

The speed with with marriage equality has gone from "IT'LL BE THE END OF CIVILIZATION!" to within spitting distance of "What the hell was the fuss about?" is remarkable.

#355 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2013, 12:34 AM:

Xopher, that link is wonderful, thank you. It gives me hope for my own church. Unfortunately, the institutional RCC is like a battleship, slow to move, slow to stop, and very damn hard to turn. There are a lot of powerful (mostly) men whose credibility, reputation and egos would suffer were it to change its position on same sex marriage and/or LGBT people. I believe change can happen, and one day, will happen, but I don't expect it to occur in my lifetime.

I hope I am wrong.

#356 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2013, 07:44 AM:

I haven't been able to reach Firedoglake in nearly a whole day. Anyone know if they're being DDoSed?

#357 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2013, 08:02 AM:

Xopher @ #353, "More humane treatment" is certainly a step up from throwing your "afflicted" kid out in the street, but it leaves a lot to be desired. I'm glad you find it hopeful. Maybe in a few more years they'll get around to "people are people".

#358 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2013, 08:07 AM:

Good job, Mormon Church! You're making progress!

I think it's important to congratulate small steps, especially first small steps. It doesn't mean I won't be happy with the next one, it doesn't mean I won't push them to take the next one, but this matters. More than that, it matters to the kiddos whose lives are easier and safer now.

#359 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2013, 08:13 AM:

I can't remember if anyone's linked to this here: First music video from space. (Chris Hadfield singing Bowie's "Space Oddity".)

#360 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2013, 09:21 AM:

The first thing I thought when I read that article about the Mormon Church is that someone (or several someones) in high places must have discovered they had gay family members. That gives me hope that after a few years they'll slowly catch up with the rest of society and find a place at the table for gays. They might have to figure out how to make room for women first though.

The cynical part of me notes that their guy lost the election - even the hateful side of the religious right that some Mormons have been cozying up with weren't enough. What did they have to lose anyway? It was probably a little of both.

#361 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2013, 10:35 AM:

Rikibeth @347: Now, if anyone has a paper copy of the 1978 program book, that'd be another story!

I almost certainly do. I'll poke around. If it's in my files, I'll scan it and send it to you. If it's in Deep Archive (i.e., the boxes in the back of my closet), it'll take a while to get to, and I may not be able to deal with it before June.

#362 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2013, 10:50 AM:

So I'm heading off to work this morning, and as I step off the porch, I happen to glance over at a neighbor's car, parked nearby.

Hanging from the rear-view mirror is what appears to be a necklace (nice, fine gold change, a few pearls or beads clustered at the bottom) adorned with—and I do a double-take and look closer. Yup, sure enough. Near as I can make out, the necklace contains a neat set of human proximal phalanges.

O...kay. Then, when I pull up a Google page to confirm my impression, I discover that one of the preset search phrases is "real human finger bones for sale."

Um. Okay. I did not wish to know this.

I'm hard to creep out, but this has managed it.

#363 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2013, 11:06 AM:

It looks like server problems of some kind - I get a response, but it's not the usual one.

#364 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2013, 11:23 AM:

Jacque: that is pretty damn creepy. Who would want...where would they GET...does the donor's family know? Or are we talking residue from amputations?

Ick. Particularly in light of recent scandals. (Anyone remember what happened to Alistair Cooke's remains?

#365 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2013, 11:31 AM:

Lila: Welcome to the future....

#366 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2013, 12:19 PM:

Jacque -- it's very possible that that odd necklace may have magical antecedents. IIRC, Voodoo, Santeria, and Candomble have some charms containing items that make me shudder.

For that matter, take a look at some of the items the Tibetan Buddhists use...

#367 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2013, 12:37 PM:

I don't have any opinion on whether either you could tell the difference by looking, but I suspect there's a market for plastic replica human finger bones for jewelry.

#368 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2013, 12:39 PM:

Sorry-- edito.

That should have been:

I don't have any opinion on whether you could tell the difference by looking, but I suspect there's a market for plastic replica human finger bones for jewelry.

#369 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2013, 01:42 PM:

Yeah, the magick thing; considering the circles I run in (Hi, y'all!), I can't dismiss it outright as "Ack! Satanists!"

And I considered the plastic possibility, too, especially given the state of the art these days. (Hell, they might be medical-grade implants. I could easily see some medical student doing that, just to freak people out.)

But nevertheless, it does give me a turn. (Not helped by the fact that we had a fairly grisly animal mutiliation case in the neighborhood a few years ago.)

#370 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2013, 05:15 PM:

HLN: Mini-Gathering of Light, impromptu local division, carried off in excellent style, as Fade M. (and friend) and I discuss languages, the learning of them, dogs, cats, and whatever else, while consuming coffee and parfait. (They had the parfait, I had the coffee.) Fade's dog has an amazing talent for befriending small children. A good time was had by all.

#371 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2013, 06:18 PM:

Jacque—I try to limit my public creep-factor to late October, but I will note that fake body parts have come so far that I bought a realistic plastic skull for $5 at Target. Finger bones, not so much—they're really cheap-looking—but I wouldn't be surprised.

I hope your neighbor is a medical student, because that idea is a lot less creepy than some of the alternatives.

#372 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2013, 12:37 AM:

So. Pew Research have released a report on Europe, including lots of Serious Information, but also a table on country stereotypes (bottom of the first page).

Unsurprisingly, each country thinks it is the most compassionate. More interestingly, Italians think they are they least trustworthy country, and everyone except the Greeks thinks Germany is the most trustworthy.

To paraphrase Robert Burns: O wad some Pew.R. the giftie gie us/ To see oursels as ithers see us! (ducks and runs)

#373 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2013, 01:27 AM:

Xopher Halftongue @ 341: I have also tried to use [place of bird noises]'s List feature, and abandoned it as mess. Is anyone aware of an app for it that actually makes building and maintaining lists easy?

#374 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2013, 01:32 AM:

The Poles think the Germans are simultaneously most and least trustworthy. Hm.

Unrelated AKICIML:
Here is a brief excerpt from Michael Chabon's recent novel Telegraph Avenue. I don't know what it's referring to, but almost everything that Chabon mentions that isn't obviously fictional is in fact real. Anyone out there recognize it?

Somewhere right around here, Luther remembered, if you went farther up the path behind the picnic tables, you would stumble across a pyramid of built-up stones left behind by some crazy old beard-faced poet back when Oakland was nothing but a slough and a stables and a cowboy hotel. In school they came here on field trips, checking out the poet's little white farmhouse, a big lumpy statue of him riding on a Mongoloid-looking horse. A pyramid of stone, and farther back, a stone platform the man had built intending it to be used for his funeral pyre.
#375 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2013, 01:47 AM:

Folks, it's perfectly okay to use the word "Twitter." Really. What gets the gnomes to take a second look is a link to Twitter.


Because spammers post links to Twitter all the darned time.

No link? No problem.

#376 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2013, 02:14 AM:

David Goldfarb @374

Does this look right?

Joaquin Miller statue

Wikipedia seems to support my guess with a mention of his house and an unused funeral pyre at the site.

#377 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2013, 02:48 AM:

Yes, that looks spot on. Thanks very much.

#378 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2013, 04:18 AM:

Pew Research's report on Europe seems to have left out Ireland, usually one of the the headline-generators in "EU meltdown" stories.

Perhaps we did not fit their narrative.

#379 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2013, 05:59 AM:

thomas, #372: But notice there's an elephant in the room, at least as far as this article. (The survey might well have asked, but there's no mention of it here.)

The article talks about inflation as a threat, and cites the so-called "austerity" measures imposed on Greece as making them hostile to... the Germans. But there is no mention of the International Monetary Fund, not even in passing, and AIUI, they've been the major driver for "austerity" and a major player in aggravating the problems faced by the poorer countries.

#380 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2013, 09:55 AM:

David Goldfarb @377

I did a bit more looking, and Joaquin Miller is the sort of guy who you could imagine as Emperor Norton's Poet Laureate. Apparently, Ambrose Bierce described him as the biggest liar in America. Libraries allegedly file his autobiography as fiction. But nobody classes him as a bad man, and he gets credit for caring for the environment.

#381 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2013, 12:02 PM:

#362 Jacques, and others
o Saints' relics
o flutes from human bones (Tibet)
o LifeGems (diamonds from cremation remains)
o The copies of horror novels by I forget whom, which were in a fire which someone was burned to death in, and the burned melted depot fat infused the books...

#353 Xopher
The LDS church is a missionary organization seeking converts. A growing minority of US states recognize same gender marriages as legal, and various countries in Europe.... the more that do, the smaller the pool of prospective converts so long as the LDS vehemently oppose same gender marriage. The pool of opponents who aren't LDS members is growing at a slower rate, or even declining, than the popultion of supporters who aren't LDS members... Attracting those opposed to something, only works for so long if those opposed are a shrinking minority, and the majority who are not already converted are not the disaffected the missionaries are evangelizing to. (That is, if you want to become the majority religion, you should not be taking stands the majority finds unacceptable... note that Christianity dropped the requirement for circumcision and the rules for no pork, no shellfish, etc., specified in Judaism, quite early on....)

"Filker" goes back to before I was in fandom. Pretty much "filksinger" is limited to use in songs, for scansion and such ("Filksinger, filksinger, let me go next/ And I'll try not to sing out of key"....) Try old fanzines with convention reports, maybe....

#328 Rikibeth
"Fat-free" half-and-half is full of high fructose corn syrup... but that's only in the fine print of ingredients....

#318 P J
There are multiple "dairy industries" -- there are farmers whose cows produce milk. The milk then goes to processors and distributors... some of them pasteurize the milk and add Vitamin A and Vitamin D, package it up and distribute it. Some produce cream, ice cream, "novelties," whipped cream in cans, butter, mixes of butter with vegetable fats/oils, some produce milk powder, some casein, some produce cheese.... there are all sorts of different levels of processing and addition of additives, replacement of milkfat, addition of emulsifiers, stabilizers, sweeteners, colorants (annatto in some cheddar cheeses, for example), coagulants (rennet in cheese), bacterial cultures (cheese, yogurt, lassi, etc.)

Farmers tend to not put created-in-chemical-plant sweeteners into milk. The more processed the end product, though, the more likely that gets--check the ingredients list on all those little containers of yogurt in stores, particularly "Greek yogurt" marked as having no fat...

I think that the 2001-2008 burrowed-in malevolent corporate shill and the hell with the public wellbeing appartchik schmucks still control most of the day to day operations and rules and enforcement in the USDA and the FDA --the former being responsible for the continued use of Bayer and Monsanto pollinating insect and amphibian extermination pesticides, occurring in the USA. The US Government approved use of their damned neonicotinoid pesticides in advance of any studies back around 2002, buried what -crummy- studies did get done (with the sort of redacting and revisions I think that caused some scientists in the US Government to publically repudiate studies as fraudulent from censorship and massaging the body of the material to fit pre-determined conclusions which the unadulterated data and research did NOT support...)... and there there are the Republiscum in the House who enacted "the Monsanto Protection Act." .....

#382 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2013, 12:33 PM:

Jim, thanks, I wasn't sure, so I took precautions. But I also don't want to raise POBN's Google-juice when I'm annoyed with them.

And think what fun we could have had coming up with creative names for What Must Not Be Named! Like we did with "canned meat" and so on before we found out it was counterproductive (and done here so this post WON'T be found in a scan for the real thing).

But it's good to know we can say "Twitter" without being Gnomed.

#383 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2013, 04:31 PM:

Just to connect a few dots: A war on whistleblowers and leaks requires and implies spying on journalists. It requires spying on them when they write stories based on the leaks, but also before they write those stories. Otherwise, how do you catch the leakers? Journalists have to be targets in such a war, because in the final analysis, journalists who publish leaks are the enemy in a war on leaks. No doubt, plenty of government officials with access to the right kind of data and the wrong kind of suspected loyalties or beliefs are also spied on routinely. Again, they're the enemy.

At least two administrations have now extensively spied on journalists. I would bet a lot of money that for both, the spying went well beyond leak investigations and prevention, and into influencing coverage and getting ahead of the news cycle on various stories. It is difficult for me to imagine that this will stop at the end of the Obama administration. At this point, when I look at the weird brokenness of our media, I wonder what effect this kind of spying might be having.

#384 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2013, 05:33 PM:

albatross, 383: surely if the Obama administration were really controlling the media like that, the Benghazi nonsense would have gone away by now.

#385 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2013, 10:57 PM:

Back during the anti-carb craze, there was a low-carb milk, and a low-carb chocolate milk available that were a little bit of heaven for diabetics worried about carbs. Unfortunately, the outfit that made the low-carb milk seems to have quit shipping to Seattle and may have gone out of business.

#386 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2013, 11:30 PM:

Bruce E. Durocher II @ 385 -

Sounds like you're talking about Calorie Countdown made by Hoods. It used to be called Carb Countdown, but when the Atkins craze died down, they switched the name. It's still made, and I buy it regularly in Houston. I can still even get the chocolate version at Walmart.


#387 ::: Steve C was gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2013, 11:31 PM:

Chocolate-flavored beverage help?

#388 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2013, 10:00 AM:


I did not say the administration was controlling the media, just that widespread surveillance might be influencing it. We've discsused before how the MSM seems to sometimes act almost like a propaganda organ, and other times more like a good source of information, sometimes information various powerful people would like to avoid discussing. I wonder how surveillance might be influencing media behavior. There is strong evidence it's influencing leaker behavior and making both journalists and leakers much more cautious, and probably discouraging both. I wonder what other effects it might be having.

#389 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2013, 10:59 AM:

TexAnne @ 384... The idea that my Party is capable of controlling the media - or its own members - is enough to send me into fits of giggles. Luckily we have Fox to fight the Good Fight.

#390 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2013, 02:37 PM:

Well, this has nothing to do with any of the conversations going on here, but I had to share this article about a young mountain lion who wandered into town this week.
The thing they're calling an acqueduct is a creek that has been lined with concrete. It runs through a residential neighborhood and joins with the San Lorenzo River not far from downtown and the Main Beach (where the Boardwalk is). In the other direction, it's almost wilderness, although there are lots of polyps of human activity in it.

#391 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2013, 03:31 PM:

Woo hoo! In spite of recently Facebooking too much, I'm also in the 100k Club!

#392 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2013, 05:54 PM:

Earl Cooley III #391 and others counting words posted:

Be aware that every post you make includes several words (will vary with poster name length) in the header. Also it will count any text you included from what you were responding to.

So if you're real close to 100K, you're probably actually under.

#393 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2013, 08:56 PM:

Steve C. Sounds like you're talking about Calorie Countdown made by Hoods. It used to be called Carb Countdown, but when the Atkins craze died down, they switched the name. It's still made, and I buy it regularly in Houston.

Thank you ever so much! Now I know what to look for.

I can still even get the chocolate version at Walmart.

As Woody Allen put it in a different context many years ago, "Not even if it would help the space program."

#394 ::: Wyman Cooke ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2013, 12:14 AM:

Earl @ 391:

I'm Facebooking a bit as well. I welcome almost all friend requests.

#395 ::: Wyman Cooke has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2013, 12:22 AM:

Probably for using the other F-word.
Could I interest you in some Carroll Shelby's Chili?

[Actually for a mal-formed link (probably leaving out the quote-marks around the URL). -- Iois Bisiquoit, Duty Gnome]

#396 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2013, 03:34 AM:

On Abi's MOOCs Parhelion: I agree that massive online courses don't solve any of the problems with current tertiary education, but I think they do solve different problems.

For example, in a field I know about, Roger Peng and Jeff Leek at Johns Hopkins have given very large Coursera courses on basic statistics. If for some reason you wanted to learn some statistics, especially for biological applications, you could do a lot worse than signing up for their courses. [The benefit is of MOOCS may be especially dramatic in statistics since it doesn't require that much in the way of resources and it is often taught extremely badly in standard courses.]

#397 ::: Wyman Cooke ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2013, 04:59 AM:

I'll try this again:

I would love to have more facebook friends

#398 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2013, 07:25 AM:

TexAnne writes at #384: surely if the Obama administration were really controlling the media like that, the Benghazi nonsense would have gone away by now.

If I was the Administration's media control Czar, I would run some stories about Administration screw-ups and scandals to make it look as if I wasn't in control of the media.

I wouldn't risk using a real scandal, though; it might stick and damage the Administration. I'd make a lot of noise about some nonsensical story that would melt away under close scrutiny, giving the impression of media independence without risking any real consequences.

#399 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2013, 07:28 AM:

Remember that there are only 16 days left for David Gerrold's Kickstarter for "Star Wolf".
Do you want to watch a good space adventure show?
Do you want the chance to prove that there are other ways to make a TV show happen?
Then what are you waiting for?

#400 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2013, 09:34 AM:

TexAnne #384: Now I'm waiting for the people who will, ahem, prove that Obama is really Jewish.

#401 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2013, 10:51 AM:

As I write this in a motel in southern Oregon, on a netbook I haven't used in a year but that sucked Firefox settings from the cloud, it occurs to me that having Wi-Fi all over the place is pretty damn cool.

#402 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2013, 12:25 PM:

Wow. Just wow.

Quadriplegic mom challenged for custody by able-bodied dad.

Has a happier ending than I was expecting.

#403 ::: Steve C ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2013, 12:25 PM:

I saw Star Trek Into Darkness last night, and thoroughly enjoyed it. I thought it was better than the 2009 outing. I decided to go whole hog and did the IMAX 3D route and had a blast.

#404 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2013, 01:22 PM:

Joann in #392:

As the guy who originally posted about the 100K Club, I should respond.

I felt that the fraction of words devoted to headers would be negligible. Let's take a closer look.

I find that the string
"#230 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2013, 11:36 AM:"
is counted as 16 words by Microsoft Word.

Since, just before posting #230, I had posted 100,136 words in 1131 entries, I was averaging about 89 words per post.

If every post has 16 words of header material, than my posts contain (16 x 1131) = 18096 words of header material. So the actual combined text of my posts (which, mind you, may include extensive quotes from other people) is only 82,067 words long.

The shortfall is too big for me to characterize as "negligible."

Nevertheless, since it is easy to dump a "view all by" page into Word for a word count, and more complicated to correct for header-data and for quotation, I feel that I should not place an undue burden upon aspirants. As the founder, or at least the discoverer, of the 100K Club, I am big-hearted enough to welcome into the Club people who have contributed only 82,067 words to the Flurosphere. An easy, fast way of checking for qualified members is desirable. And this is still a lot of words, a fair-sized book's worth.

Ask yourself: Who has been to outer space? The U.S. Air Force awarded astronaut wings to X-15 rocket plane pilots who had ascended beyond 50 miles (80 kilometers) above the earth. The Fédération Aéronautique Internationale recognizes 100 kilometers, 62 miles, as the boundary of space, for the purposes of record-setting. Several X-15 astronauts went higher than 50 miles but not as high as 62 miles.

If you disagree with my philosophy of a Big-Tent 100K Club, be warned. Engage me in an extended debate and you may well find, a few thousand words later, that you yourself were the proximate cause of my crossing the Really, No-Foolin', One Hundred Thousand Actual Posted Words barrier.

Another warning: Though I am generous, I do have my limits. Individuals who attempt to game the system by posting the entire text of Gulliver's Travels in a comment will be met with a withering gaze and denied recognition of their claim to membership in the Club.

#405 ::: cajunfj40 ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2013, 02:22 PM:

Lila @#402 linked to:

Quadriplegic mom challenged for custody by able-bodied dad.

Good article, but I was totally bounced out of it by this gem of a sentence in with others describing what family law attorneys have to do in various case situations:

"If one parent is gay, they have to do the same regarding lifestyle choice."

Argh, really?

I've written both "The Legal Project" and the affiliated "Through the Looking Glass" about it via the contact e-mails listed on their respective websites. From the rather inclusive language elsewhere on the "The Legal Project" site and on the "Through the Looking Glass" site, it would appear to be a case of poor editing, but it is still a rather egregious statement that might cause people to think they are less inclusive than they claim to be. I politely advised that they fix it.

#406 ::: cajunfj40 is gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2013, 02:24 PM:

Probably for a rather short incredulous reply to a sentence in the article Lila@#402 linked to, or a malformed link, or three spaces after a period. There was cut and paste involved.

I've a tangerine I could share?

[Malformed link. -- JDM]

#407 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2013, 03:48 PM:

JDM standing in for the gnomes at 02:24 PM?

Their Lownesses must be having an extended lunch.
(Then again, it is Friday and they deserve a break.)

#408 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2013, 03:53 PM:

#407 : Cadbury Moose

We've been under a significant spam attack since a week-ago Thursday; up to 200 an hour hitting the filters and needing to be individually checked. I suspect that a new botnet went on line. The gnomes have been working flat out and are pretty exhausted.

#409 ::: GlendaP ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2013, 04:10 PM:

HLN: Area feline to celebrate 11th birthday by enduring second spleen biopsy, because accurséd FedEx lost the slides from the first one.

#410 ::: TexAnne, not gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2013, 04:27 PM:

I wish to extend my heartfelt gratitude and a large stack of crêpes to Idumea, Raul, and all their colleagues. (I'd wondered why Idumea has been so scarce on Twitter lately....)

#411 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2013, 04:28 PM:

cajunfj, I think I must be missing something either in your comment or in the original article. I read 'family lawyers must do the same' as meaning 'quickly educate themselves on the relevant issues', e.g. in a case alleging that a gay parent is ipso facto unfit, the lawyer needs to familarize him/herself with the research that says that kids raised by gay parents do just as well as kids raised by straight parents. I didn't find that objectionable. (?)

#412 ::: Lila got gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2013, 04:29 PM:

probably just collateral damage in the current battle

[Yep. The words "family lawyer" (like "divorce lawyer," "dui lawyer," and "accident lawyer") trip the triggers for a closer look. -- Poneo Buir, Duty Gnome]

#413 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2013, 04:52 PM:

Jim @ #408


In that case I can offer wild boar sausage, honey liqueur, and some weapons-grade Stilton. (Assuming the last item hasn't blown the doors off the cool room. Again. Also assuming we can get it past the TSA without causing a major incident.)

#414 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2013, 05:35 PM:

Dang, and I just finished a small wedge of good blue Stilton.

#415 ::: cajunfj40 ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2013, 06:09 PM:

JDM on my #406 - huh, the links looked blue in preview...

Lila @#411

The part I found offensive was the part of the sentence I quoted that equated "gay" with "lifestyle choice".

I'm sorry, being gay is no more a "choice" than being disabled is, and I called them on their error. That sort of thing bugs me, and I try to say something when I can.

#416 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2013, 06:34 PM:

Oh, I see. That flew right by me as I was focused on the odd use of "experts". Yes, of course you're right.

#417 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2013, 06:57 PM:

Civil disobedience, freshly illustrated.

Students, teachers, pastors arrested for protesting North Carolina's attempt to repeal the Voting Rights Act. Unlike a certain subset of pharmacists, THEY are willing to go to jail for their principles.

#418 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2013, 09:05 PM:

Hyperlocal temporal news:
Area woman is in downtown San Jose for the public nebula event, and will be on the lookout for fluorites

#419 ::: Anne Sheller ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2013, 11:54 PM:

HLN: Area woman, about to become a sexagenarian (Eep! When did that sneak up on me?), is trying to get used to first pair of bifocals. After finding they worked well for driving, AW has reverted to OTC reading glasses for computer use.

#420 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2013, 01:47 AM:

So we shall see how well the yogurt maker functions. It may not turn out well since I burned the milk while boiling it and some of the burnt-bits may have gotten in. (Oops.)

I'm overly-excited about getting a yogurt maker. I shall attempt to keep down the disappointment tomorrow if the stuff turns out nasty.

#421 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2013, 02:35 AM:

Wyman Cooke @ #397, request sent at FB.

#422 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2013, 04:18 AM:

Am I allowed to say that Chris Hadfield rocks? 'Cause Chris Hadfield rocks. He has got to be somewhere near the top of coolest Canadians ever.

#423 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2013, 07:49 AM:

Cheryl: absolutely. He is also the king of space.

#424 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2013, 02:54 PM:

November 23rd 2013.

Put it in your diary now.

You have an appointment with The Doctor.

#425 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2013, 02:57 PM:

Is it childish of me to be angry at a tweep in the UK for live-tweeting the Doctor Who finale, with only one #SPOILERS warning an hour ago (before I cranked up Twitter)?

I know the ending now because I read her godsdamned tweet before I noticed what it was.

#426 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2013, 03:11 PM:

In unrelated news, I heard a sentence this morning (on my local public radio station, which is in the midst of a pledge drive) that finally gives me a good example of why we need to split infinitives in English. Compare the following:

This is the time of year when we ask you directly to support the station.
This is the time of year when we ask you to directly support the station.
In normal English, the first means they're asking directly, and the second means they're asking you to support directly.

In Latinate prescribed English, the first sentence is ambiguous, and the second is not permitted. (Or perhaps the first sentence means what the second one means in normal English, and you have to say "directly ask you" to get the other meaning.)

#427 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2013, 03:27 PM:

And then there's the other use of 'directly', which is somewhere between 'now' and 'soon', IIRC. That would work in the first sentence, but not the second.

#428 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2013, 04:10 PM:

Xopher: but "support the station directly" is permitted, though I would be inclined to interpret that 'directly' in P J's sense.

#429 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2013, 04:24 PM:

Xopher Halftongue #426: AIUI, the "don't split infinitives" rule was dubious when it was originally proposed, and these days, not even the prescriptivists support it. It's strictly limited to folks who think they know more about English than they do, and also are looking for an excuse to order people around.

#430 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2013, 05:05 PM:

I rather admire how Fowler handles the split infinitive. As any fule kno:

The English-speaking world may be divided into (1) those who neither know nor care what a split infinitive is; (2) those who do not know, but care very much; (3) those who know & condemn; (4) those who know & approve; & (5) those who know & distinguish. . . . Those who neither know nor care are the vast majority, & are a happy folk, to be envied by most of the minority classes.

#431 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2013, 05:15 PM:

As I recall, Edward Teller speculated that attempts to deliberately split the infinitive might initiate a chain reaction that could ignite the entire English language. Naturally-occurring infinitive fission had already been observed in German several years earlier, however.

#432 ::: Brenda Kalt ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2013, 05:36 PM:

HLN: I just finished the weirdest book in a long time. It's THE EXPLORER, by James Smythe. There are no spoilers here, but I must say that when the spaceship is accelerating, the crew are in microgravity; when it stops in space(!), there is one gee. They are so far out in the solar system that the protagonist's blog posts take a long time to arrive at Ground Control, but the computer on the ship sometimes interacts with the computer on the ground a la a home computer with the Internet. The weirdest part of all is that the author thanks a "friend and astrophysicist" for his help in getting the science right. Said person must be either horrified or ROFLHAO if he's read the book.

The plot is mostly internal to the protagonist's head and is okay.

But this is weird.

#433 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2013, 05:36 PM:

I think German may be the Oklo of infinitive-splitting.

#434 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2013, 06:38 PM:

Yes, there are many ways to recast the sentence to avoid both the ambiguity and the split infinitive.

Avram, may I quote that in places where quoting is done, such as the book of faces and the place of bird noises?*

*Yes, I know; I'm having fun.

#435 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2013, 07:12 PM:

Okay, I'll add that one to my list of avoid-this-books. (To which I've already added the latest of D. Brown's thrillers: even the supermarket is selling it.)

#436 ::: k8 ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2013, 09:41 PM:

Xopher @425: I'm similarly irritated at someone who just blatantly tweeted about the Star Trek: Into Darkness spoiler - and not once but several times in a row. I'd honestly anticipated being spoiled, since I probably won't see it for at least another week, but not the day after it came out here.

OTOH, I'd been thinking I should unfollow her for quite some time, and that was the impetus I needed. Good riddance.

#437 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2013, 09:51 PM:

Argh! I have just spent the better part of 6 weeks clearing out my late parents' house, and I still didn't get everything out. Lots of sorting was needed because valuable things were intermingled with junk. The wonderful next door neighbors bought the house to remodel and said they would take care of what was left. They're saints. I am also thrilled that the house went for $25k more than I expected.

A rental truck full of books (mostly) with a car transport awaits me. I expect to get about an hour down the highway before stopping.

Of course I don't know where I'm putting all those books. It will be interesting.


#438 ::: Patrick Connors ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2013, 10:58 PM:

k8 #436 and others:
Then do not read the IMDB entry on Star Trek Into Darkness, as it spoils one or more major spoilery bits in the Quotes section, above the Spoilers line.

Enjoyed the movie, by the way. It spoils nothing to say [REDACTED].

#439 ::: Steve C was gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2013, 11:55 PM:

One of the previews at the Star Trek movie was for Man of Steel (in 3D IMAX to boot) and I have to say I'm excited about it. It looks really, really good.

Now, I've always loved John Williams' scores, but I think Hans Zimmer's work on Man of Steel could challenge it. Here's a taste.

Man of Steel score

#440 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2013, 12:02 AM:

Steve C: I don't see anything from you in the moderation queue or the spam trap. -- JDM

#441 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2013, 12:25 AM:

Sorry, Jim - forgot to clear my name.

#442 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2013, 12:30 AM:

Xopher @434, go ahead.

#443 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2013, 01:31 AM:

Steve C., #439: Whoa. I may go to see that movie for the score alone!

#444 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2013, 10:46 AM:

We didn't get a Man of Steel trailer before Star Trek; different markets, different release dates, presumably.

What we got was this trailer for Pacific Rim. I'm mostly uninterested, but there was an unexpected familiar voice about 30 seconds (and again about 55 seconds) in...

#445 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2013, 11:27 AM:

Open Threadiness/AKICIML request:

I'm taking a long bus trip soon that involves a layover in Memphis TN for a couple hours on a Sunday night when the bus station is closed. (I'm riding Megabus; it stops near, but not actually at, the bus station.)

Google Street View of the area (near the North End MATA terminal) looks a little sketchy. There are a few restaurants within half a mile or so, so I can hang out at one of them if no better alternative is available.

Anyone familiar with the area got any advice?

#446 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2013, 12:28 PM:

I got a jar of that red pepper spread from Trader Joe's, which was delicious. Then I rediscovered the half-empty jar, which had gotten shoved to the back of the fridge. It looked good, smelled good, tasted good...and fizzed on the tongue like fine champagne. *headdesk*

Well, at least now I know it's not loaded with preservatives. Next time I'll eat it faster....

#447 ::: Anne Sheller ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2013, 01:58 PM:

HLN: Local woman hits 60. So far, 60 isn't hitting back too hard.

#448 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2013, 02:03 PM:

Does anyone have on hand a quote about Jack Aubrey's hat being steadfastly athwartships? I cannot find such a quote anywhere on the internet. It's not a high priority-- advertisement for a reading at Wiscon-- but I would like to have it available.

#449 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2013, 03:01 PM:

Anne Sheller @ 447... Happy Hitting of the Six-O!

#450 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2013, 03:02 PM:

Anne Sheller @ 447... Happy Hitting of the Six-O!

#451 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2013, 03:02 PM:

Anne Sheller @ 447... Happy Hitting of the Six-O!

#452 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2013, 03:31 PM:

Diatryma @448: will this serve?

"Officers as imposing as post-captains were rarely treated so, at least in daylight, but this was the feast of St Simeon Stylites, and a great deal of licence was tolerated; in any case Jack's hat (which, out of love for Lord Nelson and a liking for the ways of his youth, he wore athwartships rather than fore and aft) had been snatched at in countless ports since before he needed to shave, and he was fairly good at preserving it."

-Treason's Harbour, p.33 (Norton trade paperback).

Or possibly this is better:

"'Even earlier, if possible,' said Jack. He was an old-fashioned creature in some ways, as his hero Nelson had been; he still wore his hair long and plaited into a clubbed pigtail, not cut in the short modern Brutus manner; he put on his cocked hat athwartships rather than fore-and-aft; and he liked his dinner at the traditional captain's two o'clock."

-The Thirteen-Gun Salute, p.67 (Norton again)

Process: search "patrick o'brian athwartships", find results including said word and "hat" in .pdf files of those two volumes; hit up Google Books "search inside" for "athwartships", locate quotes, and then grab my volumes off the shelf for ease of retyping.

Amusing note: one of my tumblr discussions over the Great Hat Debate comes up in the search results for "patrick o'brian athwartships" before either of the suitable .pdf files.

#453 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2013, 03:38 PM:

Related to the Patrick O'Brian subthread: I was quite happy to find out, when visiting my 85 year old grandfather last week, that he's fond of the Aubrey/Maturin novels as well - I'm reminded that I need to reread them again, but the paper copies got packed yesterday.

#454 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2013, 04:41 PM:

Anne Sheller #447: Congratulations. Does becoming a sexagenarian mean that you become sexier?

#455 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2013, 06:44 PM:

Thanks, Rikibeth! Those will be very useful.

#456 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2013, 06:59 PM:

Diatryma: glad to help!

#457 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2013, 07:41 PM:

The headline on the LA Times review: 'Star Trek Into Darkness' ramps up action, leaves room for heart
I'm not sure if they liked it or not, but I find the billboards put me off - they're at least as far up as ISS, so they shouldn't have billowing smoke trails. (No atmosphere to speak of there.)

#458 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2013, 08:52 PM:

HLN: Local woman comes home from a fiber festival with a drop spindle, some wool/silk roving, and a small quantity of extremely overspun sewing thread she made herself. "I couldn't help it! I asked one innocent question about what kind of spindle I should get if I started spinning, which I wasn't going to do but if I ever did...and they GAVE ME ONE. Sheesh."

#459 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2013, 08:59 PM:

TexAnne: first one is free. Muahahahaha.

#460 ::: Lila got gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2013, 09:01 PM:

For teasing TexAnne about falling prey to the insidious lure of the drop spindle. But I guess she and Terry Karney can form a support group if things go bad later on.

#461 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2013, 09:57 PM:

Welcome to the siblinghood of the drop spindle, TexAnne!

#462 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2013, 10:52 PM:

Would anyone like a Star Trek Into Darkness spoilers post here?

#463 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2013, 11:05 PM:

I would personally prefer that if you're going to spoiler anything about the new Star Trek movie you at least rot-13 it, as I won't be seeing it until at least next week.

#464 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2013, 11:36 PM:

I was kinda hoping one of the moderators would create a post for STID spoilers. :-)

#465 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2013, 11:37 PM:

P J Evans @ 457: If you want plausible science, this Star Trek movie (or, indeed, any Star Trek anywhere) will disappoint.

It's dashing and fun, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Benedict Cumberbatch is wonderful! I shall say no more, as I got to see it spoiler-free and would like others to, as well.

#466 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2013, 12:06 AM:

Steve C. @ 463: That's what I thought you meant.

#467 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2013, 12:31 AM:

Steve C. #463: Your wish is my command.

#468 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2013, 03:07 AM:

Fragano @454

We had the Eurovision Song Contest at the weekend, with Bonnie Tyler singing the British entry. She is 61 years old, and the photographs look good at first glance.

But see a higher-resolution version than the newspaper print and the image doesn't quite look right. The lighting is very "flat" for one thing: hardly any shadows anywhere, which means there's almost no sense of shape. There look to have been two lights to either side of the camera, giving faint shadows on either side of the nose, and there's no sign of shadow under the nose. Clothing is variations on black, so the shadows are hard to see. There is a faint shadow on the skin at the edge of the clothing.

I can't judge the make-up, but the skin tone is very pale.

It's the sort of set-up that hides signs of age. And most of the photographs shown in newspapers and on web pages just will not have the resolution to show the usual signs.

I am reminded of Felicity Kendal, who still has a remarkable figure. When there was a clutch of photographs of her last year, the photographer wasn't trying to hide anything, but the pixel resolution of the printed photographs made an obvious difference.

As for Eurovision, I'm beginning to wonder if, next year, the BBC will try to put all four Beatles on stage.

#469 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2013, 03:27 AM:

TexAnne @458:

As I said on Twitter, welcome to the spindle side of the force! We have Norns, which kem to Noms but are much more interesting.

#470 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2013, 03:33 AM:

Today (well, yesterday at this point) I learned that if not for the mistaken delivery of a rat costume, the mascot for Chuck E. Cheese would have been a coyote.

Also, this:

#471 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2013, 06:31 AM:

abi, Lila, elise: thank you...I think. I got it Saturday and thought I had some kind of immunity because I was able to put it down and go to bed, but then I stayed up too late with it last night. So now I need to find some inexpensive but pleasant roving to practice on! I'm rapidly running out of what my friends sent me home with.

#472 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2013, 07:52 AM:

Are you spinning wool, TexAnne? Interested in playing with other fibers? (Nothing four-footed for me, so there's silk and flax around the house.)

Will you be at Fourth Street?

#473 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2013, 08:41 AM:

elise: Probably no 4th St, unless I get a miraculous job and an extension of my moving date (which I don't have one of yet, but I'll probably be packing argh). MG has promised me some mawata. I wouldn't object to playing with flax!

#474 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2013, 11:05 AM:

After some serious "subtractive gardening" yesterday, taking out a big overgrown lovage, I wonder how much of particularly British horror writing owes tropes to gardening. Thinking you got it all, but then it springs up again feels like gardening, especially things like horseradish, which took a lot to eradicate. Or am I overreacting to triffids?

#475 ::: Anne Sheller ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2013, 12:21 PM:

Serge Broom @449-451: Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Fragano Ledgister @454: One could wish.

Henry Troup @474: But do triffids go with roast beef?

#476 ::: Anne Sheller is gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2013, 12:25 PM:

Quite likely for multiple expressions of gratitude. Would Their Lownesses care for some grated triffid with their roast beef?

#477 ::: Steve C ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2013, 05:09 PM:

Moore, Oklahoma has been slammed by a tornado. The damage looks devastating.

#478 ::: Magenta Griffith ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2013, 11:11 PM:

Charlie Stross's site seems to be down, and has been most of the day. I hope he's okay. Maybe too many people have read Paul Krugman praising his next book.

#479 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2013, 11:36 PM:

Ray Manzarek dead at 74.

His keyboards defined the sound of the Doors every bit as much as Jim Morrison's voice did.

#480 ::: Lee has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2013, 11:37 PM:

Probably for a suspicious link.

#481 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2013, 12:48 AM:

Magenta Griffith@478: He posted on his LJ about it, and while he's understandably annoyed, I'd say he's personally okay.

#482 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2013, 03:38 AM:

According to the latest from Charlie Stross, his blog is down for several days. The server went down hard and the filesystem is corrupted. He has back-ups, but wants to be sure the underlying problem is fixed before normal service is resumed.

The last thread I saw on his blog was about things people say that would have been incomprehensible ten years ago. Not unimaginable (such as a black president being re-elected in 2012), but changes in the commonplace language and how we use it. Was The Pirate Bay around in 2003? What matters is how many people knew about it, and now we have the Pirate Party standing in elections in Europe on an internet freedom platform.

"BBC downed by Who streams" is the sort of headline that might bewilder our 2003 selves.

#483 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2013, 08:35 AM:

Open Thready:

There's sort of a commonplace going around lately that the last 50 years ain't crap compared to the 50 years before them. The argument goes something like this: " 1913 vs. 1963 , we got skyscrapers, cars, airplanes, antibiotics and the bomb; you couldn't even explain 1963 to someone from 1913. If you tried to explain 2013 to someone from 1963 they'd be unimpressed. What, we have slightly better cars? Encyclopedias in our pockets? We were supposed to be living on Mars by now."

I feel like this is selling the recent past short. My general argument about Living In The Future is "We use robots with lasers to do eye surgery so you don't need glasses." I'm looking for more examples of this sort of thing, or other changes in lifestyle.

"Computers are a billion times better" [which is not an exaggeration] isn't really the thing. "People don't get lost anymore because of smartphones" is more the thing I'm looking for.

#484 ::: Sandy B., gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2013, 08:36 AM:

I've got... hmm, some dark chocolate and cognac for Their Lownesses?

#485 ::: Sandy B., gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2013, 08:38 AM:

Metagnomed. Maybe for attempting to corrupt them with ethanol before noon?

[Gnomes love alcohol, particularly before noon. Alas, two issues: First, a comma with a space on either side; second a word of power. -- Ruic Beyus, Duty Gnome]

#486 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2013, 08:54 AM:

Checking in from Norman, Oklahoma -- the tornado missed us, though we did evacuate the library to the two lower levels twice when sirens went off in town. (Moore is just north of us along I-35, between Norman and OKC.) Technically we are a refuge, not a shelter, but we DO allow pets, so a lot of people use us. (Being a refuge, we aren't set up to open if there's a tornado after hours; I'm beginning to hear rumblings that may change that. We DO have other 24 hour shelters on campus.)

I live just north of the main road that goes to the downtown Norman hospital, and since the Moore hospital was among those hit, there was a constant stream of ambulances both ways last evening.

I don't have family or close friends in Moore, but I know one public library librarian who lost her home and car (but she and her family are fine), and one of our student workers was just on the edge of it. I'm sure I'll be finding out more today. The movie theatre I go to up there looks like it took at least a cosmetic hit, but I heard they were using it as a command center during early recovery efforts.

The university has opened student housing to anyone who might need it.

#487 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2013, 11:10 AM:

The Hugo's electronic packet is now available.

#488 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2013, 12:00 PM:

Sandy B @483 -- A lot depends on who you would have been talking to in each of those decades. Most of us know someone who was alive in 1963 (and many of us were alive then!) and those people don't seem that impressed by the change -- but it's mostly because they aren't thinking about it. And part of that is because of science fiction, which didn't have the ubiquity in 1913 that it did in 1963. But a great deal of 1963 would have been quite comprehensible to many people in 1913 (skyscrapers, cars and airplanes were all in existence then, from your list, for example -- and the social changes were certainly a little visible in various novels).

Smart phones aren't "an encyclopedia in your pocket" -- they're access to most of human history in print and most of what's ever been photographed. They're as-close-as-possible instant communication with just about anyone you know on the planet. The Internet means that more people have friends on different continents than ever before. We've sequenced a great deal of the human genome, and hey - nanobots! Digital music!

I think the meme you're talking about is one that won't be falsified by giving examples because the people using it are too close to the examples. I think people in 1963 would have felt the same way about the difference between 1863 and 1913 versus 1913 and 1963 -- again, they knew people who were there and those people don't seem to have had a lot of trouble adapting (some other folks off in a different part of the country -- they haven't adapted and are still living in the past, but my friends aren't).

#489 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2013, 12:57 PM:

Anne Sheller @419: Area woman, about to become a sexagenarian (Eep! When did that sneak up on me?)

I'm still wrapping my head around the idea that there are people in the world who are over 50 who are younger than I am. It's, like, unnatural.

@444: Okay, now, this is just plain silly. Bad enough that many trailers on YouTube are preceded by ads (given that trailers are, you know, ads). But when the ad tacked onto a trailer is another trailer....

@449–451: So Anne should be good until her 180th birthday?

Dave Bell @468: I just recently went through Rosemary & Thyme on Netflix. I want to be Felicity Kendal when I grow up.

TexAnne @471: now I need to find some inexpensive but pleasant roving

Got any friends with samoyed or malamute dogs? Shedding season is starting, I gather.

Sandy B. @483: I'm looking for more examples of this sort of thing, or other changes in lifestyle.

Are we talking '63 J. Random Populace, or skiffy fan? For the latter, the laser surgical robot would be entirely predictable. For either:

  • Having the sum total of human knowledge in you pocket might give them a turn.
  • Having casual, daily, realtime conversations with people anywhere on the planet (optionally, with video)
  • Photoshop.
  • Free Love, AIDS, and Safe Sex.
  • Flash mobs.
  • Actual, real, like, accurate weather prediction.
  • Heh: global warming.
  • The end of the Space Program—with no colonies anywhere.
  • Y2K.
  • Texting while driving.
  • Calling your spouse on the phone while at the grocery store.
  • Netflix & Hulu.
  • Credit Default Swaps.
  • Direct deposit and autopay.
  • Computer dating. Speed dating.
#490 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2013, 01:02 PM:
  • Having your genome publicly searchable from anywhere in the world.
  • Cyberstalking. Hell, stalking. Stalking defined as a crime.
  • Cyber-bullying
#491 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2013, 01:17 PM:

Jacque @489
Direct deposit and autopay

I read this as Direct deposit and autopsy

Really, if there was a mistake, I'll give the money back, honest.

#492 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2013, 01:26 PM:

Dave Bell #468: Perhaps the BBC will have access to a working TARDIS. It would certainly explain the mysterious dialogue at the end of the last episode of Doctor Who.

#493 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2013, 01:28 PM:

After posting the last item it occurred to me to think of what the BBC would do with a working TARDIS. The return of Hugh Green and John Reith in the twenty-first century would be, ahem, interesting.

#494 ::: Magenta Griffith ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2013, 02:40 PM:

Sandy B @483 and Jacque @ 489

Not just Netflix and Hulu; since 1963, color TV became widespread, the VCR, cable TV, satellite TV, and then, services like Netflix.

Also - vinyl, cassette tapes, 8 tracks, CDs, then MP3 and iterations. You can carry the soundtrack to your life.

If you are discussing 1963 BEFORE November 22nd, the assassinations of important people, including celebrities, have become more and more common. I remember 11/22/63. I don't remember the exact date of MLK's death, or John Lennon, or.... Not technology, but significant, IMHO.

Medical imaging; we have stuff beyond anything any SF writer came up with then.

Replacement parts for humans, both transplants and artificial body parts.

#495 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2013, 02:55 PM:

OtterB @491: I read this as Direct deposit and autopsy

Now that would be an innovation. But just think: you'd lose whole scenes out of the police procedurals! (But then you'd get some of them back by chasing down the corpses that were misfiled, hacked (ew!), or deliberately misdirected.)

Magenta Griffith @494: assassinations of important people, including celebrities, have become more and more common.

The very idea of "assassination" as applied to "celebrities." And the very concept of "celebrity" has undergone considerable mutation.

#496 ::: Steve C ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2013, 02:59 PM:

Magenta & Sandy B & Jacque -

Technological changes do have a high gee whiz factor, but change in culture and attitude strike a deeper chord.

Same-sex relationships common, trans-gender acceptance

Disappearance of lifetime employment (ditto pensions)

School not really ending till one's mid-twenties (or longer)

Warfare without troops on the ground or piloting aircraft.

For that matter, the idea of warfare being conducted in nations but not necessarily against nations.

Newspapers not the primary source of news

#497 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2013, 03:05 PM:

Never mind smart phones, the whole concept of cellphones is mindblowingly amazing if you think of it from a context of 1963. A phone that you can carry around in your pocket? So people can call you wherever you are, at home, at work, at a friend's house...? And if you have a flat tire on a lonely highway you can call for help right from the car? Incredible!

Arthur C. Clarke's Imperial Earth, published in 1976, had a scene where his futuristic hero was walking down the street and got a phone call. Clarke carefully explained that everyone was issued with a phone number at birth, and could get a call anywhere, even at the beach. (I thought that sounded terrible. Here we are, and I wasn't entirely wrong.)

#498 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2013, 03:14 PM:

Well, Robert Heinlein predicted cell phones in 1948. (He didn't predict that you could turn them off, to be sure....)

#499 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2013, 03:19 PM:

In terms of social change, particularly around sex -- there are a lot of free-sex utopian novels from before 1913 (and a few communes that practiced what they preached). I'm not enough of an historian of them to say whether any of them featured much homosexuality (though many utopias that didn't mention sex appeared surprisingly monosexual). So in some ways, we're looking at a cycle of what's acceptable to describe (at least!) in terms of sexual expression.

#500 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2013, 03:25 PM:

Tom: And of course you have that particular tide washing back and forth going back at least as far as the ancient Greeks. Transexuality...can't speak to that, but actual, physical sex change; well Varley was playing with that in the '70s, at least.

#501 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2013, 03:27 PM:

Jacque @ 500... One of those Varley stories showed up on the SyFy Channel's very short-lived anthology series "Welcome to Paradox".

#502 ::: oliviacw spots spam ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2013, 04:32 PM:

Well, there were portable phones/radio phones around for quite some time before 1963 - I remember a scene with one in the 1954 movie Sabrina. So a 1963 person might have the concept of a mobile phone. But one that anyone could carry in your pocket and make a call from anywhere for "free" - wow. I remember as a teen in 1985 having to go find a pay phone when I arrived someplace so I could call my parents and let them know I had arrived safely. And one time I arrived at my destination and discovered that the call was going to cost me $3.45 (or some such sum) because it was long distance - much digging through my purse for change ensued. $3.45 was also a significant sum to me then, so it was quite painful. If you'd handed me an iPhone back then I would have thought it was a miracle. And that was only 30 years ago, not even 50.

#503 ::: oliviacw did not spot spam, sorry ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2013, 04:34 PM:

forgot to change my name

#504 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2013, 04:45 PM:

re: Charles Stross. He's reported the backups are OK, but a replacement machine is needed. Best guess is another 24 hours.

#505 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2013, 05:07 PM:

The original man-portable radio was WW2 tech, and limited by the available batteries. But you ended up with the US Army's SCR-536, and a quarter of the weight was the batteries. Zinc-carbon batteries, since alkaline dry batteries didn't get produced until the 1960s.

#506 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2013, 05:25 PM:

oliviacw #502: Whereas when I went to Costa Rica with my family a couple years ago, my nieces and nephews (the oldest is now 12, so was 10 or so then) were fascinated by the sight of a pay phone....

#507 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2013, 06:47 PM:

Jacque @500: The first transsexual known in the media was Christine Jorgensen, and that was in 1952, so gender reassignment was a topic well before 1970.

#508 ::: cajunfj40 ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2013, 07:24 PM:

The phrasing I objected to in the article I linked to back up @#406 has been fixed, following a reply to my initial email. I've thanked them. It did appear to be failure to edit rather than bias, and they did not quibble over fixing it, which is nice.

#509 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2013, 07:44 PM:

Sandy B. in #483, and the rest of you:

Between 1963 and 2013, not a single nuclear bomb has been detonated in anger.

#510 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2013, 08:59 PM:

Dave Bell at 482:

What would a time traveler from the 20th century think of it if I said that Amazon advertises that you can store your music securely in their cloud?

#511 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2013, 09:07 PM:

Between 1963 and now?

* Cigarette smoking severely restricted if not banned in most public places.
* GPS in your car.
* GPS period.
* DNA evidence expected in criminal trials.
* Fast and efficient EMS.
* Emergency Medicine in general. (The ER moved to the front of the hospital rather than out back by the loading dock; with physicians who specialize in Emergency Medicine on duty 24 hours a day (rather than the screw-up who couldn't get a partner or a practice, who's probably on the golf course during working hours, who's been dumped in the ER because you have to put him somewhere).
* The assumption that a physician is male.

#512 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2013, 09:25 PM:

Dear 1963:

The same number of people split infinitives. But fewer of them feel guilty about it.

Millions of Americans eat yogurt.

And drink bottled water.

#513 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2013, 10:03 PM:

Living in the future:

I walk around with more data storage in my pocket than existed in the entire world in 1963. (8-gig thumb drive)

I can use my computer to look at ground-level pictures of another planet. (Mars rover)

I can DJ a party from a "jukebox" that's half a cubic foot in volume. (iPod and docking boombox)

#514 ::: Carrie S ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2013, 11:19 PM:

My laptop has roughly the computing power of, say, 1972.

#515 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2013, 11:33 PM:

I've been watching a lot of a British archaeology-documentary show called Time Team. Season 1 was filmed in 1992 or thereabouts. I started with Season 14, which isn't visibly dated; and then I looped back to the beginning and HELLO. Aside from the host having more and darker hair, the fashion, hair, and technology available are distinctly different; also, the color balance on the film/cinematography is dramatically different.

In one of the very early episodes they spend a lot of time explaining what GPS is (while watching a geophysics investigator walk around a field putting a calibrated-length pole on things and triggering periodic readings). There are Fancy High Tech Whizbang computer visualizations! In vivid-color wireframe! It's kind of endearing. And I lived THROUGH that period. Fairly recently, in fact, in the grand scheme of things.

There are things you don't notice when you travel through at sixty seconds to the minute, but when you go back and re-witness a 'period piece' it looks different to your now-eyes.

The Aristocats (animated Disney movie) is currently on Netflix streaming, so I watched it with my (4yo) daughter. I never saw it the first time around, or on cable; I was aware of some of the songs and knew what the character designs looked like, but that was it. I laughed while watching, because the male cat lead is voiced by John Wayne, and it was kind of an odd mismatch. I wonder if he sang his own parts or if they had a double?

WOW was it CLEARLY not a recently-made movie. Aside from art and animation style (which could be done that way now, of course), there were eighteen tons of drunk jokes and some really unfortunate racial setups. Lots of smoking, too. That kind of thing is totally unacceptable in modern kiddie fare ... as is that level of 'scary'. I'm kind of afraid to see what The Fox and the Hound looks like to me now; I did see that a few times as a kid and as a babysitter.

#516 ::: Elliott Mason got gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2013, 11:35 PM:

Probably for spacing, punctuation, or Excessive Exclamatory Enthusiasm. Also, capitalization of three letter groupings including w on both ends, now that I think of it. Darn. Sorry, Idumea and Raul, I know you have better things to do than deal with rescuing my false alarms. :->

[It was, indeed, for WOW (usually World of Warcraft in spam terms). -- Borie Borio, Duty Gnome]

#517 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2013, 12:20 AM:

Back when Scalzi did his Little Fuzzy novel, I wound up reading a bunch of H. Beam Piper. The amount of smoking mentioned was incredible. Pretty much everywhere, at any time, including on starships and other enclosed spaces.

#518 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2013, 12:51 AM:

Bill Higgins #512: And millions of Americans eat raw fish. Deliberately.

#519 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2013, 01:07 AM:

Re smoking: DS9 lampshaded this in the episode where they went back in time to Roswell at the time of the "alien spacecraft landing". EVERYBODY from the earlier era smoked, and Our Heroes couldn't understand why. That's a huge change from 1963 right there.

#520 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2013, 01:09 AM:

And come to think of it, right there in my previous post was a sentence that would have been incomprehensible before the existence of TV Tropes!

#521 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2013, 01:10 AM:

Elliott @ #515:

O'Malley the Alley Cat was voiced (spoken and sung) by actor-musician Phil Harris, who also voiced Baloo in The Jungle Book and Little John in Robin Hood.

All of which I knew already, but I spared a moment to check in with IMDb - another thing they didn't have 50 years ago. Or even 20 years ago; I remember when Cinemania (a searchable encyclopedia of movies on your own computer! with sound and films clips! updated every year!) was the next big thing.

#522 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2013, 01:11 AM:

If we can stretch the boundaries by a year or two, I'd say the biggest impact of the last 52 years is from the widespread availability of reliable, safe, non-intrusive contraception.

That one's huge.

#523 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2013, 02:04 AM:

abi, #522: Griswold vs. Connecticut was in 1965; prior to that, access to reliable, safe contraception was iffy at best. And you can tell just how huge a change that was by the continuing determination of Various People to take it away again, permanently.

#524 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2013, 03:01 AM:

Speaking of 8-gig thumb drives (as mentioned by Lee@513), I got one recently from the Commit For Life online store. I've been donating platelets, and it works out to 39 platelets per bit.

(Calculating that was Keith Lynch's idea; credit to him.)

#525 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2013, 03:49 AM:

#497, #498: In Clarke's The Lion of Comarre from 1949, a character diverts his mobile phone to an answering service because he's expecting an annoying call from a relative.

#526 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2013, 08:19 AM:

In Crooked House by Agatha Christie (published 1949) there is a scene where the detective walks into a room and wonders what is odd about it, then realises it is the absence of the smell of tobacco.

#527 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2013, 08:24 AM:

eric @ #517, yes! Did you see the episode of Antiques Road Show where they had a commemorative ashtray from the SMOKING ROOM ON THE HINDENBURG?

And the ashtray featured a glass blimp full of fuel!

#528 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2013, 08:52 AM:

Elliott Mason @515 re Disney movies, yeah, it's funny the assumptions built into some of the older ones. I remember rewatching "The Fighting Prince of Donegal" as an adult (it was one of my huge favorites as a kid - swashbuckling, what's not to like) and realizing how much there was about how the male characters were getting drunk and the pretty girl was supposed to treat this with indulgent affection and look after them when they did.

Re more general societal attitude changes in the past 50 years - the battle is still being fought and the current status varies widely by region of the country, but I think there's much less assumption that the unmarked state with respect to religion in the US is Protestant (with a grudging acknowledgement of Judaism and Catholicism.)

#529 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2013, 09:17 AM:

One big change is how much more acceptable it is to talk about sex, and how much less acceptable it is to express prejudice.

Also, it didn't used to be considered normal (let alone meritorious) for adults to exercise.

#530 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2013, 09:17 AM:

Re Jim's points @ #511:

DNA evidence: I was shocked when I was writing a fanfic with a murder trial set in 1986 and I discovered there was no DNA testing available--blood type was the best you could do to show that that might be the victim's blood in the criminal's car. (DNA testing was invented in 1985 and the first criminal conviction based on it was in 1987.)

EMS as we know it now is no older than the '70s (I grew up in a town where the hearse was the ambulance and there was nobody with any training to staff it).

1991 was the year that the numbers of males and females enrolled in college became equal; since then, females have outnumbered males in increasing proportion. More women than men entered med school for the first time in the early 2000s, with the high point of women's enrollment in 2003 at 50.3%; it's now back down in the high 40s.

Another big difference: seat belts in cars (and occasionally now even on buses).

#531 ::: Lila got gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2013, 09:21 AM:

For links, perhaps, re differences between the '60s and now?

Another difference: here in Georgia, one often sees interracial couples openly walking down the street. In the 60s that could have been fatal.

#532 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2013, 09:26 AM:

...not to mention illegal, if they tried to get married.

#533 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2013, 09:27 AM:

My grandfather worked for Liggett as an accountant. My mother would have been in middle school in the early 1960's. He routinely brought experimental cigarettes home for her and her siblings to try and comment on.

I'm not thinking that would happen today.

#534 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2013, 09:47 AM:

One of the things I love about the neighborhood we moved to last year is the large percentage of interracial kids my daughter's age on the playgrounds. Chicago is still a very segregated city, and it shouldn't be exciting when, say, 25% of a busy playground shows mixed phenotypical characteristics, but it is, for me.

Fun Fact: Of the open-enrollment parts of the Chicago Public School system (not magnets or test-to-get-in selective schools), you can EITHER have over 10% black kids OR over 10% white kids, but not both. There are white-and-Hispanic schools, black-and-Hispanic schools, etc, but nothing with, say, 20% black, 35% white, and the remainder scattered through all other options.

There are also no majority-white nonselective schools in the system, or at least none in the 60 or so I pulled the demographic PDFs for (with an eye to buying property near a school whose performance we like).

#536 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2013, 11:08 AM:

C Wingate @ 534... Thanks for the link. I wonder. Considering which segment of the population is most likely to be the target of this imbecility, I wonder if they'll realize that Homeland Security won't only go after *those* people and that maybe it wasn't such a good idea after all.

#537 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2013, 12:52 PM:

Why should inner city youth have all the fun of Stop and Frisk?

#538 ::: Anne Sheller ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2013, 01:32 PM:

Sometime in 1960, after the arrival of child #6 (I am #2)(Cate is not a number, she is a free woman!/The Prisoner)my parents traded in the overcrowded Studebaker sedan for a VW Microbus. This was the car I learned to drive in, 9 years and many miles later. Stiff clutch and pure hell in a crosswind. Anyway, seatbelts were a New Thing, by no means standard equipment. In fact VW seatbelts were not available at all in east Tennessee. My parents got Ford seatbelts installed. First car we had them in.

#539 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2013, 01:49 PM:

I'm just remembering music [as available to teenagers in the '80s, anyway] and how blatantly flawed it was.

I bought a record (about $10 as I recall, around the summer of 1985) and it warped IN THE CAR ON THE WAY HOME. Got it home, couldn't play it, couldn't return it, and that was a lot of money to an early-teen.

I wore out a cassette tape- demagnetized, or stretched, or something- in 1987.

And I remember worrying about blowing speakers.

I remember my brother installing stereos in cars. With a keyhole saw.

It's not just "carrying the entire soundtrack to your life in your pocket". It's your life having a soundtrack, period.

Not, perhaps, as dramatic as my grandmother's "born before powered flight, lived to see a man land on the moon" but a lot more relevant to a lot more people.

#540 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2013, 02:07 PM:

Anne Sheller @ 538... )Cate is not a number, she is a free woman!

Great. Now I'm hearing Leo McKern's maniacal laughter.

#541 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2013, 02:34 PM:

I wonder if all Future Shock reflections are, at heart, personal and anecdotal. When I think of the gadgets that are now commonplace that didn't exist before 1963, most of them could be conceived of before that (see, e.g., Dick Tracy's wrist radio) but it would have been much more difficult to imagine the everyday social change. The impact of near-universal cell phones isn't the physical technology but the way it shapes and warps our everyday expectations. I know I've seen repeated discussions of how many mystery/thriller plots of yesteryear make no sense to today's readers because they rely on the difficulty or impossibility of the characters communicating with each other.

Changes in attitudes towards smoking, yes, definitely that one. I don't tend to realize it as much until I travel somewhere with laxer standards.

One of the social changes that hits me personally is marriage equality. When I first came out in the late '70s, I just took it as a fact of the universe that being gay meant certain social relationships and rituals were Not For Me. It didn't even occur to me to rage about it; it just was. Even when the first stirrings of the movement found traction, I had a hard time believing that it would really change in my lifetime, much less as quickly as it is now.

#542 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2013, 02:44 PM:

Heck, ATMs.

No more trying to figure out on Friday exactly how much cash you'd need over the weekend in order to withdraw it from the bank.

#543 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2013, 02:47 PM:

Dave Bell #505: I can remember, in the days of my childhood, amateurs walking across Wimbledon Common with portable radios on their backs engaged in communicating with people elsewhere in the world. I was fascinated by them and wanted to have such devices when I grew up. I never did, of course. Instead, I have Skype on my rastaPhone.

#544 ::: Chris ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2013, 02:57 PM:

1963 was well before my time, but according to my dad, one of the big points of future shock would be that everyone in the United States is expected to carry government-issued ID. In his day, that was one of the horrifying things they heard about the Soviet Union.

#545 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2013, 03:00 PM:

Elliott Mason #515: Watching videos Disney films with my children in the 80s was several different kinds of uncomfortable. The racism of the films of the 40s was pretty horrible. People call, for example, Dumbo a classic but all I can recall of it are the stereotypically stage-negro crows and the rather awful sexism about the arrival of babies via the stork.

#546 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2013, 04:22 PM:

My mother said, around 2004, that the 50s were a great time to raise children, but she didn't want to live in them again. She enjoyed having the microwave and the computer and the DVD player. (And the frost-free fridge!)

#547 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2013, 05:08 PM:

Thank you for the Mormon Flowchart particle. I'm pleased to see that as a lady I am unqualified to be cast into Outer Darkness as I had feared, and will have to content myself in the Telestial Kingdom with my Gandhi, most people I know and Hitler and his victims who didn't accept the posthumous baptism. Unless Hitler accepted, in which case he'll get to be up in the Celestial Kingdom, along with my parents.

It's not like the afterlife I currently believe in is any more logical, but at least it's not outright sexist and racist.

#548 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2013, 05:14 PM:

How about the rise of chains? Wal-Mart and similar stores (Woolworths, Kreskie's, etc.) radically changed small towns in the midwest. This change was largely for the better (everybody's open later, there's more selection and lower prices), but there are some ugly parts to that change, too. Where once there would have been a local hardware store, newsstand, pharmacy, grocery store, clothing store, etc., each with owners who were in some sense independent and their own bosses, you now have most of that stuff being done by Wal-Mart or some other chain store, and everyone is an employee. That represents a radical centralization of power, though people usually only think of it in economic terms. And it's a big change.

Chain restaurants were around in the 50s, but I think it's becoming more common to have pretty good chain restaurants, not just hamburger stands. It's not uncommon for the best restaurant in a small town to be a chain. (I lived in a town for several years where the best restaurant was probably the Applebees or the Red Lobster.)

#549 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2013, 05:34 PM:

Woolworth's definitely was around before 1963; according to Wikipedia (likely to be right on this one) they had a chain of almost 600 stores when they officially incorporated in 1912. So chains (and big chains!) are a significant feature of the pre-1963 era.

#550 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2013, 05:44 PM:

The departure of catalog stores, which was how Sears and Ward's (and Penney's) did a lot of business. We had catalog stores - basically just a storefront where you placed and picked up orders - for Sears and Ward's, and an actual Penney's store.

That was before malls, which were what did in a lot of small businesses. There were big shopping centers in cities, but you had to plan those trips ahead, because they'd take half a day.

#551 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2013, 06:16 PM:

Again, I remember shopping centers in the suburbs in the 60s; not that new. The decline of catalog stores is basically offset by the rise of Amazon and online retail -- the catalog is in your home 24/7.

#552 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2013, 06:30 PM:

albatross, chain stores not only represent centralization of power, they mean that a significant fraction of every dollar spent leaves the community and doesn't come back (in contrast to a small locally owned business).

#553 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2013, 06:38 PM:

Sandy, #539: When I was moving back from Florida to Nashville (late 70s), my father came down to help me pack and load. I had 2 large travel cases of LPs. He put one of them in the U-Haul trailer, and I didn't notice. Hot summer weather. Every last one of those albums was warped beyond repair. I hit the roof when we were unpacking and I found that case in the trailer. He didn't understand why I was so upset.

When CDs became widely available, I switched and never looked back. Yes, they are not without their own issues, but with a minimal amount of attention to taking care of them they're far less physically fragile than LPs.

In much of the country in 1963, anyone walking around on the street with a gun was either a cop or a criminal. (And that's one thing I wouldn't mind getting back, either.)

#554 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2013, 06:44 PM:

You can get microbrews in pretty much every place that sells beer. Ditto non-Hershey's chocolate. My local, boring, chain grocery store sells dark chocolate Toblerones!

#555 ::: cyllan ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2013, 06:56 PM:

The combination of 3-D printing and medical technology leaves me stunned.

We're not at growing organs full-scale and in production yet, but it's a plausible near-future advance. Right now, we're just doing cool things like 3-d printing a tracheal splint that's keeping a 19th month old's windpipe from continually collapsing in on itself. We transplant organs routinely now; I have a friend with a new pancreas and kidneys that will keep him alive for at least another 10 years after picking him up off death's door. Prosthetic limbs have taken a huge leap forward. We can take a cheek-swab and calculate your risk for any number of diseases that you can then take steps to prevent. Depression and other mental illnesses are (at least sometimes) treatable and is slowly being recognized and the medical illness that it is. We've learned how to drop someone's core body temperature after a heart-attack and thus maintain brain function for much longer than we ever thought was reasonable. There's even an injectable solution that will let you go for 30 minutes without breathing.

And finally, we sent a robot to Mars, and it sent back pictures! (I can't help it; I adore the Mars robots.)

#556 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2013, 07:23 PM:

One of my aunts had a shoulder replaced last month.
Another has had a hip replaced (not recently), and my mother had a knee replaced. Fifty years ago - those would have been unusual, especially since two of those were in people over the age of 80.

#557 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2013, 07:45 PM:

Serge Broom @540, Anne Sheller @ 538: and here I was wondering if they carried shovels and rakes and implements of destruction.
Arguments about whether earworming Leo McKern is better or worse than Arlo Guthrie can be written on a postcard and sent to anybody but us.

And that is possibly the biggest future shock I can think of - I'm enough of a weirdo to have more fountain pens than I can use, and even I can't remember the last time I wrote something and mailed it to someone. Not counting cheques, I guess; but I can barely remember even the last time I did that.

On that note, This is the convention card for duplicate bridge (PDF warning): effectively a large form with checkboxes and entry lines. There are some people (almost certainly former business secretaries) who have filled out their cards on a TYPEWRITER. I was amazed at that skill back in the day, never mind now.

#558 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2013, 08:06 PM:

For those interested in the real document Mycroft W. was trying to link to, here it is.

Nowadays there are online editors that will let you fill out that card and then print it in computer type. Much easier than typewriting on the small piece of paper.

#559 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2013, 10:45 PM:

Re: the Mormon Flow Chart, obviously some bits of that are exaggerated (Ravenclaw?). I have two questions about the flowchart:

1. Do Mormons actually believe that being born Mormon means that you fought valiantly on the Jehovan side in the War In Heaven? (Subquestion: do they believe that Joseph Smith and all his initial team did NOT fight with sufficient valor?)

2. Do they still believe that multiple wives are required for the Godhood level of afterlife reward? Or is that only the schismatic loony toons?

#560 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2013, 12:27 AM:

#1 - I believe they probably think J. Smith fought extra-valiantly in the pre-existence to be allowed to find the gold plates (the fullness of the gospel was lost at the end of the Book of Mormon, when all the "good" white and delightsome native-american Jews have died and there's only the wicked, darker ones left).

#2 - as for Celestial plural marriage, I understood if you were a righteous Mormon spinster, you would have the opportunity to marry a good (married) man in the afterlife. Also, the part of Mormon marriage that supposedly lasts past death is called being sealed. If a Mormon couple gets divorced, un-sealing is not automatic. If a woman wants to re-marry and be sealed to her new husband in the temple she has to be un-sealed from her first husband. If a divorced man wishes to re-marry and be sealed to his new spouse in the temple, there is no such requirement.

#561 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2013, 12:31 AM:

Xopher Halftongue @ 559: I am not a Mormon, nor do I play one on TV, but I would be astonished if a high proportion of Mormons believe in the official church line on a whole variety of things. Just look at all those Catholics who use birth control—but maybe Catholics are exceptionally lax as religions go. I certainly am, assuming I still qualify since I left the church more than 30 years ago.

Changes since the 60s: The social changes for women, many minorities*, and GLTBQ are huge, though we still haven't come far enough. My life, with a job in engineering, no kids, and a husband who makes dinner every night, was unimaginable to me as a little girl. I can recall assuming that I'd get a job as a nurse, teacher, or secretary, until I got married. Abi's point @522 about reliable contraception can't be overstated.

Open-threadiness: I love "schadenfreude", and feel that there should be a similarly precise and wonderful German word for that moment when you see the email inviting you to complete a survey about a product or service that you have been wanting to complain to the supplier about. Joy!

*Not actually "minorities" anymore. Go, go demographics!

#562 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2013, 01:23 AM:

Raining buckets and under 50 F in Portland. Weird.

#563 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2013, 01:54 AM:

$561 JanetL

Just look at all those Catholics who use birth control—but maybe Catholics are exceptionally lax as religions go.

Birth control isn't a matter of doctrine. It isn't mentioned anywhere in the Nicene Creed. I think you're conflating two different things.

Catholic cosmology is pretty darned simple. The last thing I recall changing was the existence of Limbo. Some of the Greek Fathers thought that its existence was a logical necessity. Other Fathers disagreed; no basis in scripture or tradition. After booting the matter around for a bunch of centuries the decision was, Nope, not real.

Our flow chart is remarkably simple and non-controversial inside the Church.

Is birth control a sin? Yep. A venial sin. You can have a metric ton of venial sins on your soul and still make it into heaven. You'll put in some time in Purgatory, but so will we (almost) all.

I don't recall a lot of disagreement on important matters: The number and nature of the sacraments (seven of 'em; outward signs instituted by Christ to give grace), the necessity of sanctifying grace, and how to attain salvation (through faith and works).

#564 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2013, 07:47 AM:

#560 ::: nerdycellist

This is reminding me of the eternal marriages in the Skylark books. Are there other echoes of Mormonism in Doc Smith's work?

#565 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2013, 07:50 AM:

cyllan @555:

We're not at growing organs full-scale and in production yet, but it's a plausible near-future advance.

Indeed. I read an article just a week or so ago about using the results of echocardiograms to produce 3D-printed models of a specific heart, so that surgeons could hold it and turn it around and see exactly what they needed to do to fix it, and even practice.

#566 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2013, 08:35 AM:

Two things caught my eye on that Facebook and Violence Against Woman story.

1: The story is on Al Jazeera

2: You have to have a Facebook account to log in.

What is reported is how some well-known companies have their adverts on Facebook pages linked to violence against woman. Some have said that they aim their adverts at customers, and you would have seen the advert whichever page you were viewing.

This could well be true. But if Facebook are selling customers, can they distinguish customers who look at those pages from those who do not, and would making that distinction make any difference to the results of the adverts?

Is the problem with Facebook's system of picking users to advertise to, or with the commonplace US culture? Is there a reason why it gets noticed by Al Jazeera, and not by US-based news media?

#567 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2013, 10:07 AM:

Are you sure, Dave? I don't have a Facebook acct (and won't get one), but had no trouble reading the story.

Other sources include the Guardian, the Irish Times, and the Toronto Standard.

#568 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2013, 10:31 AM:

Dave Bell @566:

My first link to the story was on Al Jazeera, but I've since seen it on Salon, and a bunch of other places.

The campaigners are almost certainly aware that the advertisers don't get to choose what their ads get posted next to. I suspect their real intent is to get advertisers to pull their ads completely off of FB.

That's probably the only way to make a big enough splash anyway.

#569 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2013, 10:49 AM:

There might be no requirement for the man, but I know of at least one Mormon man who went through unsealing (after divorce) so he could remarry and be sealed to his new wife. AIUI, it was a PITA.

#570 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2013, 11:21 AM:

If they don't unSeal, aren't they still practicing polygamy?

#571 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2013, 11:29 AM:

Here's a story with a much better ending than I would have expected.

#572 ::: Xopher Halftongue is with the gnomes ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2013, 11:31 AM:

Perhaps because I mentioned a site that sounds like "read it"?

[Indeed and exactly. Any mention of "reddit" gets held for us to examine. -- Morp VeRacior, Duty Gnome]

#573 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2013, 11:35 AM:

Sorry, Jim. You can read the story on, but you cannot comment on it without a Facebook login.

I know of sites which have several alternatives, but in this case Facebook-only seemed well worth the comment.

#574 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2013, 11:48 AM:

PJ Evans @ 569 -

It's actually really heartening to hear your friend went through the process of getting un-sealed from his 1st wife before marrying the second. It doesn't surprise me that it's difficult, and there's a lot of leeway for the leaders authorizing the un-sealing to pressure the applicant to remain sealed. It's tough - since it's a lay-ministry I can't really say what is forbidden, but depending on how individually enlightened your lay minister is, you can have very different orthodox responses to certain situations. For example, the official word is that Mormons consider abortion a private decision made by the parents with the help of the clergy, and that life-saving and family-saving needs are paramount. That didn't keep Mitt Romney from visiting that ward-member in the hospital to try and strong-arm and guilt her into continuing a pregnancy that doctors assured her would probably kill her. That response is allowed by orthodox Mormon doctrine, as would a better Bishop's response to go to the hospital and pray for a safe termination with her.

While the Plan of Salvation - which is represented by a similar flow-chart to the one linked to, only deadly serious - is reverently presented in Sunday School, Relief Society, Priesthood meetings and even funerals as official doctrine, I'm always glad to hear from Mormons who treat certain things the way (as Janet L @ 561 points out) many Catholics treat birth control. My parents have a similar break with Mormon orthodoxy on several issues - not the least of which is gay marriage - and they consider themselves to be quite faithful.

#575 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2013, 11:51 AM:

Changes since the 60s:. The complete obviation of the whole concept of "bastardy." Women who set out to become mothers, with no intention ever of getting married.

#576 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2013, 11:54 AM:

Mormon flowchart: Is there a similar one for Scientology? (I'm not equating the two, but I've heard it asserted that Scientology is basically Mormonism with the serial numbers filed off, but I don't know enough about either to tell if this makes sense.)

#577 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2013, 11:55 AM:

Xopher # 570 - exactly. It's kind of a wink and a nod. I understand a woman can only be un-sealed from husband #1 if he gives permission for that to happen. A widower may also be sealed to another wife, provided she is not currently sealed to a man, living or dead. A widow has no such freedom. They don't practice polygamy on earth, but they are encouraged to prepare for it in the afterlife. Now that was a fun* discussion during my grandma's post-funeral pot-luck, what with the ladies smiling in a chagrined way while "lamenting" that they were sure they would be able to accept their sister-wives in the hereafter.

*(and by fun, I mean "almost made me throw up my funeral potatoes"...)

#578 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2013, 12:31 PM:

Perhaps the organizers of the Facebook boycott campaign might consider notifying not just the advertisers but CBS, ABC, NBC, CNN, the New York Times, and such at the same time/part of the same message.

#579 ::: David DeLaney ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2013, 01:39 PM:

ObFrontPageLinx: The Mormon Flow Chart phrase on the front page is not a link for me, just a phrase. Did the link that was apparently there get transubstandardized or something? Where was it pointing to?


#580 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2013, 02:00 PM:

Jacque #575:

Not getting kicked out of school for being pregnant. (One school system I knew intimately had a "disciplinary manual" or some such; if married, you could stay in school, but the only extra-curricular activity in which you could participate was Honor Society. Pregnant and unmarried? Not even the academics--out with you.)

#581 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2013, 02:12 PM:

Dave @579 -- it still works for me (though maybe I have it cached).

#582 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2013, 02:27 PM:

Dave: It points here--

#584 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2013, 05:09 PM:

HLN. Local woman, returning from Virginia with a rental truck pulling an auto transport, discoverd a kitten riding inside the towed van's bumper. Little white kitten was filthy and full of fleas, with one eye crusted shut, and understandably terrified. Local woman believes kitten to have hitched a ride in Gaffney SC, approximately 160 miles from home, as she had stopped there overnight.

Since local woman is allergic to cats, she decided to take kitten to her local Oconee County GA animal shelter. Adorable kitten is now clean, her eye is fine, and she is available for adoption after May 28. Animal control people are confident she will be adopted, especially with the heartwarming adventure story. Said local woman, "Did I mention she is adorable?"

#585 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2013, 05:40 PM:

Tracie: I've fostered for that shelter. They're awesome.

My husband's parents acquired a cat in similar fashion (in the wheel well of a boat trailer, IIRC). They named him "Hitch".

#586 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2013, 06:31 PM:

In that photo, at least, Adorable Kitten looks like She Does Not Approve. I daresay, I can't blame her. One expects she will have her new human well trained in excellent time.

#587 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2013, 08:47 PM:

Serge #583: No one was exterminated?

#588 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2013, 09:57 PM:

TexAnne #554: That applies for food in general!

Never mind the 5 or 6 ethnic stores I can find in my midsize university town. I can go into the local supermarket and get fruits and vegetables from around the world, many of them regardless of season. (Remember when stuff like apples would go out of season, for months at a time?) Likewise spices. Recipe calls for mangoes, shitake mushrooms, tofu, agave syrup, and five spice powder?¹ No problem, anything I don't have already I can get at any of my three nearest food stores (not counting K-mart). That includes the supermarket (the others are Whole Foods and Trader Joe's).

And remember those old TV dinners? Even the low end of modern frozen dinners smites them hip and thigh. (They also smite the diner there, but that's a separate issue. ;-) ) And you don't spend a half-hour cooking them in the oven, either: pop it in the microwave! For that matter, frozen food in general, and the microwave, have completely blown the doors off the 1963 idea of "what's for dinner"....

¹ No actual recipe in mind.

#589 ::: Dave Harmon has been gnomed. ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2013, 09:59 PM:

Enthusiasm for modern food options?

[Three spaces in a row. -- RF, DG]

#590 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2013, 10:02 PM:

Tracie @ #584. I'm astonished to see that the shelter for Adorable Kitten has dated its birth so accurately. 2 months, 26 days? Really?

We acquired a pooch three months ago and the best guess we got was "around six years old."

#591 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2013, 10:02 PM:

A beloved multiband radio sat in back of a station wagon between Colorado and Texas one Christmas vacation, and when we arrived, it was found that the black plastic had warped in the sun. The radio didn't work either.

I couldn't bear to part with the radio, and I tried it now and then. One time it worked, and since I was taking Radio-TV repair at the time, I got the Sams diagram and ordered replacements for all the ruined parts. It was never quite as good as it had been, though. I eventually gave it to a kid in one of our series of moves.

#592 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2013, 12:45 AM:

Linkmeister, #590: The younger the animal, the easier it is to date it fairly precisely. Kittens and puppies grow fast; even a week makes a lot of difference for the first 6 months or so. Down to the day may be a bit of an exaggeration, but not by that much. But by 6 years, there's not a lot of change from one year to the next.

#593 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2013, 02:07 AM:

Can I haz taxes on corporations and the 1%, and spending on infrastructure and public safety, please?

An I-5 bridge north of Seattle has collapsed. The news says that no one died, but they did have to pull people out of the river. For those of you not familiar with this area, I-5 is the north-south route from California to Canada. It fell at about 7pm Thursday. Heavy Memorial Day weekend traffic starts Friday.

That bridge was judged "functionally obsolete" in inspections in 2000 and 2010. More than a quarter of Washington States' bridge are considered structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. I've no reason to think Washington is any worse than any other state.

This USA Today page autoplays TV news, but has good information: Bridge collapses in Wash. state; people in water

I vaguely recalled another bridge collapse, in the midwest. When I started searching, I found one in Milwaukee and one in Minneapolis. And then there are those Oklahoma schools that couldn't afford to build storm shelters. This First World isn't feeling all that first.

#594 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2013, 03:13 AM:

janetl@ #593, the United States: First World in hatred of taxation; Third World in infrastructure. The second follows the first as night follows day.

Lee @ #592, huh. I didn't know that. Thanks.

Anyone who says "you can't teach an old dog new tricks" is mistaken. At least in our Abby's case, you can teach her that it's okay to be a dog and bark and run around in the yard and be affectionate with humans, no matter how long she lived without those things.

#595 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2013, 06:21 AM:

Fragano @ 587... Ingurgitate! In-gur-gi-tate!

#596 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2013, 06:28 AM:

janetl #593: <paranoia>Combined with the harassment of pilots flying east of California, one could start to suspect that the government is hoping to block those pesky Californians off from the US.</paranoia>

#597 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2013, 11:28 AM:


I suspect half the problem is resistance to taxes, but the other half is a well-founded suspicion that the state and county authorities will not use additional tax money to do essential things. It's hard for me to believe that Washington state has had no money that was being spent on less essential things than maintaining bridges for the last 13 years.

Some years ago, DC (in whose media orbit I live) simultaneously had happy stories about how they'd managed to bring the Nationals to town by spending a lot of money and promising to build them a stadium, and sad stories about how they were closing down public hospitals and there were schools in the DC school system where the kids didn't have books. It doesn't take a Tea Partier to see why someone in DC might suspect that higher taxes would just be wasted, not used to do essential things.

My sense is that this is usually true. Everyplace I have ever lived has had good years, when we spent a lot of money on everything but the roads and schools still seemed to need some work, and bad years, which nobody could possibly have forseen, when essential things were going to have to be cut (teachers and policemen and firemen laid off) unless we coughed up some extra tax money.

On a federal level, though I'd like a better tax system that was harder for big companies to evade, when someone talks about higher taxes, I keep thinking that we need this largely so we can build more aircraft carriers and fighter jets we will never need, keep doing under-the-table bailouts of politically connected banks, keep building up a huge hidden set of secret homeland security agencies and contractors, etc. I'm less than enthusiastic about having my taxes go up so we can afford to keep on fighting wars we don't need to fight, or so we can fund the NSA to build facilities to record every phone and email conversation in the US forever and make it efficiently searchable.

When Washington state had more revenue than they have since the housing bubble collapsed, if they were deferring maintenance on bridges, my guess is that more taxes might not help all that much.

#598 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2013, 12:10 PM:

Re: The Skagit Bridge.

FWIW, I'm a former bridge engineer, in Washington State. (That's lowercase engineer, I didn't have a PE, and I'm out of that now. Yay for using the masters degree for slightly more time than it took to get it). One of my officemates in the masters program was doing work on continuous monitoring of old truss bridges with strain gauges. (1997 era)

In 1999, I695 passed, cutting car tabs (licensing fees) to $30 from some percentage of the value of the car. This instantly cut the DOT's budget by a lot. It cut my group's pending projects by 50%. (We did a lot of work for the DOT, but also other infrastructure stuff). Soon thereafter I went into tech, just in time for that bubble to deflate.

I think the aggregate DOT budget cuts are in the range of $2bil since then. It hasn't stopped the headline projects, the bigger Narrows Bridge, the new 520 Floating bridge and so on. It's come out of everything else. We had 80 year old ferries crossing the Strait for Juan de Fuca till they were pulled from service by failing a Coast Guard Structural inspection. I fear what happens when the Deception Pass bridge is found to have issues. (It's older. 30's, or so. Narrow. Also the only way by road onto my island. And they don't let trucks with flammables on the ferries, like propane and gasoline. How long do you think a rural area can survive without gas and propane?)

We've got a lot of old bridges, the one that failed wasn't especially old, nor in especially bad shape. There are a couple in the southern part of I5 that are older and scarier. But it was a truss bridge carrying heavy traffic, that was built before people understood about fatigue failure. And, it appears, it was built a little small for the size of trucks that people would drive through it.

In a way I'm glad I'm not a bridge engineer anymore. I didn't like the life safety responsibility. But I also wish I could do something about the state of the infrastructure here.

#599 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2013, 12:43 PM:

Don't just blame the state governments for the bridge problem. Interstate highways are partially funded by the Federal gasoline tax.

Because of the rise in the price of gas, and the fact that people are driving less and buying more fuel efficient cars, the funds collected from the gas tax are decreasing and the House is stubbornly refusing to divert some general revenue to fill the gap.

I'm guessing that when some Senator or Representative's family members die or are injured in a bridge collapse, they might change their minds about funding road repair...maybe.

#600 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2013, 02:26 PM:


I dunno, around here we've had tons of highway work being done in the last few years, I think funded by stimulus money. I wonder why some of that money didn't go to fund needed maintenance.

I'm not disputing that there are important things being underfunded. I am not convinced, though, that the problem is too little money going to the various levels of government. At least as big a part of the problem seems like screwed up priorities and bad leadership. And that makes me a whole lot more sympathetic to folks who fight against higher taxes.

I wonder how much of the bad leadership has to do with the near-collapse of decent-quality local reporting. My sense is that there is a huge amount of inside-dealing and back-scratching in local government, and that there just aren't many people getting paid to keep an eye on it, and so it's hard for citizens to know many of the details. (And if the bridges didn't fall down and the schools worked okay, I don't suppose I'd care all that much if the mayor's cronies were getting rich from all the city contracts sent their way.)

#601 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2013, 03:46 PM:

if it's anything like "infrastructure" money oop North, that's because "new computer classes" and "donated hardware" get headlines for the donator/government, road repair (and software, and updates, and admin time) gets headlines only for the traffic tie-ups it causes (and other outages). Except the one every ten years or so that starts "bridge collapses" - which is, of course, not tied to any actual money given by any bill.

People, by and large, don't understand preventative maintenance. Any American who wishes to dispute that can be pointed to the Affordable Care Act talking points; anybody else can be pointed to auto maintenance rates compared to recommended (or how often the cost gets pointed out in TC car O). Given that, why should anyone pay for it?

#602 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2013, 04:06 PM:

#600 Albatross

And that makes me a whole lot more sympathetic to folks who fight against higher taxes.

Here we have some people fighting against higher taxes who fought their way right out of 9-1-1 response.

Higher taxes aren't the problem. Taxes so low that society can't function; that's a problem.

#603 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2013, 04:30 PM:

When I hear Americans criticizing their tax burden as extraordinary, I can't help but smile because it makes it look like they don't know what the tax burden is elsewhere or what it gives people in exchange.

#604 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2013, 04:38 PM:

Another thing about taxes... My wife and I had been staying at a Colorado bed&breakfast near a wilderness park. The park's proximity brought business to that place, right? The owner began griping about how the tax imposed a few years before for the construction of a better road thru the park was still being collected after the road's construction. I pointed out that roads do have to be maintained and his reaction leads me to believe he had never considered that idea.

#605 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2013, 05:44 PM:

Curious about a bridge? See Bridgehunter and Ugly Bridges. (Not all bridges are listed. Including some I was quite curious about...)

Bridgehunter includes a section on bridges with a Suffiency Rating of 0. Many of these are old one-lane rural bridges, with traffic levels that might average anywhere from 26 to 50 a day; others have been closed or replaced and some converted to pedestrian use only. Some* are not quite so limited in their current usage.

A bridge doesn't have to be in danger of falling apart in a cataclysmic functional failure to be labeled as Structurally Deficient; as far as I can tell, if it's too narrow for modern highway standards, has a low weight limit placed on it, has a lower than standard clearance, is built of wood, has a wooden or metal deck instead of a paved one it can be rated as Structurally Deficient. A civil engineer would doubtless know more about what can get a bridge a Structurally Deficient rating. For example, the old Irwin Cobb Bridge on US 45 between Brookport, Illinois and Paducah, Kentucky has a sufficiency rating of 50, and rates as Satisfactory (6 of 9) in terms of deck condition, superstructure, and substructure, but goes past "Structurally Deficient" to "Functionally Obsolete"--it's quite narrow for a 2-lane bridge, has a low clearance (14.1 feet), a curve (not nearly as bad as the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge in St. Louis, Missouri) and then there's that steel grating deck...ever driven on a metal deck bridge?

I did find a bridge built by my grandfather--now an ex-bridge, but even so.

*Age can be a factor in a bridge's rating, but maintenance, renovation, and repair mitigate that; the Eads Bridge in St. Louis is older than the Brooklyn Bridge, but has undergone a recent, extensive rehabilitation, and scores around 69 out of 100. Traffic level are an issue as well--an old bridge in good repair with a moderate amount of traffic will score better than a similar old bridge with much higher levels of traffic, as the design may not accomodate the current traffic level.

#606 ::: fidelio visits the gnomes ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2013, 05:47 PM:

Hi, guys! Want some Lindor caramel-filled truffles?

I'm betting I had a superfluity of links, although I could have done worse things than that as well.

[Om nom nom truffles! I'll save one for the boss, but I could do with one just now. Your link was just of a format that many spam blog URLs use.—Idumea Florence Cowper]

#607 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2013, 06:28 PM:

fidelio (605): ever driven on a metal deck bridge?

All the time. My commute takes me over a drawbridge that has a metal deck for the draw portion in the middle. Not particularly fun to drive over, although walking across it is worse.

#608 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2013, 06:32 PM:

addendum to my #607: this bridge

#609 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2013, 06:38 PM:

Then there's this one crossing the CSX mainline out of Silver Spring. It's a locomotive turntable with wooden boards for decking.

#610 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2013, 06:43 PM:

I think the main problem with government inefficiency is that half the people running government got elected on the premise that government is (a) a separate thing from the people rather than a tool for the people to work together, (b) inherently bad, and (c) doomed to failure.

It's amazing how much an unconstructive attitude can damage any endeavor. I've seen it many times in many contexts. I'm not surprised that the pattern holds true for elected officials.

I vote for people who want to do the job, because they think the job is worth doing.

#611 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2013, 07:19 PM:

What's fun is riding a bicycle across a metal deck bridge and looking down as you go across.

#612 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2013, 07:25 PM:

#611: More fun: Being in a boat under a bridge with a metal grid deck, and watching vehicles "flying" overhead.

#613 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2013, 10:18 PM:

We've got a dangerously aging bridge right here in the middle of Houston, only a few miles from where I live. I've pretty much stopped driving over it, because I see all those goddamn SUVs and monster pickups backed up across it waiting for the light and it makes me twitchy. There's a brand-new Wal-Mart a quarter of a mile down the road from that bridge, and the delivery trucks have to go over to the next block because they've completely banned semis from the bridge.

Note: that next block also has a bridge, which was renovated a while back and brought up to modern safety standards while maintaining the look of the original structure. I have no idea why the other bridge wasn't done at the same time, but now I'll bet the administration is wishing that it had been.

abi, #610: Amen. When an elected official believes as an article of faith that government can't do anything right, they not only have no incentive to govern well, they have an active counter-incentive to sabotage the functions of government, to "prove" that they were right all along. You'd think people who feel that way wouldn't bother running for elective office, and you'd be wrong.

#614 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2013, 11:50 PM:

albatross @ 600: You say there's "tons of highway work" where you are. Are you in Washington state? Eric's post at 598 talks about a ballot initiative that dramatically reduced Washington's revenue from vehicle registrations. He says "This instantly cut the DOT's budget by a lot. It cut my group's pending projects by 50%." And that was back in 1999. There has been some recent spending around the country due to the stimulus money, but it's hard to make up a backlog of over a decade of delayed maintenance.

#615 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2013, 12:52 AM:

Heh! What if the Billy & Jeffy & Thel and the rest were a wealthy family living in Brooklyn?

#616 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2013, 02:35 AM:

The Skagit bridge has been suitably meme-ified. For those of you unfamiliar with the gentleman being honored, the text below the photo explains his role in Washington politics. Tim Eyman Memorial Bridge

#617 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2013, 02:46 AM:

Decoration Day Triptych (combining three related poems)

I. Clever Glass

Heart empty as a PowerPoint template,
Eyes of clever gallium arsenide.
Deadly, autonomous, menacing,
It knows with exquisite precision the faces
Of those who are naughty or nice.
"Put down your protest signs.
You have twenty seconds to comply."

II. patriotic sorting algorithm

duty honor country
duty country honor
country duty honor
country honor duty
honor country duty
honor duty country
priority sequence optimized

III. Memorial Day, 2541

A single image survives the ravages of time,
tagged with commentary, remembrances, names...
so many names.

Sophontology expert systems struggle to understand
the ruined shrine world, frozen in a state
of maximum entropy.

Conflict resolution algorithms do not suffice
to measure the cost of pain, of loss, of futility,
of shattered memory.

A single image survives....

#618 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2013, 03:14 AM:

Earl Cooley III FTW.

#619 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2013, 10:26 AM:

abi @ 610

I am substantially unconvinced that the half of elected officials who see government as something other than a tool for the people to work together are either wrong, or the main problem.

Here's the issue as I see it: the government is in theory, but not in practice, a tool for the people to work together. In both Europe and the US, there has been a huge rise in movements whose main premise is that the government, as currently constituted, is NOT reflective of what the people want, but of what some particular group wants. The complaints differ, but Occupy, the Tea Party, Beppe Grillo and the Five Star Movement, UKIP, Wilders, the Pirate Party in Germany, the Greek "Indignant Citizens"--all share the premise that the government as it currently works is not a tool that serves the people.

On the road maintenance issue specifically, I am still baffled by the costs. There are plans to put a roundabout in at an intersection in our neighborhood. It involves no moving of road boundaries, and should be an inner circle of about 30 feet in diameter. The estimated project cost is $650,000. I think that is bizarrely expensive--my estimate of the actual construction cost would be at most ten percent of that (based on what a building foundation of comparable size would cost.)

#620 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2013, 10:46 AM:

Does that cost estimate include labor and materials? Because there's a lot of both involved in rebuilding a section of road.

#621 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2013, 01:30 PM:

It's not just the labor and materials, either. It's also the design and layout. The workmen can't just rip out the old road and put in the new one by eye. It has to be planned, and the plans have to be approved. This usually takes at least one or two revisions until everyone's on the same page.

And then there's the drainage: the old storm sewers (if any) will need to be moved or replaced, and properly placed and sized for the new runoff. Any old manholes for, say, sanitary service will need to be moved or have their rims adjusted. While they've got the road up, they may take the opportunity to update other underground services.

Trees may need to be removed or have their roots pruned (yes, that's a thing), and some may need to be replaced with new trees.

Oh yes, and parts of all the driveways (and any associated culverts) will also have to be sawcut and removed and replaced.

Even such small things as mailboxes and signs need to be moved, and, when practical, landscaping features, too.

Then there's seeding or sodding of disturbed areas. Especially if it's sodding, that gets expensive fast, and many municipalities require sodding in residential areas.

There's a lot more to a simple road project than just the pavement, and small costs add up fast.

#622 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2013, 01:50 PM:

And in our area, where some towns/villages have gone roundabout mad:

How many buildings are going to be torn down to put the roundabout in place?

Price for that intersection MAY include recompense to the businesses/residences for lost of land/property.

#623 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2013, 03:04 PM:

SamChevre @619:

In both Europe and the US, there has been a huge rise in movements whose main premise is that the government, as currently constituted, is NOT reflective of what the people want, but of what some particular group wants. The complaints differ, but Occupy, the Tea Party, Beppe Grillo and the Five Star Movement, UKIP, Wilders, the Pirate Party in Germany, the Greek "Indignant Citizens"--all share the premise that the government as it currently works is not a tool that serves the people.

That statement is fractally wrong. Your use of "as currently constituted" conflates groups that simply don't map together on the topic we're discussing.

I'll stick to the US and the two non-US countries that I'm best aware of. And I am aware of them, in more detail than I'm going to go into here, because I'm intimately connected with both countries, and understand the history and context of the groups in question. (As is also the case with the US.)

The UKIP and Wilders' PVV have a lot of doctrinal differences, but their uniting factor in this context is that they feel that membership in the European Union has removed too much of their countries' self-determination. In this, they're much more like American states'-rights advocates, or rather, like those states'-rights advocates who are not secretly still wishing that the CSA could come back and put the nigras in their place.

Ironically, and rather amusingly, this gives them common ground with Alex Salmond's Scottish Nationalist Party, except that the distant and interfering union that the SNP would like to be rid of is the United Kingdom. (They, and much of Scotland, prefer Brussels to London, and given the history and context, I can't say I disagree.)

Both the UKIP and the PVV have a deeply racist streak. The UKIP has far too much of the swivel-eyed Tory loons in its DNA, and a not inconsiderable amount of BNP crossover to boot. Wilders' intellectual ancestry, meanwhile, can't really be described without bringing Mike Godwin in play. (Though there's a fair argument that the BNP are wannabe brownshirts, and that the two groups are, at best, intellectual cousins.)

But this quote here is a cleaving factor:

I am substantially unconvinced that the half of elected officials who see government as something other than a tool for the people to work together are either wrong, or the main problem....Here's the issue as I see it: the government is in theory, but not in practice, a tool for the people to work together.

You're stretching in theory, but not in practice too far there.

There is a significant segment of American conservatives (including the Tea Party) who think that it is not possible, in practice, ever to have good government. These are people who took Reagan's "government is not the solution to our problem, government IS the problem" out of the context in which it was said and have turned it into an overriding philosophy. "I don't want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub," said Grover Norquist.

Meanwhile, Occupy has criticized the US government with an eye to making it better, not drowning it. In other words, they do believe that government can be a tool for people to work together, but simply is not managing it right now.

Moving offshore, the UKIP has a strong libertarian streak, mostly in the sense that they'd like to reduce the amount of power the government has over business, employment law, and the social safety net. But they don't call it, as an institution, a bad thing. They want to shrink it and change it, but not drown it.

And the PVV is even further away, partly because their electorate is a nation that literally cannot parse "there is no such thing as society" as a true statement in any context. Seriously, the proportion of Dutch people—even PVV voters—who would agree that government can not be made to work is tiny. They may have felt that a particular government, in the sense of, a specific coalition in the Tweede Kamer, wasn't working as they wanted it to, but the solution to that was to elect another group of people who would do a better job. And they did.

So from where I'm sitting, no, US conservatives are not like the other groups you've cited, at least not the ones I know about. Because only they maintain that government as a thing is bad, not this particular government. And that's a huge, fundamental difference, and my guess as to why the US system is uniquely and thoroughly borked right now.

#624 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2013, 03:40 PM:

me @623:

"Fractally wrong" was unfair. It's fundamentally wrong, or perhaps radically (in the roots) wrong, but not fractally so.

#625 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2013, 10:07 AM:

HLN: I wear a bow tie now.

No, let me rephrase that: I am wearing a bow tie now. Which I tied with my own hands, unlike the clip-on in the wardrobe.

It's a skill I had to learn for the play I'm in, because there's a scene in which my character takes his tie off and lends it to someone else, and more importantly a subsequent scene in which the tie is returned and he puts it back on in full view of the audience. Consequent of which, having learned to tie a bow tie, I need to practice until I can do it quickly, without a mirror, while carrying on a conversation. Now that I've got the basic skill down, I actually don't think it's going to be the most difficult thing I'll have had to do for this play.

#626 ::: Tim May ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2013, 11:06 AM:

David DeLaney @ #579

The Mormon Flow Chart phrase on the front page is not a link for me, just a phrase.

Not for me, either. Looking at the source, there appears to be an extra "</a" in there.

#627 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2013, 02:53 PM:

I've fixed the Mormon Flow Chart particle.

#628 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2013, 03:12 PM:

Open-threadiness: I'm fired up about the #FBrape issue. If you haven't heard about it, here's the summary: You can report objectionable content on F*cebook. A moderator reviews it, and removes it if it violates their standards. They remove all sorts of things that are reported—but have given a pass to a lot of posts that promoted rape and violence against women. A campaign has been mounted to pressure advertisers to pull their ads from FB, to get FB to change this policy.

I've spent my morning posting on these advertisers' FB pages, sending them email, and so on. I also tweeted at them. Is that a real sentence? That is, I sent an email, with the company's twitter address first, and then my message, followed by the #FBrape tag. So scary! You, sir, are no gentlemen! I tweet at you!

#629 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2013, 03:43 PM:

Paul A @ 625... Which play is it that requires your bow-tie skills?

#630 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2013, 07:40 PM:

Paul A @ 625

Beware, once you've learned the skill, it can become a habit or even an addiction. A friend held a black-tie wedding some years ago. Now I own seven or eight bow ties, and even concoct occasions. Usually on Friday at work; I tell people it's "casual Friday, only black or white bow ties are formal, so the others are casual. "

Welcome to the club.

#631 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2013, 07:43 PM:

I have it on good authority that bow ties are cool.

#632 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2013, 08:24 PM:

There are several bridges along I-5 that have been (or are being) updated in the last couple of years. One's in Eugene, Oregon, over the Willamette—I know that "long trucks" (three trailers) were banned over the old span for a long time (though I'm surprised that three trailers are allowed in the rest of the state—that's a scary train on the highways.) The new span should be completed in the next year or so, and most of I-5 in that area has undergone massive upgrades in recent years. They're also building a new span in the Shasta Lake area over one of the branch canyons.

So some of them are getting upgrades. I can't imagine why Washington didn't expect that a single-route bridge with insufficient clearance and a fifty-year-old design wasn't primed for failure...

#633 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2013, 08:56 PM:

I think it was just the last straw for that bridge - looking at the photos, the trailer is barely damaged (so it apparently didn't hit hard) and there's a lot of rust on the downed bridge, everywhere it bent or broke, and it's way too much to have happened just this week (so I suspect it was going to break soon with or without being banged on). Also the clearance was 17 feet over the inside lanes, and most of the outside lanes as well.

#634 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2013, 10:02 PM:

When a vehicle hits a bridge, the bridge is supposed to win.

#635 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2013, 10:36 PM:

Serge Broom @ #629:

The play is called The Man from Mukinupin. It's by an Australian writer named Dorothy Hewett, and is set in a small country town in Western Australia around the time of World War I.

(The part I'm playing was originated by Bill Kerr, an Australian actor with a long and distinguished resumé that includes a 1960s Doctor Who villain.)

#636 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2013, 02:39 AM:

Janet @628

It's my understanding that Facebook's system for displaying advertising is pretty ineffective at putting adverts in front of potential customers.

See Why Facebook is doomed.

Google searches give better targeting info than the Facebook webpage you choose to click on.

#637 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2013, 05:06 AM:

David Goldfarb #631: Your authority is Who?

#638 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2013, 08:25 AM:


Besides, it's FEZZES that are cool now.

Although there is some mild disagreement on this matter.

#639 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2013, 02:05 PM:

Michael I #: 638: I will tar that bush when I'm good and ready.

#640 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2013, 02:12 PM:

A small Gathering of Light has just occurred in the hills of Anatolia, present were Praisegod Barebones of this parish (accompanied by Madame Barebones and the younger Barebones) and your most humble and obedient servant. Anatolian comestibles were consumed, Light was gathered, the etymology of cinema and its relationship to politics discussed, and a good time was had.

#641 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2013, 02:27 PM:


Google searches give better targeting info than the Facebook webpage you choose to click on.

That's certainly true, but that's true of search ads vs. display ads in general, rather than being a Google vs. Facebook divide. I'd think that Facebook has probably the best demographic and behavioral targeting data on earth, so if they're really just matching ads to pages rather than to users they're missing a trick. My guess would be that the cheap ads are those sold by "Show these to anyone viewing this page", and the pricey ones sold by "Show these to people meeting this set of criteria."

#642 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2013, 03:17 PM:

Hamster. Better. Faster. Stronger. Because this is Making Light.

#643 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2013, 03:22 PM:

I can confirm the report given by Fragano Ledgister @640. May there be occasion for other, similar gatherings in the future. Other fluorospherians who happen to be passing through central Anatolia are encouraged to get in touch.

#644 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2013, 03:50 PM:

Because all knowledge is contained on Making Light, I'm looking for help in finding a poem--or just the name of the author, so that I can find more of their work--that I read many a year ago, and could not dig up again with any sort of ease these days.

It was a short poem (I think twenty lines or so) in either The New Yorker or The Atlantic, and it must've been published before 1999, since I read it from one of the magazines in my high school library. The only details of the poem itself that I remember are:

1) The mention of a plastic spoon in a cup of yogurt, and
2) That it was (maybe?) about a man and a woman in a car shortly after their mother has died.

I'm pretty sure it didn't rhyme, which was part of what struck me at the time; I was still used to very traditional rhyme schemes, or melodramatic unrhymed teenage poetry, and that was a poem that really hit me in some strange emotional place. And I'd love to find it again. But I don't think I can really google on that set of phrases, so I'm hoping someone else remembers it. (The next step after this: seeing if any of the branches of the library have extensive catalogs of both magazines from two decades back. Unlikely, but possible.)

#645 ::: isola ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2013, 04:42 PM:

Fade Manley @ 644

Possibly Jane Kenyon in The Atlantic in 1994, the year before her death.

The man at the table across from mine
is eating yogurt. His eyes, following
the progress of the spoon, cross briefly
each time it nears his face. Time,

and the world with all its principalities,
might come to an end as prophesied
by the Apostle John, but what about
this man, so completely present

to the little carton with its cool,
sweet food, which has caused no animal
to suffer, and which he is eating
with a pearl-white plastic spoon.

#646 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2013, 05:07 PM:

isola, that is exactly it. Even though I misremembered its topic entirely. (Probably because I conflated it with some other poem I read around the same time.) Thank you!

#647 ::: Fade Manley has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2013, 05:08 PM:

...for excessive thanks, I suspect. (Thanks again, isola, though this time I say so in a graver tone, while offering yogurt to the gnomes.)

#648 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2013, 05:09 PM:

(Or perhaps I was not gnomed at all. Or perhaps the duty gnomes are very, very quick to forgive. It is one of life's little mysteries.)

#649 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2013, 05:25 PM:

And may I thank you both for that wonderful example of AKICIML!

#650 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2013, 06:48 PM:

I am back from Wiscon, which was very enjoyable. I met Xopher, Elliott Mason, and Lenore whose last name I don't remember right now. First time I've run into Fluorospherians in the wild. The Alphans in Hats reading went very well, too.

#651 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2013, 01:21 AM:

WisCon was the best con ever. I got to meet Diatryma and Elliott Mason and a bunch of other people. Got to sing harmony with Ellen Kushner!

Someone (can't remember who) on recognizing my name on my badge, said "I thought you'd be taller." Not sure what that meant exactly.

It was so refreshing to be able to talk to straight, white, cisgendered men about privilege without having to first explain that yes, you have it (and so do I), and no, that doesn't make you a bad person. So nice to talk about [topic] without having all kinds of covariance assumptions made about ME. So nice to be at a panel on gaming and have no one in the room need the 101 on sexism/misogyny in gaming; one panelist referred to "the Hawkeye pose" and everyone there knew what she meant!

Some people there who I'd met before include Elise and Christopher Davis.

#652 ::: Antonia T. Tiger ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2013, 11:53 AM:

Tobias Buckell might have misunderstood the statistics in his piece on the perils of listening to successful writers, but I don't think the error spoils the argument. But I figure that it might be worth thinking about.

He says the median is the most likely outcome, which is just plain wrong.

There are usually three distinct things which we call an "average". The usual one is the arithimetic mean. Add together the value of all the samples, and then divide by the number of samples. On the sort of long-tail graph that comes out of Smashwords that gives a rather high number, which an unscrupulous company can use for talking up what they do.

One of the graphs also shows the median, way down that long tail, but what is the median?

It's the middle sample. Order the sample from high to low (or low to high) and the median is the one in the middle. It's not a particular individual, if a thousand people have sold 20 books, and 20 books is the median, it doesn't make any difference how you sort those thousand people. The median is 20 books, not Jim Macdonald.

Of course, when you see a graph like that, and the median is so far below that spike of success, it's pretty obvious that random chance will be little help. The key isn't luck, it's the quality of your work. And once you have that, then maybe luck matters.

And that third average? That's the mode, or the modal class. When you split the values for your samples into groups, such as 16-25 books sold, it's the group with the most samples. And there are a few catches in how you define those groups. If you work at it, you can hide that vast group of failures.

Guessing from the graph, there's a huge modal class, and they're failures.

And meanwhile, I potter around with my writing, as I have done for many years. Currently, His Grace the Duke of Stepney has asked his niece to investigate a stinking rich Russian businessman, living in London. Boris is up to something. You can hardly say she is bashful, she has such a fiery personality, but she is certainly...

I'm sure you lot can work it out.

#653 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2013, 12:00 PM:

Xopher @ 651... Someone (can't remember who) on recognizing my name on my badge, said "I thought you'd be taller." Not sure what that meant exactly.

That, like Luke Sykwalker, you don't make a convincing stormtrooper?
Glad to heaqr you had a great time.

#654 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2013, 12:44 PM:

Interesting open threadiness: Adam Ozimek asks what the optimal level of civility in an online discussion is. His post and the comments (other than the one spam comment he hasn't caught and killed yet) bring up issues I've seen here, but in a different tone, somehow.

One interesting question, to me, is: to whom do we owe civility in a discussion? To use an extreme example, I don't think we owe anything at all to spammers, astroturfers, or trolls--they're parasites looking to exploit a nice environment created by someone else. (But it can be quite hard to distinguish real people with weird or apparently-wrongheaded ideas from trolls and astroturfers, at least in some marginal cases.) I suspect there have been successful and famous intellectual careers made out of more-or-less trolling the whole world, and in some sense, you can see some subset of what think-tanks do as a high-end form of astroturf. (That's the "intellectual hired gun" function of think-tanks, as opposed to the "researchers and thinkers hired to do research and think in directions interesting to the supporters of the think-tank" function.)

And the answer is different in different communities, and still different in the big wide internet and world.

#655 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2013, 01:12 PM:

Seconding everyone, WisCon was amazing. It is my third time attending in a row, after a longish hiatus. My first con was a WisCon. In 1994, to be exact. Then I didn't attend another until three WisCons ago.

I enjoyed being on the panels I was on, and people approached me to say they enjoyed what I contributed (squee!). The panels I suggested but was not on were also really fun, and now programming wants me to work for them. :-> Thanks to a private arrangement with other parents-of-preschoolers, I managed to have two evenings free to engage in programming (instead of sitting in my room watching Beka sleep).

It was sobering, a little, to realize that the people I mostly know through WisCon are only seeing a tiny sliver of me-ness. For example, until two nights ago none of them had any idea that I sing (something I remedied in the consuite and a couple of parties -- I even did The Book Song, which is something of my Stupid Fannish Trick at mainstream midwestern cons). That's definitely a song made more fun by genderfloomp, at least the way I sing it. :->

Still thinking about ways to bring more of me to WisCon, rather than simply the Transsexual Speaker (though, of course, that is a valuable thing to bring).

Also trying to think of ways to get more trans* folks of color to the con next year, because ZOMG it was an overwhelming sea of whiteness at the gender panels. I think there may have been as many as 3 gender-non-conforming people of color at the con, of whom one was on a panel once.

#656 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2013, 02:07 PM:

Tracie/Lila (583/584): One of my fellow car seat techs, who is also a firefighter, named the kitten she rescued from the underside of a car for the part of the car: Axle.

#657 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2013, 06:38 PM:

You know those words that also mean their opposites? Ravel, inflammable, etc.? I have a bilingual one: "abi" in Latin means "get lost."

#658 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2013, 10:24 PM:

So... What if Peter Jackson's LoTR had had the women played by men, and the men played by women?
I especially liked Saruman being played by Helen Mirren, Katee Sackhoff as Sam, and Paul Bettany as Galadriel.

#659 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2013, 11:33 PM:

I very strongly recommend reading this stunning article on massive fraud in getting drug manufacturing approval. . The fraud appears to me to have paid off, frankly. The company's doing fine. Since it paid off. I have to guess it will be done more in the future.

A few months ago, I asked my cardiologist about switching to a generic on a couple of my medicines, and he suggested finding some prescription benefit plan that would make the brand name more affordable. One of the generics thwt could substitute for my current medicine is made by Ranbaxy, and I wonder now if some of this story was in the wind and he'd heard enough to be steering his patients away from it.

This is a story of all kinds of complicated bad things happening at once. Sufficiently brazen fraud often succeeds where more timid fraud would not. Regulatory structures that worked okay (I hope) for US drug manufacturers don't necessarily work when applied to foreign companies. Organizational inertia can lead to one part of the FDA continuing to approve drugs from a company another part of the FDA is actively investigating for falsifying their application data. And so on. Interesting and disturbing.

#660 ::: albatross gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2013, 11:34 PM:


#661 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2013, 11:49 PM:

Another fraud case, interesting in a very different way: Cooper Union. From Felix's reporting, I could not quite tell if this was incompetence, inside dealing, or a bustout scam, or maybe all three. But a large endowment intended to provide a college education for free to this college's students has somehow been burned through, and they're going to start charging tuition.

Democracy Now transcript on the story.

#662 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2013, 12:13 AM:

Serge, #658: I like most of her choices, but disagree with Elrond (too young) and Eowyn (too old). I would love to see Glenn Close play Denethor, though.

#663 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2013, 01:40 AM:

The more that I hear about Wiscon, the more that I think that I MUST GO.

Xopher @ 651... Someone (can't remember who) on recognizing my name on my badge, said "I thought you'd be taller." Not sure what that meant exactly.
Were they making a joking reference? "Expecting someone taller" is a TV Trope.

#664 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2013, 02:10 AM:

Xopher, #651: I would venture to guess that the "expecting you to be taller" thing was an example of Nobody Ever Looks The Way You Imagined Them. This is extremely common when you meet someone FTF for the first time after having known them online. The most extreme example I've personally experienced was when someone of whom my mental image was "little and feisty" turned out to be a laid-back dude about 6'2" tall.

When I first met my partner, after having interacted online for some 6 months, he didn't look anything like I thought he would. However, he was a dead ringer for my mental image of someone else from that online community, and for the first day or so I had to guard against calling him by the wrong name.

#665 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2013, 02:43 AM:

janetl, no, they clarified by saying "You write like a tall person." It's possible they were playing for the rather bemused expression that I imagine crossed my face as a result.

The person who said this was even shorter than me, so it's not at all clear to me whether "write like a tall person" was a compliment.

#666 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2013, 07:13 AM:

General: Sluggy Freelance's current plotline appears to be working up to disemvoweling a Big Bad. In the present, he's K'Z'K the vowelless one. The protags have just gotten a link to a distant past where he's named Kozoaku....

#667 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2013, 07:17 AM:

HLN: Area woman posts notice in church newsletter and on Book of Face revealing super seekrit plans to enter divinity school subsequent to mid-life spiritual crisis last year.

Area woman briefly wonders why she didn't do this ages ago; decides to go with it anyway. Notes that Universe moves in strange ways, and sometimes it's easier to go with the flow.

#668 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2013, 01:13 PM:

albatross at 659, thanks for the link. I read the story with great interest. I take atorvastatin not made by Ranbaxy: indeed, all my drugs are now generics, none made by Ranbaxy. I hope the companies from which I get my drugs are not engaging in similar practices. But I can't know, and I don't trust. It's disheartening.

#669 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2013, 01:50 PM:

Ranbaxy: Derek Lowe, as usual in matters related to Pharmacology, has interesting things to say about the Ranbaxy situation.

His conclusion tends to be that generics don't get tested for efficacy or quality control, so you should worry about generics as opposed to main-brand. Which also don't get tested, as far as I know, for efficacy or quality control after approval. Yes, it's more likely that internal controls on a $5/ea pill are sufficient to the cause than on a $.45/ea pill (QA always is on the beancounters' cut list), but I still read that as "regular testing needs to be done by the state". Which is, of course, anathema in the U.S. (at least to many in the U.S.) After all, QA is always on the beancounters' cut list!

Optimal civility: that strongly depends, and nowhere, I believe, does Mr. Ozmiek mention it, on what is intended. In the U.S. political situation, many on the Democratic side have been trying to "educate and convince" for 50 years, assuming that the public can and will think. Many on the Republican side have been trying "stay on message, ignore anything said that conflicts with the message, repeat the message". (I will note that the Canadian Conservative Party - granted, all to an extent, but the Harper government uses this by default - has taken this to heart, much, IMO, to the detriment of Parliamentary democracy)

Three things about this: 1) It has seemed to work, at least for 40 of those years. 2) it is impossible to debate with someone who refuses to listen; after many fruitless attempts to be civil in debate, one tries other tactics, hoping it will work. A reasonable idea (among others) is to tone down the "civil". 3) I recognize a lot of this argument - it's called the "tone argument", and the structure that makes the tone argument work is totally in place - and for the same reasons.

As a consequence of 3), I expect to be able to pull out more of the Category: Silencing Tactics in the future (I'm not going to go looking for how many of them we're already seeing). I note that for the things the traditionally lefter side want from their Democratic leadership that the current administration doesn't actually want to provide (or in fact wants to restrict further), the same tactics are being used. It isn't a one-way street, unfortunately.

#670 ::: ma larkey ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2013, 02:41 PM:

OPEN THREADINESS: I don't know where else to put this request but here at the moment. I'm needing advice as to how to find a good specialist, preferably a neurologist, and also, any advice how to deal with the broken medical system when one is penniless/uninsured in the US. Ok, not quite penniless, because right now I have a friend or three helping me by providing internet, food and shelter, but that could change at any time. I'm in the process of applying for help, but I know that this is often denied to people who actually need it, and so not to be surprised when I'm met with roadblocks.

#671 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2013, 02:59 PM:

#670: It might help to know which state you live in.

Some states have health insurance programs for those in need. (. . . or at least for some of them. In Oregon you apply via a lottery.)

#672 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2013, 03:18 PM:

Jack Vance

1916 - 2013

He had a mighty good run.

It would be hard to describe how influential he was to my view of fantasy.

#673 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2013, 03:50 PM:

Jack Vance profile in the New York Times magazine:

#674 ::: ma larkey ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2013, 04:00 PM:

@671.Stefan. I'm in the Pacific NW, and yes, I did apply for that lottery. Oh for my number to be called. Also, I've asked around, quickly learning that some people cannot or will not help because they have their own problems, or it really is expensive in terms of time or money or access to get help.

#675 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2013, 04:02 PM:

ma larkey @670: I'm not sure how all this works, but have you applied for Medicaid?

#676 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2013, 04:35 PM:

ma larkey @670 -- if you already have a diagnosis, you might want to check out self-help groups, research foundations, and the like that are related to your condition. An internet search would probably give you the information on that, but hospitals also often host self-help groups. Another possibility might be a university's medical school; their clinics might have some treatment options in the context of teaching or research.

#677 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2013, 04:37 PM:

albatross #654: yes, it's a different tone, but that's partly because the post write missed the point! Civility in the large isn't a sliding scale, and it's not about "how much" civility -- it's about who warrants (or "deserves") civility. And everyone has different rules: Here on ML, the rule is "any human rates civil treatment until they have been noxious enough to forfeit the privilege". At the other end of the scale, trolls usually give civility only to their "buddies", if that. For a community in general, the leadership decides who rates civil treatment, and if no leaders are provided, the community will pick some of their own.

Politicians have commonly granted civility even to their opponents, and the Democrats mostly still try for that, while the GOP gives civility only to their allies and followers, and definitely not to opponents.

#678 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2013, 05:14 PM:

Until midnight EDT tonight, WQXR is streaming The Rite of Spring (100th anniversary of its first performance). Go here and click on "ENJOY Q2 MUSIC'S 24/7 STREAM OF NEW MUSIC."

#679 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2013, 08:16 PM:

Xopher, I concur that my mental image of you from your writing - and I've seen pictures of your face, so I'm attaching that to it - is of a person who's about six feet tall.

Maybe it's because you have a definite, assured voice, and that maps onto "tall" in many people's imaginations?

TexAnne said something about thinking I would be taller, too.

#680 ::: Rikibeth has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2013, 08:19 PM:

Would the gnomes prefer pasta salad, gazpacho, or mixed green salad? I've been preparing for the predicted hot weather.

#681 ::: Magenta Griffith ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2013, 09:25 PM:

Xopher, it was me. I had the image of you as someone tall and authoritative, like Rikabeth said. It was not a trope or reference, but something I just blurted out. Almost everyone is taller than I am, and I am always surprised when someone *doesn't* loom over me. Wish I'd had more of a chance to talk with you. Wiscon seemed to go by so fast.

#682 ::: ma larkey ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2013, 10:45 PM:

@671.Stefan. I'm in the Pacific NW, and yes, I did apply for that lottery. Oh for my number to be called. Also, I've asked around, quickly learning that some people cannot or will not help because they have their own problems, or it really is expensive in terms of time or money or access to get help.

#683 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2013, 11:59 PM:

Rikibeth, thanks.

Magenta, I agree about WisCon. Most enjoyable convention I've EVER been to! And yeah, next time we should talk more.

It's interesting that a self-assured writing style (which I'm astonished I apparently have) is associated with height. I wonder where that comes from?

#684 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2013, 12:49 AM:

I'm looking to translate "data information knowledge wisdom" into Latin [or another language that is potentially recognizable to English speaking folks]. This is for entertainment [over the doorway to the research department], but should be not incorrect so as to not annoy my well-studied colleagues.

gTranslate gives me "Notitia, notitia, Cognitio, sapientia" - this doesn't feel right, even skipping the doubled word.

#685 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2013, 01:08 AM:

"Data" is direct from the Latin (meaning "things that are given", basically -- third person neuter plural nominative of "dat--", from "dare", "to give". cognitio and sapientia are good for knowledge and wisdom, in singular form. It's been too long since my Latin days to say more.

#686 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2013, 01:45 AM:

Sorry to pop up and then disappear again--I fell into the rabbit hole that is AO3 and...well, I've been reading a lot. :)

Linkmeister @ 114, the cats are all fine, yee-haw and other enthusiastic noises. I am very glad, though, that my rented RV has an air conditioner of relatively recent vintage, as the place gets full sun for much of the day and it can get at minimum 10 degrees hotter inside than it is outside. Which is Not Good for Kittehs, hence yay for the a.c. I definitely need to see if the landlady still has the instruction manual, because it theoretically has a timer function that would be far more helpful than leaving it on 24/7 while I'm gone overnight.

Does anyone have any knowledge about RV-sized awnings or canopies? I'm thinking picnic-type things with a frame and a weather-resistant canvas or other fabric cover but probably taller, maybe with an extension on one long side to shade the windows. Might not be able to deal with it before I head out this time, but maybe could have in place (heh) for next time. And there will be a next time, as I'm sorely tempted to hightail it to Reno for a show my friend's band is playing at a nice little outdoor amphitheater.

Speaking of my friend's band, here is the URL for a video at the Tube of You of a number they did to close out a workshop appearance they did at the Strawberry Music Festival just past:

Deliberately not in link form in hopes of avoiding the attentions of Their Lownesses...

Fragano Ledgister, I read and weep, when I'm not cringing and making horrid faces. I do not envy you, and indeed I salute your fortitude and dedication.

Earl Cooley III, much applause!

Hurrah that a fine time was by the Fluorospherian Contingent at WisCon!

Benjamin Wolfe, re: my suggestion for a mini Gathering of Light, I may have cut my timing re: flight arrival so close as to make it non-possible. Not to mention that having dropped down the aforementioned rabbit hole for nearly a month may well have resulted in you and the FG already having plans for the afternoon. But if you'd like to discuss the possibility, drop a note here and we'll...well, I was going to say we could give it the old college try... :)

#687 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2013, 02:50 AM:

Syd @ #686, oh good for the cats. You know the internet has manuals online for the damndest things, right? You might be able to find one for the A/C unit in .pdf format if the landlady doesn't have it.

Samples, RV Awnings. Amazon has 'em too, somewhere under RV Accessories. It showed me the first 30 of 2,815 or some such ridiculous number (plenty of tape, parts, etc included in that).

#688 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2013, 04:00 AM:

Elliott Mason: I just replied to your Runkeeper Friend request. Hi! Not on Runkeeper much, I have to admit (more on Runner's World, UK).

#689 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2013, 04:02 AM:

One of those slightly hopeful, positive, things in another grim and depressing story...

Despite all the xenophobia infesting the British media and the politicians over the last week, and despite it being part of a report on a missing 17-year-old girl, with a suspect charged with Murder, there is something positive about the mention of Superintendent Nav Malik of West Mercia Police. For the Telford and Wrekin district, he is the boss cop.

(There's no strict equivalence defined between UK and US Police ranks, as there is throughout NATO for military ranks. But the sequence runs Constable, Sergeant, Inspector, Chief Inspector, Superintendent, Chief Superintendent, and then the assorted grades of Chief Constable ranks.)

While I remember, one of the current 617 Squadron aircrew who took part in the flypast on the 16th May, commemorating Operation Chastise, was Flt Lt Mahmoud Abdallah. (And, Abi, the second Tornado taking part was piloted by Capt Erik Snel RNethAF.)

The swivel-eyed loons of current British politics never notice such things.

#690 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2013, 05:35 AM:

Xopher writes: It's interesting that a self-assured writing style (which I'm astonished I apparently have) is associated with height. I wonder where that comes from?


#691 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2013, 07:20 AM:

Niall McAuley: *snork*!

#692 ::: Dave Crisp ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2013, 07:40 AM:

Dave Bell @689 has reminded me of one of my most frequent Britpickish complaints when reading fanfic: in UK police forces, "Detective" is an assignment, not a rank.

In particular, this means that DI Bob can't boss "regular" Inspector Alice around just because he's a detective and she isn't. They're both Inspectors, just assigned to different departments.

(In fact, since PACE and its related regulations state that some police functions can only be performed by "a constable in uniform", Alice actually has slightly more power in general)


#693 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2013, 08:53 AM:

This set of posts, by Henry at Crooked Timber, seems like it might be of interest to the Fluorosphere.

The Sociology of Jack Vance, Introduction.

However, I have drafted a few short blog posts (a couple of which are yet to be completed), primarily for my own entertainment over the last few years. I’ll be publishing them over the summer lull, for the edification of those four or five of you who share my paired interests in f/sf fantasy writers with baroque prose styles and social science theory. A final post, “The Feminist Jack Vance” (consisting of 20 lines of carriage returns, followed by a note in eight-point type explaining “This page intentionally left blank”) is probably better described than written.

First post: The Spirit of Market Capitalism in Master Twango’s Establishment at Lutic.

#694 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2013, 09:55 AM:


The discussion there has to do with civility or lack of civility as a part of a strategy for communicating, among smart people who want their ideas to be taken seriously. So while the Rush Limbaughs of the world don't have to worry about that (they don't want you thinking too clearly about their expressed ideas), the Tyler Cowans and Charles Murrays of the world do, just as the Brad Delongs and Paul Krugmans do.

There is a phenomenon I've seen related to civility and the overton window, which is very common: In most communities, there is an acceptable range of ideas or opinions which guarantees that people think you're entitled to some level of civility. Step outside that range, and a lot of people think you no longer are entitled to any, or as much. And the decision about where that boundary goes is sometimes based on visceral reactions, but at least as often is itself an explicit strategy. If every time someone questions the war on terror, a whole bunch of prominent people with megaphones decide that they have given up any right to be treated in a civil way, one result is that few people will want to question the war on terror, unless they either have very thick skins or are already getting slammed by those people anyway and so have little to lose. That was, as far as I can tell, an explicit strategy. It worked.

#695 ::: Mea ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2013, 11:02 AM:

To #686: Syd,

If the air conditioner doesn't have a built in timer, you could investigate plug in wall timer switches. We use them to turn on our crockpot in the middle of the night (to make oatmeal) and to turn on and off our dehumidifier.

You would have to explore whether the voltage etc is correct, and which model works best, but we use something like this in my house:

#696 ::: Mea ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2013, 11:08 AM:

Also, ma larkey @670, I don't have any helpful suggestions, but I want to say that I'm really sorry that our system is so FUBAR that we put all the work on folks who are sick to try to figure out a way to access help. It isn't fair.

But doing what you are doing - asking for help, and making yourself as visible as possible as someone who needs help - is, unfortunately, the way to do it.

Good luck, and good wishes towards you getting the help you need quickly.

#697 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2013, 11:25 AM:

#684 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale

"Data" is already a Latin word; in this example I'd use the singular, "datum". Try "indicium" for "information." "Conscientia" rather than "Cognitio." "Sapientia" is the right word for Wisdom.

So, Datum, indicium, conscientia, sapientia, might be perhaps useful.

#698 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2013, 01:01 PM:

Xopher, on height and a decisive, self-assured manner of expression, I bet it's along the same lines that's caused the taller candidate to be elected in every presidential race so far.

#699 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2013, 01:13 PM:

Syd @ 686: We might still manage a mini gathering of light, but it'll depend entirely on the date (my mother is coming into town for a few days a week from today). Regarding your AC, if I can run the Espresso Machine of Doom on a timer, I'd bet you can stick the AC on one - this is the one I've used for the last seven months or so.

In local news, my Amazing Girlfriend and I moved a week ago (to a new apartment in Berkeley) and are completely unpacked, set up and the like. The new place is a vast improvement over our old place (little bit more space, better layout, *much* better light) and we're really happy with it.

#700 ::: Benjamin Wolfe is dwelling with the gnomes ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2013, 01:17 PM:

Would the Gnomes care for the Black Blood of the Earth? The coffee that got me through qualifying exams?

#701 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2013, 01:30 PM:

Over the weekend a teenager named Tremaine McMillian was standing there holding a puppy. Miami-Dade police took exception to how he was looking at them and choked him and wrestled him to the ground.

He was giving them "dehumanizing stares," you see. We can't have that.

The real crime, of course, is "failure to cringe," with Special Circumstances "while black" and "while teen." That makes it a felony, clearly.

Oh, and as usual, when he flailed his arms that counted as "resisting arrest."

#702 ::: Xopher Halftongue is with the gnomes ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2013, 01:38 PM:

I've been gnomèd. This time my guess is that the format of the link is at fault.

#703 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2013, 01:47 PM:

re 698: It's a commonly believed shibboleth but untrue. Romney is slightly taller than Obama, and both Gore and Kerry were significantly taller than Dubya. Going back a bit further, Carter was quite a bit shorter than Ford. historically there is a slight bias towards the winner being a bit taller but the average difference is only about an inch.

#704 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2013, 02:10 PM:

My google-fu is failing me. I'm looking for a quote, something like "If my child wanted to be an author, I'd make sure they took a good course in basic plumbing." (or A/C repair, or elevator repair, or something like that.) I remember it as on Making Light, and I remember it as a bunch of authors being asked advice they would give their children.

Right now I trust zero percent of the things that come out of my brain, of course, because I would presumably have found it by now if it was that easy.

#705 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2013, 02:43 PM:

And the end result will be more people who give the police 'dehumanizing stares', although the police are dehumanizing themselves pretty well without help.

#706 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2013, 03:13 PM:


I've heard before that many assaults and murders start out with someone saying some variant of "what're *you* looking at, motherf-cker?" I'm guessing this is just one more.

My impression (someone here must know a lot more about this) is that most of the time, when you ask a person to explain their actions after the fact, you get a rationalization that may have very little to do with why they really made the decision. I think when I ask you "why did you do that?", much of the time, you use the same mental processes to answer the question you would use if I showed you a movie of someone else doing the same thing and then asked you "why did he do that?"

That's not true if you made the decision intellectually ("why did you move your rook there" often has an explicit answer like "I was trying to threaten that pawn over there, protect my bishop, and also was hoping to set up a discovered check for later"), or if you fell back on training that was based on some rational thought process. (Like, if you ask the pilot why he did what he did to recover the spin, the real answer is probably "because I trained myself to do it that way," but he'll likey give you the answer to the related question "why did you train to recover from spins that way?" And that answer is based on how airplanes work and what causes spins.)

But for most decisions, I think asking someone why they did it after the fact is not all that great a way of understanding what made them do it. And in a situation where some answers get you fired or sent to jail, the answers are going to be particularly uninformative.

#707 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2013, 03:22 PM:

albatross, when the cops don't even think they have to come up with a plausible lie, something important has been lost from what iw still laughingly called civil society.

#708 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2013, 03:23 PM:

Xopher #701:

Dare one ask what happened to the puppy amid all that?

#709 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2013, 03:25 PM:

Sandy B. #704:

I think you're looking for John Scalzi, and I think you should look here.

#710 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2013, 03:29 PM:

joann, allegedly it was injured in the melee. The cops are all bad and no good here.

#711 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2013, 03:31 PM:

"Dehumanizing stare" sounds like an update to "He looked at me wrong!"

#712 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2013, 03:57 PM:

Xopher #710:

Damn, I had to ask.

#713 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2013, 04:05 PM:

Benjamin Wolfe @ 699, it would be this Sunday, June 2. So if that fits your schedule, my flight's supposed to land at SFO at 1:45, show starts at 6:00 PM, and at some point in between I'll have to check in to my hotel (near SFO). I'm planning to take the BART to the show, since there's a stop two blocks from the venue. Not sure how long the show will last, and am hoping my friends will have at least a little time for a post-show hang...

#714 ::: GlendaP ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2013, 04:37 PM:

HLN: Area feline recovering well from splenectomy following diagnosis of mast cell cancer. Surgeon reports that while spleen was enlarged and abnormal-looking, no lumps were found. Liver and other organs appeared normal. However, liver and intestinal biopsies were taken for further testing.

#715 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2013, 04:44 PM:

Glenda@714: Good luck for kitty!

#716 ::: Jacque calling Gnomes! ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2013, 05:45 PM:

Attempts to comment on the DFD thread are throwing 500 Server Errors:

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Please contact the server administrator, and inform them of the time the error occurred, and anything you might have done that may have caused the error.

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#717 ::: ma larkey ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2013, 05:53 PM:

HLN: Woman bundled under quilt in weird overcast weather debates with self. Should she go out to walk, to try to get an almond croissant? a macaron? a bunch of kale from the grocer? Meanwhile construction in the apartment above, hammering and the paint fumes convince her that yes, a brisk walk and pastry is in order.

#718 ::: Steve C ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2013, 06:13 PM:

My wife and I watched two movies courtesy of Netflix streaming this past weekend.

The Hunger Games was a much better and smarter movie than I thought it would be, with a well-realized dystopian future.

The Cabin in the Woods was scary, clever, and subversive, with some great laughs mixed in. Joss Whedon does it again.

#719 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2013, 06:55 PM:

Driving school: Remember to look both ways before crossing the railroad tracks, lest you get involved in a HAZMAT extravaganza.

#720 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2013, 07:42 PM:

Jim @709, I'd never read it before, so it wasn't my specific target, but thank you for the interesting link.

#721 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2013, 09:34 AM:

HLN: Local woman has the privilege of getting her new copy of The Human Division signed by the author. Well worth the drive and the wait, even without the reading and Q&A, which were superlative.

John Scalzi, ladies and gentlemen. The man works HARD for his living.

#722 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2013, 11:52 AM:

Where he gets the energy is my question. But not being one to look a gift horse in the mouth, I don't pursue it too aggressively.

#724 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2013, 01:38 PM:

Re: the Friedman article:

A lot of what's wrong with the world can be explained, if you assume that to a lot of the people with real power in our society, Tom Friedman and Malcolm Gladwell seem like deep thinkers.

#725 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2013, 03:40 PM:

Important culinary news! Candle Salad made it to the U.K. in the 70's. Although it looks sort of sad...

#726 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2013, 08:36 PM:

I've been mostly silent here on ML for some time now, dealing with family, financial, and medical issues (not all of them bad). They've reduced my energy level enough that Twitter was about all I could handle in terms of communication.

But something happened today that I'm having a lot of trouble processing, and I was hoping I could lay it out here for you. Maybe if I write it out it won't be quite so mind-boggling.

As some of you know, I've been estranged from my family for a long time, more than 40 years now. In the last few years I've gotten back in communication, occasional phone calls, email, and snail mail, with my mother and my sister, though my 2 brothers don't appear to be interested in communicating.

A week ago, my cousin Jane, whom I haven't seen or talked to in 40 years called to tell me her mother, with whom I had been close as a child, had just died. We had a long conversation, and promised to continue to talk. Jane also promised to have her brother contact me.

This afternoon, my mother called me to tell me that Jane had just died. She didn't have any more information, except that it was of natural causes (Jane was 5 or 6 years younger than me, and had been seriously ill with fibromyalgia for 15 years). I was completely flabbergasted by the news, and I'm still having trouble figuring out how I feel about all this. I liked Jane, and was unhappy that we had ended up on opposite sides of a family dispute, but I hadn't seen her for a long time, and hadn't thought about her recently. So I'm somewhat in shock here, and flailing about trying to deal with it.

OK, thanks for listening. Putting this into words has helped.

#727 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2013, 08:58 PM:

Bruce Cohen, I guess the best thing I can say to that is: Reading and witnessing. Also, I suppose, "may her memory be a blessing".

#728 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2013, 08:59 PM:

Difficult situation, Bruce C. I'm glad you got the chance to talk with her, at least!

#729 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2013, 09:00 PM:

Bruce Cohen @726
FWIW, I have come to believe that it's harder to let go of the things we didn't have than of the things we did. Unambiguous loss is painful. Ambiguous loss is both painful and confusing.

#730 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2013, 09:03 PM:

Bruce Cohen #726: I'm glad you could speak with her before the end.

#731 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2013, 09:14 PM:

Bruce, I'm sorry you lost her so soon. I'm glad you had that long talk, at least.

#732 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2013, 09:41 PM:

Bruce Cohen @726, I have to wonder whether Jane had some inkling, conscious or subconscious, that she wasn't going to live much longer. I've heard of other people doing similar things; my husband's grandmother called people she'd not spoken to in years, the day before she died suddenly in her sleep.

#733 ::: GlendaP ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2013, 09:56 PM:

Bruce Cohen @726: I'm so sorry for your loss.

#734 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2013, 10:10 PM:

Bruce: I'm so sorry. Hard enough to lose a relative; a whole different kind of hard when you also have to grieve for lost opportunity.

#735 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2013, 10:24 PM:

Bruce Cohen... I'm sorry to hear.

#736 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2013, 11:30 PM:

Bruce C., #726: Yeah, that would be tough to process. My sympathies.

Oklahoma City got nailed by another tornado this afternoon. I haven't heard of any deaths other than a mother and infant killed when their car overturned. The governor has declared a state of emergency.

#737 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2013, 11:36 PM:

More than one. (I was watching Doppler radar on one of the OKC stations.) It was just insane. (Most of my relatives in that region are already underground and won't be disturbed.)
One of the stormchasers lost the top off his armored vehicle, and another pair had theirs picked up and carried a couple of hundred feet. They had minor injuries.

#738 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2013, 11:48 PM:

@bruce: That's . . . harsh. Like the universe dangling the possibility of a rapprochement, then snatching it away. You have every right and reason to have trouble processing that.

#739 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2013, 12:03 AM:

Plans proceed for the Liaden Universe Re-Read I mentioned back at #93. Since there was at least one person here who expressed interest, an update:

I have achieved a draft reading order that feels, to me, like a good balance between chronological order and not-being-yanked-out-of-one-storyline-because-another-happens-to-be-occurring-simultaneously.

If you're interested in joining in or following along for some or all of the re-read, now would be a good time to check out the draft and see how you feel about it.

#740 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2013, 12:36 AM:

Thanks to everyone who replied, and to everyone else for listening. It's good to have you around when stuff happens, both good and bad.

More and more I think Cassy B. is right, that Jane knew her time was short and that it would be a good thing to reconnect. I'm glad she did.

#741 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2013, 11:38 AM:

Bruce, I'm not surprised you found that troubling. But I agree with those who said it was probably comforting to her in her last days.

#742 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2013, 12:47 PM:

Paul A. @739: I've read it - I might join you in this endeavour. Note you've missed "Lord of the Dance" (With Stars Underfoot / Liaden Companion Volume 2 / Liaden Unibus 2) which goes somewhere soon after I Dare / Plan B.

#743 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2013, 02:07 PM:

#744 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2013, 02:23 PM:

Nancy @#743
I think that might be the first time I have chuckled audibly at a URL.

#745 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2013, 03:56 PM:

Nancy Lebovitz @ #743: They took all the trees, put 'em in a tree museum; and they charged the people a dollar and a half to see 'em.

#746 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2013, 05:07 PM:

Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) @740: Sympathies. Glad that being able to write about it here has been helpful.

#747 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2013, 06:34 PM:

(Content Warning: bodily fluids)

My poor child has had another Important First in her life, though not the sort one usually memorializes in a baby book ... she has now barfed hard enough to have vomit go up her nose. She was NOT a fan. I don't blame her.

After we were sure the episode was done, we cheered her up with a warm bubble bath (playing, not washing) and the Shirley Temple Heidi on Netflix streaming. About when the minister comes around to pressure the grandfather to put Heidi in school, my kid had recovered enough to snitch noodles out of my ramen, and now she's downright perky.

#748 ::: Bruce H. ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2013, 10:57 PM:


I was wondering about that just the other day. You know you're going to throw up. Experience suggests that it's going to fairly explosive. Is there anything one can do to keep it out of one's nose?

#749 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2013, 11:43 PM:

Well, dammit. I like Matt Smith. Who knows who they'll get next.

#750 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2013, 11:54 PM:

I like Matt Smith, but I've liked all the new-era incarnations. I'm okay with a switch at this point.

(Eleven, even more than Nine, has been defined by his relationships. I'm not sure what other companion-plot-arc he could have, without it feeling like a rehash. Oh, there are possible ways to do it, but switching out the Doctor seems like a better choice than inventing a new companion at this point.)

#751 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2013, 01:48 AM:

Xopher, #749: I think Gates McFadden would play the hell out of the role. Of course, they'll never consider her.

#752 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2013, 01:50 AM:

Bruce H., one could try holding one's nose, but it seems a thin reed.

#753 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2013, 02:10 AM:

Lee @ 751

Gates McFadden would be a terrific choice, especially if they let her dance and choreograph. Did you know she choreographed Henson's Labyrinth?

#754 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2013, 02:22 AM:

I started reading the third chapter of The Eyes of the Overworld, and MAN, yes, Cugel really is a misogynistic rat bastard!

#755 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2013, 03:01 AM:

Xopher #749

I note that well-known British nerd Ben Goldacre looks like a hybrid of Tom Baker and David Tennant, and also has the quixotic charging-off-in-all-directions down pat.

#756 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2013, 07:12 AM:

HLN: Local woman will be spending 23 of the next 36 hours on a bus. Gathering of Light awaits at destination. The absence of sweet tea and grits was waved aside in excitement at the presence of shinies and extremely good company.

In other news, local woman continues to grieve for her late dog, who had to be put down yesterday with multiple organ failure. "He was rescued at age 10 from an abusive backyard breeder," she remarked. "And at least we gave him nine good years with us."

Family members confirmed that local woman's late dog was indeed a Good Old Dog.

#757 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2013, 07:50 AM:

Paul Bettany as the Doctor.

#758 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2013, 07:56 AM:

If Sophie Okonedo hadn't already been Liz Ten, I think she'd make a terrific Doctor. How about Helen Mirren?

#759 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2013, 08:40 AM:

Lila, I'm sorry for your loss.

#760 ::: Juli Thompson ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2013, 09:08 AM:

This may be of interest. The Johnson columnist at The Economist writes about learning Dutch.

#761 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2013, 09:08 AM:

My condolences, Lila. And I hope you have a good trip.

#762 ::: Juli Thompson has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2013, 09:10 AM:

I can offer rhubarb custard, quite yummy!

#763 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2013, 09:15 AM:

Lila, I'm sorry for your loss.

The next Doctor will be an actor from Great Britain. So no, Gates McFadden isn't going to be cast. Neither is Viggo Mortenson (really, someone floated that).

My personal fantasy of a woman Doctor is Shirley Manson. But I'm hoping they cast Rupert Grint!

#764 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2013, 09:37 AM:

Lila, my condolences.

Wasn't there a card at the end of the last Dr. Who episode that named the actor that would be the next Doctor? I deleted the episode after I watched it, and I don't remember the name. Hugh something....?


#765 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2013, 09:56 AM:

@763: Finally, a ginger? :->

#766 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2013, 09:58 AM:

Cassy B @ #764:

John Hurt. (Mr. Ollivander from the Harry Potter films, Professor Broom from the Hellboy films, Jim Henson's The Storyteller, the guy from That Scene in Alien, etc. etc.)

But if I followed the conversation correctly, he's not the new Doctor, he's an old Doctor who the TV series hasn't shown us before.

#767 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2013, 10:14 AM:

C. Wingate #719: Yikes! In both of the first two videos (all I've watched so far), the explosion knocked down the camera from an impressive distance....

#768 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2013, 10:21 AM:

Open thready moment: I just had an epiphany that is failing to survive the communication process.

Watching some chunk of some wacky family comedy. Someone is up on stage and they pull a woman out of the audience to sing with them. And they say "She's shy." And she goes on stage and she loves it.

At that point I realized that there is pretty much nobody involved in making that movie, or any movie, who understands not wanting to go on that stage, or going up there and having a terrible time. The reason people like me never show up in movies is that movies are made by people entirely unlike me.

They're trying to tell stories that they've been told about but don't understand.

#769 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2013, 10:54 AM:

Sandy B. @768: Similarly, thanks to my daughter, I just saw a few episodes of the animated kid's show Horseland (about a ranch where kids take care of horses, and the horses can talk to the dogs and other animals, and Adventure Ensues). The New Girl coming into the ranch situation in the first episode is described as Very Very Very Rich. There are two existing girls in the social structure who are also Very Rich (but not V. V. V.), who make comments among themselves welcoming the advent of another Like Them.

But the sorts of things they say are about as much like what actual V. Rich people would say as the monologuing of a Bond villain is like what actual people with power who control companies and countries would say.

Sketched with a crayon on the back of an envelope by someone who'd heard, once, that rich people existed. Though not stellar at any point, the lines spoken by the kids whose parents run the ranch are far closer to what one might call 'realistic' than anything the rich kids ever say even once.

#770 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2013, 11:48 AM:

@754: Oh, yes. And a stupid one, too.

The fun is in seeing how Cugel is going to screw up about ten pages before he does.

#771 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2013, 01:44 PM:

It was Private Eye which noticed this.

Major Tim Peake, British Astronaut

Colonel Dan Dare, British Space Voyager

They could be wrong...

(I shall be very surprised if the gnomes don't check this...)

#772 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2013, 07:38 PM:

Elliott 765: Just so!

Paul 766: That was the impression I got too. I believe the Doctor said that "that" (pointing at the figure who turned out to be John Hurt) was him before he became The Doctor.

Sandy 768: I think that's accurate. Shy people write, but they don't write sitcoms (because you have to be an extrovert with balls of brass to get that job and to sell your ideas in the writers' room IIUC). So none of them know what it's really like to be shy.

But you'd think they'd at least reality check...unless you've watched a sitcom in the past 10 years or so, and realized that those fuckers don't reality check ANYTHING. Which is why TV comedy has been so stupid for so long.

#773 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2013, 10:15 PM:

Just reading in a Memphis city magazine about a wedding in which the minister asked "If anyone can show just cause why these two should not be joined in holy matrimony, let him speak now or forever hold his peace" and when someone spoke up, the minister pulled a Colt 45 from his jacket and shot the man dead.

Not really. It was scripted, the 'objector' was an actor, and the gun was loaded with blanks. Ha ha ha.

Except I really did see three people shot dead at a community theater picnic a few years ago.

If I'd been at that wedding, I don't think I could have maintained a friendship with either of the couple, or the minister, or anyone else who had been in on the "joke".

Listen, I understand, I really do. When the theater picnic shooting happened, not only did most of us think it was staged at first--two of us had actually been talking about how "we should have staged a murder" at the picnic, because our current play was a murder mystery. I've been in a murder mystery dinner theater show. I read mysteries. I go to movies.

But please, if you're thinking of doing something similar that will be a surprise to the guests--please don't. Please, please, please don't. There's a nonzero chance that at least one of the guests will be someone like me, who will not appreciate your surprise AT ALL.

You might think, "surely if any of my friends had been through something that traumatic, I'd have heard about it." And you might be wrong.

You might also assume that nobody would carry a gun in church, and that even if they did they wouldn't respond to an "obviously fake shooting" by pulling their own weapon and returning fire.

You might also be wrong about that.

#774 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2013, 10:45 PM:

Even without your experience - that's not a 'funny' thing to do. It could have ended very, very badly.

I'd probably quietly drop the group, and if they want to know why, I'd tell them that I don't have any appreciation for that form of humor.

#775 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2013, 10:47 PM:

Lila #773: I would be unsurprised if a "joke" of that sort wound up with the participants facing charges of some sort, if only reckless endangerment of the other attendees.

#776 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2013, 10:50 PM:

Lila, I know I wouldn't have appreciated the adrenaline dump from that stunt, and I've never witnessed anything on the level that you have.

Some people. Jeez.

#777 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2013, 10:57 PM:

Here's the story--used as the lead in a story on the ministers' group and repeated in the photo caption, without a hint that this might not be the coolest idea ever.

#778 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2013, 11:18 PM:

DAMN. Lila, that's appalling, even without your experience. Some people just have no judgment.

Yet I know people who would find that funny. NOT people who've been in combat or a situation where a hostile armed person was present, though. None of them.

#779 ::: Bruce H. ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2013, 11:32 PM:

Another downside is that the group might include an armed citizen who reasonably believes that he and those around him are at imminent risk of death or grievous bodily injury.

#780 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2013, 11:44 PM:

Oh for heaven's sake. There's quirky/fun and there's tasteless/harmful, and while the line is different for all people, it's not that squiggly.

#781 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2013, 12:06 AM:

That was one of the possible consequences I had in mind.

The minister's first response should have been something on the order of 'It's inappropriate for a wedding.' (I'd probably add some remarks about needing to grow up a bit before they're ready for marriage.)

#782 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2013, 02:32 AM:

Xopher Halftongue @772: No, the Doctor didn't say that. He said this:

Gur anzr lbh pubbfr, vg'f yvxr n cebzvfr lbh znxr. Ur'f gur bar jub oebxr gur cebzvfr ... ur vf zl frperg.

Vs guvf jnf gur Tnyyvserlna jub orpnzr gur Qbpgbe, ur jbhyq cerqngr gung cebzvfr, abg or gur bar jub oebxr vg. N gurbel V'ir frra, juvpu frrzf ng yrnfg cynhfvoyr, vf gung guvf vf gur irefvba bs gur Qbpgbe gung sbhtug va gur Gvzr Jne naq qrfgeblrq Tnyyvserl.

#783 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2013, 06:41 AM:

Lila #777: "An ordained Franciscan who pastors a non-denominational church..." I'm not Catholic, but wouldn't that be a little fishy? But hey, at least none of his folks are "Internet ministers", they all actually "went to established seminaries and were ordained in brick-and-mortar churches".... oy gevalt.

Also, "Church of the Holy Internet"? I remember when it was Church of Universal Life, and you had to use postal mail....

#784 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2013, 08:23 AM:

David, 782: I would buy John Hurt as the Oncoming Storm, yes indeed. I might even go back to watching DW. (They lost me with Tinkerbell Jesus Doctor and the utter erasure of Martha's heroism. Given the strength of my reaction to that, I suspect that what they did to Donna would have given me a stroke....)

#785 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2013, 08:43 AM:

Yeah, what an idiotic stunt--the minister is lucky someone didn't shoot or tackle him. Though this is reminding me of that one scene in Chasing Amy where I had the same thought. ("How many times can you do that before an off-duty cop happens to be in the room and shoots you.")

#786 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2013, 09:45 AM:

Lila and Bruce, my condolences on your losses. In each case, it seems to be a bittersweet ending.

I have been keeping busy lately. My cousin who had been battling colon cancer for nearly five years finally succumbed, just before Mother's Day. We knew the end was approaching, as he'd run out of options even in the salvage procedures. Still, he beat the odds at the time of his diagnosis, took his kids on all kinds of memorable trips, lobbied Congress while he still had the energy (and was a vocal member of his local Coffee Party); blogged about his experiences to leave something for his friends and family, and so on. At his funeral, grown men stood up in tears and explained how much they'd loved him. His brother spoke quite eloquently and thanked his wife for being everything to him. My father, brother and I were pall-bearers, and it was all done with a combination of Jewish (her family) and Christian procedures. In short, it was an awesome send off for an awesome guy.

In happier news, I am almost finished cleaning up the basement, and will move Marilee's cats down there, to enjoy a larger living space. There's one good window that all cats seem to like, with an excellent view of the ground and street. Following that move, I plan to shift my son's bedroom to the guest room, which is smaller (although larger than the room he has at my Ex's place); I've promised him that we can repaint in a to-be-negotiated design that will not be all black. His old room, which I will not repaint as we did it not that long ago (and did a really nice job of it), will become the guest room and office space. After that, the FG has said she will consider moving in. (We need a second bedroom for her, because she can't always sleep next to me, for various reasons mainly having to do with snoring, mine -- not hers.)

Friends of ours have finally decided to get married, after 30 years together; the nuptials are this coming weekend. The FG and I decided we should bring them some 30-yr old port to celebrate their lives.

The Son has been doing much better in school this semester, and is passing all but one class. Unfortunately, this is one class he needs for graduation. He will probably not graduate in June next year, but he's likely to graduate at the end of the summer next year, which is not too bad for a kid who missed a lot of school.

#787 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2013, 11:37 AM:

David Goldfarb@782

My theory on hearing that was that ur pbzrf orgjrra Cnhy ZpTnaa naq Puevfgbcure Rppyrfgba, vf vaqrrq gur qbpgbe bs gur Gvzrjne, naq vf gur ernfba sbe 9 naq 10f CGFQ/fnqarff.

V nyfb unir n crg gurbel gung gurl arrq gb vafreg uvz orpnhfr Rppyrfgbar qvqa'g jnag gb pbzr onpx sbe gur 50gu naavirefnel (juvpu V'z fcrphyngvat pbiref be ersyrpgf ba gubfr riragf), bgurejvfr 9 jbhyq unir orra gur Gvzrjne qbpgbe.

Abar bs guvf vf onfrq ba nalguvat bgure guna zl bja jvyq fcrphyngvba, bs pbhefr. Naq vg jbhyq erdhver na vapbairavrag erahzorevat...

So sad about the Matt Smith announcement - it really seemed like he was just getting going :(

#788 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2013, 11:58 AM:

Dr Who thread...

Gur svefg gvzr gur arj fubj qvq gur "fyvqrfubj bs nyy gur Qbpgbef'
snprf" (V guvax guvf jnf Zngg Fzvgu'f svefg fubj, nygubhtu V'z abg
cbfvgvir bs gung) gurl fubjrq gur fgnaqneq frdhrapr jvgubhg oernxf.
(Ab Jngpure, ab Inyrlneq, ab bgure cbgragvny pbashfvbaf). Gurl zvffrq
na bccbeghavgl gb yrnir n *cbffvoyr* tnc orgjrra rvtug naq avar. Naq
cer-bar, sbe gung znggre. Fhofrdhrag fyvqrfubjf unir xrcg gung sbezng.
Bs pbhefr, vg'f cynhfvoyr gung Wbua Uheg vf pnyyrq "zl frperg" sbe
rknpgyl guvf ernfba, orpnhfr gur Qbpgbe'f orra rqvgvat gung bar bhg.

V nz abg fher V yvxr gur vqrn bs gur Qbpgbe qvfbjavat gur qrfgehpgvba
bs Tnyyvserl. Nyy nybat ur'f orra pyrne gung *ur qvq gung*, vg'f cneg
bs uvf uvfgbel. V pna vzntvar n fgbelyvar va juvpu ur erwrpgf gur
crefban gung pnhfrq gung juvyr bjavat gur npg, ohg vg jbhyq unir gb or
fhogyl qbar (naq gur arj fubj vf abg rknpgyl xabja sbe fhogyr).

#789 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2013, 01:06 PM:

David 782: Yes, now I remember. And I like the theory you cite too. If it's true ur'q ertrarengr vagb gur Avagu Qbpgbe gura?

Russ 787: Agree with this too. As for vapbairavrag erahzorevat, jr'yy whfg pnyy uvz Qbpgbe Rvtug-N.

And yeah, about Matt Smith. Didn't we just hear a few weeks ago that he was signed on through 2014? What the hell happened there?

#790 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2013, 01:15 PM:

In unrelated news, here's a male couple who won "cutest couple" in their high school yearbook. So far response has been very positive.

You know what? Fuck the Mars Colony and the jetpacks. I want the 21st Century with the real social changes; I want sexism and homophobia and transphobia to be viewed with the same appalled incredulity that we now view slavery—or the Romans brushing their teeth with urine to whiten them.

#791 ::: Xopher Halftongue is gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2013, 01:17 PM:

Probably a link format.

#792 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2013, 02:26 PM:

Xopher@789 re: numbering. Aha! I didn't think of that.

And @790: Awwww - they do look sweet. I hope the attention is positive for them.

#793 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2013, 04:07 PM:

We're getting a lot of Doctor Who speculation here in the UK, and I suspect some of the journalists have never watched the show.

Yes, I know Stephen Moffat used a female Doctor in that charity fund-raiser he wrote. Clue for journalists: it was a joke.

#794 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2013, 05:23 PM:

Yeah, Patsy as the Doctor? Very funny, but NBL.

#795 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2013, 06:21 PM:

I'm invoking AKICIML.

When I was in grade school there was a hymn in our music book that began:

"Blow o ye trumpets, blow!
King, knight and serf, we go
Bearing the Cross to the Holy Land..."

The tune was "Fairest Lord Jesus" and I have had no luck trying to hunt down the alternate lyrics... I would really like to find them, if only to exorcise the earworm that's haunting me.

#796 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2013, 06:43 PM:

Russ@787: I've had the same suspicion.

#797 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2013, 07:02 PM:

Some Protestant denomination, Lori?

That tune is known me as "O Maiden Mother."

#798 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2013, 07:25 PM:

I don't know those words, but it's an old German hymn. (The hymnal I'm looking at gives the tune-name as 'Crusader's Hymn', and the tune is from 'Schleischen Volkslieder'.)

#799 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2013, 07:38 PM:

Jim, it was in a public school music book, I was in Fifth Grade at that time. I want to say the book title was something like "Many Songs from Many Lands" but I'm not certain. I think you're right that it is a Protestant hymn.

P J Evans, the one thing my search has turned up is another version entitled "O God of Loveliness." Which gives me the feeling that this one may have as many versions as "Greensleaves." I hope I'm wrong.

#800 ::: Jeremy Leader ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2013, 07:59 PM:

Xopher @790: Looks like the article has moved here.

I haven't yet figured out which Carmel High this happened at. Whatever happened to that archaic 20thC practice of putting a dateline on an article, specifying whence it was being reported?

Also, keep quiet about that teeth-whitening trick, lest the spammers start marketing it!

#801 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2013, 08:15 PM:

Whovian question - can the Doctor regenerate 12 times, or are there only 12 iterations of the Doctor possible. If it's the first, there can be 13 Doctors.

#802 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2013, 08:37 PM:

Steve C@801

A quick google search suggests that the limit is 12 regenerations.

And also retrieves an article from the Guardian's website back in 2010 saying that the limit was dropped in an episode of the spinoff series "The Sarah Jane Adventures" in which Matt Smith's Doctor said that there was no limit.

It is not clear whether there will be any further explanation for the change.

#803 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2013, 08:55 PM:

Jeremy 800: It's Carmel, NY.

Steve 801: Both, or neither. It's complicated and layered.

Layer 1: 12 is the number of times a Time Lord can regenerate.

Layer 2: There was an episode where the Tenth Doctor regenerated...back into the Tenth Doctor. That uses up a regeneration without incrementing the count of Doctors.

So in theory, the Eleventh Doctor has used eleven regenerations, and the Twelfth Doctor can't ever regenerate, so when that actor leaves it's all over and there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Except...

Layer 3: Apparently that "Time Lords only get 12 regenerations" thing was only spoken once a long time ago by one character, kinda like the note about 12 Cylon models in BSG. No one ever proved it was true. So it might not be. AND...

Layer 4: When did continuity ever stop the people who have made this show from doing what they wanted? The first Doctor was just a cranky old guy who happened to have a time machine, traveling with his granddaughter to teach her history (or something). Been a lot of changes since then!

Hmm, apparently the boundary between "numbers you spell out" and "numbers you express in digits" in the above runs right between eleven and 12. I don't care enough to fix it.

#804 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2013, 09:33 PM:

I think the "twelve regenerations" thing was mentioned more than once. But, exceptions were mentioned at least as often. The rules seemed to be enforced by the government of Gallifrey as much as by biology, so anything is plausible at this point(*).

( goes into fannish levels of detail.)

(* But I'm still irritated by the Eye of Harmony being redefined as a TARDIS interior feature in 8 and 11 shows.)

#805 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2013, 10:21 PM:

There was definitely a limit; we saw the Master in a horribly decayed and dying condition, unable to regenerate. In "The Death of the Doctor" (a _Sarah Jane Adventures_ episode), 11 says that he can regenerate 507 times, but he may well have been joking.

Anyone who wants further detail should read the article Zarf linked to, it seems to be pretty complete.

#806 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2013, 10:25 PM:


#807 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2013, 10:29 PM:

Andrew Plotkin sometimes goes by Zarf. Sorry, thought that was sufficiently well known (or at least sufficiently clear from context, since the link was in the article just above mine).

#808 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2013, 11:00 PM:

Well, I thought it might be, but I had no idea he was ever called Zarf.

#809 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2013, 11:09 PM:

On the always-popular topics of political dumbness and punctuation nitpicking.

The leader of the NZ Labour party, in launching a by-election campaign, said today "We will organise, mobilise and terrorise our political opponents."

So far, he has certainly succeeded in mobilising his political opponents. They were already pretty organised. But how how does a politician, in this day and age, use 'terrorise' approvingly, of his own party?

#810 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2013, 11:19 PM:

Ginger, condolences on your cool cousin's passing. Sounds like a good one gone.

And thanks to the point of wishing blessings upon you for caring for Marilee's cats. She'd certainly be glad to know of it. Good on you.

#811 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2013, 11:21 PM:

WRT the Doctor - what if the John Hurt Doctor isn't the one who prosecuted the Time War, but the very first? What secrets lie behind his stealing a TARDIS and leaving Gallifrey?

#812 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2013, 11:26 PM:

My handles are many
My nicknames not few
I'm the Plotkinohedron
...Okay, that one is eww.

#813 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2013, 01:57 AM:

And a Norton Juster reference! Excellent.

#814 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2013, 02:24 AM:

AKICIML: I'm strangely compelled to come up with a list of (good) books set in Ashland, Oregon, home of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and a place I dearly love to visit.

I've come up with four:
Failure To Appear, by J.A. Jance

Elizabeth the First Wife, by Lian Dolan (This was just published in May, and is a funny, smart read with bonus Shakespeare fun).

Good Grief, by Lolly Winston

Beyond Deserving, by Sandra Scofield

#815 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2013, 03:53 AM:

In re: iterations of the Doctor

V Unir Orra Gbyq gung Evire'f fnpevsvpr gb fnir gur Qbpgbe va "Yrg'f Xvyy Uvgyre" tnir uvz nyy bs ure erznvavat ertrarengvba raretl, guhf artngvat, be ng yrnfg rkgraqvat, uvf ertrarengvba yvzvg.

#816 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2013, 08:15 AM:

The Cute Couple is in Carmel NY? Holy heck, that's practically my home town! Small world, etc., etc. -- and boy, has that region changed in thirty-mumble years. Back then, there was one lesbian bar, in Carmel, ironically; it was allegedly a dive and owned by shady characters possibly even of the mafioso type. I never went, because I was underage even in college, but it looked shady even from the road as we passed by.

Kip@810: Thanks.

#817 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2013, 08:16 AM:

I don't recall just when the 12-regeneration limit was mentioned. It's one of those things that, all these years and actors later the production team might wish had never been mentioned.

I think it was entangled with The Master, wasn't it?

Anyway, I think a plausible hand-wave could be done with the Time War against the Daleks. Medical technology always gets a boost in a war, and maybe the Regeneration Limit was something the Time Lords found a solution for. How much detail you need to conjure up, depends on what story you want to tell. Maybe best not to say anything specific, maybe just a fix made in time of war, not available to every Time Lord, that marks out The Doctor. If there are any traditional Time Lords left, would they regard The Doctor as a mutant?

Drop a few hints, but don't be specific. It's being specific that made this problem.

I can think of other possible hand-waves. And The Doctor as a mutant fits with a couple of them. So does the history of The Master. Both of them mutant Time Lords, equal and opposite?

But the big mistake would be setting a limit. It's OK to make regeneration traumatic, something that has dramatic significance. It shouldn't be an end-of-episode reset switch. And the next time a writer wants to set a hard numeric limit the producers should stand over them with a large mallet until they discover a different idea.

Elderly Time Lord: Doctor, with a body this old it is hard to regenerate. And it is a lifetime of cowardice that has condemned me.

The Doctor: Do you think I am without fear!

ETL: No, you overcome fear. You have never refused a challenge. That is a sign of the greatest hero, and the greatest villain.

TD: And which am I?

#818 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2013, 09:08 AM:

Time for a new franchise. INTERN WHO!

#819 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2013, 09:25 AM:

Dave Bell@817

I rather like the idea that Amy's rebooting of the universe somehow reset the regeneration counter.

Of course, that would mean they'd run up against the limit again in 3-4 decades but that seems like more than enough time to come up with another answer...

#820 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2013, 09:36 AM:

I thought the Doctor's regeneration limit had been reached already by Rowan Atkinson, Hugh Grant, Richard Grant, Jom Broadbent and Joanna Lumley.

#821 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2013, 09:38 AM:

PROBABLY NOT DOCTOR WHO SPOILERS, as it's purely wishful thinking and not speculating on events further down the current Who timeline, nor adding unknown events to the middle of it:

If they only recap the Time War in what's coming next, then at some point they can go back and show Eight's participation. IN DETAIL. With Paul McGann playing Eight, as is only proper.

They already HAVE a Time War costume AND a sonic screwdriver design for him (though I'd like to see him start out in the velvet and change during).

Yes, I know it's been 15+ years since the (ridiculous, cheesy, yet somehow charming) TV movie. Doesn't matter. Have you SEEN Paul McGann? Man's barely aged, and the amount he HAS could readily be attributed to the stress of the Time War. Man's an Actual Time Lord, is my guess.

Okay, some wishful thinking for future events, but not dependent on present plot: I'd also like to see the Rani featured somehow. And her companion Cyrian from that ridiculous, non-canonical special "Dimensions In Time" made canon, though shown as older.

This post brought to you by Rikibeth's shameless fangirling of Paul McGann and Samuel West.

#822 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2013, 09:41 AM:

Serge, I loved Richard E. Grant's Doctor in the animated Scream of the Shalka. It made me highly squeeful to see him turn up this season as a baddie.

#823 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2013, 09:56 AM:

Rikibeth @821: I'd also like to see the Rani featured somehow.

I'd thought that would have been a way to bring back Donna Noble — that dormant Time Lord genius in her would manifest as an alternate personality, and she would build her own Tardis from scratch (being a genius).

And then, possibly, set out to get revenge on the Doctor for abandoning her.

#824 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2013, 10:25 AM:

Rob: I like the way you think.

#825 ::: Steve C ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2013, 10:33 AM:

Kip W @ #818 -

Hugh Laurie as the Doctor. With the same personality as House. All of the Companions will simultaneously love him and hate his guts.

#826 ::: Neil W ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2013, 10:36 AM:

Clearly the way to deal with the regeneration limit is to make the Peter Cushing Doctor Who films canon, and everything else not-canon. From this:

1. There's no regeneration limit, or, indeed, regeneration at all, as he's a human Doctor with the surname Who. In this case we just get someone who can do a good Peter Cushing impersonation to play Dr Who.

2. Everywhere in time and space Dr Who goes he meets Daleks.

3. Episodes are now 80 minutes long, and of somewhat lesser quality.

4. Bernard Cribbens comes back, but as Special Constable Tom Campbell rather than Wilfred Mott.

Sadly Steven Moffat has not replied to my emails.

#827 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2013, 10:37 AM:

My top wishlist item for upcoming Who is: longterm companion who is NOT from here-and-now on Earth. Either a humaniform/human native to some other planet in the future, or a past-Earth human.

No, I'm not caught up; snowmen was the last ep I caught. So this may already be given to me. :-> (la la la la SPOILERS).

I just miss the days, say back in Four, when the companions weren't just the audience-insertion character, they had strengths and weaknesses and came from a unique place that affected their personality.

Like Leela. :->

I think Who should trust us to be up enough on it to not need an audience-insertion character shoved up in every episode or else we'll be completely lost.

#828 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2013, 10:45 AM:

Rikibeth @ 821... I liked Paul McGann. By the way, that movie was my first exposure to the Doctor's adventures.

#829 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2013, 10:59 AM:

Elliott Mason (827): Yes! One of the problems I have with the New Who is that all of the companions are from present-day Earth, and are Speshul.

#830 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2013, 11:32 AM:

Michael I @802: It is not clear whether there will be any further explanation for the change.

I vaguely recall that Back In The Day, 9 was the limit.

But since the Doctor is the only Time Lord left, there's all that extra regeneration juice floating around....

#831 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2013, 11:40 AM:

Elliott Mason@827:

Oh, good point. I thought the audience-eye character was a smart decision when the show ramped up in 2005. But they (and, I admit, I) have not rethought the model since then -- it's ossified.

On the other hand, the use of Madame Vastra and gang as part-time alternate protagonists has provided a welcome, if occasional, break from that model. I hope that continues.

#832 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2013, 11:43 AM:

More QEX.

#833 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2013, 12:08 PM:

elise says to tell y'all she's good. Surgery went smoothly and she is home and resting and fed and happy.

#834 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2013, 02:03 PM:

Say, this thread seems to have gotten all spoilery.

I have seen New Who up through "The Sontaran Stratagem," which puts me in the spring of 2008. Sporadically I watch a bunch more. It will probably be a long while before I catch up to the rest of you. By then we might have one or two new Doctors...

#835 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2013, 02:20 PM:

Bill: I have as much regard for spoilers as anyone, which is why I was ROT13'ing my contributions. But I have to agree with the people that say they have a statute of limitations, and that it's in the one-to-two-year range. If you're going to be five years behind the rest of us, you're likely going to encounter some.

#836 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2013, 02:36 PM:

Sad news today: Hugh Daniel has passed away.

His family is making memorial plans. No word yet.

Fandom, hackers, and civil libertarians will also mourn him.

Hugh was my companion in several memorable adventures and epic road trips. He was big, boisterous, clever, and funny. Andy Anda of General Technics said, "Hugh is our Falstaff."

#837 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2013, 03:05 PM:

Steve 825: Now THAT would really make me stop watching. I hate shows with detestable protagonists, and I've stopped watching several of them because of it. I didn't get 10 minutes into my first episode of House.

#838 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2013, 03:19 PM:

Xopher, #837: Seconded, loudly. I have to deal with enough assholes in real life; I don't want them infesting what's supposed to be my pleasure time as well!

#839 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2013, 03:22 PM:

Thirded. "I want to spend time with this person because...why?"

#840 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2013, 04:18 PM:

I saw this guide to the stages of Doctor regeneration grief posted on Facebook. For those who don't use Facebook, I'll copy and paste it here.

The 4 Stages Of Doctor Regeneration Grief

(Quick regeneration/recasting guide for the newbies)

Fandom generally reacts the same way when this happens. So here's what to expect.


For the next few weeks, the internet will be full of weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth. Angsty Tumblrs will be set up, proclaiming that once Matt Smith goes, they might as well cancel Doctor Who.

Certain long-time fans may start ringing the doom bell claiming that because of Name of the Doctor, Matt's replacement must therefore be THE FINAL DOCTOR EVER (because a line of dialogue from The Deadly Assassin in the 70s is reason enough to cancel the show). Remember this, because it'll be important in about 3-4 years time when the regeneration limit is ignored in the same way that UNIT dating is.


A new actor will be announced. They could be white, black, green, man, woman, space penguin or any combination of the above. Fandom will react as if the BBC had announced that Doctor 12 was being played by a robotic Jimmy Savile being piloted by Hitler's brain. They will froth. They will growl. They will make nasty comments about the new actor's ears.

Cue weeks of people poring over the new guy/gal/penguin's previous career in an attempt to find any reason to hate them.

Certain old fans will claim that now would be a perfect time to announce that Chris/David/Matt were all actually the Rani (it's not important) masquerading as the Doctor, and that the real Doctor is still Paul McGann, who should be re-hired forthwith. Ignore these people, as they are insane.


By about September, we'll all be sick to death of speculation, of Matt Smith being interviewed about his reasons for leaving (he's done three years, three years is the average time for a Doctor, so expect the "Well David Tennant told me that Peter Davison explained to him that Patrick Troughton had warned him to leave after three years.") and the backlash to the Smith Era will begin. Mis-steps like Night Terrors will be thrown onto giant bonfires, and we'll all start pretending that we hated The Pandorica Opens.

If the 50th Anniversary episode isn't the best thing since sliced bread, expect the backlash to intensify and people to say things like "the only good thing that can happen at Christmas is that Matt regenerates before the opening credits." (Note. This actually popped up in a review for Planet of the Dead, the first episode after David Tennant handed in his notice.)

One or two old fans will claim that the show should be cancelled, and we should all just watch DVDs of "Time and The Rani" until the heat death of the universe. WARNING. DO NOT EVER BUY A DVD OF "TIME AND THE RANI." IF YOU FIND ONE, BURN IT. DO NOT WATCH IT.


Christmas will come, Matt will bid us adieu, we'll all remember why we loved him so, before instantly forgetting everything about him as Doctor number 12 blows us away in what amounts to a glorified end-of-episode cameo.

Those angsty Tumblr users from before will create one GIF for every frame that the new Doctor is in, before frotting themselves stupid.

Someone on Outpost Gallifrey will claim not to have watched the regeneration episode anyway, because they prefer to just listen to that Big Finish audio play where Colin Baker has to defeat an impostor pretending to be the real Doctor. They will brand the episode as "disappointing" regardless, and award it 2/10 in the voting thread.

The important thing to remember is that this has happened before. Sometimes we've had great Doctors (Pat Troughton, Tom Baker, David Tennant), sometimes we've had fairly average or downright divisive Doctors (Peter Davison, Sylvester McCoy, Christopher Eccleston), but only once have we been lumped with Colin fucking Baker, and those dark days are long behind us. So enjoy the ride, and don't get too upset.

10 times out of 11, it all turns out OK.

#841 ::: Caroline is gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2013, 04:20 PM:

Linked to a Facebook post containing an amusing Doctor Who-related piece, and quoted said piece in its entirety, for people who don't do Facebook.

#842 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2013, 05:30 PM:

Bruce C STM: I've sent you an email from the mail of the G referencing ML and Apollos in the subject line.

#843 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2013, 06:20 PM:

Bill Higgins at #836:
Thank you for telling us about Hugh Daniel. I am passing this on to my father, Ted Nelson, who knew him.

#844 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2013, 06:44 PM:

Bill, I'm sorry you lost your Falstaff. They can be invaluable and sorely missed.

#845 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2013, 06:48 PM:

A note of appreciation here. Some thousands of readers knew there was going to be a devastating plot twist in a very popular series based on a book they read several years ago.

When the event happened, millions of people were caught totally by surprise, receiving the full impact of a shattering plot twist, torn bleeding from MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL.

Hats off, therefore, to those who kept the secret, such as it was. As a fellow consumer of narrative media, I thank you.

#846 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2013, 07:28 PM:

HLN: Area woman turns in the final edits on her novel today, and gets the editors' approval.

Release is scheduled for August 2. Now I just wait for the cover art.

#847 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2013, 07:55 PM:

So George Takei's latest FB post was a picture of George RR Martin with the caption WHY DOESN'T GEORGE RR MARTIN USE TWITTER? BECAUSE HE KILLED OFF ALL 140 CHARACTERS.

#848 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2013, 08:36 PM:

Steve C @ 847... That being said, cats named after demons feel that George's lap is the best.

#849 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2013, 08:36 PM:

In #835 David Goldfarb writes:

Bill: I have as much regard for spoilers as anyone, which is why I was ROT13'ing my contributions. But I have to agree with the people that say they have a statute of limitations, and that it's in the one-to-two-year range. If you're going to be five years behind the rest of us, you're likely going to encounter some.

I suppose you're right.

It's even worse: I haven't seen The Crying Game yet.

#850 ::: Cygnet ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2013, 08:46 PM:

#686, Syd -- I'm currently living in a travel trailer in the middle of nowhere and expect to be here for several years. (I love my trailer. It's basically like living in a one bedroom apartment, only I happen to have some spectacular views of the Mogollon Rim and nobody stomping on my ceiling.)

Anyway, I can speak from experience on awnings and AC and the like. And living with kittehs in a trailer.

On awnings -- they will keep the temperature down inside your rig, but you have to be vigilant about wind. One good gust of wind and you've got a twisted pile of scrap metal and canvas. (In my case, they function as a jinx -- the moment I pull them down, the wind will start to blow. Every. Single. Time.)

I personally roll my awnings up if I'm leaving, and at night when I'm asleep. I live in a VERY wind prone area, however, so you may have a different comfort zone. They do help with the heat, but so do curtains or venetian blinds.

If you install awnings, make sure that the attachment points are sealed up good so no rain can get inside. RVs get rot from tiny leaks surprisingly easily, to the point where their structural integrity can be affected.

(Where awnings over windows are nice is if it's raining without wind. I can open the windows up wide and smell the wet pines ...)

For the AC, rather than worrying about a timer, I'd just set the thermostat at a relatively high temperature and let it kick on as needed. Mine's set at 85. Make sure the kitties have fans and cold water (freeze some in a block every night) and they'll be fine.

If you're paying the electric, you will find that RV air conditioners are power hogs. I try to use mine as little as possible.

#851 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2013, 08:57 PM:

Bill Higgins @849: I got a cheap omnibus edition of The Stepford Wives and Rosemary's Baby. They read rather differently for me than for their audiences when new, I think ... is it even POSSIBLE to grow to be my age immersed in American popular culture and NOT have been spoilered for those books?

#852 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2013, 09:23 PM:

Bill Higgins @ 849... Do you know who Rosebud was?

#853 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2013, 09:35 PM:

HLN: Area woman finally learns to use a drop spindle. "This is so much fun!" she said. "I don't know why I resisted it for so long!" Her spinning friends may or may not have murmured the word "futile."

The woman was later heard wailing about how much more room her stash was going to occupy. Bystanders were remarkably unsympathetic.

#854 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2013, 09:55 PM:

Serge: ObXKCD

#855 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2013, 09:55 PM:

Serge: ObXKCD

#856 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2013, 11:23 PM:

Bill 849: I haven't seen The Crying Game yet.

The dead guy's girlfriend is really a Goa'uld named Ra.

#857 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2013, 11:34 PM:

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde are really the same person!

#858 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2013, 11:36 PM:

Rikibeth @846: Yay!

#859 ::: Jo MacQueen ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2013, 11:55 PM:

Quiet applause for Xopher at #865

#860 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2013, 12:01 AM:

The Crying Game, Ha! I figured out the surprise twist the minute the guy walked into the bar.

Doyle and I also figured out the Amazing Surprise Twist in Sixth Sense before the end of the titles.

Still, I insist on going into movies unspoiled. Because figuring it out for myself is a big part of my fun.

(It's hard to avoid being spoiled for Titanic though. Gur fuvc fvaxf.)

#861 ::: Jo MacQueen ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2013, 12:11 AM:

Sorry, transposition, not posting from the future. Xopher at #856, to repeat the applause.

#862 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2013, 12:33 AM:

*bows gently to the quiet applause*

#863 ::: ma larkey ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2013, 01:19 AM:

I have to ask: what does AKICIML mean?

#864 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2013, 01:24 AM:

'All Knowledge Is Contained In Making Light'.

#865 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2013, 01:29 AM:

All Knowledge Is Contained In Making Light

I've yet to see the Fluorosphere stumped.

Speaking of which, anyone happen (randomly) to know a source for Speedotron 102A Quad bulbs? The lab I'm in uses powerful studio flashes to do positive afterimage demos, and I just found a couple 102A heads, but only one set of bulbs across the two.

What are positive afterimages, you ask? They're the persistent image that you perceive for about fifteen seconds after we overload your rod photoreceptors. It's a really great demo.

#866 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2013, 02:08 AM:

Benjamin Wolfe @865 -- there are some single heads cheap on eBay, but the quad head currently listed has a minimum bid of $338. And I don't see the bulbs listed separately from the head. Flash tubes list for about $100 each on Amazon.

#867 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2013, 02:30 AM:

That's where I found the two heads I just got. The problem is, the 102A is a different animal entirely than the 104/105 they make now, and the bulbs are incompatible. I've got a request in with the manufacturer asking about the bulbs, but I figured the Fluorosphere might have ideas.

My adviser, as it happens, is thrilled with the acquisition. We've needed more power for this demo for years.

#868 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2013, 03:43 AM:

#853 TexAnne
Tamora Pierce's reaction to me with a drop spindle was a screech. She was an unwilling veteran of perhaps traumatic experience--one of her characters spins, weaves, etc., and for authenticity the author therefore got herself some firsthand experience dealing with drop spindles... and meseemeth she was not entirely thrilled about it!

I wonder if the American Museum of Textile Histoy still has no drop spindles on display--it had a vast collection of spinning wheels, and it had a spinning jenny, and other machinery, but no drop spindles!

#869 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2013, 03:49 AM:

Jim Macdonald @860: My husband and I went to see Titanic. There was a couple behind us, in their late teens. At a certain point in the film, the girl asked her boyfriend "What happened?" He replied. "They hit an iceberg." Yes. Really.

#870 ::: Cal Dunn ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2013, 06:36 AM:

Not quite the same but: The Flatmate and I went to see Good Night and Good Luck at the movies and sat next to a somewhat younger couple (technically they sat next to us). Partway through the movie one whispered to the other, "What's a pinko?"

#871 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2013, 07:29 AM:

On the movie Apollo 13, per wikipedia:

Ron Howard stated that, after the first test preview of the film, one of the comment cards indicated "total disdain"; the audience member had written that it was a "typical Hollywood" ending and that the crew would never have survived

#872 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2013, 08:03 AM:

We went to see the play "Sweeney Todd: the Demon Barber of Fleet Street" (the full subtitle was included on the playbill) and before the lights went down I heard a couple behind us musing, "Demon barber? Well, I guess it's not a comedy..."

But I can't throw stones; there are plenty of things that "everybody knows" that I simply don't. Especially stuff pertaining to celebrities.

#873 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2013, 09:19 AM:

albatross @ 854 and 855... Heheheh

#874 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2013, 09:20 AM:

At the very end, Charlton Heston realizes that the Planet of the Apes is... EARTH!!!

#875 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2013, 09:21 AM:

Soylent Green is...

'To Serve man' is...

#876 ::: Patrick Connors ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2013, 10:03 AM:

Soylent Green is to serve man

#877 ::: Steve C ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2013, 10:19 AM:

All Dorothy had to do was click her heels three times and say "There's no place like home."

(While muttering under her breath, "Now you tell me!")

#879 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2013, 01:16 PM:

I'm reminded of a dubious idea which is getting a surprising (to me) amount of traction.

#881 ::: cajunfj40 ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2013, 01:49 PM:

Benjamin Wolfe @#865/867:

If the setup is so old that tube availability is a problem, you might want to check for replacement *sockets* for the current generation quad-head that Speedotron (or a competitor, for that matter, if they will physically fit the location!) sells, with similar shape, focal point location, voltage, current, and watt-second ratings per tube. Then have the resident mad electrician at your University replace the current sockets with the newer ones, to allow retrofitting current-gen bulbs.

Or you could ask the glassblowing shop to make up some new bulbs/replace the guts of the blown ones for you. They are glassware for science, after all! :-)

#882 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2013, 03:23 PM:

My position on the next doctor is that the best choice would be Patterson Joseph. He has the style to play the role, and the sly, Anancyish wit to carry it off.

#883 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2013, 03:58 PM:

The latest shot in the fight over the "grey market" (otherwise known as 'we're allowed to search the world for the lowest price, but that doesn't apply to you customers'):

Your vacation-bought HDTV could soon lose manufacturer support in India

Odd things here:

  1. Usually it's people complaining about the cheap stuff *bought* in India, rather than imported.
  2. Given that work abroad, send money home is as much an Indian tradition as it is in the Caribbean and African immigrants to North America, it is likely that a number of these "vacation-bought" TVs were actually bought for the work term in Dubai or Singapore and are coming home at end of contract, with everything else.
  3. the prime quote: "Such imported sets are disturbing the market equilibrium, sales plans and the total legitimate channel," said Sunil Nayyar, sales head, Sony India.

Yes, so it is. This is the way markets are supposed to work. If you have an over-equalibrium position in the market, it will work to bring you back to that equilibrium, or put you out of business.

That's How Business Works, people. You do not have a God-given right to your profits - unless, of course, you have nonproportional power in the government.

It will be interesting to find out if all the HDTV producers go this route; and if so, how "coincidental" that is. If not, whether that affects sales enough for those who think this way about their customers to be a problem.

#884 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2013, 05:57 PM:

Nancy, #879: Do they understand what it is that they're referencing with that name? Because that's the part that makes me side-eye. The rest is just another variant of snake oil, but the name is... unfortunate.

#885 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2013, 06:08 PM:

I'm sure they know what they're referencing-- it started out as a personal project, and Soylent is perfectly normal geek humor.

I don't know whether they might run into copyright/trademark problems if they don't change the name.

I'm rather more upset with the snake oil aspect. I think there are going to people who get pretty sick from trying to live on it.

#886 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2013, 06:25 PM:

Um, did I hallucinate a Jim Macdonald post about the Farce of Avila? I could swear it was there earlier, but it's gone now.

#887 ::: D. Potter ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2013, 06:29 PM:

"Farce of Àvila" Page Not Found.

I'll probably forget by the time the comments page gets put up.

#888 ::: D. Potter ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2013, 06:33 PM:

Annd now it's gone. Ah well. It was an interesting essay.

#889 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2013, 06:55 PM:

Good thing I read fast - it certainly was there. Late 15th century Spanish dynastic political fight.

#890 ::: GlendaP ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2013, 07:21 PM:

886/887/888/889: Yep, I read it too.

#891 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2013, 07:46 PM:

It's back.

#892 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2013, 08:53 PM:

Jim (891): Yay!

#893 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2013, 10:46 PM:

Hyper-Local News: Local woman continues to recuperate from very minor foot surgery, and sends many good wishes to TNH, because imagining what the big foot surgery was like is suddenly a lot easier, and eek.

Also, it is a mini-Gathering of Light here, and maybe we should have an official one. Anybody else here in Minneapolis/St.Paul this week?

#894 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2013, 11:38 PM:

@884 Lee


While the formula for Soylent will change somewhat on the path to large-scale manufacture, we want to release the current list of ingredients today, and reassure our supporters and skeptics alike that in fact, Soylent is not people, and contains no person-derived compounds.

So, yes, it seems they're aware.

#895 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2013, 11:39 PM:

To Paul A., who turned me on to Victory Bonds back in Open Thread 181 - thanks! That was really good.

#896 ::: Magenta Griffith ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2013, 11:50 PM:

elise @893 I am in Minneapolis this week, of course ... but this weekend I am volunteering at a conference I believe you helped to start.

#897 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2013, 12:07 AM:

I was going to write a whole long screed about my poetry reading; I was also going to make a Photobucket album of my Best Of for the past year or so... I may still do that.

But now I want to say thanks, I haven't forgotten, but my seven-year-old iMac went blooey about May 8th and took a couple of weeks to fix, and also I had birthday and mother's day distractions and then there were eighteen chicks hatched in my kitchen between the 19th and 23rd of May (and now living in my otherwise useless hall bathroom) and I've been too tired to write anything what with infant care. I'm mostly writing this now because I'm too tired to stand up, give the sheep his evening snack, bring the laundry in off the line, retrieve the day's eggs from the hanging shelf, and rescue the spoiled rotten Barbu d'Anvers from her not-rat-proof day cage and put her in the parrot cage in the laundry room.

Oh, yeah, I've been fighting rats. May we all say "ugh?"

Anyway, one of the books of poetry I bought was The Essential Rumi and it's been tough going: there are signs the translator is more concerned with Rumi's spiritual insights than his skill as a poet. I wasn't sure until I ran into a line which compares a cri de coeur with the call of a ring dove, in a clunky phrasing which no poet who'd ever heard a ring dove (as I hear them, every morning and evening, since the invasive Eurasian Ring Dove has found my orchard of use) would use.

The Rattle Bag, which many of you recommended, is turning out to be of great use in determining what I'll check out from the library next. Why did D.H. Lawrence write all those tedious novels when he was such an interesting poet?

#898 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2013, 11:33 AM:

Well, drat. I have a question for the excellent folks here.

A few weeks ago, I took my car into my shop of choice to investigate a Funny Noise. First Shop said it was the exhaust heat shield coming loose and that I should take it to another shop that does welding. Also, I needed new tire rods for $400.

I took the car to the Welding Shop, where a very concerned and soft-spoken man said that the subframe was in very bad shape and the Funny Noise was probably the rear struts. He advised not putting more money in.

I call First Shop and ask what's up, why didn't they see this. They say they should have seen it and give me a quote on rear struts and a new subframe.

Two weeks pass, and I take the car to Third Shop to be looked at because a friend says they're really good at explaining what's going on and what's worth fixing. Third Shop calls me back this morning saying that the subframe is like Swiss cheese.

So yeah, First Shop should have seen that. First Shop should have seen that way before tire rods. I've recommended First Shop to friends because they've treated me really well over the years.

And what I want from them is something between 'an apology' and 'money off that $400 for the tire rods on a car they should have seen was going out'. I want to not feel stupid for trusting them. I want to not feel taken.

My plan is to write a letter expressing my dissatisfaction. Does anyone here have a suggestion on phrasing to... I hate to say it, but make them think about what they've done? I don't know how to be aggressive in this context. Passive-aggressive is what I have.

Getting a new-to-me car is unfamiliar territory. I really, really wanted Milady Buick to last to 100,000 mile or twenty years, whichever came first.

#899 ::: Steve C ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2013, 11:45 AM:

Diatryma, if you're an Angie's List member, you can file a report card on them. And there's always Yelp for expressing dissatisfaction. All that's presupposing the letter doesn't garner any help or compensation.

#900 ::: Clarentine ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2013, 12:20 PM:

Diatryma @898:

Maybe something like:

Dear [First Shop Owner]:

I wanted to give you some feedback on my recent visits to your shop. My experience has not been entirely satisfactory, and I thought you should have the opportunity to increase the odds I will continue to do business with you. [or, if you have no intention of returning to that shop, “I thought you should be aware why I am no longer going to be doing business with you.”]

[details of the diagnoses, including other shops’ information, and what it all cost you]

I am, as you will understand, rather disturbed by this saga. Of course people make mistakes, but this one was easily diagnosable by two other independent mechanics, and I really feel your employee should have caught the deterioration of the car and advised me not to spend the additional funds for the tire rods.

Thank you for taking the time to read this letter.

#901 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2013, 12:44 PM:

Tire rods? By any chance are "tie rods" meant?

#902 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2013, 01:00 PM:

Weird. I just found out that I have an IMDB page. Miscellaneous Crew, one Credits (which I remember doing) one Special Thanks (apparently I helped my friend with those credits, but didn't do them myself). I knew I might be in the credits for one of the movies (I actually did two versions of the Credits list, one with my name and one without). I'm listed as [my legal name] (II) Miscellaneous Crew.

I'm quite unreasonably excited by this.

#903 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2013, 03:06 PM:

Xopher @902: And well you should be, because it means you have a Kevin Bacon Number. My first boyfriend has a fairly low Erdos number, which geeked me out extremely (his graduate adviser has published papers directly with Erdos).

#904 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2013, 03:17 PM:

I'm bummed by the fact that I don't have an IMDB page, although I should. I actually have screen credit on Yellowbrickroad.

#905 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2013, 03:35 PM:

Elliott Mason @ 903... My Bacon is 4, but my Einstein and my Orson Welles both are 2 thru the same person who was on Hitler's Enemy List.

#906 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2013, 03:42 PM:

My afternoon rss-skimming has turned up a staggering number of very Fluorospherian links, so I thoguht I ought to share:

A medieval manuscript with darned silk embroidery in holes (holes present before the writing) in the parchment. The black thread has disintegrated almost entirely, but the other colors are still sturdy and bright.

Nifty and actually useful advertising hoardings from IBM's 'Smart Ideas for Smarter Cities' campaign

Zoomable aerial photoset of San Francisco that's basically Google Earth from 1938

A hilarious picture book by Jeffrey Brown entitled Vader's Little Princess, from an alternate universe where he got to single-dad two rambunctious twins (there is also a separate volume about Luke, Darth Vader and Son). Contains humor parents will recognize from their own lives with toddlers, teenagers, and ages between.

If you went in your yard and found that a frog had tried to eat (and gotten stuck on) one of your Christmas lights, wouldn't YOU take a picture of it before you freed the poor thing? If not, you're a better human than I am, because that's an amazing picture.

What if Harry Potter were an American Jewish girl, and Hogwarts were a summer camp? Someone's written that book, and it is called The Path of Names by Ari Goelman.

An attempt at turning the timeline of River Song's life into a clearly-apprehensible diagram

There is a Japanese word, tsundoku, that I didn't realize I needed.

#907 ::: Elliott Mason got gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2013, 03:43 PM:

For posting a huge wad of URLs all at once, most likely. I promise, they're all cromulent.

[It was indeed number-of-links. -- Pius Boriin DuValt, Duty Gnome]

#908 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2013, 05:04 PM:

Elliott, #906: There was a Princess Vader at ComicPalooza.

#909 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2013, 05:09 PM:

Elliott Mason @906, thanks especially for "tsundoku". I can identify with that strongly.

#910 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2013, 05:32 PM:

I think I'll go buy a box of Cheerios.

They apparently are getting a lot of flack for featuring a mixed-race couple in a recent ad, per this WTOP piece.

#911 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2013, 07:37 PM:

Utah Omaha Gold Juno Sword.

Just sayin' it. For today. Remember.

#912 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2013, 08:00 PM:

Jim at 901, probably. I am pretty good at knowing what's going on with the car, but phone conversations can be interesting.

#913 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2013, 08:02 PM:

Xopher, 911 (ahaha ow): I am less inclined to remember it this year, since today is also Domestic Spying Because Terrorism, So Why Did Those Guys Bother Day.

Also, the NSA can fucking bite me.

#914 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2013, 08:30 PM:

Yahoo Mail sucks like unto a great sucky thing.

They made yet another change to make it harder to use: no pages, you just have to scroll through hundreds of messages to get where you want to go.

I would dump it, but I have emails I have to get information from, and they're making it harder and harder. And I think they're doing it on purpose because the email business is unprofitable.

#915 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2013, 09:19 PM:

I hadn't realized that Joss Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing starred Amy Acker and Alexis Denisof! Damn it'll be good to see them together again.

Of course, given that it's Joss Whedon, Beatrice's soul will be eaten by a prehistoric god at the end.

#916 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2013, 09:45 PM:

TexAnne @ #913, I too am feeling a little queasy today.

#917 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2013, 12:18 AM:

Lee: Do they understand what it is that they're referencing with that name? Because that's the part that makes me side-eye. The rest is just another variant of snake oil, but the name is... unfortunate.

There are worse. There is a powered exoskeleton being developed in Japan. The suit is called "HAL," and the manufacturer is Cyberdyne, Inc. Not quite as bad as Cyberdyne Systems Corporation, but twill do, twill serve.

I have no idea as to my Bacon number. I'm in the credits for "Bombs Away," a comedy that was MUCH funnier in the script phase, but don't know if IMDB ever paid attention to my e-mail about being added to their listing of the credits.

#918 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2013, 01:14 AM:

I have occasionally wished that I worked at Pixar, just so that I could get a Bacon Number. (Though by the strict version of the rules used by, you need a credited acting role so I'd need to get a one-line speaking part somehow.) Then I'd have an Erdős-Bacon Number, since I already have an Erdős Number from working on the Human Genome Project. Next, to find a musical collaborator who can be linked to Black Sabbath....

(Interesting note: Buzz Aldrin has an Erdős-Bacon-Sabbath Number of 11, with his Sabbath Number of 3 via Snoop Dogg and Ice-T. Yes, really.)

#919 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2013, 11:42 AM:

Christopher Davis @ #918: I have occasionally wished that I worked at Pixar, just so that I could get a Bacon Number. (Though by the strict version of the rules used by, you need a credited acting role so I'd need to get a one-line speaking part somehow.)

Well, Pixar's a good choice for that; they have a track record of animators voicing bit parts.

#921 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2013, 01:25 PM:

Someone left a tablet here:


Man,they're making them thin these days!

#922 ::: Stefan Jones gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2013, 01:25 PM:

Innocuous gag, I thought.

[A comma with no spaces surrounding it. Again, typical of mad-lib style spam. -- Boron Mameo, Duty Gnome]

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