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July 1, 2011

Open Thread 160
Posted by Jim Macdonald at 10:16 PM *

Continued from Open Thread 159

Continued in Open Thread 161
Comments on Open Thread 160:
#1 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2011, 10:27 PM:

Been there, done that, or rather Doctor Ming did.

#2 ::: Tracey ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2011, 10:45 PM:

If the Republicans get their way and repeal the Affordable Care Act's new benefits, payments for things like screenings for colon cancer are going to be strictly out-of-pocket. Most seniors (or near-seniors) can't afford that. Just paying for prescription medicine may be difficult for many people.

Seriously, it sounds bad:

And I'm scared, because I could not afford the care I need without Medicare. I could not survive without that care. One of the things that Medicare currently pays for is a piece of equipment that forces the lymphatic fluid to circulate through my body. It won't do that on its own. It's like dialysis for lymphedemics.

If I didn't have this machine, I would not be able to walk. The lightest touch or pressure on my legs would cause shrieking agony. I don't know how long it would take my heart to drown, but I cannot think the interim would be pleasant.

I wish to hell I lived in a country that didn't consider the health of its citizens optional.

#3 ::: Kevin Marks ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2011, 11:15 PM:

160 is the character code on windows for non-breaking space, accessed by typing shift-spacebar.
In Unicode it is an undefined code point, which causes an error.
This is the main cause of encoding failures when copy and pasting text in blog posts, leading to mojibake.

#4 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2011, 12:28 AM:

Kevin Marks @ #3:

Ah, is that what causes that? I had wondered.

#5 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2011, 12:37 AM:

I has a Fidelio until Monday! :-D

#6 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2011, 12:38 AM:

Kevin Marks @ 3 ...
... and yet another reason to check your bloody character set before presuming that changing character sets won't cause any problems...

#7 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2011, 01:25 AM:

I am so not looking forward to the first colonoscopy, which will be sometime this fall, I suppose.

Not so much the test, but the fasting and cleaning out.

And I have to pick a new regular doctor first. Hopefully we won't change health plans again . . .

#8 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2011, 02:03 AM:

Tracey, #2: Yes. My partner is into the age range where this should be done, but finding the money (not to mention the time, with our unpredictable schedule) is difficult.

#9 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2011, 02:05 AM:

Stefan @ #7, the test is nothing. The anesthesia knocks you out. It's the gallon of crud (I had GaviLyte-C) and its result the night before that's unpleasant.

OTOH, this was the second time in three years I've had it done. Unlike the first time they found no polyps, so they said "come back in five years."

#10 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2011, 02:13 AM:

I went the fecal occult blood sample route rather than the colonoscopy, because it's much cheaper and less invasive. Has to be done a bit more often to have the same screening effectiveness; it's a reasonable substitute for colonoscopy.

#11 ::: Steve with a book ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2011, 05:04 AM:

Non-urgent shout to the moderators: this open thread seems to have been scientifictionally dated a year into the future as July 01, 2012...

#12 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2011, 05:17 AM:

There's a national fecal occult blood screening program in effect over here -- kicks in automatically at 50. Given my family history[*] I looked into signing up for it early -- but according to my GP, it's inflexible: if I want an earlier test, it's colonoscopy or bust. And as I've got less than forty months to go, it didn't seem worth it. I will of course be in there like a shot if there are any worrying symptoms in the meantime ...

[*] Dad, aged 87, is a colon cancer survivor. His dad died of it, aged 69 -- but in 1963. That's one first and one second degree relative: not quite enough to shunt me up to the priority list, especially as neither case was early-onset (defined as "younger than 60").

#13 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2011, 05:28 AM:

Steve With a Book @11:

Sorted. It's true that we live in the future, but not that much.

#14 ::: Steve with a book ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2011, 05:57 AM:

I notice that the Blogads Book Hive feed in the sidebar has a link to "Gabriel Josipovici on New Finnish Grammar by Diego Marani". New Finnish Grammar by Diego Marani is a novel that I started reading yesterday, and I recommend it. (Nice bookseller yesterday asked me why I was the second person that day to buy this seemingly-obscure book from a smallish press; I told her I was buying it on the strength of Nicholas Lezard's review in the Guardian a few weekends ago. Summary: speechless-through-brain-injury WWII sailor is retaught language by his doctor. The language the sailor has lost is not Finnish, but that's what he gets taught).

#15 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2011, 06:30 AM:

Serge Broom @1: Been there, done that, or rather Doctor Ming did.

"Not the Bore Worms!"

#16 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2011, 08:00 AM:

Rob Rusick @ 15... That line had occurred to me. I don't look as good as Ornella Muti though so I passed. And did I tell you of the time I took my wife to the ER where she was treated by Doctor Faust? No, it wasn't because of a problem with her foot's sole.

#17 ::: Josh Jasper ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2011, 08:55 AM:

The idea of polyps in my colon always make me think I'd be hosting some sort of Lovecraftian monster.

#18 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2011, 09:48 AM:

I have vague memories of the test itself (in my case, colonoscopy + endoscopy)--they gave me something that didn't quite knock me out but that did keep me too fuzzy to worry about what they were ramming up my a-- and down my throat. But yeah, the prep the night before is like having really incredible amounts of watery diarrhea with no other symptoms. You're not ill or anything, you're just chained to the toilet for an evening.

#19 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2011, 09:51 AM:

The anesthesia is what worries me, in some ways. The last (only) time I had general anesthesia, I wound up unable to tolerate the taste hot peppers, and with an intermittent but recurring weird not-exactly congestion feeling in the back of my mouth.

There may be no causal connection, but the timing is suggestive. It would make as much temporal sense to blame these on no longer having a gall bladder, but that seems even less plausible logically. That's because this is a taste/tongue problem: if I swallow the capsaicins anyhow, my digestive system has no problem with them. But hot pepper has gone from being a set of flavors I often enjoyed (though not at the extreme spicy end) to a set I can eat only in extreme moderation (for example, small amounts of smoked paprika are okay, sometimes). This is frustrating, in part because I miss enjoying things like chili and curries. I can still eat and enjoy other things called "spicy"--horseradish and ginger and garlic and mustard and black pepper are all fine--but it's not the same.

Still, when the time comes I will have the test; reasonably, even if I frame this as "the anesthesiologist took out my ability to eat hot pepper," that seems to be an anomaly, and I don't really think they'll take out the "garlic is good" module next time.

#20 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2011, 10:03 AM:

When I turned 50 my doctor had my referral for a colonoscopy ready for me. It did not show anything abnormal. Four years later I nearly died of diverticulosis. There are other things in your colon than cancer that can kill you.

#21 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2011, 10:07 AM:

Each journey's not a problem for the road
but recollection tricks us into tears,
each sudden image coming unawares
and then revealing there's a complex code
that we'd forgotten. Then time overflowed
into each heart and took away our fears,
washed out the sad crustation of the years
displaying all the good that was bestowed
in this refraction. What we see is clear
to older heads unbowed by weight of age
whose eyes preserve a proper youthful sight
with memory of that softer mountain air,
of solemn words declared on rustic stage
before a passage into tropic light.

#22 ::: Melissa Mead ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2011, 10:30 AM:

I've had a "top and tail." No pain at all during the procedure, and afterward the only problem I remember is a sore throat from the "top." (Gotta do that again soon. Sigh. Oh well, better to prevent trouble.)

#23 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2011, 10:40 AM:

Vicki @c 19... No anesthesia. They give you something that completely messes up your short-term memory so that you don't remember the discomfort from one moment to the next.

#24 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2011, 11:25 AM:

Vicki @19 -- ISTR that the reason people like hot peppers is that the capsaicin releases endorphins in most people; and if the endorphin receptors get blocked, then the hot peppers stop being pleasant. So there's actually a reason the anaesthetic might have killed your enjoyment. (Marci used to refer to hot peppers as "Marci-repellant" because they gave her no pleasure, and thought it might be because her receptors were wired differently -- found some research to indicate that opiate receptor blockers made people not enjoy it. I don't know the research here....)

#25 ::: Debbie Notkin ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2011, 11:27 AM:

My brother (who has had Crohn's disease since he was 20) is now struggling with disturbingly advanced colon cancer at age 56. He might be okay' it's hard to say. His one request of everyone is the request Jim posted in this thread.

Trust me, you don't want to be on the kind of chemo regimen he's on ten months of. Get tested.

#26 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2011, 11:40 AM:

Kaiser's protocol is to do a sigmoidoscopy rather than a colonoscopy, starting at age 50. Everyone I know who's gotten a sigmoidoscopy reported serious/major discomfort/pain, and I'm a wimp, so I told my PCP I wouldn't do it. There's no colon cancer in my family. Starting at age 50 I got regular occult blood screenings. They always came back negative.

Around my 63rd birthday, my PCP scheduled me for a colonoscopy. I water-fasted for 48 hours before the test, and I did a split prep -- I ingested half of the disgusting stuff you have to drink the night before, and half in the early am -- for a test at 2 pm in the afternoon. The stuff was truly disgusting (to me, anyway, YMMV) but the sitting on the can part was no big deal, because my gut was empty.

The test itself was a breeze. I remember nothing of it -- they give you excellent sedatives -- and I have no memory of recovery or even of being driven home. They gave me some charming pictures of my pink polyp-less colon.

One thing you should know: they recommend that you stay on a soft diet for 2-3 days after the test. They didn't tell me this beforehand -- it would have been helpful if they had. As it turned out, it was not a big deal, since I had appropriate stuff in the fridge...

#27 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2011, 11:50 AM:

TexAnne @ 5... Yay!

#28 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2011, 11:54 AM:

albatross #18: A bit more unpleasant for me; I spent *all day* and a good portion of the night in the small room, after an initial episode of near-fainting.

Serge #23: I am informed that I attempted to hold a serious philosophical discussion on the mind/body problem while I was under. I, of course, was more embarrassed by that than by whatever was being done to me.

#29 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2011, 12:14 PM:

somehow I am inspired to foist this link on you.

#30 ::: Henning Makholm ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2011, 02:14 PM:

Kevin, #3: What makes you think 160 is an undefined codepoint in Unicode? It has been there since at least version 2.0:


#31 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2011, 02:36 PM:

Vicki @19: "the anesthesiologist took out my ability to eat hot pepper,"

Huh. I wonder if the anesthesia did something to your endorphin metabolism. Turns out (via Jon Singer) that the pleasure kick people get from capsaicins is apparently an endorphin rush. Feed them endorphin blockers, and they just hurt.

I've never acquired (nor had any desire to) this connection, so I have to be rather careful when ordering restaurant food around here. Jalapeño has been an increasingly favored seasoning in the last decade or so. Annoys the crap out of me. Bought some lovely fresh smoked oysers from Whole Foods few weeks ago, only to discover when I ate them that they were larded with Tabasco sauce. Who the hell puts Tabasco sauce on smoked oysters, fer Ghu's sake!?

Seems to be a Boulder local thing, because when I was in Denver for Denvention, I had no trouble at all.

#32 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2011, 02:39 PM:

The idea of polyps in my colon always make me think I'd be hosting some sort of Lovecraftian monster.

...And far away, into the sickly light,
From many a wondrous grot and secret cell
Unnumbered and enormous polypi
Winnow with giant arms the slumbering green...

Tennyson, of course. Britain's first and finest Science Fiction Poet. (Seriously, read "Locksley Hall" and tell me that's not SF.)

#33 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2011, 02:56 PM:

...and of course Whitmore got there first.

I'm on the hook for various screenings, but I'm trying to cycle yearly things around to take care of them in October. I can remember Halloween. I try to tag all the yearly stuff to that date, so I can just go down the list and be done with it.

My embarrassment at the one colonoscopy I've done so far was that I wanted to watch the video feed, so I woke up in tears, with vague memories of wailing "Wait! Wait! I want to see!" and the nurse trying unsuccessfully (of course) to explain that it was just the medicine.

My doc had a very sour look on his face. I later parted ways with that doc; I got the very strong impression from this guy that if you didn't have cancer, you weren't worth his time. I have ulcerative colitis, and they seemed to think that chronic bleeding, cramping, and pain were acceptable outcomes of treatment. Me: not so much, no. He was also spectacularly determined to disregard my accounts of my own experience.

So I need to find a new gastroenterologist. One that regards an absence of symptoms and pain as success.

I also had an unhappy go-round with the nurse who checked me out. While they had told me that I needed to have someone come pick me up and, no, a cab wasn't good enough, they neglected to inform me that they wanted to have someone stay with me through the day.

Then, as she was going over release information, she was talking only to the friend who was there to pick me up, and I had to kind of verbally club her over the head to get her to answer my questions. Yes, I get that some people are out of it and non compos mentis at that point. But I was all there, thankyouverymuch, and I'd already had enough of being treated like a can of soup by the anesthesiologist.

Did I mention that this whole thing was not an experience I'm burning to repeat, and none of it had anything to do with the medical side?

#34 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2011, 03:26 PM:

TNH's Particle "Plot Device"?


#35 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2011, 03:58 PM:

Josh Jasper @ 17: I do now wonder how much of that kind of association went into the Mythos's particular... morphological and metaphorical choices. They have that sort of flavour. In one of my own Lovecraft-touched yarns many years back, the standard (and not exactly unwarranted) hostile epithet for Hastur was 'the Cancer in the Sky' - so the reverse association must have been working big-time for me.

Pond hydras are cute, and even sea anemones are as attractive as they're weird disturbing; but did anybody ever have a positive association with a nakedly generic polyp?

#36 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2011, 04:13 PM:

Jacque @34: I'll second that endorsement.

#37 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2011, 04:16 PM:

HLN: Area woman attends Friday-night going-away party for good friends who are relocating to the East Coast. During dinner, woman realizes that one of her molars has broken; fortunately, woman experiences no pain and is able to stay for the rest of the party.

Dentist of woman's choice is open on Saturdays (yay!) and has time available, so woman spends two hours in dentist's chair being fitted with a temporary crown. Also, dentist is okay with payment plans for the uninsured!

Woman returns to car to discover an expired meter and a $58 parking ticket.


#38 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2011, 04:51 PM:

Jacque (34): Waaaah! I can't get it to load! *sniff*

I think it's running afoul of my NoScript, but I've temporarily allowed all the scripts I'm willing to, and it still won't load.

#39 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2011, 05:04 PM:

Just one more note on colonoscopy. Failing to get any colonoscopies is a bad idea. If the first one is negative and you don't have family history, failing to get repeated ones is much less of a big deal, though you might as well get them if they are on offer.

#40 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2011, 05:23 PM:

News that makes my week (already made, as I'm at home with my parents/siblings/assorted spice and kinder):

Cory Maye will soon be free

Some days, I'm proud to lean libertarian.

#41 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2011, 05:42 PM:

Thomas @39: on the flip side, too many colonoscopies is a risk factor: I was told (by my dad's surgeon, during a pre-op meeting) that there was roughly a 1:500 risk of something going wrong during a colonoscopy, for values of "ripped intestinal wall" wrongness (i.e. peritonitis and haemorrhaging). Not necessarily fatal, but seriously hazardous.

This is not an argument for avoiding colonoscopy procedures; it's an argument for not undergoing them unnecessarily or excessively. (Yes, screening is good cause, especially if you're in an at-risk group. Excessively frequent screening is another matter.)

#42 ::: Nangleator ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2011, 05:57 PM:

Hamster problem:

#43 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2011, 05:57 PM:

Mary Aileen @38: Try the You Tube version?

#44 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2011, 06:00 PM:



#45 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2011, 06:04 PM:

I'm amused that I haven't seen any typographical puns in this thread.

#46 ::: individ-ewe-al ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2011, 06:18 PM:

I think this is relevant to some people in the conversation: people of Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry are susceptible to a kind of colorectal cancer which is somewhat different from what is normally meant by hereditary, early onset disease in the general population. The Ashkenazi kind is hardly a pleasant thing to have in one's genetic legacy, but it's more likely than not for people to die with it at advanced ages (rather than specifically dying of it). My great-uncle, for example, died at the age of 94 (the last of his generation), some 15 years after a bowel cancer diagnosis.

So, if you have a lot of relatives who've had colon or bowel cancer, but they were diagnosed after retirement age, and your family is ethnically Ashkenazi, there's no real benefit in starting screening younger than 50. And, statistically speaking, you probably have a tendency to something slow growing and treatable, even if the treatment is itself extremely unpleasant.

#47 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2011, 06:23 PM:

I've seen one relative on the Ex's side die way too soon of colon cancer that was diagnosed too late -- she never even made it to the chemo -- and my cousin on my Dad's side is fighting it now. He's survived longer than the median survival time for his initial grade, but it's rough and he may well die of this cancer eventually. Colon cancer screening: whichever methods your doctor uses, do it.

In brighter news, I visited my son today in the psych hospital; he has new meds and is cheerful, goofy, smiling and sleepy. He hugged me at once, chatted nicely, and enjoyed himself tremendously.

This is my son.

I feel a diagnosis congealing for me, at least; it's going to be a combination of his long-standing anxiety (a family trait plus his early childhood conditions), his not-quite-as-longstanding ADHD, his newly-triggered depression, possibly topped off by a drug-induced psychosis and a girlfriend with her own pathology on top. As more than one Luminous Poster mentioned, he's better off having his issues show up now, rather than later in life.

The FG is making a fabulous dinner tonight, so I need to feed my animals, pack the freshly-laundered clothing to be sent off to my nephews, and make tracks northwards.

#48 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2011, 06:45 PM:

Ginger: Hooray!

#49 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2011, 06:52 PM:

Jacque (43): Thanks!

Everyone else: You *definitely* want to watch that. And don't skip out before the end of the credits.

#50 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2011, 06:53 PM:

Ginger (47): Hooray x 2! That sounds extremely promising.

#51 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2011, 06:56 PM:

Linkmeister @ 9:

I've had a colonoscopy screen 3 times since I turned 50, and had various other low-dignity procedures like barium-contrast X-rays (with enema) so I have much more experience with that nasty liquid than I care for. I have never yet been able to drink it all; along about 50-75%, I start to bring it all back up - ewww.

My first screen removed some polyps; the second and third screens showed none, so I don't need to get the next one until 10 years have passed from the third. This is long enough that my proctologist has retired.

individ-ewe-al @46:
That's interesting; it must be the case that all those factors have to be present. I'm Ashkenazi, but I don't have a history of colorectal cancer in my family, and as I said I did have polyps on my first screen.

The anesthetic they've used on me is Verced; it allows you to be conscious through the whole procedure, and not remember any of it. In fact, as you come out of, you will often be awake and lucid for 5 or 10 minutes, and have no subsequent memory of what happened. It also appears to cause a mild depression for a few days after use. That may just be me, or it may be cumulative over multiple doses; I've been getting Verced fairly regularly in the last 10 years for things like spinal steroid injections and a recent removal of an infected cyst. This last time I felt like I'd been through a wringer for the next couple of weeks.

#52 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2011, 07:43 PM:

Dropping by to wonder if others are at Westercon (but also getting their fix of Fluorosphere, if you're reading this)

#53 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2011, 08:56 PM:

I've moved on from worrying about colon cancer and colonoscopies to worrying about Fosamax. It's a preventive med for osteoporosis with a nasty set of potential side effects, including causing brittle bones. A local woman just sued the maker (Merck) because after seven years of using the drug her thigh bone shattered. There are plenty of lawsuits in process.

The docs did a bone density exam a few months back and decided I had a precursor to osteoporosis called osteopenia. My PCP put me on Vitamin D3, but after the exam they sent me to a specialist who ordered calcium and a weekly dose of Fosamax. I've had it for about two months now. I'm beginning to think I want no part of it.

#54 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2011, 09:10 PM:

Dead modem replaced.
Now I try to catch up on all the stuff I missed....

#55 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2011, 10:53 PM:

Linkmeister, so far the atypical fractures associated with Fosamax seem to be in people who have taken it for (at least) several years. So it's not a matter for immediate worry. If your bone density stabilizes, your doc may decide you don't need the drug--that's what happened with my husband (who also has osteopenia).

Weight-bearing exercise is also very important for bone density. If your primary exercise is something like biking or swimming, you may need to add some walking or a weight workout.

#56 ::: Older ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2011, 11:34 PM:

Colonoscopies have greatly improved since I first started having them (back in the 1970's). The first one I had took place in a doctor's office. I was fully awake for the whole thing, and was allowed to use one of the two eyepieces on the equipment (called "the silver broomstick"). It really did feel like a broomstick. It felt as though rather than the device bending, it simply straightened out my colon, like putting on a long, wadded-up sock.

The next one was better, done in a hospital. They made a tape, which I got to keep. You can plainly hear the surgeon saying "There it is" at the same time you are looking at the picture (river of hundreds of pink bumps) and thinking "There what is?" But the surgeons know these things. He nipped it out, and sure enough, there it was, according to the pathology report. (The first one couldn't have been missed, even by a lay person -- it was inches long and resembled a morel.)

For the third and all later such events, I have been either anesthetized, or amnesiized, or simply sedated a whole lot. I never remember them. The doctor comes in when I have awakened, and tells me that I'm fine, and my husband gives me a ride home.

I was told years ago that since I had been free of any cancerous material for ten years, I need no longer have them regularly, but I feel an (almost, but not quite, irrational) attachment to every surviving inch of my colon, and I want to keep up the regular schedule. Fortunately, my insurance company agrees.

#57 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2011, 11:38 PM:

Last year, one of my sisters-in-law had some polyps diagnosed. Just to be sure, they took a chunk out of her intestine. Her answer to the question, "Do you have cancer?" is "Nope, it's all in a bucket!"

On that note, don't forget to check your moles, too. My mom just had one removed via liquid nitrogen (the day after she noticed it was odd, too.) Pre-cancerous, so good catch.

"Getting old isn't for wimps."

#58 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2011, 11:51 PM:

On the general topic of cancer screening: someone asked a while back about lung cancer screening for smokers (?B. Durbin).

The final results of a big US trial are now out.

They gave 26,000 people annual spiral CT scans (and 26,000 controls got regular chest X-rays) for three years. The group with CT scans had 70 more cancers diagnosed, and 50 fewer deaths from lung cancer. On the other hand, about 6000 people in the CT group had positive scans that needed further investigation.

The cynics (like me) were right that the false-positive rate would be appalling, but we were wrong in thinking that the there wouldn't be any gain. Not only is the death rate down, but there hasn't been much unhelpful earlier diagnosis of untreatable disease (in contrast to prostate cancer screening, for example).

On the other hand, per life saved you have 500 people getting 3 CT scans and about 120 of them getting follow-ups for false-positives. The cost is going to be on the order of $1 million per life saved.

#59 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2011, 11:55 PM:

Anyone want to comment on the the rather open-ended rights grant in the fifth paragraph of Dropbox's TOS, the one beginning "We sometimes need your permission"?

#60 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2011, 12:15 AM:

C Wingate @59, Dropbox themselves have commented upon it:

Some of you have written us with very understandable concerns about the legal-sounding parts. In particular, our new TOS talks about the licenses we need to run Dropbox. We want to be 100% clear that you own what you put in your Dropbox. We don't own your stuff. And the license you give us is really limited. It only allows us to provide the service to you. Nothing else. [...] It's about the permissions you give us to run the service, things like creating public links when you ask us to, allowing you to collaborate with colleagues in shared folders, generating web previews or thumbnails of your files, encrypting files, creating backups... the basic things that make Dropbox safe and easy to use.

#61 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2011, 12:20 AM:

bryan @ #45:

Yes. All this talk about people having trouble with their colons...

#62 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2011, 12:27 AM:

Older: Colonoscopies have greatly improved since I first started having them...The next one was better, done in a hospital. They made a tape, which I got to keep.

Adding a new definition to "must see TV."

#63 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2011, 12:30 AM:


From the info page on
"Some people using medicines similar to Fosamax have developed bone loss in the jaw, also called osteonecrosis of the jaw. Symptoms may include jaw pain, swelling, numbness, loose teeth, gum infection, or slow healing after injury or surgery involving the gums."

That's what happened to my wife Hilde in 1999, after taking Fosamax for about a year. The impersonal paragraph above doesn't even begin to touch on what she went thru.

That osteonecrosis took four years to get rid of. Let me repeat that: four years. FOUR YEARS. FOUR FUCKING YEARS. FOUR FUCKING YEARS OF THE WORST FUCKING HELL SHE EVER WENT THRU.

Hilde's had severe rheumatoid arthritis since 1968. Pain's not a stranger. Severe pain's not a stranger.

The arthritis pain, even at its worst, was NOTHING compared to what the osteonecrosis caused. Imagine having an abscessed tooth. Now imagine having ALL your lower teeth being abscessed at the same time.

Now try to imagine having that kind of pain last for weeks. For months. Imagine having to have all your lower teeth extracted because the jawbone is rotting out from under them. Imagine having to have an oral surgeon go in and scrape out the decayed bone, repeatedly.

Now try to imagine, after weeks and months of pain and doctors and surgeries, when you finally think the necrosis has been cut out and treated with antibiotics and the rot killed and -- oh, thank you, God, thank you, thank you, THANK YOU, God -- it's over...

...and the necrosis comes back again.

And again.

And again.


It wasn't until about 2002 that we finally began to get a handle on the osteonecrosis. That was when her oral surgeon attended the dental conference where the first paper raising the possibility of Fosamax causing osteonecrosis was presented. And when he heard that paper's presentation, his first thought was of Hilde. When he got back, he contacted us and had Hilde stop taking the Fosamax. It was only after that, that there was actual progress on not only pushing back the necrosis, but getting rid of it entirely.

(Because Hilde had continued to take the Fosamax all that time. Because it was supposed to strengthen bones. And when your jaw is rotting away, of course you're going to continue a medication that might, that should, make your bones harder and denser and stronger. The idea that Fosamax might be causing the necrosis... well, that was as silly and bizarre a thought as thinking anti-depressants might cause suicidal thoughts.)

The last of the necrosis was finally rooted out by a combination of hyperbaric therapy (30 daily sessions in an enriched-oxygen chamber), and three months of daily doses of intravenous antibiotics, administered by a visiting home nurse.

(And let's not even mention our insurance company trying to claim the necrosis was a "dental problem" and not covered. I'm generally highly satisified with our insurance company, and problems have been rare, but there were times during those four years when I wanted to hop on a plane to the Midwest, walk into their headquarters with a baseball bat, and start breaking jaws.)

The Fosamax-related osteonecrosis is supposed to be pretty rare -- about 1 in 20,000 patients -- but when I think of what Hilde went thru in those years, even 1 in 20,000 is unacceptable. Nearly a decade later, and I still shake with anger about it. I'd like to see that stuff off the market completely, not just come with a warning.

#64 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2011, 12:41 AM:

some cancers don't scare me much. My mother has had a form of skin cancer all the time I've been alive I think it might be squamous cell, it presents as a little pearl of oddness in her skin. the treatments have gotten better, when I was little they took out a great hunk of skin around the nodule, then they used a drop of acid and now they use a little nitrogen-frozen probe to zap it.

On the other hand, the whole lung cancer/smoker thing scare the shit out of me... about a lot of friends. Or any other cancer. A lot of friends who have smoked, even if they quit, have gotten cancer in some form or another.

A dear friend wasn't diagnosed until he was having bone pain and it was pretty much Too Late despite the fact he did everything he could to make it go away. Another friend is undergoing chemo after having part of a lung removed. I hope the best, but he was also a long-term smoker.

I'm really glad I never developed the habit. I've had exactly one drag off a cigarette and that was back when I was smoking something else and we passed it around.We were at a con and the owner of the smoke (and a diet pepsi can filled with a lethal mix of diet pepsi and vodka) gave both to me to go deal with a security issue. I reflexively took a 'hit' off the cig and apparently turned green. I know I gagged. Just as she turned back to me, and she laughed her ass off.

#65 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2011, 01:56 AM:

Mary Aileen @49: These people are just astonishingly good. I'm putting them on my List of People to Watch, right up there with Sorkin and Whedon.

If you haven't already, watch the making of video, too. Yes, it's a shameless plug for the software,* but it's fun, too. "I really wanted my neighbor to wake up in the morning and look his window to see a horde of zombies."

* Which, after all, was the motive for making the short in the first place. But who am I to argue, with results like this?

#66 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2011, 01:57 AM:

Ginger: ::Kermit cheer with flappy hands!::

#67 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2011, 02:10 AM:

In the category of, "gee I feel lucky"...

I am glad I have a massive disability rating from the VA, as it's probably going to be the only way I can afford to get old; barring being one of those people who never has any age related conditions.

Because I don't see that I will be able to afford medical insurance (much less care) the way things are presently going.

#68 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2011, 02:35 AM:

Lila @ #55, that's my sense too, that you have to take it for a while before these effects occur. I'm certainly glad your husband didn't suffer what Bruce's wife did.

Bruce Arthurs @ #63, that's terrifying. As you say, it makes no sense that something which is supposed to improve bone density (or stop its decreasing, anyway) should have such a horrific effect. You've just added to my sense that the cure is quite possibly worse than the disease. I think I'll call the doc (Terry, this is the VA system, by the way) and say "got any other ideas?"

#69 ::: Brooks Moses ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2011, 03:40 AM:

I have just, with completely un-ironic (but half-flippant) intent, asked a computer system to remind me the name of "that kook who is on about the singularity" (direct quote, typed into Google as a search request) since I was blanking on his name and wanted it for a comment, and it correctly told me "Kurzweil".

And then I realized just exactly what I had done. Wow.

#70 ::: individ-ewe-al ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2011, 05:21 AM:

Bruce @51, yes, all those factors. Ashkenazis are just as susceptible as anyone else to what's called "sporadic" cancer. Most colorectal cancer falls into this class, it "just happens", there's no particular family connection or trigger. But that kind of bad luck needs a sequence of bad rolls with low enough probability that you rarely see it younger than 60. That's exactly the reason why general screening programmes are worth it for older people, but not worth it for younger people unless there is a clear family history.

#71 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2011, 05:37 AM:

C. Wingate, Avram, @59 and 60

Those issues, especially backups, are problems which have plagued internet services since the day it started getting commercial. They're good reasons. They're not easy to put into terms that, if the arguments started, a court would "understand" without them scaring a layman. And I've given up on counting over the number of times the company lawyers have ended up looking as if they didn't know what the company did.

But it's a good sign that Dropbox are trying to talk to customers about what they need to do, and not just through lawyers.

#72 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2011, 05:45 AM:

individ-ewe-al @70: the Ashkenazi/colorectal cancer thing applies to me, for sure (as mentioned upstream: dad is now being checked regularly for recurrences, granddad died of it in 1963). However, there's an additional factor: it turns out that there's a correlation between colorectal cancer and working in the textile industries -- it's believed that some fabric dyes still in use may be mildly carcinogenic.

And as granddad was a Shoddy magnate in Batley, and dad continued to run the family business for 40 years (until the Shoddy industry curled up and died -- late 1950s through 1970s), that's one risk factor I'm not likely to succumb to.

On another note, just in case I missed it coming up here the first time, here are Cats in Tanks! (SLYT)

#73 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2011, 05:48 AM:

After I broke my hip last year, I had a bone density scan and a few other tests.

But I was never told anything about the results. I don't worry, but the follow-up on the surgery feels a bit too minimal. I seem to be OK, but nobody took the trouble to tell me what to expect.

On the other hand, I don't have to worry about medical bills, just about politicians.

#74 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2011, 07:56 AM:

Ginger @ 47... The FG is making a fabulous dinner tonight, so I need to feed my animals

I like the sequitur.

#75 ::: Carrie S ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2011, 09:43 AM:

On that note, don't forget to check your moles, too.

I have a lot of moles, one of which was itchy two Sundays ago. And I was scratching it idly, as one does, and a scab came off.

Hie me to the dermatologist, and they say it's likely nothing but they'll take it off if I like. Which I do.

Just got the biopsy results in the mail Friday, and it was just that I irritated it with scratching; it was perfectly normal. I'm glad of that, but I'm also glad I had it off. From now on, that's a mole I don't have to worry about.

#76 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2011, 10:33 AM:

Bruce Arthurs: Jesus Christ. My sincere sympathies to Hilde! Did your insurance cover the hyperbaric treatments? That stuff is expensive as hell, but for some things (nonhealing diabetic ulcers come to mind) it's the only game in town. I think I remember from my tour of the hyperbaric facility here that osteonecrosis is one of the approved uses.

Re moles: oh yeah. I have dozens of them. Most of them are on my back. I've had to have one suspicious one removed but it turned out to be benign. OTOH, I have 3 siblings, and 2 of them were diagnosed with cancer in the same year (breast cancer and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma). Since then I've pretty much counted on cancer catching up with me eventually. (Sibs are fine, over a decade after diagnosis, but the one with lymphoma had to go through a bone marrow transplant.)

#77 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2011, 10:39 AM:

HLN: Woman finds Internet friends' presence soothing. She said, "I've gotten more done in the last two days than I have in the previous two weeks. Okay, so one of those weeks I was at a con." She added that google-double-plus-chatting makes her nearly as productive as an in-person visit, with the added excitement of OMG VIDEOPHONES.

In other news, Fidelio is awesome and water is wet.

#78 ::: Dee ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2011, 11:05 AM:

My family has a history of colon cancer so my mother has needed to get regular colonoscopies since I was a young teen. She ran into one complication from the testing (although, fortunately, she is quite healthy). As the addressee of near-constant cries of "Moooooooommm, where is the x?", her most frequent answer came back to haunt her during out serious medical discussion about her upcoming colonoscopy: "If it was up your ass you'd know it!"

#79 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2011, 11:20 AM:

So, um, TANGENT ('cause this thread's a bit down):

Fireworks, personal. Like? Don't like? Are you allowed them in your area?

I grew up in California, so "safe & sane" is the type we're allowed. The fountains have gotten much prettier over the years but we apparently don't have "roses" any more (probably jumped too much.) The stands are only open for two weeks at most (which may have gotten reduced to one week) and are exclusively operated as fundraisers for various and sundry high schools and charities. So you can pick your Shriners or your Elks or your high school band to buy your fireworks from, and despite the various names and brands the deals are virtually identical.

I *love* personal fireworks, to the point where if they got banned I'd ask Evil Rob to re-up his pyrotechnicist's license so we could still have a show. But then, I live in suburbia and there's no more perfect place than the bottom of a cul-de-sac to set off short-range fireworks. Lots of concrete surrounded by well-watered lawns and lots of people with hoses—if you employ basic common sense, there's little risk.

But I can totally see where the idiocy comes in, so what do you all think?

#80 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2011, 11:26 AM:

B. Durbin (79): Fireworks are pretty, but I hate the barrage of noise when I'm trying to sleep. And I *really* hate finding spent ones under my car the next morning--it makes me retroactively afraid that one will destroy my car.

Private ones are also illegal here (as far as I know), but that doesn't seem to stop anyone. In fact, we've had isolated bangs starting several nights ago. Idiots.

I say NO, very forcefully.

#81 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2011, 11:34 AM:

B. Durbin: I live in Edinburgh. There's no point having personal fireworks -- in about eight weeks the City Council are going to torch off about ten tons of them in half an hour to mark the end of the Festival, and the same again on December 31st. Meanwhile, the Royal Tattoo get through a small artillery barrage every night around 11pm for the whole of August.

I'm not talking household stuff, or exaggerating the scale, either. It's audible several miles away and the annual city fireworks budget is in the multiple millions of pounds.

Fourth of July? Not so much. What's to celebrate?

#82 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2011, 11:37 AM:

Living as I do in what is currently labeled An Area Of Extreme Droughth, I say *Quintuple* NO, with emphasizers and stars and bars.

Fire danger around here is appallingly high; there's been a rush effort to mow many fields. The city has canceled their fireworks show *and* the symphony concert that goes with it. Sale of fireworks has been completely banned.

I can only hope that the cherry bombs that our next door neighbors set off last year (right under my study window) shortly after they moved in were the last of their stash.

#83 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2011, 11:40 AM:

joann, 82: If not, call 911.

#84 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2011, 12:00 PM:

joan @ 82... An Area Of Extreme Drought

So do I and the neighborhood's desert is tinder-dry. Nature's mishaps are enough already, as shown by the Los Conchas fire that shut down the Los Alamos Lab for a whole week. There was a fire in the mountain behind our house a few weeks ago and, had there been any winds, our abode might not be there anymore.

My Fourth of July celebrations will involve hot dogs, and possibly the musical "1776". We will watch fireworks, but from the comfort of home, thus ensuring that, if an idiot starts a conflagration nearby, we'd be there to do what we can to stop it.

#85 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2011, 12:00 PM:

I'm with joann. If I didn't live in an area that regularly suffers from drought and high-fire-risk conditions, I might feel differently.

That wildfire around Waco/Bryan/College Station a couple of weeks ago? That started from somebody being careless with a backyard cookout. Fireworks are an order of magnitude worse. They're pretty, but (1) I can live without them (in multiple senses of the word) and (2) I can get my fix by watching professional shows.

#86 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2011, 12:14 PM:

Addendum: With fireworks, you don't need idiocy to have a disaster -- an ill-timed gust of wind, or other factors beyond your control, will do just as well. And IMO my personal fun shouldn't be able to put someone else's life or home at risk.

#87 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2011, 12:24 PM:

I personally like personal fireworks (safe and sane much more than noisy ones) and have generally lived in areas where they were relatively safe and legal. Seattle, unfortunately -- not legal. And I don't want to terrorize neighborhood cats.

#88 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2011, 12:29 PM:

TexAnne #83:

Without fail. They've known we would since that incident, burn ban or no.

#89 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2011, 12:33 PM:

Texanne @77--

*cracks whip*

Pack books! Pack books!

#90 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2011, 12:37 PM:

This year, the Los Angeles law enforcement agencies (and probably, behind the scenes, the various fire departments) have put up many posters telling people to go to a fireworks show, instead of setting off stuff in their neighborhood. It's a lot safer.

#91 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2011, 12:38 PM:

Tom #87:

Cats are definitely a consideration. The cherry bombs were under my window. This means they were four feet away from the library wall, on the inside of which is the Holy Cat Bed. I was convinced Mona the Forest Cat had gone a bit deaf for several days after.

In a miracle of bad placement[*], Austin's civic animal shelter is just the other side of Town Lake from the fireworks, and on the same side as the cannons used for the "1812 Overture" that leads into the display. Predictably, July 4 is a bad night for the dog and cat denizens.

[*] It's moving, sometime, well away from all that and very close to the flight path.

#92 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2011, 12:45 PM:

Hm, don't know what fireworks will be like in my new neighborhood. Haven't heard any yet. But Oklahoma's pretty drought-y right now too, and large portions of the state are under burn bans, including my city and county, where personal fireworks are prohibited. I enjoy sparklers, but other personal fireworks don't do much for me. It's too hot to grill -- I'm thinking baked beans, sausage, and coleslaw in front of the air conditioner sounds about right.

#93 ::: Theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2011, 12:49 PM:

Fragano @ #20: It wasn't the diverticulosis that nearly did you in, it was the diverticulitis. I've been having colonoscopies ever two or three years since my mid-fifties, and even then the diverticulosis was evident. But an attack of diverticulitis in my late sixties nearly killed me and required removal of about 20 cm of my sigmoid colon.

#94 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2011, 12:56 PM:

I dislike personal fireworks. I live in a state where fireworks used to be completely illegal (which didn't stop people from driving across the line and filling up their car trunks with fireworks. While smoking cigarettes. On the TV news). Now sparklers etc. are legal, but there are still plenty of illegal ones around too.

Our city cancelled its fireworks display for want of money (along with all the rest of the festivities--face painting, Moon Jumps, band concert). The local country club will still have its private display, which is close enough to panic my dogs, and can be viewed from the shopping center parking lot a mile from my house. We typically have high fire danger most days of most summers, except for when it's actually raining.

At least I no longer live in the neighborhood where I used to find spent bottle rockets on my ROOF.

#95 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2011, 01:06 PM:

Also, let me mention here that if you use Librarything, you can use the Tags or Private Comments section to note which box you packed a book, CD, DVD or other media item in.

This may turn out to be useful information later on.

#96 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2011, 01:07 PM:

Bruce Arthurs @ 63: "The idea that Fosamax might be causing the necrosis... well, that was as silly and bizarre a thought as thinking anti-depressants might cause suicidal thoughts."

You mean like Zoloft and other SSRIs?

(Yours is a truly horrifying story. My heart goes out to you and your wife.)

#97 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2011, 01:08 PM:

Comment taken into isolation by the gnomes.

#98 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2011, 01:18 PM:

Mentions of certain drugs get automatic gnome-inspection. I hope y'all understand why.

#99 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2011, 02:00 PM:

Honolulu finally passed a law which partially bans fireworks, after years of trying by the usual advocates (Am. Lung Ass'n., police, fire, etc.). Most consumer-level ones are banned (including sparklers, which puzzles some of us), but for a $25 fee you can buy a permit to buy and set off up to 5,000 firecrackers.

The 4th of July has always been loud here, but it pales in comparison to New Year's Eve. It will be interesting to see what happens this Dec. 31.

#100 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2011, 02:15 PM:

joann @91: Take up a special collection for kitty and doggie tranqs?

Fireworks are one of those forms of eye-candy for which I satisfied my curiosity millenia ago. I find the innevitable neighborhood pops tedious. The guineas mostly cope, as long as I don't jump too much.

The occassional Earth-Shattering Kaboom in the near distance, I could certainly live without.

Interesting side note: I happened to be watching the Boston display on TV a few years ago, and it struck me that it was a lot smokier than I remembered professional shows typtically being. Watching more closely, it seemed that the designer was making a lot of use of back- and diffuse-lighting, and it suddenly struck me how much the display resembled Hubble imagery of nebulas. I wonder if there's any influence going on, there?

#101 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2011, 02:46 PM:

@0: e-Patient Dave on TED.

Let patients help!
Let patients help!
Let patients help!
Let patients help!

See also: Visible body and Google body

#102 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2011, 02:53 PM:

Bruce Arthurs at 63, I want to add my sympathies to Hilde and to you. That's an awful story, and an awful ordeal.

Re personal fireworks: The uncut grass/weeds in the lawns of the abandoned houses in my neighborhood is 4 feet high. A lot of my neighbors are also pretty lazy about keeping their weeds down. I say NO to personal fireworks. However, I know that some of my neighbors will set some off in the streets tonight and tomorrow night.

Don't know if the local city/county fireworks display got canceled 'cause there is no money for it. But if they found some money and scheduled the event, I will sit on my front porch tomorrow night and enjoy a line of sight view. I'll be a bit far away, but that's fine.

The cats will hide. The dog has never been much bothered by noises as long as they aren't too close. I think he just watches me, sees that I am unconcerned, and relaxes.

#103 ::: Older ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2011, 02:54 PM:

I have to admit it. I am an explosions enthusiast. I like the look of fireworks, but even more I like the sound. These days I watch the local display from a site where I can hear the explosions reflected in a few seconds back from nearby hills with tall buildings. BOOOM ... ... ... rumblerumblerumble

In my younger days, I was a launcher of cans. A ladyfinger will launch a soup can, and a really big explosive will launch a garbage can. Be sure to allow plenty of room for it to come down in; light fuse and retire at once! (a favorite phrase at our house, and oh such good advice).

I am proud to say I taught all my kids the safe way to launch cans. (1. gather materials, 2. check for roaming police cars . . .) I no longer indulge, because it is too much trouble to get, or assemble, the necessary explosive device these days, what with the "new" laws.

#104 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2011, 02:58 PM:

B. Durbin @79 spoke of personal fireworks.

We were just remarking that our (downmarket, lots of foreclosures, heavily-pigmented population) neighborhood is showing significant signs of recession this year.

How did we know? We only started getting lots of fireworks noise a couple of weeks ago. All previous years we've lived here, 'fireworks season' runs from early May until mid-October, with 3-5 gusts of lots of popping noises (at minimum) every single night through that range.

This ranges from the legal ones -- Illinois is exceedingly conservative in its laws -- through illegal M80s and other flashbangs bought across the line in Indiana or Wisconsin, up to illegal-anywheres like the two separate amateur pyrotechs in our neighborhood who enjoy setting off mortar chrysanthemums and the like several times a month each.

Nobody bothers calling the cops. And my neighborhood-of-origin was similar enough (minus the mortar-ers) that I do reflexively discriminate between 'huge firecracker' and 'gunshot' -- a useful skill, at least to avoid excessive stress and freaking out in Fireworks Season.

All summer, the city has free fireworks displays choreographed to music out at Navy Pier twice a week, but that's a significant distances from where we live.

#105 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2011, 02:58 PM:

I've got a bad history with personal fireworks, and living in a place that has one of the best Fourth of July fireworks displays in the western US, I find them rather redundant.

First off, I've kept dogs for most of my life, and the random loud booms are a major pain for them. The border collie I had a few years ago was especially bothered by the noise, and required Acepromazine to calm him down, rather than a milder anti-anxiety medication like Fluoxetine. Ace reduced him to drooling and uncoordinated movement, and I hated to use it, but it was that or have him hiding and shivering for the better part of the 4 days the celebration usually lasts.

And the other part of my dislike comes from my neighbor's children, when I lived in California many years ago, setting fire to my house with sparklers they threw up on the roof. I was able to put it out myself before the fire department arrived, but it wasn't exactly a happy experience.

#106 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2011, 03:00 PM:

Oh, rats, I mentioned a drug and the gnomes got suspicious and grabbed my last post. Honestly, I was talking about dog medication.

#107 ::: Older ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2011, 03:01 PM:

My son's fireworks story: He used to work nights as a baker for a large hotel. He'd get home around 1 am and watch TV for a while to relax so he could sleep. One night he noticed a strange flickering light in the room, and looked out of his living room window to see that his front yard was on fire. His first thought was, "I must be tired, I'm hallucinating". But it really was on fire; the kids across the street had been misusing bottle rockets. Moral: no matter how careful you are, someone else can still burn down your front yard, house, car, etc.

#108 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2011, 03:07 PM:

Some friends of mine declared their house and yard a fireworks-free zone after the New Year's Eve party when a rocket came in through the open front door, lodged under the couch, and set fire to the carpet. Fortunately, someone standing nearby had the presence of mind to douse it with their glass of wine, so no great harm was done. Except to everyone's nerves.

I suppose they were lucky s/he wasn't drinking something with a higher alcohol content. Would whiskey, say, have doused the flames or spread them?

#109 ::: Steve with a book ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2011, 03:27 PM:

There's some concern in the UK about the increasing popularity of Chinese lanterns, which can very easily set fire to things. Safety officers at oil refineries and chemical works get understandably nervous about them. Even if they don't start a fire, they drop to the ground as litter which cattle can be tempted to eat, with Bad Veterinary Consequences.

#110 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2011, 04:06 PM:

At room temp, 80-proof spirits will damp rather than spread flames. As they warm, they will ignite -- thus, to "flame" a plum pudding, one warms the brandy on the stove first. Whiskey with ice: definite damping effect. Whiskey neat -- less of one. Brandy warmed in the snifter -- still less.

Half my parents' house got burned down one summer when Someone was playing with a sparkler inside the house sparks fell in bedding, and my brothers didn't notice until there was a serious fire. I'm told who did it, but I have a good alibi -- I was in Russia at the time.

#111 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2011, 04:34 PM:

re dropbox: They seem to have limited the rights they are claiming, to just what they need to provide the service.

#112 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2011, 04:55 PM:

As is so often the case, the Dutch are on another planet about fireworks. Their sale is limited to the few weeks before New Year's and the few weeks before Queen's Day (30 April). But during that time, you can get some serious stuff: not just fountains and sparklers, but quite powerful rockets.

My mother was visiting when we got our New Year's fireworks, and though we were quite moderate and modest in our purchases, her eyes bugged out. We had a very funny conversation about fireworks and firearms as a result.

People here set them off for hours on the nights in question, well into the wee hours of the morning. For days afterwards, everyone is cleaning up the red paper and picking sticks up from gardens. We still have one in our gutter; I must get a ladder up and get it down.

It helps that this is a very wet country, even in the current drought, and that there is such an abundance of hard landscaping in most gardens.

#113 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2011, 04:55 PM:

I've always found personal fireworks knd of unexciting, compared to the big ones. Lot of noise and danger for not much payoff, is how I feel.

I quite like the big ones though. Especially the ones that crackle.

#114 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2011, 04:59 PM:

Steve, #108: Thanks for providing the link. I was initially confused, since my mental associations to "Chinese lantern" are either this or this! I'd heard of the sky lanterns, but that's not what "Chinese lantern" maps to for me.

#115 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2011, 05:14 PM:

My take on fireworks... not what it used to be.

If I know they are going on, or I can see them. No real problem. If I don't, or I can't, I get a little antsy.

I wasn't home this time last year (as I recall, I was in Memphis on 03 July). It's a bit... loud. Lots of firecrackers, and a lot of bigger stuff. Get them far enough away and the sound like a firefight just out of range.

When the bigger stuff is going off too,, that sounds like artillery support. It's not too bad; I know it's not any of that, but it does keep me a little nervous.

#116 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2011, 05:15 PM:

Our fireworks laws are supposed to be 'strictly enforced', KC, MO prohibits everything except sparklers and snakes. BUT there is a booming fireworks business in KC, KS and in the non-incorporated portions of Jackson, Cass, Platte and etc. surrounding the city.

We've been hearing fireworks for days. The only good fortune here is that things are so damp that I'm surprised that I'm not seeing more mushrooms.

We go to a pot luck at a friend's house. they live near a large municipal fireworks display that we can see from their back deck. that will do,.

#117 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2011, 05:37 PM:

As a kid, we got to hold sparklers. In the sandbox. (20 feet square, cinderblock wall on three sides and concrete patio on the fourth.) With a hose handy. It is possible to start a fire with one, under the right conditions. (But much more likely with bottle rockets. I had a little talk with a younger neighbor once, after he and his friends were setting off bottle rockets under a pine tree.)

I remember seeing a report once, in the San Jose paper, of a firetruck called to a roof fire caused by fireworks, near the intersection of Partridge and Peartree.

#118 ::: Steve with a book ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2011, 06:00 PM:

Lee@114: I always used to associate 'Chinese lantern' with this sort of thing, but the sky-lantern meaning seems to have become standard over here in the last few years: if I ask Google for Chinese lanterns it assumes I want sites where I can buy the flying versions.

Mention of Chinese lanterns—the paper ones—has dug up a memory of something that I read about in the 'Old Yorkshire Diary' section of the Yorkshire Evening Post many years ago... a particularly upsetting disaster in Wortley, near Leeds, on New Year's Day, 1891. New York Times report. The memorial in the churchyard.

#119 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2011, 06:05 PM:

I used to love fireworks, but they don't seem to be doing much for me this year. I saw a few last night, and it wasn't a big deal.

There will be a big show tomorrow night, though unfortunately there will be giant video screens that will be a bit of a distraction. I might go.

It's possible part of my malaise is that a few years ago, I had something close to fireworks overload.

I was on the roof of a 5 story building in northeast Philadelphia. I could see just about every legal and illegal firework display in Philadelphia and nearby bit of New Jersey-- we're talking about 360 degrees of fireworks. It lacked intimacy, but there were a *lot* of them.

#120 ::: Laina ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2011, 06:26 PM:

While there are personal fireworks being set off within hearing, I haven't heard/seen any close to my house. We've had enough rain that it wouldn't be easy to start a fire. While I enjoy fireworks displays, I have zero interest in actually setting off my own personal fireworks. (My mother's cautions are too deeply ingrained at this point)

Relatives who have lived on the farm their entire lives have been moving to the house in town for about a year and now they're living in town full time. He is a Korean War Vet and the fireworks going off are causing him some stress.

I think moving to town was a good idea for them. I'm afraid living in a neighborhood where you can sit on your deck and chat with the neighbors sitting on their deck might take some serious adjustment for them.

#121 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2011, 06:26 PM:

One year while I was on Kwajalein the offshore barge from which the fireworks were fired suffered a slight malfunction. The next batch in line was inadvertently set off while still on the barge rather than up in the air above the ocean.

Fortunately no one was seriously hurt.

#122 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2011, 07:39 PM:

Are there separate endorphin receptors for different parts of the body?

I still have some endorphin reactions, so either it's different parts of the body, or that isn't why I no longer enjoy capsaicins.

#123 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2011, 08:14 PM:

Vicki @122 -- the short answer is, apparently yes. There are longer answers which would qualify that which I am not competent to give.

#124 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2011, 08:26 PM:

I did some knitting a couple of months ago: a cross-cap. It's about four inches across. The horns (the bottom part in this picture) are figure-8 rows, which are not as hard as they sound, but not easy.

#125 ::: Singing Wren ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2011, 09:11 PM:

I don't much care for setting off most fireworks myself, but I do like to watch. Whatever the fireworks laws are in my neighborhood, they don't seem to be particularly enforced around July 4, Labor Day*, and New Year's.

Last year the recession seemed to be hitting harder than this year, since we didn't hear anything going off until the 4th last year, while this year I've been hearing fireworks since Friday the 1st.

Tomorrow we'll probably end up at a neighbor's house and watch them shoot off their collection. The nice thing about that is if I want to watch and drink, there is no problem with getting home - I just walk across the street, no driving required. (Obviously, drinking is contraindicated while shooting off fireworks. Or ought to be obvious, anyway.)

Several years ago my husband came up with an excellent tactic for parties where the kids** are allowed to play with sparklers. When it gets too dark to adequately supervise kids with sparklers, as each sparkler goes out, the child is given a chemical light stick instead. Glows nicely, won't burn anyone, and allows the adults to track where all the kids are.

*One of the radio stations in Cincinnati sponsors a major fireworks show Labor Day weekend. Therefore, it is a local "fireworks weekend", and people shoot off their own as well.

** Other people's. We don't have any of our own.

#126 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2011, 09:12 PM:

I'll be going over to my sister's for their family gathering. US/VA-Legal fireworks in the yard.

Right now, Mother Nature is providing her own fireworks outside the window. If this note ends with hangup noise, you'll know why. ;-)

#127 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2011, 11:20 PM:

Bah. The local pyromaniacal doofuses are out in force tonight.

#128 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2011, 11:42 PM:

Singing Wren@125: I went to see one of those Cincinnati shows a few years back (my birth mother lives there). We watched it from the top of a boat anchored in the river. There were things there that I'd never seen or even thought of before -- I was thoroughly impressed. I was told that there's a major fireworks factory in Cincinnati, and they use that show as a place to showcase their wares.

#129 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2011, 12:15 AM:

P J Evans, #117: There was a really ugly case in Houston some years back. A big, fancy development with an active HOA that required, among other things, cedar-shake shingles on all houses. A dry 4th, a bunch of kids with fireworks, one landed on a roof and that house -- plus the ones on each side -- were cinders. The kicker? The owner of the house that originally caught fire had petitioned the HOA for permission to install fireproof shingles... and was refused. The resulting lawsuit broke the HOA, and resulted in some changes to the local fire codes to prevent such a thing from happening again.

Steve, #117: Interesting -- my understanding was that if you use scissors, it's no longer origami but kirigami. OTOH, if that's a fun-crafts site for English speakers, I can see why they might run the two categories together.

Also, ISTR reading somewhere about kite-flyers taking out (hydrogen) dirigibles by sending scraps of burning paper up the string to ignite the gas-bag. But I don't remember if that was a historical incident or something in a story.

Linkmeister, #121: Yeah, even the pros get hurt sometimes. One of our friends here in Houston has been a professional pyro tech for over 25 years -- and a couple of years ago something glitched and he caught some facial injuries and was in the hospital for a week or so. Fortunately nothing permanent or disabling, and the scars have pretty well faded now, but still.

#130 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2011, 12:55 AM:

Personal fireworks petrify me. I remember watching the neighbor kids deliberately firing bottle rockets at animals, people they didn't like... If I'd been older and even slightly more coherent and self-confident I'd've called the cops myself. People are stupid about fireworks. I've seen people set fireworks off in close crowds where no one could get out of the way if it went wrong, I've seen folks set them off in-hand, in ways that are just begging for disaster, ignoring even basic safety precautions... and that's in California, where what you can get your hands on is theoretically limited.

My husband, on the other hand, feels strongly that you should expose kids to legal personal fireworks early in a heavily supervised setting, so they can learn that they are dangerous, how to treat them with respect and appropriate caution, and to be careful but not paranoid. I can appreciate his approach intellectually, but the whole thing still leaves me cold.

#131 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2011, 01:03 AM:

One cautionary tale about fireworks keeps coming back to me. Some years ago, I think it was somewhere in Ohio, a couple of young boys (10 yo IIRC) got bored while walking around the outside of a big tent where fireworks were being sold, so they lit a firecracker and tossed it into the tent. I think 3 people were killed.

Terry Karney @ 115:

Yeah, I had the same reaction for the first few years after I got out of the service, but it seems to have gone away over the years since. On the other hand I still have the reflex to look for where the helicopters are going when they fly overhead.

#132 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2011, 01:37 AM:

Lee @ #129, the Kwajalein accident caused a great deal of gallows humor to be bandied around. The people doing the shooting weren't professional pyro techs, but they were working at what was then officially called the Kwajalein Test Range Facility, which housed a great number of . . . rocket scientists.

(I think the fireworks handlers actually worked for Global Associates, the logistics contractor, rather than for McDonnell Douglas, GE, or Kentron, all of which had technical service contracts at the time).

#133 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2011, 02:15 AM:

Open Threadiness: Is anyone else going to be at the North American Discworld Convention this coming weekend? If so, drop by and say hi -- my partner and I will be in the dealer room there.

#134 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2011, 03:11 AM:

Lee @133 -- we made the first one, but just can't manage this year. It sounds utterly tremendous, though!

#135 ::: Craig R. ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2011, 07:49 AM:

Stefan Jones (#7)

Being a subset of the group Men Of A Certain Age I had my first colonoscopy* done a few years ago.

Went trough the whole prep thing, and they found a polyp in part of the tract. The GI guy/urologist who did the procedure dutifully marked off the estimated position on the chart.

Much consternation and non-hilarity ensue. Got referred to the GI surgeon who would do the removal/resection. *His* usual practice is to do this through endoscopic surgery (I asked about healing times, etc, and he reassured me. I asked if it was less painful than some of the other "procedures" (gotta love that word..) I've had done. "Nope. You'll feel like you've been hit by a truck." I actually felt better that he was being honest.

So, they scheduled the surgery, I set up the pre-notification with the insurance company about the short-term disability, arranged for the use of my remaining medical paid-time-off, yada, yada, yada.

Part of this surgeon's standard protocol is to do another colonoscopy, so he, as the Pro From Dover, can verify the exact location (considering that this kind of thing is pretty much what he does all the time he kind of regards the urologists who do this as not *quite* rank newbies).

Go through the pre-prep again. Get into his office, get the shot to relax me, get asked if I want to watch the screen (I said "OK," knowing full well that the "relaxation" would have me pretty much zoned out).

During the procedure he finds the polyp, checks the location (the location was about 2 centimeters off from the GI guy's estimate), and verifies that there are not any others, then I hear him say "Oh I can take care of this right now." It appears that the equipment has little pincers and a cauterization loop built in, so he just chopped it off then and there**. The biopsy showed it as being "benign."

Insurance left me with a 20% co-pay. I don't want to think about *that* anymore, Thank You Very Much.

I'm scheduled for a new colonoscopy in a few weeks. Paradoxically, because I'm currently in the ranks of the unemployed (just went through my one-year anniversary last week for that) and live in Massachusetts, the state-provided health insurance will handle all this with no co-pays. Otherwise I'd have to say "no thanks, I'll just have to shoot the dice with my health."

F*** these people who want the population to just be quiet and die off.

As a side note, the same health plan structure also allows for no-co-pay dental care for both my kids.

Of course, according to bunches of the conservative pseudo-libertarian neo-Darwinists, I'm just a parasite.

* when first encountered, the Firefox spell-checker suggested "colonizations" as the correct spelling, which is strangely appropriate, in context.

** If he had been the stereotyped-Greedy_Moneygrubber physicians are often painted as, he simply could have *not* done his little slash-and-burn and gone ahead with the endoscopic surgery, and gotten a hugely bigger paycheck out of it.

#137 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2011, 09:11 AM:

We have a name for motorcyclists who refuse to wear helmets. They're called "organ donors."

#138 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2011, 11:09 AM:

Xopher, regarding radioactivity:

Today's NYTimes "Metropolitan Diary" column, which offers tidbits from around the city, includes this:

Dear Diary:

I had a stress test on May 12, during which I was injected with radioactive thallium. Afterward, the technician gave me a card that reads, in part, “Attn: Security Personnel & Law Enforcement/Notification of Recent Nuclear Procedure.”

The technician said that as far as he knew, no one had ever been stopped.

Coming out of the 34th Street subway station four days later, I was followed and stopped by a cop, who told me that his machine indicated that I was radioactive. He was polite, but firm and wary.

I pulled out the card and showed it to him, he wrote up the incident on a form, and I continued on my way into Macy’s.

Oliver Dixon

#139 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2011, 11:35 AM:

Hmph. My neighbors apparently decided that last night was the night to do the neighborhood fireworks thing (where everybody brings the fireworks they've bought and sets them off in front of the houses with the giant conjoined driveway.) *I* was at work and caught a short snippet of the end.

To give you an idea of why that bugs me, let me explain that I am an extrovert who is a stay-at-home mom with two small kids and no car, and I basically get no social interaction during the week*. At all. And unfortunately, neither do my kids. So I've been looking forward to this as an opportunity to socialize with the neighbors. And see fireworks. The single public fireworks display is about four miles away, completely screened by trees... and it's a really bad idea to take a car to it. There's basically one road out and you can walk it faster... at least, if you can take the heat. Supposed to be over 100º today.


*Not really the weekend, either. My Sunday night job is about the limit of the socialization I get.

#140 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2011, 11:37 AM:

HLN: After many, many years of being obese, local man registers BMI of 29.9 and is merely overweight.

#141 ::: Theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2011, 11:50 AM:

I see that 201Tl has a 73-hour half-life, so you might well be showing up on detectors for a week or more.

#142 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2011, 11:56 AM:

The last apartment I lived in had a weed-ridden empty lot across the street. The rest of the neighborhood was no great shakes either. Being in L.A., it was usually tinder-dry by the 4th. Nevertheless, the a*holes next door would light off illegal fireworks all weekend anywhere near the 4th. We'd go down the next day to ashes and burnt paper on the cars in the (covered but not enclosed) carport. Someone called the cops one year, but that just caused them to wait until a couple of hours after the visit to start blowing shit up.

The new neighborhood is a deal nicer, but there was still a bit of firework activity last year. Never saw any ashes or anything, and most people here have eco-disaster landscaping with lush water-hogging lawns. My dog still dislikes the noise, but she has a thundershirt and I am less anxious not worrying about my apartment catching fire, so we should generally be OK.

In unrelated news, it appears that I have a mud dauber wasp nest on my front door. I'm trying to decide whether I want to have management remove it, or if I should just do it myself at night when it's safer to do so, using some sort of wasp killer spray. The instructions that one should use an alternate entrance if spraying near a door are unhelpful, as I don't have a bosun's chair to lower myself or Ardala from our third floor balcony.

#143 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2011, 12:07 PM:

Hyperlocal News: Local man still wondering whether the poor quality of 1974's Magazine of F&SF is to be blamed on the proofreader or on the typesetter, or whether the relative ease of modern composition has just spoiled him.

#144 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2011, 01:10 PM:

Fragano @ 140... Glad to hear.

#145 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2011, 01:18 PM:

Huh. My info was not here: it's been that kind of a weekend.

HLN: local woman finds other ways in which google is so very evil. After battling the tall grass all day, and losing track of time, Julia E. S-R, old enough to know better, stumbled into the house with the sure knowledge that she needed food, put toast in the toaster, and went to check her BG, which was 65. Dismayed to find that the only sugar source in her snack drawer was ginger Altoids (do not try this on an empty stomach!), her attempt to contact her husband by phone was stymied when both his cell and blackberry rang in the living room. Guided by habit, she fumbled to her gmail account, only to find that autofill did not work and her contact list was missing when she could not remember her daughter's whole texting addie.

(Seriously, folks, this was not fun, and what I can perceive of the new and improved gmail indicates it is not going to be much use to me, any more than the eighty-gazillion menu features I don't use on my phone serve any purpose at all except to make it harder to use when I'm in a BG crash).

(All this healthy hard work out in the fresh air is either going to make me much healthier, or possibly kill me dead. Time to start packing food in my pockets again).

#146 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2011, 01:56 PM:


On getting to the market Saturday morning, I found a block of street blocked with yellow police tape (and a black-and-white in the middle of that rather long block). Later I found out that a motorcycle had run into a car that was crossing the street from one shopping center to the other. (Not a good idea when it's a busy street. It's quite possible to go out to one of the two cross streets and enter the other shopping center.)
The motorcyclist died; he was wearing a helmet, but this was a case where it didn't help.

#147 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2011, 02:26 PM:

Re: Fireworks, personal

As someone upthread mentioned, there's really no point. Between St. Jean Baptiste Day, Canada Day, and the International Fireworks competition, personal fireworks just seem like a letdown (so small! no music!).

#148 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2011, 02:35 PM:

Well, Sunny is making her Final Approach. I'm sitting here with her curled up on my chest.

Wup, she's gone. Via con dios, Sweet Lady.

#149 ::: Singing Wren ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2011, 02:47 PM:

David Goldfarb @128:

That would be Rozzi Famous Fireworks, and they are indeed awesome. Labor Day is their big local show of the year, but they also do a number of other shows, including July 4th at various locations, and after Friday night home baseball games.

#150 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2011, 03:15 PM:

I thought about posting this on the Shame On You, Google thread, but decided it wasn't sufficiently on point.

#151 ::: Stuart in Austin ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2011, 03:28 PM:


What percentage of traffic fatalities in your area are motorcyclists? Here in Austin less than 1% of the vehicles on the road are motorcycles yet they produce 30% of the traffic fatalities. I wonder what part of it is baby boomers with reflexes not up to the task or is it the hot sporty bikes and riders with insufficient judgment and skill to cope with them. What do you see?

#152 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2011, 03:33 PM:

Jacque (148): I'm sorry for your loss.

#153 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2011, 03:38 PM:

Jacque @148: Sincere sympathies. At least you were there with her at the end.

#154 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2011, 03:48 PM:

Jacque @148, sympathies

#155 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2011, 03:51 PM:

Fragano Ledgister @140, congratulations.

#156 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2011, 03:52 PM:

Jacque, 148: I am so very sorry.

Fidelio has continued her travels, but not before helping me empty 3 bookcases completely and 3 more mostly--I more than doubled my number of filled boxes. She also left me an emergency chocolate supply. I highly recommend her as a source of moral support and chivvying.

#157 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2011, 03:53 PM:

The particle about Dropbox, the Shame On You, Google thread, and the link I posted in #150 all combine to produce a particular thought: The more clearly the terms of service of Web 2.0-type providers are stated, the less people like them.

#158 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2011, 03:58 PM:

Jacque: I'm sorry for your loss.

#159 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2011, 04:02 PM:

Jacque: My sympathies.

#160 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2011, 04:06 PM:

Thanks, all. She went peacefully, and I'm really glad she doesn't have to be hungry all the time, now.

#161 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2011, 04:12 PM:

My sympathies, Jacque.

#162 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2011, 04:15 PM:

Jacque, #148: My condolences.

#163 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2011, 04:41 PM:

Jacque, #148:

My condolences.

#164 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2011, 04:43 PM:

Test post to see whether my name etc. stays in their boxes.

#165 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2011, 04:48 PM:

Jacque, my condolences. Like you, I am glad she's not hungry all the time anymore. Peace to you.

#166 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2011, 05:18 PM:


Condolences for the loss of your companion. May you remember her always with love.

#167 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2011, 05:37 PM:

Jacque @148:

My condolences. At least she died in a good place.

#168 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2011, 07:19 PM:

I'm sorry to hear that, Jacque, but I'm glad she had you there with her.

#169 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2011, 08:37 PM:

Sorry to hear that, Jacque. As others said, at least you could be there with her. This week my BF had to take one of our cats on the final visit to the vet while I was out of state and couldn't get back.

Some people have mentioned having the vet make a house call so that the pet can die at home, and we've done that in the past. But Hunter was the rare cat who actually liked visiting the vet, so he wasn't afraid. He was held up to enjoy one last look out the lobby window, but he was too weak to greet the other animals and people in the waiting room. It was his time.

#170 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2011, 08:47 PM:

People might not dread colonoscopies so much if the drugs took away memory of the prep work as well as of the procedure itself.

Actually mine wasn't as bad as some people have experienced. I didn't camp out in the bathroom. I was able to sit on the sofa and watch DVDs. Periodically I would jump up and my boyfriend would put it on pause. But the interruptions were not so long or numerous that I lost track of the plot of the movie.

The drugs certainly work a number on short-term memory though. Apparently I told my BF several times that the doctor's name was pronounced differently than I had thought. And all I could remember of the post-procedure discussion was that the number three was prominent in it. When I reviewed the paperwork, it said 3 polyps and come back in 3 years.

#171 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2011, 08:52 PM:

We'll see if the fireworks situation in Omaha is different than usual this year. The Missouri River flooding has closed I-29, making it harder to smuggle back the kinds that can be sold legally only in Missouri.

Actually what I notice in Omaha is not the kinds of fireworks people have but how they are sold. A week or two before the 4th, tents sprout in every supermarket and shopping mall parking lot. Giant inflatable figures call attention to them, mostly monsters of one sort or another. This year I have to see a purple gorilla outside my bedroom window. Photo album on my Facebook is world-readable for the time being.

#172 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2011, 08:58 PM:

HLN: After Jacque's announcement above, I hate even more having to report that our cat Gremlin -- who I wrote abut on Open Thread 159 -- was put to sleep this afternoon. We were with him. He went quietly, while I was holding him in my arms.

After the two late-night dashes to the emergency clinic I wrote about on OT 159, he came back home last Wednesday morning, but a third choking episode happened early Friday morning. He'd been at the emergency clinic since then, in an oxygen cage.

The most frustrating thing was that as long as he was in that oxygen cage, he seemed okay. Alert, active, with no breathing difficulties. Out of it, he'd slowly get more and more labored in his breathing, with his tongue and gums slowly turning cyanotic, and eventually getting to the CHOKING-TO-DEATH-HERE! stage.

Never got a confirmed diagnosis, despite the tests and endoscopys and ultracounds and x-rays. We were waiting this weekend to see the results of a test for Valley Fever, to see if that's what was wrecking that lobe of his lung. But it came back negative. Which left probable diagnoses of 1) something foreign had gotten lodged in the lung, causing the infection, fluids, etc, or 2) cancer.

I don't think it was a foreign object. Having myself managed to aspirate a vitamin pill a few years ago, I'd expect something like that to produce immediate symptoms -- choking, coughing, agitation, all the sort of things I did after sucking in that vitamin -- not just sit in the lung and slowly build up problems until they jumped to a critical level.

So I think it was most likely cancer in Gremlin's lung. That's something that could grow undetected for weeks or months before causing visible problems.

Either of those two diagnoses would have required major surgery. And if it was cancer, there'd be no guarantee it hadn't metatasized to elsewhere.

Let's not mention money. No, come to think of it, let's especially mention money. Because Gremlin's care had already reached about $8,000, and surgery and aftercare would have pushed it well into five-figure range. Did that play a part in the decision to put Gremlin to sleep? I wish I could say no, but yes, yes it did.

(Now think about the fact that millions of people, those without medical insurance, have to think about those same kind of considerations with their own health or the health of their family.)

So I like to think it was cancer, and I want to think it was cancer, because that's the most likely scenario where surgery wouldn't have helped, because that's the most guilt-free scenario. Because that's how we can best tell ourselves we were saving him future pain and misery.

This afternoon was especially hard on Hilde, because she's always had a preference for Siamese (she bred Siamese for a few years, back before we got together) and has always been more attached to our Siamese than the other cats. Gremlin was attached to Hilde, as well. When Hilde was in her recliner, reading or watching TV, it was almost always Gremlin happing in her lap. And Gremlin was the cat that would snuggle up to her legs in bed at night.

God dammit. I'm going to miss him. God fucking dammit.

#173 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2011, 09:03 PM:

Bruce Arthurs (172): I'm so sorry.

#174 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2011, 09:07 PM:

Bruce Arthurs #172: My deepest condolences. You put more effort and resources into trying to help him than most people could have; it does suck that sometimes nothing will stop the Reaper.

#175 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2011, 09:51 PM:

Jacque and Bruce, my sympathies to both of you and to your families.

#176 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2011, 10:32 PM:

Bruce, my condolences to you and Hilde.

#177 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2011, 12:03 AM:

Jacque, Bruce and Hilde, I'm so sorry.

#178 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2011, 12:08 AM:

Bruce, I'm so sorry for your loss. Farewell Gremlin.

#179 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2011, 12:14 AM:

Allan Beatty @169: Some people have mentioned having the vet make a house call so that the pet can die at home, and we've done that in the past. But Hunter was the rare cat who actually liked visiting the vet, so he wasn't afraid. He was held up to enjoy one last look out the lobby window, but he was too weak to greet the other animals and people in the waiting room. It was his time.

Actually, my current vet will do this, and on very short notice, too. It's a real blessing. (Junior was able to go while still in the midst of his "Girls! Giiirrrls!! Wonderful girls!" and I wonder if he even noticed his own passing.

I'm grateful that Sunny was able to go on her own initiative, though. I think she would have been okay with being taken to the vet one last time, but instead she was home, in bed, with Silkie nearby keeping an eye on her, until I came and collected her for her Last Snuggle.

Bruce Arthurs @172: After Jacque's announcement above, I hate even more having to report that our cat Gremlin was put to sleep this afternoon. We were with him. He went quietly, while I was holding him in my arms.

Oh, Bruce! {{{{{{{Bruce & Hilde}}}}}}

Let's imagine them trotting over the Rainbow Bridge together. "They're very sweet, those humans, and I'm sorry to leave them behind. But you know, the most bizarre thing my human does...? Does yours do this too?"

The most frustrating thing ... as long as he was in that oxygen cage, he seemed okay.

Oof. That's kinda what it was like with Sunny. She was bright and happy and cheerful—and starving to death. I've actually concluded that it was some form of guinea pig ALS that progressively robbed her of muscle mass and strength, and made it progressively more difficult until it was impossible for her to use her mouth muscles effectively. But while she seemed happy and cheerful, I just wasn't right in my soul about putting her down.

I wonder if Gremlin was suffering something similarly exotic and obscure. Cancer might be a good bet; it can cause some really strange non-local effects.

let's especially mention money. .... Did that play a part in the decision to put Gremlin to sleep? I wish I could say no, but yes, yes it did.

I know it certainly did play a part in my decisions. (I've got another one coming up in the next year or so. Tiny has breast cancer—diagnosed about the same time Sunny started to decline. In a way, it actually made it easier to decide. Guinea pigs are smaller, shorter lived, and generally more fragile than cats, so that clarifies things, too.

My calaculation of the expense / likelihood of recovery / misery caused by the treatments versus loving, watchful waiting and palliative care came very much out on the side of the latter. I don't recall you saying how old Gremlin was, but it's really tough to make these kinds of decisions when you don't have a clear sense of the prognosis or chances for success.

And on the other hand, you can't not do anything. I finally broke down and took her to have her teeth checked, per dcb's recommendation. I was pretty sure that was wasted money.

I had the advantage, though, of having been through variations of this experience literally dozens of times before. I remember back to my first few times, and it was agonizing.

(Now think about the fact that millions of people, those without medical insurance, have to think about those same kind of considerations with their own health or the health of their family.)

And what's worse is that even with health insurance, it can break a family's finances. A coworker had a spouse go through treatment for advance cancer that was caught too late (as a result of test results accidentally getting switched with another patient, for chrissake!). As far as I know, they didn't go bankrupt. But they did have to sell their house. She was a mess for most of a year. And this was with our employers actually comparatively good health insurance. Terrifying. In her case, they got luck, and three years out, her husband is still okay. But, wow.

Because that's how we can best tell ourselves we were saving him future pain and misery.

You did the best you could, in all loving heart. It might feel like it wasn't enough, because it never feels like it was enough, but you did good. You loved him, and you made a valiant effort, and you made hard decisions, and he's okay now. You did good.

This afternoon was especially hard on Hilde, ... it was almost always Gremlin happing in her lap. And Gremlin was the cat that would snuggle up to her legs in bed at night.

It's hard. I remember after we put my dog down when I was a teenager. It wasn't like there was one big hole in my life. It was a lot of little ones; I'd turn around, expecting to see him shadowing me in the kitchen— and see only carpet. Time to feed him—except that it's not. Grocery list? Cross off dog food.

God dammit. I'm going to miss him. God fucking dammit.

It probably doesn't help any that that hurt is a measure of your love for him—and his for you.

{{{{{{{Bruce & Hilde}}}}}}

#180 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2011, 12:25 AM:

Bruce, #172: My condolences to you and Hilde. It's never easy, but you did the best you could, and that's all you can do.

#181 ::: EClaire ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2011, 12:29 AM:

I'm crying a bit for all of you, Allen, Jacque, Bruce and Hilde. I know I'll be torn up when it's time for Kitten to go for the last visit, and I'm hoping that the arthritis she has in her hips holds off so she doesn't end up too uncomfortable. (More research on pain meds for cats needed! Also, a glucosamine supplement she likes the taste of!) Know that loving them enough to be aware of their suffering and wanting to prevent it makes you a great pet owner.

#182 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2011, 01:00 AM:

Sincere condolences, Bruce, Hildy, Jacque, Allen. Not much more to say. Sad for you.

#183 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2011, 01:09 AM:

Bruce Arthurs @172:

I'm sorry for your loss.

#184 ::: Meg Thornton ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2011, 01:25 AM:

Dunno whether any of you are still active in LOTR fandom (or whether any of you might have been active in LOTR fandom) but the latest case of "Imma Gonna Make Money From Them Thar Intarwebs" is currently taking place.

Quick summary: Keith Mander is a British-born and based twenty-something who's decided to make a living out of site flipping. He seeks out sites which aren't advertised for sale, and purchases them from their current owners/maintainers. The latest site he's tried this with is, thinking he's in on the ground floor when the Hobbit movies come out and he can make huge amounts of money from the boom.

Unfortunately for him, fandom don't work like that.

Elf has a linkspam which details what happened next. So far it's made Fandom Wank, and Mr Mander is now being cheerfully referred to as "SaruMander" all over the place. Highlights include his absolute ignorance of the workings of UK intellectual property law, and his belief that the site being owned by his company incorporated in the UK somehow renders him safe from IP infringement lawsuits.

So far the sleeping dragon of the Tolkien Estate has yet to find him crunchy and good with ketchup.

#185 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2011, 01:41 AM:

Jacque and Bruce, I'm so sorry for your loss. Our last big one was completely unexpected, Badb Catha was only 10. Jim found her in the dining room last September, laying on her side and starting to have rigor. He'd walked past her once, then his brain went, 'that's not right' and checked her out. The other cat most recent to pass was Melisande, our queen, and she did it with announcing her passing to Margene, the only human who was where she could get to, then curling up on a rug and going from this world to the next.

For both it was a Good thing, they hated the car, they hated the trip (well, Badb was scared of everything, so upsetting her routine really scared the hell out of her after we lost her Fergal-cat, the daddy that loved her to bits).

Our Angelina is on the bubble. We figure she could be 20 or 21 or maybe even 22, the person who gave her to us lied at the time and told us she was 10 (in 2003). She was a co-worker and left for another job for a time, then came back. when she did, she said her mother (Angelina's former owner) had passed away, and they found paperwork that stated the cat could have been 13 or 14 at the time.

We still love her to pieces, she turned out to be a great cat despite having a really mean previous owner. And I dread the day when she needs that long last trip.

#186 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2011, 08:41 AM:

Bruce, I'm so very sorry.

#187 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2011, 08:55 AM:

Bruce Arthurs @ 172: Symathies and condolences. It's so difficult to make that decision - and sometimes so necessary, and the last thing you can do for your beloved pet.

Allan Beatty @ 169: sympathies and condolences as well.

EClaire @181: I'm lucky, in that my beloved Freya, who is now on a daily glucosamine supplement for bladder protection (too many bouts of cystitis, probably stress-related when I go away), has no objection to the Cystaid powder sprinked over her teasponful of "treat" (soft) food every evening. If you have to stick pills down your Kitten, have you considered positive reinforcement: giving a treat immediately after the dread deed, so it becomes less dreadful? I did that - initially having to throw it to her from several feet away - and Freya no longer runs away after I've popped the pill down her throat (nor tries so hard to run away beforehand), just stands there and waits for the treat.

#188 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2011, 10:44 AM:

Hyperlocal news... Man's wife dreams of Nathan Fillion, who at some point got sick and said the only thing that could save him was to have someone play "Chopsticks". Man's wife couldn't so instead she got a choir to sing "Chopsticks".

#189 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2011, 10:44 AM:

Many hugs to all the recently pet-bereaved.

It's not like there's a big hole left behind, or even many little holes; it's more like you've suddenly acquired a ghost--who only slowly fades away.

#190 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2011, 12:21 PM:

My condolences, Bruce, Hildy, Jacque, and Allen.

It never gets easier...

#191 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2011, 01:05 PM:

PNH -- that Sidelight on the SF Encyclopedia goes to a PDF that (in my reader) has no text -- any other ways to find the info? As you might expect, I'm interested....

#193 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2011, 01:37 PM:

Bruce, Hilde, Jacque, and Allen: My condolences.

#194 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2011, 02:11 PM:

115, 131

In Canada we often have municipal fireworks May 24th (nominal) Victoria Day weekend. Circa 1975, that weekend, my father was taking an after-dinner nap. The pops and bangs woke him, he was reaching for his tin hat and on the way to the door before he became really awake. This was 30 years after being an air raid warden in WWII.

Your conscious mind may be over the reaction, but the subconscious may not be.

#195 ::: Steve C ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2011, 02:53 PM:

Tom Whitmore @ 191 -

I had the same problem, but then I downloaded the file instead of opening in another browser window. Opening the DL'd PDF in Acrobat enabled me to view it.

#196 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2011, 03:10 PM:

Thanks for the tip, Steve (and thanks to Bill Higgins who sent me the text as well) -- this is a very nice community.

#197 ::: Jörg Raddatz ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2011, 04:18 PM:

Jacque, Hilde, Bruce, Allan - we are sorry for your sad losses. Losing a beloved housemate is always very hard.

#198 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2011, 04:59 PM:

More on the unlabelled:

I was just on a clothing store site which offered, among other things:

Sport Shirts - Adult
Sport Shirts - Ladies

My apologies to all my good colleagues here and elsewhere who aren't considered adult.

Yes, I realize that some women dislike "women's cut" shirts or prefer "men's cut" - but still; "adult" and "ladies"?

#199 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2011, 05:16 PM:

Not quite about the unlabeled, but related:

Why are the connotations of "dominator" and "dominatrix" so very different, and not just a gender identification?

#200 ::: EClaire ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2011, 05:27 PM:

I have tried positive reinforcement, but she's not nearly as food motivated as our other cat is, and she'll turn down treats in a huff if she feels she's been wronged. Cooper will squirm and try desperately to get away from the pill, but happily come right back afterwards if he thinks there's a chance for more food. I think he's part Lab or something.

#201 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2011, 05:49 PM:

Mycroft @ #198 -

I have stopped buying nerdly t-shirts because as a fat lady I am expected to buy the "Unisex" shirts, which are cut for men. The few times I have been able to find nerdly t-shirts for my gender, they have been "Girly" or "Babydoll" cut, meaning that a 2XL could realistically fit on a 10-year-old boy. (and yes, they're called "Girly" or "Babydoll" - so either you're hawt sexy jailbait, or you're "unisex".)

I suspect marking the sports shirts "Adult" makes the store think that fat ladies are more likely to buy men's shirts without shame, regardless of whether the arm-hole exposes our entire side-boob, or the lack of gentle curve of the torso of the shirt means it bunches up above our midsection.

#202 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2011, 07:02 PM:

Found while looking for something else:
Dear Photograph

Find an old photo. Go to the place it was originally taken. Hold it in place, and take a new photo.

Write your note to the photograph.

I think my current favourite is at the top of page 2: "Where did all my superpowers go?"

#203 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2011, 07:28 PM:

Jacque, Bruce & Hilde, and anyone else who's lost a pet recently, my sympthies.

HLN, petrelated: One of the cats got outside on Sunday night, and has not yet returned. He's not an outdoor cat, and he's chipped, but no collar. I've been looking under the local bushes, informed the neighbors, filed with one of the 2 local animal shelters, and made up (though not yet hung up) flyers. I'm told to look in a 4 block radius. I will be putting out one of the litter boxes, so his smell is around here. Is there anything else I should do?

[[sigh]] I miss my boycat.

#204 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2011, 07:30 PM:

Allan Beatty @169: I'm terribly sorry! Doubly so, as I missed the "this week" in your comment. I'd read it as an annecdote from the past.

That's really rough, not being there when It's Time. Hard on the BF, too, I'll wager. At least Hunter got to check in with his buds at the vet's office one last time. Hugs for you and BF, when you can!

EClaire @181: Thank you for your sympathy. I'm comforted by all the sympathy here. (You guys are GREAT, you know that?) Also, I have the rest of the ravening horde herd to keep me company.

I'm hoping that the arthritis she has in her hips holds off so she doesn't end up too uncomfortable.

Modulo budgetary constraints, you might ask your vet about K-Laser Therapy. It's a new service my vet offers. They (shhhh! don't spread this around!) tried it on themselves, and it's apparently effective.

joann @189: I had a literal ghost one time. The night after Tigger died, I kept waking up to the sensation of warm soft fur snuggling against my cheek. It was the spookiest thing.

#205 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2011, 07:33 PM:

nerdycellist, #201: Professional note -- "babydoll" is in fact the industry designation for a specific style of T-shirt, with very short sleeves and a V-neck. So at least WRT that style, the choice of name doesn't reflect deliberate sexism on the part of the nerdly shirt-seller.

Also (FWIW) some brands of those stretch amazingly. At 210 pounds, I could wear a Bella or Hanes Silver brand babydoll XL without it feeling or looking sprayed-on. (Personally, I prefer the Silvers -- they have a softer finish.)

#206 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2011, 07:36 PM:

Allan Beatty @171: not the kinds of fireworks people have but how they are sold.

Ya mean, kinda like this?

@188: Man's wife has very weird dreams, though reader can't argue with the casting.

@192: Oh dear. Neil Gaiman with heavily shadowed cheek-bones and a salty beard. Hm. (Chews on knuckle.)

#207 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2011, 07:36 PM:

201 nerdycellist: Well, for a nice change the women's cut shirts really look like they will fit any woman with a cut waist. I have no idea what the pear-shaped people do - they don't have pictures of those shirts being worn.

Ah, checked again. So, the women's cut shirts go to a 3XL. After that, you'd better be built like a large man, or you are going to be "bunching up above your midsection", as you so delicately put it. And of course that always happens - the big woman with tiny breasts.

"Babydoll" name for that particular cut ranks right up there with "wifebeater" for the equivalently-cut men's shirt (different attack, but still 'ick'). "You really have a low opinion of your customers, don't you?"

#208 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2011, 08:04 PM:

Oh, dear Ghu. Following @192 led me to this. Which, in turn, led me to this.

#209 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2011, 09:14 PM:

Jacque #206: Oh dear. Neil Gaiman with heavily shadowed cheek-bones and a salty beard. Hm.

I was thinking he oughta update his blog picture. The one he's got up there looks like a kid... the dude is older than me, and I've got a salt-and-pepper beard.

#210 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2011, 10:29 PM:

Allan: Like Jacque, I misread the time stamp. Apologies and condolences.

Regarding feline ghosts: My first cat visited repeatedly after her death. I saw her flitting around corners more than once; she wrapped herself around my ankles several times and slept on my bed at least once. There was another cat in the home but she did not interact with me like that. She stopped coming around after a few months and she's the only cat to have ever done that (though my current beast may be a reincarnation of a previous fellow).

#211 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2011, 11:28 PM:

Jacque @ 206... Man was tempted to say "If you like French-Canadians so much, why don't you marry one?", but then man remembered that she had.

#212 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2011, 11:46 PM:

Jacque at # 206: Yes, that kind of fireworks tent, but with a green and yellow Mark Parisi city-devouring monster bobbing over it.

#213 ::: edward oleander ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2011, 11:49 PM:

Allan & BF, Bruce and Hilde, Jacque --- Many hugs to all of you. Our 20 y.o. shorthair is getting weaker by the week, and I'm dreading the loss of the last of our original Pride... But no matter how many times we have to go through this, we always end up back at the Humane Society, with new furballs to wreak havoc on the furniture. I wish many new feline friends on you all...

#214 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2011, 12:34 AM:

Allan Beatty @212: Yes, that kind of fireworks tent

One devoutly hopes they left out the background props. ::shudder::

edward oleander @213: In my case, at least, no wishing needed. As we speak, Mr. Bobby Frost* is skulking around under my footstool. I might have food, but he's still at that age when I might be thinking of eating him, too. (One can never be too careful about these things, you know.)

* The arms and smile belong to Ana, who is the vet tech intern. She was on duty the day he went in for his dental work. As you can tell (if you speak any guinea pig) from his smile, she's got The Vibe. (She evidently has her own guinea pig.)

#215 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2011, 01:11 AM:

Jacque, 214: Handsome fellow! Do guinea pigs smile with their ears?

#216 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2011, 01:11 AM:

201 nerdycellist

Altering big men's tees to fit fat women

Found at Fat Liberation, a fat-acceptance RSS feed.

Note from the Fatosphere, the other fat acceptance RSS feed-- or at least, I only know of two of them.

#217 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2011, 02:50 AM:

I've got a post in moderation, presumably because there are three links.

#218 ::: edward oleander ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2011, 03:45 AM:

Jacque 214 - He is utterly adorable! I love anything rodentlike almost as much as cats... And a good vet tech is almost as rare and wonderful a find as a good vet, especially in the same office! Congrats!

#219 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2011, 11:24 AM:

HLN: Woman, moving, stares at calendar, map; wonders if she knows anyone along I-70.

#220 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2011, 11:26 AM:

#219: Where are you moving from/to? I live in Pittsburgh if you need crashspace. :)

#221 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2011, 11:27 AM:

TexAnne @ 219... wonders if she knows anyone along I-70

I work near the intersection of I-40 and I-25. That only adds up to I-65 though, and the difference is I-5, which goes along the West Coast.

#222 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2011, 11:50 AM:

TexAnne @215: Handsome fellow! Do guinea pigs smile with their ears?

They do, but aactually, they smile with their eyes and their mouths, much like humans do. It's subtle, and that's not the best angle to show it from. Here's an excellent example of a piggy smile. (Not my kids.) It's the teefs that really seal the deal.

#223 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2011, 11:55 AM:

TexAnne @219: HLN: Woman, moving, stares at calendar, map; wonders if she knows anyone along I-70.

Denver is spang on the intersection of I-70 & I-25. Dinner expeditions could be mounted, I'm confident. Also, given sufficient notice, crash-space could be generated in Boulder, which is 30 mins north.

#224 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2011, 11:59 AM:

edward oleander @218: The audio track for those photos is hilarious: "I love the way guinea pigs smell." If you look closely at a couple of the photos in that set, she's sniffing him.

#225 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2011, 12:04 PM:

Re: Pet ghosts -- my first Chihuahua, Pedro, came back for visits for years. He wasn't visible -- I would hear the click of toenails on linoleum even in totally carpeted rooms. His visits stopped when I got my second Siamese, Pyewacket.

I've always thought Pye was Pedro's reincarnation, but I could never come up with a way to prove it.

Our most recent ghost is Jan's Balinese, Robin. He used to show up frequently, but I haven't "seen/heard" him since his brother D'Artangnan died. His hauntings ranged from jumping on to my bed at night to playing with the living cats.

#226 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2011, 12:10 PM:

I wish Her late Majesty would visit me. But I think I'm blind in that spectrum.

Anyway! I should have specified "I-70 between Indianapolis and Philadelphia." I've got places to stay on both ends, but that middle bit is making me nervous. I really shouldn't be driving more than 8 hrs/day.

#227 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2011, 12:34 PM:

TexAnne: When are you going to be on the move? There won't be anyone much in my house the first two weeks of August.

#228 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2011, 06:03 PM:

Carrie S., mid-August.

#229 ::: Ambar ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2011, 06:49 PM:

Serge Broom @ 192: you have lightened an otherwise dismaying afternoon. I think the best part was watching both Neil and the host trying not to lose it completely during the song.

#230 ::: Carrie S ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2011, 06:56 PM:

TexAnne: Well, Pennsic's over Sunday the 14th. I have crash space for one, two if they're well-acquainted.

#231 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2011, 06:58 PM:

A question recently came to mind that has been bugging me occasionally for a few years now, that I thought some of the quotation hounds around here might be able to help out with...

Orhan Pamuk gives as the epigraph to his White Castle, this "mistranslation of Marcel Proust" -- "To imagine that a person who intrigues us has access to a way of life unknown and all the more attractive for its mystery, to believe that we will begin to live only through the love of that person -- what else is this but the birth of great passion?" (And bear in mind that this is Victoria Holbrook's rendering of a mistranslation given in Turkish). Not having read any Proust, more than a couple pages, I had no idea where to begin to track this down and figure out what the source passage is, what a correct translation might be... Any takers?

#232 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2011, 07:01 PM:

Ambar @ 229... Glad to be of service.

#233 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2011, 07:27 PM:

The Modesto Kid @231 -- lots of other people have wondered the same thing, but I didn't find a good answer (by Googling Proust "love of great passion") -- just many people with the question.

#234 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2011, 07:32 PM:

Yeah -- the primary reason the question keeps nagging at me is that every week or two, somebody will hit my blog via a similar Google search.

#235 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2011, 07:40 PM:

FWIW, the original (well, intermediate) Turkish epigraph seems to be:

"Alakamızı uyandıran bir kimseyi,bizce meçhul ve meçhullüğü derecesinde cazibeli bir hayatın unsurlarına karışmış sanmak ve hayata ancak onun sevgisiyle girebileceğimizi düşünmek bir aşk başlangıcından başka neyi ifade eder?"

#236 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2011, 07:48 PM:

Plugging the search string Karaosmanoğlu "n'est pas fidèle, comme l'ont vu" into Google websearch pulls up a fragmentary preview that suggests that the entire article may identify the original Proustian passage, but full access costs $40 :b

#237 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2011, 07:54 PM:

(Ack-- sorry for the serial-posting, y'all) I think I might've found the original passage in Du côté de chez Swann:

"Que nous croyions qu'un être participe à une vie inconnue où son amour nous ferait pénétrer, c'est, de tout ce qu'exige l'amour pour naître, ce à quoi il tient le plus, et qui lui fait faire bon marché du reste."

Someone else (Serge?) will have to tackle an accurate translation into English, though-- all I can do is pick out some key words.

#238 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2011, 07:54 PM:

Ooh thanks, Julie, that is certainly useful knowledge.

#239 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2011, 07:55 PM:

(238 posted before 237, to which I can only say, far out!)

#240 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2011, 08:04 PM:

"Que nous croyions qu'un être participe à une vie inconnue où son amour nous ferait pénétrer, c'est, de tout ce qu'exige l'amour pour naître, ce à quoi il tient le plus, et qui lui fait faire bon marché du reste."

"That we believe that a being participates in an unknown life where his love could send us, it is, of all things which love demands for its birth, that which it holds most important, and which causes it to hold the rest cheaply."

I'm pretty sure, anyway. Serge or Mrs. Praisegod should check the last clause.

#241 ::: gaukler ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2011, 08:07 PM:

So how many Fluorospherians will be at Pennsic? I'll be at my usual spot in the market, by the corner of the barn.

#242 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2011, 08:12 PM:

This seems to be one English translation of the same passage, via Google Books:

"All that love requires to be born is that we should believe that a being participates in an unknown life in which our love will enables us to penetrate."

It's in the text of The Nature of Love: The Modern World by Irving Singer; I don't know whether that translation is his own or whether he credits someone else elsewhere in the text.

#243 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2011, 08:17 PM:

A wordier translation in full context (bottom of the page):

"Once we believe that a fellow-creature has a share in some unknown existence to which that creature's love for ourselves can win us admission, that is, of all the preliminary conditions which Love exacts, the one to which he attaches most importance, the one which makes hinm generous or indifferent as to the rest."

#244 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2011, 08:29 PM:

Wow, thanks so much Julie -- this is great. I'm posting your info as a comment at my blog, perhaps the next Google searcher to hit my place will find what s/he's looking for.

#245 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2011, 08:51 PM:

I read with sadness of the passing of pets of all sorts; it effects me so badly when I lose one of mine (although I can tolerate the translation of old barren cows to hamburger much better than I can them dying in the field of old age, or the horror of losing young ones to lightening or illness) that there's a bit of me who steps aside and asks "why do you take on more?"

My sheep is a charming young man, and I am not paying sufficient attention to him this week for wanting to take care of my chicken housing and cow watering needs. He's tiny- much less than knee high- and prefers company in numbers. On the 4th he was visited by three generations and two sorts of new friends- my cousin the biker and his girlfriend, their daughters, and their daughter's toddlers, and four of my daughter's old Thespian's buddies. He thought it was the best thing ever, and has now taken to calling for attention to the kids in the day-care as well as the cows and calves walking by.

I am rather looking forward to having one or two fewer chickens soon; either Bjorn or Bennie started crowing this morning, answering Ian's full throated crow with something...unfinished, sounding much like a cat whose tail has been trod on. Anyone want a four month old Blue Laced Red Wyandotte Rooster?

#246 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2011, 09:47 PM:

Nancy C. Mittens @203 on finding a lost cat - it depends a lot on how bright the cat is, how skittish it is, and how easy it is to find his/her way back. One of my cats was bright enough to get out fairly often, but fairly calm, and would mostly go out and sit there saying "Ha! I got out!" and we could bring him in, or we'd lock up the other cat and leave the front door open and he'd come back for dinner. Another cat was really skittish, not very bright, and we lived on a second floor so there was no good smell trail for him to find his way home, but at least he was willing to wear a collar so a neighbor was able to recognize him and call us about three weeks later. Sometimes catnip or dried fish have been useful bribes to get them to come back.

One thing that's been really strange about living here in California is that houses don't have airlocks. Most places I've lived back east did, so you could keep the heat in in the winter and maybe hang up coats, and keep the cats inside and most of the crickets out.

#247 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2011, 09:49 PM:

The "Three McDonalds" stories linked in Teresa's Particles are really outstanding. Who is this dannye?

#248 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2011, 09:54 PM:

Or rather, this igloowhite

#249 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2011, 10:00 PM:

Linkmeister@53, on osteopenia (pre-osteoporosis) - A few years back, I'd broken a couple of toe bones in the same year, and my doctor suggested I get my bone density checked. The local YMCA was having a testing clinic for osteoporosis and diabetes, and I was the youngest patient in the room by about 20 years (:-) And they found I had osteopenia, but being male, rather than giving me the (drugs of power discussed earlier), they told me to try taking a couple of grams of calcium a day and generally keeping up on my vitamins. I got retested about two years later and was back to normal. Keeping taking pills is easy; I really have to put in the effort to get back to lifting weights. The test the first time was a little clamp thing that looks through your wrists; the second time they did several hip X-rays to get a more precise look at those joints.

#250 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2011, 10:30 PM:

HLN: Man discovers that installing Mac OS update has deleterious effects, and causes a "kernel panic" along with a Klong*. After feverish research, discovers it's caused by a conflict between third-party keyboard and Mac OS 10.6.8 and is able to reboot safely after switching back to original Apple keyboard.

*Klong - a sudden rush of shit straight to the heart.

#251 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2011, 11:36 PM:

Today's Astronomy Picture may be color-free, but it's certainly dramatic.

#252 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2011, 11:44 PM:

Nancy C. Mittens @ 203: One of the cats got outside on Sunday night, and has not yet returned. He's not an outdoor cat, and he's chipped, but no collar. I've been looking under the local bushes, informed the neighbors, filed with one of the 2 local animal shelters, and made up (though not yet hung up) flyers. I'm told to look in a 4 block radius. I will be putting out one of the litter boxes, so his smell is around here. Is there anything else I should do?

Sounds like you're doing all the right things. Our indoor cat got out a few years ago. We read about how indoor cats can become terrified outside, hide nearby, and not come to you. We looked all over, and tried sitting quietly on the porch at dusk and dawn, with no luck.

We put a dish of food on the front porch. Came home from work to find it empty, refilled it and kept an eye on it, and the miscreant appeared within a half hour. Had to stalk him, but the magical pull of the mylar-strips-on-a-stick toy helped us nab him. This whole process took about a day. If it hadn't worked, our next step was going to be to put the food dish in a have-a-heart trap.

#253 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2011, 11:46 PM:

The headline: Ludicrous.
The photograph: Ewwwwie! (Though perhaps of use to Jim Macdonald.)
The link: Priceless Free of charge.

#254 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2011, 12:01 AM:

I was once working at a summer camp in a national forest. If you stayed up on Saturday night (when there were no campers), there was a dance at the resort across and down the lake. There was one year I went to that on a day near the Fourth and some jackass started shooting off fireworks... which is completely illegal in a national forest. These were little bang bangs, the kind you hear set off at Chinese New Year parades.

There was a large friendly dog tied up at the side who started panicking. I went over and tried to calm him down and the jackass threw a strip under the dog. I recall the poor dog was bucking in terror.

The happy ending is that said jackass got caught and got arrested. Me, I got a minor sparkler-level burn and a serious mad on. The dog was okay but probably traumatized for life.

#255 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2011, 12:02 AM:

Teresa, don't look at John A Arkansawyer's link.

#256 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2011, 12:23 AM:

After our lovely dog Tasmin died, I would sometimes hear her pacing the house after we'd gone to bed, or settling down in a corner of our room at night. There are many ways to interpret that, you are free to pick whichever one makes most sense to you. My condolences to the bereaved.

#257 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2011, 12:53 AM:

Condolences to all who have lost loved ones recently. Allan, Jacque, Bruce... Electric hugs offered all round. Nancy, here's hoping your boycat turns up soon.

TexAnne, at which end of your travel time is the Indianapolis end of your travel? Hubby and I and a variation on the usual crew will be attending Gen Con.

#258 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2011, 01:05 AM:

Nicole, 257: The beginning. Possibly the second day, if sisuile is available for an overnight instead of a mere lunch. The mover tells me I can have a trusted local friend sign off on this end, and the landlady is OK with somebody else doing the walkthrough. Which means I can do a bunch of 5hr days. But I'd still like to pause with somebody in maybe Columbus-ish, OH.

#259 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2011, 02:25 AM:

Bill Stewart @ #249, thanks. The calcium I mentioned is a 600mg tablet with 400 addition IU of Vitamin D, taken twice daily. In addition I've been taking a 1000 unit tablet of Vitamin D3 twice daily. I would think that would be sufficient without the Fosamax, but we'll see. (Those are all prescribed for me; I'm not self-medicating by guess.)

The bone density exam I had was like the one described here: flat on my back on a table which had a sliding wand on a rail. The wand was slowly passed over my body. Pretty pictures then magically appeared on a monitor a few feet away.

#260 ::: CZEdwards (aka the Other Constance) ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2011, 02:38 AM:

Oh, Allan, Jacque, Bruce, Hilde...I ache in sympathy. Our non-human people are such bright stars. I'm so sorry.

#261 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2011, 04:21 AM:

JESR @245: He's tiny- much less than knee high

Pix! Pix!

#262 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2011, 06:10 AM:

#253 ::: John A Arkansawyer

Call 9-1-1
Make sure the scene is safe
Direct pressure
Treat for shock

#263 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2011, 07:00 AM:

Jacque... Regarding Gaiman, did you ever see THIS comic-strip?

#264 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2011, 07:22 AM:

HLN: Local man dreamed last night about accidentally clicking the link to activate Google+.

TexAnne @ 255: I wish I hadn't looked at the photo, either. Perhaps "Ewwwie!" wasn't a strong enough warning. But the headline was so strikingly stupid--and why should I make people click to read it, anyway?--it was "Teen Attacked by Firework".

#265 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2011, 07:51 AM:

Hyperlocal news... Man learns that 1980's "Flash Gordon" will soon be released on BluRay. Man suggests to wife this'd make an excellent birthday present. Wife says not to expect her to stay in the same room when man watches it.

#266 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2011, 08:24 AM:

Serge, 265: I have no desire to see it again, but I have very fond memories of seeing it with my dad when it came out. He made me giggle for months afterward by singing "FLASH! chung-chung-chung-chung-chung-chung-chung AH-AHHHH...he'll save every oneofus!" It was also a valuable lesson in "cheese" and "so bad it's good."

#267 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2011, 09:00 AM:

Alas for the 1980 Flash Gordon, the parody had already been made before it came out.

#268 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2011, 09:15 AM:

I admit it. I'm ashamed, but I love Toto's "Africa".

But I also laughed helplessly at Steve Almond's deconstruction of it.

Deconstructing Africa

#269 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2011, 09:33 AM:

TexAnne @ 266... It was also a valuable lesson in "cheese" and "so bad it's good."

That it was.

It also showed that singing Beatles songs to yourself will prevent Evil Machines from flushing out your mind's contents.

#270 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2011, 09:35 AM:

James Macdonald @ 267... That one indeed was hard to top. Provided one thinks of the 'top' as being wayyyyy at the bottom. :-)

#271 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2011, 11:36 AM:

TexAnne -- I'm in Central Ohio (Clintonville). Crash space is limited (as in air mattress) and we're in the process of attempting to housebreak two puppies.

You would be more than welcome to stay.

#272 ::: sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2011, 11:39 AM:

texanne @ 219/258 - Of course you are welcome to stay, though the front hall will probably still be full of stuff. I should be home from Pennsic on the 13th.

gaukler @ 241 - I will be in my usual spot chained to the performing arts pavilion at Pennsic.

#273 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2011, 12:12 PM:

David Harmon @ #209: I was thinking he oughta update his blog picture. The one he's got up there looks like a kid...

There's a set of photos that rotate when you reload the page. Some of them look like a kid. At least one of them is a kid. Some of them are more mature in appearance. There's also one co-starring a satanic vegetable.

#274 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2011, 12:54 PM:

gaukler @#241: I'll be up for landgrab and most likely for the duration, modulo a trip or two home to reassure the cats that they haven't been entirely abandoned--I live in the BMDL, so it's less than an hour home from this particular little local event. :)

Perhaps I'll even make it to some classes this year. Though I don't think Thora's going to be at War, so no warp-weighted loom class for me! *glyph of sadness*

#275 ::: NelC ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2011, 12:54 PM:

Hyperlocal news: Hyperlocal man goes to GP's surgery to have skin tags (otherwise known as "polyps") removed. As usual, one tag is missed when the local anaesthetic is applied. Hyperlocal man is somewhat distressed when that tag is removed with tweezers and scalpel. Hyperlocal man's neck now looks as though he was attacked by a dozen tiny vampires.

In an interview later, the doctor reports that hyperlocal man does not need to have his colon checked for polyps until he is 60.

#276 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2011, 02:24 PM:

Teresa and our resident Veterinarians -- I have a co-worker who has a hamster (2 years old) with kidney problems.

Her vet is treating it as a kidney infection, but there is a possibilitly that it may be chronic renal failure.

Any recommendations as to care for the little one?

#277 ::: JM ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2011, 03:03 PM:

Open-threadiness: Anyone have any tips on wresting very late money from a freelance client, besides just e-mailing them with regular, increasingly desperate reminders/requests/pleas, as I have been doing since MAY 21 when the money came due? Shall I send the publisher in question (I will tell you which company, if you'd like! I'm that mad!) an audio file of my husband having an asthma attack for which he cannot afford the medicine?

#278 ::: Steve C ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2011, 03:15 PM:

JM, sometimes snail mail can have a greater impact than an email.

That said, 45 days is way more than long enough to pay any bill. If you know any other writers who contribute to that publisher, you might ask them about the publisher's payment history.

#279 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2011, 03:20 PM:

JM @277 -- I'm told that sending them a link to the procedures involved in small claims court, with a note that the next time they will see you will be in that court, can have remarkable powers of stimulating wallets.

You're not even 60 days past due yet. Sending audio of husband is very unlikely to affect them as much as it does you. Threatening them with the serious inconvenience of small claims is much more likely to affect them, though it may mean you won't get any more work from them. It's a balancing act.

I sympathize with your not having been paid, and only offer this advice because you explicitly asked for advice.

#280 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2011, 03:30 PM:

Lori Coulson @ 276: Chronic Renal Failure (CRF) or Chronic Progressive Nephropathy (CPN) is not curable, but also not outright painful. For all species, fluid therapy -- which can be injections of fluids under the skin -- along with nutritional support are the main course of treatment. Depending on the cause of this hamster's nephropathy, they may want to consider a low-protein diet.

#281 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2011, 03:43 PM:

OK, now I'm in need of fluorospherian help.

I'm supposed to have a contrast MRI tomorrow (where they shoot you up with gadolinium or whatever before the test). Usually I get a call before one of these tests telling me what to do and not do, but no one called me this time. I called them and got no answer.

Anyone know where I can go to find out whether I need to fast before the test (as I did before the PET scan)? Whether I can have water? Whether I should take my morning meds (Nqqreny and Cebgbavk)?

#282 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2011, 03:47 PM:

WebMD is no help. Describes the test, gives lots of ads. No preparation protocols.

#283 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2011, 03:57 PM:

Thanks Ginger! I'll pass that on. The hampster was given sub-q fluids during her vet visit. Now to find out who makes a low-protein feed... (And cross my fingers that she's only dealing with an infection here.)

Xopher -- I can't find any dietary restrictions wrt an MRI, all the warnings seem to be about not wearing something with metal into it.

#284 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2011, 04:01 PM:

Thanks Lori.

As it turns out I now have to say <Emily Latella>Never mind!</Emily>

I reached someone finally and she said I can eat lightly, drink all the water I want, and take my meds. So stand down fluorospherian data commandos!

#285 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2011, 04:02 PM:

JM @ #277:

Collections is an area I'm pretty lousy at myself, as a businessperson, but in general it works *much* better to keep the personal out of it rather than injecting the personal into it.

Rather than desperate pleas, a written letter in a more neutral but authoritative tone will probably work a lot better, something along the lines of:

"Dear ____:
This is a reminder that my payment terms, which you accepted in our contract of mm/dd/yy, are Net 15.* Your payment for the work invoiced in invoice #ZZZZZ is now 30 days past due, and I am sorry to inform you that it is now incurring a finance charge of X% per month. I hope you will pay in full before MM/DD/YYYY, but if you are unable to, please contact me at once at xxx-zzzz. I understand that the current state of the economy is difficult for all businesses, but if you need to arrange a payment plan, you will need to contact me in advance, so that it is not necessary to proceed to collection steps."

* Or whatever your actual payment terms are: Net 10, Due on presentation, etc. If you didn't specify them, state them now, and in the future you should specify in your invoice.

Send it US Postal Service; optionally spend about $3 extra to mail it certified and/or return receipt requested, which means the recipient should know you've established proof it was sent, should there be a dispute, which means they will know you are taking this seriously.

I wouldn't bring up Small Claims court in a first formal letter, unless they completely fail to respond to that. If you do it this way, you have been completely professional and reasonable, you haven't burned any bridges and have given them no reason not to send more work your way. If they actually are having severe cash problems themselves, you've given them an opening to make a partial payment at once which would help you some and pay the rest later.

If they fail to respond at all to a formal and polite request for payment, then you have to escalate and mention Small Claims court or collections agencies, but at that point you probably would not want to trust them to pay you for future work either so there's little lost.

#286 ::: JM ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2011, 04:37 PM:

Steve, Tom, and Clifton: Thanks for the advice. I was, of course, kidding about the asthma recording! If the situation escalates, I'll look into a more formal approach, as suggested. I did finally get an e-mail suggesting that they really might be sending me a check tomorrow, so we'll see...

#287 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2011, 05:16 PM:

JM -- my partner Karen just had a client who was reliable at 30 days go to 90 on one set of invoices, so it's not being uncommon in the current economy. They'd just been bought out by an Indian company, and There Were Changes. Clifton's idea is better for a first step than mine, of course; and I'm glad to hear that you may be getting results without even going that far.

#288 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2011, 05:40 PM:

Xopher #284:

If you had not asked us, you would not have gotten hold of the appropriate personage.

#289 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2011, 05:51 PM:

This slow-pay business has become policy for large corporations.

Yet effective March 31, 2010, Cisco announced to its small business suppliers that as a rule Cisco would wait sixty days after receipt of an invoice—or net 60, in business jargon—before cutting a check.
It's the trickle-down effect! "Nobody pays me on time, so I can't pay you on time!"

#290 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2011, 05:58 PM:

On the late-payment subthread:

If the entity doing the paying works on a fiscal year budget, there are any number of reasons why an invoice submitted in May might still be unpaid. (In my workplace they are sorted by piles, so that when a given issue gets fixed, we can attack the appropriate pile, oldest to newest.)

In our case, most of these issues will be sorted out by the end of July. Which sucks, if you're waiting for the money, but those of us who shuffle the paperwork would like it to have gotten done two months ago, too.

#291 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2011, 06:02 PM:

Linkmeister @289: The State of Illinois healthcare plan for employees is 'self-funded,' meaning they have Cigna manage it, but the state writes checks (after Cigna determines that the invoice should be paid and how much).

We just got the notification of how much co-pay we owe on the birth of our child, which means the hospital JUST got the check for the majority of the birth expenses, etc.

She is over 28 months old.


Those poor doctors, hanging on the line for it for over two years. And we can't even look at that procedure's price profile, because only 'the current year' (fiscal year, meaning right now it has 7 days in it) and 'the past year' are accessible on Cigna's online check-your-claims interface ...

#292 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2011, 06:05 PM:

joann: I doubt it not.

#293 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2011, 06:05 PM:

Thena @290: Or, as in the case at my husband's workplace, any invoices not 'actioned' by the end of the fiscal year may just be deleted. Without notice to the person who made the request.

This is seriously the official policy for inter-departmental work orders from anyone to Physical Plant For example, if the Computer Center wants to pull new fiberoptic cable through university ducting and piping, that's a job for Physical Plant. So they submit a request, and it gradually works its way through five months of sitting on desks, and then it's suddenly July and POOF, because nobody's actually put any hours on the work order, it disappears and the originating department has to re-submit a NEW request, complete with its own 5-9 months of lying around on desks ...

#294 ::: JM ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2011, 06:22 PM:

I feel bad for complaining about one late payment -- of course the payers have financial and administrative troubles of their own and are not fueled by evil. It's just that during the summer we're running on less than a third of our fairly paltry school-year income and would be barely scraping by even with checks coming in on time. And that they told me in April that my invoices would be paid on 30 days. And that the reason my last check from them took 60-some days and much badgering was that the CFO left for a long vacation right before it was due.

However! Apparently a check for both the 77-days-out invoice and the one that just came due went out this afternoon. Hooray! May all others be so fortunate. Sorry to start a whiny subthread.

#295 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2011, 06:59 PM:

I just got a piece of spam from "Col. Fablous [sic] Dingle."

I erased it, of course. But now I feel compelled to find a use for that name.

#296 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2011, 07:02 PM:

Steve C. @ #258, I admit that I love it too--especially Perpetuum Jazzile's version--but I can't disagree with Steve Almond. Though I had difficulty figuring out whether he meant to imply that Duke Ellington died right before Toto got together in order to avoid their badness, or merely that he was able to predict badness that would arise after he departed.

#297 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2011, 08:56 PM:

I was hearing that about large companies in the 80s. (I have a fannish friend who's a systems consultant: his larger clients are small businesses, because they're more reliable in terms of both work and payments. Large companies are pretty much occasional jobs.)

#298 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2011, 09:29 PM:

A noble effort but unfortunately it doesn't work right.

#299 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2011, 10:14 PM:

Elliot #291:

The way medical billing is done is pretty-much optimized for fraud and error. We had similar experiences--I recall having bills trickle in from the birth of our first child over the course of the next year or so. Since we were busy with our new child, my job, and my wife's graduate school, and since we had only spotty records, it's quite possible we paid for things multiple times, and I strongly suspect we paid for things we didn't owe. For whatever reason, we had less problem with this with our two later children.

#300 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2011, 12:20 AM:

JM* @294: Apparently a check for both the 77-days-out invoice and the one that just came due went out this afternoon.

The proverbial check is in the proverbial mail? Let's hope!

* BTW, I do a double-take every time I see your initials: "Wait! What? Oh, that's not me...."

#301 ::: JM ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2011, 12:43 AM:

Jacque @300: Not only the initials -- my J stands for Jacqueline!

#302 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2011, 12:43 AM:

albatross @ 299:

The way medical billing is done is pretty-much optimized for fraud and error.

I have at hand Introduction to Information Quality, which quotes a 2003 study by D. P. Lorence, The Perils of Data Misreporting, to this effect on the subject of medical billing:
  • errors caused over-reimbursement of billing claims in about 5% of records

  • errors results in under-reimbursement in 16.8% of claims

#303 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2011, 01:28 AM:

Erik @ 298

Still, if they could get it to work right, it'd be exceedingly voweluble...

#304 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2011, 01:45 AM:

We're at the Discworld con. Never trust the hotel. They promised us 8' tables and gave us 6'! But we found a workaround. Still not completely set up, but we hope to be by the time the room formally opens. I've run into Jon Singer, but no one else from here yet.

The current active threads are much too active for me to track in the little time I'm going to have online. See you all next week!

#305 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2011, 06:38 AM:

Helpful hamster.

#306 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2011, 06:45 AM:

Bad payout seems to be the "solution" for every big corporation's cashflow problems these days. One of the nurseries I frequent is on the ropes in part because Verizon waited something like 120 days to pay for snow removal.

#307 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2011, 06:50 AM:

Lila @ #296:

My interpretation was that his addendum to the Ellington quote about bad music specifically identifying "Africa" was supposed to be understood as part of the quote itself, and that therefore Ellington was able to decry the badness of the song before it had even been written.

#308 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2011, 07:03 AM:

Erik Nelson @ #298:

It's worth noting that you're not constrained to accept the initial output: highlighted words are those with other possible expansions, and you can click on them to explore the alternatives if the first suggestion doesn't look right.

#309 ::: sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2011, 10:34 AM:

Open Thread:

I'm watching the end of an era, the end of a generation of dreams.

At on point, I wanted nothing more than to work on the shuttle program. I didn't care where - PR, textile preservation, grunt work, to work for NASA was my goal, because I dreamed of stars. And now, I sit watching Atlantis on her pad, queen of spacecraft, about to launch for the last time.

Fly, lady, fly.

#310 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2011, 10:40 AM:

David Harmon @305: by the looks of the tail, that's a gerbil.

Cute all the same.

#311 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2011, 10:42 AM:

John #302:

I have this ugly feeling that medical billing/payment is fractally broken--like, at every level of resolution, you will find more complicated leaky horrible systems by which each party in the transaction tries to get something past all the others. I suspect this is closely related to whatever feedback loops are driving endless inflation of medical costs over time.

#312 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2011, 10:42 AM:

When I was a teenager, I wanted to be an astronaut. My plan was to join the Navy and learn to fly jets, and then apply to NASA. Failing that, I wanted to work on submarines.

I was too short to fly and back then women weren't allowed to serve on subs. So, no Navy. No NASA.

My heart still mourns, sometimes.

#313 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2011, 10:48 AM:

My daughter wants to work for NASA, and I have a friend from my high school years who already does (waves in case said friend's wife is reading this--she tends to frequent ML). I am clinging tightly to the notion that the end of the shuttle program does not mean the end of American space exploration. OTOH, I'm also glad my daughter is currently in Moscow learning to speak Russian.

#314 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2011, 10:55 AM:

Melissa Singer @312: My sister is in her 3rd year at Annapolis. Some of her yearmates are the first middies ever (going) to be posted directly to subs straight out of the Academy as their first assignment. In order to have a new-ensign-safe environment, they had to work enough female officers through subs that they could have a female XO, which they do now apparently.

Sometimes I really notice we're living in the future, y'know?

They are also aiming to eventually have female-commanded, majority-female subs, rather than planning to integrate the silent service across the board. Because wives of senior submariners are screaming bloody murder at the thought that there might be WIMMEN working with THEIR MENFOLKZ and ZOMG that means they could, y'know, be boinking their heads off on tour for the months and months they are away from home.

Sometimes I wonder why they stay married to the creeps if they think the ONLY thing standing in the way of their infidelity is complete lack of access to amenable sexual partners?

Speaking of NOT living in the future. :->

#315 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2011, 11:03 AM:

Elliott Mason: Sometimes I wonder why they stay married to the creeps if they think the ONLY thing standing in the way of their infidelity is complete lack of access to amenable sexual partners?

Because men can't control themselves--didn't you know that? No man can resist boinking any available woman. That's why a woman must always be segregated from any man who's not authorized to have sex with her; otherwise he'd be unable to prevent himself violating some other man's property rights. It's not that they're creeps; they're just male, and thus have no control over their penises.

And they say feminists have a low opinion of men.

#316 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2011, 11:03 AM:

Elliott Mason @314: Cool! Tell your sister she has a fan.

The stuff about the Navy wives does not surprise me. Cops' wives still have similar concerns--as do cops' husbands, according to friends. This was one of the reasons the Navy would not allow women on subs back then--they were afraid the women would become pregnant. (I know, I know, so what, but this was the 1970s.)

I'm still a sucker for books and films about submarines and recently read through a collection of true-life sub tales. Now I need to track down a few of the books excerpted in the collection, because some were new to me.

Submarines and spaceships: not so different.

#317 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2011, 11:05 AM:

Speaking of living in the future: NPR had a story yesterday talking about race and advertising. The Old Spice guy, for example: not aimed at the "black" demographic; he's THE Old Spice guy.

Up next: Pixar finally gets around to having a female protagonist.

#318 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2011, 11:12 AM:

Ever since I was a child, I've dreamed about someday having the money to go to Florida and cheer her away. "Now I sing within a spaceship's heart. Does anybody hear?" Queen Isabel', where are you now?

If I let myself think about it, I'll be weepy all day. So here's a link I was suprised not to see in the Particles or Sidelights:

Summary: FanLib 2.0. Or, Privilege Boy and the Femmefans Who Are Old Enough to Be His Moms. Or, as the poster put it, "One does not simply walk into fandom."

#319 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2011, 11:42 AM:

Women on subs:

I've heard* that women on aircraft carriers come back from deployments pregnant as the rule and not the exception; on nuclear subs, you're a lot closer to the glowy bits and can't cut the tour short. That was the explanation in the past anyway.

* woman from a 3+ generation navy family; may not be a reliable source.

As far as fidelity in marriage: This is something I've given some thought in my personal life. (My wife is most of the way through her second 3-month business trip.)

As far as cheating: Think of it as risk reduction. There's a failure diagram they draw, I don't remember the exact name, which looks like a series of fuzzy AND and OR gates: your car crashes if you fall asleep. OR if (you drive drunk AND something unexpected happens.) OR (your brakes fail AND your steering fails.) Et cetera.

I've given this some thought because my wife is most of the way through a second 3-month business trip. Cheating is much less likely if [me in this case] is getting regular sex from spouse AND if I'm around spouse and/or talk regularly (so I remember why they're so awesome) AND if I don't hang out with a lot of single women for a long time AND so forth.

If your spouse is isolated from you for six months AND your spouse is no more than a hundred yards from some number of women who are mostly healthy 18-30 year olds it increases risk. A lot. The path to failure is much shorter and higher-likelihood. I don't know, maybe if you're that close for that long you class each other like fictive siblings. I've never been on a sub with someone for six months.

Space: Don't tell anyone, but part of the reason I got into renewable energy is that I want Americans to have access to a LOT of energy. A LOT. So much that the energy to get an American into space is a 2-year expense instead of a 20-year expense. It currently costs about $1 million to get a 100-kg person into orbit according to some stranger on the web. If we can raise the standard of living (in energy usage) by a factor of 10, we can afford to go there pretty cheaply. More power!

#320 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2011, 12:11 PM:

JM @301: Not only the initials -- my J stands for Jacqueline!

ACK! [They/We]'re everywhere! Did I metastasize and not notice?

I was the only Jacque(Jackie) in my acquaintance until about fifteen years ago, and now they're turning up everywhere. I find it very confusing, because I never developed the reflexes that, say, a Matt or a Dave* would have in dealing with occurances of my name that are not mine.

So I'm in the grocery store, innocently picking over lettuce for the guinea pigs, and I hear "Jackie, line one, please. Jackie, line one."

And every freaking time I react with. "What? Oh."

I can't complain too much though because (I'm sure I've told this story here before) I narrowly escaped getting tagged with Scheherazade. The double whammy would have been that "Sherry" was the most common name in my age group. Thank Ghu my mom prevailed.

* Cue discussion of Minn-Stf's League of Super-Davids

#321 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2011, 12:17 PM:

Melissa Singer @310: by the looks of the tail, that's a gerbil.

Thank you. I was figuratively biting my tongue.

What is it with hamster tails, anyway? They look like Ghod was sort of half paying attention, started to add the tail, then stopped. "No, too many rodents already have long tails. That's enough."

They're weird, I tell you.

#322 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2011, 12:36 PM:

Jacque @320 and JM @301 re duplicate names

One year at summer camp, many years ago, there was a boy's cabin of 8 campers that included 7 Mikes and a Mickey. Apparently someone in the office had noticed an unusual number of Michaels registered for that session and stacked the deck, so to speak. They just called everyone by their last name.

#323 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2011, 12:38 PM:

Jacque @321: It's the nitpicker in me. Or, why I am an editor, lol.

My brother had gerbils for a bit, until his furry-things allergy manifested seriously. They do not set off my "eek" reflex as a result--unlike mice, which make me go all squiffy (I think it's the speed). However, even when feeling squiffy, I will run for a container to try to imprison the mouse before The Cat notices. Because once he does, that mouse is his. And tasty, too.

Hamsters are much cuter than gerbils imo but I totally get the weirdness about the tail. There are some cat and dog breeds that have similar afterthought appendages (without docking, ewww).

(btw, my daughter has the same problem with the name as you. However, it is still a relatively unused name, especially with that spelling, according to the US gov't. I run into a lot of Melissas too, so much sympathy!)

#324 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2011, 12:51 PM:

I'm 'Mary Aileen' because when I was 11, I knew 7 other people named 'Mary', and I got tired of the confusion.

#325 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2011, 01:08 PM:

My mom had several names picked out for me before I was born. Dad vetoed Melissa ("...what if the kids call her 'Mel'?") and Jessica ("... I don't want people calling my daughter Jesse.") so eventually the settled on a completely sensible name. Which rhymes neatly with "boy". In elementary school I would be taunted with that, but in later jr. hi and high school, my introduction was met with the more good-natured, but still highly irritating, singing of christmas carols.

#326 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2011, 01:16 PM:

In childhood, I shared my nickname with a neighbor's poodle.

When I started in a new school in 7th grade, I stopped using that nickname.

#327 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2011, 01:19 PM:

Lila @ #317: Up next: Pixar finally gets around to having a female protagonist.

I've heard this was also to have been Pixar finally getting around to having a female director, but she and the production have parted company. I find that worrying.

#328 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2011, 01:20 PM:

nerdycellist #325:

A close friend in high school had that name--just around the time that Three Dog Night came out with That Song.

#329 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2011, 01:24 PM:

nerdycellist #325:

Could have been worse. You could have been named "Flee Fornication."

I came close to being named Wolfgang.

#330 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2011, 01:27 PM:

Melissa Singer @ #326:

Let's see if I can get this in before Serge does:

"You are named after the dog?"
"I've got a lot of fond memories of that dog."

Though I'm also reminded of John Wayne, who shared his childhood nickname with his dog (the dog was Little Duke; he was Big Duke). He kept his nickname into 7th grade and beyond, though, because it was vastly preferable to his actual name.

#331 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2011, 02:02 PM:

Paul A. @330: making matters worse, it was a _toy_ poodle.

#332 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2011, 02:06 PM:

If I'd been a boy, one of the names in contention was Seth. Which in itself is fine, but my surname begins with /sh/. One hopes my parents would have backed away from the brink.

#333 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2011, 02:17 PM:

Oddly enough, the only time I was ever in a group with other Janets was in library school. There were four of us. It IS a very librarian-y sort of name. The only other Janet Croft I know is a doctor at the CDC; once in a while I get mail intended for her.

#334 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2011, 03:31 PM:

Melissa Singer @323: I raised gerbils for a while when I was a kid, so they are therefore People in my Universe. (Not as much People as guinea pigs are, but I've had more GPs, longer, and they live longer, so it may be mostly a matter of exposure.)

I've never known a hamster well, and my primary experiences of them are divided about equally between pulling their teeth out of my finger tip, and their not being there when you try to pet them. I'm sure hamsters are lovely people when you get to know them; I've just never had the chance.

Although, one of the neighbor kids had hamsters. One time, I picked up the runny-ball that was rolling around while mom cleaned the cage. Unscrewed the little cap and looked in. Hamster stood up on his hind legs (for all the world giving the impression of putting his little hands on his little hips), and clear as telepathy looked me in the eye and said, "Yes? And what the hell do you want?"

Mice strike me as being miniature rats, and rats are most assuredly People.

#335 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2011, 03:39 PM:

Melissa Singer @ #316, you know that Das Boot was just released in Blu Ray format (as well as HD in the same box set), don't you?

#336 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2011, 03:43 PM:

I narrowly escaped being named Priscilla. My classmates would probably have nicknamed me either* Prissy or Silly; I can't decide which is worse.

*or both

#337 ::: Steve C ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2011, 03:47 PM:

"Brian" was once considered for my name, according to my Mom. I'm quite used to "Steve" or "Steven", but Brian sounds all right to me.

A friend of mine has what I consider the perfect name: Donovan Buck. That's a name that stands up and says, "Hey, here I am!"

#338 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2011, 03:58 PM:

Jacque @#334 I have little direct experience with hamsters or guinea pigs, but friends with the latter have said much the same as you. The size of the piglets appeals to me more than that of hamsters. However, it appears that I am, gasp, a cat person, so any ventures into rodenthood are indefinitely postponed. (and yes, I know some cats and some rodents get along just fine. I suspect that would not be the case with the current Occupant, who is decidedly a predator. if there weren't screens on our windows, he would be dead by now from trying to catch birds.)

I completely agree that Rats are People. A childhood friend had a large black and white one that seemed to believe it was a dog, just like the Huskies the family bred. Every year, the neighborhood kids helped socialize that year's puppies, and it was a common sight to see a large, romping group of children, puppies, and rat (he kept up quite well).

Linkmeister @#335: I have neither Blu-Ray nor HD devices, alas. I have Das Boot on DVD, though, and sometimes watch it in German. I can understand some of the jokes that aren't translated, and other bits and pieces here and there, mostly because of my tiny knowledge of Yiddish (and a steady diet of WWII movies in my youth--my dad loved them, because the Good Guys always won).

#339 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2011, 04:47 PM:


If you don't like songs from the psychedelic era (e.g. "White Rabbit," "I Am The Walrus," "Walk Away Renee," "Pictures of Matchstick Men"), you will certainly not enjoy the debut performance of my* cover band The Flower Furnace, tomorrow night at the historic Continental Club (1658 12th Street, Oakland, CA).

If you do like those songs, we do them pretty well.


*"My" as in "the band I am a member of," not as in "the band I am the leader of." I wish I knew a concise, unambiguous way to make that distinction.

#340 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2011, 05:46 PM:

Tim @ #339 "our" vs. "my?"

#341 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2011, 06:36 PM:

Tim @ 339: I'm with Linkmeister @ 340.

#342 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2011, 07:08 PM:

TexAnne @258 - sadly, we're nowhere along your travel route in the normal way of things. However, we'll have a hotel room in Indy from (check-in) Aug 3 through (check-out) Aug 7, as part of attending Gen Con. It sounds like you're not looking for an overnight in Indy, unless I misunderstand; but if your schedule and stress levels allow it would be awesome to say hi to a fellow Fluorospherian and fiber geek.

Good luck in your travel, and if we can do anything for you and/or if our paths might intersect, I think you have my email address. (If not, it's gettable from my website.)

#343 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2011, 07:17 PM:

Nicole, 342: Alas, we won't overlap; Aug 3-7 is prime ZOMG TEN DAYZ WHY AM I NOT PACKED YET territory.

On the other hand, time for some WIKTORY ARMS: I have cleared all but one-half of one living room bookcase. \o/ I still have one looming in the study, which is chock-full of scholarly works I haven't looked at since I've been here. It'll take forever to stare at all the books individually, but it shouldn't add too many boxes to the load.

#344 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2011, 07:44 PM:

Linkmeister, John A Arkansawyer: If I read "the debut performance of our cover band" I would think "when did I join a cover band?" Or maybe "Making Light has a cover band?"

#345 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2011, 08:05 PM:

Re names: I've seldom met another Lila, but in our class of 20 in PTA school we had 2 Lauras, a Lauren, a Lori, and me. That got confusing.

#346 ::: sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2011, 08:25 PM:

Tim @ 344 - we *should* have a cover band.

The only question then becomes, who are we covering?

#347 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2011, 08:29 PM:

sisuile @ 346: The only question then becomes, who are we covering?

Peter Blegvad ("growing luminous by eating light") seems like the obvious choice. I'd certainly join that band.

#348 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2011, 08:40 PM:

The band would have to cover Manfred Mann's Blinded by the Light, right? (Video)

#349 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2011, 08:42 PM:

Peter Blegvad, King Strut (whence "growing luminous by eating light")

#350 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2011, 08:47 PM:

Things you learn on the Internet. Manfred Mann made it a hit, but Blinded by the Light was written by Bruce Springsteen and first appeared on Greetings from Asbury Park.

#351 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2011, 08:56 PM:

Lila (345): My first-year-college dorm floor had a Laurie, a Laura, a Lora, a Lori, and a Lorraine. (Note: those are all pronounced differently.) Also four Marks, two Pauls, at least two Daves, and two Andys (one male, one female) and a second Andrea. And multiple Johns, one of them a genuine John Smith.

Life sometimes got confusing.

#352 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2011, 09:12 PM:

Today I went for my MRI with contrast.


After some upsetting bureaucratic stuff that nearly had me in tears (but all satisfactorily resolved, and please don't ask for the details), I went to the MRI place (after some difficulty finding it...that hospital/med school appears to have been designed with an eye more to defending against armed attack than letting patients find their way around), and they said they didn't have my blood test results.

Well...I didn't have the blood tests yet. I had no idea they were for the MRI; I just thought they were for, you know, the cancer. They sent me over to the main hospital (I almost got lost) and I waited to have blood drawn. I have to say I had the best phlebotomist ever; first time I've had blood drawn without ANY pain, not even the slightest pinch. It was amazing (and I hadn't taken any painkillers either). She had a sticker that said "STAT."

So I went back to the MRI place (almost got lost again, this time because there was a sign indicating the building I was supposed to go to, and, I swear, displaying an arrow pointing directly away from the building!), and sat and read my book until they were ready for me.

So finally they were ready for me. The tech was really nice, and...well, he was one of those people whose manner is so gentle that you feel calmer just from being in his presence. He told me that I needed to take off my t-shirt (one of these), but could leave my pants on.

"Really?" I asked. "Won't the magnetism affect this metal button at the waist?"

"No, it's no problem. We're just doing head and neck on you, so it doesn't matter." So I left them on.

So they have me lie down...and if you're like me and a little claustrophobic you may not want to read this next bit, so I'll ROT13 it: ur tnir zr rnecyhtf (n tbbq, tbbq guvat), chg zl urnq va guvf urnq penqyr guvatvr, chg ontf bs jngre ba rvgure fvqr bs zl urnq, naq fghssrq zber cnqqvat va hagvy zl urnq jnf pbzcyrgryl vzzbovyvmrq. Gura ur chg gur pbire ba zl urnq (V pbhyq frr bhg whfg n yvggyr, ohg vg jnf yvxr jrnevat n znfx), naq fyvq zr vagb gur znpuvar. Vg jnf yvxr orvat va n ubg jngre urngre. Zl fubhyqref ner npghnyyl gur jvqrfg cneg bs zr, juvpu vf abeznyyl n tbbq guvat, ohg evtug nobhg gura V jnf jvfuvat V'q qbar srjre yngreny envfrf.

It could have been worse—if the test chamber were filled with spiders or if there'd been a rat on my face or something.

So they do the test...or tests. They do them in 5-7-minute segments, and tell you "this next one will be about five and a half minutes" or whatever in between. They DON'T tell you how fucking MANY there will be. And by the way during some of the tests the metal button on my pants was punching into my gut with every pulse (not as bad as it sounds—didn't hurt or anything, just kinda uncomfortable) during some of the tests.

So, after a hundred years of struggling to hold perfectly still (trying even not to swallow, since my tongue was the primary target), and controlling my breathing and keeping my eyes shut and trying not to wince when the vibration from the machine actually hurts (mistook it for an electric shock at first), they have to inject me with the contrast stuff. So they slide me out, thank gods, and take the mask off, but tell me not to move my head. This is OK. They send for the nurse to do the injection.

Remember what I said about the phlebotomist up above? The nurse, not so much. She's one of those who fgvpxf lbh naq gura jvttyrf gur arrqyr nebhaq hagvy fur trgf vg vagb gur irva. Owwie.

While the gadolinium is sliding into me, I ask the tech how many more segments we have to do. "The contrast test is shorter," he says. "One that's like five and a half minutes, and one that's about seven."

"So," I ask to get it completely clear, "Two more of these and I'm done?"

"Right," he says.

So I go back in the enhanced interrogation device tube, and he does the two more segments (the second one seems to last forever), and I'm all ready for him to slide me out, and then he says "this next one will be about three minutes," and he does another one. THEN he lets me out.

He explains, after I ask, that a radiologist stuck his head in the door during the test and said "do a side plane" (another angle on my head), so he had to add one.

So after holding it together for the entire millennium I was in there, I start to hyperventilate when I'm finally out. My hands start to go numb. But I recover quickly, thank the tech, and get the hell out of there.

On the way home I buy a package of fresh wild-mushroom tortelloni, a container of pesto sauce, and a package of crescent rolls. I go home and eat all of it. I figure I deserve it.

#353 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2011, 09:14 PM:

We had three guys named Steve in a fraternity house of 40 people and only one incoming phone line. Whoever answered it would stand at the bottom of the stairs and yell "Steve! Phone!" and three doors would open.

#354 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2011, 09:17 PM:

Argh. An extra "during some of the tests" got in there somehow. I swear I proofread.

And I seem to have switched to historical present in the middle. I meant to do that.

*stalks away, tail held high*

#355 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2011, 09:31 PM:

Xopher, 354: Switching to historical present at a key point in the narrative is a perfectly good storytelling habit.

#356 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2011, 09:34 PM:

Xopher: I want to say congratulations on surviving, though somehow that seems wrong. But scans like that seem to unnerve everyone who has them, and there seems to be significant relief upon exiting/being done.

When my teenager was in the ER last fall, the _worst_ moment for both of us was when she had to go in the scan room all by herself.

Serenity to you.

#357 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2011, 09:46 PM:

Xopher #352: Remember what I said about the phlebotomist up above? The nurse, not so much. She's one of those who fgvpxf lbh naq gura jvttyrf gur arrqyr nebhaq hagvy fur trgf vg vagb gur irva. Owwie.

That's what we in the trade refer to as "going spearfishing."

#358 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2011, 10:07 PM:

James, I sincerely hope it's frowned upon as inferior technique!

#359 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2011, 10:15 PM:

Xopher, next time you take me with you, please.

#360 ::: JM ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2011, 10:31 PM:

Xopher, sounds like you deserved that container of tortelloni and more (gelato for afters?). Congratulations on making it through an intensely crappy experience; may the next such be very far in the future.

Name confusion subthread: I once taught a class of 16 students, 6 of them with Korean names that began with (variously spelled) "Yoo." It was a summer class, so we didn't meet for long; I may possibly have had them all straight by the final.

#361 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2011, 11:12 PM:

Go, Xopher! {{{HUGS}}}

#362 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2011, 11:56 PM:

I had a whole-body-in MRI scan a few years back, to check out a back problem.

To be honest, what I remember most was the relief from using a lumbar support pillow, provided to align my lower spine for the scan. I was in horrible pain at the time, barely able to drive to work or appointments. Not being in pain for a few minutes overwhelmed any claustrophobic feelings. (I'm sure I had them, it was just a matter of degree.)

It was a bulging disk, as the orthopedist suspected. Some physical therapy suggested by a chiropractor quickly relieved the pressure.

#363 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2011, 12:07 AM:

Xopher, you don't mention any special calming medication. I'm impressed. I've had two MRIs, about 7 years apart. I got drugs for both. I don't think I'm unusually claustrophobic, but I did not enjoy the tiny space. Sadly, the "open" MRI machines don't have very good image resolution.

On the second one, I'd refused the blindfold, and made the mistake of opening my eyes and seeing how tiny a space I was in. I hit the panic button that they'd put in my hand, and they immediately whisked me back out. They put the cloth over my eyes, I took some deep breaths, and back in I went. I'd asked them to give me a running commentary on how many were left, and between that, breathing to a gatha, and not being able to see the space, I coped.

They could play music, and that helped a bit. I'd have preferred a podcast, and the technician said that was a good idea and they'd look into it. The technician had a very calming vibe, just as you described your's. I suspect that's a job requirement.

#364 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2011, 02:02 AM:

I had an MRI back in February that went on for either a half-hour or an hour, can't remember which. I had it drug-free, but I think I had a blindfold or mask. The only other time I had one they offered me Bach or Beethoven; this time, no music.

The noise level is scary if you have any sort of imagination. I kept waiting for somebody to say "Down periscope. Dive! Dive! Dive!"

#365 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2011, 05:36 AM:

Open Thread 154 was headlined with "The last of them, but not the least of them." I wondered which one was in fact the least -- and got no answer. So, I have now read them all (at a pace of two or so a day), and my pick is #40:

Take all my loves, my love, yea take them all;
What hast thou then more than thou hadst before?
No love, my love, that thou mayst true love call;
All mine was thine, before thou hadst this more.
Then, if for my love, thou my love receivest,
I cannot blame thee, for my love thou usest;
But yet be blam'd, if thou thy self deceivest
By wilful taste of what thyself refusest.
I do forgive thy robbery, gentle thief,
Although thou steal thee all my poverty:
And yet, love knows it is a greater grief
To bear love's wrong, than hate's known injury.
Lascivious grace, in whom all ill well shows,
Kill me with spites yet we must not be foes.

#366 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2011, 10:38 AM:

I've had several breast MRIs in the last few years. Loud, yes; claustrophobic, yes; not quite as bad as Xopher's experience because my head wasn't immobilized. Only two sessions, too, one with contrast, one without. I want to say they were eighteen minutes each, but that's probably the total. My big problem was uncooperative veins. They couldn't use the one in the back of the hand (where I usually have blood drawn), but finding a vein in my arm always gets...interesting.

The worst was the MRI-guided biopsy, because they slid me out and then I *couldn't* *move* for a couple of minutes while the doctor looked at the scans. (They told me that one lady who sneezed at that point had to start all over again.)

Modern medicine is miraculous, but a lot of it is No Fun At All.

#367 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2011, 02:39 PM:

Xopher @352: Sounds pretty awful. Here's hoping the results are worthwhile. And yes, you deserved the tortellini.

Names: We had four "Helen"s in a class of about 30 at school (middle/high); they generally got referred to by their surnames, or by nicknames based on those. There were another two in the parallel class. Then at uni in my third year I was in a department with Jo, Joe, Joan and Jean.

My mother carefully spelled my name such that, when I was learning to write, I would be spelling it how it sounded. Great idea. Result: I've spent most of my life saying "Debra - no, that's D-E-B-R-A. No "O", no "H". D-E-B-R-A." Gr.

What I really want to know is this: Why do people ask you what form of your name you want to be called by, if they're going to ignore you? I've lost count of the number of people who have asked me "do you prefer Debra or Debbie?" "Debra" I reply - only for them to then call me Debbie. Every time. Even if I remind them (which I've generally stopped bothering to do, since it usually results in the person making a comment wondering why I'm making such a fuss about it). I suppose I could try to just not respond if they call me "Debbie".

#368 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2011, 02:49 PM:

HLN: Hyperlocal man writes love poem while mostly asleep; form is double-dactyl. Man is scared to go back and see what it looks like.

#369 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2011, 03:04 PM:

Re: Killer trilobytes - this one has a sad.

#370 ::: AlyxL ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2011, 05:06 PM:

Coming in late on the multiple names thing, my first-year geology class at university in the 70s had eight Petes. They were distinguished as Big Pete, Little Pete, Scots Pete, Geordie Pete, Ginger Pete, Big Scots Pete, Pete the Leg (he had his leg in a cast when the class started) and The Other Pete (who hardly ever turned up to classes). Oddly enough, none of them called himself Peter. It was a rather large class, as I recall.

My primary school class in the early 1960s had three Nigels, and there were only 17 kids in the class.

#371 ::: Crair R. ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2011, 05:38 PM:

Linkmeister (353)
in re people in housing with the same names:

During The Interregnum between marriages I had young lass I kept company with who went to school at Brandies University.

One spring evening I was waiting in the quad for her and some (more than slightly) lit up individual was also there, yelling at the top of his lungs "David! Hey, David!" over, and over, and over, and...

Finally someone opened a window, looked out and yelled back "Can you be more specific?"

What really cracked me up was that I had already heard the same thing happening as a "No S***t, I was There" story. Which may have prompted the windowed response...

I'm pretty lucky - "Craig" has apparently never been a hugely popular name. The only other person I ever herd of with the same name whilst I was growing up was the actor Craig Stevens (in those days all I knew him for was the TV series "Peter Gunn")

#372 ::: Craig R. ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2011, 05:59 PM:

I've only ever had one CAT scan and one MRI.

The CAT scan was When CAT scans were New & Groovy and I was prescribed them to verify that my recurring migraines were not lesion-related. (Actually had two - one "plain" and one contrast, where I was IV'd with radio-opaque iodine. (No lesions found, and contrary to one of my co-workers loudly-expressed supposition, they did find grey matter)

The MRI was about 3 or 4 years ago, to diagnose some knee pain -- it seems I have a Meniscus Tear. Luckily for me the tear appears to be on the leading (at the very front of the joint) edge, so unless my pain get more frequent and/or severe surgery is not indicated.

For the MRI I had to swap off all metal (including my wedding band ("lets just be safer than mistaken") and got to don scrubs. The range of piped-in music for the headphones (just plastic headphones with the music conducted along air channels) was *very* impressive, and ranged from "smooth jazz" to "muzak" to "new age" to "Celtic" to some variety of "classical". (I picked the "new age," which, thankfully, was *not* "muzak." Yeah, claustrophobia would be in full kick if I were so inclined. But, by the Great Ghod Ghu, was it noisy!

#373 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2011, 06:05 PM:

My third grade class had Brians A, B, C and D. It was amazingly cool, though I'm sure the guys in question must have found it frustrating. (I find it hard enough, when people close to my name are in the same group, as I've had to train myself to respond to a wide range of variations.)

For that matter, my babysis goes by Caity, my brother's girlfriend is Kate, and my initials... are what they are. Coincidence is fun...

#374 ::: Bruce Adelsohn ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2011, 06:08 PM:

Another late in on the multiple names subthread: I was once in a personal-growth seminar with three women named Joy, one named Lisa Joy, and one named Linda Joy. Given the topic of the seminar, "joy" came up fairly often even without referring to one of the five. Much fun ensued!

#375 ::: Craig R. ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2011, 06:22 PM:

Keeping in the recurring theme here of medical testing, yesterday I had a nerve conduction test performed.

I have developed arthritis in the base of my thumb, and recently I've noticed tingling and numbness in a couple of fingers of that hand. The hand-extremity specialist was concerned about it being carpal tunnel, so he ordered the test.

Nobody explained what was going to happen until the doctor performing it actually began the test.

First she took a history, and she put surface electrodes on various parts of my hand, wrist and lower arm. (so far, I have no issues -- I thought it was to be a passive test, like an EEG or an EKG)

Then the test starts, and she tells me "now don't move, or I'll have to repeat the test."

Then I get electric shocks from this thing that looks like a truncated stun-gun!

I don't care what they say, it *is* painful! (I, meanwhile, am trying to suppress the learned response to jump away! - When my father was alive I apprenticed as an electrician -- and you learn to view shocks As A Bad Thing)

And she was also one if the High Priestess variety of doctor, when I asked for some insight what the test was supposed to show, her reaction was, essentially, "don't worry your head about it, Dr. xxxxx will explain what you need to know"

Now that I've read up on the procedure, I have an idea of what they were looking for, but, really, *why* do some medics insist that only they are gatekeepers of knowledge?

#376 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2011, 06:24 PM:

Open thready media comment:

I may have commented before that just about the only time I see TV news is when I'm at the gym. (Then, I'm usually trying to ignore it, since it's distracting.)

Today, at the gym, I had a sudden flash of insight, which made a mid-day CNN newscast make perfect sense. I watched for probably 20 minutes, and the model fit perfectly. It was entertaining enough to check that watching was actually worth forgoing the many interesting podcasts I have on my phone.

The insight was this: CNN news is basically the adult version of the Weekly Reader[1]. Watching the stories, at least for this 20 minute span, it was a perfect fit.

[1] A very short "newspaper" often provided to American children in grade school, with coverage of a few big stories in terms that might make sense to a bright six year old, without too much controversy or any gore or sexual suggestiveness at all.

#377 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2011, 07:45 PM:

It's 108F here. I don't know if there is really anything to say beyond that, though I typed and deleted several additional observations.

#378 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2011, 08:05 PM:

Xopher @ 352... I figure I deserve it


#379 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2011, 08:19 PM:

Re names: Our parish had a deacon and two curates in a row named respectively Madeleine, Melanie, and Meredith. Now that we're looking for another curate there are a bunch of us whose primary requirement is that whoever it is doesn't have a name beginning with M. OTOH, my son has the distinction of being named after his great aunt and his great uncle-- both named James. (She was named after her father.)

And re MRIs: I'm not claustrophobic but I can easily see how it can be stressful, having gone through the "what's in that head thing" myself. The noise bothered me more than anything else.

#380 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2011, 08:27 PM:

albatross @360: Your mention of it made me look to see if Weekly Reader was still in business.

_Of course_ it is--it's published by Scholastic!

But I haven't seen an issue in decades. My kid's elementary schools used Time For Kids, which served much the same purpose.

#381 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2011, 10:11 PM:

Hyperlocal news... This time, man's wife dreams of James Purefoy, in a story involving Ancient Rome, typewriters and Nazis.

#382 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2011, 10:19 PM:

albatross, all I can say about your Weekly Reader/CNN insight is: Of *course*! Why didn't I think of that?

(Geez, I haven't thought about Weekly Reader in probably 30+years.)

#383 ::: Gelfling ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2011, 10:24 PM:

On names: My sister's name is Emily. Something like 10 years ago, our 2nd cousin (whose name is John) married a lovely woman also named Emily. To keep them straight, we started calling her "John's Emily" as opposed to "our Emily." In a few months, my sister is getting married-- to a man named John.

I call him "Emily's John," but for some reason I seem to be the only person in the family who finds it funny. Probably because I'm a Jennifer.

#384 ::: cajunfj40 ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2011, 10:31 PM:

MRI machine neepery: (apologies for lack of paragraphs, ipod not easy to navigate text box with for editing.)
I got to go to a seminar at a research facility run by the U of MN where they have a 3Tesla MRI and a 5Tesla research coil. The research attendant, a cool guy, said he had figured out how to play music on the gradient coils of the magnet, turning it into a giant speaker, but without the moving cone bits. The sound comes from the large forces set up between the main static or "B" field and the magnetic fields caused by the current flowing through the gradient coils. There aren't any moving parts inside, so the loud banging isn't anything actually hitting anything else, it is the result of the coils inside setting up strong attraction and repulsion forces very quickly, and then shutting them off just as fast. Wikipedia has a good set of articles about all of it. The magnet technology is always getting better and the newest high-strength open type machines are about as good as older conventional 1.5T machines. Very expensive and physically larger than conventional types so not many of them get installed. The strong magnetic fields and the steep gradients in them have some interesting effects, too.

#385 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2011, 11:13 PM:

cajunfj40 @384: Re: Tesla coils and music . . . .

May I recommend Arc Attack?

I learned about these guys because of America's Got Talent last summer and then got to see them perform live at NYC's MakerFaire (they'll be back this year as well, yay!)

It's a thrilling experience!

#386 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2011, 11:34 PM:

I knew someone whose wife name was Mary. Let's call her Mary B. He also had a sister Mary, a mother Mary, and 2 sisters-in-law Mary--all Mary B.*

Sometimes I'm very glad for Plain naming conventions*: they were distinguishable as Ben-Mary, Johnny-Mary, Ben's-Mary, and etc.

*He and his father had the same name.

*With a possessive it's a daughter; without it's a wife.

#387 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2011, 11:45 PM:

Teresa 359: While I'd be delighted to have your company (at any time!), I'm not sure how much you could do. They wouldn't let you be in the room with the machine, and it's injuriously loud anyway (the earplugs are really essential).

JM 360: may the next such be very far in the future.

Yeah, I'm really hoping that isn't something I'll have to do on a regular basis...some of the people in my cancer group have scans every three months, though I think those are CT scans rather than MRIs.

janetl 363: Xopher, you don't mention any special calming medication.

I wasn't offered any, nor a blindfold. Not sure what I'd've done about the first, but I'm pretty sure I'd've refused the second. They didn't have music either.

#388 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2011, 12:41 AM:

Xopher @387 -- no blindfold? Did they skimp on offering you a last cigarette as well?

#389 ::: David DeLaney ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2011, 12:48 AM:

"Don't change your name to mine, dear / just change it to Rose ..."

--Dave, who has had times when there were other Davids around but it's been a while now

#390 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2011, 12:59 AM:

I once worked in a department with Jan, Jeanette, Jim, John, and Pam. We decided that in the name "Pam", the J is silent.

#391 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2011, 01:08 AM:

Jacque @ 320:

Growing up, in fact until I was 19 or 20, I didn't know anyone else named Bruce. Then I started meeting a few, and then ...

In 1977, I worked for a startup company that had fewer than 50 employees; I worked in the Engineering Department, which had 12 people, 4 of us named Bruce. One day, all four of us were working in the printer room when the Engineering Manager walked in a said, "Oh, Bruce ... I'm sorry I said that."

#392 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2011, 01:11 AM:

My parents attempted to name me Kathryn after my great aunt Kathryn Tracy, but she objected to "Kathryn" so they went with her last name. In those days, Tracy was considered a boy's name, and I did not have a feminine middle name*, so they changed the spelling so people would know it was a girl's name. Ha! The Naval Academy tried to recruit me. Selective Service hounded me to register, then finally apologized and requested a photo they could use in their annual "oops! We accidentally tried to draft these girls" story. (I declined, as did my unfortunate classmate Mitchell Ann.) I met my first Tracy -- a southern boy -- in college, which is when the name began to be popular for girls. Tracy, Tracey, Tracie, Traci, Tracee. Nobody ever knows how to spell your version.

*My middle name is usually assumed to be a family name, which it is, just not my family. It's the name of my mother's commanding general. In that venerable old southern tradition, I have three last names.

#393 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2011, 02:02 AM:

Tracie @ #392, "Nobody ever knows how to spell your version."

My problem isn't as severe as yours, but still. I have to say "It's with a 'ph," not a "v."

#394 ::: Debio ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2011, 04:10 AM:

David Delaney @ 389 "Don't change your name to mine, dear / just change it to Rose ..."

Do I hafta? Looking in the mirror, I'm pretty sure that Rose doesn't fit me too well. I don't think a Rose would have to shave like I do.

I have been meaning to make a shorter name for use here, since ML is high profile enough that google might actually pick up my name. I'm kinda proud of my very low google profile. Since I've been online since '92

I settled on Debio, it's what my wife calls me.

Debio fits a bit better than Rose.

#395 ::: Debio ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2011, 04:14 AM:

Oops, you know, I did preview that. I read it twice, really I did.

Then after I posted it, I realized that well, I didn't mention that I was the David who de-lurked himself in the google thread.

So, that's who I am. But, not Rose. Someone else can be Rose.

#396 ::: Debio ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2011, 04:27 AM:

Oops, you know, I did preview that. I read it twice, really I did.

Then after I posted it, I realized that well, I didn't mention that I was the David who de-lurked himself in the Google thread.

So, that's who I am. But, not Rose. Someone else can be Rose.

#397 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2011, 04:34 AM:

Bruce @391

I suppose that in 1977 the Python reference might have been more obvious. "Mind if we call you 'Bruce' to keep it clear?"

#398 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2011, 06:38 AM:

janetl @390, We decided that in the name "Pam", the J is silent.

Well, of course. It's a short form of P'jamas.

#399 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2011, 07:12 AM:

Tracie #392: Well, there's always the (male) writer Evelyn Waugh, who took a wife also named Evelyn.

Xopher #387: I'm trying to imagine the techs' reaction if you had asked for a last cigarette... before undergoing your location scan for tongue cancer! I suppose it would depend on whether/how many times they'd heard it before.

Tracie #392: I arguably have three first names, as I've heard of people with given name Harmon.

Debio #394: I use my full name mostly because I'd been using my initials since college days, so I didn't have a real "handle" that I was attached to. But the initials had already been getting less and less unique as cyberspace got more settlers. PS: it looks like you've just been initiated by the Double-Posting Bug.

#400 ::: debio ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2011, 07:29 AM:

David Harmon @399

Well, thank you, now I can blame it on a bug. :) It may have been me. After hitting post, I had to go try and explain to our two year old that...

No, biting mommy is not a good thing. That if you bite mommy, she might not want to talk to you for a little while, so maybe you should go say sorry.

#401 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2011, 07:41 AM:

I'm another three-last-name person ("Sanford" having made the full move from last to middle to first over several generations.)

My family is rife with Elizabeths and Ann[e]s and Betsys [both shortened Elizabeths and birth-certificated] - at one point in a womens' doubles tournament Betsy and Ann were playing Betsy and Anne. 3/4 had the same last name. Apparently my mother, in the first year of marriage, introduced herself to someone at a party as "Betsy NewLastName" and was told "No you aren't. I know her." She cried again when her husband referred to the two women as "Sister Betsy" and "Wife Betsy" on christmas presents, so every present after that had a different to/from: To L.R. from the B.B.W. (Little Red from the Big Bad Wolf- a hoodie), To the Sleigh Pilot from the Ground Crew (something to do with flying), etc.

My parents taught me in word and deed that loving someone is work. (Rewarding work, to be sure. But you have to keep putting the work in.)

... Well, that was an unexpected segue. HLN: The double dactyl isn't as bad as I feared.

(rot13 for syrup)
uvttyrgl cvttyrgl
Jr'er vapbairavragyl
qbmraf bs gubhfnaqf bs
zvyrf ncneg

Vg'f n cbbe frpbaq gb
Jura yvxr znq fpvrapr jr'er
wbvarq ng gur urneg.

#402 ::: Anne Sheller ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2011, 07:46 AM:

Bruce Cohen way back @131 - The fireworks story from Ohio that sticks in my mind is the Scottown fireworks store fire. Brain-damaged young man (skateboarding accident in his teens, he was essentially an impulsive boy with little understanding of consequences in a man's body) dared by some extremely irresponsible other young men to toss a lit cigarette into a bin of fireworks. The ensuing fire killed 9 people. The sprinkler system may have been disabled by the store's owner. A lot of stupidity in a small space, with explosives. Dire consequences.

The only other thing I recall about Scottown is that its zip code is 45678.

#403 ::: Anne Sheller ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2011, 07:54 AM:

CarrieS, sisuile, Gaukler @various - I'll be at Pennsic too this year. Should be able to locate and say hi to a couple of you, sounds like.

#404 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2011, 09:51 AM:

#58 thomas

The tobacco industry/lobby... why should the public have to pay for the expenses caused by smoking, and not the tobacco industry which is doing the poisoning?

#405 ::: CZEdwards (aka the Other Constance) ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2011, 12:20 PM:

On names: dcb makes a great point there. I have not used the execrable nickname associated with my given name since I was six. I hate it, and I have never written it on any form, anywhere. However, it's developed into a sum-check of sorts, rather like Van Halen's brown M&Ms. If someone who has my written name automatically uses the detested nick, this person is unreliable. If they continue after I've corrected them, this person will not listen to me in future. This has been especially key in dealing with medical professionals as a check on whether my concerns will be taken seriously.

There's a second check-sum, too -- Constance and Candace seem to share the same mental filing space for a significant fraction of the population. If, after having introduced myself, I am called Candace, I know my interlocutor is not paying attention. If that happens *while I'm wearing a name tag* I know I'm wasting my time.

#406 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2011, 12:34 PM:

#69 Brook
Kurzweil is the sort of fellow who started companies which made money for him to sell to other people, and cost the buyers a bundle to attempt to turn a profit on... the buyers got stuck each time, with Kurzweil Music, Kurzweil Applied Intelligence, and I forget what the third company was....

#101 Jacques
When I went to the college dormfloor reunion three or four years ago, e-Patient Dave was very frail and in a motorized wheelchair. The're a evideo of him linked from his site giving a 20 talk standing up a few weeks ago, looking substantially studier.

He's a survivor of stage 4 cancer. The thought that he's turned into an Inspirational Speaker is amusing (I knew him in college, long long ago, and are both on the dormfloor alumn mailing list)

#314 & 315, Carrie and Elliott
And they obviously don;t care if their husbands are boinking other men....

#317 Lila
I -hate- Pixar's female character appearance, the sheeny rounds heads on pencil necks, hate, hate, HATE the visual appearance thereof (hate it in flat images two, hate, hate, hate the style, always have and always will)

#319 Sandy
I heard stories of what happened/happens "when the crew of an aircraft carrier hits the beach." ...

#407 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2011, 01:04 PM:

SamChevre @386: I knew someone whose wife name was Mary. Let's call her Mary B. He also had a sister Mary, a mother Mary, and 2 sisters-in-law Mary--all Mary B.* Sometimes I'm very glad for Plain naming conventions*: they were distinguishable as Ben-Mary, Johnny-Mary, Ben's-Mary, and etc.

My mother's father's family of origin (and its entire, copious cousinage -- my grandfather was the youngest of 8 kids, most of whom married and had children) has, in the main, four first names. Something like 80-90% of my East-coast cousins are firstnamed John, Don, Paul, or Pat. This includes some female Johnnies, Paulas/Paulines, Dawns, etc. We even tend to marry them -- my grandfather (a Paul) married a Pat without specifically choosing her for name-congruence, and I didn't realize the implications of me pairbonding with a John till I went back East for a family wedding and facepalmed.

We distinguish between them, for family storytelling/gossip purposes, in two ways: the heaven-sent diversity of last names (since all of my grandfather's generation who married and bred -- except him -- were female, they all married into new last names), and the creative use of a very limited number of nicknames.

E.g.: My uncle Don Marrandino's Donnie's uncle Paul (my grandfather)'s Pat's niece Patty is Don Marrandino's wife Patty Marrandino, and referrable-to either through kinship chain or as her full name. I could also talk about my Uncle Donny's (Don Marrandino) Paulie's (his son) Jackie's (Paulie's wife -- I told you) Dawn, meaning her sister. In this end of my family, such kinship-chain identifiers are very common and come out almost in one breath, which left he-who-is-now-my-husband kind of head-spinny at that wedding for the first hour or so until I sketched him a tree for orientation purposes.

I didn't find out until adulthood exactly how I was related to my 'Keyburn cousins,' for example -- they turn out to be the descendants of my grandfather Paul's mother ('Mom Beltz' for family story purposes)'s older brother. And yes, the East-coast family sees them regularly, especially for things like pool parties where you throw all the current-generation kids together to amuse each other and the grownups go inside where it's air conditioned to drink and kibitz. Obviously, a lot of them aren't Keyburns … but they're still all mostly Johns, Dons, Pauls, and Pats.

#408 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2011, 01:33 PM:

Anne @ 403 and others Pennsic-bound: I will be there too, as always. Never missed one yet. We should gather together.

#409 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2011, 01:47 PM:

Tom 388: no blindfold? Did they skimp on offering you a last cigarette as well?

They're cutting budgets everywhere.

#410 ::: Carrie S ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2011, 01:58 PM:

Pennsic-goers: OK, what's a good day, and should we just default to "in the barn"?

#411 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2011, 02:43 PM:

Happy Birthday, Nikola Tesla!!!

#412 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2011, 03:47 PM:

Re Pennsic gathering: I'll be there second week but probably leaving early (late Thursday or early Friday). My only firm commitments are the Knowne World Harp festivities (Wed noon) and Middle Kingdom Court (Thur 8pm).

#413 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2011, 03:58 PM:

re: Weekly Reader subthread

I remember an article on displaced persons (DPs). President Eisenhower was quoted, "We must help these people."

Did you know that Captain Kangaroo's Dancing Bear was a non-English-speaking DP? Another reason to like Bob Keeshan, who was the original Clarabell the Clown on "Howdy Doody".

#414 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2011, 04:26 PM:

"So when he wrecked the car he ended up with the steering wheel shoved up his uhm the gland let's see the something.."


"Prostate!? You surely didn't expect him to be standing up and defiant after something like that didja?"

#415 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2011, 04:29 PM:

Huh. My post didn't. Anyway, as long as we're talking cons, anyone else going to be at Mythcon in Albuquerque? (I'm hoping Serge will drop by.)

#416 ::: sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2011, 04:52 PM:

Re: pennsic

Gaukler and I are probably least-mobile, him for the shop and me for Performing Arts. I will be there the full two weeks, and will only be available to leave the Pavilion during the middle of the day...but I, too, would like a gathering of light. Over coffee and baklava, perhaps?

BTW, Tracie, did you want sekanjabin this year?

#417 ::: Throwmearope ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2011, 04:54 PM:

@Tracie 392

Sorry to be late, we went on a family hike over the Fourth, and the laundry fairy (not to be confused with the ever-elusive Colorado poop fairy) skipped my house last weekend. Well, I've rectified that omission and the laundry is done.

(But, as usual, I digress.)

I got to name my baby sister. I was searching through the naming book and found Tracy (no -e-) in the girl's section. It was listed as an Irish name. No mention that it's an Irish boy's name.

I swear I'd never heard of anyone firstnamed Tracy before, so I picked it out for my lil sis.

It was one of the most popular names for a girl in 1968. There were 5 Tracys in my sister's kindie class. The spelling varied, but in kindie that's not very helpful. There were even two Tracy Ms. So she was Blondie for most of elementary school. All my fault.

I'm not sure she's ever forgiven me.

#418 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2011, 05:37 PM:

re 407: I recall reading somewhere that at some point in the Middle Ages five names accounted for half the population of England-- and Mary was the only female name of the five.

#419 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2011, 05:56 PM:

I've written a memorial post for our cat Gremlin (and thanks, everyone who posted sypathies and support here) on my blog. Here, with photos.

#420 ::: CZEdwards (aka the Other Constance) ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2011, 06:15 PM:

Janet @ 415: yes. And thanks again for noting it here back in April. (Just wish I'd known about the costuming aspect a little earlier. Oops. My fault.)

#421 ::: Laura Gillian ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2011, 06:43 PM:

Xopher and others, about medical testing: I also recently had an MRI with contrast, and they told me I couldn't have anything by mouth for 6 hours prior. I wonder why we got different instructions? I don't consider myself claustrophobic and I didn't need to have my head immobilized, but by the time I was properly arranged on the bed with a number of straps tightened around my legs, waist and pelvis I did begin to feel a bit anxious. They were looking at my pelvis and I was glad that my head remained just outside the machine. The extra airspace in front of my face made it easier to relax.

I knew that MRI machines were noisy, but I had been expecting something continuous like a jet engine, not loud, irregular bangings and clankings, accompanied by lots of vibration. The only real problem I had was during one segment during which I had to hold my breath--the tech told me it would last 30 seconds, but the banging and clanking went on and on... She later told me that she accidentally ran two breath-holding segments without a break between them.

It wasn't a horrible experience, but I still was relieved to be done and I rewarded myself by meeting a good friend for coffee afterwards.

Xopher, I think you absolutely earned the tortelloni and crescent rolls. I hope that your test results turn out well.

On the naming subthread: I didn't encounter many other Lauras when I was younger, but in college I took a class in which the only other student was another girl named Laura. The professor spent the first day figuring out what to call us. I do seem to run into lots of Laurens, Loris, Lauries, and even a few Laurels these days, and I always reflexively respond when any variant of my name is called. That could be because my grandpa calls me Laurie and my sister just calls me Laur. My parents call me Lou.

#422 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2011, 06:56 PM:

Laura 421: I also recently had an MRI with contrast, and they told me I couldn't have anything by mouth for 6 hours prior. I wonder why we got different instructions? ... They were looking at my pelvis

I think that's probably why. Mine was a head-and-neck, so my digestive tract wasn't really at issue.

Xopher, I think you absolutely earned the tortelloni and crescent rolls. I hope that your test results turn out well.

Thank you, and so do I.

#423 ::: jnh ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2011, 07:26 PM:

MRIs aren't really about magnetic resonance, that's just the cover story. While you are being inched through the machine you are being thoroughly examined by poltergeists. They hammer, scour and scrape your inner being and listen for the echos.

Xopher: I'm very surprised that the operators were unconcerned about your metal button. The usual rule is no metal anywhere near the machine, and there are pictures of impressive failures to follow this rule.

I have learned to wear buttonless, snapless, zipperless t-shirt and sweats when I go for any imaging tests (X-ray, CT scan, MRI, bone scan, barium swallow). Much more comfortable and dignified.

#424 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2011, 07:40 PM:

Tracie #392: Not so curiously, my old political theory teacher, Tracy B. Strong, gets taken for female by unwary people from time to time. He's both amused and resigned to it.

#425 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2011, 07:52 PM:

dcb #367/CZEdwards #420: I've noticed that people who are attempting to achieve a superior argumentative position online will call me "Frag", a name no one in "the real world" has ever called me. I find this amusingly annoying.

On t'other hand, my nickname in high school was "Lopez".

#426 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2011, 08:14 PM:

17th Century England subset of akiciml:
Is there a fluorospherian in the house familiar with the literacy rates, theatre-goingness and reading habits of average inhabitants of 17th Century England?

For a workshop tomorrow I'm playing with a few often-quoted stats about "you get more information in one newspaper than an average person would get in their lifetime in the abc century."(1) I've got some ability to think about one newspaper, but much less knowledge for contemplating one average 17th century person.

(1) with various assumptions about definitions ('information,' 'average'), if only printed info counts, what about compression, etc.

#427 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2011, 08:18 PM:

jnh@423: There are two issues with metal and MRI. The first, that magnetic metals are pulled towards (and through) the core, which creates the safety hazards; the second, that metals can distort your image in the area of interest, which means no metal around your scan area. Buttons on clothing won't fly into the core (although they do move), so as long as Xopher had no extra metal around his face, the tech allowed it.

#428 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2011, 08:25 PM:

Kathryn from Sunnyvale #426:

No hard facts, but your answers are going vary wildly according to: living in London vs out in the provinces (theatergoing); religion (theatergoing, choice of reading matter). So check what sources you do find for those biases.

#429 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2011, 08:30 PM:

When I joined the PA at my synagogue's religious school, there were 4 women named Sue in the group and at least two others who were regular volunteers.

Everyone pretty much answered to "Sue" regardless of their actual names, because it was clear that when someone called for Sue, there was a PA or religious school issue to be handled.

We were all Sue for at least 4 years. Sometimes we still are, when the rabbi's mind is elsewhere.

(I've also been Marjorie, Melinda, and Martha, at various times and places.)

#430 ::: gaukler ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2011, 08:52 PM:

re: Pennsic Meet-up
I'll be there for the whole event. I'm not terribly mobile (running a booth) without prior notice. we do, however, usually have seating for four or five in my booth. My wife will also be there this time.
She posts here from time to time: Barbara Gordon (Mostly Unpublished Author and Viable Paradise survivor).

#431 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2011, 11:29 PM:

Melissa Singer @429 -- and all the men were Spartacus?

#432 ::: Dr. Psycho ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2011, 12:13 AM:

Not a gerbil.

Not a hamster.

It's unquestionably a rat.

Rattus norvegicus.

I know rats, and I love them.

#433 ::: Dr. Psycho ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2011, 12:27 AM:

I have not looked at the Weekly Reader the same way since I saw the equivalent distributed to elementary schools in the Philippines during a certain period: "We have a new government. It is called the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere", with a group photo of the military governors.

Considering that my intolerance for racial prejudice contains exemptions for a handful of cases (Irish Americans are not entitled to snub Britons, but actual Irish people are), and that excusing Filipinos for disliking Japanese is near the top of my list....

#434 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2011, 12:58 AM:

Throwmearope #413: Tracy is an Irish last name that was adopted in the US as a first name, like Kelly. Both were originally considered boys' names, but are now usually girls' names Like Tracy, Kelly suffers from variant spellings -- Kelley, Kellie, Kellee, Kelleigh... By now, both are also used as first names in Ireland, but not as often.

You named your sister at the beginning of the "Tracy" proliferation. While I was still getting mail addressed to Mister, I also began to have people who had no reason to know my age assume I would be a young girl. (Example: schoolmates of my younger brother, who expected me to be a younger sister. )

When I'm in Ireland I am assumed to be of Irish decent because all three of my names are familiar Irish surnames, though not exclusively Irish. The first and last are not spelled as they are in Ireland, but they're used to Americans altering the spelling. (I have minimal Irish ancestry, one set of great grandparents. )

#435 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2011, 04:50 AM:

Open Threadiness:

Y'all saw this Doctor Who dance, right? (via NeilG's blog).

I actually popped in to ask if anyone has a link to an idiot level explanation of why/how exceeding the speed of light implies time travel? It seems generally accepted that this is so, but I've never quite gotten it.

#436 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2011, 06:54 AM:

Tracie #434: Tracy is an Irish last name that was adopted in the US as a first name, like Kelly.

And Harmon, for that matter, though I'm not even close to Irish. Anyway, my family name was taken from "Harmon-on-the-Hudson" early in WW2, when a visibly German surname was Bad. But... I have other reasons to be glad for not growing up with a last name of "Hamburger"!

#437 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2011, 07:31 AM:

Tracie #434: Actually, the surname Tracy has been around for a while and isn't originally Irish (see here: for a very non-Irish example). The reason I suspect you think it's Irish is because it is a Norman-French name and it went over to Ireland with Strongbow.

#438 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2011, 08:45 AM:

CZEdwards @ 420, yay! We can throw mysterious Making Light gang signs at each other. The costuming isn't generally a big deal -- we have a mini costume contest, but there aren't too many entries. (Not like in the good old days, I'm told.) But some people do like to dress for the opening procession and the banquet, even if they don't enter the contest.

#439 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2011, 08:56 AM:

Russ @ #435: I like the implied compliment: that "geeks and nerds" are people who wish to see "the triumph of intellect and romance over brute force and cynicism." I can support that.

#440 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2011, 08:58 AM:

Janet Brennan Croft @ 415... anyone else going to be at Mythcon in Albuquerque? (I'm hoping Serge will drop by.)

Certainly. Write to me and we'll figure something out.

#441 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2011, 09:02 AM:

Dr. Psycho @432: have you read Gunter Grass' The Rat? My vague memory of the book suggests that it was a lot of fun to read; and likely would be even moreso for a declared lover of rats.

#442 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2011, 09:05 AM:

David Harmon @436: Two of my husband's ancestor-lines are proving remarkably hard to trace across the Atlantic to their pre-1870s origins in Russia and Poland ... because the earliest family names we have for those lines are 'Harris' and 'Josey' (sometimes spelt 'Jasey').

I'm pretty sure those weren't their names when they lived in Vilnius and tiny-tiny-town-whose-name-I-can't-remember ... but we have no family remembrances of what they were before. Currently tracing down distant cousins to see if any OTHER descent lines remember.

#443 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2011, 09:28 AM:

Elliott Mason @442: Probably a total coincidence, but I also have "Harris" ancestors and I'm descended from Russian and Polish immigrants - ah, but I see (looking in the family history my aunt has pieced together) that my "Harris" (formerly Hirschcovitz) ancestors came from Lithuania, so probably not related. (But did your husband's ancestors go straight to the USA, or travel via the UK, as many did?) - Hold on a minute - Vilnius IS in Lithuania (the capital, in fact).

Do you want to discuss this further???

#444 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2011, 10:26 AM:

Russ @435: I actually popped in to ask if anyone has a link to an idiot level explanation of why/how exceeding the speed of light implies time travel?

An idiot theory I recall was that if time slowed down as you approached the speed of light (basic relativity) then of course it would reverse direction if you exceeded the speed of light.

I believe this is how Superman classically did time travel into the past, and I recall at least one other story (pitched somewhere below YA) that had specifically spelled it out that way.

Although I don't think it involves faster-than-light travel, I recall reading a description of falling into a black hole which suggested that, while normally we have freedom of movement in three dimensions of space and we move in time in a restricted fashion, falling into a black hole would lock you into a moving in space in a restricted fashion but may open more options for moving in time.

My Doctor Who theory is that Tardises are in some fashion anchored to the black hole at the center of the galaxy, and what moves is the projection of the doorway. Time Lord time and space travel would be restricted to this galaxy.

#445 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2011, 10:48 AM:

Snark. @406: See @405. Heh.

#446 ::: Anne Sheller ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2011, 10:49 AM:

re: Pennsic - I'll be there the second week, most likely arriving Sunday. Shooting the archery war points is about the only fixed point on my schedule. Last time I was at Pennsic, that ate up the better part of a day, what with the remoteness of the range. If my ankle is giving me a lot of grief, I may blow that off, particularly if it would make me miss a fluorospheric gathering.

#447 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2011, 10:53 AM:

Russ #435: My brief version: As you approach the speed of light, with all the time dilation and Lorenz Contraction, you approach a point where space and time become interchangeable. If you could cross over that axis, your "timeline" would actually lead through space, and universal time would be an axis in space that you could pilot your craft along. You almost couldn't interact with normal matter until you go back to sublight speeds, and you can choose to make that return at various locations on the time axis. Certainly you can reach points before you went FTL, but depending on other constraints, you might be able to do so at any point in time.

On the other hand, I'm not sure how much control you'd have over where you reemerged... remember that timeline pointing through space? There are other time-travel schemes that apparently handle this better, mostly because they don't have that miracle in step 2. Of course, those schemes require artifacts of cosmological size, made of neutronium or the moral equivalent..

#448 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2011, 11:19 AM:

AlyxL@ 370: Big Pete, Little Pete, Scots Pete, Geordie Pete, Ginger Pete, Big Scots Pete, Pete the Leg (he had his leg in a cast when the class started) and The Other Pete (who hardly ever turned up to classes)


#449 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2011, 11:23 AM:

Throwmearope @417: Colorado poop fairy

Dare one ask?

Elliott Mason @442: those lines are 'Harris' and 'Josey' (sometimes spelt 'Jasey').

Try "Jerzey." I have a neighbor from Poland who goes by "Jerry," but is legally "Jerzey." He has a traditional Polish surname: eight letters, one vowel among them, two if you count the Y, and not one, but two Zs.

Caroline @448: I'm still chuckling over the Doctor Who ep with "Proper Dave" and "Other Dave."

#450 ::: David DeLaney ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2011, 11:38 AM:

Russ @435: I don't have a link, but I can give an explanation on a different basis...

Start with "Lorentz transforms". These are changes you can make that include rotations, translations (moving a certain distance), and changing your velocity, and they do it with Relativity math so they keep the speed of light constant.

Next, there's "light cones". Any point you can get TO from here-and-now, by travelling in some direction at some speed below light's, is in your "future light cone"; any point you could have gotten to where/when you are now FROM, in the same way, is in your "past light cone". (Light can get from you to a there/then in your f.l.c.; light from a there/then in your p.l.c. can have gotten to you.)

You can be causally connected to any point in either of your light cones - the past point can have affected the future point (though usually it won't have). Any spacetime point outside both light cones you can't see from here/now, and can't be affected by.

Now: Lorentz transforms leave the surfaces of the light cones invariant, and "proper" L.t.s (ones which don't flip time backwards) take the inside of each light cone to itself. For ANY point in your future light cone, you can find a L.t. that slides things around inside the f.l.c. so that point is straight forward, in time, from you - so that, having changed your velocity and rotated and maybe also moved, you can just sit there and wait and eventually you'll hit that point. Similarly for your past light cone - there's a L.t. that makes that point 'straight pastwards' from you. And, and this is the important part for the original question, there's a L.t. to take any point outside BOTH light cones into any other such point.

(Short pause for breath, and to settle the mental model in place... think of it as a cone-shaped hourglass if you want.)

Now: any jaunt that lets you go faster than light? Takes you from where/when you are here/now to some point OUTSIDE your light cones. (Slower than light lets you get to any point inside them. Lightspeed, exactly, lets you travel along their "surfaces".) It might be JUST outside, if it's not very much faster than light at all - but it'll be outside.

But once you're outside your previous light cones? There'll be some Lorentz transform - some combination of velocity-change-less-than-lightspeed and rotation - that'll slide things around until where/when you are here/now is now at any OTHER OutsideCones point (relative to where you started from). So you can get to a velocity/direction-facing where another FTL jump, even if it's really weakly FTL, can get you back in from OutsideCones ... into your original PAST light cone.

And presto. You're in your own causal past; things you do from there can affect the spacetime point you started from. There's some velocity change/rotation that'll let you sit still afterwards and get back where you started. Etc. This is Bad For Causality...

(I realize this may end up just as nonunderstandable as the "faster than light" explanations. But it has the advantage of pointing to HOW the FTL necessarily implies time travel...)


#451 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2011, 11:40 AM:

dcb: The Harrises in question in our tree settled in Texas, if that helps any. The most diagnostic sibling triad (easy-peasy to track from census to census) were named Montefiore Moses Harris, Emerson Reinstein Harris, and George Sidney Harris, plus their sister Rosalind.

Montefiore is/was my husband's great-grandfather, and it's his grandfather Herman who immigrated. He was apparently (checking my docs instead of blowing it from the hip) born in Newenberg, Prussia; it was the Joseys/Jaseys who are from the muddy boundary area between the modern nations of Germany and Poland.

Now I'm trying to remember who the Vilnius ancestors were, 'cause I remember we had some. :-> Full-text searchability, ho!

Much easier than the side of the family that are all John-and-Mary Edmondsons (in a town in England with at least five separate lines of Edmondsons living there in those decades).

In re your Vilnian Harrises, I'd love to (offlist) collaborate with you on that. I'm pretty good at wrangling the newfound electronic so-much-easier-than-it-used-to-be documentation-finding end of geneological research, and do it as a kind of fannish side craft-that-pays-for-my-supplies (references available).

#452 ::: David DeLaney ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2011, 11:40 AM:

Me @450, para six: slight correction -

(Slower than light lets you get to any point inside the future cone. Lightspeed, exactly, lets you travel along the future cone's "surface".)

--Dave, oh the embarrassment

#453 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2011, 11:54 AM:

Elliott Mason @ 451: Oh, looks like no connection then (although we do have family history and present Texas connections) - I knew it was unlikely. If you want to e-mail me for more info on Harrises, contact dbourne (at) rvc-dot-ac-dot-uk.

#455 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2011, 12:58 PM:

I'd like to hear comments from the vets on this one:

How to deactivate a cat.

Is this humane?

#456 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2011, 02:44 PM:

Regarding relationship-referential identifications ...

In medieval English tax records, such as the Lay Subsidy of 1334, although husbands and wives are taxed individually, the standard format for listing them in the record is (translated from the Latin):

* (husband's full name)
* (wife's given name), his wife

or even more succinctly:

* (husband's full name)
* his wife

The absurd tyranny of this template was pointed up by a highly unusual pair of entries I ran across which read:

* the husband of (wife's full name)
* his wife

#457 ::: Throwmearope ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2011, 02:54 PM:

Jacque @ 449--

The local Denver daily newspaper (which has a nasty habit of trying to sue anyone who links to it) had a report that the City of Lakewood wanted to make it very, very plain to the denizens of that lovely town: There is no Poop Fairy. Pick up after your own dog.

(By the way, another Jackie here, but not another Jacqueline.)

#458 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2011, 03:04 PM:

David Harmon @455 -- not a vet, but I'd bet this is a reflex left over from kittenhood, when Momcat carried kittens by that part. Probably very humane, if the clip isn't too strong or left on for very long. Fascinating!

#459 ::: Cath ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2011, 03:13 PM:

re: Pennsic. I've never been :(
I'd like to someday, but not this year. It's a long way from northern An Tir, and I've zeroed out my travel budget for the next several months.

#460 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2011, 03:23 PM:

David Harmon @455: I suspect this is activating the cat's "mother cat is carrying you, go limp" pathways, in which case I'd think it would be okay if used for a non-painful procedure for a short time; the cat didn't appear too traumatised afterwards - I'd want to know what its heart rate was doing, etc. to be sure.

I'm totally against "trancing" rabbits (which makes use of their "Argh, I've been caught by a predator" reflex), with the exception of use for non-painful procedures if used when the only alternative would be to put the rabbit through the physiological stress of a sedation or anasthetic. It is NOT a "bonding experience" with your rabbit.

#461 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2011, 04:42 PM:

David Harmon @ 455: I agree with dcb. I wouldn't want to do this with clips that were the wrong size or too tight. Besides, cat bags are more humane and cats generally don't fight the bags (and, the bags work even better on rabbits!)

#462 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2011, 05:10 PM:

David 450: Well, that explanation went so far over my head that it didn't even whoosh. Outside the atmosphere, I guess.

I thought I understood it before. The explanation I heard went something like this:

  • Time slows down as you approach c because otherwise you could go faster than light inside the frame. Example: train going at c minus 2 mph; someone runs up the aisle at more than 2 mph. That can't happen because of time dilation; the person is going at more than 2 mph inside the train, but in slowed-down time, so they don't wind up going FTL in reality.
  • At c, time dilation is complete (also mass is infinite and length is zero, but ignore that); that is, time stops within the frame.
  • Therefore FTL would require time to run backwards, or more accurately to be dilated to less than zero (and come to think of it mass would have to be more than infinite and length would have to be less than zero, which is even harder to understand).
  • Therefore FTL implies time travel (back in time), and therefore is probably impossible.
It seems that that's wrong, like the Bernoulli Effect description of what makes an airplane wing work, but at least I understood it, and now I'm stupid again.

I am not happy.

#463 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2011, 05:16 PM:

On the subject of cat restraints....

our household includes one member who very emphatically does not want to have his work clothes, skin, big comfy chair, bedding, etc shredded by another member, a big furry goof who very emphatically does not want to have her claws clipped (and who hasn't figured out how not to get them stuck on textile surfaces.)

I've considered getting a cat sack, but can't figure out how I would get Ms Uncooperative into the damn thing. How does that work?

#464 ::: Dave Crisp ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2011, 06:06 PM:

Open-thready type question for the Fluorosphere:

Over the last few days I have found myself more and more convinced that at some point in the past I have read a poem that ended with (or at least included) the line "Wrote mene, tekel, peres: that was all"

Part of the reason I'm convinced it's something I've read rather than just made up is that I don't generally have random thoughts in iambic pentameter.

However, searching on that exact phrase returns no results, and every way I've thought of broadening it gets swamped in commentary on the Book of Daniel - understandable given that it's the source of the words, but irritating from my point of view.

My father had the vague idea that it might be Kipling, but adding his name into the search doesn't bring up anything useful either.

Does the line ring any bells with anyone else out there?

#465 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2011, 06:06 PM:

David Harmon @455: How to deactivate a cat.

Closely related to the all-important ferret off-switch.

Vets keep trying this on my guinea pigs, and the next time it happens, I'm going to rap their knuckles. Pigs aren't wired that way. Mummy doesn't carry them around by the scruff. The way you calm a guinea pig is to mush their face up under your chin. This gives them the feeling that they're hiding under Mummy's tummy.

#466 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2011, 06:16 PM:

Ginger @461: cat bags are more humane

And far more fashionable!

#467 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2011, 06:25 PM:

HLN: Cat report

The boyfriend came home from vacation, and, on getting out of his car, heard a cat crying across the street under a car. Boyfriend lured cat from underneath car, held firmly, and then leaned on the doorbell til I came and let them in.

So I have my boycat again.

I had not realized how upset I was until I stopped being so upset.

And Tommy now wears his collar all the time.

Thank you for the support and suggestions.

#468 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2011, 06:41 PM:

FTL/Time travel: Whilst I'm no closer to understanding the theory, at least now I feel less alone - it seems like while it's generally accepted that one implies the other, how you get there is envisaged very differently by different folks. Thanks for the company :D


Yes; exactly. I've watched Doctor Who for easily as much of my life as I can remember, but never heard the central theme described succinctly (and in song) as "the triumph of intellect and romance over brute force" before. I don't know that it *has* always been that, but it bears consideration.

Rob Rusick@444

Oddly, the two elements of my post were not meant to be connected - thinking about it (which I hadn't, previously), I guess I'd assume that in order to understand how a TARDIS travels, you first have to be a timelord for a few hundred years. As an author once put it*, the concepts pass human understanding in the sense that in order to really understand them you'd have to make so many changes to your brain that it couldn't properly be described as human any more.

Your theory is interesting, but as someone else would probably say: if that explanation helps you, great, but of course it's actually nothing like that at all :D

David Harmon@447

The main thing I'm getting out these answers is that there are various schemas - I'd somehow got the impression that there was a consistent if complex approach that stemmed naturally from classical physics, which I had just missed or was not getting. I'm actually heartened that this does not seem to be the case.

David DeLaney@450

I'm going to keep re-reading that. It sure looks like an elegant exposition of one way to think about it, but I was looking for something maybe a little more Feynman-esque :D

Maybe there just is no simple way to explain this and the correct answer is "well, first you take a graduate physics course..."


I'm sorry you're unhappy, but pleased to be in such excellent company with the whooshing. I really thought there was an intuitively satisfying explanation I just wasn't getting.

* I think I came across this in one of Charlie Stross's, but it may have been Alistair Reynolds. On reflection, it sounds more like Charlie. I'm afraid the concept stayed with me the attribution didn't - apologies.

#469 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2011, 06:42 PM:

Name thing: heh, there were four of me in my class of 17 in grade 5. It was good that students were known by last name in general...

Also, like Constance, I am "full first name", and have got used to people replying "hi <shortname>" to "hello, I'm <longname>". If they don't get it after being corrected, then I'm not important enough to them for them to care about what I want, and treat them accordingly.

Especial joy was the bartender that I'm pretty certain was hitting on me. While it wasn't going anywhere (sure I *pattern* gay, but I'm not; sorry to broadcast wrong), it *certainly* wasn't going anywhere when his first step was to imply "What you want to be called isn't important to me." I wonder what else isn't important to him, you see.

Open Thread ranting: as a unix/linux user from Way Back, I've got used to how a screen works, and how to set it up. I tried, I really did, Unity from Ubuntu, but I couldn't take it - and I've finally figured out what's been bothering me with UI changes across the personal computer spectrum for the last couple of years:

I don't do icons.

Seriously, I don't. I realize pictures are more intuitive than text for 90% of the population, but I'm not one of them. Having their launcher (and Windows 7's task bar, and...) be all icons and no text is just as much an impediment to my use as if they were labelled in Russian - I have to translate the image to the word, and then decide whether that's what I want.

And with all these dock styles, right back to the Mac OSX thing - THERE IS NO WAY TO PUT IN TEXT. You HAVE to have the icons, that's it.

And while everyone is commenting on whether this is the greatest thing, or whether it has problems (way over on the left on a dual monitor screen, whether you can tell which are launchers and which are icons for already launched programs, menu vs "I hope I can help you find what you want", whatever) - the fact that YOU CAN'T HAVE WORDS, JUST THESE UNDECIPHERABLE PICTURES, doesn't even come up.
Well, shpx gung fuvg1. I'm now investigating "lighter weight" window managers that will actually do what I want, for Ghu's sake - for 4 months from now, when Ubuntu, in it's own great wisdom, decides that what I've used for 15 years and understand just isn't "now" enough to still install straight up. It sounds like Gnome3-shell is going to be just as "useful".

tl;dr: If I wanted a Mac, I'd buy one. Also, suggestions welcome, if there actually is a way to get text into these docks.

1Bowser and Blue's "fecal dismissive". The only phrasing I feel appropriately fits my frustration, but ROTted for your protection.

#470 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2011, 06:45 PM:

@ 464

Chaucer, Monk's Tale

#471 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2011, 06:47 PM:

Dave Crisp @ 464: It's from the Monk's Tale (aka the Friar's Tale) in the Canterbury Tales; the specific wording is from Nevill Coghill's modern English translation.

In Middle English, it reads "Wroot 'Mane, techel, phares,' and na moore."

I found this out by searching in Google Books on the phrase "peres that was all". I figured that only searching on the last bit of the famous phrase and the next original bit would filter out the spurious Daniel commentaries; and that the poem was likely to have occurred in a book somewhere. That narrowed down the range of hits quite usefully.

#472 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2011, 06:47 PM:

Nancy #467: Yay!

Tom Whitmore #458, dcb #460, Ginger #461, Jacque #465:

Indeed, certainly the kitten reflex, but as one of the YouTube commenters noted, that cat had a definite "WTH?" look about it. (Indeed, humans are also bothered when their reflexes get yanked on!)

Others there noted that you really wouldn't want to leave that clip on for long periods of time. On the flip side, I wonder just how strong a grip is needed to trigger the effect.

Good points about not using it for a painful procedure -- I assume that would warrant the "cat bag", not so fraught with kittenhood associations?

#473 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2011, 06:56 PM:

Mycroft W @469: I realize pictures are more intuitive than text for 90% of the population,

I don't know that pictures are necessarily more intuitive (for me, they're certainly not), but I do find that, once I know what I'm looking for, they are faster. But until I know what I'm looking for, give me a text list, please. Preferably alphabetized.

#474 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2011, 07:06 PM:

Mycroft (469)/Jacque (473): give me a text list, please. Preferably alphabetized.

This. So few icons are really intuitive; the others I have to memorize individually. DO NOT WANT.

Isn't that why we have an alphabet and not hieroglyphs?

#475 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2011, 07:35 PM:

Russ #468: Relativity and quantum mechanics share this much: Their essence is in the mathematics. We humans like to understand things in metaphors, but here, metaphors lead us astray as soon as we try to go past the edge of their picture.

I will comment that the use of "infinity" for lightspeed mass/energy is misleading: What the mass says is that if you have an object with non-zero mass, you can pump as much energy as you want into its motion, but the speed will stay below lightspeed. The "infinity" is a poor interpretation of the mathematical singularity involved; the proper interpretation is simply "you can't do that", and the shape of the curve around it gives you a hint why. (The whole FTL/time-travel thing might even represent another hint....)

There is in fact room in relativity (and some quantum theories) for particles that do move faster than light... always. Even so, it would seem "tachyons" would have very limited interaction with normal matter (only by way of massless particles such as photons), and it's hard to imagine how they could be combined into an object.

#476 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2011, 07:51 PM:

If you have time dilation, does that mean you live longer because you die later?

#477 ::: Carrie S ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2011, 08:00 PM:

Erik Nelson: Yes, to an outside observer, but you don't *experience* any more time subjectively.

#478 ::: David DeLaney ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2011, 08:08 PM:

David @475, Russ @468, Xopher @462: Yeah, it's easier to understand if you're actually thinking at least a little in the math.

The "time dilation is what gets you not to get there" part isn't quite right - rather, it's that velocities don't ADD the way you think they do intutitively. Even "down near normal" ones. It's just that the little bit less that the total is is so small down at low velocities that you never ever have to account for it.

(Math: v1 ++ v2 = ( v1 + v2 )/( 1 + v1v2/c^2 ), using ++ for "what you get when you combine these two velocities in the same direction". It's always a bit less at least than "v1+v2", unless one of them's zero. And up near c, it works out that the 'sum' is still less than c.)

And there's definitely mental pictures that go along with this. (And about half of my big long explanation was just getting NAMES for certain of the concepts or pictures in place; a Lorentz transform is "really" 'just a rotation' but involving speed as well as facing, and with hyperbolas instead of circles...) But some of them don't make sense until you've at least played with the math a bit.

Summary of a summary of the explanation: if you HAVE an FTL drive, it necessarily jumps you from where/when you are, to somewhere/when outside both your light cones. And given that, you can then always arrange ANOTHER FTL jump, after some changing of speed and direction without using the drive, that takes you "into your own past" - back into your past light cone. There isn't anything stopping you from doing it, once you have an FTL drive at all. No matter how "weak" your FTL drive is in that "oh, it only goes a hair faster than light, that's okay, right?"...

Using gates or wormholes for the FTL can prevent this, partially ... by giving fixed places you can go from and to. In which case if none of the fixed points are IN your past light cone, you can't get there from here/then from now. But this places rather severe limits on where and when the endpoints can be, if you want them anywhere close to each other...


#479 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2011, 08:10 PM:

In regards to the naming—I am surrounded by a surfeit of Chris(es). I have two aunts Chris—on my mother's side*. The Honors class behind mine had five out of ten guys... well, Chris, Chris, Chris, Kristan, and Christian♠. I have a nephew Chris and undoubtedly many cousins Chris though I am not attempting to keep track of the various iterations. I knew a Kit (last name of Steen; can't blame him) and a Cricket in college. Lots of Chris. (One of the Honors guys acquired the subset-nickname "Skippy Cross-Boy." I'm not sure anyone ever informed him of this fact.)

Though I always seem to be working for Scott and Jim.

Incidentally, I am convinced that though there is a conspiracy of Daves, there is a continuum of Mikes. Just variants on a type (and a mighty strange type it is, too.)

*Through the wonders of informal intrafamilial adoption. One of the Christines is her sister and the other is some form of cousin through a marriage. She was raised with the latter, not the former.

♠Who died on Kilimanjaro. File under "weird categories to belong to."

#480 ::: David DeLaney ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2011, 08:10 PM:

Me @478: "intuitively". (Of course, sigh.)

--Dave, will spell foar fud

#481 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2011, 08:34 PM:

The scruff of the neck think was always good for the two-person-cat-medicating technique for particularly stubborn felines -- one person wraps their arms around the cat with one hand firmly grasping the scruff, while the other levers the jaws open and inserts the pill. Also works in modified form for giving shots or flea drops. We had damn stubborn cats.

#482 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2011, 09:17 PM:

David DeLaney @478 said: The "time dilation is what gets you not to get there" part isn't quite right - rather, it's that velocities don't ADD the way you think they do intutitively. Even "down near normal" ones. It's just that the little bit less that the total is is so small down at low velocities that you never ever have to account for it.

Except in certain cases, like the fact that Mercury orbits fast enough to just edge into the category of 'big enough you have to account for it' -- this led to something of a crisis among astromathematicians, leading them to propose a succession of as-yet-undiscovered planets that were causing it to orbit 'wrong' (hey, that explanation worked on Neptune! It could happen!) until Einstein offered a different explanation in 1915.

#483 ::: John Peacock ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2011, 09:22 PM:

Also late to the name thread. My given name is John, which is unbelievably common in the English speaking world. I almost never respond to someone calling out "John!", unless I recognize the voice, having long since permanently filtered those sounds from my personal reality.

My last name, Peacock, is hardly common (and wasn't that much fun to grow up with, I assure you). But when I was an undergraduate in Nuclear Engineers (UW-Madison - 1984), I discovered that I had a doppleganger. There was another John Peacock on campus, also in the Nuclear Engineering program. Only he was a 20 year Navy submariner going back to school so he could get a job in the industry. Small world indeed.

#484 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2011, 09:26 PM:

That last one leads me to believe she was the one who actually showed up and paid the taxes.

#485 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2011, 10:39 PM:

Perhaps it would help if we gave an actual example of FTL leading to time travel. When I first wrote this up, it was in the Babylon 5 newsgroup, so I'm going to keep the B5 names.

This example uses some simplifying assumptions...not all of them are necessary.

Let's have Ivanova launch from B5 in a Starfury. The Starfury's engines are really really good, and in no time at all Ivanova is traveling at 87% of lightspeed, relative to B5. Aboard, Ivanova has an ansible; with it, she can send a message back to B5 that will be received at the very instant she sends it.

Now the relativistic trick question is: "at the very instant" -- in what reference frame? Simultaneity is relative; two events that take place at the very same instant in one reference frame, will not be simultaneous in another. (See for example the well-known "paradox" of the length-contracted barn and the length-contracted pole.) So, for our purposes, we are going to postulate that any given ansible message is instantaneous in the reference frame of that particular ansible terminal. That seems reasonable, doesn't it?

(Note that you could postulate a universal preferred reference frame, and have all ansibles work in that frame. In this way you can avoid time travel. But that's contrary to the principle of relativity, and all evidence that we have is that the principle of relativity is correct.)

Now: when Ivanova launched, she and Sheridan synchronized their watches, so they agree on a common time=0.

When Ivanova has been patrolling for two hours, she gets buzzed by a Shadow ship. Naturally she immediately wants to report this incident, so she fires up her ansible. For Ivanova, it's been two hours; but relative to her, B5 has been moving at 87% of lightspeed, so in Ivanova's frame of reference, B5 has only experienced one hour of time -- when her clock ticks 120 minutes, at that same time the synchronized clock on B5 ticks 60 minutes. (And, yes, that's why I chose that somewhat eccentric-looking figure of 87% of c, so that γ = .5)

Now let's cut to Sheridan, back in B5 C&C. He receives Ivanova's message when his clock has just ticked 60 minutes. Naturally he wants to reply...but the kicker here is that in Sheridan's reference frame, it's Ivanova who is traveling at 87% of c, and Ivanova who is experiencing time dilation. In Sheridan's frame, his clock ticking 60 minutes is simultaneous with Ivanova's ticking 30 minutes.

So Ivanova winds up getting the reply to her message, an hour and a half before she sends it. And if Sheridan quotes the original message, Usenet-style, then the message has just traveled in time.

#486 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2011, 10:40 PM:

Carrie 477: I think you missed one there. You use a time dilater so you die later, get it?

#487 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2011, 11:03 PM:

The clock-masher experiment, yes?

#488 ::: Carrie S ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2011, 11:44 PM:

Xopher @#486: Oh. Shows where my sense of humor is. :)

#489 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2011, 11:59 PM:

Mystic Lantern video:

I'm ready to pack it up for shipping to the recipient, but I'm reluctant to let it go. I might just have to make another one.

#490 ::: Dave Crisp ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2011, 03:13 AM:

SamChevre @470, John Mark Ockerbloom @471: Thanks. Clearly my google-fu needs improvement :)

Now that I know the source, I of course know where I read it - when I were a nipper we had a beautifully illustrated copy of Coghill's version of the Tales that was a popular read on an idle weekend - although why that particular line buried itself in my brain only to randomly resurface fifteen-odd years later remains a mystery for the ages.

#491 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2011, 03:23 AM:

David Harmon@475

I think I'm going to have to pull out Feynman again:

"I think it's safe to say that nobody understands quantum mechanics"*

David DeLaney@478

I actually find your summary of a summary really helpful, though I think I needed the previous posters to convince me that the maths is not really amenable to a simple metaphor first.

David Goldfarb@485

(Note that you could postulate a universal preferred reference frame, and have all ansibles work in that frame. In this way you can avoid time travel. But that's contrary to the principle of relativity, and all evidence that we have is that the principle of relativity is correct.)

Thanks! That made something go "ping" in my head (in a good way). I've read but never quite got the "if you travel faster than light, you can warn someone about the shot before it was fired" thing - I think I was unconsciously assuming the universal shared frame of reference, although consciously I know this is not compatible with how physics is currently understood.

And thank you again to all the responders - this has been very helpful.**

*I remembered it as "anyone who claims to understand quantum physics is lying or mistaken", but the above is properly sourced on Wikiquotes.

** Which is not to say I get it, but I think I understand more about what I'm failing to understand.

#492 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2011, 03:49 AM:

On "multiple people with the same name", at one point I was involved in a Boy Scout group that had a dozen or so people in a small two-room building doing registration for a camping event; nine of us were named Bill.

On English-speaking people having small numbers of first names at various times - various of my family members have done genealogical research, and things start to get really uncertain in Massachusetts in the 1600s-1700s, because we know that Tom son of John lived in some village, but everybody there were farmers with ten kids, and not many first names, and there could be three or four different possible ancestors there. If it's the one that somebody thought was most likely, they came from some village in Scotland that had the same situation there.

Some time, probably in my thirties, my wife commented "Do you realize we now have tech support people who are named Melissa?" - it hadn't felt like that many years since anybody with that name would have been a small child.

#493 ::: David DeLaney ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2011, 06:08 AM:

For those five English names, given that the female one was Mary, I'm thinking three of the four male ones almost HAVE to have been John, William, and Thomas, and the fourth probably some variation on Edward / Edwin / Edgar / Ned? Or else Richard.

--Dave, I know MY name's from the Hebrew so it wouldn't have been very widespread then and there

#494 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2011, 07:11 AM:

Russ #491: or there's that quote from Eddington, or Haldane, or maybe someone else☀: "The universe may not only be stranger than we imagine, it may be stranger than we can imagine."

☀ I get the impression that the sentiment was "widespread" in the early 20th century... with some reason, given what was happening in science then!

Another stray bit from Haldane:

"Cancer’s a Funny Thing:
I wish I had the voice of Homer
To sing of rectal carcinoma,
This kills a lot more chaps, in fact,
Than were bumped off when Troy was sacked..."

"...I know that cancer often kills,
But so do cars and sleeping pills;
And it can hurt one till one sweats,
So can bad teeth and unpaid debts.
A spot of laughter, I am sure,
Often accelerates one’s cure;
So let us patients do our bit
To help the surgeons make us fit."[8]

#495 ::: Dave Crisp ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2011, 07:23 AM:

@494: There's a lot of similar quotations from Niels Bohr, as well. The one that gets thrown about most often is "Anyone who isn't shocked by quantum theory hasn't properly understood it", but my personal favourite is a remark he made to Pauli and Heisenberg: "We are all agreed that your theory is crazy. The question that divides us is whether it is crazy enough to have a chance of being correct."

#496 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2011, 08:16 AM:

Jacque @ 465: With ferrets, for vets that's a useful way to get a look inside the mouth, check the teeth etc., because of the yawn.

Yes, what works is species-dependent!

For wallabies (and probably other marsupials), popping them in a sack works quite well - they equate it to being back in the pouch, I presume, and they tend to quieten down.

Actually, most smallish mammals are easier to work with once inside a bag/sack. You can then ID the toothsome end - if necessary poke the sac with a stick, gently, and note which end of the animal bites it - and immobilise that (pinning just behind the head), then work on the rest of the body, pulling a bit of it at a time out of the bag/sack as needed.

Nancy C. Mittens @ 467: Hooray for the safe return of the cat! Well done boyfriend!

David Harmon @ 472: Good points about not using it for a painful procedure -- I assume that would warrant the "cat bag", not so fraught with kittenhood associations? NO! Painful procedures warrant general anaesthetic or sedation plus local/regional analgesia, as appropriate. You do NOT simply restrain an animal to do something painful to it, unless the "pain" is very minor - lesser/shorter than the pain (from the needle etc.) required to administer the analgesia/anaesthesia.

#497 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2011, 08:49 AM:

On the "Own Your Identity" sidelight: If you care about your online presence, you must own it. I do, and that’s why my email address has always been at my own domain, not the domain of any employer or webmail service.

Oh FFS, dude, I can be TexAnne anywhere I have a net connection. I've been TexAnne (in various spellings) since before people realized that what's on the Internet never goes away. When people say, "oh no you MUST own your own email server," I hear, "oh no you are not a true geek, you do not count, you are not serious about your online life." I call bullshit. There's nothing magical about owning an email server. Not owning one doesn't give me a smaller stake in the Internet--it gives me more to lose, like a wage slave in a democracy. Just because the big guys have sold me out doesn't mean the tech-heads have the right to sneeringly abandon me to my fate.

#498 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2011, 09:24 AM:

TexAnne: While I agree it's not as straightforward as it could be, "owning your own domain" does not imply "running your own server". It sounds like the poster owns the domain, but his mail is handled by Fastmail on his behalf. (Because he owns the domain, he can switch to another service if he wants to without changing his email address, but doesn't have to run a mail server himself.)

Similarly, I blog on the platform, but I bought my own domain name to use with it (it's the one linked under my name in this comment). So if it ever seems necessary, I can move off WordPress and keep the same domain name. (Keeping all the *URLs* working is not so simple, but there are some ways to do it.)

Some folks get along fine without permanent domain names of their own; you may well be one of them. But for folks who need a permanent, uniquely-resolvable identity (and that's something that useful to a lot of businesses and self-employed people), buying your own domain and services that will work with it can be very helpful, and doesn't have to involve too much work or expense.

#499 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2011, 09:39 AM:

TexAnne... doesn't mean the tech-heads have the right to sneeringly abandon me to my fate

Oh, if only I could draw... The cartoon I'd make out of these words...

#500 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2011, 09:42 AM:

An update to "Making Light and Faces"...
Earl Cooley III's visage can now be found HERE.

#501 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2011, 09:51 AM:

John, 498: I suspect that what I'm objecting to is his implication that all people everywhere must follow the One True Path as laid out by him. That stuff about how his identity is "completely under [his] control"...well, there are at least two other TexAnnes out there, but nobody would mistake us for each other. My identity is more than my nym (or my name)--for me, it's as much reputation as anything. He seems to have a very blinkered and techie view of things, dismissing people like me who have no inclination to host or own or understand the difference.

#502 ::: E. Liddell ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2011, 09:58 AM:

Mycroft W@469: The lighter-weight desktop environments tend to be less . . . progressive, in my experience. Try XFCE4, LXDE, and/or Trinity(the rebrand of KDE3) if you haven't already. I'm also anti-icon-only, run KDE3 on my main machine and XFCE4 on the laptop, and most things have text labels--there are a total of five unlabeled icons on my screen right now, only one of which is important (the main menu, for which the mnemonic is "lower left screen corner" anyway). Taskbar items are all labeled, tray items are icons but have tooltips.

#503 ::: Anne Sheller ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2011, 10:10 AM:

re Pennsic gathering - reading over our various comments, particularly Tracie @412, sisuile @416, gaukler @430, and myself @446, it sounds like what might work would be getting together at gaukler's booth noonish on Monday the 8th or Tuesday the 9th. It might be a good idea to bring a chair lest we exceed his available seating. How's that sound, Pennsic-bound?

#504 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2011, 10:12 AM:

TexAnne @ 501... all people everywhere must follow the One True Path

Whenever someone tries that on me, I ignore them and keep following the sound of my own drummer. If I may mix my metaphors.

#505 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2011, 10:14 AM:

Serge, 504: I do too. Just sometimes it makes me cranky enough to bitch out loud.

#506 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2011, 10:23 AM:

Nancy @467: Yay!

One day I was walking to the subway when I saw my cat--who I knew was safe at home--skulking along under a car. I spent about 15 minutes luring the beast close enough to see that though its markings were nearly identical to my own beloved, its nose and eyes were differently colored. It was a moment of heart-stopping terror.

I'm so glad your boy is home.

#507 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2011, 10:27 AM:

Pennsic-goers, re #503: That sounds fine. I have no preference for Monday vs Tuesday, but I'll vote for Monday just to get the ball rolling.

#508 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2011, 10:56 AM:

John Peacock @483: I discovered that I had a doppleganger

One of the weirder things about the Intert00bs is that I have a doppleganger out there, 'cept she's African American and younger than me, so I'm pretty sure she's the clone.

dcb @496: With ferrets, for vets that's a useful way to get a look inside the mouth, check the teeth etc., because of the yawn.

Also, for owners, it's a useful way to not strangle them when they've dug all the pots out of the kitchen cupboard again! :)

#509 ::: gaukler ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2011, 11:12 AM:

re:503 Pennsic etc. Monday the 8th or Tuesday the 9th should be no problem at my shop.
I'll be doing a Medieval Jewellery Slide Show the evening of the 8th.

#510 ::: alsafi ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2011, 11:16 AM:

TexAnne @ 497 & 501, I think what set my teeth on edge was the highly privileged assumption that anyone who cared about their data ought of course to be willing to pay--as they had done--for a setup that allowed for self-storage of emails. Admittedly, all of this is a first-world problem, but I dislike the no doubt completely unintended undercurrent of "poor people don't have any right to complain if they lose their data, since they didn't care enough to spend the necessary money on it."

It's a thing that makes me tired--I'm not a stupid person, but I'm not as tech-savvy as ... probably 90% of my face-to-face friends, and more like 99.9% of Fluorospherians. I want to protect my data and privacy and identity, but I also want to have the convenience of being able to access my email at least somewhat portably (I don't think that's a word). I can't afford a smartphone (not so much because of the phone itself as because of the data plans), and I'm not knowledgeable enough to figure out a way to have what I want without spending money I don't have. So I use gmail, and I know I'm probably skating on the edge of disaster, but it's not because I don't care.

While I'm on my annual unlurking (decloaking?), on the subthread of common names, we have an abundance of Lisas, Amandas, and Mikes among my friends (you can probably guess my age pretty closely now), but also a number of duplicates of less common names, including a pair of Re(a)gans and a pair of Benjis. We like to tell people new to the group that "the names will stay the same, but the people will change without notice."

And, though it looks like "View All By" is no longer keyed to email address, I'm changing the email address associated with my nym, so I'm just gonna stick this linky here for safest keeping.

#511 ::: alsafi ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2011, 11:28 AM:

(Sorry for the double post... I have been regrettably irregular in my orthography when it comes to putting my email in to associate with my username here over the years, so I have another "View All By" link to hook to my new email address. I'm still not sure this is the sum total, but it will have to do.)

#512 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2011, 11:34 AM:

alsafi, 510: Yes. After further thought, it occurred to me that he's mistaking the tool for the purpose. It's like those people who answer the question "How do I fix this Mac/Windows problem?" with "USE LINUX." My OS, phone, email are tools the way my car is a tool. I know when to change the oil and how to change a tire (and the fact that I physically can't change a tire doesn't disqualify me from owning a car). Similarly, I know basic computer troubleshooting and maintenance--but my lack of interest in its guts is not a moral failing on my part, and doesn't deserve scorn if something bad happens. (Oh hello, parallels with Alex's gmail trolls.)

#513 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2011, 12:05 PM:

TexAnne @ 512... I know basic computer troubleshooting and maintenance--but my lack of interest in its guts is not a moral failing

It's not?

#514 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2011, 12:46 PM:

I've had this nym for probably over a decade. I use it on LJ, in forums, in email and on FB. I actually even have a secondary nym for the my parents email and FB benefit. I'm sure they don't want to hear my occasional outbursts of profanity, nor do I need to discover exactly how conservative my dad is getting in his old age through LJ arguments.

I was distressed to find someone also called Nerdycellist floating about the web. It doesn't seem we hang out in the same circles though, so other than not being able to claim a gmail or twitter account under my nym, there's very little impact to my life.

My actual first name is not completely unusual but it's never been in the top 10. It was also a word before it was a name. My surname is very common in Poland and other places with a Polish diaspora, but not especially common here in L.A. Nonetheless, a quick google search reveals a person living in Italy with my exact first and last names. I can't imagine the odds. I should probably set up the most vanilla of Linked-In profiles for my Real Name, lest future employers think I'm trying to hide something - which I am, but it's just regular, legal stuff.

#515 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2011, 01:27 PM:

HLN: Area woman wants it clearly understood that she loves her cats...although remembering that can be difficult when one is awakened by a crash of glass and discovers that one of the little darlings has managed to knock over a heavy torchiere and break the primary shade (identity of culprit is 99% certain, due to the individual in question having a penchant for trying to use said lamp--metal, mind you--as a scratching post, and the fact that said individual was spotted trying to hide under the dining room curtains).

In other HLN, the light bulb remained intact and still works. Weird.

#516 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2011, 01:31 PM:

Melissa Singer at 506:

Tommy (he is the cat, not the boyfriend) has a double in the neighborhood who lacks the white tail tip. The double is known affectionately to us as "Not-Tommy." It's the same sort of situation as yours - driving from work, see the cat, go, "Tommy! Oh, Not-Tommy," and heave a sigh of relief.

#517 ::: sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2011, 01:46 PM:

Pennsic: I can do Monday. I will also be bringing the usual selection of cordials, drink syrups, and suchlike - sing out, oh people who want some, so I know how many bottles to bring.

If it wasn't so %^%&%^&* hot I'd be putting the simple syrup on tonight. (actually, it may be warm enough to do the simple syrup base without fire. I might try that.)

#518 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2011, 01:58 PM:

Hyperlocal news... Men in gym's locker room break into a chorus when man (not this here man) plays Sonny & Cher's "I've Got You, Babe" off his iPod. Man (this here man) was amused.

#519 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2011, 02:00 PM:

nerdycellist @514: The name I lived under from the age of 4 until I got married was unique in Google -- it did not turn up anybody but me, and still doesn't. Scrolling through those results is an interesting potluck mixture of a bunch of stuff I spent a lot of time doing ... some of it, I still do. :->

#520 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2011, 02:25 PM:

@519: Presumably not this one.

#521 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2011, 03:08 PM:

Jacque @520: I was named for her, yes. And, for you my-mom fans, therein lies a tale (if I may plagiarize Aahz a bit) ...

My mom, you see, was a model in Manhattan as a child. So when the big painted portrait of Eloise that hangs in the Plaza lobby was stolen in the 60s, the hotel commissioned a replacement to be painted by Hilary Knight (the original artist of both books and painting) to hang during the search. The original was eventually recovered and is the one currently on display; they keep the 'spare' in the basement for use when the original is being cleaned, or for whatever other purpose they wish.

My mother was the model chosen to stand next to a wall with a turtle and a pug for 6 hours (on and off) while Hilary Knight painted her and made small talk. It was a fairly formative experience for her, compounded by the humor of the books ... though I still think naming one's spawn after an EPIC BRAT, fictional or otherwise, is just asking for it. :->

And we did go to New York when I was six, so I could sit under the table in the Plaza restaurant, see the Statue of Liberty, and get shown all my mother's favorite parts of Central Park from when she was small.

#522 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2011, 03:33 PM:

Elliott Mason @521: I don't know if it's still true, but under former management, if a child went to the front desk and asked for Eloise, a pair of child-size patent-leather Mary Janes would be displayed and the child told that Eloise had just gone out after dropping off her shoes for cleaning.

There was also this, during the Cow Parade:
in situ:

#523 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2011, 03:40 PM:

Pennsic #503: Monday sounds good to me. (Tuesday would also work. ). I'll bring some munchies. I haven't started any syrups yet, but there's still time. I'm thinking of lime-Ginger to start. BTW I will be staying in a motel in New Castle, in case anyone needs respite.

#524 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2011, 03:48 PM:

On identities:

I've been Linkmeister since the days of Yahoo Clubs and bought the domain name in May 2002. I remember being astonished that nobody had snapped up that name (too cutesy, maybe?). I've never availed myself of the email-to-domain function, mostly because I'd already been using other mail addresses for quite a while and felt the re-education of all my friends would be more trouble than it was worth.

I still kinda feel that way, and my circle of friends/acquaintances has greatly increased.

#525 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2011, 04:16 PM:

Melissa Singer, #506, and doppelganger cats:

Way back about thirty years ago, we found one of our indoor/outdoor cats dead in the street from being hit by a car. Great sadness ensued, and we buried the corpse in the backyard with appropriate ceremony.

That evening, our cat showed up on the back porch, meowing for his dinner and looking confused about the fuss we made over him.

I had buried someone else's cat. To this day, I feel a little chagrined, because some family somewhere in the neighborhood had their cat just vanish, with no idea what happened to it.

The kicker? Our cat's name was Aslan.

(Teresa may remember the big grey fluffy guy. He was a great cat, lived nearly twenty more years.)

#526 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2011, 04:24 PM:

Bruce, did you bury your cat in a spot labeled "Pet Sematary"?

#527 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2011, 04:32 PM:


You know, unless you raise rotweillers and keep loaded machine guns on hand at all times, you don't *really* care about your physical security.

#528 ::: Craig R. ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2011, 04:38 PM:

In re tech-dweebs looking down noses - It reminds me of the disdain that some of those who classed themselves as "techies" would treat anybody with an AOL.COM e-mail address.

Instead of having to tweek and tune and run all your own server, and configre the *** out of your servers, the average user could just sign on to AOL and, with the ease of using any appliance, have e-mail and access to the intertubes.

I've been in the computer business for {mumble-mumble} years, and from my view, there is no reason that this should not have been the case when commercial / consumer online services were offered.

Granted you got a lot of riff-raff when the online populations were swelled by the addition of hoi polloi, but you also got a boat load of people who just wanted to be able to avail themselves of the chance to use this new avenue for communications and commerce.

I didn't read the sidelight particle, but it sounds I'd just be annoyed.

(BTW -- I've been a subscriber to AOL since before it *was* AOL (back in the days when /d/i/n/o/s/a/u/r/s/ /p/a/i/n/t/e/d/ /w/i/n/d/o/w/i/n/g/ /i/c/o/n/s/ /i/n/ /L/a/s/c/a/u/x/ the service was called "Q-link" and was used by 8-bit Commodore computers)

The idea was to treat the software as a service, and try to be as bulletproof as possible, using the old AT&T model for manufacturing telephones -- if you make 'em so they work, and keep on working, you don't have a whole lot of service calls and you don't have to spend extra money replacing equipment.

My aim as a software guy is to do as good a job as I can, so I don't have to do rework.

#529 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2011, 04:40 PM:

Bruce @535: Wow! That's some story.

#530 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2011, 04:43 PM:

Open threadiness:

When I heard about this story originally (on the radio, in Spanish), I very much hoped I'd misunderstood. I hadn't.

Our government is refusing to give the UN's top official on torture private access to Bradley Manning. As with so many other actions of this kind, it's kind-of possible to imagine an innocent explanation, except that the organization that's doing it has tortured many prisoners in the past, and made damned sure nobody important felt any consequences for doing it.

At the same time, Manning's supporters have been subjected to a campaign of harrassment by federal agents.

There is simply no way to excuse this kind of crap. To the extent the Obama administration is able to continue doing it without fear of losing support from its base, Democrats are supporting the growth of an ever-nastier national security state in almost exactly the same way Republicans did during the Bush years.

#531 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2011, 05:45 PM:

Melissa Singer @ 529: Bruce @535: Wow! That's some story. - And time travelling as well!

Bruce: sympathies - I would feel like that as well.

However, for animal mix-ups? Beat this. One of our pinkfoot geese flew out, landed on the road and was hit by a car (which swerved to hit her). Broke her wing. We took her to the large animal practice we used, which was about eight miles away (we didn't think our local small animal practice would want to deal with her). Got a call, mid-afternoon, that the goose had had her badly-broken wing removed and was ready to come home. We drove there, collected the goose in her box, drove home, took the box to a stable we had prepared for her, opened the box - and there lay a dead cat...

So first we telephoned the veterinary practice and said "whatever you do, don't give the other family the box containing the "dead cat" for burial. Then we got in the car and drove (grump - my stepmother was NOT amused) through thickening traffic back to the surgery and swapped boxes and drove home again, and went to the stable and let the goose out.

#532 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2011, 06:08 PM:

There's a classic urban legend about a dead animal mix-up, involving a dog and a dead bunny.

#533 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2011, 06:17 PM:

I'm used to people having my same first and last names -- my last name is surprisingly common for one that isn't in the top 100, and my first name is of course extremely common.

What got to me was doing a Google search that included my middle name, and having it turn up somebody in the Seattle area.

#534 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2011, 07:13 PM:

Woo-hoo, I'm about to dine with Lee and partner! Shall I tell them the Fluorosphere says hi?

#535 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2011, 07:15 PM:

Cora Buhlert has accidentally cornered the market on Strunk/White erotic fan fiction.

#536 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2011, 07:27 PM:

TexAnne (534): This corner of it certainly says Hi! Have a good time, all of you.

#537 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2011, 07:50 PM:

TexAnne @ 534... Please do so on my behalf.

#538 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2011, 08:23 PM:

David Goldfarb #533: I have a "dopplenamen" (all three names) who is apparently a scientist working for the Smithsonian, with a couple of books out on ecological diversity. This gives me a definite "that was supposed to be my life" sadness.

#539 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2011, 09:36 PM:

Back when I played saxophone and was interested in just intonation, there was another Tim Walters out there who also played saxophone and was interested in just intonation. We should have got together and made a record.

#540 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2011, 10:47 PM:

Lee and partner waved at the Fluorosphere.

#541 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2011, 10:54 PM:

"Hi, Lee!" from me.

#542 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2011, 11:04 PM:

David Goldfarb @533, David Harmon @538: I had found my doppelganger (middle name included — I'd think Rusick was unusual enough) in jail for fraud in Missouri.

My first thought was identity theft (and the hope that an illegal immigrant was contributing to my Social Security), but there seemed to be an associated cluster of Rusicks in the location. However, a search of addresses where he had lived listed my address.

Wonder if that was why it took 9 months for the FBI to clear me for my job* (didn't keep me from working — but if they hadn't cleared me I couldn't have kept the job).

* More likely it was smeary fingerprints.

#543 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2011, 11:18 PM:

OK, now that Torchwood: Miracle Day is in progress, I decided to finally watch my DVDs of Torchwood: Children of Earth.

Of course I'd heard that CoE was depressing, that's why I didn't watch it until now. But there's a difference between depressing and abusive. CoE is abusive, and I mean of the audience. If I ever meet the people who wrote it I'll be seriously tempted to punch them in the nose.

#544 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2011, 11:58 PM:

And now I've watched the first episode of Miracle Day, and my initial thought is that jura gung PVN fuvgurnq qrpynerq gur "eraqvgvba" bs gur Gbepujbbq grnz gb gur HF, fgnaqvat evtug va sebag bs Wnpx...Wnpx fubhyq unir chapurq uvz va uvf oyrrqvat purfg jbhaq.

#545 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2011, 12:26 AM:

Hi, Lee & partner & TexAnne!

#546 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2011, 12:29 AM:

I had a really hard time w/Children of the Earth. If they wanted me to dislike Jack Harkness that was the best way for them to do it. What really upset me was the idea that his grandchild was his property. That we were supposed to feel sorry for Jack sacrificing the boy. I'm sorry, but that child was not Jack's to sacrifice. Jack is welcome to make any sacrifices he likes with his own person, but he should not claim ownership of another human.

Sorry, I'm still upset about it after over a year. I don't even have kids or spend time with them, and I'm still really disturbed by that implication. I think it's a big reason why I didn't sign up for Starz to see this season.

#547 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2011, 12:39 AM:

An addendum to the discussion about FTL & time travel:

The reason that you can't get out of the event horizon of a black hole is that as you fall into the hole and get closer to the horizon your lightcones are rotated; when you cross the horizon they've rotated far enough that any trajectory that goes back across the horizon is in your past lightcone, and all trajectories in your future lightcone fall into the singularity at the center1. So you literally cannot move in any direction that goes outside the event horizon, because it's entirely in your past.

1. Well, it's possible that some trajectories might go around the singularity, so that in a big enough hole you'd miss getting reduced to quantum foam, but it's not clear to me where you'd go then. If white holes exist, and are paired with black holes (a big if) you might end up coming out somewhere, but not in the same universe you went in from. I think I'll stop there before I start talking about short proper times inside a black hole versus infinite times outside.

#548 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2011, 12:50 AM:

Yikes! The parish choir director is going to be out this weekend. I have volunteered to sing the anthem, but he has in turn deputized me as the emergency back-up choir director. Hope the organist is OK with my executive decisions to sing parts on all verses or lower the keys on anything that goes above a C. Also, I wonder if Jim had any idea what kind of a choir director I am. He knows I can't play the piano, but he may not know that I'm really bossy and mean.

#549 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2011, 06:16 AM:

Over at CNN this morning I saw "4 things I learned after being hit by a truck"

Imagine my disappointment to discover that it was about Becoming a Better Person after divorce, loss of a job, and similar stuff. Being hit by a truck isn't even mentioned.

#550 ::: Anne Sheller ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2011, 10:13 AM:

re Pennsic gathering - Sounds like Monday will work. I'm fine with that. sisuile, I'm willing to try anything once - whatever it pleases you to bring, I'll most likely take a taste.

Since I'm working nights, I don't know if I'll have time or energy to make and bring any home-made treats. You'd think 8 hours is 8 hours, but when it's 5 nights a week, it gets to be a drag. Maybe I should just stop by the camp store and pick up some cold water to bring.

#551 ::: alsafi ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2011, 11:11 AM:

Xopher @ 543: I have, much to my partner's frustration, flatly refused to watch Children of Earth. I'm not sure I care to see any more offerings from the Torchwood franchise, which will probably dismay her even further. But after the way Gbfu naq Bjra jrag (Bjra'f raq V pbhyq unir gnxra va fnq fgevqr, ohg Gbfu'f whfg sryg sbeprq naq zrnafcvevgrq), hearing that Vnagb jnfa'g tbvat gb znxr vg out of CoE was the last straw. Xvyyvat fb znal bs gur znva punenpgref va fhpu n fubeg fcna just booted me right out of enjoying the show any more at all. I suddenly found myself unable to care about any of the other characters, and I admit myself deeply suspicious of this new, Americanized version.

#552 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2011, 11:26 AM:

Jim Macdonald Being hit by a truck isn't even mentioned. Yes it is... "on one spring morning I was run over by a real one..."

#553 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2011, 11:26 AM:

Just a bit of something that occurred to me while I was getting ready for work this morning. (For the record, I've written enough execrable LARP scenes that I have no moral high ground remaining to me on the topic of bad prose. This is just silliness and not at all intended seriously or cruelly.)

Her titian hair and flaming eyes,
Her nose, so cutely acquiline,
Her lips, that taste of honeyed wine,
Sweet Mary Sue has come to dine.

Her noble steed, it's valiant breast,
it's eyes, which opal- and fluoresce,
Her lips, that drip with honeyed whine,
Dear Mary Sue has come to dine.

Her fate, so tragic and unkind,
Her morals, holier than mine,
I think I'll have a bit more wine.
Fair Mary Sue has come to dine.

Her thesaurus, with it's broken spine,
Her poems in pentiambic time,
My head aches, as frustration climbs.
Gay Mary Sue has come to dine.
(Dear God, why can't she let me die?)

#554 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2011, 11:48 AM:

Elliott Mason @521: When I finally got to see the Plaza in ninety-something (before it was converted to condos), I was very disappointed to learn that the ceiling niches had been closed in.

The concierge passed along a bit of lore (that I have yet to verify independently) to the effect that Eloise was inspired when Judy Garland was performing there. Apparently (according to the story) Liza Minnelli was left to roam the hotel with, um, less than adequate supervision.

Eloise was a formative influence for me, as a wee thing.

Melissa Singer @522: Okay, now, that's just plain bizarre.

#555 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2011, 11:54 AM:

Serge—note on my pic in Making Light & Faces—the description on the Pirates of Penzance pic properly belongs to a Ruddigore pic I had up in the same location. You could change it to the line that was being sung at the same time: "Oh is there not one maiden here whose homely face and bad complexion have caused all hope to disappear of ever winning man's affection?" There's a *reason* the book is being held up; it's an in-character snub.

#556 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2011, 11:57 AM:

Craig R. @528: My aim as a software guy is to do as good a job as I can, so I don't have to do rework.

During our Month from Hell at work, I had one client call in. "We sent you the address changes last year, but a bunch of our accounts got missed. Can you please fix it this time?"

"Can you please send me a list of the account numbers you're concerned about?"

"Why do I have to spend the time to type in all those numbers? We tried to fix this last year."

"And if you send us a complete list of your account numbers, then we can make doubly sure we get them all, so you don't have to go through this again next year."

"Mumble mumble"

"'There's never time to do it right, but there's always time to do it over'?"

"... Mumble."

We settled on him faxing us copies of all of the relevant notices.


Laziness doesn't annoy me. Laziness done badly annoys the crap out of me.

#557 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2011, 12:17 PM:

Jacque @554: Actually, Eloise originated in what we might nowadays call a standup routine that Kay Thompson was doing in the Catskills and on similar circuits. She was basically her era's version of Howie Mandel's 'Bobby' character (before he got sanitized for children's TV): a putatively kindergarten-aged precocious kid who can spout all kinds of outrageous statements and observations about modern life for a laugh. I have no idea whether rumors of Liza's conduct inspired Eloise's abode to become the Plaza, but the character pre-existed back as far as the 1940s or so, if I am remembering correctly.

Thompson was talked into converting her act into a book, which was aimed at the sorts of people who like satirical pieces in the New Yorker; she was utterly shocked when people started instantly buying it to give to CHILDREN. Hilary Knight did spend an awful lot of time sitting in various public spaces of the hotel (and ducking into back hallways, etc) for reference material while he was working on the art for the conversion-to-book; the art is outstandingly accurate to the Plaza as it existed at the time, down to the bathroom layouts.

The Plaza was actually somewhere between dismissive and actively hostile to the first waves of Eloise fans showing up in the 50s wanting to see 'the real place' … until they realized what a revenue stream it was and reluctantly adopted her (via commissioning the first portrait) as an acknowledged fictional resident.

#558 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2011, 12:31 PM:

Kay Tei @553, Grin.

#559 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2011, 12:33 PM:

B Durbin @ 555... Correction made here. Let me know if further changes are needed.

#560 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2011, 12:59 PM:

I have a bit of a happy conundrum - I began re-reading the previous ASOIAF books a bit too late, and have now just finished A Clash of Kings (#2). I have re-read each book as the next one comes out, so the only book I've only read once is A Feast For Crows (#4). I remember most of what's going on and with who(m) and why, but I'm worried about being spoiled for Dance. So, should I a) keep reading in order, b) re-read only Feast, or c) just throw caution to the wind and start in on Dance?

#561 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2011, 01:13 PM:

nerdycellist -- I started my re-read late as well. I assumed my push--er, book seller wouldn't have ADWD until July 12 and that I wouldn't be seeing them until later this week.

I have almost finished ASOS, and plan to re-read AFFC before starting the newest book. The latest reread is going faster than I had anticipated (if only I didn't have to work!) so I'm hoping to get to the new one this weekend.

It is frustrating to have the new book in hand, knowing that someone has probably finished by now. (And yes, I'm trying to avoid spoilers.)

#562 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2011, 01:31 PM:

For what it's worth, I thought _Children of Earth_ was quite good and I look forward to more Torchwood written that way. I don't expect everyone to agree with me, but I'll stand up for liking it.

The first episode of _Miracle Day_ was... well, it reminded me of the McGann (US-produced) Doctor Who episode, but not in the worst ways. It had a little too much eye-rolling meta, and a little too much eye-rolling action-scene boilerplate. The US characters were *very* boilerplate, and not nearly as memorable as the original characters were at the end of Torchwood UK's first hour.

I suspect it spent too much time introducing the UK characters for existing Torchwood fans, and not enough for new watchers, but that's a hard problem.

#563 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2011, 02:09 PM:

I'm currently halfway through A Clash of Kings. I plan not to read Dance until I'm all the way through the first four.

(I will say that I remembered quite a bit of Game while the show was going...of Clash and later, very little.)

#564 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2011, 02:46 PM:

Jacque @554 (hopefully I haven't typo'd the post # this time): Yes, the cows were all a bit bizarre, some more than others. _But_ it was fun, that summer, hunting them out in various parts of the city. We weren't completists but managed to see a goodly number of them.

I loved this pair, which were also near the Plaza Hotel:

#565 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2011, 03:33 PM:


I've just finished Georgette Heyer's _The Grand Sophy_, so Mary Sues are very much on my mind. (Not to mention a fairly jarring bit of throwaway anti-Semitism, which was pretty plainly not something she expected to be jarring at all when she wrote the book.)

#566 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2011, 05:01 PM:

To be honest, I don't think that RTD can cope with the range of possibility that SF allows, and he's prone to being forced into retconing an escape clause, and resorting to leaps of scale which make Doc Smith look restrained and sedate.

"I'm the last Time Lord," says the Doctor, pretty much in the first episode. Yeah, right. Look at how many different ways he conjured up Time Lords, and how season climaxes jumped from merely saving the Earth to, finally, saving more than the Universe.

Well, Stephen Moffat came up with what must be the ultimate reset switch, and maybe it can be justified. Nothing, after the Pandorica, is quite certain any more. I think that's a good thing. He's also keeping the stories at a more personal level. There's a focus on saving the Doctor, even if so much of the story is a big event.

Torchwood, so much seems to have been thrown away. In TV production terms, there was a point to focusing on a Torchwood base in Cardiff. You didn't need to depict a London headquarters. You could explain the apparent independence as a side effect of the Dalek/Cyberman battle. But, while it has to come down to Jack and his friends as a dramatic necessity, there's suddenly nothing else.

Torchwood, as an organisation, had to be influenced by the Cold War patterns. Cardiff made sense as one of several dispersed bases, and they wouldn't all be in cities.

There's so much that could have been done differently. The Torchwood organisation could have been subverted, Jack becoming hunted by people he knew. Isn't there drama in that, rather than an arbitrary "Dostroy Torchwood" order.

And then, after all that, we have to somehow put things back together for the new season.

Oh, RTD does a good enough job, but the open-ended structure of Doctor Who and Torchwood isn't something that works well for him. Give him a beginning, middle, and end, and he can be brilliant. Casanova dies. "The End."

Casanova, as a TV series, isn't likely to last a half century. He gave Jack Harkness an ending, and a pretty strong one. And now we're back with Torchwood.. It doesn't feel all that promising.

#568 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2011, 05:51 PM:

Open thready: Someone in an MMO just misread something as "Lovecock" leading to improvised HPL sex scenes. Nacreous slime, near-luminescent in the moonlight... moist Tasmanian crevices, glowing with a radiation no mortal can see... rugose members, rearing like blind antediluvian serpents before diving into chthonic caves... then I had to go "Cock-a-thulhu-doo" in the middle and TOTALLY RUIN THE MOMENT.

People must know the nameless horrors I have seen- nay, committed.

(I'm guessing that's the noise a cockatrice makes, myself.)

#569 ::: glinda ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2011, 06:50 PM:


I've been planning to get some of my Things With Beads In (cf. Music With Rocks In) photographed and up for sale, but didn't want to keep the pictures on LJ, don't want to pay for Flickr, and haven't been extremely happy with the Picasa web interface. So, server space. Have had a domain name for a couple/few years already.

I followed the link to Hosting Matters (on the ML front page) this afternoon, and sent an email with my questions; got a lovely answering email just now, that included this: "We're always here to assist, and since you obviously have a sense of humor, it makes us much less likely to seek an immediate workable EMP when we see your name pop up. Besides, we have to have something to distract us from the neverending parade of password resets we do virtually every day."

Simultaneous blushing and giggling ensued.

So, thank you, Patrick, Teresa, et al.; I think this is going to be a long-term GoodThing.

*still giggling*

#570 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2011, 07:24 PM:

HLN: While it would certainly be feasible to compose a lyric about Typhoid Mary to the tune of "Mustang Sally", it would take some real convincing to persuade me that such an outcome would be desirable. Similarly, one could preface a joke with the introduction, "So Mustang Sally and Typhoid Mary walk into a bar..." -- but could a good joke possibly follow on such an introduction? I am doubtful.

#571 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2011, 08:00 PM:

KayTei at # 553: I enjoyed your light verse, and especially the slide from "wine" to "whine".

#572 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2011, 08:35 PM:

glinda @ #569, that Hosting Matters mail reads as though the initiator was Annette. I think she's the owner of the company. She's a gem, as is Stacy. There are probably other employees there with whom I've had no dealings, but those two make host/user relations almost fun.

#573 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2011, 09:14 PM:

nerdycellist 546: What really upset me was the idea that his grandchild was his property.

While I was just as upset by it as you were, I read that part differently. V guvax gung ng gung cbvag Wnpx jbhyq unir fnpevsvprq nal puvyq gb fnir gur zvyyvbaf bs puvyqera gur 456 jrer gnxvat.

Gur snpg gung bayl uvf tenaqpuvyq jnf ninvynoyr jnf uvf xnezn sbe hfvat becunaf, "xvqf ab bar jbhyq zvff," va 1965. "Vg'f rnfvre jura lbh qba'g xabj gur anzrf," ur fnvq. Ur ybfg uvf ybire naq uvf tenaqpuvyq, naq vg'f cerggl pyrne ur ybfg uvf qnhtugre gbb. Nyy gung jnf xnezvp ergevohgvba sbe abg gerngvat gur becunaf nf crbcyr gb or pnerq nobhg.

V qba'g guvax lbh'er fhccbfrq gb srry fbeel sbe Wnpx ng gung cbvag. V guvax lbh'er fhccbfrq gb srry fbeel sbe Fgrcura naq uvf zbgure.

Ubjrire, gur fubj gerngf Fgrcura nf na vafgehzrag sbe chavfuvat Wnpx. Naq gurer'f ernyyl ab ybtvp fhccbegvat gur vqrn gung hfvat Fgrcura gung jnl fubhyq xvyy uvz. Qvqa'g xvyy nal bs gur bgure xvqf. Vg'f whfg jevgreyl svng.

Gur ybff bs Vnagb ernyyl uheg. V'z abg sbetvivat gur jevgref sbe gung va n uheel. Abe sbe gur snpg gung gubfr gjb Anmvf (gur bar gung ohevrq Wnpx va przrag naq gur bar jub qrpvqrq gung gur xvqf sebz gur "snvyvat fpubbyf" fubhyq or fnpevsvprq) jrer nyybjrq gb yvir naq cebfcre, abe sbe gur snpg gung gur CZ qvqa'g qvr ubeevoyl. NYY gur zbfg ebggra crbcyr va PbR tbg njnl jvgu vg, zber be yrff, juvyr na bayl zbqrengryl ebggra crefba jnf qevira gb snzvyl naavuvyngvba.

Gur Nzrevpnaf va Zvenpyr Qnl nyy fgevxr zr nf rkcraqnoyr, rfcrpvnyyl gur znva bar. V fher ubcr ur qbrfa'g fheivir, gur fuvgurnq, ohg tvira ubj gurfr crbcyr ner jevgvat ur cebonoyl jvyy. Gurl'yy cebonoyl xvyy Eulf naq gur onol vafgrnq.

#574 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2011, 09:24 PM:

albatross @ 565

Oh, wasn't that bit appalling? I was glad I had previous exposure to Heyer's work to balance it out, or I might not ever have bothered with any of her other books. (I also recently went through a bunch of more obscure-to-me Heyers; on reading, it frequently became clear why they were obscure-to-me in the first place, though I think that was one of the more jarring instances I ran across.)

#575 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2011, 10:03 PM:

Sandy B. at #568: Make lovecraft, not warcraft!

#576 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2011, 10:04 PM:

JanetL on the Esquire thread asked what I thought of "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" - at the time, I was on page 20, and had no valid opinion.

Life intervened, and it took a while to finish, but I did, and:

It's an extremely powerful book.
It's clearly a book of its time, but as a person who has had dealings with the mental side of medical life, I'm extraordinarily glad that this world was ripped open and that is not the state of mental health currently. I realize we have a long way to go.
It's clearly a book of it's time, and the blatant global stereotyping, and the straight-up acceptance of it by the characters (even the ones being stereotyped) is jarring, whether it was the Whoop-Whoop Indian, or the "black boys" (you can hear the N word behind every use of that term; so much so that the one time it actually was written, I had almost no reaction to it besides "ah, so your true nature comes out"), or the "there's only one thing a woman respects", or the drunk loudmouth Irishman, or...

It bothered me that there were no women in the story that weren't either Queen Bees (and virginal, either because no respecting male would touch her or because it would diminish her power), or who used sex as life currency. But in a male mental ward, women are going to be scarce on the ground.

It bothered me that it was too easy to recreate Bedlam, even in 1960 (where things like ECT were being shown to be (usually) more damaging than useful, after years of that being known on the wards and used as a threat rather than an attempt at a cure),

It's also a fascinating study in power and the lengths people will go for "their share" of it (in addition to another case of "The reason that university politics is so vicious is that the stakes are so small." - also see condo boards and HCAs).

I'm glad to have read it, and I'm glad to have missed it before, and I'm glad to not have been having my troubles when that was one of the options.

And I'm sure I'm being horrible as a reviewer and in answering the question.

#577 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2011, 10:39 PM:

FWIW, the one review of Dance I've read made it sound like it was more parallel to Feast than follow-on.

#578 ::: glinda ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2011, 10:47 PM:

Linkmeister @ 572:

Yes, it was Annette.

#579 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2011, 01:46 AM:

Back from the Discworld con. Much fun was had. There are pictures. Assistance with character ID would be greatly appreciated -- I'm not much into Pratchett myself and so recognize only a few here and there, though my partner was able to fill in some of the blanks for me.

Re MRIs: I had one a few years ago, for a shoulder injury. Yes, it was a very small space, but I'm not generally claustrophobic, and I was able to cope by simply keeping my eyes closed and thinking about something else.

My freshman year at Vandy there were so many guys named Bill in my social circle that I started assigning them numbers -- Bill-1, Bill-2, etc. -- in order to keep them straight in my head. IIRC, it went up to 6 or 7.

C. Wingate, #379: James James Morrison Morrison?

Tracie, #392: I feel your pain. My birth name was Van D----, which was at least not so bad while I was living in the Detroit area where there's a large Dutch-ancestry community and people are used to Van This and Van That. But then we moved to Nashville. No Dutch community there to speak of, and my first name is gender-ambiguous but in that part of the country the spelling Lee is almost exclusively male, and then there's the Southern tendency for people to go by their first AND middle names. You can imagine the hassles that ensued. There's a reason I changed my name when I got married, and then didn't change it back when I divorced!

Sandy, #401: Awww, that's cute!

#581 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2011, 06:02 AM:

ADWD spoilerous discussion thread plzthx?

About half of the book runs parallel to AFFC before the timeline overshoots and goes forward.

Perhaps non-coincidentally, imho the first half is excruciatingly slow (turtlepalooza wtf). After that about half of the plotlines pick up speed.

I think I found the new snippets of background information far more interesting than most of the "ongoing" stuff, in the end.

#582 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2011, 09:24 AM:

Has this been done? To write a space-opera takeoff on "The Old Man and the Sea", starting with the sentence "The sky was angry that day, my friend." I sort of can't imagine it has not been... Googling for that sentence brings up a couple of thousand results, seem to be mainly blog posts.

#583 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2011, 10:47 AM:

HLN: Area man prepares presentation on fictional languages, requests suggestions

"Tolkien and Okrand are the obvious people to discuss," he says, "but is there a third of comparable prominence? Maybe Frommer and Na'vi, for more recent interest? Or should I stick to two detailed studies and a general overview?"

The presentation proposal was generated in conversation at the local public speaking club, following a presentation by a different area man on the thesis that nerds are just people who are passionate about their interests, only some interests are more socially accepted than others. (Football was mentioned.)

No date has yet been set for the presentation, but it is projected to be given "maybe about a month from now".

#584 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2011, 10:50 AM:

Paul A. #583: Klingon seems obvious.

#585 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2011, 10:54 AM:

I think the first movie that depicted an alien speaking in his own language was "The Day The Earth Stood Still".

#586 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2011, 10:57 AM:

Paul A. @ 583: Have you read Okrent's In the Land of Invented Languages? Lots of examples (of different types) in the book you could potentially use.

#587 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2011, 11:43 AM:

Paul A @#583: Especially Verdurian.

#588 ::: Neil W ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2011, 12:35 PM:

Paul A - Professor M A R Barker and his world of Tékumel is of interest as his fictional world and languages were most widely published as role-playing games.

#589 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2011, 12:55 PM:

James D. Macdonald @ #584:

This whole thing started with Marc Okrand's Klingon language being mentioned in the nerd presentation, so it was first to go on the list. Mike Ford's klingonaase will probably get a mention in passing, but as far as I know it was never a fully-specified language (I'm open to correction on this point).

#590 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2011, 12:55 PM:

Also: I haz the book! Mua-ha-ha! Now it's just a matter of finding time to read 900+ pages of ADwD.

#591 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2011, 01:06 PM:


The audience for this presentation will have a large proportion of non-nerds, and I don't want to push their envelope too much. Tolkien and Okrand, among their other points of interest, have the advantage that I don't need to explain what "The Lord of the Rings" or "Star Trek" are, and can jump straight to exploring the linguistic stuff. Barker's work is interesting, but I'd certainly have to explain "Tékumel", and with this audience I'd probably have first to explain "role-playing game".

#592 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2011, 01:23 PM:

Paul A @583:

A bit late with it, but Láadan?

#593 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2011, 01:26 PM:

If we're going to be using ROT13 for "Children of Earth," maybe the same should go for "Miracle Day"?

Have finally acquired a copy of it. I'd been under the impression that it would air a week later than it did. Will watch as soon as John has time to watch it with me.

I'm with Xopher on CoE being abusive of its audience. Our household shotgunned the entire miniseries and then went to bed silent and sullen, each isolated inside our own heads. We were all just hurting too much to even talk about how we were hurting. We felt like RTD was enacting Shel Silverstein's "Prayer of the Selfish Child," i.e. "I pray the Lord my toys to break / So no other kids can use 'em."

Xopher, I share you interpretation of [rot13]gur fnpevsvpr bs Fgrcura nf orvat abg Wnpx'f evtug ohg engure Wnpx'f puvpxraf pbzvat ubj gb ebbfg, naq V gubhtug gur cnenyyry fprarf bs Tjra ubcryrffyl vagrecbfvat urefrys orgjrra gur puvyqera naq gur fbyqvref pbzr gb gnxr gurz njnl arngyl pbagenfgrq gur gjb punenpgref' rguvpny fgnaqcbvagf: sbe Tjra, rira bar puvyq jnf gbb znal, juvyr sbe Wnpx, fnpevsvpvat bar gb fnir ovyyvbaf jnf gur bayl cbffvoyr guvat gb qb. V gubhtug vg pnyyrq onpx arngyl gb gur Frnfba 1 rcvfbqr "Fznyy Jbeqf".[/rot13]

Gotta disagree slightly about your take on [rot13]bayl bar zbqrengryl-njshy qhqr orvat qevira gb snzvyl naavuvyngvba -- V guvax "snzvyl naavuvyngvba" pbagenqvpgf "bayl zbqrengryl-njshy." V erzrzore guvaxvat gung zna gur jbefg bs gur jbefg orpnhfr ur, gbb, jnf gerngvat uvf snzvyl yvxr cebcregl, sbe uvz gb qrfgebl vs ur fnj svg; ohg va uvf pnfr vg jnf rira zber varkphfnoyr guna Wnpx'f, orpnhfr ur qvq vg fcrpvsvpnyyl gb qrcevir uvf snzvyl bs n shgher (juvpu, nqzvggrqyl, ur gubhtug jbhyq or gbb njshy gb orne), jurernf Wnpx qvq vg va ubcrf bs cerfreivat n shgher sbe gur erfg bs gur jbeyq. Sbe whfgvpr gb or qbar, V guvax yrff snzvyl naavuvyngvba engure guna zber vf pnyyrq sbe.[/rot13]

All in all, CoE was a story with remarkably few "good guys", and that impressed me, even while it battered my soul and stomped on my heart.


Other stuff: Glad to hear Nancy's boycat has come home! In the subject of kitty doppelgangers, I can't compete with the goose story or the premature burial story, but I did have a heart-stopping moment of looking out the guest bedroom/office window and seeing Uno on the roof of the parking shelter. I threw open the window and shouted, "Uno?!" and, indeed, the cat turned toward me in response. Then I ran around into the main bedroom for a closer look -- and saw Uno in his accustomed place at the bedroom window, looking out at his doppelganger. Who opened his mouth and let out a high, pathetic mew such as Uno has never uttered.

(The neighborhood Uno-double is actually named Banjo and these days goes outside on a harness from his family's ground-level patio door.)


TexAnne, sorry we'll miss you, but glad you got a chance to hang out with Lee & partner! I had a fun time hanging out with them at The Grand Masquerade last year and would like to send them my warm regards.

I wasn't aware a Discworld Con was going on. I've been rereading my way through those books I have on my shelf, with the effect that I dreamt the other morning that an Amtrak train I was on had a scheduled fun-times stop at a themepark modeled after Ankh-Morpork. Someone with a lot of money ought to make that happen. The themepark, at least, if not the Amtrak detour. If Hogwarts can have a themepark-reenactment, I don't see why the Discworld can't.

#594 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2011, 01:36 PM:

Paul, #583: Don't forget Láadan, the women's language in Suzette Haden Elgin's Native Tongue trilogy. While not as well-known as either Elvish or Klingon, it's a fully-realized language, complete with grammar.

You might also want to discuss LOLcat, and what its evolution shows us about the way humans process language.

Oh, and I heartily agree with the thesis that nerds are just people who are passionately interested in non-mainstream interests. My partner is fond of asking people who snark about fen in costume, "Have you been to a pro football game lately?"

#595 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2011, 01:42 PM:

If you're looking for more popular-culture, there's Dothraki, as presented in the HBO Game of Thrones.

#596 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2011, 01:59 PM:

Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little @593: The neighborhood Uno-double is actually named Banjo

::crosses eyes:: "Wait—Banjo is Uno's double? I thought Uno was tawnier—"

"That would be Null."

"Oh. Right."

You'd think, with a 50/50 chance, I'd get it wrong a little less than 100% of the time. ::SIGH::

It's actually a trifecta. In addition to Uno and Banjo, there's Katy, as well.

#597 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2011, 02:03 PM:

My kitty-doppelganger story:

I was five, and had just been given a black cat for my birthday, with a couple of white spots on his chest. We lived in one of those just-off-campus neighborhoods where in the space of one shortish block were three houses, several apartment houses, a frat house, and the original mansion. (That one's another story, as is the frat house.)

It was late summer, and the denizens of the apartment house next to our house were a mixed crew with a habit of sitting out front in the evening in those big old metal lawn chairs. Many times, we would join them. So there we all were, sitting out as eventide approached, and I was showing off my new cat--when I looked off to the side for some reason, and there was my cat! Only there also was my cat, right in front of me. And, weirder still, they seemed to know each other. And the markings matched. And they were both male. The only difference between them was a very small bald spot over the new cat's eye. (And as it turned out, he purred more loudly, in a hear-it-in-the-next-room way.)

Enquiries were made at the place where my parents had acquired the first cat, but nobody seemed to be missing. So we ended up with two cats, virtually identical.

Many years later, I asked my mother if there was something fishy. She swore up and down on her fencing trophies that it was at least as big a surprise to the grownups as it was to me.

I'm still puzzled.

#598 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2011, 02:17 PM:

All of this is very well and good, but are you ready for the banana apocalypse?

#599 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2011, 03:01 PM:

Jacque @598: My hope is that once US supermarket consumers have been sufficiently exposed to the idea that bananas can come in varieties (as apples, plums, etc do), we can persuade the Giant Fruit Conglomerates to move away from enormous, disease-breeding monocultures. Or, at least, then a blight would only hit some of the banana crops in any given year and not the rest.

Big Mike still exists, just not in massive plantations (because of Panama disease); a foodie friend of mine is a banana enthusiast and has tasted it, plus 10-15 other varieties currently being bred and tested for potential industrial-scale growing.

#600 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2011, 03:21 PM:

My own kitty doppelganger story:

When I was a small child, the family had an orange tiger-striped cat named Lao-hu (literally: "old tiger", traditional Chinese honorific for referring to tigers.) One day he went missing, and was gone for a number of days, maybe a week. My parents kept checking the Berkeley pound, and finally he indeed turned up there, very much shaken from the experience, and they brought him home. A few days later Lao-hu showed up again.

They really were nearly indistinguishable, so the new family member was renamed "Copycat". He ended up outliving Lao-hu by several years.

#601 ::: Steven desJardins ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2011, 03:27 PM:

Paul@583: The Language Creation Society seems like an obvious place to begin.

#602 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2011, 03:35 PM:

Re bananas:
I'd love to see more diversified cultivation of bananas for reasons of flavor alone; if it saves the fruit industry, so much the better.

Anyone who's lived a while in Hawaii knows the locally grown favorite is the "apple banana". They're smaller and have a more intense and distinctly different flavor. After eating them for a while most people find that the usual bananas are starchy and tasteless by comparison. I see one particular variety starting to show up at supermarkets with stickers labeling them as "Candy Apple [tm]" bananas, so maybe they're starting to become more broadly popular?

Tonga had a couple different banana types as the local favorites - "Williams" and "Misi Beka" (Mr. Baker) bananas, if I remember right. One of them was roughly similar to the apple banana, and much more flavorful than the Cavendish. (Williams appears to be a specific variety of Cavendish, if I'm reading a web page right.)

#603 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2011, 03:47 PM:

Another Summer safety tip:

Never Turn Your Back on the Ocean

#604 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2011, 03:51 PM:

My favorite bananas are the tiny miniature ones -- I had them for the first time while staying at the Dolphin Bay hotel in Hilo. There was always coffee at the desk in the morning, as well as fruit from the hotel's garden which included these sweet little gems.

The grocery stores here have started to carry them, usually cost about $2 per pound.

#605 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2011, 04:00 PM:

Bananas are pretty much the only fruit for which I will violate my "eat local," "eat in season" philosophy. Sometimes I just _need_ a banana (I figure my body is telling me it needs the potassium.)

I really miss grapes, though not (yet) enough to buy them. I haven't eaten grapes by the bunch in at least 5 years.

#606 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2011, 04:03 PM:

@604: Of course, having the tree right outside doubtless enhances the flavor available....

#607 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2011, 04:33 PM:

Torchwood is firmly in the horror genre now.

And that's as much as state of mind as what they show, or don't show.

Not for me.

#608 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2011, 04:35 PM:

Paul A. #583: Ursula LeGuin had one for The Wind's Twelve Quarters.... Possibly too much explanation, though.

Bananas: I just picked up a ripe plantain yesterday. Not sure if it's going to be dinner or breakfast.

#609 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2011, 04:37 PM:

Jacque -- you should have seen the avocado that my Mom picked in Dolphin Bay's garden -- it was almost the size of a football!

We had a wonderful guacamole for dinner that night.

#610 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2011, 05:54 PM:

So, our cat Zathras has also gone missing, just to join the trend.

#611 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2011, 06:30 PM:

I'd also like a spoiler thread for A Dance With Dragons. I finished it last night, and oh my poor brain, all abuzz with spoilers.

#612 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2011, 06:31 PM:

Though I suppose we could storm the Bastille Day thread and commandeer it for the people's purposes.

#613 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2011, 08:06 PM:

I was going to post this on the Google-Sucks thread, but it's not precisely the same thing (and this gets more eyeballs anyway).

I just tried to read my Yahoo! Mail, and was asked to give my password again (though it knew I was logged in, on the top bar) 'for security'.

I had to change my password with them several weeks ago, because they got compromised or something and told me to. Because of this, I automatically typed my old password, which didn't work.

Fine, thought I, remembering I'd changed it, and typed the new one. No dice.

Seriously no dice. Repeatedly. After checking that my capslock was off, and none of my shift keys were sticking, I clicked the 'give me my password hints' link.

The address I registered as my extra email address for sending password resets to is hosted on a machine in my husband's office at work. I told it to send it, then asked him to log in remotely so I could see it.

Unfortunately, that machine apparently went down last night and he hadn't noticed ... so I can't get into that email address until he goes back to work tomorrow. Ok, fine.

I clicked through again, and this time instead of 'send it to that email' I clicked 'send it to another email'. It asked me, reasonably, to answer my security questions.

First one is one I remember setting, and I even remember the somewhat cryptic answer I chose (to make it slightly resistant to social engineering from someone who doesn't really know me).

The second security question, however, is not only one I did not set an answer to, it's a question I WOULD NEVER HAVE CHOSEN, because it simply does not apply to me. There is no way I can answer it. I tried some potentially cromulent answers, but none of them work.

Now I'm getting a little worried that maybe my account has actually been accessed by someone not-me ... so I click through again from the beginning, this time clicking 'I think my account may have been compromised.'

Which, it turns out, requires me to accurately answer both 'my' security questions!

Jesus wept.

I then went to 'contact us,' and attempted to find a clickpath that would lead me to any human contact at Yahoo!, even via email and time-delay (I still have access to my gmail account, I just hadn't told my Yahoo about it as a valid place to potentially send passwords). None. At all.

If anyone here knows a way of getting anyone at Yahoo's attention to address this, I'm very interested in finding one. I can even tell them the senders of several of the last ten emails sitting in my inbox, or whatever else they can come up with for security purposes ... besides questions I did not choose, with answers I do not know!

Moral of the story: If you hack someone's Yahoo! mail and want to make sure they can't get into it, change the security questions as well as their password and they'll (apparently) be completely hosed. Especially if you change the 'email passwords can be sent to' address, too.

#614 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2011, 08:20 PM:

...y'know, the more I think about A Feast with Dragons (or whatever the omnibus of AFFC/ADWD ought to be called), the more I think it's remarkably equivalent to "Buffy" season 6 in many ways. Objectively, I can see why the creators might've deemed many of those plot developments(?) as essential groundwork for what comes afterward. But that doesn't nec'ly translate to much subjective enjoyment watching them happen.

Very general thematic spoilers: Va obgu pnfrf, fb znal bs gur cybgyvarf ner nobhg cyhatvat va naq ernyvmvat sne gbb yngr gung he qbva vg ebat.

#615 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2011, 08:50 PM:

Nicole 593: COE: V zrnag gung ur jnf bayl zbqrengryl rivy orsber orpbzvat n snzvyl naavuvyngbe. V guvax gur jbefg rivy va gur jbeyq vf qevivat tbbq be abg-irel-rivy crbcyr gb rivy npgf, be gb zber rivy guna gurl jbhyq pbzzvg ba gurve bja. Gung'f jul V jnf fb shevbhf gung gung CBF CZ jnf nyybjrq gb pbagvahr gb unir gur hfr bs uvf yvzof naq gbathr, naq gur gjb Anmv jbzra tbg bss fpbgg-serr.

#616 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2011, 10:32 PM:

Seeking Latin Translation Help

My sister is involved in recording voiceover work for an indie videogame that has sort of floaty choral soprano bits in the soundtrack for certain epic cutscenes ... in Latin.

I was just listening to her listening to the scratch track he sent her to learn the tune from, and, um. Yeah. "ALL YOUR BASE ARE BELONG TO US" bad grammarness. He clearly just cutpasted it into Google Translate, and some of the words even came out in English, so, um. My Latin isn't good enough (or fresh enough -- 4 years of study, over 15 years ago) to know more than UR DOIN IT RONG.

If there are any Latin-fluent Fluorospherians who would be willing to take a whack at it, here is the text. The feel of the tune is definitely the kind of high-Church latin arpeggiated hymn that consists mostly of pronouncements.

Original machine-translated Latin version left in for general amusement, and because it gives a rough idea of the syllable distributions he originally wrote into the musical rhythm ...

Sta ante portas. Entry negetur.
(Stand before the gates. Entry denied.)
Your ambitio. Distrahi potest.
(Your ambition. Torn asunder.)
Quid facies? Quid facturus?
(What will you do? What can you do?)
Your aspirationem. Distrahi potest.
(Your aspiration. Torn asunder.)

Mors et gloria. Ignis de caelo.
(Death and glory. Fire from heaven.)
Tolera. Tolera. Tolera flammas.
(Endure. Endure. Endure the flames.)
Ne consumantur. Emergere, emergunt.
(Do not be consumed. Emerge, emerge.)
Tolera. Tolera. Victus. Victus.
(Endure. Endure. Overcome. Overcome.)

Donec scelerisque.
(Move forward.)
Noli retro respicere.
(Do not look back.)
Ne effundatis in lacrimas.
(Shed no tears.)
Pierce aether.
(Pierce the sky.)

Dolet respirare.
(Hurts to breathe.)
Nocet videre.
(Hurts to see.)
Ne effundatis in lacrimas.
(Shed no tears.)
Exuro tuis per ignes.
(Burn through your fires.)

#617 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2011, 10:42 PM:

Hic officium ABIA, PUELLA LINGUAE LATINAE! dun dun duuuuun.

#618 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2011, 10:57 PM:

Ambitio tuo: 'ambitio' might not be what they mean; try 'gloria tua'.
Aspirationem tuum: although 'aspiratio' isn't the noun they want, because it means breathing, not aspiring to something. Maybe 'appetitionem tuum'?
Ignis ex caelo: because it's coming out of the sky.

pierce - um, depends on what they intend. 'Perforare' is one of the choices.

#619 ::: sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2011, 11:34 PM:

Pennsic Announcement: (in addition to any Gathering of Light) my traditional Tea will be middle Sunday afternoon at 3-5pm at McGuire's Mauraders, next to Ansteorra Royal, across from Atlantia Royal. Come on by while I hold, well, not a High Tea even though there will be cucumber sandwiches, but at least some tea and lemonade and conversation.

#620 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2011, 12:19 AM:

Mycroft @ 576: While One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest is indeed a very good book, in my opinion, Kesey's second novel, Sometimes A Great Notion, is great, the best twentieth century novel I've read, and I recommend it wholeheartedly.

#621 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2011, 02:17 AM:

JESR: That's not really the group you should run off and join. Hope your kitty comes back safe.

Though, now, narrowing the suspects, we've figured out which kitty used to be responsible for shredding entire packages of toilet paper.

#622 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2011, 03:38 AM:

Elliott Mason @ 631: I really sympathise; hope it gets sorted soon. Some years ago I had a similar problem when I needed to re-activate my long-dormant Yahhoo! account so as to join a group. But I couldn't remember my password*, I couldn't remember which main e-mail address I'd used* and I couldn't remember what my postcode had been, because I couldn't remember when I'd got my Yahoo! ID and therefore where I'd been living at the time*.

So, I tried the automated system and it didn't work because of all the problems above (lots of combinations to try). I tried to go for the security questions approach. They wanted me to state not just the answers, but which security questions I'd chosen. Huh???!!! No way I could remember which questions I'd chosen.*

As I recall, I finally hit on the correct combination of postcode, alternative e-mail address etc. and got in. But seriously, I thought the point of security questions was THEY asked the question, YOU supplied the answer?

And don't get me started on banks/credit card companies who ring you up, then demand that YOU give THEM your post code, date of birth etc. to confirm your identity (while doing nothing to confirm their identity) before they'll say what they are calling about.

* That "long-dormant" bit, remember.

#623 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2011, 04:22 AM:

dcb wrote @ #622

And don't get me started on banks/credit card companies who ring you up, then demand that YOU give THEM your post code, date of birth etc. to confirm your identity (while doing nothing to confirm their identity) before they'll say what they are calling about.

Ha! Don't get this moose started on banks/credit card companies who use an automated system (presumably developed by Cyberdyne Systems) that calls your home number at random intervals and will not give up until you jump through their hoops. There appears to be no way of stopping it, even if it's got the wrong number, and Brutish Telecon won't take a complaint "because you have a business relationship with Barclays". What this moose actually has is a denial of service attack on his phone by Barclays, an unplugged phone, and a determination to switch to a bank with a more reasonable approach to its customers as soon as possible.

#624 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2011, 05:11 AM:

Julie L @ 614: It has a musical chapter in the middle that totally redeems the rest of the volume?

#625 ::: Neil W ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2011, 05:26 AM:

#613, #622

Must... resist... urge... to... hlep...

#626 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2011, 06:26 AM:

Speaking of spoilers: so it turns out Ibyqrzbeg'f gur onq thl; Uneel naq uvf sevraqf pna yvir unccvyl rire nsgre bapr ur vf fynva.

#627 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2011, 07:39 AM:

Paul Duncanson@614

musical chapter in the middle

It would have except that the CD casing caused some awkwardness in shelving the book.

#628 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2011, 10:19 AM:

Michael I @627 -- that hasn't caused Baen any problems with the CD-ROMs that they distribute in their hardcovers. Might be difficult in the mass paperbacks, though.

Or they could have released it as ebook-only (wouldn't that be a scandal at this point!)....

#629 ::: Steve C ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2011, 10:52 AM:

Those robo-dialed calls from banks and credit card companies annoy me no end. Where's the option on my phone to forward those calls back to the originating number and cause a communications paradox?

#630 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2011, 11:16 AM:

The Modesto Kid #626: Ernyyl? Naq nyy nybat V gubhtug gung Qhzoyrqber jbhyq or erirnyrq nf gur npghny ivyynva.

#631 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2011, 12:03 PM:

Steve C: Are you on the federal do-not-call list and the credit solicitation pre-screen opt-out list?

If so, and you're still getting calls from banks you haven't done business with recently, you may be able to take legal action. (There may even be compensation possible, though I don't recall for sure.)

(We're on these lists, and don't get these calls. And the one time my current bank called me at work to pitch me something, I told them never to call me again unsolicited unless it was a security issue. So far, they seem to be honoring our wishes, which is one reason we're still with them.)

#632 ::: Steve C ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2011, 12:08 PM:

John Mark Ockerbloom @ 631 -

I'm on the do not call list - the calls are from companies I've done business with, or from charities (exempt from the do-not-call).

For a few years, I noticed a decline in calls, but then the economic downturn seems to have ramped things up.

#633 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2011, 12:24 PM:

Paul @624: Okay, ADWD = "Buffy" season 6 without a transcendent musical episode. (Which was in fact the first episode I saw, and sucked me into watching the entire rest of the series.) Also without Spuffy eye candy.

There is a vaguely Spuffy-type relationship in one of the ADWD subplots, but imho the POV's attraction to the other person is sadly unconvincing, unlike the POV's well-founded self-awareness that the relationship would be a Bad Idea. Alas.

#634 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2011, 12:26 PM:

I'm on the don't-call list. I got a credit-card reduction call yesterday, recorded message. Impossible to tell if I was doing business with them or not. So when they called *again*, I punched the appropriate number and stayed on long enough to get some particulars, none of which seemed to be related to any specific bank (or at least what the "friendly customer representative" would give me before something I said--I don't know what--triggered him to say "I don't have to listen to this" and hang up. [*][**]).

So I put in an FCC complaint. Damn if the same message didn't show up round suppertime--from a different number.

[*] The only excuse I see for this statement/behavior would be abuse or profanity, both of which I was carefully trying to avoid. Perhaps he felt my interrupting him was abuse?

[**] *He* doesn't have to listen to this? What about *me*?

#635 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2011, 01:00 PM:

#600 ::: Clifton Royston

Are there Chinese honorifics for other animals?

#636 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2011, 01:17 PM:

@622: I'm pretty sure those aren't actually legitimate banks cold-calling you for information...

#637 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2011, 01:35 PM:

Sort of hlep, but I only rarely get those calls. But if someone on the other end of the phone, who called me, started asking me for personal security information like that, my reaction would be:

"No, actually it's me who has to trust you. Give me a case number, please, and I'll call <my_bank> from the number on your website, and we can have this conversation.

You can't do that? Goodbye, scammer."

Even if CallerIQ (one of my favourite brainos - and I agree with the original quote, I need a phone with that) says "<bankname>"

I've been getting a rampup in solicitation calls, and they all seem to be asking, right off the hop, "may I speak to Mrs. W____?" I don't answer any question like that - I just reply "How may I help?" If this results in two more tries to get a "Yes" or "No" answer to "do I have the person on the phone that my screen tells me to call", with no other information, then I know it's a solicitation call. Because I'm obnoxious (and worked in market research - not telesales - before), I play along until they actually tell me who they work for or what they're selling and then tell them "Not interested, thank you." and hang up. Rule 1: when you call someone, *you* introduce yourself first.

My mother used to have to confirm this, though, as she was a teacher and frequently did get calls for "Mrs. W____" that were not telesales. One of the many benefits of retirement.

#638 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2011, 01:46 PM:

John A Arkansawyer @ 620: Sometimes a Great Notion is virtuosic and brilliant, and I would recommend it to everyone. The way Kesey interleaves scenes and points of view paragraph-by-paragraph (and sometimes sentence-by-sentence) without ever losing clarity is amazing and unique.

But in light of Mycroft W's post at 576, it seems worth pointing out that the women in SaGL, despite being well-drawn individuals, fill peripheral and arguably stereotypical roles. I don't think the book even passes the Bechdel test.

I don't have a problem with that—there's nothing wrong with any particular book being all about the guys, especially when it's done with genius. But I did notice it.

#639 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2011, 01:47 PM:

By the way, what is the legality (or lack thereof) of calls from what I presume must be collection agencies, any number of whom call (repeatedly) looking for several someones who they think might be associated with my phone number? Persons of whom I have never heard (until I start getting multiple calls looking for them) who may have my number in some parallel universe, or perhaps even in the unaccessible past portion of this one.

Some of the calls tell me to hang up immediately if I am not the person being sought, threatening dire legal action if I stay on the line and are therefore privy to confidential information, which makes it rather difficult to spread the word that said person will never ever again be found at this number, so please to stop trying already.

These are not technically businesses with which *I* am associated with, so can I report them?

#640 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2011, 02:17 PM:

Cadbury Moose @623. Sympathies. a denial of service attack on his phone - yes, that does sum it up, if it's happening all the time, I suppose.

Mycroft W @ 637: The problem with that approach is that the call goes on my phone bill. On one occasion, what turned out to be a long call on my mobile, because it was my credit card company, having worked out that a hotel bill being paid in person in the toe of Cornwall and £200 worth of shoes being bought at a store in North London at the same time wasn't likely to be legit. On another occasion they were telephoning to tell me about a !special! !offer! which I wanted nothing to do with- but I had to call them to find out, because they wouldn't even say "oh no, this isn't because we think your card has been cloned" unless I gave identity details to an anonymous stranger claiming to be calling from my bank.

I have suggested they should set up a security Q & A where the customer asks the question and the bank/credit card person has to supply the answer recorded in their computer system, but so far it's not happened.

#641 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2011, 02:42 PM:

Sandy B. @ #636 wrote:

I'm pretty sure those aren't actually legitimate banks cold-calling you for information...

Ah, now there you'd be wrong. In the UK the major banks have set up computer-driven contact systems, allegedly "for the customer's benefit". The idea is that if "suspicious activity" is seen on your account the automated system will call you, connect you to the hideously insecure security check system (date of birth, no of letters in your mother's name, postcode, house number, etc - all of which are trivially easy to discover or already known by family members), then play you the machine-generated alert message or connect you to Customer Disservice in some third world country that ypu cannot understand the local accent of. They have taken to using this as a "nag" system: if you miss a payment deadline, the system takes control and will pound on your telephone until it gets what it wants: your ear connected to Customer Disservice so they can tell you you're late with a payment and demand satisfaction. At the same time the telephone banking feature that lets you pay by debit card is disabled and you only discover this after you put in all your details (on, at one point, a premium rate line) only for it to transfer you to Customer Disservice.

There appears to be no way of stopping them: you can't block by caller-id because they have an entire block of numbers, used in rotation/at random. If you push the appropriate buttons to say you're not the intended victim, it will respond "we will call back later" and retry in a few hours. The only solution is to unplug the phone and wait for the lack of response to cause it to expire from the to-do list.[1]

I could ingest a flowcharting template and excrete a better system than that.

And they wonder why people hate bankers.

Bah! (waves hoof)

[1] The temptation is to fight fire with fire, using Asterisk and answer any calls from 0845 numbers with a stirring rendition from the Racal JAMCAT (a military audio tone jammer for tactical use) until they get a clue.

#642 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2011, 02:46 PM:

dcb: ah yes, the mobile problem. My fault; I keep forgetting about that. People wonder why I don't want a cell phone.

*I* have free (minutes, I pay monthly (and probably more than I would with a mobile)) calling when I want it, so I can do that.

Seriously, though, identity theft is a common enough problem that one would think that the banks and credit card companies would find some way of routing around that.

The problem with "customer asks the question, Visa replies with what's in the database" is that customers won't know the question unless it's in their database, which may not always be to hand.

A "shared secret" and a separate, end-user-controlled channel, are reasonable security (unless you are potentially newsworthy in a place where there's a News Corp. paper around, it seems).

#643 ::: Steve C ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2011, 02:54 PM:

So, has anyone else changed/canceled their Netflix subscription after their boneheaded pricing move? I went to streaming only. Redbox is on every damn corner.

#644 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2011, 02:59 PM:

Steve C: What boneheaded pricing move? I was already on streaming-only, and haven't logged into it for days.

#645 ::: Steve C ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2011, 03:07 PM:

Elliott @ 644 -

If you've been streaming only, you're not going to see a change, but if you had streaming plus DVDs, then Netflix is splitting you into two plans, and you pay more.

Here are the details.

Netflix update

#646 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2011, 03:47 PM:

Steve C. @ 643: So, has anyone else changed/canceled their Netflix subscription after their boneheaded pricing move?

Not me. I hadn't heard of Redbox until you mentioned it, and was briefly interested, but the nearest one is a twenty-minute walk away, and they don't have any of the first three Blu-Rays in my Netflix queue, none of which is even slightly obscure (Goodfellas, Incredibles, Bambi).

#647 ::: Steve C ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2011, 04:32 PM:

Tim Walters @ 643 -

I know. Redbox mainly deals with new releases. Metflix carries a huge catalog of DVDs that aren't on their streaming list, but I'll just try for other sources on those if I really want them. And they will be adding more titles to their streaming catalog eventually.

#648 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2011, 05:03 PM:

I'm going to cancel Netflix. I'm just not using them enough to even justify the $10/month (< 10 movies in the last year).

Really, I want streaming. I don't really care about the dvds, except that more than half of what I want to watch is not streaming. If it's been on cable tv in the last year or two, it's probably streaming, otherwise, it's dvd only. So adding a DVD plan is only compensation for the selection on the streaming one. And what's worse, stuff disappears from the streaming library all the time, so when the kids ask for that tractor movie they saw 6 months ago, it's probably not there anymore.

It's not like there are any local alternatives either. But at this rate, I'm better off signing up for a month whenever I want to watch something rather than keep a subscription going.

#649 ::: Melody ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2011, 05:38 PM:

Particularly fine Jeopardy categories today.

Disemvowelment FTW!

#650 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2011, 08:07 PM:

Steve C @ # 643, I went to streaming only, which is (according to NPR) what Netflix was actually trying to achieve. OTOH, I'd been feeling guilty about ceasing to patronize my neighborhood video rental store when I got Netflix, so now they can have back some of my business, and I probably won't be paying much more than I was before Netflix changed the deal. So I'm not particularly annoyed.

#651 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2011, 08:09 PM:

The coming attraction for "John Carter of Mars"
Yes, wow.

#652 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2011, 08:56 PM:

Streaming-only is fine in environments where you've got adequate broadband bandwidth but where I am, we don't.

I suppose it's just as well that I haven't been particularly attached to movies or TV since Star Trek: The Next Generation was in its second or third broadcast season. :/

#653 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2011, 09:29 PM:

I ignore them. They're effectively spam callers (running their number[s] through a search engine will demonstrate this quite nicely).

Also: I don't know how old their list is, but I know it's at least five years old, because that's how long I've had my current phone number. So: spam.

#655 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2011, 09:47 PM:

Xopher @ 655: I'm uncomfortable with fag-baiting the homophobes. It's different from outing, because it isn't evidence-based. It's blaming people who "act gay" for what's primarily a problem of straights.

#656 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2011, 10:26 PM:

All she did is say what she sees, John. She didn't say he was queer, just that her gaydar was going off. But it was primarily her statement that she wanted to strangle him with her boa that made me post it anyway.

Btw, there's some idiot on the site where I originally saw this saying we're all vicious hypocrites for liking it, because if an [name of organization omitted] member said he wanted to use gays for target practice, we'd all be outraged, and Cher is threatening violence against someone just because she disagrees with him.

It's so good to be here among the sane adults.

#657 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2011, 10:40 PM:

Xopher @ 656: The part about the boa was pretty funny.

It's an issue I've been thinking about for a while. Lately, I've seen a lot of it directed toward Bachmann. Your post triggered it here. I'm not sure I've thought it through completely, so I've thrown it out in a friendly and diverse environment to get other peoples' thoughts.

#658 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2011, 10:57 PM:

I think it makes sense strategically, if it's not a complete lie. Accusing social conservatives* of something only social conservatives would take as an accusation is elegant finesse as far as I'm concerned. Also, pointing out hypocrisy is generally a good thing.

I think people like the Bachmanns have stepped outside the realm of courtesy and politeness, and we should be as rude about them as we need to be to achieve our goals. So Marcus Bachmann thinks gays "need to be disciplined" huh? Ooo, he likes to discipline gay boys! Someone should photoshop him into full leather, that's what I think.

*a politer term than I use in my head

#659 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2011, 11:04 PM:

Xopher @ 658:

I think it makes sense strategically, if it's not a complete lie.

That's probably true. It's proving true about medical marijuana and I have the same qualms about that.

#660 ::: Craig R. ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2011, 11:32 PM:


"..people like the Bachmanns have stepped outside the realm of courtesy and politeness..."

As opposed from stepping outside the bounds of reality?

What shows me just how opportunistic and/or gullible some of the Right Wing are is the eagerness to sign this "The Currently Protected Version Of Marriage Is Sacred" pledge. You know the one that says that the families of black slaves in the pre-Civil War South were more stable (and presumably better off) than families of African-Americans in our current society.

I'm forcibly reminded that many in the conservative camp have an extreme narrowness of vision and imagination, as when Mama Bush declared that the people warehoused in the Superdome in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina were supposedly getting a good deal out of their sojourn.

#661 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2011, 12:19 AM:

Yes, I changed my Netflix plan to DVDs only. Brick & mortar video stores, let alone a vending machine in front of a McDonalds, don't have what I want to watch.

#662 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2011, 12:28 AM:

As opposed from stepping outside the bounds of reality?

True too, but not relevant to the question of whether we should be polite to them.

#663 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2011, 03:37 AM:

Xopher @ 656

"It's so good to be here among the sane adults."

As all intelligent people realize... (You can count me among those less invested in achieving public recognition of my sanity. Just saying.)

I'm extremely troubled by this trend, actually. I'm very troubled that people who would oppose hate speech in any other context think it's funny when the people using it are on their side.

I actually wrote a really long post with all the many reasons why I think this is profoundly problematic, rhetorically and ethically, and then I decided -- dude, it's just going to be a firestorm.

But please note that not all rational people agree with you, nor even all rational people here.

#664 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2011, 05:39 AM:

Elliott Mason @613: Starting a week or two back, I began getting obviously spam email from a friend's Yahoo account, even after he changed his password.

#665 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2011, 06:49 AM:

KayTei #663: Um, hate speech? Where are you getting that, because it's not from what I saw of Cher's tweets. ("Strangle him with my feather boa" is not a realistic threat.)

#666 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2011, 08:12 AM:

I guess there's a sense in which any expression of hatred can be called "hate speech" but I don't think it's useful to do so.

#667 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2011, 08:56 AM:

I didn't look at the Cher link - I'm not too interested in Cher, whatever her merits may be :-)

On the subject of uncomfortable humor, well, all humor is uncomfortable to some degree?

I admit I got the seed of the idea from Heinlein when I was very young (both Stranger in a Strange Land and in The Moon is a Harsh Mistress there are vignettes in which the Mike character tries to understand humor.) I guess I've poked at it for at least a couple of decades now and there seems to be some "there" there: even the most light-hearted and innocent of jokes and play seem to hinge on ambiguity or the unexpected. Like puns and similar language play - we laugh (or at least I do) because laughter is a tension-resolution reaction, a diffusion of the mild uneasiness that comes from working out just what happened there.

I refer the reader to the Heinlein examples above, particularly the sample in Stranger in which the jokes are mentioned only by punch line: "... and his mother in law fainted." "... stop you? I bet two to one you would do it!" (quoting from memory, it's about two-thirds to three quarters of the way in.) I refer you also to John Callahan's autobiographical Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far On Foot (Callahan is a cartoonist who is quadriplegic following an auto accident; a lot of his humor centers around disability and really punches the "Hee, hee, snerk, that's sick!" button for me. I read this book a long time ago and it appears to be out of print now, but one thing I took from it was that - at least at the time he wrote it - he had the feeling that he could get away with writing disability jokes precisely because of his own serious disability, whereas if an ablebodied person made the same jokes they'd probably be castigated for picking on the disabled. I'm pretty sure he used words that weren't quite as polite as the ones I've chosen.)

So expanding all that to humor more broadly, if there isn't some tension, something uncomfortable happening somewhere, then a situation or scenario probably isn't at all funny - it's boring. And on the flip, if the tension doesn't resolve enough (for the listener) then it becomes a That's Not Funny class of joke. I think this applies to what I'd shorthand as "privilege class" jokes - where the humor plays on racial, ethnic, gender / presentation stereotypes and biases, and where the tension comes from the power dynamic between the privilege classes of the teller and the subject of the joke. These jokes assume that the listener is going to share the privilege class biases of the teller about the subject, and when it happens that the listener identifies with the subject instead, the joke often becomes That's Not Funny.

I think that's what's happening with Cher and her feather boa joke.

(There might be more to this, but I just woke up and am not sure how much sense I am making, so I may revisit this conversation after I have some coffee.)

#668 ::: Throwmearope ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2011, 09:49 AM:

@Xopher et al 656 and on--

You guys are nicer than I am. When I read it, I thought she meant her boa constrictor.

#669 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2011, 10:01 AM:

Thena #667: I'd say you're generally on track, and add one point: Laughter doesn't just release the tension of the stimulus (that is, the joke). It tends to release all the tension you've got. As a social/interpersonal tool, it's widely used for exactly that purpose, which is one of the things that drives those chain jokes.

#670 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2011, 10:31 AM:

Mycroft W @ 642: I do have free minutes on my mobile (and free calls to landlines) - but I didn't have free minutes (or not many) back when that incident happened.

eric @648: That's very similar to why I decided not to have TV any more - I worked out that I was paying more than £2 an hour to watch TV (given I was watching about an hour a week, if that, and the TV licence fee was about £110.

#671 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2011, 10:37 AM:

dcb (670): That's why I dropped my cable subscription a few years ago. I was paying $50 a month to watch 3-4 shows. (Everything I liked was on the SciFi Channel, which is premium cable.) So now I'm buying DVD sets instead, and saving several hundred dollars a year.
Unrelatedly: Man, I've got to hurry up and finished A Dance with Dragons* so I can catch up on that thread!

*I'm on page 267.

#672 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2011, 10:45 AM:

I also never got cable, myself; I do buy the occasional series box, mut not many of those. It's a lot cheaper indeed.

#673 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2011, 10:47 AM:

I gave up my cable about 4 years ago when I realized I was paying $50 per month to watch reruns of Law and Order. The cable now costs $75 per month. I have Netflix: I just switched to DVDs only, which will cost me about $8 per month. I'd say that's a good deal.

I have an Open Threadiness question. I'm considering buying an e-reader. My choice appears to be either a Kindle or the Barnes & Noble Nook. Do you have either of these? Do you like it? Why?

#674 ::: JM ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2011, 11:11 AM:

The problem I have with focusing on Marcus Bachmann's effeminate qualities is that he holds actual views that are harmful and worth engaging with, and going after a surface issue instead makes his political opposition look frivolous. It's the same beef I had with news coverage of Michele Bachmann's John Wayne/John Wayne Gacy blunder -- maybe she should have known better, but why do we care about this small spot of ignorance when she's a seething pile of Tea Party crazy and hypocrisy?

HLN: Woman is hired to edit possibly the worst story she has ever read (even worse than the story she once rejected for publication about the serial killer who murdered city council members' daughters while drilling them on math questions), spends a week making fun of it to her husband, then meets the author in person and is distressed to find her exceedingly kind, sensible, dedicated to her craft, and proud of the slick new website through which she is sure the story will sell like hotcakes.

#675 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2011, 11:44 AM:

Lizzy L -

I have a nook which I purchased last year. I chose that one as opposed to the Kindle because at the time you could not borrow library books on the Kindle. I believe you can now borrow with the Kindle. I also preferred not having the keyboard, which was the opposite of what I was expecting. The touchscreen portion works fine for me. I do have a 1st generation nook - the new one does not have a separate glossy touchscreen at the bottom; the entire e-ink page is touch, which is really nice. (I think the rest of the new version of the nook is kind of ugly though).

I also thought the e-ink was ever so slightly brighter on the nook, and I had some small hopes that buying through B&N would help keep the brick/mortar stores afloat. I dismissed the Color version out of hand because I stare at a backlit screen all day for work. The only thing I don't like about the nook is the search function. When I'm trying to browse for books or only remember part of the title often I find myself going to Amazon and using their search. I'm not sure if the search function on the Kindle is closer to my experience on the nook, or if it's the full Amazon search experience. You should be able to try a Kindle at Target, Best Buy and Office Depot - I'm not sure if you can try it side by side with the nook, or if you can only try the nook at a B&N.

Tangentially, the nook has not diminished my purchase of dead tree books (I will download Dance with Dragons for ease of transport, but buy the Hardcover for autograph and completism) - but I am buying more books on impulse and at odd hours of the evening. A party with several librarians led to much drunken ebook buying based on their recommendations. You're welcome, publishing industry!

#676 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2011, 11:55 AM:

nerdycellist @ 675... A party with several librarians led to much drunken ebook buying

A night of will debookery...

#677 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2011, 03:28 PM:

Throwmearope @ #668

It was Cher, not Alice Cooper.

#678 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2011, 03:32 PM:

David @ 665

Yeah, I probably shouldn't have posted anything. I'm a bit raw right now -- lot of things going down over here, some very good, some very bad, and it's put me in a complete thrash, which I didn't recognize quite in time.

Also, I think I was significantly reacting to the "back among the sane people" bit, which just... pushed my buttons. I dislike statements that smugly assume that anyone who disagrees with you is crazy. It makes me want to ask for a medical license.

Trying to get at this simply, just so I'm clear about where I'm coming from; it's not a demand that people agree with me, or change their minds, or feel badly, or anything like that. I'm still trying to work out my own reaction, too.

1. Just speaking for myself, I don't care if people think threats are "realistic." Having been on the receiving end of an extended string of "if I ruled the world I would kill you and your entire family to ensure they could never make another you" jokes -- which everyone thought I should be able to just laugh off because it was supposed to be funny and he didn't really mean it -- I really have a very low tolerance for that kind of humor.

When you're the subject of that kind of statement, it is creepy and scary and hurtful and not funny, and the laughter of others at that sort of humor leaves you in a very vulnerable, isolated, kind of place, where you start worrying about whether anyone would stop someone who did try to harm you. At least, that was my experience.

I think it must be lots worse, knowing that there are thousands, if not millions, of people who think the idea of your being hurt is funny. I don't know how public figures stay even remotely stable, given that sort of feedback.

2. Hate speech was partly a reaction to that, and partly a reaction to the general environment, not just Cher. There may be a better term I'm not thinking of.

I'm really uncomfortable with this whole idea that it's okay to use accusations of being gay to verbally assault people who are uncomfortable with gays. I think it harmfully reinforces the idea that being gay is a thing that even gay people and allies think conservatives should be ashamed of; if someone else were so actively reinforcing those ideas with the intent of making their target ashamed of himself and his life choices, I'd expect to see some serious, thoughtful discussions about whether it was hate speech, critiquing both individual statements and the speech environment as a whole.

I feel like people are being given a free pass on the basis of a litmus test ("Does this person like gays, Y/N", or maybe "Do I think this is funny because it aligns with my politics, Y/N"), and I'm not comfortable with that.

Also, I really do believe that personal identity is always up to the individual, regardless of their politics and personal morality, and that society has no business trying to externally impose this sort of judgment on anyone, even in jest.

#679 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2011, 03:34 PM:

nerdycellist (675): Amazon announced recently that library ebooks will work on the Kindle, but they don't quite yet. September, probably.

#680 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2011, 03:37 PM:

KayTei @678:

Well articulated.

I tend more toward your side than against it, as a rule. I'm generally able to let things slide, but I understand completely how having borne the brunt of such things makes that impossible.

And I like your argument that calling people gay like it's a bad thing cuts against the attempt to build a world where it not only isn't, but isn't seen to be either.

(This is where I love George Takei. He's very good at keeping that message straight. As it were.)

#681 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2011, 03:39 PM:

JM #674: In this case, the "accusation" is directly relevant to his problematic views (and actions), thus not "frivolous".

#682 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2011, 03:45 PM:

Lizzy L: I have an old, first-generation Sony e-Reader (company property).

For several months I've been looking at e-Readers and I'm leaning strongly toward Nook for several reasons:
no buttons
the ability to go into a store if I'm having problems with it
the lend me feature (between individuals; the library lend works slightly differently and yes, Kindle has a lending program too, now, or will shortly)
the size is relatively comfortable in the hand (ymmv)
and the more expensive model also allows the user to buy some apps (haven't checked that aspect out too much yet).

Plus, since I'm a "member" at B&N, I get $25 off a color Nook and $10 of any other model. ($25 is the cost of membership, but it's worth it to me since I easily spend hundreds of dollars at B&N every year)

My friend Lucie has a kobo which she adores--and it came pre-loaded with 100 public domain titles. (you can get them at Best Buy)

#683 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2011, 03:56 PM:

Abi: And I like your argument that calling people gay like it's a bad thing cuts against the attempt to build a world where it not only isn't, but isn't seen to be either.

There is that... but:

KayTei: I'm really uncomfortable with this whole idea that it's okay to use accusations of being gay to verbally assault people who are uncomfortable with gays.

I think this is a reflexive response, because there's a helluvalot of difference between Cher's tweets and the abuse some of my gay friends got in college. Bluntly, I feel that the prior shows of hypocrisy by prominent Republicans, on this very issue, justifies far more than snarky remarks like Cher's.

It's one thing to be open to civil discourse; it's another to confuse being "nice" with being a doormat. If the Republicans want to ride their "purity-based morality" roughshod over the American government, then being judged by their own professed standards strikes me as... fairly lenient, actually.

#684 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2011, 04:13 PM:

David Harmon @683:
It's one thing to be open to civil discourse; it's another to confuse being "nice" with being a doormat.

Indeed. I don't recall either KayTei or me conflating being nice and being a doormat. Rather, I believe we are both asserting that you can be quite robust in civic discourse without resorting to tactics which damage your friends and allies.

If the Republicans want to ride their "purity-based morality" roughshod over the American government, then being judged by their own professed standards strikes me as... fairly lenient, actually.

Maybe, or maybe it's just joining them at their own game, and feeding their oppositional natures. There are plenty of places where that's necessary, but surely we should get off the Mishnory Road when there's a better option?

#685 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2011, 04:19 PM:

(Adding to my comment above: I think that people who bang on about the sanctity of marriage throughout their multiple divorces and adulteries deserve the universal opprobrium. But I think calling people gay like it's a bad thing is staying on the Mishnory Road when we're actually trying to get to Malafrena. Reality isn't even on the same planet as their perspective. It's not in the same genre. Why buy into their damaging delusions?)

#686 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2011, 04:38 PM:

Throwmearope 668: I thought she meant her boa constrictor.

That would be cruelty to animals! That wouldn't be funny at all.

KayTei 678: Also, I think I was significantly reacting to the "back among the sane people" bit, which just... pushed my buttons. I dislike statements that smugly assume that anyone who disagrees with you is crazy.

Waitwaitwait...that's a pretty big leap there. Saying "I think people here are sane" is not the same as saying anyone who disagrees with me is crazy! You may find Cher's joke about feather-boa strangulation unacceptable, but if you don't see any distinction between that and people saying they want to use gay people for target practice (and these are armed people, who could easily get within shooting range of gay people: compare the likelihood of Cher even being in the same room as Marcus Bachmann)—that is, between a silly threat and a credible one—then yeah, I would question your sanity.

NOT if you find both unacceptable. If you don't see any difference. I find pickpocketing and robbery at gunpoint both unacceptable, but they're two different things.

Just speaking for myself, I don't care if people think threats are "realistic."

I think that's really the key. I do. But also, even some people who agree with me on that topic, but who've never handled a feather boa, may find that threat more's a silly thing to say, since a boa would snap long before you could pull it tight enough to harm someone.

But I guess what it comes down to is that I trust Cher not to actually try to choke someone with a feather boa. I do NOT trust Tea Partiers (remember them coming armed to Town Hall meetings?) not to decide to use gay people for target practice.

Also, I really do believe that personal identity is always up to the individual, regardless of their politics and personal morality, and that society has no business trying to externally impose this sort of judgment on anyone, even in jest.

Again, I disagree. I think the Bachmanns are really dangerous, and their public statements have probably already been used as excuse-slogans by people doing violence against gays (and others, they're kind of broad-spectrum). I will use any rhetoric short of lying to discredit them. I don't want to live in Michele Bachmann's America.

abi 680: I like your argument that calling people gay like it's a bad thing cuts against the attempt to build a world where it not only isn't, but isn't seen to be either.

That's worth thinking about. I think we should call people gay like it ISN'T a bad thing and let THEIR side make it bad. That makes two points at once, in my view. "If only Marcus Bachmann could have accepted himself for the gay man he is, maybe he wouldn't have turned into such a monster. Of course, he also wouldn't have married that other monster. But what do you expect from her? She's a fan of John Wayne Gacy, another gay man driven to evil by fear of exposure." (Actually I wouldn't say that because I don't know that he's actually gay, though it wouldn't surprise me. Saying he pings my gaydar would be OK, if I saw him and he did.)

David 683: Hear, hear.

#687 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2011, 04:40 PM:

abi 684/5: Hmm. Food for thought, to be sure.

#688 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2011, 04:40 PM:

David @ 683

I think it's less of a reflexive response, than a response to the broader speech environment. Cher is only one person weighing in on this issue. That said, I would argue that even she is tacitly reinforcing the general metamessage, which seems to me to be that "You should be ashamed for being the kind of person who is so 'obviously' gay, and you should also be ashamed for being the kind of person who would be ashamed of being the kind of person who is so 'obviously' gay." The more people who reinforce that message, even civilly, the stronger it gets; but only one-half of the message is even close to what I want people to internalize. So that's one of my points of concern, going back to the idea Abi identified, that this metamessage undermines our efforts to get to a place where being gay is not perceived as a bad thing.

I'm in full agreement with you about not being doormats, honestly. And for the most part, I think it's fair to call people on their hypocrisy*. I think there are an increasing number of liberal commentators who've managed to do so quite successfully, both seriously and humorously.

But I find that on the issue of closeting and of self-identification, I come down in a very similar place to where I am on the question of jokes that are made at the expense of the underage children of politicians -- I think there are very few tasteful and effective ways to handle it. And the risks of hurting people seem very high, while the benefits from this line of humor seem ambiguous at best, if not actively counterproductive.

I don't feel like I need to sink to the level of sixth-grade bullying tactics to make the point that objecting to same-sex equality is irrational and inconsistent with our founding principles in the US. And when I see the other side engaging in similar tactics, it disgusts me and makes me unable to listen dispassionately to anything else they have to say -- Consistently, I'd rather not alienate people on a subject as important as human rights.

*I admit, I'm not sure quite how a presumedly ex-gay man, running an ex-gay ministry, and who is married to a heterosexual woman, is engaging in hypocrisy. That seems to me to be really very internally consistent with his stated values. I feel like this is aggression against the perception of conservative hypocrisy generally, and that it's a little misplaced to be taking it out on this particular target.

#689 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2011, 04:42 PM:

First, a side point: You've referred to "saying someone's gay like it's a bad thing" -- consider in this case, that being gay is surely not a "bad thing" to Cher! Any insult here comes from the receivers's standards.

"Getting off the road" is a nice metaphor for seeking a tertium via. I sympathize with the impulse, and I look for creative solutions myself.

But sometimes, you really do have a basic conflict, with enemies who are not just "opponents", but who want to destroy you. Their "oppositional natures" don't depend on your choosing to "feed" them. You can be creative as you want, offer all the compromises you want, be as courteous as you want -- and they'll still want to destroy you.¢ And at that point you find out whether you're unwilling to fight... or unable. Because if such enemies are not opposed, they will simply take the field, and dispatch you at their leisure. And yes, insults and mockery are very much part of opposition.

I don't think every individual Republican is in that class, but there is definitely a virulent core which are (and which control the party), and the Bachmans are well in there.

¢: If there's one lesson the Jews should take from the Holocaust, it's this: When someone says they intend to kill you, believe them. (Not original, but I don't know where it came from.)

#690 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2011, 04:47 PM:

Me @689: And yes, I see the "hole" in my footnote regarding unrealistic threats like the feather boa. You know what I mean here.

#691 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2011, 04:54 PM:

She'd have to convince the boa constrictor to cooperate, anyway. Teaching snakes is ... not easy, I would think.

(I've worn a feather boa. I don't know if you could strangle someone with that kind of boa, but it's really easy to make them sweat. Feather boas are excellent insulation.)

#692 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2011, 04:55 PM:

David Harmon @689:

I think there is a significant risk that both you and I (and several other people reading this) are already entrenched in the two sides of the civility issue and not arguing with what is actually being said in the conversation. I certainly don't think you are, and rereading my comments, well, you have company.

So. I admit that I was reacting less to Cher saying that someone pinged her gaydar than the general support for "hit 'em back as hard as they hit us" political discourse which I very often hear from people on Making Light. And I joined the conversation because someone advocating civility was also feeling vulnerable and uncertain. So there's a certain tribalism there.

This is one area where I feel that I am forever battling uphill in this community, barely holding my own, but it's also an issue I feel deeply and passionately about. If there's a matter that will ever cause me to leave Making Light for good, this is the one. Because it's not one we seem to be able to agree to disagree on.

(Also, re: the Jews...I don't want to get into that thrash, but the manner in which Israel takes threats seriously has been arguably sub-optimal. I'd not cite them on either side in this discussion just at the moment, you know?)

#693 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2011, 04:57 PM:

Our cable lineup is now extensive enough that, while it doesn't have the likes of Starz, and who'd want them wehen they make something like "Camelot" a dreadful bore even with Eva Green as Morgana... But I digress... Our lineup now is such that we could probably make do without NetFlix. But I wouldn't want to because of the latter's availability of TV series such as the quasi-steampunk "Murdoch Mysteries". Meanwhile our lineup now includes a channel that airs old series like "The Virginian", and "Have Gun Will Travel" which I have never seen but about which I've heard good things.

#694 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2011, 04:57 PM:

Xopher @ 686

Check. Check. Noted. :D

I am reminded of the conversation I had with my sister sister*, recently. We were discussing whether people on the fringes of the church were exaggerating their feelings of rejection and exclusion, and I mentioned that whole situation with American ministers advising the Ugandan parliament, such that they passed that horrific anti-gay law, and that, you know, it's hard not to react to something like that with "Oh my God, they really do want me dead."

I do understand the fear. I do think it's totally rational. I just think that when we use rhetoric that is similar to the rhetoric that we object to their use of, we weaken our ability to effectively call them on the complete inappropriateness of their threatening statements and behaviors. I think this is a case where the more distance we can put between ourselves and them, the better we will look by comparison.

*No, really. She just went back to the convent last week, for a second run at it.

#695 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2011, 05:00 PM:

Come to think of it, we've got a perfectly good example of existential conflict handy, in the form of trolls such as "Gmumble" over on the Google thread. They want to turn our haven into a den for their kind. They will accept no appeasement and make no bargains. And so, the moderators' gloves come off. They do make a solid effort to redeem folks who started off badly but are willing to change, but once someone's identified as a bona fide troll, there's no question that the local version of "force" is justified in squelching them. Mockery and satire are part of the package.

#696 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2011, 05:02 PM:

You know what, we're crossing comments here. Even after I catch up, I'm not going to reply for at least an hour.

#697 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2011, 05:05 PM:

David Harmon @695:

There are no moderators in American society to disemvowel and publish IP addresses. Absent that, flaming back at flamers just gives you flamewars.

And I'm now caught up, and not posting further on this topic. It's gone 11:00 where I am, and if I do, it will come out badly and involve the word goodbye.

#698 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2011, 05:35 PM:

Serge, check your mail.

#699 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2011, 05:41 PM:

Abi @ 697

"...and involve the word goodbye."

That would seriously suck. I'd like to put in an extremely emphatic plea that you not decide to do that, while still respecting your right to make whatever decisions are best for you.

#700 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2011, 05:42 PM:

I second KayTei's 699, and admire her phrasing.

#701 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2011, 06:03 PM:

Lori Carlson@604 - Isn't Dolphin Bay nice? Last time I was there, they'd put up a stone wall over part of their parking lot - they'd gotten sued by a rental car company because somebody didn't understand that the "No Parking - Coconuts" sign in the space under the coconut tree was actually serious, not just gratuitous tourist kitsch.

My wife and I first went there about 30 years ago. For those of you who haven't been there, it's not a fancy resort; just a dumpy motel in an chunk of jungle past the edge of town, it was the cheapest place in Hilo in the AAA book and had kitchenettes. It was run by a friendly older gay couple, who I'm assuming are still around though they weren't at the front desk last time, and always has fresh fruit at the desk and usually a stalk of bananas hanging by the back door and a few lizards crawling on the walls. It's the rainy side of the island, quiet, no beaches, not very touristy, feels like home. A couple of years after we went there, one of my coworkers found it the same way, and also liked it.

#702 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2011, 06:03 PM:

abi #692: Agreed, no Israel, but "Jews != Israel", especially in that context.

We are entrenched, but perhaps not as far apart as you think. I do support trying to be civil first, but the Bachmans and several of their compatriots have long since passed my standards for "implacably hostile to me and mine".

And #697: Yeah, but real-life flamers likewise don't have nearly the anonymity of the online species! Regardless, when faced with naked hostility, I consider "civil" vs. "vulgar" to be a matter of "choice of weapons". For any given situation, one or the other weapon can be far superior -- but neither carries all battles.

As far as "involve the word goodbye"... Remember that the our intelligent and capable site owners did pick you for the job, out of quite a few intelligent and capable folks, and after getting to know you. (And FWIW, I think you've been an excellent moderator!) Abi, You are much loved as you are, complete with your own political and moral positions. Occasional disagreements do not change that, so please don't do anything drastic!

Anyway, sweet dreams....

#703 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2011, 06:05 PM:

KayTei, #688: I admit, I'm not sure quite how a presumedly ex-gay man, running an ex-gay ministry, and who is married to a heterosexual woman, is engaging in hypocrisy.

IMO, someone who "used to be gay but is now straight" is most likely a bisexual who has successfully suppressed awareness of their same-gender attraction. (Rarely, this can also go the other way, which is why I was annoyed by Willow's "gay now" arc in BTVS.) Also IMO, that's a form of hypocrisy. I also strongly suspect that there's something hinky going on with that ex-gay ministry thing, because it's a logical extrapolation from the above. You may disagree, but that's the reasoning behind why I think he's a hypocrite.

David, #689: I agree. "It takes two to fight" is profoundly untrue when applied to abusive situations. And the Republican Party as a whole (as determined by its stated platform) is most assuredly like an abuser.

#704 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2011, 06:11 PM:

KayTei @ 694:

I think this is a case where the more distance we can put between ourselves and them, the better we will look by comparison.

This is probably true, but I wonder who we're concerned about looking at us. Sometimes it's important how we look, sometimes it's important what we do.

So I tend to take the middle path in this discussion: occupying the high moral ground is often a good thing to do, and preventing flamewars which do nothing but burn down the neighborhood is worthwhile. But every once in awhile it's important to bear witness to hatred, bigotry, and stupidity for what it is.

One thing I learned on the picket line many years ago is that each of us has reasons for being there and limits to the acts we will commit in protest, and that no one has the right to tell another what their reasons and limits should be. We do, I think, have the right to ask that if someone is going to do something we'd disagree with, that they not do it where we would be associated with it. So I think it's reasonable to ask either that a venue be free of expressions that offend, or that there be a way to mark them so that they can be avoided.

#705 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2011, 06:14 PM:

PS: To abi: Even if you feel you're off on the edge (and I don't think you are), carrying a flag for your position is still good work.

#706 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2011, 06:19 PM:

Lee #703: The "ex-gay" movement is "hinky" from the get-go. Besides not working very well (working from ignorance will do that), their methods are often remarkably abusive.

#707 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2011, 06:27 PM:

I third KayTei's 699 and second TexAnne's 700. And David's 702 gets a hearty "hear, hear" on all points, especially the part about abi not leaving please.

#708 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2011, 06:36 PM:

This is a test post. I think something went screwy with my browser, maybe when I rebooted last.

#709 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2011, 08:00 PM:

Lizzie L@673 - I have a Kindle (acquired as a trade show vendor-raffle prize, which simplified the buying decision, but the price has also come way down in the last year), and I really like it. The physical format just works, convenient for holding in one hand to read, occasionally pocket-sized, and much nicer to read than the Nook I tried in a store. The menu system isn't perfect, but it's fairly usable for the most common things I've wanted to do. The fonts are adjustable and readable.

So far, I haven't dealt with Amazon's ordering systems - I've mostly downloaded lots of Project Gutenberg texts, Bujolds I hadn't found on paper yet (from her website), some Cory Doctorow, and this year's Hugo nominees, which I recently spent a couple of airplane flights reading through. I am using the CaLibre software to handle format conversions for things that don't come as .mobi. Eventually I'll probably actually have to deal with Amazon's book-buying interfaces, and put up with the idea that they think e-books should cost more than paperbacks instead of less as well as whatever copy protection they have, but there's been such a wealth of material to read that I haven't done that yet.

#710 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2011, 08:02 PM:

I agree with abi and KayTei.

It is stunningly easy to activate that us-vs-them machinery in our brains. And once activated, it is stunningly easy to justify all kinds of nastiness done to "them," ranging from verbal cruelty to discrimination to beatings to murder. This is, as best I can tell, a property of being human--while I'm sure there are rare people with relatively little us-vs-them machinery in their brains, most people do seem to have it.

That happens here, because we're humans and we pretty-much all have that machinery ready to go. But we also have a choice about whether to run with that us-vs-them stuff. It is very hard to find a "them" category that doesn't include members of our community, and all but impossible to find one that doesn't include people members of our community love and know to be valuable and decent people--perhaps mistaken in some beliefs, perhaps even serving an evil cause in some area, but still valuable people. And having a net.lynch-mob form up to talk about how the filthy fitbs deserve nothing but mistreatment, in a community I belong to, gives me a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. And yet, it happens all the time. It happens in every political forum I've ever seen.

The only way around this I've ever seen is to expect better of yourself and your side than you expect of the big wide world, to apply something like the golden rule or the mirror method--if something would seem terribly unfair to you, done to your friends or allies, you ought to be pretty suspicious of feeling like it's okay when done to your enemies. That way lies the decent midwestern Christians who cheer for calls to waterboard terrorism suspects and bomb foreigners, or who say "serves 'em right" when they hear about prison rape, despite actually being perfectly decent and nice people in their private lives, whose expressed ideals could never be bent to justify the things they support politically.

#711 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2011, 08:46 PM:

Linkmeister @ 698... I have all 5 of them ready to be sent to you.

#712 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2011, 09:03 PM:

It is very hard to find a "them" category that doesn't include members of our community

"People who want me dead." Not members of any community with me. Your extended category is probably true, since everyone has a Crazy Uncle Charlie Who Thinks THEY Should All Die.

Also, "People who think I'm less than they are, or less entitled to rights, because I'm gay" are rare around here, and tend to be set right or driven out fairly quickly.

#713 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2011, 01:20 AM:

Bruce @ 704

"This is probably true, but I wonder who we're concerned about looking at us. Sometimes it's important how we look, sometimes it's important what we do."

I'm concerned about the people I think might otherwise be brought around to support equality, if we hadn't convinced them, by our words and actions, that we are no better than the people we condemn. Our words are part of what we do, and we need to take the same accountability for speech that we would for our other actions.

I know a reasonable number of people who've come around to more tolerant perspectives. They didn't change sides so they could be associated with whoever was snarkier. Their opinions shifted as a result of long, serious interactions with people who treated them with respect and decency, who made rational arguments, and who understood that changing minds takes time and patience and effort.

#714 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2011, 01:31 AM:

Just finished watching Rango. All I gots to say is:


#715 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2011, 01:48 AM:

David Harmon @669: one of the things that drives those chain jokes.

"Three chains walk into a bar..."?

#716 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2011, 02:04 AM:

WRT the metamessage, my read on Cher's comment was more in the nature of "The lady doth protest too much, methinks."

#717 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2011, 02:23 AM:

KayTei @694: "Oh my God, they really do want me dead." I do understand the fear. I do think it's totally rational. I just think that when we use rhetoric that is similar to the rhetoric that we object to their use of, we weaken our ability to effectively call them on the complete inappropriateness of their threatening statements and behaviors. I think this is a case where the more distance we can put between ourselves and them, the better we will look by comparison.

One of the bizarre aspects of my life is that, in the course of processing newspapers for the guinea pigs, I get to relive news cycles some while after they've passed from public attention.

I'm just going through the period around bin Laden's death, and the associated celebrations, and finding my discomfort at that whole response renewed.

Now, granted, I am not immune from wanting to hurt in reaction to being hurt. Blessedly, needing to threaten in response to feeling threatened is still largely hypothetical for me.

But I am accutely conscious of karma and the Law of Three-fold return.

Which leaves me at an utter loss when I hear people spouting venom at/about those whom I love and value.

"Hitting them back as hard as they hit us" is very tempting on a protozoic level. But my very strong sense is that it's effective only in the way that scratching the mosquito bite is effective: it may relieve the itch momentarily, but pretty soon the itch starts back up again, and before you know it, you've worn a hole in your skin and besides, now all your other mosquito bites are itching, too.

Which is to say, I don't have anything particularly useful or insightful to offer, except that "Mommy, Mommy, he hit me back first!" is how you end up with Sarajevo.

#718 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2011, 02:28 AM:

Serge @ #711, you're a prince.

(My public library is missing five books in the Marcus Falco series, and Serge owns them. He's lending them to me. A prince, I say.)

#719 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2011, 02:35 AM:

Xopher @ 658: "I think people like the Bachmanns have stepped outside the realm of courtesy and politeness, and we should be as rude about them as we need to be to achieve our goals."

But what if my goal is a world with less rudeness?

Anytime you're contesting the nature of the permissible, the other side is going to do things you consider impermissible--that's what you're fighting over. That is no excuse to cede the territory you claim to represent.

Bruce Cohen @ 704: "So I tend to take the middle path in this discussion: occupying the high moral ground is often a good thing to do, and preventing flamewars which do nothing but burn down the neighborhood is worthwhile. But every once in awhile it's important to bear witness to hatred, bigotry, and stupidity for what it is."

This is where battlefield imagery betrays: in combat one seizes the higher ground to deny it to the enemy and to assault the enemy from. In conversation, one occupies the moral high ground in order to force the enemy to join you there.

Being better than your opponents is bearing witness to their hatred and bigotry.

#720 ::: Jeffrey Smith ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2011, 02:39 AM:

The last time I was at Dolphin Bay, calling it "quiet" is not as accurate as it used to be. Yes, the area is still quiet in terms of traffic and such, but the coqui frogs . . . oh my god. They're worse than cicadas -- and cicadas stop when the sun goes down. That's when the coquis start. Dolphin Bay includes earplugs in each room for those who have trouble sleeping through the noise.

#721 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2011, 03:23 AM:

Jeffrey Smith @ 720... When it rains here in Albuquerque (which hasn't happened yet this year), we'll be hearing frogs ribbiting in the neighbor's backyard after they've come out from underground. Loud too.

#722 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2011, 05:34 AM:

I'd like to apologize to David Harmon in particular, and the community at large. I was very near a complete head-crash last night; these business trips have really taken a lot out of me.

It's true that I often find myself at odds with a subset of the community about the standards of language and demeanor we should use in public discourse. I'm really dreading this next election cycle for that reason.

But when I'm not deathly weary, I'm not on the verge of leaving Making Light. I shouldn't have gone there; it feels like I used a guilt-trip to shut down the discussion.

I particularly appreciate how everyone in the conversation read through the content of the comment to the real meaning, and expressed sympathy...and then went on with the conversation.

#723 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2011, 05:50 AM:

And on-topic...

I think it's worth remembering the difference between the addressees of political discourse and its audience. What we say to politicians may be no more than they deserve, but the people on the sidelines, watching, get the gut-level reaction of will they point that thing at me next?

Opposition causes people to school more tightly. Rude and personal opposition doubly so. And we're generally deaf to the level of unpleasantness that "our side" dishes out, because we see the reasons and the rightness inside. So we don't calibrate very well to the ears of the persuasible, because we're trying to outshout the obdurate.

I do have moral objections to the tactics in question, but I don't expect other people to share them. But I also think they're ineffective for liberals to use*, which is a matter of more general concern.

* I also think they're ineffective in the long term for conservatives, and that their short-term efficacy is coming to an end.

#724 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2011, 08:51 AM:

abi #722, #723: Thank you for the apology. I think all of us got the sense that you were indeed speaking from weariness and frustration.

But I also think they're ineffective for liberals to use*, which is a matter of more general concern.

* I also think they're ineffective in the long term for conservatives, and that their short-term efficacy is coming to an end.

Well, that's the Big Question, innit? Bluntly, I do not think that the neocons are "running out of steam", or that "the people are recognizing them for what they are". I think they're well on the way to taking over my country with their tactics. As far as being "deaf to our own unpleasantness"... well, it's just as easy to be blind to our own ineffectiveness.

Here's the thing: Here on Making Light, your gentle tactics are very effective... but, that effectiveness does depend on the existence of that disemvoweler, and the banhammer, in the background. Teresa's innovation there was finding an intermediate response between "social control", and that banhammer, one that can rattle people enough to make a demi-troll reconsider, or leave a true troll leaving unfulfilled. But even disemvoweling depends on having ownership of the server, so that they can claim, and defend, the "last word", if necessary with calls to law enforcement agencies. As a tactic, disemvoweling works well anyplace a moderator does have that control -- and it's completely useless where they can't actually delete messages and ban persistent offenders.

In the political world, we do not have that kind of control. Neither do our opponents and outright enemies, but they do have more control than we'd like. Accordingly, we don't always get to pick the battlefield, or the spectators. A great deal of this conflict is being waged over the people in this country who are most easily manipulated, and who are operating on fairly primitive rules. For these people, trading insults is a genuine part of a dominance struggle.

Now, matching the neocon threats with equal venom and violence would indeed leave folks wondering if there was any difference. But that's not what we, or Cher, are doing. Cher responded to Bachmann's long-term viciousness not just by random nastiness, but with a very specific crack -- one that attacks the battlements he's tried to establish between himself and Teh Gays. And with a "threat" that itself makes a mockery of the violence promised by the neocons and tea-partiers. Also, she said both of these in her own forum, so they appear in the context of her celebrity and background, as (basically) a female drag queen. If something like Cher's crack is too "nasty" for the hands of liberals, then what's left besides "oh, we're really nice folks, really.... please don't throw us in Gitmo?" Sorry, but that's way too close to concern trolling for my nerves. Yes, we can and should spend time persuading people -- but we also need to make clear to bystanders who is not, and never will be, on our side.

More, the neo-cons are publicly slandering and mocking us freely. In this context, Refusing even to be snarky isn't "a higher standard", it's very much rolling over, because them mocking us is a strategic mistake on their part. Mockery can be used to enforce power differentials, but it can also be used to undercut them... and the neocons seem to have damaged senses of humor, probably because of the cultish aspects of their movement. When the weapons are barbed jokes, it's moderates, then liberals, who have the advantage.

Yes, the right wing's tactics, and Bachmann personally, have offended a lot of people. By mocking him, Cher is addressing those people. She is not descending to their level, she's helping to disempower his viciousness, by showing how unstable his position is. Moreover, she's showing her fans both which side she's on, and that the Bachmans, and by extension the neocons, are mockable. I call that a decent shot.

#725 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2011, 09:14 AM:

Me #724: Looking back, I see that it looks as if I dismissed Cher as a "female drag queen". That's been her persona for several decades, but rest assured, I know that it's just the facade for a helluvalot of talent in several fields.

#726 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2011, 10:07 AM:

Jacque @ 714: I thought of it as a Western and a WWII movie rolled into one, where the characters just happen to be lizards and rodents. One of the best movies I've seen this year; I ran around recommending it to people who don't like animated film (I know, heresy) or who think animated film = children's movie.

#727 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2011, 10:49 AM:

I didn't expect to set off exactly this discussion (assuming I did indeed set it off) when I brought up the ongoing issue I'm having with people who fag-bait homophobes and what the difference is, if any (I think there is a difference), between that and outing.

My parsing of the difference is that outing is aimed narrowly at closeted people who socially and culturally enjoy the benefits of gay and lesbian culture but who work politically against that culture. (The hypocrisy of it doesn't really bother me, as hypocrisy is a personal vice. It's the pissing on solidarity, that fundamental public virtue, which makes the difference.) Fag-baiting is calling out someone, regardless of their orientation, for being or seeming homosexual. I think that's just wrong.

In the larger discussion, I'm torn. I'm temperamentally with Xopher, philosophically with abi, but in practice, I'm closest to David Harmon. These are bad times, the country as far to the right economically as it's been in my lifetime and moving further. Where is the "Hands off Social Security!" movement? It doesn't exist. Where is the opposition? It doesn't exist. Where is the leadership? It doesn't exist. Where is the rank and file? Pacified by cultural progress, scared by the virulence.

The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity.

That's a historical statement, as I understand it, true sometimes and not true at others. RIght now, it's on the money.

Maybe it's just age, but I'm at a loss for what to do.

#728 ::: edward oleander ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2011, 10:57 AM:

abi #723 - "What we say to politicians may be no more than they deserve, but the people on the sidelines, watching, get the gut-level reaction of will they point that thing at me next?"

Spot on with a caveat: I think this exact reasoning is valid far beyond just politics. The fear of attracting the attention and/or the wrath of someone with a flair for excoriation probably keeps more people on the sidelines of far more conversations than we realize. OTOH, we can't really let it stop us, because part what makes inclusiveness what it is, is the knowledge that if the person speaking is part of "your" community, then by default you probably don't have to worry about having the "invective cannon" turned your way.

I do have moral objections to the tactics in question, but I don't expect other people to share them. But I also think they're ineffective for liberals to use*, which is a matter of more general concern.

When thinking about debate "tactics," I was struck by how context makes both your view and David Harmon's use of civility (or its' lack) as a "Choice of weapons" equally valid. In general, when we Liberals are arguing with Conservatives, we are trying to get them to see the issue under discussion in a new light. We are trying to enlighten them and bring them into our camp, so the world can be a better place. Poking, bullying, and belittling will rarely accomplish that, so the polite course is always (at least theoretically) more effective.

Conservatives, OTOH, aren't trying to convert us to their view. They're trying to marginalize us in order to rally their own base. Especially after the 2010 elections, the Conservatives seem to no longer believe they need to aim for inclusiveness.

To me this says that we should always look at our goals before we formulate our statements. For most regular human beings, trying to include "them" and change their hearts and minds is, in fact, the goal, thus necessitating civility and diplomacy. There are those, however, who we cannot conceive of ever joining our camps. Opposing political leaders often fit into that mold. As an example, to me, Michele Bachmann is a lost cause, and nothing I can say to or about her will ever get her to see things realistically (read: my way). I think there is some validity, therefore, in using her to rally the Liberal base to bring it more into focus. Doing so can legitimately involve trying to marginalize or even trivialize her, to make her a common enemy, to scorn her "extreme" views.

At the risk of sounding elitist, I think there are definitely some audiences that are more receptive to lower civility, but for the most part, this community isn't one of them. Sometimes, though, you have to play to your audience rather than hope or expect them to live up to our standards.

#729 ::: Carrie S ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2011, 11:03 AM:

More, the neo-cons are publicly slandering and mocking us freely.

Ann Coulter's latest book is called Demonic, and the subtitle mentions the "liberal mob". I saw it with my own eyes at the bookstore last night...on the bestseller rack.

In the face of this sort of thing, I have to say I have a tough time objecting to Cher looking at a guy and basically raising an eyebrow at him in the doth-protest-too-much mold.

#730 ::: edward oleander ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2011, 11:09 AM:

heresiarch #719 - "But what if my goal is a world with less rudeness?

Easy. Don't use rudeness as a "weapon of choice." Be aware, however, that meeting one goal may make other goals more difficult to achieve. It's a trade-off that depends on the priorities you've set for your various goals. In my work with the street population, a combination of street vulgarity and strict politeness is usually quite effective, but sometimes I have to abandon politeness and be calculatingly rude to achieve some greater goal, like the safety of my unit.

#731 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2011, 11:12 AM:

David, #724: You just said pretty much everything I was thinking. The only things you missed:

1) This whole discussion has been skirting the edges of the tone argument, and at a couple of points has slid all the way over (IMO).

2) If anger and mockery are the wrong tactics for liberals to use -- while being routine for conservatives -- we're ceding a significant part of the argument to the bullies. It is NOT OKAY to say that tolerance has to extend to being bullied and abused, because that leaves the bullies with all the power and their targets with no recourse.

#732 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2011, 11:18 AM:

WRT Marcus Bachmann's desire to discipline gays, Jon Carroll's latest column is worth a read.

#733 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2011, 11:33 AM:

Melissa Singer: One of the best movies I've seen this year; I ran around recommending it to people who don't like animated film (I know, heresy) or who think animated film = children's movie.

I have a short list of films that I think of when someone figures animated film = children's movie which can blast that old chestnut into smoking fragments. And no, Fritz the Cat is not one of them.

#734 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2011, 11:40 AM:

Bruce @733: Share, please?

#735 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2011, 11:58 AM:

Surely The Grave of the Fireflies is on the list?

#736 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2011, 12:55 PM:

The Modesto Kid #732: Snerk! But I suspect his targets would simply agree that someone could "curse their way into gayness", and not get the joke.

#737 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2011, 01:01 PM:

Lee #731: Thanks for both the support and the missing pieces. If I'd thought of the tone argument, I'd have put it in place of the reference to "concern trolling" in the middle of #724.

#738 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2011, 02:46 PM:

I'd be interested to hear someone, either Lee or David, explain where precisely this conversation was a "tone argument", and whether my fundamental belief that we can and should have more civility in political discourse is somehow incompatible with its prohibition?

Because, frankly, if that's the case, we have a problem here.

#739 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2011, 03:27 PM:

abi, I am confused by your post 738. To what does your word "its" refer, and what exactly is being prohibited, and by whom?

#740 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2011, 03:42 PM:

Lizzy L @739:

"its" refers to "the tone argument", whose deprecation I am perceiving as a way of telling me that I shouldn't advocate for civility from the people on my side of the political divide.

Which, as I say, would be a problem.

#741 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2011, 04:06 PM:

... If "tone argument" means we're not allowed to discuss the effectiveness of various persuasive tactics where civil persuasion is included in the range of viable options, or if it means that we're not allowed to discuss the problematic aspects of specific instances and trends in speech and advocacy, then I think we need to redefine "tone argument" to be something that's meaningful, but which doesn't prohibit necessary and valid discourse and criticism.

#742 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2011, 04:39 PM:

Miracle Day: Unysjnl guebhtu gur frpbaq rcvfbqr. Ng guvf cbvag gur zber fhssrevat vasyvpgrq ba Erk Znguvfba gur orggre V'yy yvxr vg. Juvpu, tvira gur rkcrevrapr bs PbR, cebonoyl zrnaf ur'yy fheivir naq guevir, cbffvoyl orpbzvat n Qverpgbe ng PVN.

#743 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2011, 05:38 PM:

I'm a bit uncomfortable about claiming "He's really gay!" about anyone who represents themselves as straight.

Because back during my Army enlistment (1972-1975), there was a period when I was perceived as gay ("queer" was usually the actual word used) by some of the other soldiers. One time I went back to my bunk to find that someone had written "Company Queer" on my locker.

What I actually was at that time in my life was pretty much asexual-by-default. My feeble attempts at normal dating in high school and college had either met with ego-shattering rejections or I'd felt... nothing... on those few dates I actually had. So I'd basically stopped trying, and spent a lot of time trying to not think about sex. (I got pretty good at acting like I didn't think about sex.)

I think that some people assign Gay Points to other people's behavior, and to their lack of certain behavior. Get enough points, and, boom!, they consider you to be in the gay camp.

I didn't date (lots of points), I didn't talk about pussy (lots of points). I think I also got incidental points for unmanly things like wearing glasses and reading books.

The upshot was that a significant portion of my fellow soldiers tended to regard me as "probably gay" or "definitely gay". Except for that scrawl on my locker, there wasn't much overt declaration of such on their part, but I frequently got the feeling that I was regarded, on a personal basis, with veiled disdain and contempt. (On a professional basis, I was a really good Company Clerk, and I got a lot of respect in that area.)

But I wasn't gay. All my fantasies were quite hetero. I've occasionally tried the thought experiment of imagining myself with another guy, but... nope... nope... nothing exciting or titillating in that scenario.

So I've always been reluctant to presume someone's sexual orientation solely on behavior, or lack of behavior.

Like Hugh Hefner, I went into the Army a virgin, and came out of the Army a virgin. It was only afterwards that, much to my continuing astonishment, I ended up having an active (occasionally even over-active) sex life, and a long-term relationship with someone I adore. (Hilde and I will be having our 34th anniversary later this week.)

#744 ::: Throwmearope ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2011, 06:59 PM:

Like Bruce @ 743--

I've been asked if I'm gay on a few occasions. I guess as a woman in a still male dominated career, I can be aggressive when folks don't respond to my gentle assertiveness (at least not as fast as I want them to).

The last woman who questioned my orientation, glared at me and asked if I was gay in a quite nasty tone of voice.

I told her I'm not even very cheerful.

#745 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2011, 07:44 PM:

Much like Bruce @ 743--there were several years (between college and Kyndra, so late 20's-early 30's) when most of the people I spent most of my time with suspected/speculated that I was gay (for similar reasons). Thankfully, it was a group where that wasn't a bad thing and was mostly irrelevant [1], but it was still very strange in a not-entirely-pleasant way.

Abi, I really appreciate the plea for civility--many of the same things that bother me seem to be what you are talking about. Albatross @ 710 says what I want to say better than I could.

[1] A group centered around a coffee shop owned by a lesbian couple.

#746 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2011, 08:08 PM:

I've been pulling back from this conversation - or at least from direct participation in it (I've been hitting the 'reload' button on the browser like a rat at an intermittent-reinforcement pellet feeder) - precisely because it's one that I tend to overreact in.

That having been said, I'm camped somewhere in the neighborhood with Xopher and David Harmon, with a side order of personal baggage that leaves me unnecessarily (but undeniably) sensitive to the suggestion that I'm not being /nice/ enough (or polite enough, or fair enough, etc.)

There are a handful of progressive sites where I do not comment, ever, for fear of not being nice enough. When we have this conversation I start really hoping this site doesn't turn into one of them.

I've deleted a bunch of further comments here; I'm really unsure of my ability to be both civil enough to avoid causing offense and honest enough to own my own words. I guess the tl,dr; version is : Sometimes fighting hard and dirty is the least bad option, and how dare anyone (inadvertently) invoke the ghosts of my past to whisper "Nice people don't fight back" in my ear when I am working to fight hard and dirty so they don't have to.

#747 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2011, 08:45 PM:

Does anybody know, why is Yahoo Mail pressuring you to choose to upgrade while at the same time implying that you don't really have a choice? I keep getting the "Upgrade now! You have a deadline to upgrade by!" button whenever I sign in. Is it trying to railroad through a bunch of new rules in the Terms Of Use by forcing us to say we all "choose" them?

#748 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2011, 08:49 PM:

abi #740: More that you need to recognize that other people have different balances on the civility/vulgarity thing, and this is not necessarily bad.

You're unwilling to use vulgarity yourself, fine: non gustibus disputandum. When you declare that civility is always better, and condemn even snarkiness... that's moving towards "friendly fire", because insisting that yours is the only acceptable way is failing to be inclusive. And I'm afraid that is an example of the tone argument, turned against your own side. But... as indicated in Lee #731's link, using the tone argument isn't a mortal sin, it's just a fallacy, and a very human one. (Oh Noes, the mighty Abi lacks Godly Detachment, what shall we do? :-) )

Consider your basic priorities: I doubt you actually think that snarkiness, or even rudeness, is worse than direct support for the neocon agenda! Given that, you'll feel much less isolated if you learn to accept having allies with "coarser" standards of discourse.

#749 ::: Magenta Griffith ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2011, 08:52 PM:

Bruce @#733. Is one of those non-kid animated films "Triplets of Belleville?" Love that one.

#750 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2011, 08:54 PM:

Thena's 746 is why I hate the tone argument with a burning passion. We have a right to our anger, we really do, and if we need to scream at the heavens we have a right to do so.

What we do not have is the right to enforce all screaming, all the time. That creates an atmosphere where my principles and I (and my inner fifth-grader) want nothing more than to make myself small enough to vanish until the screaming is over. I cannot flourish in such an atmosphere. Sure, yeah, sometimes I just want to vent. But my self-respect requires that I regain my civility as soon as possible. If everyone else in the conversation is throwing elbows, that leaves me with no freedom to speak, no sense that my presence is valued. And it makes me want to leave a community and never come back.

I don't want Making Light to turn into that screaming, elbow-throwing place. This is my refuge against the rest of the Internet. Please, all you loud people, remember that the *real* fight is between those who want conformity, and those who value individuals and their differences. If you become a noise machine to defeat a noise machine, you will have won the battle and lost the war.

#751 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2011, 08:57 PM:

David, 748: I don't think you have understood Abi's point at all, and I think that comment comes very close to a personal attack. That makes me very uncomfortable, because as you say, we *are* all on the same side.

#752 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2011, 09:02 PM:

TexAnne #751: I don't think you have understood Abi's point at all.

This is entirely possible, but I'm certainly not trying to attack Abi. (I don't consider disagreement to be an attack!)

#753 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2011, 09:06 PM:

Melissa Singer; The Modesto Kid:

As suggested, Grave of the Fireflies is on the list.

Angel's Egg, which can best be described as a visual tone poem for lack of any other term. Only about 12 words spoken, so you can rent it without worrying about a translation.

Twilight of the Cockroaches.

Fantastic Planet, although I hate, hate, hate the film.

Tokyo Godfathers.

Allegro Non Troppo, because it's fun to see parents literally dragging their children up the aisle and out of the theater.

Vampire Hunter D. (My laserdisc jacket is signed by Yoshitaka Amano, with a little sketch of D!)

Based on the clips I've seen, the Jan Svankmajer version of Alice, which apparently starts with a narrator saying "it's a film made for children... perhaps?" Hell, almost anything by Svankmajer or The Brothers Quay.

The Japanese one about virtual reality---what was it again? Damn--I'm blocking it. Begins with a P. (NO, not "Popchaser." I'm trying to keep this to films that have an under-X rating.)

Ghost in the Shell.

About half the old Tourney of Animation and Animation Festival series winners, what with the Sandman stealing the eyeballs out of the sockets of children asleep, and that horrid little short about the guy who helps a wounded angel to recover. (Those who saw it are cringing right now, remembering the last 60 seconds.) The first computer animated film, "Hunger," also goes into this category.

パタリロ! スターダスト計画, otherwise known as PATALLIRO! Star Dust Project. Actually, kids will have no problem with it since the 10-year-old protagonist does such screwy things. It's the adults who are going to start with thinking it's a very, very strange spy movie, then will move along to asking "Why don't the women Bancoran seduces have any breasts?" and who will become more and more weirded out once they figure out what's going on--yes, it's bishōnen as drawn by Edward Gorey on acid. A good film to check just how flexible someone's mind actually is.

It's a TV series (except for the wrap-up film), but the animated series Kimagure Orange Road​ is the reason I still have a Laserdisc player, even though I'm missing one of the discs that was released--I'd pay a bounty to get the gap filled. (Yes, I know there are DVD's. I can't afford them.) If you made it alive through High School you can understand this one, even with the super-powered family of espers that are trying to pass for normal--trust me, Kyōsuke does every dumb thing I would have done under the same circumstances.

I've got a lot more--I ran various film series for over a decade--but these will do as a start.

That reminds me: if anyone ever releases a translation of 大東京ビンボー生活マニュアル a.k.a Dai-Tokyo Binbō Seikatsu Manual (according to Wikipedia it translates out to "Greater Tokyo Poverty Living Manual"), or even can get me a copy so I can pay a friend that's a translator to translate it for me I'll be a happy man. The few installments they printed are the reason I hung onto all my old Mangajin issues, and if I were heading to Tokyo I'd look at visiting everywhere that ever appeared in the comic. A brilliant work, and a screaming crime that it's not available outside Japan.

Also: outside of Tom, who probably has a copy already (Hi, Tom! I'll ask you about it tonight), does anyone here have an opinion on the book "Style" by F. L. Lucas? Those few that have copies and who have done reviews of it REALLY seem to consider it a brilliant book on writing, but because there have been only three editions folks are asking $80+ for the paperback online. I'd be curious on what anybody who's read it thinks--sooner or later somebody's going to put it back in print and based on the reviews I've seen they're going to make a good chunk of money doing so.

#754 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2011, 09:07 PM:

There's enough funny slapstick in Rango to entertain older children, but it's not for really young kids. Once they're teens, they'd be able to appreciate the incredible weirdness and slyness of the movie.

#755 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2011, 09:11 PM:

Magenta Griffith: Is one of those non-kid animated films "Triplets of Belleville?" Love that one.

Yes, although with the exception of the short of the Triplets in their prime at the beginning there's nothing that a kid would find that was worse than the stuff in most of the better stories in The Brothers Grimm. Haven't seen The Illusionist yet, but I suspect it would fit in as well.

#756 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2011, 09:13 PM:

Completely off topic: somehow I have managed to run the toner in my two printers (one HP b & w laser, one HP Officejet all in one color) down to 1% ink with no replacement cartridges. How did I do this, you ask? Damned if I know. I thought I had a new laser cartridge in a box; it turned out to be an old used cartridge. I knew the all in one was getting low but I thought I had a bit more time on the clock. And it's Sunday, and Staples is closed.

God's way of telling me to get out of the office and take a walk.

#757 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2011, 09:33 PM:

I think that people have a right to be angry. And they have a right to be loudly, defiantly angry. And that this is often a healthy thing, and a useful tool. I don't think that the tool is useful in all circumstances.

Much like wearing excellent protective boots, there are places in which what is a good defense can end up damaging what it comes into contact with. But I don't think this means people need to stop wearing boots: only that when someone goes "Oh god, my floors!" it's often worth checking to see if the floor is covered in tacks (in which case the boots had better stay on) or perhaps covered in a delicate rug (in which case it might be best to leave the boots at the door).

I like to think of Making Light as a place where we can come inside from the world full of tacks and take off our boots for a while. It keeps the floors much nicer, and people who for various reasons have to walk around barefoot are going to be much more comfortable there than they are in other parts of the world where going barefoot isn't practical. (Yes, I realize the metaphor is a bit strained. Perhaps the occasional troll is someone throwing a handful of d4s into the room, which need to be cleaned up before we can move safely again in stocking feet.)

If the floor in here has so many tacks that it's necessary to wear boots even inside, I'd rather focus on picking up the tacks than make everyone put their shoes back on. But I realize other people are likely to feel it's safer and better to just wear boots everywhere.

#758 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2011, 09:48 PM:

Lizzy L @ #756, I'll join you in off-topicness: my Tracfone Motorola phone suddenly decided that no matter how loudly I answered an incoming call the party at the other end couldn't hear me. It worked fine for outgoing calls I made, but incoming calls failed.

This was somebody's way of telling me to go find a new Tracfone. I just did, this time an LG something-or-other. It's an upgrade in that it has a camera, although apparently I can't transmit pictures it takes anywhere but to another mobile phone.

The bigger deal, though, is that as long as I have it I get two minutes for every minute of airtime I purchase. Oh, and it was $14.99.

#759 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2011, 09:51 PM:

Addendum to above picture transmission foolishness with an LG 420 phone:

I have to get a Bluetooth adapter for my PC for this to work, but it's doable. Annoyingly tricky, but doable.

#760 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2011, 09:57 PM:

Fade, that's a really good way to put it. Thank you.

#761 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2011, 10:00 PM:

Today I walked in the 25th Annual San Francisco AIDS Walk. It's a 10K loop in Golden Gate Park, raising money for AIDS treatment and prevention. It was a good time. During warmups some performers from Tales of the City sang for us. The Stanford and Cal bands were there, and the Lesbian and Gay Freedom Band, drummers from a taiko school, a hip hop group (The DIME, they were really good), a couple of rock bands, and a steel drum band. Plus, of course, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, and the bellydancers, and the outdoor swing dance class that is always there on Sundays. I got sunburned. When I got home I found more donations on my page, so now it looks like I will qualify to get a t-shirt. Definitely a good day.

#762 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2011, 10:03 PM:

Linkmeister @759:

I guess Windows has some serious issues with Bluetooth; my LG420 Just Works for transferring stuff both in OS X (even on the old iBook!) and the Ubuntu-based netbook, and all the stuff I keep reading about how tricky and cranky the Windows Bluetooth stuff is makes me wonder why anyone puts up with it. (There is some editing needed for exports from Address Book to import properly, but then it's just Services > "send via bluetooth" .)

There are also instructions for running generic Java midlets on it. Not everything works, because it doesn't implement the full MIDP spec, nor does it support any of the extensions, but quite a few things *do* work. (Just watch out for the data charges if it uses the network.)

#763 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2011, 10:12 PM:

geekosaur @ #762, huh. In Windows 7 it looks like I need to Add a Device with the phone nearby, putting out its Bluetooth signal. Win 7 searches for a device.

We'll see what happens after the initial charge is completed.

#764 ::: edward oleander ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2011, 10:36 PM:

@ 743, 744, et al...

As a male nursing student, I was asked several times flat out if I was gay, or more obliquely (so they thought) if it was, "... true that all male nurses are gay?" My answer was an earnest grin and a cheerful, "Well, I'm gay, but since I'm married to a woman, that makes me a lesbian."

Sometimes it's just fun to mess with someone's head...

#765 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2011, 10:46 PM:

Bruce @753: Thanks! Plenty of stuff I've never seen there; much appreciated.

#766 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2011, 10:52 PM:

Re the "are you/have you been perceived as gay" subthread . . . .

In one of those weird coincidences, this question has come up in two of my regular web haunts today. On the other site, it grew out of a conversation about how gay single mothers are often perceived as straight in their IRL communities unless they are dating.

I wrote this there:
I think a lot of people assume that I am gay. Many of the people I've met since my daughter was born have never seen me date and I rarely talk about my relationship history; they know that my closest friends and most of my social circle are all women and nearly all of them are single. Many of them also know that I went to an all-girl high school, that I'm passionately feminist, and that I support lgbt issues and causes.

Gay people never think I'm gay, but some straight people do.

#767 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2011, 11:04 PM:

Melissa Singer #766: Hmm. My first thought was that if you spend enough time around local lesbians, you might well have picked up some of the local mannerisms, which AIUI is how 'gaydar' usually works. And then your last sentence more-or-less squashed that theory. ;-)

#768 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2011, 11:55 PM:

Having gone back thru the discussion at length, I am now prepared to respond to abi's question with more than a nebulous "that's just the impression I was getting".

KayTei @663: Equating Cher's mockery with hate speech. Although, to be fair, I seem somehow to have missed her post @678 the first time around, which upon having read it puts that statement into a much less problematic context.

KayTei @694: I think this is a case where the more distance we can put between ourselves and them, the better we will look by comparison.
Bruce C. @704: This is probably true, but I wonder who we're concerned about looking at us.
KayTei, @713: I'm concerned about the people I think might otherwise be brought around to support equality, if we hadn't convinced them, by our words and actions, that we are no better than the people we condemn.

This exchange definitely pinged "tone argument" for me. On the one hand, it's still pushing what I perceive as a false equivalence between Cher's tweet and hate speech; on the other, it hits the "But what will the NEIGHBORS think?" button, which just bugs the bejeezus out of me for personal reasons.

heresiarch @719: In conversation, one occupies the moral high ground in order to force the enemy to join you there.

This is partly related and partly a side issue. I strongly disagree with this argument, because IME there are far too many cases in which it's completely ineffective. Not only will the enemy not join you there, but they will then turn around and attack you further for what they perceive as a show of weakness -- and that tactic will influence the bystanders KayTei was mentioning above, and not in your favor.

Sometimes setting a good example just plain doesn't work, and if that's the only tool in your toolbox, you have a larger problem. Perhaps more to the point, your opponent is likely to deploy a surface-plausible reason why the rules should apply to you but not to them, and that again will influence the bystanders in their favor. (This is where the "tolerance" argument comes into play.)

abi @723: But I also think they're ineffective for liberals to use, which is a matter of more general concern.

Despite the footnote re conservatives (about which I concur with David's analysis @724), this feels very nearly like the tone argument in its pure form. "Think how much more persuasive you could be if you just weren't so nasty and hostile." Now, that may not be the way abi intended it, but that's how it reads to me. See also my paragraph above, re how setting a good example is sometimes just not a fruitful approach.

It may be that "tone argument" is only valid when applied to someone arguing against your goals, and is the wrong term to use when people are all basically arguing for the same outcomes, but disagreeing on tactics and approaches. If I've mis-applied the term for that reason, then I apologize and withdraw it, and will make a note to myself for the future.

#769 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2011, 12:04 AM:

Lee: The tone argument is a club. "You're too angry! I'm not listening!" is a horrible thing to say--but so is "I'm angry! I don't care if my shouting hurts your ears! It's your fault for being weak!" The second version is what Abi and I feel like we're being hit with. When a narrow-minded twit shouts at me for being a liberal, I can ignore it fairly easily by now. When somebody I consider a friend shouts at me for being too namby-pamby to yell myself, it hurts a lot.

#770 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2011, 12:33 AM:

Bruce asked: "The Japanese one about virtual reality---what was it again?"

Paprika. (Which I thought was OK.)

Tokyo Godparents was a total hoot.

The Illusionist was wonderful, but maybe may be kind of tame for kids.

#771 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2011, 01:54 AM:

Stefan Jones: Bruce asked: "The Japanese one about virtual reality---what was it again?"

Paprika. (Which I thought was OK.)

THANK you! I kept thinking "Chicken Paprikash," which I knew was wrong.

The Illusionist was wonderful, but maybe may be kind of tame for kids.

That would fit "a short list of films that I think of when someone figures animated film = children's movie which can blast that old chestnut into smoking fragments." Although from your description of it The Illusionist wouldn't provide much of a bang.

#772 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2011, 01:57 AM:

Melissa Singer: Thanks! Plenty of stuff I've never seen there; much appreciated.

No problem. There's a similar list of animated films that kids and adults can enjoy, but that's another question entirely.

#773 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2011, 02:12 AM:

David Harmon @ 724: "If something like Cher's crack is too "nasty" for the hands of liberals, then what's left besides "oh, we're really nice folks, really.... please don't throw us in Gitmo?""

I am sick to death, double and triple sick, I am vomitously and violently sick of being told that any disapproval of my side's rhetoric is a sign of my abject surrender to the forces of evil. Listen carefully:

You do not get to tell me when I have surrendered.

That is not your privilege. Clear?

Do you know why I believe that Cher's remark was uncivilized? It is because I do not believe that anyone should be in the business of telling anyone else what their sexuality is. Because acting as though you can tell whether someone is gay by the tenor of their voice or the femininity of their mannerisms reinforces harmful stereotypes about the expression of gender identity.

This principle isn't just more important to me than scoring points off a conservative politicians' spouse; it is central to why I want to defeat them in the first place. To abandon the prior to pursue the latter is annihilate its own reason for existence.

But let's circle back a moment: it's either call them secret gay or beg to avoid Gitmo? Strawman. What's more, your entire argument stinks of the Hard Man Fallacy, where any excess is justified because you are (reluctantly) doing it in the Name of Good, and the only alternative is Too Horrible to Think About. You think that the dire, imminent threat of Mark Bachmann is such that we must sacrifice one of our core liberal values to defend the rest? Prove it. Outline the pressing threat, and explain why no other less harmful tactic could have been employed.

@ 748: "When you declare that civility is always better"

Who's talking about "always"? We're talking about this comment at this time. Lest we forget.

edward oleander @ 730: "Be aware, however, that meeting one goal may make other goals more difficult to achieve. It's a trade-off that depends on the priorities you've set for your various goals."

Yes; it's true that hard trade offs exist. I'm less than convinced that this is one of them. Is the theory that he is one cutting remark away from a big gay relapse and a run-from-Jesus moment?

Lee @ 768: "Not only will the enemy not join you there, but they will then turn around and attack you further for what they perceive as a show of weakness"

From their point of view, the things I believe truly are signs of weakness. The only way to avoid them perceiving me as weak for, you know, wanting to help the poor, supporting people's individual choices and so forth would be to abandon those things. To make the argument for those things I must also make the meta-argument that those things are actually signs of strength, and that it's terror of gays, obsession with guns, and (not the least) reliance on primitive dominance displays that are signs of weakness. How we argue is part of what we are arguing for, and civility--including a respect for peoples' right to define their gender identity for themselves--is a core value in my book.

Do not mistake me, or abi, or KayTei for the enforcers of some David-Brooksian pearl-clutching faux civility. That the good name of civil discourse has been tarnished by its misuse in the hands of his ilk is a terrible crime--a crime you redouble when you act as though civility is no more than the hollow form they have made of it. Our civility is a living thing, it has a purpose.

It isn't about not expressing anger, or not hurting people's feelings. If you must be uncivil to express your anger then you are a pitiful thing; if you cannot hurt feelings with necessary truths, carefully measured, then you shouldn't be opening your mouth. It isn't even about vulgarity--sometimes the occasional f-bomb is precisely what is needed. It is about not betraying your core values in alleged pursuit of the peripheral ones.

#774 ::: edward oleander ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2011, 03:05 AM:

Texanne #769 - You're a very gentle spirit, easily bruised, even when the shouting is going around you, not at you. Yet you're unafraid to speak up and demand that your concerns be heard when that bruising occurs. Stephen R. Donaldson says there is both strength and hope in contradiction. I think Stephen R. Donaldson is very wise.

I seem to remember a VERY spirited debate about a cherished allegory of mine that you, and you alone, brought to a halt with three words. After considerable reflection, culminating in this thread, a conclusion (cue trumpet fanfare): Mamby-pamby? A bit. Enough to spend years of time and thousands of dollars to beat out of you with aggro-therapy? Naaaaah... Enough to fret over on dark and stormy nights? Naaaaah... Enough to even be considered a Bad Thing in need of change? Naaaaah... Something we prolly need around here now and then? Yaaaaah...

#775 ::: edward oleander ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2011, 03:34 AM:

heresiarch #773 - "Yes; it's true that hard trade offs exist. I'm less than convinced that this is one of them. Is the theory that he is one cutting remark away from a big gay relapse and a run-from-Jesus moment?"

Gosh, not at all... I came at it from a practical reality I run into at Detox all the time. We have two main goals. We are supposed to be professional at work, using titles, courtesy and civility and always a respect for the person. The usual approach, "Sir, we understand your frustrations, but we have to get through this together , so please [fill in the blank]." Our other goal is the safety of all staff and clients (nearly 60 people in close, open quarters).

Sometimes the polite option just isn't working. It might be their intoxication, simple belligerence, macho bullshit, what have you, but you're not progressing and the whole unit is being thrown off kilter by the distraction. At that point, I have to drop my default goal of civil discourse, get backup, get tougher, move closer, become more intimidating, end discussion, list their options and demand an immediate choice. We provide our own security so these scenes can go from tense all the way up to violence very quickly, so you can see my (and I'm the unit supervisor) very practical concerns.

If the politeness goal is being emphasized by management that month, I may have to let the discussion go for longer than I ordinarily would. but the longer this process takes, the more safety risks creep into the scene.

Usually the two goals are compatico, but sometimes not. I can easily extrapolate the general concept to any situation where civility and issue resolution (or other goal achievement) are running contrary to each other.

It's late and I'm turning into a windbag, but I hope that helps clarify what I meant...

#776 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2011, 04:35 AM:

heresiarch @ 773

Yes. Thanks. I was trying to think how to clarify some of those points, and had decided to sleep on it, but you've stated them very effectively, as well as adding a few things I hadn't managed to tease out in my own analysis. Nicely done.

#777 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2011, 07:11 AM:

Sigh. It looks like even more people are now showing their raw sides. My old shrink would probably consider this a good thing, but I'm not so sure. I am happy that the discussion here has itself remained very civil, even (especially?) from the angry folks.

I'm going to be taking a while to try and reply appropriately.

#778 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2011, 08:19 AM:

heresiarch @ 773: Exactly! Marcus Bachmann isn't wrong because he might be "heterosexually challenged*". That's a distraction at best and fag-baiting at worst. He's wrong because reparative "therapy" is quack science and torture**.

It's not that I'm against harsh rhetoric at all times. (Ask me about "Cut Off Reagan's Arms".) I'm deliberately saying "fag-baiting" rather than softening my language because attacking Marcus Bachmann because he "acts gay" is a form of hate speech.

But I still think the line about the feathered boa is funny.

*A nice piece of circumlocution from Rule 34, which I read and enjoyed greatly over the weekend.

**Not that arguing against torture is an easy argument these days, especially since Big O is gave Little W a free pass.

#779 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2011, 08:21 AM:

I'd be hesitant to guess someone's sexual orientation from seeing them on TV.

#780 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2011, 08:40 AM:

Edward, 774: I don't remember that, but OK. I'm underslept right now, and I feel like I'm completely missing your point. If you're calling me inconsistent, tell me where it says that people can't change according to their circumstances. Some days I can handle more shouting than others. Right now I'm going through a phase where I can ignore hectoring elsewhere, but I'd really rather not have to deal with it here, where I feel most at home.

#781 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2011, 09:05 AM:

heresiarch #773: I understand that your buttons have been pushed, and you have some good points... but you also have some bad ones in there.

First of all, I admit and apologize for the straw-man (and misdirected argument) in the Gitmo remark, That said, I have problems with this:

Do you know why I believe that Cher's remark was uncivilized? It is because I do not believe that anyone should be in the business of telling anyone else what their sexuality is. Because acting as though you can tell whether someone is gay by the tenor of their voice or the femininity of their mannerisms reinforces harmful stereotypes about the expression of gender identity.

Bluntly, "Reinforcing harmful stereotypes" does not mount to the level of "uncivilized". Your own words: "Who's talking about "always"? We're talking about this comment at this time." Just so. And remember who made that comment -- Cher herself has a lengthy history of standing up for women and gays, including having and defending a transgender child of her own. Cher is an activist in her own right, who's been dealing with this stuff longer than I've been alive. If she chooses to be snarky, or to bait an "ex-gay" leader, that's not "getting out of line", it's using her own tactics, formed as long-time participant in this conflict.

What's more, your entire argument stinks of the Hard Man Fallacy

Nope, this is a strawman of your own, made ridiculous by the point that you are talking about Cher. And the comment you're taking about was one of the mildest things that Cher could have said about someone who stands against everything she holds dear, not least her son. It doesn't take a Hard Man to make a wisecrack, or to let one pass.

You think that the dire, imminent threat of Mark Bachmann is such that we must sacrifice one of our core liberal values to defend the rest?

No. Civility is not a "core value of liberalism", it's a personal value shared by many, not all, of the current crop of liberals. Yes, it's a supporting factor for tolerance in general, but in no way is it equally important with such issues as discrimination or social justice.

Prove it. Outline the pressing threat, and explain why no other less harmful tactic could have been employed.

Again, No. Just as I don't get to tell you when you've surrendered, you don't get to demand that I justify for your approval, not just my own conduct, but remarks from someone else that I presume to approve of. And implying that the remark at hand could only be justified by a "pressing threat" is pretty shaky in itself.

The only way to avoid them perceiving me as weak for, you know, wanting to help the poor, supporting people's individual choices and so forth would be to abandon those things.

Do you really think the public in general considers all the top dogs in the civil rights and social justice movements to be wimps? It's the neocons in particular who are pushing that view, and even they aren't getting all that far with it. Their main tactic is still dividing the people, and especially liberals, against each other. Worse, the argument (theirs) is concern trolling in the classic sense: "trying to lure you away from a winning position". The neocons love it when liberals (or moderates for that matter) don't dare say anything that's "out of line", because they get to keep on saying that liberals are weak.

To make the argument for those things I must also make the meta-argument that those things are actually signs of strength

Nope again. To carry forward your own position successfully, you don't need to argue that you really are strong, you need to show that you really are strong. You (and apparently abi) favor a particular tactic for that, namely holding to civility and composure regardless of provocation. It is a pretty good tactic -- I'm fond of it myself, and once fended off an impending physical attack with it. But it's not the only way to show strength in a debate, or even "the only way decent folks would ever need".

And declaring "If you must be uncivil to express your anger then you are a pitiful thing" -- sorry, but that too is the tone argument, and friendly fire to boot. And "[i]f you cannot hurt feelings with necessary truths, carefully measured, then you shouldn't be opening your mouth" amounts to "say it our way or shut up". Not cool!

Also, I'm not touching that "pearl-clutching false civility" strawman you're trying to put in my way. We both know damn well that you, Abi, and myself, can all be genuinely civil, even under considerable pressure. What I'm challenging here is the idea that nothing else is acceptable for anyone on our side.

As a specific counterexample, I'm pointing you to the blog Field Negro. Mr. Bennett's blog isn't nearly as gentle a place as Making Light is. He himself has no problem with openly mocking the neocons and their stooges, his comment threads get much rougher than ours, and he allows many comments that would rate the disemvoweller or banhammer over here. And yet... he manages to maintain a strong and cohesive community on his own terms, and stand up for liberal goals as well. I certainly don't consider him, or his regulars, as "pitiful!"

#782 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2011, 09:15 AM:

Open-threaded mini-review: The new Harry Potter movie is extremely well-done, exciting, and quite moving, but it doesn't have a lot of light moments. It's the best of the bunch.

#783 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2011, 09:22 AM:

Linkmeister @ 718... Thanks. Saint-Exupery's? The artist formerly known as? Of Foxes? The one of insufficient light? No matter what, the books will be going west to you today. And something will be going east to further corrupt the young minds of Abi's offspring.

#784 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2011, 09:26 AM:

Yesterday, my wife and I had lunch with Janet Brennan Croft, who was in town for Mythcon. Janet took a photo of me duking it out with the God of Thunder. It confirms what my wife had said last week - David Strathairn does have more hair than I do.

#785 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2011, 09:31 AM:

David, 781: Mr. Bennett's blog is a different community, with different rules. Presumably people who dislike rough comment threads don't hang out there. I'm not saying unrelenting roughness doesn't belong in the liberal world, I'm saying it doesn't belong *here*, especially when it's making one of my friends unhappy. Abi was our friend before she was our moderator--she is a moderator *because* she is our friend--and if this community has forgotten that, maybe I don't need to be here either.

#786 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2011, 10:11 AM:

David @ 781... How about dropping the subject? I know, who made me a moderator? Nobody did, except that a community's participants all are its moderators.

#787 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2011, 11:20 AM:

TexAnne #785: I'm not sure where you're coming from, because you don't seem to be responding to my letter.

Firstly, where have I even implied that Abi, or you, are a bad person, or not a friend? I have called out a couple of fallacies, but that's SOP in our discussions, and I've also accepted having my own fallacies called out in turn.

Second, where have I brought "unrelenting roughness" to this discussion, or this blog? The spark for this argument was a single comment which wasn't even on this forum, and so far we've managed to discuss it without (AFAICT) even personal insults showing up, much less direct abuse. Indeed, I'll freely admit that I wouldn't even try to have such a conversation at a rougher forum like Field Negro. But the flip side of that, is that they can have discussions that we can't handle!

Presumably people who dislike rough comment threads don't hang out there.

Compare to Thena #746, who's having a problem with this conversation, precisely because of the emphasis on "niceness uber alles". And again, we didn't start with someone coming in here and being nasty! We started with Xopher #654 posting a crack from Cher, and John Arkansawyer #655 being mildly uncomfortable with the "fag-baiting" aspect of it. It's later participants who introduced more extreme positions on both sides.

You in particular have half-accused me (at #751) of personal attacks on Abi (or possibly accused me of half-attacks?), but frankly, I still don't see where that's coming from. At #769, you say When somebody I consider a friend shouts at me for being too namby-pamby to yell myself, it hurts a lot... which I sympathize with, and it's not what I, or I think anyone here, have been saying!

I was originally annoyed (but no more than that) because I felt chided for enjoying Cher's comment without condemning her for "fag-baiting". I'm (still) not arguing that rudeness and mockery are the One True Way, only that they have their place in public discourse. Likewise, I'm not arguing that fag-baiting is perfectly OK in general, only that not every comment of that form is Wrong No Matter What™.

#788 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2011, 11:32 AM:

I guess not.

#789 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2011, 11:49 AM:

Serge Broom #786: Not a bad idea at all. (Naturally, I posted #765 before I saw your note.) I'm with you on the community-as-moderator thing (as practiced here), so thanks for speaking up.

At this point, I've made my positions on the topic as clear as I know how (and I suspect I'm starting to repeat myself), and it's just upsetting people, so I'm bowing out of this argument.

#790 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2011, 11:56 AM:

Numbering fail for me. You Know What I Mean.

#791 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2011, 11:58 AM:

Bruce E. Durocher II @ 753: does anyone here have an opinion on the book "Style" by F. L. Lucas?

No, but by coincidence I just put him on my to-read list based on this review of The Search For Good Sense at The Neglected Books Page.

#792 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2011, 12:46 PM:

I have a couple of points to make here.

First off, I don't actually insist that everyone must be civil all the time to everyone. I do, however, reserve the right not to approve when they transcend the level of anger with which I am comfortable, or feel is appropriate in the context. And I will consistently support people who put their hands up and say, "this makes me uncomfortable."

This is the case even if that discourse is not directly addressed to them. It's not "what will the NEIGHBORS think?", because the audience of political discourse is always greater than the addressee of it. These are arguments held in public so the public can evaluate both sides based on how they behave. The only "neighbors"—in the sense of people with no legitimate interest in the conversation—in such a context would be, say, citizens of foreign nations.

Secondly, I still think I have a severe problem with the tone argument as a means of analyzing political discussions. Two reasons for this:

1. It means I cannot express my genuine and deeply held belief that there is a benefit in civility in political discourse*. I cannot complain that people are using what I consider to be ineffective tactics. If that's "the tone argument in its purest form," then I call the tone argument invalid. I reject it utterly and completely in this context, and refuse to have anything more to do with it until it is narrowed and clarified enough that I can exist in the same universe as it†.

2. It robs us of one of the most cogent arguments against rant radio. I firmly believe that Limbaugh and his ilk are peddling anger like an addictive substance, and have an entire segment of the population hooked. It really isn't just what he says; it really also is how he says it. If that's another case of the tone argument, then again, it's an imperfect tool for diagnosing this kind of discourse.

Third of all, with regard to this community, I refer you all back to a comment I made three years ago:

It is the belief of the moderators of this blog that even the opinions of the thin-skinned are worth listening to. Frequently -- in my experience, at least -- they are actually more interesting than those of the excessively thick-skinned, who approach every conversation as a potential battle.

The result of this belief is that the community conducts its conversations in a way that allows the (relatively) thin-skinned the freedom to express themselves. This does not include encouraging them to toughen themselves up; rather, it includes encouraging the thicker-skinned not to make a virtue of that trait, or a necessity.

The internet is wide and big and complicated. There are many sites under many regimes. If the regime of this one, where we allow space for people to be uncomfortable about the tone of political discourse*, is not to your liking, may the road rise to meet you and the wind be always at your back.

I do not actually think that this includes any people in this conversation; I think that we are all afraid of being prescribed to and unaware of how much we sound like we are prescribing.

* This is not the same as insisting that everyone agree.
† And no, David, being able to use it as long as I admit that it's a fallacy is not acceptable. That was a little overly puckish of you to suggest.

#793 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2011, 12:47 PM:

And I see I am overtaken by events. Nonetheless, I stand by my comment.

#794 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2011, 01:02 PM:

Abi #792: Thank you.

#795 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2011, 01:20 PM:

As an afterthought:

I suspect that any time I "cross-comment" with the very person I'm addressing, that's a Hint to let my next comment wait an hour or so, before I catch up with the thread and see if I still want to post it.

#796 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2011, 01:31 PM:

WRT missed 9 in the theater, finally saw it on DVD. Glad I did; I found it ... rather intense. Really well done, though.

#797 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2011, 02:00 PM:

Open Thready movie note:

I saw _Midnight in Paris_ on Friday, my first Woody Allen film in well over a decade. It's not the romantic comedy the commercials make it out to be, but a more contemplative film. I did want to tell Owen Wilson to tone it down a bit in the first 1/4-1/3, but he becomes more natural as time passes.

My biggest problem was that I didn't buy the engagement between Wilson's character and his character's fiance. They just didn't seem like people who were in love/had stuff in common/enjoyed being together enough to want to get married.

The actor who played Hemingway did a wonderful job of reminding me why I don't particularly care for Hemingway's fiction.

#798 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2011, 02:07 PM:

edward oleander @764: "Well, I'm gay, but since I'm married to a woman, that makes me a lesbian." Sometimes it's just fun to mess with someone's head...

I was at a B5 convention, and then a subsequent Comic Con, with a gaggle of friends. Various of the actors attended the first convention, and Michael O'Hare stayed over for the Comic Con, as well.

It quickly developed that one of the gaggle of friends (we'll call him "George") developed a crush on another of the gaggle (we can call her "Mary"), and in fairly short order made something of a pest of himself about it.

At one point we were coming back from lunch and waiting at the elevators to go up and get ready for the next round of programming.

I turn around, and there's Michael O'Hare sitting in a corner, watching us.

Elevators come, we dribble onto them, and as we do, O'Hare eyes "George" and "Mary." "Hm. Interesting energy, there," he says.

Only several days later in the trip do I find out that "Mary" used to be "Barry," and is now quite happily making a life for herself as a lesbian.

Poor "George." He just never did really quite figure out what to do with that.

#799 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2011, 02:08 PM:

Not quite off-topic: Does anyone know whether "gaydar" has been studied and found to be actually effective?

#800 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2011, 02:14 PM:

From my lunchtime reading, here's a paragraph I wish to put forward, not for debate but as food for thought:

What stayed with me from that call--for it was instructive--was the quality of the anger, the rush and the snap of it, and its sweep. It had a tremendous energy to it--if felt assaultive, a bludgeon--and it did not, in any way, invite engagement, or mutual analysis. For all its passion, it was somehow sealed off from life outside of it. It was different, for example, from the anger of community people I've known seeking to improve a local school gone to seed, an anger fueld by human connection and a vision of possibility.

From Why School? Reclaiming Education for All of Us, by Mike Rose.

(The link starts a bit before that paragraph, to put it into context.)

I'm almost done with this slim little volume. It's adding a lot to my life.

#801 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2011, 02:16 PM:

Following up on Melissa's comments:

I liked Midnight in Paris a lot. There's a light-duty SF-farce aspect to it: The grass seems always greener on the other side of the time tunnel.

#802 ::: edward oleander ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2011, 02:28 PM:

Texanne #780 - Sorry, that same lack of sleep demon made me less clear than I wanted to be...

You are NOT inconsistent. Just the opposite in fact, which was why I heeded your request of "Please just stop!" (even though I still thought my allegory valid) last year in the Chinese government debate. My point was that you showed both fragility (in being upset by the allegory I used) and strength (by politely and firmly asking it to end), and that I respected that combination.

"I can ignore hectoring elsewhere, but I'd really rather not have to deal with it here, where I feel most at home."

This is consistent with your message from last year. It seemed reasonable then, and still does now. You were right: This is a safer and gentler haven than most, and I was rattling that with an allegory that was upsetting to you. Winning the point I was trying to make was not important enough to be worth causing that distress. The people who were arguing the logical validity just made me want to argue more forcefully, but your emotional appeal made me stop and reconsider the appropriateness of that debate in that time and place.

#803 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2011, 02:34 PM:

Stefan @801: The movie seems to have kicked off a round of "when would you like to live" in one of my social circles, which of course I am useless at, because I much prefer to live in a world with antibiotics and prescription eyewear and because, if I was still me, I'd need to live sometime when feminists and Jews weren't being put to death on a regular basis just because they existed.

People complain I am no fun.

If, however, I could live anywhen and not be me, I might want to live in the Tokugawa Shogunate. Maybe. Or Elizabethan London. Though Belle Epoque Paris is full of many of my favorite artists . . . . .

#804 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2011, 02:49 PM:

TexAnne @780 wrt Edward, 774: If I'm interpreting him correctly, he is calling you a sweet soul and a Good Egg, in no way in need of change. He is, however, articulating his opinion in a florid and poetical fashion that might be a challenge for an underslept brain to parse.

#805 ::: Throwmearope ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2011, 03:35 PM:

@John #799

Tried to find a citation, but it's a busy day at work. I read a study that gaydar has a very low positive predictive value--meaning yields lousy results most of the time. More false positives than true positives. As I recall, the study was interpreted to show gaydar reveals more about people's stereotypes than reality.

#806 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2011, 03:46 PM:

This humble Xopher is feeling regret that he brought the Cher quote here in the first place, and is more than happy to let it drop.

John 799: Does anyone know whether "gaydar" has been studied and found to be actually effective?

Hmm, I don't know. The problem is that gaydar isn't easily used in a laboratory setting. You kinda have to watch the person in normal social contexts (and the context is relevant). I feel certain it's POSSIBLE to devise a study, but I don't know if one has been done.

I can tell you this: I perceive my own gaydar to be generational. I've been surprised both ways by people my own age, but with people a lot younger than me...well, let's just say it gets a lot of false positives. And no, that's not wishful thinking; it's that young men today often behave in ways that were gay semaphores when I was young.

One trivial example: wheren I was in college, you almost never saw a gay man with a tattoo or a straight man with an earring. By the early 90s some straight men were wearing big hoops (or even fish—but that was in fandom, so different rules applied), and gay men were covering their arms with tribal art. Today neither of those things means anything (unless the earring or the tattoo is something salient like a rainbow flag or a pink triangle).

#807 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2011, 04:11 PM:

Xopher @ #806, re: tattoos

I'll go you one further. When I was in the Navy in the early 1970s I don't remember seeing a single tattoo on any sailor under 50. None of my fellow sufferers expressed any interest in getting one. The days of the old salt with an anchor (or a heart with "Mom") on his forearm or chest seemed to have passed.

#808 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2011, 04:15 PM:

Serge @ #783, of Tides? Pick whichever you like.

#809 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2011, 04:23 PM:

Linkmeister @ 808.. No matter which princely personage is mine, the books will show up by Friday.

#810 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2011, 05:33 PM:

Xopher @ #806: From a neuroscience/vision science point of view, I'd be really curious if one could develop an experiment to test it, especially if said experiment could be performed while the subject was being scanned in an fMRI. It'd be a tricky experiment to design and even trickier to analyze, but likely very interesting - if the analyses were sufficiently rigorous*. I don't think such a study would find a localized area, but there might be interesting network activation - not my end of the field though, even if it's interesting to think about.

* There's a lot of stuff in social neuroscience that really isn't rigorous enough (by my standards, as a vision scientist) to pass muster; I'm much happier seeing analyses that say something about what information is where in the brain rather than just "these areas show more activation than these other areas," but that's a whole separate rant.

#811 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2011, 05:36 PM:

Melissa Singer @803:
"May you live in interesting times."

That particular discussion gets meta-d a lot in SCA circles: the younger/newer folk often to discuss actually living in period, while the more experienced talk about how long the former would survive....

#812 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2011, 05:41 PM:

I don't have any references (wish I did, but it was a throwaway comment on radio), but I do recall hearing some time back that there had been a preliminary study which showed that "gaydar" was mostly bunk, and boiled down to (unreliable) social clues.

#813 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2011, 05:47 PM:

"Unreliable social clues" matches my experience of it. Wait, are there people who think it's some kind of psychic power?!?!?! I laugh in their general direction!

Look, gay semaphoring isn't quite as blatant as "do you know Dorothy," but it's just as effective. And gay people pick up mannerisms when they come out and start hanging with gay people who came out the year before, etc. You can pick up on whatever mannerisms are current in the gay community (if you have any idea what they are). This process happens unconsciously, so you perceive it as an end result "ding! He's gay!"

#814 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2011, 05:48 PM:

I don't know who else here watches TV series "Leverage", but yesterday's episode - featuring Danny Glover - was excellent.

#815 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2011, 06:16 PM:

Change of subject: Just when you think the phone-hacking scandal in the UK can't get any wilder, a whistleblower turns up dead.

In a Sleazy-Paperback-Novel world, the Ruthless Tycoon would be responsible for the whistleblower's death. In the real world, there's a chance the death was natural, or suicide. But even if so, any other potential whistleblower will think twice before speaking henceforth.

#816 ::: Dan R. ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2011, 06:39 PM:

Bruce @ 815: With every new development, the whole News of the World mess seems more eerily similar to Jo Walton's Farthing, Ha'penny and Half a Crown.

#817 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2011, 06:44 PM:

Linkmeister #807: My stepfather falls right on the edge of that -- a Navy vet who turned 80 this year -- and he does indeed have a blurry blue anchor on his arm. (That's his only one though.)

Hmm, is "the 1970s" late enough for the vanishing of tattoos to be the result of a hepatitis scare or suchlike?

#818 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2011, 07:12 PM:

I'm hoping the News Corp. scandal eventually results in Roger Ailes fighting extradition from Saudi Arabia.

#819 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2011, 07:27 PM:

David Harmon @ #817, "is "the 1970s" late enough for the vanishing of tattoos to be the result of a hepatitis scare or suchlike?"

I don't recall being scared by that threat in boot camp, but then I've blocked much of that nine weeks from memory.

#820 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2011, 08:04 PM:

I don't have anything resembling gaydar, but I do seem to have at least a limited version of "fandar" -- which is to say that there are certain styles of dress (not just the obvious ones like fannish T-shirts!) and modes of body language that ping my "that person is a con-going fan" button, and on the occasions when I've ventured to check, I've always been correct.

#821 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2011, 08:17 PM:

Lizzy L, on the e-reader question:

I bought the 2nd gen Nook about a month ago, right when it came out. I wasn't sure I'd like it, but I had a lot of travel, and the idea that I wouldn't need a pile of books was exciting. I find myself loving it.

I like the way it fits in my hands, and that the screen real estate is all for reading. The touch screen works well for me.

I've not had any trouble getting gutenberg epubs files and pdfs from other sources on and off it, though the pdfs, may have small type, so that I preserve pagination.

I find it cool to archive things - I have them in the bn store, but they are not on the nook at the moment.

The battery life is not the month between charges for me, which I expected. I read over 500 wpm, and turn the pages a lot.

I had originally bought a cover for it, but I found it an annoyance for turning pages, due to the way it locks in, so I ended up returning it and making my own case from fabric and a felted sweater (motheaten).

And I think I just figured out how to get the books from the library onto it! Yay!

#822 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2011, 08:58 PM:

Nancy C. Mittens @ #821 reminded me about the ereader question; I've got both a Kindle DX and an iPad - they both work well as ereaders (I've read well over a hundred books on the Kindle, and a few on the iPad). If you want a dedicated ereader, the e-ink ones are very nice (I'd probably go with a Nook at this point, but it's a tossup). If you want more of a general purpose device, an iPad is very useful (my girlfriend and I took the iPad - and only the iPad - on vacation with us a few weeks back, and it was our laptop replacement for everything for several days). It just depends on what you want out of your ereader.

#823 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2011, 09:03 PM:

Lee @ 820... I do seem to have at least a limited version of "fandar"

That reminds me of Chicago's 1982 worldcon. A buddy and I had gotten onto the big bus that'd take us from the airport to the con and we asked ourselves who else onboard might have the same destination. We soon found out. No fandar though. When the bus drove past a big billboard for "Battlefield Earth", pretty much everybody either got up to point or made a joke.

#824 ::: edward oleander ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2011, 09:09 PM:

Jacque #804 - It was a challenge for an underslept brain to write. I'm glad you'd a good night under your belt! :-)

#825 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2011, 09:12 PM:

Edward and Jacque, thank you. Sorry I missed the point so thoroughly.

HLN: Woman hates packing, reminds self daily that it will be worth it.

#826 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2011, 09:53 PM:

Late night depressing reading: The Euthanasia of Industry. A survey of economic imperialism, and how the bankers are eating the world. Much discussion of "asset stripping" (a politer word for "official" blowout scams) and oligarchies with interests that stand against everyone else.

#827 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2011, 10:21 PM:

Friends had a similar experience on the flight back from Chicago to LA. The stewardi were bemused by all the people who were without headphones but obviously following the in-flight movie.

They were showing 'Star Wars'.

#828 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2011, 10:57 PM:

PJ Evans @ 827... :-)

#829 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2011, 12:26 AM:

David Harmon @ 826: I find movies are more enjoyable when you can't hear them, and just as easy to follow. I've dug some silently on planes--The Bourne Conspiracy, Collateral Damage--I wouldn't have watched for cash with the sound on.

#830 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2011, 12:38 AM:

me @ 829: You meant to say "PJ Evans @ 827", you dolt!

#831 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2011, 01:59 AM:

I was flying once a week back and forth to LA from Hawai'i in the late 1980s . I never paid anything for the movie, but after a while I got extremely familiar with Die Hard, whichever piece of the franchise was released that year.

#832 ::: Dave Crisp ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2011, 03:29 AM:

Xopher@813: And then you get me, who is gay but basically only leaves the house for work, and so doesn't semaphore as anything because he never got the chance to pick up "mannerisms".

#833 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2011, 07:07 AM:

John @829: I had a similar experience with Rio (an animation which is distinctly just a kids movie).

#834 ::: Neil W ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2011, 10:26 AM:

I recall watching The Devil wears Prada without sound while tying to get some sleep on a plane. Most of the film was easy to follow, because thanks to trailers etc. I was familiar with the premise. What the actual conclusion was I'm not sure; I guess that was a bit too talky to get from the pictures.

#835 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2011, 11:33 AM:

My version of gaydar only works on identifying men, because I'm not focusing on mannerisms but instead on body language. Straight men have different body language towards women than gay men do. I find it nearly impossible to identify lesbians, since women don't assess each other in quite the same manner. (In fact, all those butch women in Oklahoma turned out to be farmers. )

Mannerisms are interesting because some people do adopt them and then can be marked as "gay" or "lesbian", but not all people with those mannerisms are actually gay or lesbian.

#836 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2011, 11:54 AM:

edward oleander 824: Jacque #804 - It was a challenge for an underslept brain to write. I'm glad you'd a good night under your belt! :-)

Don't know that I can claim any extra cogency. I just happen to have a particular fondness for the back-handed compliment. :-) :-)

#837 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2011, 12:14 PM:

I have reasonably reliable (though entirely unconscious) gaydar for lesbians. (Often, I ping because I find myself attracted to them—which is awkward, as I am not a lesbian.) I remember watching one teacher, during a Fortran class, as she stood at the blackboard talking about some obscure bit of computing history. The thought, entirely out of nowhere, as far as I could tell, floated through my brain: "Huh. Is Sally gay?" Pondering this later, the only rationale I could come up with was that a straight Sally would just simply be Bad Art.

My gaydar for men is nonexistant.

I remember my buddy Chris, back in about '88, declaring his confidence that George Takei was gay. I did a double-take, because I remember seeing Takei at a con not too long before the first Trek movie came out, and the big deal he made out of getting to sit next to Persis Khambatta. (Though, in retrospect, that makes sense, in context.) "Huh? How can you tell?" I asked Chris. "Oh, you just know," he said.

When Takei finally came out, I thought fondly of Chris, and imagined him nodding firmly in satisfaction.

My fandar used to be reasonably good (though no points for spotting the guy on the Worldcon airport shuttle who's wearing the Analog t-shirt), but I've found it fails utterly on people under 30.

We've talked about this here before; evidently, popular culture has been entirely colonized by Nerdistan.

The one that especially cracks me up is David Crosby. Looking at him now, it's obvious he's a fan. Don't know how the hell I missed it, before.

#838 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2011, 12:23 PM:

Melissa Singer @726: I thought of it as a Western and a WWII movie rolled into one

Yeah, I got the same thing. With a dash of Star Wars and Indiana Jones thrown in for seasoning. (Which amounts to the same thing, really.)

I wonder if the hawk's steel-tipped beak was a nod at Cat Ballou?

Oh, yes, and belatedly: I also endorse Super 8. Don't know that I woulda seen it on my own, but a friend drug me, and I'm glad he did. Missed most of the train-wreck, though, 'cause I was digging frantically for earplugs. It was so loud it hurt.

#839 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2011, 12:29 PM:

David Harmon @826: One wonders if the oligarchy is ever going to work out that power over a pile of dust is no power at all.

#840 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2011, 12:47 PM:

Jacque @839 -- well hell, G-d started out with a handful of dust and look how far He got!

#841 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2011, 12:55 PM:

Jacque @ 837... one teacher, during a Fortran class (...) "Huh. Is Sally gay?"

Did that question come up with COBOL teachers?

#842 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2011, 01:01 PM:

(Speaking of Fortran and of G-d, god is real unless declared integer.)

#843 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2011, 01:08 PM:

The Modesto Kid @840: Hm. The oligarchs seem to have missed that they need to flip the sign on the entropy setting....

Serge Broom @841: Did that question come up with COBOL teachers?

[insert dreadful BSG joke here]

The Modesto Kid @842: an old classic, but it still made me splorf my tea.

#844 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2011, 02:25 PM:

Victorian undergarments in the WSJ.

#845 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2011, 02:30 PM:

John, #829: OTOH, we were able to determine that one of the Fantastic 4 movies was every bit as bad as we'd heard by virtue of having it be the featured movie on a flight we were taking -- even without the earphones!

#846 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2011, 02:43 PM:

Lee @ 845... It was that bad, yes.

#847 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2011, 03:29 PM:

Victorian undergarments in the WSJ.

What's that, sonny? Undergarments in the Victorian WSJ? Is there another?

#848 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2011, 04:25 PM:

HLN: Area woman to have 2nd root canal of summer tomorrow. Area woman's daughter returns from sleepaway camp Thursday. Area woman's cat goes to vet (reopened, 1 year after fire) on Friday.

Area woman does not expect to be online much, lol.

#849 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2011, 04:33 PM:

Melissa Singer @848: Oh my goodness. Doing Life in wholesale lots, eh? Good luck, and may the Force be with you!

#850 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2011, 04:38 PM:

This is a good thing, I think. President Obama, in the person of his press secretary, publicly supports Di-Fi's bill to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act.

#851 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2011, 04:48 PM:

Signal-boosting: a local friend of mine is trying to connect two of her friends with Worldcon transfer memberships. She says voting rights are not an issue. If you have a membership you need to sell, e-mail me (fgneqernzre NG zvaqfcevat QBG pbz) and I'll forward it on to her.

#852 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2011, 04:51 PM:

HLN: Area man feels happy today, because last night he received a copy of the magazine in which appears his first published story. (Summer 2011 edition of Two Lines, journal of the Center for the Art of Translation.)

#853 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2011, 04:54 PM:

The Modesto Kid (852): Congratulations!

#854 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2011, 04:55 PM:

Congratulations, Modesto Kid!

#855 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2011, 04:58 PM:

Lizzy @850: thanks for posting that. My Fb feed today is almost all marriage equality news: NYC limits # of marriages to be performed at City Hall on Sunday to 764 (and is having a lottery to choose the lucky couples); Pop-Up Chapels will appear (practically) in Central Park on July 30th for 14 weddings (it's an art project); Archie Comics' gay character to have own book (apparently the mini-series was a success) and to appear as a married adult in Life With Archie. I've now added your link.

#856 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2011, 05:01 PM:

The Modesto Kid: Congratulations!

#857 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2011, 05:12 PM:

Lizzy L #850: Given his backtracking on other issues, I'll give him credit for "opposing DOMA" if and when he actually leans on Congress. And I'm not holding my breath. (Cynical, me? Damn right!)

#858 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2011, 06:14 PM:

The Modesto Kid @852: Yaaaayyyy!!

#859 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2011, 08:36 PM:

Regarding the impending collapse of Borders Books and its implications for readers and the publishing industry: as accounts are written, I look to Fluorosphere to link to the best ones.

#860 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2011, 08:46 PM:

Is it bad that I just had way too much fun going through and whacking spam by writing vaguely topical comments? Or is it a sign that my girlfriend and I should get out of lab soon?

#861 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2011, 08:48 PM:

Silent movies: I had a couple of friends berating the movie 'The Craft'.

Me: "I don't know, I thought it was interesting ... but for some reason I watched it with the sound turned off and close captioning on".

They both thought it probably improved the movie.

#862 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2011, 08:49 PM:

#849, as accounts are written, who's going to buy them?

#863 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2011, 08:52 PM:

Single or double precision?

#864 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2011, 09:01 PM:

863 -- you really need to ask? I mean He is God after all.

#865 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2011, 09:27 PM:

Tim Walters @ 638: I'm not certain Viv ever even talks to another woman, let alone the whole Bechdel test question, but of the three main characters, she's the one who grows and escapes, while Hank and Lee are still caught in whatever is is they're caught in.

#866 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2011, 09:45 PM:

Ah, then it must be complex*8!

#867 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2011, 10:45 PM:

TMK, #852: Congratulations! Will it be available for online perusal?

#868 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2011, 12:41 AM:

As far as gaydar goes, I just figure it's none of my business until somebody introduces a significant other. In fact, it's so much not my business that someone can show up at an event with someone of the same gender and I won't assume anything until I'm told. Happened last year at a wedding; it was his SO but for all I knew, it could have been a business partner who was also acquainted with the groom. And at the same time, I was told another person of my acquaintance was gay... by my mother. "Oh, so that's why his parents aren't looking to get grandchildren from him."

At one of my jobs (the seasonal one), there was a point a week or two after I was hired when one of the bosses came up and introduced his fiancée. After he'd left, some of the other new hires started saying, "I thought he was gay." When I said that I hadn't thought he was gay, I was treated to a lecture by recent high school graduates about how Not All Gays Act the Same.

I bit my tongue. And did *not* bring up the triad.

#869 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2011, 12:48 AM:

John A Arkansawyer @ 865: she's the one who grows and escapes

A valid point.

while Hank and Lee are still caught in whatever is is they're caught in.

I don't think I agree with this, though. I would say they've definitely turned a corner in their relationship.

#870 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2011, 02:26 AM:

The New Party of Reagan.

Reagan famously quipped that "I didn't leave the Democratic Party, they left me." Well, now the Republicans are doing the same thing. Ronald Reagan could not be elected today as a Republican candidate.

#871 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2011, 02:31 AM:

And in cheerier news, the first Wisconsin recall election is a landslide for the Democratic challenger. I don't think they can "discover" enough votes to steal this one.

#872 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2011, 05:08 AM:

Happy Birthday, TexAnne!

#873 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2011, 06:20 AM:

Open Threadiness:

The "medieval knights' armour was so heavy they couldn't walk in it" meme seems to come around every so often, and just as often seems to be rebuffed.

Anybody in the know want to venture an opinion as to whether this incarnation is likely to be accurate?

#874 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2011, 07:47 AM:

Russ #873 - the assembled re-enactors of the living history forum (of which I am a moderator) disagree with the news reports and much of the study, whilst at the same time going "Wow, you mean that wearing heavy armour is really hard work and tires you out? Who would have thought that!"

The general opinion is that 1) the french knights would have been fitter and stronger and more used to using armour than the Royal armouries chaps. 2) if anything, the cloth armour type stuff would have gained weight from the rain, the weight of the metal armour being constant and a known factor,
3) apparently someone did some investigation of how the clay soils in the battlefield have great suction upon armour, thus meaning the knights couldn't get up or move as fast as normal because of the suction.

Basically the fact that heavy ill fitting plate makes you slow and useless is not news, and although the Royal Armouries folk know a lot, they really aren't the absolute experts that some people might think they are.
When people involved in the study are quoted saying things like:
" "Being wrapped up in a tight shell of thick steel makes one feel invincible, but also unable to take a deep breath," said Federico Formenti of the University of Auckland, who was a co-author of the research. "You feel breathless as soon as you move around in medieval armour, and this would likely limit soldiers." "

then you have to despair. You can take a deep breath if you have properly fitting armour without any trouble at all - what would be the use of armour which restricted your breathing?
He may feel breathless in armour, but thats because he didn't try real stuff fitted properly.
I note that at the bottom they mention the clay field as well.

Oh, and do recall that modern infantrymen carry similar amounts of stuff as knights and Roman legionaries; at least with knights it is ditributed across their body rather than concentrated upon the shoulders and hips.

#875 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2011, 08:03 AM:

Tim Walters @ 869:

I would say they've definitely turned a corner in their relationship.

That makes sense. On the other hand, they are headed out to do something stupid (or maybe I just give an inch) in competition with each other. Hank still shows Lee what to do. The dynamic is still there, but yes, maybe up the spiral instead of around the circle.

#876 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2011, 08:41 AM:

Russ @873

There's certainly aspects which can be argued about. You would think the guys of the time would wear armour they could breathe in, certainly. But does a looser fit make the armour harder to fight in? There's a feel, from contemporary accounts, that the actual fighting did not last long.

One obvious test is to make up a dummy suit of armour which matches the weight distribution without confining the chest.

#877 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2011, 08:52 AM:

Lee @867 -- I don't think all of Two Lines will be put online. The contract said inter alia that "you agree that you will not authorize publication of the Translation by anyone else prior to publication of the Translation in TWO LINES", which I take to mean I'm free to put the piece online subsequent to publication of the Translation in TWO LINES -- if they do not post it on their web site I will likely publish it in my blog.

#878 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2011, 09:23 AM:

A later commentator on the forum thread says he's read the actual report, and when confined to the specifics, it is about oxygen use when wearing armour, which is a good goal by itself. The problem comes when the results are intepreted and the 'communicated' to the media.

#879 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2011, 09:53 AM:

Thank you to the folks who responded to my request and posted feedback about their e-readers -- much appreciated! One of my requirements for an e-reader is access to library books, so I need to check how Nook and Kindle approach that.

#880 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2011, 10:01 AM:

In exactly 4 weeks and 6 hours, I will be at the worldcon.
I am so ready.

#881 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2011, 10:07 AM:

One week, three days till probable arrival at Pennsic.

I know what you mean, Serge.

#882 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2011, 10:12 AM:

B. Durbin @868: I note quietly that being gay does not preclude children/grandchildren . . . .

#883 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2011, 10:55 AM:

Bill Higgins @859 said: Regarding the impending collapse of Borders Books and its implications for readers and the publishing industry: as accounts are written, I look to Fluorosphere to link to the best ones.

Our mutual local NPR station aired a Changing Gears piece on this very subject (link is article, not audio).

#884 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2011, 11:15 AM:

Melissa Singer—of course it doesn't, but given his age and the fact that he's still just dating means he's not likely to want to adopt.

#885 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2011, 11:35 AM:

B Durbin #868, Melissa Singer #882:

One of my most redefining moments came at a convention interstate that I was attending with an old friend of the same sex as my good self. We were sharing a twin room - two single beds, you understand.

A lady confided to me that she desired the, ahem, company of my friend, but was concerned that we were, as she put it, together, and in that case did not wish to, er, interpose herself.

I assured her that our wives did not object to us sharing a room, but I felt sure that his wife would not be complaisante about her intention. She wondered aloud at modern morality, in that his wife had no difficulty with him working both sides of the street, as it were, but considered an honest con-goer's intentions de trop.*

I could only agree, and attempt to appear worldly and sophisticated. I then ruined the moment by bursting into coarse and bucolic laughter.

*Isn't it odd that one's natural instinct is to put some small part of such conversations into what may pass for French?

#886 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2011, 11:40 AM:

Carrie S @ 881... Are you going?

#887 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2011, 11:43 AM:

Well that's, um, interesting...

I received an email through my flickr account this morning inviting me to join the World Toilets group, which showcases toilets from around the world. I'm not sure what triggered this invite; I do have many photos from my travels abroad, but none of them are toilets. Unless my mom linked that pic of me sitting in (on?) the garderobe in the Tower of London. To each his own, I guess.

#888 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2011, 11:51 AM:

Serge @#886: Indeed, which is why the T-minus is until "arrival" rather than "Troll opens" or somesuch.

Landgrab will still be in progress in some places, but since my camp is the only one in our land-block, landgrab for our Camp Mommy consists of finding the correct place on the form to sign. By 10 she'll be deeply ensconced in pulling things out of the storage trailer, and we'll be able to start putting our tent up as soon as we're through checkin.

#889 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2011, 12:22 PM:

Serge Broom @880: In exactly 4 weeks and 6 hours, I will be at the worldcon. I am so ready.


Worldcon is not even a glimmer of a fantasy for me this year. I have one major household expense looming that I can't put off anymore, and I just heard through the grapevine that the HOA is going to drop another one on us. ::fume::

#890 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2011, 12:24 PM:

Guthrie@878, Dave Bell@874

Thanks for the additional thoughts (and the forum link).

I often find that when broad interest media offers a take on a special interest subject that I do know about, the underlying story turns out to be a bit more complicated* than the article reflects.** I'm not suprised to find the same may be true of subjects that I'm otherwise ignorant of.

* To steal Ben "I think you'll find it's a bit more complicated than that" Goldacre's rallying cry.

** Leading to the slighly unintuitive result that, in mainstream publications, I'm more likely to avoid than seek articles on subjects I'm more than mildly interested in.

#891 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2011, 01:41 PM:

HLN: Local woman sees casual mention of new-to-her craft of Japanese Temari, goes off to Google it. "I don't need another hobby!" she is heard to moan, followed immediately by exclamations of, "Ooh, shiny!" and "Bet I have most of the stuff for that...."

#892 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2011, 02:04 PM:

Oh, those are pretty baubles.

#893 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2011, 02:06 PM:

HLN: I just discovered roasted, lightly salted chickpeas as a healthy snack. O yum.

#894 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2011, 02:09 PM:

Carrie S @ 888... Glad to hear.

Jacque @ 889.. Sorry about that. We'll be saving some money by driving, a decision that's also making things easier for one of the local costumers as we'll be transporting her masquerade prop (a clock built by her hubby at Sandia Lab). What is HOA, by the way?

#895 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2011, 02:11 PM:

Debbie: If you already do embroidery, all you really need is the balls for bases. Styrofoam does quite nicely. :)

#896 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2011, 02:31 PM:

Melissa Singer @ 797:

The actor who played Hemingway did a wonderful job of reminding me why I don't particularly care for Hemingway's fiction.

Then you might also enjoy Waiting for the Moon in which Linda Hunt plays Alice B. Toklas, Linda Bassett plays Gertrude Stein, and Bruce McGill (the Mayor of Wolf Lake, among many other parts) plays Hemingway as a drunken asshole.

#897 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2011, 02:43 PM:

Serge Broom #894: From context, "HOA" is probably the "Home-Owner's Association" of her neighborhood, one of the cliques that tend to claim dominion over housing developments and such.

#898 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2011, 02:44 PM:

Bruce McGill (the Mayor of Wolf Lake, among many other parts) plays Hemingway as a drunken asshole.

Playing him otherwise would be misplaying.

#899 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2011, 03:04 PM:

Debbie @891: ::Jacque glances, carefully averts eyes::

"Danger, Will Robinson!"

#900 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2011, 03:07 PM:

Serge Broom @894: HOA = Home Owners Association.

And I'll stop there, as I don't have time to write a proper screed.

#901 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2011, 03:09 PM:

Oops, sorry, David Harmon. Hadn't read that far. Yes, that.

#902 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2011, 03:09 PM:

Lizzy L: Aren't they just?
Carrie S: Enabler! (Why yes, I do happen to have a whole box of embroidery thread. And according to a current temari-along on Ravelry, you can even make the balls out of old socks and scraps. And heaven knows I have enough of those!)

#903 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2011, 03:20 PM:

Debbie: I'd really suggest starting with Styrofoam balls, unless you're good at making nice even spheres. No need to make your first project or two harder than it has to be.

And think of it this way: it's not a new hobby, just an expansion of one you already have.

#904 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2011, 03:25 PM:

Carrie S. Not helping! :)

David Harmon @826: I've been reading that article, but I can only handle a paragraph or two at a time. Any of the commentariat here have opinions of how valid the views expressed therein are? (Read: "Somebody please tell me it's overblown hyperbole! Please?")

One of the reasons my HOA situation winds me up so is that we seem to have a microcosm of the process described in the article going on in our own back yards—literally.

#905 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2011, 03:34 PM:

Jacque #904: Well, the "eeevul bankers" slant is extreme, but the offenses described are well-attested. Certainly, the writer isn't much interested in blaming the governments who were supposed to be overseeing the banks.

The thing that bugged me a bit is the coinage of "neoliberal", which is clearly meant to imply a betrayal of liberal ideals comparable to the neoconservatives' betrayal of traditional conservativism. Last year I would have been up in arms about that, but I'm starting to wonder.

#906 ::: Steve C ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2011, 03:48 PM:

I just ran across this : Neil Gaimans Bookshelves

I thought I had a lot of books.

#907 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2011, 04:09 PM:

Lizzy L @893 -- that would not be a healthy snack for me. I don't digest chickpeas.

Steve C @906 -- looks like a reasonable collection to me. It's not quite as extensive as Yomiko Readman's collection in the Read or Die anime, but it would suffice. (The longer, TV version of that is recommended for anyone who loves books, and would like to see the Anglo Peril in action. To say more would be spoilerage. The shorter OVA is also wonderful for book lovers.)

#908 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2011, 04:12 PM:

Steve C @ 906... Notice how, when a movie wants to show a character's great erudition or literary taste thru a scene in their library, the shelves always display hardcovers? None of those trashy paperbacks. It's obvious that Mr.Gaiman is an ignoramus with pretensions of Knowledge.


#909 ::: Steve C ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2011, 04:21 PM:

Serge @ 908 -

I imagine the movie and TV production companies use services like this: Books by the yard

Which brings to mind a thought triggered by the upcoming demise of Borders and the rise of ebooks. I think it's quite likely that a century from now books will be a boutique item, quite expensive, and they will be what they once were - a sign of wealth.

#910 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2011, 04:51 PM:

David @905 -- I was under the impression that "neoliberal" was an already-existing word, one which needed no coining but with a meaning unrelated to the one you mention. But I have not read the article.

#911 ::: ErrolC ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2011, 04:57 PM:

@878 re Armour reporting

I found the BBC report more useful, the weight on the legs point especially.

#912 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2011, 05:07 PM:

Serge Broom #908: Not just movies -- the bookstore I work for has rented out "classy-looking" books by the crate, for weddings and the like.

Just got back from hiking in the Shenandoahs. We bagged early, after maybe 3 miles because my hiking bud was getting clobbered by the uphills. The dude is 80 years old, and I see now that we were in 90+ degree heat! And I was again reminded that I'm in way better shape than I deserve given my habits. Should I not only live to be 80, but still be as game as this dude, I'll count that a Win At Life.

I did get to nom a fair number of wild blueberries (and one blackberry). We didn't see any bears, but the gate guard had (from his booth!), and the couple we rode back to our car with had passed a mother with cubs. (And sensibly stayed well clear). And yes, we were well-laden with fluids -- checking my various bottles, I see I went through a good quart in perhaps 3 hours of hiking, this mostly in the shade.

Yesterday I went to a presentation for the Meadow Creek Restoration Project. I had thought it was a matter of "fixing up after the sewer project" (which latter has been tearing up the area). In fact, it turns out that the Nature Conservancy and local agencies had been planning for a while to work on the badly degraded creek; recent land acquisitions there and the sewer project (which they will be working closely with, and which is partly repairing damage from the creek's wandering) made the project come together right now.

Both the city and Conservancy folks came across as enthusiastic, professional, and Having Their Sh*t Together. They have promised that the presentation I saw will be linked at the page above, presumably at the bottom after the other presentations there.

And last but assuredly not least, my mom is now certified cancer-free after treatment!

#913 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2011, 05:17 PM:

Steve C @906: Neil Gaimans Bookshelves

On the topic of habits that are easier to break if you don't start, I saw the way that road lay about ten years ago, so I resolved to keep only books I felt a strong likelihood I'd reread.

Unfortunately, this has been counterbalanced by my more recent habit of buying the authors I do want to keep in hardback.

I've also gotten out of the habit of reading much in recent years; hard to draw at the same time. (Yes, audiobooks! Library audiobooks? Not so much, sadly.)

I am muchly amused by the spiral-horned jackalope, and the kitteh a-snooze in the chair beneath.

#914 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2011, 05:46 PM:

Dave Bell #876 - I am far from an armour expert, preferring non-ferrous metal casting and alchemy, but when you say:
"But does a looser fit make the armour harder to fight in?"
that is such a messy statement to answer. Period armour was made so that bits could slide over each other, with gaps protected by voiders of maille. At the same time obviously the breast and back plates have to be quite tight, but the key is their fitting to your body shape and the padding you are wearing, such that you can still breath well, whether by chest movement or by diaphragm. If by looser fit you mean less tightly adherent to your limbs, then yes, looser fit means more flapping about and sliding and generally poor performance.

As for leg armour, if you don't get it fitted right, it rubs and chafes and hurts and generally fouls you up, reducing fighting effectiveness. On the re-enactment field this can be put up with for an hour or two, but people end up resorting to all sorts of bodges in order to make leg armour work, and certainly if you had to fight in it you would want it to work. Or at least they used to, I get the impression that as the number of competent armourers here in the UK has increased, leg armour issues are fewer than they used to be, and mainly due to changes in ownership.

On battle times, recall that although the period of hardest fighting might only be 5 or 10 minutes, you'd have been in armour ready to fight for most of the day, so have to be able to move and drink and possibly eat whilst wearing armour, not to mention manouvring into actual position. I can look up wars of the roses battle times if you like.

The small problem at the Royal Armouries is that becayuse of budget cuts the people used in the study will no longer have jobs - their entire live interpretations team is gone, years of experience of jousting, of historical fencing and presentation of nasty historical methods of killing people, gone. The philistines are in control of our universities and our culture and things can only get worse.

(Although they havn't exactly helped themselves by changing the displays - been exactly the same all the times I have been there, no rotation apparent. It was great to go 10 years ago, but now, rather dull)

#915 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2011, 05:52 PM:

Carrie S. @903: And think of it this way: it's not a new hobby, just an expansion of one you already have.

Oh dear. I bought a temari book for my mother for Christmas last year but wisely had it shipped directly to her so I wouldn't be tempted. Now, I'm tempted. Another tempting craft you CAN do with plain old embroidery thread (though silkies are nicer) is kumihimo. Take a little more room and equipment than temari to do it the traditional way, though.

#916 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2011, 05:57 PM:

David Harmon (912): Hooray for your mom! "Certified cancer-free" is a wonderful feeling.

#917 ::: Carrie S ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2011, 06:32 PM:

JBC @#915: Have you seen those little foam circles-with-dents? Those make for quite serviceable handheld kumihimo.

#918 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2011, 06:36 PM:

Steve C @ 906

My husband recently had to start constructing retractable bookshelves, for much that sort of reason. It doesn't help that I keep inheriting other people's libraries. I still don't have the kind of books that would take over that much wallspace...

#919 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2011, 06:36 PM:

Janet, #915: OTOH, the foam kumi disk and square plate are remarkably simple and portable once set up; I use them behind the table during slow periods, because they're easy (for me) to put down and pick up again as needed. And you can make surprisingly complex braids with them -- I normally stick to 8-strand styles, but I've done 12- or even 16-strand. This is an example of a kumihimo pendant cord I braided on the foam disk.

I strongly recommend the Braidershand website if you're looking for kumihimo supplies, especially for beginners. The people there are knowledgeable and friendly.

#920 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2011, 07:39 PM:

OK, I have a stupid problem. Someone (I thought it was Teresa on this very blog) pointed out the similarity between the Twilight "sparkly" vampires and some young men in the Book of Mormon who were made specially shiny (or something) because they were all heroic and stuff.

I've been quoting that forever, but I can't remember where I got it exactly, or what part of the BoM it's in. Someone on another site asked for the reference, and now I feel all stupid that I can't find it.


#921 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2011, 07:49 PM:

Xopher: I'm pretty sure it wasn't Teresa here, because I have no recollection of seeing it. Might have been Teresa on BoingBoing or somewhere.

I haven't read the Book of Mormon, but there is a bit at the beginning of book 5 of the Iliad where Athena casts a special shiny aura over Diomedes -- I bet that's where Joseph Smith got it.

(Have I shared my theory that book 5 of the Iliad is fanfic, with Diomedes as someone's Marty Stu?)

#922 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2011, 07:55 PM:

Guthrie @914

Yep, that's pretty much what I envisaged, some parts of the armour not moving, relative to the skeleton, others having some movement to keep gaps covered.

It occurs to me that movement in armour has some of the same problems as movement in a spacesuit. When you know how it works, you can make useful movements, but how a hand moves from A to B might look bizarre because the constraints on joint movement are different.

As I recall, there were some remarkable ranges recorded for the longbow. I wonder how much of that comes from people using a shorter "pace" than we expect, because of the effect on mobility of the armour. Soldiers, in the days of marching in formation on the battlefield, also moved more slowly than we might think. Without portable clocks I wonder if distance replaced time as a measure of events. If an archer could shoot fifteen shots in the time a soldier took to advance 300 paces, it might not matter so much just how long a pace was. (I expect they could shoot far more than fifteen times.) But a military pace of 30 inches might be quite an exaggeration of the distance.

Still, I used to do a lot of wargaming, and that relation between weapons use and movement tends to matter more than any strict clock time. There's often a tendency to ignore the time needed to distribute orders, and a few minutes of fighting time is taken, for such things as time timing of nightfall or the arrival of reinforcements, to also represent several hours of standing around doing nothing.

(It's interesting to model that sort of command and control delay, but often frustrating.)

#923 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2011, 08:54 PM:

David Harmon @ 912... Glad to hear the news about your mom.

#924 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2011, 08:55 PM:

David Harmon @ 912... Glad to hear the news about your mom.

#925 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2011, 09:02 PM:

David Harmon @ 905:

The thing that bugged me a bit is the coinage of "neoliberal", which is clearly meant to imply a betrayal of liberal ideals comparable to the neoconservatives' betrayal of traditional conservativism.

Neoliberalism is a term coming from a radical left rather than a liberal perspective, so I wouldn't characterize it as implying a betrayal of liberal values. A radical leftist would say neoliberalism is a consistent development of liberal values.

The standard work on this would be David Harvey's A Brief History of Neoliberalism, Oxford University Press, 2005. I keep meaning to read it--I've glanced at it, it's short but dense--but I haven't found the time.

The Modesto Kid @ 910 is right that the term has previous history. The Wikipedia entry cites a 2000 paper by Wendy Larner, "Neo-liberalism: policy, ideology, governmentality". Anyone with access to the OED is welcome to chime in on this point.

#926 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2011, 09:19 PM:

Lee @867 -- as long as I'm thinking of it, here is a copy for you to look at.

#927 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2011, 09:24 PM:

A friend elseweb, discussing Michele Bachmann, said "She's about as Christian as the bookmark in my Bible: she pokes around in it, but when she comes away, none of it sticks."

#928 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2011, 09:36 PM:

Lee @919, I saw a picture of those but didn't know haw well they worked. Thanks for the endorsement! I've been braiding on a marudai I cobbled together from a wood picture frame, dowels, and empty spools for weights. This looks like it doesn't even need weights!

#929 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2011, 10:19 PM:

Besides the dictionary definition, neoliberalism is also sometimes used as a cover by autocratic regimes privatizing state assets to well-connected
. They sometimes call it neoliberalism when it's really crony capitalism. In other words they disguise Ayn Rand villains as Rand heroes.

#930 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2011, 10:59 PM:

David Harmon 912: Yay, Mom! Tell her I dance a wee jig in her honor.

Okay, Homeowners of the Fluorosphere, I need your help: City of Boulder has mandated that we have to install double-pane windows in our condos by the end of this year. I've procrastinated, but it's time to deal with this.

How does one go about choosing windows and a contractor to do the work? Caveats and pitfalls? Hard-won wisdom? Obvious questions to ask?

You input will be greatly appreciated.

#931 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2011, 11:05 PM:

David 912: And last but assuredly not least, my mom is now certified cancer-free after treatment!

Yay!!! Congratulations!

#932 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2011, 11:34 PM:

Jacque @930 on windows: Karen has replaced several windows here, and found a good contractor through Angie's List. She tends not to go with the cheapest bid, because the people who bid a bit higher tend to do things like clean up well after themselves. She found people who could replace 3 windows in about 4 hours and leave the place spotless. Get three bids, and get references. Yeah, it's a pain -- but not getting the job done right is more

#933 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2011, 11:52 PM:

TMK, #926: Thanks! Definitely an interesting story, and well-written.

Janet, #928: Generally speaking, no, it doesn't need weights -- the foam keeps the thread in place. The downside is that you can't easily work with heavy yarn, and eventually you'll probably wind up with at least 2 disks because one of them will have had the slits stretched out enough that finer thread won't stay put any more. I also haven't tried to do anything really long on it -- 4' is about the longest braid I've done.

I do tie a large pottery bead to the starting end of my braid, just as a stop to hold it in place while I'm setting up my cord pattern and doing the first iteration or two. That comes off when I'm finished. You'll probably want to get a set of lightweight plastic bobbins to wind your thread on, too.

#934 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2011, 11:58 PM:

On temari
I was considering something like cloth polyhedra as a base for the embroidery, if I ever decide to do something like that.

#935 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 12:09 AM:

Jacque @930 on windows: Using Angie's list requires paying to join, but it may well be worth it. I use it. I'd also ask all your local friends if anyone has used a window contractor. As Tom Whitmore said, get quotes from a couple people. Drill them with questions about their windows, and why their windows and their installation is better.

It must be infuriating to be required to install them by a deadline. At least you may like the results. My previous windows were single pane, and I was surprised what a difference the newer windows made. I've got a big, west-facing window, and the heat gain through it during the summer dropped dramatically.

#936 ::: edward oleander ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 01:15 AM:

Jacque #930 - One of the selling points on the dual pane windows is that they are "gas-filled," meaning that Argon has replaced the normal air between the panes, acting as a better insulator.

When we had ours done on '07, we discovered that different window makers use different methods to insert the gas into the window. Some gas-filled windows turn out to be only 20-30% argon, and can leak. Beware any company that says they will insert the gas at your home. These are the dregs of the window world.

We found Angie's list to be well worth the money. NEVER agree to anything that requires you sign RIGHT NOW. Our first bidder offered us an "extension" of a deal that had "ended" the previous day. It involved several calls to their "supervisors" to get us a "special exception" BUT only if we signed right then. Their 6-hour marathon at our house had given us a lot of knowledge (most of it valuable), and we did give them a small portion of the work. We overpaid, but the windows were good. That whole experience plus Angie's list led us to a contractor who got the other 90% done right, for reasonable prices...

Special concern with Colorado's wild winter temp fluctuations is expansion and contration of the materials and how that will affect the sealing of the interior gas and exterior air leakage years down the road. Here in MN we have more fluctuation, but it doesn't all happen in one day, 3 times a week like there... Good luck! :-)

#937 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 01:38 AM:

We got our windows from a company that made them to order at a factory and then came, removed the old ones, and sealed the new ones in place. That sort of work requires good frames around the windows, so anything that's more than three or four decades old is most likely untreated wood and will probably need work. But going from single-paned aluminum frame to dual-paned vinyl has been wonderful.

#938 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 03:12 AM:

Serge @ 880: In exactly 4 weeks and 6 hours, I will be at the worldcon. I am so ready.

Same here on both counts (well, it's more like 4 weeks minus 6 hours now).

#939 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 07:16 AM:


John A Arkansawyer #925: Neoliberalism is a term coming from a radical left rather than a liberal perspective, so I wouldn't characterize it as implying a betrayal of liberal values. A radical leftist would say neoliberalism is a consistent development of liberal values.

Allan Beatty #929: Besides the dictionary definition, neoliberalism is also sometimes used as a cover by autocratic regimes privatizing state assets to well-connected
insiders. They sometimes call it neoliberalism when it's really crony capitalism. In other words they disguise Ayn Rand villains as Rand heroes.

OK, not a new coinage... but, from a quick look through at the Wikipedia entry... it's at least as bad as I thought. Even its stated goals look like euphemisms for Allan's summary, let alone the warning that this is apparently how the IMF is justifying their actions.

As described there, it still looks to me like "neoliberalism" bears much the same relation to real liberalism as "neoconservativism" does to genuine conservativism: A methodical undercutting and reversal of the original goals, with a misleading label meant to provide protective coloration. "Radical left" it may be in some sense or another (sssuming you can get so far left of socialism as to declare it "establishment"), but this is in no way a "consistent development" of the liberal values I grew up with -- it's a co-opting of liberal language toward the goals of these "neos". Worse, the apparent goals look suspiciously similar to those of the neoconservatives: break the public sector, replace it with private-sector entities, and trash any regulations they can get away with.

Googling around a bit more, I find this book review, which pretty much nails my gut reaction from reading through the Wikipedia article:

Neoliberalism and neoconservatism are two distinct political rationalities in the contemporary United States. They have few overlapping formal characteristics, and even appear contradictory in many respects. Yet they converge not only in the current presidential administration but also in their de-democratizing effects. Their respective devaluation of political liberty, equality, substantive citizenship, and the rule of law in favor of governance according to market criteria on the one side, and valorization of state power for putatively moral ends on the other, undermines both the culture and institutions of constitutional democracy. Above all, the two rationalities work symbiotically to produce a subject relatively indifferent to veracity and accountability in government and to political freedom and equality among the citizenry.

#940 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 07:32 AM:

Another link: What is “Neoconservatism” and “Neoliberalism”? (and the larger hub it's part of) continues to confirm my initial impression.

#941 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 07:44 AM:

And, to put this here before the general move to the next OT:

Thanks to everyone who shared my happies about my Mom!

#942 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 07:46 AM:

Last night, I put David Harvey's A Brief History of Neoliberalism on hold and plan to pick it up over the weekend.

#943 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 10:43 AM:

My understanding (neither confirmed nor denied by the links above) was that the "liberal" in neoliberalism comes from the older, more-common-in-Europe use of the word to mean laissez-faire economics.

#944 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 11:02 AM:

The way I would articulate the differences between neo-liberalism and liberalism, and between neo-conservatism and conservatism, are that the neo forms are technocratic. Technocratic forms of governance have some benefits[1], and it's worth studying how to make them work well[2], but they are problematic from most points of view[3].

1) Using technocratic broadly to mean "rule by experts", the Civil Rights movement, the gay rights movement, and the environmental movement have been heavily technocratic and shifted the baseline for governance in a technocratic direction. (Courts and regulatory agencies are key in all three, and achieve goals that could not have been achieved by representative bodies.) Any action on global warming will also be technocratic, as any policy change relating to global warming that has been voted on has been firmly rejected.

2) Great Yglesias line: a workable policy is one that, if enacted, would have the desired results.

3) Technocracy isn't democratic, isn't liberty-focused, and isn't conservative.

#945 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 11:53 AM:

David Goldfarb @921:
"Book 5 of the Iliad" ... I think it's rather more than that. The whole thing?

#946 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 12:17 PM:

Tom Whitmore @932: Thanks! Angie's List wants to know who referred me. I'm putting your name; let me know if I should put Karen's name, and what her surname is? You can contact me privately at wnpdhrz ng cnavk qbg pbz.

Yeah, it's a pain -- but not getting the job done right is more

"There's never time to do it right, but there's always time to do it over." Yes, I'm right with you, there.

janetl @935: It must be infuriating to be required to install them by a deadline.

I can't really work myself into a proper righteous lather since (a) installing double-pane actually conforms with my personal eco-ethic and (b) they sent out the notice ten years ago. :) (Oh yeah, and (c) it's apparently the city, rather than the HOA, for once. Yay, People's Republic of Boulder!)

I have heard similar reports of improved thermal stability. We've already seen some improvement since our buildings were re-sided. (Also, removing the dead air-conditioner from the living room, and paving over the resulting hole in the wall, helped significantly, as well.)

So, on balance, I'm in favor of the change. I just wish I was in better shape to handle it financially. (This next year is going to be Interesting.)

edward oleander @936: Most excellent listing of technical points and caveats. Yeah, my mom had a policy which I have adopted: "If they demand an answer immediately, the immediate answer is No."

B. Durbin @937: more than three or four decades old is most likely untreated wood

Yeep! My place was built in '68. Hm. Be interesting to see how that works out.

company that made them to order at a factory

Do you remember the name of the company? (Or was it a local concern?)

Wow! Thanks, everybody!

#947 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 12:35 PM:

I see that Open Thread 161 is now open!

#948 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 01:14 PM:

Sam #944:

You can definitely accomplish any of those goals in more or less technocratic ways, though. Frex, if you decide that you want people to use less gas, imposing a federal $0.50/gallon tax does it with little need for detailed expert tweaking of the world. Imposing mileage standards on cars, breaking cars into categories and allowing complicated exemptions and calculations in the application of those standards, mandating X% ethanol in gasoline, Y% sale of hybrids, etc., is an attempt to accomplish the same goal that's more technocratic in spirit.

And there are three related problems with that kind of technocratic approach to problems:

a. They assume a level of capability in the regulatory agency or legislature that often isn't actually available.

b. Complicated rules are subject to complicated gaming and lobbying, in ways that simple rules are not.

c. Voters can see and evaluate simple high-level stuff like imposing a gas tax, but have a much harder time seeing and evaluating detailed standards for what mileage must be achieved by various types of car or fleets of cars from a given manufacturer or whatever.

However, (c) is actually a *feature* rather than a bug when you want to either do something unpopular, or when you want to hide patronage to your powerful friends and campaign donors. We have mileage standards rather than a gas tax largely because the increased costs for mileage standards are hard to see (they're absorbed into higher prices for cars), whereas a $0.50 per gallon gas tax is immediately visible to voters.

#949 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 07:01 PM:

SamChevre #944: Reply carried to OT161, as we're approaching the Dread Thousand.

#950 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 09:29 PM:

I, too, just finished Rango. I picked it up over the weekend to watch with my eight-year-old daughter, who decided in the middle to abandon it. I somehow managed to wait till tonight to finish it. Gosh, it was great!

#951 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2011, 09:30 PM:

I, too, just finished Rango. I picked it up over the weekend to watch with my eight-year-old daughter, who decided in the middle to abandon it. I somehow managed to wait till tonight to finish it. Gosh, it was great!

A Brief History of Neoliberalism is under my elbow as I type. Makes it hard to type.

#952 ::: janetl suspects spam ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2011, 05:42 PM:


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