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October 17, 2011

Open thread 165
Posted by Abi Sutherland at 02:02 PM *

Today, October 17, 2011, is both Boss’ Day (observed) in the US and The International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.

A complex and interesting conjunction. I’m not sure I can do it justice.

Continued from Open thread 164

Continued in Open thread 166

Comments on Open thread 165:
#2 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2011, 02:24 PM:

The Korean scientist who got in hot water for false human cloning & stem cell claims, but successfully cloned an Afghan hound, now claims to have cloned a bunch of coyotes:

#3 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2011, 02:46 PM:

I have decided that I am deferring National Boss's Day until tomorrow.

Tomorrow is my Boss's birthday and I fully intend to pamper him.

#4 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2011, 02:47 PM:

If anyone here feels they know me well enough to do so, I'd appreciate it if you'd drop over to this Boing Boing thread and say that, whether I'm right or wrong on the issue at hand (and feel free to disagree with me if you feel I'm wrong), I'm not concern trolling against the Occupy Wall Street movement?

It's not quite as bad as being called a provocateur, but it's close and I don't like it.

#5 ::: Tim Hall ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2011, 03:04 PM:

And in other news, that Elf seems to have forgiven me.

#6 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2011, 03:10 PM:

Obsessive compulsive . . . me?

(Slow day at work.)

#7 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2011, 03:15 PM:

re 4: I have to say that it doesn't register on me that way, but then it could very well be that I'm just historically naive.

#8 ::: LinD ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2011, 03:20 PM:

No. If you were truly OCD, those M&Ms would line up precisely, and be sorted by number of candies in each color. That's way too random.

#9 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2011, 03:25 PM:

Except for the blue and brown columns, they are lined up in order of the number of each color. I got lazy and didn't want to swap those two columns.

Lazy, as in, really wanting to tabulate the results so I could start eating them. (Starting with the excess ones, then working my way through the rows.)

#10 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2011, 03:28 PM:

Has anyone here read Sanderson's Mistborn series? I'm about 100 pages into the first one and I'm a little aggravated... (rot13 for 100 pages worth of spoilers)

V gubhtug gur obbx tbg bss gb n avpr fgneg - xrcg zr vagrerfgrq, V yvxrq gur znva punenpgre... ohg ng guvf cbvag, V'z fgnegvat gb guvax gung gurer'f bayl bar srznyr punenpgre. Fher gurer jrer fbzr ynqvrf zragvbarq ng gur ortvaavat - bar bs gurz hfrq nf n ovg bs Cybg Qrivpr gb trg gur znva punenpgre gb gnxr iratrnapr (ng yrnfg fur jnf bayl xvqanccrq gb or encrq, naq unqa'g orra encrq lrg ng gur gvzr bs gur iratrnapr), ohg abj ur'f tbar vagb fbeg bs gur frrql haqreoryyl bs gur pvgl naq tngurerq gbtrgure n tebhc bs Avpxanzrf jvgu bar punenpgre genvg ncvrpr gb chyy bss fbzr fbeg bs cbyvgvpnyyl zbgvingrq urvfg naq bayl bar bs gurfr punenpgref vf srznyr.

Ng fbzr cbvag vg'f zragvbarq gur rirel jbzna va gur haqre-tebhaql-guvrirf-thvyq yvxr fbpvny pnfgr vf n juber, ohg ab zragvba bs jul guvf vf. Bu, jnvg, V'ir whfg eha vagb fbzr jbzra npgvat nf pbbxf. Ab anzrf, ab yvarf bs pbhefr. Unf Fnaqrefba cbfvgrq n snagnfl havirefr va juvpu ab jbzra unir nalguvat gb pbagevohgr bgure guna srrqvat naq jubevat? Pna pbbxf naq juberf abg unir bgure nggevohgrf gung zvtug znxr gurz urycshy va na haqretebhaq urvfg/eribyhgvba fbeg bs jnl? Vf gurer n fubegntr bs punenpgre genvgf fb frirer gur bayl crefba jub pna unir zber guna bar vf Bhe Ureb?

I'm frustrated, because this has been recommended in a lot of places and I thought this was going to be kind of a fun pop-corn book, but I'm just kind of annoyed right now. If you've read the books, and they get better - or some sort of world-building occurs so we find out what exactly happened gb 50% bs gur cbchyngvba gung gurl ner ercerfragrq ol n Gbxra jvgu Bar Punenpgre Genvg let me know and I'll tough it out. Otherwise it's going in the DNF pile and I'll move on to something less cranky-making.

#11 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2011, 03:28 PM:

Charlie @3:

Happy birthday!

#13 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2011, 03:37 PM:

The gnomes have apparently decided they don't like me linking to my blog? Is all I can figure from the most recent two of my posts that linked to my blog being corralled.

#14 ::: LinD ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2011, 03:38 PM:

nerdycellist @10
Donate it.

I found them fascinating, the magic system intriguing. The ending? Too abrupt. But yeah, your perceptions, while stronger than my perceptions of them, are valid.

#15 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2011, 03:40 PM:

The Modesto Kid @13:

Yes, sadly, your blog uses a URL syntax that is also common among spammer URLs. I shall ponder this issue and see if I can figure something out, but this particular filter traps more spam than ham.

#16 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2011, 03:48 PM:

Thanks, LinD -

Unfortunately I cannot donate it as it's on my nook. I'm keeping it for my roommate to read since she has fewer issues with this sort of thing than I do. Like I said, I was enjoying it until I saw that particular pattern which is my own particular Thing. I can't say it's badly written or crappy, but I think maybe I'll move on to something else because right now it's making me grind my teeth.

Hopefully my roommate will find it entertaining. At any rate, I only paid $2.99 for it so it's not too much of a loss.

#17 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2011, 03:48 PM:

Oh -- interesting. Let me know (here or by e-mail) what the offensive syntax is, I can probably change it without much hassle. (My php is mostly held together with scotch tape and safety pins -- any time I have wanted to modify the parameters I have just thrown another couple lines of code in.)

#18 ::: LinD ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2011, 03:52 PM:

Open Threadiness:
I don't know if these are real responses or created to be silly, but they're hilarious:

Shit That Siri Says

#19 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2011, 03:53 PM:

The Modesto Kid @17:

You have mail.

#20 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2011, 04:02 PM:

Thanks for the info, abi. Here is a test link to a Moomins post from this weekend, just to see if it will work.

#22 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2011, 05:00 PM:

Stefan Jones @ 2... No roadrunners?

#23 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2011, 05:09 PM:

John Arkansawyer #4:

I don't care if the octopus has horns. I can wait to see whether there's clear evidence of anti-Semitism.

I do care that the octopus has a tentacle wrapped around a little symbol of government, as though government weren't part of the problem.

Anyway, thanks for linking to the thread-- I appreciated the title pun, some of the humor, and finding out that it's oc-to-PO-dees rather than oc-to-PODES.

#24 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2011, 05:38 PM:

nerdycellist @10: What you complain about in the first paragraph is exactly what I've heard complained about from other people on that series, and is why I've not bothered to pick it up despite other recommendations. Life is too short--and my list of books too long--to bother reading even Otherwise Excellent Books that happen to fail in that particular manner.

#25 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2011, 05:50 PM:

John A Arkansawyer @4, what makes you think Frank W was talking about you in particular? At the point where he posted his comment, the commenter who'd talked the most about the octopus being antisemitic was someone going by the name Abdul Alhazred. (Probably a pseudonym, but if it's not, then he's an authority on both Semitic languages and giant demonic cephalopods!)

#26 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2011, 06:08 PM:

Nancy Lebovitz @23, did you catch that the cartoon is from 1912? And was aimed at the Aldrich–Vreeland Act (which eventually led to the Federal Reserve)?

#27 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2011, 06:36 PM:

nerdycellist #10: Yeah -- the girl is in fact the main protagonist (though there's a couple of POV switches in later books). Other female characters are mostly foils for her, or background.

The one-trait-each gang is explicitly linked to the magic system -- each of the Misting types have a stereotypical personality. (The ones who survive do get a little more background over time.)

#28 ::: James E ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2011, 06:57 PM:

Open threadiness: this account of the 1952 Harrow & Wealdstone rail disaster is probably right up the alley of a few people here, combining as it does high drama, shocking tragedy, unsolved mysteries, a fascinating snippet of social history and a bit about combat medicine, triage and the development of emergency response plans.

#29 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2011, 07:00 PM:

Jacque @ 164/930 (Prickly pear recipes)

Sadly, I've never cooked with them. But if you are cooking the pads you want to google on 'nopales' as they are considered a regional delicacy in some parts of Mexico / SW US. As for the fruits, I've heard of jam and compote.

Note to self, acquire a couple of pads of the prickly-pear that grows in Minnesota and stick them out on the back rock slope where nothing else grows, and see if they will grow in Maine.

#30 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2011, 07:15 PM:

David Harmon @27

I guess my underlying issue is the whole Snow White & The 7 Dwarfs one. I don't require a female protag, but I'm tired of seeing fantasy universes where everyone from a character with only two lines up to the major supporting ones are all male. Anyone with agency or a personality is a dude, except for the one Special Snowflake woman who is the Exception and not like those other women. I'm finding this as frustrating as some of the aspects of the reboot of BSG, which was so promising and awesome and then profoundly thoughtlessly sexist a few times. (every. single. one. of the female cylons before the big "secret cylon" reveal in the final season was a SEXAYY SEXAY woman using her womanliness to seduce. the couple of men were - uh, not SEXAY. Every woman who had sex was pretty much punished for it, etc.)

I think I will just move on to something new, but I wish I could find reviews that, while not specifically feminist, could warn me of potential gender issues before I buy a book - and I'm not saying my issues should be everyone's issues. Good lord, I also have a problem with babies and stupid misunderstandings showing up in my light somewhat romantic reading (had to shelve the Parasol Protectorate books I was enjoying for that one) so I know I'm a bit sensitive on random issues. Plenty of books are good, well-written and well-reviewed that may as well be brussel sprouts to me. Anyone know if I'll have a problem with Boneshaker?

#31 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2011, 07:23 PM:

HLN: Local woman idly noticed for a couple of weeks that when she flushed one toilet, the other toilet got air bubbles coming up. "Huh, weird," thought local woman, but puts it down to Weird Toilet Behavior.

Then, suddenly, local washing machine drains and drain water wells up through local bathtub drain, leaving denim debris in tub. "This is worrying," thinks local woman.

Then local washing machine drains again, and everything flushed down local toilet in the meantime wells up into both local bathtubs.

Local woman buys latex gloves and bleach, and is thankful for strong stomach while cleaning.

Local plumber runs camera down line and discovers that local tree has put down lots and lots of roots into drain line, filling it with a large woody hairball. Roots are chopped out of pipe with large, noisy machine. Local cats flee in terror and hide under couch until Terrifying Roaring Floor-Vibrating Monster is gone.

Local woman is a few hundred dollars poorer, but now has operational plumbing.

The plumber wants to dig up and replace the entire line between house and street. Because the utility boxes live in our front yard, this will require hand-digging a trench and very carefully avoiding all the wires, and will cost $lots.

Because the line is operational, and replacement is only to make it more resistant to root invasion, I am planning to use foaming root killer to keep things under control until we can save up $lots.

Trees. I love them, but their roots are becoming the bane of my homeownerly existence. I can't plant a garden in the bed by the front walkway because of tree roots (not only can I not dig into the soil, but also everything I plant there dies immediately -- I suspect the roots are sucking up all the nutrition). And now they are blocking up my plumbing.

Need either trees with well-behaved roots, or some kind of magical tree-root-blocking material. Since neither of these things exist, I will just have to make do.

#32 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2011, 07:34 PM:

Across the street from me is a big discount grocery. Very few sales, ads, promotions and the like, but low prices on most stuff every day.

They cater to folks who need bargains, every day.

I sometimes find odd stuff there that you don't see at Albertson's or Safeway. Like:

Cake frosting mix. Pour in two tablespoons of boiling water and beat like crazy. Actually not bad.

Spaghetti sauce mix. Combine water, oil, tomato paste, and the contents of the packet, and boil. I tried this last night, and it's really strange. The result is close to, but not quite as bad as, the red slime that passes for sauce in canned spaghetti products ala Chef Boy-Ar-Dee. I tossed in a can of diced tomatoes and some mushrooms to make it non-retchworthy.

Whole Canned Chicken. A big can with a cooked chicken inside. I'm too frightened to get that one.

#33 ::: LinD ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2011, 07:36 PM:

Caroline @31
My plumber offered to "sleeve" the drain, far less expensive than digging up and replacing. Ask your plumber, ask your friends' plumbers about that one.

#34 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2011, 07:36 PM:

My sympathies, Caroline!

The same thing happened about 6 months after my parents moved into our house in the chicagoland area. (we like to believe it was dirt backed up in the bathtub. yes. that was a much nicer thing to imagine in the tub) I believe the trench was dug with a small backhoe. The main pipe was replaced with something less made of clay and the plumber named the thirsty weeping willows as the culprits. Within the next 5 years, you could see the same tell-tale scars on all the front yards in that subdivision. There may have been a few before they bought their home, but I guess they didn't notice at the time.

Between that and the load-bearing fireplace that cracked when a fire was lit, I'm betting they regretted not moving into the slightly newer side of the subdivision.

#35 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2011, 07:41 PM:

I've joined Google+. Anyone here is welcome to come find* me there (although I'd appreciate a note about who you are if it's not obvious). Still figuring out what the heck I'm doing.

I had to upgrade my browser before it would work, but I've been meaning to do that anyway.

*friend? encircle?

#36 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2011, 07:48 PM:

Stefan Jones @32:
Huh. The first two are somewhat obsolescent these days, but both are readily available in supermarkets around here (the spaghetti sauce mix is kept with the gravy mixes in the spice section, instead of with the canned/jarred sauces). Whole canned chickens I don't recall seeing before, though.

#37 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2011, 07:53 PM:

Nancy @ 23: On reflection, I still dislike the conspiracist implications of octopus imagery in general, but my objection is limited to this specific and unfortunate example, and I rather admire the "Octopi Wall Street" slogan.

#38 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2011, 07:59 PM:

When I was tagging sea turtles on the Georgia coast in the late 1970s, we had whole canned chickens. They were edible, indeed reasonably good as an ingredient in chicken stew. Of course, we were DAMN HUNGRY TEENAGERS, so they probably seemed tastier than they were.

Come to think of it, I've never seen canned whole chicken before or since. I'd forgotten about it until this thread.

#39 ::: Melissa Mead ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2011, 08:15 PM:

Caroline @31, re: "Need either trees with well-behaved roots, or some kind of magical tree-root-blocking material. Since neither of these things exist, I will just have to make do," we had that problem once, and the plumber DID recommend something. I forget the name, but it came from the hardware store, near the Drano. Something like Root-X.

It helped, but it wasn't perfect. Eventually we dug up the intruding bush.

Our cats took a while to recover from the intrusion of the Big Noisy Machine into their domain.

#40 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2011, 08:46 PM:

Avram, I did know that it was an old cartoon.

I didn't read carefully, but assumed the discussion was about bringing back some old cartoons with evil financial octopuses to apply to the current situation.

#41 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2011, 09:10 PM:

Cold front coming through seems to be driving the cat nuts. Esme's got the evening crazies something fierce. She's usually a sedate grownup and now she's knocking everything off the worktable and leaping up on the desk to look out the window. Guess I better go play with her... (It was a lovely wild evening for a walk and a bit of outdoor meditation. Very much Lolly Willowes weather, I'd say.)

#42 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2011, 09:11 PM:

Charlie #3 Happy birthday!

#43 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2011, 09:15 PM:

You learn the shadows do not hide all lies
nor is the truth what's gleaming in the sun,
for far too frequently the tale's not done
when light has faded from all noonday skies
or wisdom woken in the youngest eyes.
No not at all; yet for each honour won
by those whose struggle is the daily run
through the hot lands there are no final ties.
Instead we face a constant horrid stream
of angry platitudes regarding fate
and what it means when we give up the fight
for who we are and what we dare to dream
in these dread times. There can be no debate
since there's one chance to leap into the light.

#44 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2011, 09:16 PM:

Prickly-pear fruit is tasty as fruit. Sweet, with crunchy seeds. (Also see, in your grocery's exotic-produce section, 'dragon fruit', which is from a different species of cactus.)

#45 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2011, 09:21 PM:

They sell copper sulfate for doing in tree-roots in drain pipes. I can't say it's very effective, but it might help. (We had an elm behind the house and a magnolia in front. Both trees really really like drainpipes. Unfortunately the drainpipes don't like them.)

#46 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2011, 09:32 PM:

Nopales/prickly pear pads:

Wear gloves when harvesting and cleaning. I always bought them from the local Mexican supermercado, already de-spined, so I have no further advice to offer on that front.

The only things I've made with them are tacos and scrambled eggs (Mexican street tacos, on soft corn tortillas, not USAn crunchy yellow shells).

Cut the pads into pieces about 1 cm big. Roast in a dry cast-iron skillet until they get brown spots; the idea here is to avoid the okra-like ooze that they can produce when cooked wet. If you don't mind that ooze you can skip this step. Saute with onions, tomatoes, garlic, and fresh hot chiles of your choice. When they're done either serve on warmed corn tortillas with queso fresco, cilantro, and lime juice or dump in some beaten eggs and scramble.

I've seen recipes for nopales salad but haven't made it myself.

As for the fruits (tuna in Spanish -- frighten your friends by offering them a "tuna smoothie!"), I've made jelly and syrup with them. The jelly was probably more trouble than it was worth; it didn't have much taste other than sweet. The syrup made tasty if alarmingly pink margaritas.

#47 ::: sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2011, 09:50 PM:

Nerdycellist @ 10

I got through the first book just fine, with only mild aggravation at the gendering and the use of the main character as the tool-for-teaching-the-reader-about-life. About an hour or so into the second (I got the audiobooks from the library), I had to stop because she was about to be so monumentally stupid. It's a lot harder to skim with an audio book.

I actually liked his Warbreaker, even though one of the major end plot points/deus ex machina became obvious about a third of the way through. That might have been narrator's emphasis, though.

Can't give you much insight on Boneshaker, I couldn't get past the first couple chapters. Not my taste.

If you're looking for epic fantasy with strong females, might I suggest Sharon Shinn's Twelve Houses series? They're light, they've got joy and romance, and strong women who are three dimensional.

#48 ::: sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2011, 10:09 PM:

HLN: Woman has now (mostly) moved into the house with the turret (TURRET!!), as signified by the unpacking of the paperbacks. Cats are happy - they enjoy taunting the neighbor's dog from the safety of their cat tree on the porch.

Re: tree roots - you may see if your municipality or sewer company has a sewer lateral line program. It often will help to offset some of the costs associated with replacing the lateral. (I have a large excel spreadsheet on the company server that tells me what each municipality will cover. Mine only covers the portion in the easement. The next one over does a 70/30 split with the homeowner, until the program funds run out. There's another one that does $700 towards replacement. Another covers cleanout-to-main. It's *always* worth looking in to.)

This is also where the realtor strongly suggests spending the funds to have your sewer lateral inspected prior to purchasing a home, esp. if the line is more than 30 yrs old. Some of the early plastic lines are breaking as well. If the owner says it has been replaced, that is often a permit-required repair and the city or county will have records of when the permit was pulled. (I call city records about every other week about permits. At this point, Paula just sighs when she hears my voice.) It can become a negotiating point, and worth knowing in any case.

#49 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2011, 10:28 PM:

Oh, and Avram: Thanks.

#50 ::: Trey ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2011, 10:41 PM:

What the heck? Its your birthday Charlie? Happy birthday then!
And what the heck is it with the statistical clumping of folks I know and like in October birthdays?

#51 ::: NelC ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2011, 10:45 PM:

Charlie @3: Many happy returns! Don't eat too much cake.

#52 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2011, 10:50 PM:

Charlie Stross @3: I did a cartoon once about "Pamper Your Boss Day." It might seem a bit mysterious to those who don't know that Pampers are an American brand of disposable diapers.

John A. Arkansawyer: I can't comment at BoingBoing, once again. It seems to be offering me the chance to comment there if I'll set my cookies to accept all cookies everywhere. Trying to set individual exceptions doesn't work. Sorry.

#53 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2011, 10:52 PM:

sisuile @ #47, any writer who thinks of theme songs for her characters catches my attention.

#54 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2011, 10:56 PM:

nerdycellist, #30: Can't help you with SF/F, but if you also like mysteries, there's a website called Reviewing the Evidence, for which a friend of mine used to write reviews (alas, not any more -- her life got too busy to keep it up). One of the things she would specifically note in her reviews was gender issues -- not as "this is a horrible book because of X", but as "if X bothers you, be aware that this book has it". Search for reviews by Linnea Dodson.

#55 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2011, 11:21 PM:

Sewerage: My parents' place has been backing up more and more regularly—about once ever three months or so—and my mom was expressing severe frustration with this. So I said, "Isn't the plumbing original to the house?" Yeah, so? "Plumbing isn't supposed to last that long." (House was built in 1957.) Nice new sewer line put in a couple of months back—apparently, the only thing keeping them from planning to do this was the mistaken idea that a sewer line was supposed to last longer than SIXTY YEARS.

Cactus fruit: My mom gave me a Peruvian Apple the other day. Tasted a bit like kiwi, actually. I didn't find out until the next visit that she was getting them off the cactus in front. Cereus cacti have beautiful flowers and now we know the fruit are tasty too.

#56 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2011, 11:22 PM:

Oh, and today is also the 22nd anniversary of the Loma Prieta quake, aka "The Battle of the Bay: The Bay Strikes Back." My sister spent the quake at her new job—at the end of Pier 39. Whee.

#57 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2011, 11:40 PM:

re 31: We just went through the same thing, at a higher plane. In our case the problem is that the two upstairs bathrooms are identical except that one is turned 180 degrees from the other, so that all the drains come together in pairs into one big drain pipe. Things tend to get caught there. We've had the plumbers up on the roof augering the thing out twice in the last month. Unfortunately there's even less we can do about it without redoing the plumbing, except keep #3 from flushing problematic objects (note that a disposable applesauce cup is exactly the right size to plug a low-flow toilet).

#58 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2011, 11:44 PM:

Not only do I like an author who gives her characters theme songs, I'm particularly amused that she used a song by Def Leppard off a Monster Ballads collection (I have one of those in my CD file of shame). Will have to check her out.

I'll also be checking out the mystery blog. I do occasionally read mysteries and will be much more likely to do so when I can get some good recommendations to help hone my preferences.

#59 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2011, 12:12 AM:

nerdycellist: had to shelve the Parasol Protectorate books

Ah, the Parasol Protectorate. Not as bad an example as the Anita Blake books, but annoying enough for me to give up on 'em.

#60 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2011, 12:30 AM:

re 28: The situation is in some respects very similar to the MARC/Capitol Limited accident at Georgetown Junction, less than a 1/4 mile from my office (if it had happened about 20 minutes earlier, I probably would have been trackside). The circumstances were a bit different due to the profoundly different way that Brits and Americans handle dispatching and signalling. The mainline west out of DC is split by the metro for something like ten miles; the junction is the first crossover after that and used to have a track that went around the west side of town into Georgetown, but that was long gone at that point. What happened was that a freight got delayed and caught up in the evening rush, and was stopped on the right (WB) track at the junction. The Capitol was crossing over through the junction from the left track. Unfortunately a MARC train was headed EB on the same track; it had a yellow signal indicating that the train had to stop at the junction, but this signal was before the last station stop; apparently the engineer forgot about it and headed south at full speed. Of course when he got there it was too late to stop; the Amtrak engineer saw him coming and sped up in a futile attempt to get his train through. The MARC train was running cab car first and struck the second Amtrak locomotive, which fell over and caught fire, in turn roasting the control cab on MARC train. The crew from the MARC train were killed in the impact; eight other people, all Job Corps kids, died in the fire because the doors on the car jammed and passengers were unable to escape. A whole slew of safety regs came out of this accident, including beefing up cab cars, emergency exit mods, and the NORAC "D" that you see on a bunch of signals now. Interestingly, I found an article describing how this accident led to local emergency response improvements.

#61 ::: Alan Yee ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2011, 12:35 AM:

Open threadiness, since I know there's quite a few LGBTQ etc. folks who lurk in this part of the fluorosphere:

On Tuesday, October 11, which was National Coming Out Day, I officially changed my Facebook profile and status to reflect my desire to no longer hide my gayness from 75 percent of the people who know me. The other 25 percent consists of people I met last year during my freshman year of college.

Big Sister saw the message, let me know that she has absolutely no problem with it, and worked with me to decide on a good time to come out to my Mom. I've been hiding myself from my family for the last five or so years, so it's all about to come to an end. Just to be make sure my schoolwork isn't negatively affected by the potential fallout, we decided to put off having The Talk with Mom until after I'm done with finals, which are the first full week in December. And Big Sister will be there in the room with me so that I don't fall apart trying to tell Mom what's up.

Seven or eight more weeks until I'm out and proud to *everyone* in my life, not just my school friends and the cool people I've met online.

#62 ::: Laura Runkle ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2011, 01:18 AM:

Alan Yee @61. Speaking as a Mom, glad that you are both looking forward to living open, and very glad that you are looking at your studies and long-term goals. Go, you!

#63 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2011, 01:22 AM:

Alan Yee @61:

I second everything that Laura Runkle @62 says.

If you need us at your back, drop a line in whatever Open Thread is current and we'll run a cheering section. Then tell us how it went.

Even us straights care.

(Also, kudos to Big Sister.)

#64 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2011, 01:46 AM:

Stefan Jones @ 32:

Whole Canned Chicken

During my freshman year at college, my mother decided I was in need of sustenance, and shipped me an electric hot plate and a large box of various foodstuffs, including a whole canned chicken. I finally threw a party for my friends one evening and we ate most of the food (although I was the only one interested in the anchovies). The chicken turned out to be edible.

#65 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2011, 01:53 AM:

Alan Yee @ 61:

Congratulations on coming out! Good on you for being proud of who you are.

#66 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2011, 02:20 AM:

Alan Yee @61: congratulations, good luck, and enjoy being out!

#67 ::: Alan Yee ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2011, 02:40 AM:

Frankly, it was getting pretty tiring trying to remember who I told in person, who I didn't tell, who's okay with gay people, and who's not. And lying is very stressful for me, especially since people with Asperger's tend to be very honest people, sometimes to a fault. I finally told myself, fuck it, if you don't like me being me, you don't have to pretend to be my friend. I'm not exactly going to announce my preference for people of the male persuasion to every person I ever encounter, but I'm not going to hide it any longer.

I've actually been pretty comfortable about it for a while now; I've been a member of my university's queer/allies group since I started college last year. The main problem has mainly been figuring out how to tell the family and making it known to people I don't see on a regular basis (i.e. high school and college friends that I don't see often or at all any more).

My parents are/were going to find out one way or another. I'd rather them find out directly from me and not in an embarrassing, undignified way. They aren't the type of parents who would kick their kid out of the house for being gay, but they aren't the kind who will immediately jump for joy at the news, either. I suspect there will be some denial on their part and confusion, but they'll probably come around eventually. Big Sister has assured me that she and my brother-in-law are both there if I need them and that their place will always be a safe place for me. Have I mentioned that my Big Sister is the best Big Sister anyone could hope for?

#68 ::: Meg Thornton ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2011, 02:41 AM:

Happy Birthday for today, Charlie. Many happy returns and best wishes.

#69 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2011, 03:21 AM:

Alan Yee: Happy coming out day, and I congratulate you on your excellent taste in sisters.

Sewer lines thread: raises hand to say that terracotta tile sewer lines can last almost 100 years. The iron pipe under the house actually gave out before the tiles in the yard. Might have lasted longer if it had been installed sloping downward towards the street, instead of flat. Everyone join in now: "They don't build them like they used to".

Portrayals of women in fiction: Here's some good ones: "Motel Art Improvement Service", by Jason Little. It's a graphic novel with art that pops. The heroine is nerdy, fashion-challenged and pear-shaped -- and she's athletic, and finds love (or at least sex) and adventure! The story is highly original and funny.

I may be the last person to find out about Scott Westerfeld's "Leviathan" trilogy. I read them last week, with great enjoyment. Go Deryn!

#70 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2011, 06:25 AM:

Alan Yee... You have a fabulous Big Sister.

#71 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2011, 07:50 AM:

Alan Yee #61 congratulations on coming out. I can still remember the first time (34 years ago) when a friend came out to me as gay. It was a bloody courageous thing to do back in the 70s, in a society as homophobic as Jamaica's was and is.

Your sister is a wonderful person.

#72 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2011, 07:58 AM:

Charlie: Happy Birthday!

Alan Yee: Congratulations on your public unveiling, and best of luck with the family reveal. You and your Big Sister rock!

On the 13th, my daughter participated in "The Names That Hurt," a play about insulting language, hate speech, and bullying. A number of the monologues and little scenes were about being gay (others dealt with racial of ethnic issues).

At the end of the evening, audience members were asked to share their own experiences with being labeled, teased, or bullied. Toward the end of the session, a 16-yo stood up and said, very simply, "I'm a Jew, a white girl, and a lesbian." The whole room cheered. I was so proud of her! (I suspect it was the first time she's made quite such a public declaration, though she's been out to friends and family since middle school. [I've known her since she was 9.])

(The other striking comment was from an older black woman who talked about how she used to call her lightest-skinned granddaughters--both are teenagers, so this is pretty recent--her "white girls." This was intended as praise, not denigration. She stopped doing it when her son asked her to and then educated her about light-skin/dark-skin social issues in the African-American community.)

It was an interesting evening.

#73 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2011, 08:00 AM:

Charlie #3: happy birthday!

nerdycellist #30: yeah, I have to admit the Mistborn series fits squarely into that. It even gets worse at the climax: Jura ure uhfonaq qvrf, fur svtugf gur Ovt Onq gb zhghny naavuvyngvba. Lrc, gur erny ureb jnf fbzrbar ryfr.

Alan Yee #61: Congratulations!

#74 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2011, 08:10 AM:

Alan Yee @67:
I'm not exactly going to announce my preference for people of the male persuasion to every person I ever encounter...

It is my dream to live in a world where you can be your true self, and be accepted for it, without having to do so. Just like I can with the same preference right now.

Failing that, I want it for my children.

#75 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2011, 08:12 AM:

On Boneshaker: I read it some time ago, but I can remember at least two women, and while the female protagonist's life is defined to some extent by her men-- father, husband, son-- she's also part of the definition, and she's kind of awesome. I haven't read the others in the series yet.

#76 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2011, 09:04 AM:

#76--On Boneshaker--I can think of three women, one of which is the protagonist; the other two are supporting characters, of a fine and colorful variety. None of them are there to be beautiful, wanton, and stupid. Neither are most of them men--there's a teenage boy providing what lack of good sense the plot may require, but for a teenage boy with Concerns, he's not unreasonably foolish.

Given the (reasonably-based) gender skew where the main action takes place, as well as the size of the cast of significant speaking characters, the number of women didn't seem oddly mall.

#77 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2011, 09:06 AM:

Alan Yee @61--Go, you! And congratulations on having an excellent specimen of Big Sister in your life.

#78 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2011, 09:48 AM:

Alan: Good luck.

abi: Amen.

#79 ::: Rob Thornton ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2011, 10:16 AM:

Happy Birthday, Mr. Strauss.

#80 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2011, 10:26 AM:

Alan: congratulations and good luck!

My kid came out to me at, oh, 12, I think, by asking, "Mom, what would you say if I had a ($SAME-SEX partner)?"

I said, "I'd want to meet them and make sure they were a nice person."

People have, from time to time, praised me extravagantly for this response. This embarrasses and saddens me, because I fervently wish it were so normal that it was unremarkable.

May it go as calmly for you as it did for my kid.

#81 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2011, 10:32 AM:

sisuile, #48: You have a turret! I'm envious!

Alan, #61: Go you! May it be as drama-free as you hope.

#82 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2011, 10:38 AM:

Sisuile, a turret is a great thing; but I hope you do not plan to install any machine-guns.

#83 ::: sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2011, 10:54 AM:

Alan @ 61 - You have great courage.

Modesto Kid @ 82 - No, no machine guns. But we've already put together plans to do quick-exchanges of the attic windows for arrow slits.

Re: sewers, pt 2 - The City of St. Louis is being sued by the EPA about our combined storm-and-sewage system. Something about the parts of it that are still wood (pre-1870), and the fact that it wasn't designed for non-permeable pavement, so may, on occasion, overflow the holding reservoirs during sustained heavy rain, dumping raw sewage into the Mississippi. Oops. OTOH, those wood parts still carry water and "stuff" pretty well, without the spectacular collapsing that clay or iron does. Again, chorus of "they don't build them like they used to."

#84 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2011, 11:03 AM:

I think that kerfuffle at Boing Boing affected me more deeply than I realized. Last night, I dreamed that I worked for the CIA.

#85 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2011, 11:17 AM:

Started on Boneshaker and am enjoying it so far (only about 25 pages in so it's mostly down to whether I feel the author has described the surroundings well enough for me to immerse myself in them). From reviews I read last night, it's a love it or hate it book. We'll see.

Also, janetl @69 - glad to see that Leviathan is not Problematic; this is one that I downloaded when I maybe had a little too much wine and it was late and we had invited a librarian to our party. I think he might have mentioned something about airships and exploding bats? Or was that another one that I downloaded on his recommendation? I don't know. I was quite possibly slightly tipsy. These are some of the hazards of having access to an eReader, wine and literate librarian friends. (I am a fortunate primate indeed!)

#86 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2011, 11:19 AM:

Mary Aileen @ #35:

I've been saying "circled", but I have no idea if there is an official term and "circled" does sound a bit as if it involves wagons, trails and things scary.

Oh, also, you should have a notification saying I've circled you. I'd be the "Ingvar" with a silly grin and a bow-tie. Bow-ties are cool.

#87 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2011, 11:25 AM:

nerdycellist and janetl: My 15-yo was upset at some of the animal engineering in Leviathan but read it anyway. To me, that indicates that it probably passes the female smell-test, because she tends to outright reject anything that doesn't have enough/good female characters. She was very excited at NYCC to see the big poster for the new Uglies graphic novel.

#88 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2011, 11:36 AM:

John A. Arkansawyer, one time in the 80s, I dreamed that Cathy and I were working for James Watt at the Department of the Interior. I was just aware enough to wonder why.

#89 ::: Jon Baker ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2011, 11:39 AM:

(responding to OT 164 at the end)

Try looking for /"prickly pear" recipes/ on your favorite search engine.

Why are Israelis called "Sabras"? Sabra is the prickly pear cactus, so Israelis are abrasive on the outside, but sweet on the inside.

#90 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2011, 12:45 PM:

Ingvar M (86): Saw you there and circled you back. I'm still feeling my way around Google+, but so far it seems pretty good.

#91 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2011, 01:03 PM:

I haven't read the third book of the Leviathan series yet, but I'm deeply pleased with how it's handling sex and gender issues. The world it takes place in is deeply sexist (unlike, say, his Uglies series), and some characters don't particularly care, and some characters are deeply upset at the unfairness of it--but there is always the sense that the author is perfectly aware of how unfair it is. And there are some truly marvelous interactions between two female characters in the second book, with excellent and unexpected payoff.

#92 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2011, 01:21 PM:

Alan Yee, you are awesome, and so are your sister and her spouse. (My fingers keep wanting to type something else in place of "spouse". So far they have entered spuse, spse, and spuose. I have no idea why.)

HLN: Some of the folks here know that among my various professions, I teach martial arts. I am proud to announce that this month my dojo is celebrating its 20th year, and I am celebrating 40 years training in and teaching my art. This weekend my dojo hosts a seminar: 3 guest teachers, a big party, food, training, training, training.

I hope that the Norns allow me to get to 50 years.

#93 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2011, 01:31 PM:

Lizzy L@92: congratulations indeed, that is quite an achievement!

I wish my kid had stuck with her martial arts training, but her teacher was no longer teaching locally and she didn't want to commute to the Upper West Side, where the main dojo was (90 minutes each way at the best of times), which I could totally understand. She didn't want to change schools because almost all the other programs nearby were of the "the whole class moves on together" variety, which doesn't really work.

I loved her sensei; she made me wish _I_ could take classes, which is really saying something. I bet you're a fantastic teacher.

#94 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2011, 01:33 PM:

Open threadiness:

Do you ever wonder why US politics looks like it does? This article describes the system of essentially having congressmen "buy" important positions (subcommittee chair, for example) by the amount they donate. The Republicans under Newt Gingrich pioneered this system, and the Democrats have embraced it fully by now. The path to power in Congress is explicitly based on how much money you raise--as in, there's a written price list. If you don't raise a lot of money, you simply won't get into a position of much importance.

It's very common to think in terms of personalities and personal attributes when you think of politicians. That's natural. But the personalities and personal attributes we see are mostly spin and bullshit, professionally produced images, planted stories, and journalists running with the common narrative because it's easier than thinking. (How often was John McCain described as a maverick outsider, despite decades in the Senate and a voting record that was overwhelmingly keeping to the party line? Once that kind of narrative is established, it's almost impossible to change.)

We try to understand politics that way because we're story-telling creatures at heart, and it makes a good story--the witless heir to the throne stumbles along, manipulated by his wicked elder advisor, or the authentic woman of the people is suppressed by the corrupt, jealous elites whose pretentions she challenges, or ....

But those stories don't have much predictive power. That's why political pundits have awful track records of predicting anything--their job is to be entertaining storytellers, but the stories they make up don't have to be true, just fun to listen to and consistent.

If you really want to understand political decisions, it's much better to understand the system surrounding the politicians.

What incentives face Barrack Obama or Stenny Hoyer or John Boehner or Mitt Romney? What do they worry about? What must they do to get and keep power? Whom do they see as threats to their power?

What filters are in place that they had to get past, in order to be where they are now? What personal traits, expressed beliefs, true beliefs, work habits, etc., would have kept them from getting near the top of the pyramid in terms of power? What friends did they have to keep, and what friends could they not afford? How about enemies?

Who and what controls the flow of information to them about various issues? How do the choose their advisors, and how do they check to see if their advisors are telling them the truth? Who gets to talk to the president or congressional leader or presidential candidate? What happens when those people say stuff that the VP, chief of staff, or president him self don't want to hear? Who can veto some of his advisors?

Those questions are rarely asked in surface-level political coverage. But articles like this one help answer those questions, or at least start answering them.

#95 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2011, 01:35 PM:

I enjoyed Boneshaker but wouldn't say I loved it. The background was a bit too contrived for my taste.

Good and memorable characters, though.

#96 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2011, 01:36 PM:


The other night, I had a (fever-inspired) very complicated weird dream in which my wife appeared as a teenager, I appeared as both my teenaged self and my current self, and the villain we had to overcome was Dick Cheney. (WTF, subconscious?)

#97 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2011, 01:53 PM:

Alan Yee @67:
I'm not exactly going to announce my preference for people of the male persuasion to every person I ever encounter...

I don't wear a post-it note on my forehead that says "het", so I don't see why you should have to wear one that says "gay". Congrats on coming out!

My nephew came out to us earlier this year. My mother's first reaction was, "Oh, no!" When asked why oh no, she said, she wanted him to have children. Once informed that lots of gay people have children, she was happy again. She's in her 70's, was raised by a racist, homophobe mother, and managed to not be either. For the rest of us, it was no issue at all.

#98 ::: Lenore Jean Jones/jonesnori ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2011, 02:12 PM:

#61/67 ::: Alan Yee: Blessings on your coming out. This Christian believes God created a wonderful diversity of people, and wishes us all to live lives filled with love and respect for each other, while doing our bit to make the world a better place. May your life be filled with love and laughter.

#99 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2011, 02:13 PM:

nerdycellist @ 34: Sadly, I could not pretend it was dirt in the bathtubs. I won't draw you a picture.

I'm very, very glad that for whatever reason, my squick response isn't triggered as long as I have gloves.

Melissa Mead @ 39: This evening I am acquiring Roebic Foaming Root Killer. The internet seems to think it is more effective than the non-foaming copper-sulfate kind. It makes sense -- the non-foaming kind can only reach as high as the water level in the pipe, so it may not reach roots that are coming in the top of the pipe. But the foam will expand to fill the pipe, reaching all the roots.

sisuile @ 48: I had never heard of having the lateral line inspected when I bought this house. I wasn't even aware it was an issue. You can be sure I will have that inspection done the next time I buy a house, and will be asking how old the pipes are.

And yeah, I'd really like to have the replacement done before selling this house. The quoted amount, while more than I have available right now, is a feasible savings goal for the near term. (Although I worry that buyers, like the past me, won't be aware of it and therefore won't see the value in having it already done.)

Thank you for the suggestion to check with the city -- I will definitely be doing that!


Alan @ 61: Hooray! Happy coming out! *confetti, streamers, popping bottles of champagne or sparkling cider according to your preference*

I'm so glad this stage of the process went well for you. And I'm so glad your sister will be there to back you up when you come out to your parents. (Fingers crossed that your parents react positively.)

#100 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2011, 03:10 PM:

As long as we're talking about weird dreams... Last night, apparently I was on the tail end of a chain letter. I got several envelopes from someone saying that I had to add to the enclosed pile of documents, and forward on to something before bad thing happened. (details hazy).

What I had to add was a hand sketched picture of a Hugo award, in its current environment.


#101 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2011, 03:33 PM:

Unnerving dream from last night:

My dog, after years of trying, manages to grab a (tree*) squirrel as it scampered around the base of a tree. I am both horrified and glad for her . . . she tries so hard to get those buggers, but who wants to see a furry critter dismembered?

Kira sets the squirrel up between her front paws and prepares to nip off its head, the way a kid might do in a chocolate Easter bunny.

And then she lets the squirrel go, unsure as how to exactly proceed.


I hope the real thing, should it transpire, ends that way.

* (Kira caught a ground squirrel once. Not. Pretty. That wasn't enough for her. Predators . . .)

#102 ::: Jennifer Baughman ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2011, 03:46 PM:

I would really appreciate some feedback from all you wonderful folks out there. We're in the run up to everyone's favorite time of year, benefits open enrollment, and my company is doing something that I think is more than mildly hinky. They're partnering up with a "wellness specialist" called RedBrick Health, and tying premium discounts to taking a "Health Assessment" (which, conveniently, will not be available until after open enrollment ends).

What makes me uncomfortable is the fact that neither my employer nor this wellness program are HIPPA-covered entities; in fact, the wellness program seems to have been designed explicitly to avoid being HIPPA-covered. RedBrick's privacy policy says that they can get medical information from me (which is reasonable, as I could control what data they have access to); from my employer, directly or indirectly; from my insurer (medical claims data), and from my medical providers.

They also claim the right to share that data with "partners who assist them in providing services" and/or "in the event that we or substantially all of our assets are acquired by one or more third parties as a result of an acquisition, merger, sale, reorganization, consolidation or liquidation, in which case Personal Information may be one of the transferred assets..."

So I'm wondering if I'm being too paranoid, or if this has the possibility to be an unsupervised, unwarranted corporate intrusion into my medical history.

#103 ::: Jennifer Baughman ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2011, 03:47 PM:

Alan Yee @61: I salute your courage and integrity, sir, and wish you all the best from your choice.

Lizzy L @92: Congratulations!

#104 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2011, 04:07 PM:

A question for the pet folks -

In the course of her traditional Shoving My Head In The Underbrush and Sniffing, Ardala managed to Hoover up some kind of godknowswhat on her Sunday morning walk. She proceeded to sneeze. And sneeze. And paw at her snout. And sneeze some more. She was fine for a bit, and then did the sneezing again, adding a delightful amount of snottiness and a bit of backwards sneezing to her repertoire. The roommate kept an eye on her when I was out that afternoon and said there had been some more sneezing/honking/pawing fits, but her research indicated that as long as there was no swelling or breathing problems, she would probably sneeze the item out on her own.

On Monday, there were a couple of sneezing attacks but no pawing and we were debating whether to take her to the eVet or wait until our regular vet was open and leave work early today to bring her there. However, last night and this morning there has been only one sneeze, and that one a dainty, non-honking, non-snotty sneeze much like those brought on by her burrowing enthusiastically in her bedding with her face. (who can truly know the mind of a dog?). So, if she continues not explosively sneezing, should I assume she's sneezed whatever it is out? Or has the thing lodged itself further into her face and is waiting to silently kill her (OMG FOXTAIL?!) ? If the latter, could we wait until Saturday so we didn't have to take time off work, or is this completely emergent right now and I'm a terrible Servant Monkey for even considering my own needs above hers? Any advice welcome!

#105 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2011, 04:35 PM:

Your bag of fruit is but a pile of pits,
My feast of joy is but a pang of guilt
My still small voice is in a plague of fits,
The sweet blue juice pooled on the plate is spilled
My snack is past, and to the trash heap comes,
And now you know that I have et your plums.

Waste not your time, nor hunt in vain pursuit
Peruse, instead, this humble witness mute,
That I, regardless of your own intents
Did raid the fridge for sweet and purple fruit.

O Thou, who sought, both cleverly and wise,
To save your plums and hide them from my eyes—
Know that I—I did consume them all—
And taste them still, as I apologize.

Little boy hides in the pantry alone.
Fingers and mouth of a purple-y tone.
Hush! Hush! Don't flap your gums!
Christopher Robin is eating your plums.

Blah blah blah plums, blah blah fridge,
Blah blah blah blah sweet blah cold.

#106 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2011, 04:53 PM:

102 Jennifer Baughman: one thing I'd be concerned about, and check the TOS in, over and above your paranoia:

is this "wellness specialist" entitled to pass information they recieve *back* to your employer? Say, information your employer isn't entitled to require from you, or allowed to use in continuance of employment decisions (but of course, they wouldn't?)

Having said that, and ramping down my paranoia somewhat, that sounds like regular "we need this to work" and "in case we are sold/go bankrupt, our new owners would find us rather useless if we can no longer use this information to do our job" boilerplate.

That doesn't mean, of course, that it isn't a way to un-HIPAA your information (because you've given permission to break the lock, at least from the insurance companies) for global dispersal.

Also, what partners? And what restrictions on the use of that information do they put on those partners?

Note: as a Canadian, HIPAA-compliance is only something my company's products aim to ensure for our clients, to aid audit.

#107 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2011, 05:05 PM:

Dammit! "Spilt," not "spilled."

I blame my editor.

#108 ::: Angiportus ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2011, 05:29 PM:

Charlie, #3, I am glad that you have (are?) a boss worth pampering. I myself have never encountered one I really wanted to honor with a day not even chosen by me.
I find the whole concept/meme of "days" for subsets of people rather offputting, and wonder if anyone else here feels the same.
First off, it is another opportunity for people to sell us something--cards and so on--that we got on fine without up till now.
Second off, it seems to me that if someone is worth honoring they are worth honoring all year long. This includes veterans, and dead veterans.
Days when we are ordered to honor someone, however deserving, make it easier to ignore and overuse them all the rest of the year.
Third off, I just don't like being pressured.
I guess it started way way back when, when I noticed all the hoo-ha over Mother's Day and Father's Day and said how come there isn't a children's day, and got that stupid, meaningless retort that every day is children's day--sure, every day to get treated like subhumans, molested, uprooted, slapped around and otherwise left in the lurch. See the Dysfunctional Family thread.
But there's more to it than that. Perhaps it was the faint flavor of crap that hung around everything the teachers told us about whatever holiday they used to break their own monotony.
All right, that taint filled the whole school, all the time. But even so, there's one final problem, and that's if you set out a day for every group of people that needs a little more appreciation, you'd run out of days in the year right quick.
I don't claim to have any answers, just a need to voice this nagging unease.
It doesn't apply to Coming Out Day. Congratulations, all.

#109 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2011, 05:45 PM:

And, belatedly, Happy Birthday, Charlie. Many happy returns (and many happy sequels, too).

#110 ::: mjfgates ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2011, 06:00 PM:

Jennifer Baughman@102: Of course this is a corporate intrusion into your medical history and personal habits. Even if RedBrick's current management doesn't want to use your data for Evil, they're trying to get it out from under privacy protections. Once that information is out, it is OUT.

#111 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2011, 06:05 PM:

Happy Birthday Charlie!

Alan: Congrats on taking this step (won't it be nice when it's not a step people have to take, specifically). Glad you've got such a nice Big Sister and I hope all goes well when you tell your mother.

#112 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2011, 06:17 PM:

nerdycellist @ 104: Watchful waiting is acceptable. You don't mention any bleeding or continuing signs of pain or distress.

I'd watch for more sneeze attacks; also for discharges, particularly purulent and odoriferous kinds, and swellings of the face. If none of these occur, the likelihood of any foreign body in the sinuses goes down. You can always have your pup checked by the regular vet at your convenience.

Kip W @ 105: I believe you have won today's Internets. Congratulations!

Alan Yee: Also congratulations! (I've been out for nearly 30 years, and it generally gets easier..)

#113 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2011, 07:25 PM:

Openthreadedness: Last night at the Indian supermarket I saw, in the religious goods section, an icon of ... I don't know who. Not one of the familiar Hindu goddesses, but strangely familiar nonetheless. She was standing in a crocodile, wearing a veil/mantle of blue with gold stars, some roses adorning her. In one hand she held a trident, in the other a lotus (I think). (Only two arms. ) A spikey gold halo radiated from her head, and the background was rainbow colors radiating from her. I this the Virgin of Guadalupe on holiday in India?

#114 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2011, 07:38 PM:

For those of you on google+, I just opened an account, and may have "circled" some of you. (With twirling, of course.)

#115 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2011, 08:24 PM:

Nancy @ #114, I've encircled you. (Which sounds like I'm a Kiowa war party or its target, a Conestoga wagon, but nonetheless . . .)

#116 ::: Darth Paradox ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2011, 08:41 PM:

On the topic of awesome female protagonists - and apropos to the birthday wishes in the thread - I highly recommend Charlie Stross's Merchant Princes series. Miriam's past as an investigative reporter makes her well-suited (and rather prone to) the kinds of political-intrigue conflicts she finds herself in the middle of, and the collection of allies she builds includes several other women of similarly strong agency.

#117 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2011, 08:51 PM:

Tracie at 113, the Goddess Ganga, who is incarnate as the River Ganges, is often depicted as riding on a crocodile.

#118 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2011, 09:20 PM:

I recently met some Awesome Female Protagonists in Jane Lindskold's Thirteen Orphans series. Primary and backup POV are both female, respectively a college and a senior-citizen, both decent personalities.

#120 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2011, 10:23 PM:

Well, my google-fu may be good, but my HTML is pretty puny tonight. Anyway, the links work.

#121 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2011, 11:14 PM:

Applause for Chidioc Tichbourne's plums.

#122 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2011, 11:37 PM:

I thought this would be the best video I would see today. That was earlier, before I was at work late and left my truck keys in the office and had to walk all the way back from the parking deck to get them. I'm still driving my dad's old '93 Dodge Dakota that someone vandalized this summer, and it died right in the middle of 12th and University. The only thing I could think of was that I'd run out of gas, and as I ran over to the Shell station on the corner, I twisted my ankle big time and skinned up my knee. I'm sitting here in a certain amount of pain and I'm out of Rocky Road ice cream. Not a very good day, is it?

And then I opened up this video and my day improved radically. This Unitarian Universalist minister, the Reverend Marian Stewart, does us proud, especially when she says, "We are asking for more than they can possibly imagine!" Maybe it'll make your day, too.

#123 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2011, 01:23 AM:

On the subject of Scott Westerfeld's Leviathan series --

nerdycellist @ 85: glad to see that Leviathan is not Problematic; this is one that I downloaded when I maybe had a little too much wine and it was late and we had invited a librarian to our party. Why is it that stories involving librarians always have a bacchanal quality?

Melissa Singer @ 87: My 15-yo was upset at some of the animal engineering in Leviathan but read it anyway. To me, that indicates that it probably passes the female smell-test, because she tends to outright reject anything that doesn't have enough/good female characters.
It's perfectly reasonable to be upset by some of the animal engineering. I think Westerfeld intends the Darwinian and Clanker technologies and societies to have both positive and negative qualities. The books also show war and combat as negative, rather than as exciting.

#124 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2011, 03:12 AM:

In celebration of successfully installing a virtual machine with a version of Firefox that's able to run Leetkey again (which I mainly use for rot13):

1'm 1n y0ur fr1d63, 3471n6 y0ur p|um5!

(And yes, Kip's were way way better :-)

#125 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2011, 03:42 AM:

#4 John

The current Capitol One ad series with the loudmouthed jackass Jewish caricature character I find extremely offensive....

Regarding octopus, 1912 was just shy of a century ago. Use of an octopus to denote something with tentacles stuck in everything, was not anything I had any awareness of as being symbolically antisemitic.... and especially the term "Kochtopus" refers to a pair of men who are spreaders of evangelizing narrow-minded bigot Kheristianity who probably claim to be Christian.

Generally and vernacularly I have never heard/seen until today that I can recall, any identifying of the vernacular "octopus" denoting tentacles glomming in and grabbing and cramming in everywhere, to slurs on Jews... as opposed to "octopus" for a person who puts their hands all over other people without permission without regards to race, creed, color, or national origin of the person playing "octopus."

#8 LinD
When I was a child I did just that with M&Ms, and disliked the oranged and yellow ones because I disliked the colors. I was really unhappy with they discontinued the tan ones and kept the yellow ones....

#28 James
Thank you for the link.

#29 Thena
There is a native prickly pear in Massachusetts. The one in my yard's been stpreading. It has short very fine spines. My aunt hand had one with 7" long vicious needles, but the Cape Cod weather with some nasty storms eventually caused its demise... '

#30 nerdy
Roland Green's Starcruiser Shenandoah books (there are six of them, but one of them Amazon didn;t seem to realize belonged to the series... the last couple the publisher hid that...) , if you like military SF, do not have sex stereotyping in them. They've got an ensemble of characters, with Captain Rose Liddell tapped to be the new captain for Shenandoah, commissioned years before but never actually having seen service time, with Adm. Sho Kuwahara aboard as commander of a small constellation of ships, Vice Admiral Diana Longman (minor character, with the nickname "The Golden Vanity" but no, she is not seducing anyone...) shows up as senior commander in space, and her nephew, Lt Charlie Longman, isn't happy to be in an area where one of the numerous admirals who are his relatives, is the senior commander. He's bunked in a coed wardroom with Brigette Tachin, a young officer, another male officer whose name I can;t think of but he's got a few more years and experience on him, and Elaine Zhena, a mustang whose two main interests in life are going on attack runs in one of the attack craft carried by Shenandoah, and recreational sex (done offduty and NOT for career enhancement/blackmail/leverage otherwise/etc.) There's also Candice Shores, a young Army officer, and other characters... command ranks gender mostly isn't an issue. The Weapons Officer in charge of what the contemporary euphemism for is "weapons of mass destruction" is a motherly-seeming older woman, for example. The Army has a higher ratio of men than women, but there's Candice Shores, and a female sharpshooter, and others even in the Army.

Regarding the coed wardroom, there was a line about roommates, "Some chose roommates of the interesting sex, some of the uninteresting sex. Those who had neither preference nor manners, got sent to the Army." There are also homosexual characters, some with major ensemble roles (for that matter, one of the characters mentioned above is bi) and in pairbonded relationships... The books came out in the 1980s.

#31 Caroline
What about trees with long taproots, such as walnut trees?

#126 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2011, 07:42 AM:

#100 ::: eric

Sometimes fast reading will substitute for a dream-- I saw that as being about being personally added to a chain letter, being put into an envelope to be passed along to the next recipient.

Which leads to the notion of sentient spam....

#118 ::: David Harmon

Can you say a bit more about how Thirteen Orphans is going? I liked the first book, and then the second book started with the dullest action sequence in the world (in my very strongly felt opinion) and I never got past it.

#127 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2011, 08:09 AM:

Thirteen Orphans did a thing I particularly dislike, taking people out of their own context and sending them to another, presumably more interesting, one. It's on my list of things no book was ever improved by. Lindskold seems to start her series with the characters near home, then the next book is them going somewhere else, then the next is them going somewhere drastically else, and I don't always agree that there's no plot available back where they were. Other people like seeing more of the world and the way she puts it together, and I'm just not one of them.

#128 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2011, 08:44 AM:

On the topic of odd dreams: I have a recurring dream where I'm moving into a new house, all clean and empty, and I open a door and find a whole other house hidden inside (it's bigger on the inside, obviously) that shows signs of having been just recently abandoned. Last time there was a bowl of eggshells on the kitchen counter, and an elevator decorated with a picture of Amelia Earhart.

#129 ::: Kevin Reid ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2011, 09:13 AM:

#126: Accelerando contains at least one instance of sentient spam.

(xkcd proposes sentient spambots.)

Perhaps the sentient spam would be a good thing.

#130 ::: Jon Baker ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2011, 09:24 AM:

Paula: I didn't see the octopus as antisemitic in isolation, either. The horns suggested the Devil, not Jews. Now if the octopus had had a big schnoz, that would have been different. Of course, the textual context makes it clear that the image is antisemitic.

But then, the one story I know about Jews & horns, is about my HS vice principal, whose father was a Conservative rabbi in central Pennsylvania. One day in the 1940s he was giving a speech to a mixed audience, and called for questions. First question: "Jew, where are your horns?" So the horns thing was still current 60+ years ago. A long time ago.

ObSF: The closest to an antisemitic stereotype in Star Trek was, imho, the Ferengi. Short, obsessed with observing the rules, money-driven, and with big ears in lieu of big noses. Oh, and they keep their women down.

#131 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2011, 10:02 AM:

Jon Baker @130: Alas, the horns thing is still current. Within the past 10 years a man I know had a girlfriend's parent repeatedly tousle his curls/feel his head over the course of several visits to the girlfriend's home. Later, the girlfriend shame-facedly admitted that the parent had been "looking for horns or the scars where they'd been removed."

#132 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2011, 10:04 AM:

One thing I haven't seen mentioned in the discussion about Herman Cain's 999 plan is the way it will increase government spending.

The Consumer Price Index includes sales tax in its computation. Implementing a 9% nationwide sales tax would mean that SS checks (and other payments) would increase by roughly that amount (depends on the weighting) plus the regular inflation rate.

And if Congress tried to monkey with the computation to exclude that 9%...well, retired people don't have anything to do on election day but vote.

In any event, the 999 plan is a non-starter for many reasons, not least of which is all the special interests that profit from the current tax setup.

Simplicity is appealing until it collides with the reality that a nation and its politics is not actually, you know, simple.

#133 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2011, 10:30 AM:

#130 ::: Jon Baker:

Keeping their women down? I thought the stereotype is that Jewish women are infuriatingly but uselessly dominant.

Do you think short ugly merchant is part of the anti-Semitic memeplex?

From a different angle, I didn't realize Lord Gro (from The Worm Ourboros is at least a physical match for anti-Semitic stereotypes until I read a book about medieval anti-Semitism. I'm fairly sure that the average non-Jewish reader wouldn't know it either.

I doubt it's useful to assume that all the old stereotypes are still in play. It's messy because what's going on is inside people's heads and it can be hard to be sure about what they're thinking.

#134 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2011, 10:48 AM:

Jon Baker@130

Huh. I always thought the Ferengi were supposed to be a thinly disguised stereotype of the Japanese. But I guess I wasn't really aware of anti-semitism as a concept when ST:TNG was first broadcast in the UK.

#135 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2011, 10:58 AM:

Jon, #130: I have a Jewish friend who was taunted with the "horns" thing in middle school. She's a full generation younger than me, so it was still current among young people as recently as 20-25 years ago.

Steve, #132: I think Herman Cain is dreaming. At the end of the day, being black is the one exception to IOKIYAR.

#136 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2011, 11:04 AM:

Steve C. @132: In any event, the 999 plan is a non-starter for many reasons [..]

To me it brings to mind an SNL parody of "The Omen" where John Belushi played Damien.

Surely, The Number of The Beast is even more evil when it is inverted ;)

(Yes, it needed that wink).

#137 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2011, 11:34 AM:

How can the "Jews have horns" thing still be alive? Thanks to the miracle of the internet, approximately seventy-nine percent of the world's population has seen Ron Jeremy naked. That should have put paid to it right then and there.

#138 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2011, 11:36 AM:

Melissa Singer @ 131... looking for horns or the scars where they'd been removed

HellBoy limited himself to filing them down.

#140 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2011, 11:46 AM:

I have that album. It's cool.

#141 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2011, 11:47 AM:

Stefan Jones @6: Obsessive compulsive . . . me?

But, some of them are M-side down. And the Ms are not aligned.

#142 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2011, 12:00 PM:

Stefan Jones @32: Whole Canned Chicken. A big can with a cooked chicken inside.

OMG. I'd totally forgotten about those. My mother used to get those, and make chicken-and-dumplings with them.

Speaking of retch-worthiness. ::gloRK::

To this day, I can't stand wet bread in any form.

I'm too frightened to get that one.

Very wise.

#143 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2011, 12:11 PM:

What about cuckolds having horns -- how recently was that meme current?

#144 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2011, 12:17 PM:

(Is the term "cuckold" even still in use anywhere? I only know it from reading.)

#145 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2011, 12:20 PM:

The Modesto Kid @ 144: Google "cuckold" with safe search off. Go on. I dare you.

#146 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2011, 12:26 PM:

It gets better.

This morning, on my way to work, two late-teen girls got on the bus, sat together, and held hands the whole time.

It does get better.

#147 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2011, 12:28 PM:

You never seem to see "wittol" these days, though.

#148 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2011, 12:30 PM:

(The term 'wittol' would be more appropriate for the way they're using 'cuckold,' by the way. I think of the latter as meaning one who doesn't know what's going on. In the course of verifying all this, I've also run into 'cuckquean,' which seems to have its place in internet smut as well.)

#149 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2011, 12:35 PM:

Janet Brennan Croft @ 128: I have that house dream too, except that it's not about moving into a new house. I always dream that I open a door in a house I've lived in for years, and discover a whole huge suite of beautiful rooms with all kinds of luxury items. I always think "This was here all along?!"

Inversely, I also dream that I walk down the street or look out the window, and discover that my house is just blocks from a really bad neighborhood, the kind that's basically a war zone, and I had somehow never had any idea. In this dream I always think "I've got to get out of here. But who's going to buy this place with a neighborhood like that? I'm trapped here!"

When I was having really bad anxiety symptoms, I would often dream of being in a house where the front door kept falling off its hinges, or the doorknob and deadbolt kept falling out. In these dreams there was always a murderer approaching the house. I was frantically trying to secure the front door before he got there and killed me, but it kept falling apart.

Lately I've been having dreams that a road or a huge shopping center or industrial complex is being built literally in my parents' backyard, like inches from their house. I'm upset but completely helpless; it's a fait accompli.

House dreams are interesting. In mine, the house tends to be a fairly obvious metaphor for the self.

#150 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2011, 12:59 PM:

Nancy Lebovitz #126: It's up to three books; the last of them resolves the original problem, but IMHO does have sufficient trailing hooks, that she could continue the series if she wants. And no, not everyone survives to the end, not even of book 2....

"World's dullest action scene" <snorfle>, but that's actually pretty brief, and it does set up a lot of stuff for that book and the next. Besides kicking the Orphans into action (so much for careful planning and reconnoitering), it gives them information, a little extra muscle for later, and a number of handicaps for the meantime....

Diatryma #127: Well, that's the "outward bound" half of the "arrivals" theme, and it's characteristic of this story type: liminal character(s) find problem extending between this world/land and another, so they need to venture into the other world(s) to fix it. However, if the series does continue, I'd expect a bit more "home action" as Brenda deals with her other heritage, and the surviving Orphans start dealing with loose ends, including fallout from the trilogy climax. (Cynfgvp Fhetrel sbe Sylvat Pynj?)

#151 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2011, 01:34 PM:

HLN: Area woman does the second half of her Emergency Response Officer training, learning firefighting and evacuation.

This meant training with a CO2 extinguisher and a fire hose, putting out a flaming cooking pan with a fire blanket, and smothering the flames on an ignited dummy (all tremendously enjoyable). It also involved participating in an office-clearing drill twice: once as a searcher, once as an ordinary person needing to be found and removed from the building. Area woman slightly smug that she was the only one not found by the search team (hiding under a desk).

Area woman also pleased to have purchased a CO2 fire extinguisher for her home, as well as another fire blanket (the training company sells them at cost). Is now considering smoke detectors for the main bedrooms (there's already one per floor in the common spaces) and just one more fire blanket (one for each floor of the house).

Area woman did not like the training videos very much.

#152 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2011, 02:16 PM:

Random thought while contemplating the sickly-sweetness of a granola bar I was eating: How did the sickle come to be perceived as the epitome of sweetness?

#153 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2011, 02:24 PM:

According to the newsletter of the Annals of Improbable Research, quite a few of this year's Ig Nobel winners are from the Netherlands.

#154 ::: Chris W. ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2011, 02:36 PM:

Serge Broom @153:

This weekend I think I made someone's week by saying "Thank you for that lucid description description of signal transduction in cardiovascular muscle, but to ask an unrelated question, aren't you the Dr. So-and-So who plays accordion for the Ig Nobel prize ceremony?" When, in the resulting conversation he learned that both me and my better half knew our Tom Lehrer, I think it made his month.

#155 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2011, 02:57 PM:

On the personal-privacy front: Europe vs. Facebook: It's on!

#156 ::: Jon Baker ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2011, 03:52 PM:

>Jews With Horns @ 139, 140

Come to think of it, Dad was a Jew with horns. About half a dozen by time he retired, 22 years ago. 2 Bb trumpets, a cornet, C and D trumpets, an A piccolo trumpet. No rotary-valve trumpets, though, as he stopped playing in symphony orchestras before that particular revival started.

You can see a picture of him with his primary Bb horn here, c. 1975, bottom row center (Syd Baker). Also his 1970s jacket. I think he still had it in the closet when he died. Who knows? Loud plaids could have come back into style.

Nancy @ 133: Keeping the women down. Well, if you hang out with Orthodox Feminists and their "supporters" (fifth column, e.g. Conservative rabbis who already have egalitarianism), you get the impression that the Orthodox have been keeping women down, not letting them have their God-given rights in synagogue.

Caroline @ 149: I just had that first dream of yours a couple of weeks ago. I was in my uncle's room at my grandparents' apartment, looking in the closet, and there was a door that lead to a few steps down to a big electronics lab, filled with pre-1950 (when he moved out for college and forever) equipment. Brick walls, benches, shelves, meters, bins of parts, papers, etc.

Bits of reality underlying the dream: yes, there was a semi-hidden door in that closet, but it led to a small bookshelf area. Uncle Dick was into electronics (he was mainly a philosophy prof), and in fact had an electronics lab in his basement, where he designed and built obscure types of audio equipment.

#157 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2011, 04:15 PM:

Angiportus @108: If a Day doesn't involve time off from work and/or Food, I don't need to hear about it. I especially don't need to hear about it if I'm supposed to go out and Buy Stuff. Hmph.

By contrast, I entirely approve of National Ice Cream Day, as this has resulted, more than once, in free! ice cream! And what's not to like about that?

#158 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2011, 04:25 PM:

A little appalled that my closest B&N - by no means a small store, and perched in the middle of a tourist/local attraction - has neither of the books I'm looking for in stock: a hotly anticipated urban fantasy frontlist HC title that streeted yesterday, or a fairly well regarded midlist horror/fantasy debut. Every other store within a 10 mile radius has them, but not the three floor monstrosity within a 10 minute bus ride.

Do they even sell books anymore? Whose fault is this? Supply chain? The buyers? Is the customer base entirely stereotypically airheaded l.a. jackwagons and gormless slack-jawed tourists who come to gape at that one guy they saw on the tee-vee once, and so don't encourage the buyers to, I don't know ACTUALLY KEEP BOOKS IN STOCK AND ORDER NEW ONES?

As with most things involving books I'm taking this rather personally, but man, if this had happened when I was buying the eReader, I probably would have gone with a Kindle.

#159 ::: Jon Baker ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2011, 04:28 PM:

Chris W @ 154: Cool!

The aforementioned Uncle Dick (in the post queued for moderation; to some extent this is a test to see if his nickname is a "Word of Power") was at Harvard with Lehrer (diff. departments) for a year, and subsequently bought all his records, so we grew up with Lehrer songs. I think my brother took them off to college, where they got badly warped in storage.

#160 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2011, 04:36 PM:

Jon Baker

His nickname is not a Word of Power. Your link formation, on the other hand, is sweet and tasty to the gnomes.

Check at preview! Dilute! Dilute! Okay!

#161 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2011, 04:44 PM:

nerdycellist @157: I live about a 10 minute walk from one of only 3 B&Ns in Queens--a good-sized, 2-storey store--and work about 5 minutes from a _huge_ B&N in Union Square. I routinely have to ask them to order specific titles for me, as all too often neither store has the book I'm looking for on the shelf. The Manhattan store has a tiny romance section. The Queens store has a tiny SF/F section. Are the populations they serve that different?

However, in my experience, the store is perfectly happy to order a title for you and you don't have to pay for it unless you decide you want it (and you can look at it and decline to purchase). Though that means two trips to the story and you still have to cope with that moment of sharp disappointment.

I've even had B&N store personnel go into the back room to hunt down books for me that "should" have been on the shelf but weren't.

Borders personnel were never that nice to me. The only trouble I've ever had at a B&N was from a hipster-looking fellow working the Nook counter in Union Square who obviously assessed me as "old and therefore technically illiterate" and whose primary response to my questions about the device (when my mother was thinking of buying one) were, basically, "she should come to us for tech support." Whereas the older guy at the Forest Hills B&N answered tons of questions (and eventually sold me the Color Nook I now own).

All that said, I hate that moment when you get to the shelf and the book you want Is Not There! Aaaaaaaa!

(now, if I really want it and I have my Nook with me and it's not a graphic novel, I buy it electronically)

#162 ::: Jon Baker ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2011, 04:48 PM:

[OIC. Resubmitting. Tnx. JJB.]

>Jews With Horns @ 139, 140

Come to think of it, Dad was a Jew with horns. About half a dozen by time he retired, 22 years ago. 2 Bb trumpets, a cornet, C and D trumpets, an A piccolo trumpet. No rotary-valve trumpets, though, as he stopped playing in symphony orchestras before that particular revival started.

You can see a picture of him with his primary Bb horn here, c. 1975, bottom row center (Syd Baker). Also his 1970s jacket. I think he still had it in the closet when he died. Who knows? Loud plaids could have come back into style.

Nancy @ 133: Keeping the women down. Well, if you hang out with Orthodox Feminists and their "supporters" (fifth column, e.g. Conservative rabbis who already have egalitarianism), you get the impression that the Orthodox have been keeping women down, not letting them have their God-given rights in synagogue.

Caroline @ 149: I just had that first dream of yours a couple of weeks ago. I was in my uncle's room at my grandparents' apartment, looking in the closet, and there was a door that lead to a few steps down to a big electronics lab, filled with pre-1950 (when he moved out for college and forever) equipment. Brick walls, benches, shelves, meters, bins of parts, papers, etc.

Bits of reality underlying the dream: yes, there was a semi-hidden door in that closet, but it led to a small bookshelf area. Uncle Dick was into electronics (he was mainly a philosophy prof), and in fact had an electronics lab in his basement, where he designed and built obscure types of audio equipment.

#163 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2011, 05:10 PM:

Charlie, Happy Birthday!

Alan 61: Congratulations! Also, what Laura and abi said. And everyone else.

Lizzy 92: Congratulations, and may it be so.

Kip 105: Magnificent! Thanks for that.

Nancy 133: Do you think short ugly merchant is part of the anti-Semitic memeplex?

Absolutely. One word: Rumplestiltskin.

Actually someone had to tell me Rumplestiltskin was an anti-Semitic story; I'm ashamed I didn't figure it out for myself. The ugly dwarf with a) the long unpronounceable name and b) the talent for making money seemingly out of nothing, who c) makes a business deal that's considered unfair by the no-longer-as-desperate partner, and d) wants to take your child for some unspecified but no doubt nefarious purpose...well, it stinks of (premodern European) anti-Semitism fairly intensely.

John 137: On the contrary, Ron Jeremy is always depicted as horny.

TMK 143: The late Alexei Kondratiev taught me that Cernunnos (a Celtic Horned God) has horns only when he's in our world, and he only comes to our world when he's been murdered in the Otherworld by his wife's lover: thus a cuckold, and hence the traditional horn idea for cuckolds generally. So he taught; but I think there's room for ovogallic uncertainty there.

Ibid., 152: I assume you're kidding.

Serge 153: I always thought Ig was Alfred's good-for-nothing younger brother.

#164 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2011, 05:18 PM:

Melissa Singer -

These two books were actually of interest to my roommate - well, both of us, but the money would be coming out of her pocket and she would get to read them first, so therefore they couldn't just be downloaded. I checked online and was so shocked that both of those titles were out of stock in the one store I also called them, assuming maybe there was a computer error. They confirmed that those books weren't in store, although they claimed their shipment of "Aloha From Hell" had just not arrived yet (but all the other stores were fine? I can't remember the last time I saw a book with a street date NOT delivered weeks ahead of the date with crazy warning stickers about the consequences of putting the book out early) and offered to order. But then, why have a brick & mortar if not to offer instant gratification? As long as I have to wait until the weekend to get a book, I may as well use that as an excuse to make a field trip to the new Redondo Beach Mysterious Galaxy.

I've worked B&N in both NYC and the far suburbs of Milwaukee and I generally know how things work. I know the name-tag on the floor has no control over anything and to be honest, they've been nothing but nice and polite to me. But I also know that the buyers often tweak their stock to reflect their customers, which is why for instance my UWS B&N carried a huge psychiatry section rather than just the self-help and pop psych that my Milwaukee store did. That's why I'm equally frustrated with the store for not deeming frontlist genre stuff important and also, I'm frustrated with this city and its shallow bullshit culture dragging all my favorite institutions down to its level.

#165 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2011, 05:38 PM:

TMK, #152: I think you're being confused by "false friends" here. Rather than being related to sickles, "sickly-sweet" is related to sickness; it sounds to me like an elision from "sickeningly sweet".

#166 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2011, 06:00 PM:

I said hello to The Wonderful World Of Concussion yesterday afternoon, spending an evening in the ER.

When I slipped on the wet floor ("Incontinent Dog" will be the name of my next rock band*), I at first thought I'd only landed on my butt, which hurt a lot. But my head felt like it should be puffy and swollen on the left side, only it wasn't; but it felt like it was. And the lights seemed bright, a lot brighter than normal. And my thinking was foggy and slow.

All that (wrong signals from the nervous system, overly bright lights, half-speed thinking) made me think (slowly) that I might have hit my head in the fall too. But I didn't remember hitting my head, which was yet another reason to worry.

So I had one of our housemates drive me over to the Mayo Hospital ER. (We have another hospital and ER less than a mile from our house, but my primary doctor is with Mayo, plus Mayo's ER has a lot less traffic and can usually get you in and out in a few hours, whereas the closer hospital usually has a minimum wait time of about eight hours. The ten-mile difference is worth it.)

While waiting for examination and a cat scan, it was interesting to see how my mind was working. Idle thoughts, "daydreaming", were much more like actual night dreams, going off in odd little unexpected directions. The name "Esme Savage" popped into my mind at one point, for absolutely unknown reasons; it'd be a good character name for a story, though, so I might use it someday.

Cat scan came out okay, so I got diagnosed with a mild concussion and basically told to take it easy for a few days. Called off from work, slept quite a bit last night. Doing better today.

*(I'm growing increasingly frustrated by our dog's bladder problems, which have been going on for months and have had only temporary abatements with antibiotics and other medications. The latest round of antibiotics seemed to be helping again, but in the last few days... twice more just today. I'm about ready to scream. At the veterinarian, not the dog.)

#167 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2011, 06:04 PM:

Xopher @ 163... The late Alexei Kondratiev

Did he live in Queens?

#168 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2011, 06:06 PM:

Bruce Arthurs @ 166... Ouch.

#169 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2011, 06:46 PM:

Bruce, I hope you're going to be okay. And best hopes/wishes for your puppy dog, too.

#170 ::: Andrew Willett ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2011, 08:46 PM:

I've been reluctant to click on the "Prairie Dogs, Roomba, Bossa Nova" Particle because I'm afraid it will turn out not to be some sort of ultra-awesome funny-animals-and-robots musical version of "Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius." And I like the version in my head better.

#171 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2011, 08:49 PM:

Bruce 166: What Serge said. Owwies.

Serge 167: I think so, yes. Did you know him? He spoke at least a smattering of 42 languages, and was fluent in (IIRC) 14 of them, including all six major Celtic languages (Gaelics of Scotland, Ireland, and Man; Cornish (!), Welsh, and Breton). He was an enormous resource on Celtic and Slavic mythology and history.

When he died, it was like losing the library of Alexandria.

#172 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2011, 08:49 PM:

Bruce Arthurs #166: Ow. Wishing you a quick and straightforward recovery from your fall. Alas, I haven't a clue about canine bladder problems.

#173 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2011, 09:03 PM:

Andrew @170 -- the video in question was funny, even hilarious; but I am prepared to endorse your idea as way, way better.

#174 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2011, 10:00 PM:

HLN: Local man went on impromptu Occupy Little Rock march with sixty of his new best friends and had a wonderful time.

#175 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2011, 10:26 PM:

Bruce Arthurs: Ouch! Hope you and doggie feel better. Perhaps a different vet, with a different approach?

nerdycellist: that kind of store-manager control grows increasingly rare, alas. Your annoyance is generally understandable on all fronts.

#176 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2011, 11:25 PM:

#163 ::: Xopher HalfTongue:

That's the kind of thing I mean. If even Jewish people have to be told that Rumplestiltskin has a basis in anti-Semitism, then it seems to be it isn't contributing to current anti-Semitism. Or do you think it's rumbling along in the subconsciouses of non-Jews?

I don't think I'd have figured it out even if I'd been told that a well-known fairy tale has anti-Semitic roots.

This being said, it's different from a lot of standard fairy tales in that many of them have a message of generosity to strangers-- the youngest child succeeds because they're generous to the people and animals they meet on the road, and the older siblings weren't, but iirc, there's no generosity in Rumplestiltskin.

Actually, it's a little like Hansel and Gretel-- the main characters are made vulnerable to the monster by lack of loyalty from their own people people.

In any case, I've taken it that Bernie Madoff has proven that Americans generally aren't primed for serious anti-Semitism.

#166 ::: Bruce Arthurs:

Best wishes for you and your dog.

#177 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2011, 11:38 PM:

Xopher @ 163: Horny, yes, but only one horn (I note he blew his own), and not where racist folklore traditionally places them. Thus do I refute enthalpy. Or maybe I thus demonstrate it. Hm. I'll have to give that some thought.

#178 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2011, 11:50 PM:

Nancy 176: I don't think it contributes to current anti-Semitism. I just think it had its ORIGINS in (medieval/"Renaissance") anti-Semitism. I don't think most modern anti-Semites (at least in the West) believe in the blood libel, which is what makes the Queen the heroine of the story.

And you're right. There's really no virtue of any kind in that story. There's a liar, a total nutbar, a desperate woman, and an exploiter. I guess the least horrible person would be the girl whose father bragged she could spin straw into gold, and though she cheats the evil Jew character, it's to save the life of her son (by the nutbar who locked her up in the first place). So she's forced by circumstances to compromise her integrity to save the life of her child.

None of which excuses the anti-Semitism, medieval though it is.

#179 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2011, 12:46 AM:

Bruce Arthurs @166: Glad it was a mild concussion, and that you got the advice to take it easy for a few days.

It irritates me that popular culture treats concussion as a trivial thing — people are routinely clobbered into unconsciousness and are none the worse for it half an hour later. In the movie "Tangled" (the jumping off point for a recent thread), one of the characters is knocked unconscious with a frying pan several times in a row. In various action dramas, the hard right to the jaw is the hero's equivalent of 'phasers on stun'.

Impressionable people might get the impression this was appropriate behavior.

#180 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2011, 01:30 AM:

Xopher @ 163:

well, it stinks of (premodern European) anti-Semitism fairly intensely.

Would that those myths had died out as early as that phrase implies. The story about baby-snatching and -eating was current in Austria and Germany in the last years of the 19th Century and possibly even later in Poland from what I've heard.

And there's still a general attitude that Jews are always (perhaps secretly) rich. My wife's closest friend, a Christian, who has known us for more than 25 years, was very surprised 10 years ago when we had money troubles because I was out of work for a year and a half. She had just automatically assumed that we must be independently wealthy, being Jews.

#181 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2011, 01:33 AM:

Question for the Fluorosphere: Who can turn the world on with her smile? I'm pretty sure it's the same person who can take a nothing day, and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile, but I can't remember who it is.

I'm joking. A little on the loopy side after too little sleep, which isn't uncommon for me, but what IS rare is that I'm enjoying the hell out of it this time. Still, it's clearly time for bed.

#182 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2011, 02:17 AM:

Because I like Swinburne, so sue me.

From too much love of stonefruit,
From greed and plain deceit,
I took – ‘twas not my own fruit –
But oh! so cold and sweet,
My gluttony enslaving
My will, for I was craving
The plums that you were saving
To be a special treat.

#183 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2011, 02:52 AM:

There's a short story collection by Vivian Vande Velde called The Rumpelstiltskin Problem, in which every story is a retelling of Rumpelstiltskin, shuffling around the roles of hero and villain and trying out different answers to the many puzzling questions the story presents (What possessed her father to boast to the king like that? What did Rumpelstiltskin want the baby for, anyway?). There's at least two stories where Rumpelstiltskin is trying to rescue the baby from an obviously useless parent, and one where Rumpelstiltskin winds up rescuing the king from the miller's daughter.

#184 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2011, 03:07 AM:

When the subject of anti-Semitic stereotypes in fiction comes up, I always think of Rudyard Kipling's "The Treasure and the Law". It has a Jewish protagonist, unusually for the time, and seems to be an attempt to work against the stereotype of the Jew with an uncanny affinity with gold, pulling the secret strings of the world for sinister ends -- but the way Kipling does this is by presenting a protagonist who is a Jew with an uncanny affinity with gold, pulling the secret strings of the world for noble ends. It's nice that he tried, but there's still considerable room for improvement.

#185 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2011, 09:33 AM:

Xopher @ 171... He spoke at least a smattering of 42 languages, and was fluent in (IIRC) 14 of them, including all six major Celtic languages (Gaelics of Scotland, Ireland, and Man; Cornish (!), Welsh, and Breton). He was an enormous resource on Celtic and Slavic mythology and history.

Yup. That sounds like Aliocha Kondratiev. When I visited New York City in the early 1980s, I'd stay with his family. How did he pass away? I lost touch with the Kondratiev Gang, even though I have fond memories of those visits, especially the time in 1983 when I walked around Greenwich Village with his sister Kira and some of her friends, and Kira appreciated it when one of my puns sent her stalker scurrying away.

#186 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2011, 10:17 AM:

Serge Broom @185: [..] Kira appreciated it when one of my puns sent her stalker scurrying away.

I always appreciated you have a talent, but I never realized it was a superpower!

#187 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2011, 10:27 AM:

Rob Rusick @ 186... With great power comes great responsibility. What actually happened is that the stalker was a neighbor a few bricks short of a full load who had a thing for her and who followed us from a distance. He eventually got the message that his presence wasn't requested, at which point he approached Kira.

HIM: "As far as I'm concerned, you can go back to Alaska and turn into an iceberg!"
ME: "Would you prefer an ugly berg."
HIM: "Huh?"
HER: (very grateful smile in my direction)

#188 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2011, 10:38 AM:

Open threadiness: today's Greenwald column makes this as an aside, but it's worth repeating:

Every now and then it’s worth pausing to reflect on how often we talk about the killing of people by the U.S. Literally, the U.S. government is just continuously killing people in multiple countries around the world. Who else does that? Nobody — certainly nowhere near on this scale. The U.S. President expressly claims the power to target anyone he wants, anywhere in the world, for death, including his own citizens; he does it in total secrecy and with no oversight; and this power is not just asserted but routinely exercised. The U.S., over and over, eradicates people’s lives by the dozens from the sky, with bombs, with checkpoint shootings, with night raids — in far more places and far more frequently than any other nation or group on the planet. Those are just facts

We've quietly swallowed one extraordinary claim of executive power after another, and one nasty foreign policy action (bombings, invasions, alliances with brutal dictators, assassinations, etc.) after another. We hardly even notice, and each president who does these things can count on most of the respectable media in the US backing them up, even to the point of ignoring or distorting critics. He can also count on his party base, and the support of increasingly powerful intelligence services and the military, and all their supporters.

The result is that we all get used to it. What policies or ideas sound crazy to us mostly depends on what we are used to hearing--and among the powerful in the US, routinely killing foreigners is universally accepted policy, and people arguing against it get painted as extremists (know-nothing isolationists or America-hating dirty hippies, depending on which image will work better to discredit them.)

#189 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2011, 10:40 AM:

HLN: One of my co-workers found a dog on her stoop last night. She already has a dog and suspects the new dog is expecting (which may be why it was abandoned). She's trying to find a home for it or a rescue organization.

She says, "She's medium sized, light brown, maybe a pitt-mix mutt, and looks like she's actually about to have puppies. She's really sweet, but we already have a dog and can't afford to take care of another one (plus puppies). If anyone may be interested in taking her in, or knows of someone else who might want to, or knows of a good organization that might take her and help please let me know."

She's in NYC, but I'm not sure which borough.

#190 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2011, 10:45 AM:

Under normal circumstances, I can take medieval antisemitism in stride, merely rolling my eyes at the Prioress' Tale and so on.

Then I see, on television, a group of modern fundamentalist Christians attending a staged Passion Play, and I remember my classes that mentioned Obergammerau and what happened every year after the staging, and I think of Nehemiah Scudder and how Heinlein's fiction looks uncomfortably like prophecy, and I start to fucking PANIC.

This is not a nice feeling.

#191 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2011, 10:46 AM:

Xopher @163, you knew Alexei?? Small world! For the past two years I've chaired the committee for the Alexei Kondratiev Award for Best Student Paper at Mythcon. He was a lovely, lovely man. There was a group in New York working to get his papers together -- I don't know what happened, they may have run out of steam, but I'd hate to see his papers and library dispersed if there was some way to get them donated to a library somewhere.

#192 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2011, 11:07 AM:

I got to the root of the whole Rumplestiltsthing back in 1971, with the discovery and publication of the ur-version of the epic, Rumplestiltstein.

(I think I even ran it here at least once, so this time I'm just linking.)

#193 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2011, 11:08 AM:

And Serge @185, you too? I believe it was heart failure. Very unexpected.

#194 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2011, 11:10 AM:

Dave Luckett, extra points for avoiding the obvious, and nicely done!

I confess to being prejudiced against Swinburne, because he wrote something tarty about poor Oscar when he passed on, prompting me to pencil a notation in the margin of the book to the effect that, if there's a Hell for pigs, then swine burn too.

#195 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2011, 12:07 PM:

Suzette Haden Elgin is disabled and not expected to return to writing or blogging.

Her husband says: "She has some health issues and has Alzheimer's. Combined they deprive her of lucidity a great deal of the time and reduce her ability to process or cope."

While not completely unexpected (she's elderly and has had some major stresses in her life in the last couple of years), this is still very sad news.

#196 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2011, 12:59 PM:

Melissa Singer, Lila, Lee @OT 164 729-31.

Many thanks for the suggestions about black rice! Eventually Mme Barebones ended up making it into a pilav (roasted the grains in oil, and then boiled) which was pretty good. Unfortunately, the supermarket I bought it in has decided to stop stocking it.

Incidentally, a quick look through my View All By reveals that previous food-stuffs I've posted about on Making Light include cuttlefish in ink, beef in black beer (aka beef schadenfreude) and purple carrots. In the interests of establishing that famille Barebones doesn't subsist entirely on foodstuffs from the 'black and purple' food group I should probably mention that the black rice got served with

#197 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2011, 01:10 PM:

Rikibeth @ 190 ::: "This is not a nice feeling."

On the plus side, you might observe that Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum— true believers all, and the closest thing to national-level politicians that dominionist Christians have currently got these days— are widely regarded in the U.S. political press as the American equivalent of British monster raving loonies.

The dominionists are constitutionally just not really capable of managing the process that would be required for them to acquire the power necessary to make your fears into reality. They're legitimate fears, yes, and I know they're real. I don't mean to dismiss them. I have the same fears too, because in addition to being anti-semitic, they also don't have very savory views of my religious affinity group, either. I sympathize, I really do.

But "PANIC" may not really be warranted until they level up their game somewhat.

#198 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2011, 01:11 PM:

Chris W. @ 154: Signaling in cardiovascular muscle, eh? I might need to meet this fellow in a professional capacity, as I'm working on modeling the effects of adrenergic stimulation on ventricular cells, which involves quite the signaling process.

(I do also know my Tom Lehrer, so perhaps the meeting would go well.)

#199 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2011, 01:41 PM:

I'm really sorry to hear about Suzette Haden Elgin. She was one of my favorite writers when I was growing up. We worked on one book together, later.

#200 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2011, 01:45 PM:

HLN: Seattle man is pleased to note that his mass is now consistently below 100kg (down from 110), and expects it to be 95 at the highest by the new year.

#201 ::: shadowsong ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2011, 02:16 PM:

rob rusick @179: the cartoon "archer" actually makes a big deal of this. in at least one episode, the characters all sympathize with a guy who's been knocked out - "oh wow, that is SUPER bad for you" - and who has to see a neurologist because of it

xopher halftongue @181: not an answer, but your phrasing reminds me of "middleman", an awesome one-season tv show in a very comic book style. (middleman was a tv script first, then a comic book, then an actual show.)
the main character would have similar "stump the band" conversations with a friend on her way to her apartment.

#202 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2011, 02:22 PM:

#158 nerdy

The local B&N has been getting multiple copies of books in -weeks- after the release date (the specific example of Cast in Ruin, by Michelle Sagara--no copies for a month, then seven or eight of them a month AFTER publication?? ....)

Meanwhile, on display in on the first floor in the New Books section near the up escalator, is a plethora of books by one of the Fux slime... grrrrr.....

The store expanded its teen paranormal section to half the size of the adult romance section, which is about half the size of the adult SF/F including media tie-in books, section, some weeks back. The romance section is half the size it was a couple years ago, the SFF section is probably about the same size as it was. Teen paranormal didn't its own space until earlier this year when all sorts of things moved around.

I was in the store Tuesday and the notation on the computer display for the new Laura Anne Gilman book was "check with bookseller" or some such, it was not showing as in inventory in the store.

#166 Bruce
Have you considered crating the dog?

#176 Nancy
Some of Madoff's most prominent victims were Jewish charities and Jews.

#203 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2011, 02:32 PM:

Xopher: Mary Tyler Moore? That's a line from the opening theme from at least season two (I found a Youtube video of it). I would bet a fair bit of money that it has been two decades at least since the last time I saw that opening, and yet I remembered this. The human brain is just flipping weird.

#204 ::: Paulal Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2011, 02:37 PM:

# 197 j h

Consider Sens Paul and DeMint's most recent legislative initiatives, which include:

from e.g.


SA 773. Mr. DeMINT submitted an amendment intended to be proposed by

[Page: S6611] GPO's PDF

him to the bill H.R. 2112, making appropriations for Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies programs for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2012, and for other purposes; which was ordered to lie on the table; as follows:

At the appropriate place, insert the following:


The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Public Law 111-203) is repealed, and the provisions of law amended by such Act are revived or restored as if such Act had not been enacted.

SA 768. Mr. DeMINT submitted an amendment intended to be proposed by him to the bill H.R. 2112, making appropriations for Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies programs for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2012, and for other purposes; which was ordered to lie on the table; as follows:

At the appropriate place, insert the following:

Sec. __. None of the funds made available by this Act may be used for mifepristone, commonly known as RU-486.

SA 774. Mr. DeMINT (for himself and Mr. Vitter) submitted an amendment intended to be proposed by him to the bill H.R. 2112, making appropriations for Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies programs for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2012, and for other purposes; which was ordered to lie on the table; as follows:

At the appropriate place, insert the following:


The United States Executive Director of the International Monetary Fund shall use the voice and vote of the United States to oppose--

(1) the use of any funds that include any contributions from the United States to the Fund for the European Financial Stability Facility;

(2) any additional funding provided by the Fund for any program related to the Facility; and

(3) any increase in the authority of the Fund that may be used to provide support for the Facility or any such program.

SA 777. Mr. PAUL (for himself and Mr. DeMint) submitted an amendment intended to be proposed by him to the bill H.R. 2112, making appropriations for Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies programs for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2012, and for other purposes; which was ordered to lie on the table; as follows:

At the appropriate place, insert the following:

Sec. __. None of the funds made available by this Act may be used to implement the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (Public Law 111-353) (or any amendment made by such Act).

SA 778. Mr. PAUL (for himself and Mr. DeMint) submitted an amendment intended to be proposed to amendment SA 738 proposed by Mr. Inouye to the bill H.R. 2112, making appropriations for Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies programs for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2012, and for other purposes; which was ordered to lie on the table; as follows:

On page 83, between lines 20 and 21, insert the following:

Sec. X. None of the funds made available by this Act to the Food and Drug Administration may be used for the purchase of weapons or ammunition to be used in enforcement activities, including raids.

Those are samples of a few of the riders DeMint and Paul and their ilk are attempting to "amend" the bill with, many of them completely UNrelated to the contents of the body of the bill itself, they are trying to stuff it full of their mean-spirited, narrow-minding, misogynistic, "Gospel so cold it would freeze up the joy in your heart" intolerant bigoted ideology....

DeMint went above the radar yesterday when the interpretation of one of his amendments--the RU-486 one of the ones I read looks the most likely--is that it would ban telemedicine advising women about abortions.... which confused me until I ran across

Separate Internet, Video-Conferencing, and Phone Systems for Abortion?
Blog for Choice
on June 17, 2011 9:25 AM |
The U.S. House of Representatives passed an amendment on June 16 that could make it impossible for a woman to even talk with her doctor about medical abortion over the Internet and through videoconferencing.

Who's behind this terrible idea? Anti-choice Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa). Rep. King has been quite active this year, attacking women's rights at every turn. This is just the latest in his War on Women

The link from that article, describes how women in rural areas are getting RU-486 prescribed and its application overseen by an MD, using video connections over the Internet, meaning that they don't have to travel hundreds of miles taking hours or days and income they might not have to spare, to get to a clinic where there are trained MD able and willing to oversee them taking RU-486 to comply with the ever-more-draconian laws in the USA....

#205 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2011, 02:42 PM:


Were these intended as poison pills to keep the bill from passing?

#206 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2011, 03:25 PM:

Bruce Cohen #180: There was a celebrated case in late nineteenth century Hungary that could have occurred in late thirteenth century Hungary.

#207 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2011, 03:36 PM:

Paula #204: Why on earth do Paul and DeMint want to sink the euro?

#208 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2011, 04:06 PM:

nerdycellist @164: Nothing to add, just admiring this finely crafted rant. Especially the last paragraph.

#209 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2011, 04:46 PM:


"So, what would be the craziest, most irresponsible thing we could do right now?"

#211 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2011, 05:36 PM:

shadowsong 201: I was joking about this.

#212 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2011, 06:46 PM:

I'm picking my cat up from LaGuardia at 10:00 Saturday morning. (pause for cheers) How early do I have to set off, in order to miss traffic? *Is* there traffic from the Port Jefferson end of things at that hour on a Saturday? Once I get the cat, I don't care; I just really, really don't want to be late meeting him, since his soon-to-be-former person is on a tight schedule.

#213 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2011, 07:07 PM:


I used to go to SUSB; things were pretty dead out there on Saturday mornings. Especially before the mall and such open. There will be some traffic on the LIE and Northern State in Nassau and Queens of course, but we're not talking rush hour by any means.

As for actual travel time, I honestly no longer remember.

#214 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2011, 07:13 PM:
are widely regarded in the U.S. political press as the American equivalent of British monster raving loonies.

I wish we had the monster raving loonies. They have some basic honesty that's missing in the Republican party.

#215 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2011, 08:13 PM:

eric @214 / jh woodyatt @197 Honestly, I think the political press is using the GOP Monster Raving Loonies + Pizza Dude as a foil to make Perry look moderate and Romney look presidential.

#216 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2011, 09:11 PM:

Rejoice, O Fluorospheric Mods! Your worries are over!

#217 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2011, 09:13 PM:

Well, well, well... The musical "Les Misérables" is being turned into a movie, with Russell Crowe as Javert and... here's the part that might interest TexAnne... Jean Valjean will be played by Hugh Jackman. Maybe the latter will take off his shirt when he climbs the barricades.

#218 ::: Alan Yee ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2011, 10:04 PM:

Serge Broom @267: Jean Valjean will be played by Hugh Jackman. Maybe the latter will take off his shirt when he climbs the barricades.


Further open threadiness: Today, October 20th, was Spirit Day a.k.a. Wear Purple Day, to raise awareness of anti-queer bullying and honor the memories of young people who have committed suicide over the years because of anti-queer bullying. I didn't wear purple today because the purple shirt I bought for Spirit Day last year mysteriously disappeared after I brought all my stuff home for the summer. Nonetheless, it is an issue that cuts very close to home for me. I've never had to experience anti-queer bullying directed at me personally, but there was a point where I was afraid I might attempt suicide during my freshman year of high school. The full details are under friends-lock on my LJ--it was by far the darkest time of my life, so dark that I usually don't talk about it now that I am a much happier person these days.

And though I still have five more hours to go in my time zone, I'll announce it now so I don't have to post again: Tomorrow, October 21, is my twentieth birthday. I will officially no longer be a teenager. This is frightening because I was barely a teenager (thirteen) when I first stumbled upon Making Light. Have I really been reading ML for six years? Doesn't seem like it.

#219 ::: Alan Yee ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2011, 10:05 PM:

Er, make that @217.

#220 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2011, 10:12 PM:

W/R/T antisemitic stereotypes, there's at least one local loon here who believes "the Rothschilds have all the money and are secretly controlling everything." This would not be all that worrisome except that said loon is married to a major philanthropic donor.

I can see how the Ferengi could be read as antisemitic stereotypes, but the thing that strikes me about them is that "ferengi" is Hindi for "European", something that gave me the same delighted shock when I learned it as that "smeagol" means "loophole" in Swedish.

#221 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2011, 10:18 PM:

Wait, what happened to Suzette Haden Elgin?

#222 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2011, 10:29 PM:

Alan @218 Happy Birthday 5 hours early. I didn't know about Spirit Day until I saw a post about it this morning. I was thinking that I didn't own any purple shirts until I remembered that I bought one two weeks ago, and it was CLEAN!

Not sure anyone noticed, and didn't see too much (non University of Washington) purple today, but then again, I didn't really go anywhere either.

#223 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2011, 10:35 PM:

Happy Birthday (tomorrow) Alan!

#224 ::: Alan Yee ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2011, 10:42 PM:

Larry @222: I probably would have gone to UW if the sheer size wasn't so overwhelming. I go to CWU (Central Washington University, for those not in the know), which has a very well-respected accounting program. CWU has a fairly large queer population (larger than you would think for a university with 10,000 students), but it's an otherwise very conservative area outside of the university. And it's so much smaller and isolated from other cities/towns that it's been frustrating trying to meet other available queer guys. My friends have ended up deciding to go through the friends-of-friends route to help me find potential dates since I really don't know many queer males. Dating prospects will be so much better once I get my B.S. in accounting and move back to the west side.

#225 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2011, 10:50 PM:

Nancy, I'm wondering that myself. I'm kind of worried. At least I know they had moved from the rural house to a town apartment near where they used to live.

#226 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2011, 01:42 AM:

#205 & 207 albatross and Fragano

DeMint & Paul & others [Bachman is another, Sessions... the neurons are retrieving some additional names now ] nowwhose names are not firing neural retrieval quickly for their names, but various of them have gotten very non-postive mentioning on Making LIght, make nutbar conspiracy subscribers look like credible proponents of rational theory.

They're not trying to poison-pill the legislation, they're doing their version of maneuvers analogous to financial earmarks--only instead of studding the bill with handouts of money to their pet projects for their districts, they're studding the bill with prohbitions and blockages and gag orders and repeals of any and all prior legislation they object to....

It gets scarier, a bunch of Democrats are in seats for which the elections are in November 2012. The Repukes elected last year have five more years before elections, and those elected three years ago, three years. The frothing-at-the-mouth inflexible intolerants highjacked the House of Representative last election (the fellow who was screaming at the President at the State of the Union message was about as respectful as a rabid weasel, or maybe I'm insulting rabid weasels.

These are people who make look dogmatically flexible and open-minded the infamous Congresscritter whose line during the hearings for the impeachment of Richard Milhous Nixon was "Don't confuse me with the facts" when he was explaining how it didn't matter what may have actually happened, he was not going to cast a vote condemning Nixon and vote towards removing Nixon from office....

They sort of remind me someone who failed to get promoted from second lieutenant to first lieutenant, which is all but automatic. He was firmly convinced that the Sino-Soviet split was a propaganda ploy aimed at the United States...

#227 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2011, 02:58 AM:

Any theories about why anti-Semitism has been so much less intense in America than it was in Europe?

#228 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2011, 04:16 AM:

#227 Nancy
The history of it here is much more recent --European antisemitism did not exist in the Americas before the arrival of European anti-semites, and when the Europeans did arrive, they had other concerns as primary considerations... for that matter:
a) the Dutch colonists who colonized New York, had a higher degree of religious tolerance than most of the rest of Europe, and there was a substantial Jewish community in the Netherlands mostly emigrated from the Iberian Pennisula following the choice of expulsion, conversion, or death offerred by first Spain and then Portugal (although Portugal was even nastier than Spain regarding options--it was more convert or die there with a lot less opportunity apparently to emigrate. There were a lot of short-term conversions, then decamping and reverting to Judaism, that occurred....
b) I picked up a book about Jewish pirates of the Caribbean. They had what one might regard as a mad-on regarding Spain and Portugal for reasons implicit in a) above, and becoming pirates in the Caribbean and privateers working out of places like Port Royal, allowed them some retribution....
c) While Massachusett Bay Colony was a religiously intolerant place, Roger Williams and his followers rebelled against the Massachusetts leadership and founded Rhode Island. Ironically, the religious tolerance written into the charter, came out of not the desire for religious tolerance in the abstract, but the desire for those who were following the tenets of Protestantism preached by Roger Williams, to be Christians out of not legal mandate and enforcement of state religion, but rather, of the conscious choice--and only a state where there was religious tolerance, would people be free to consciously choose Protestant Christianity.

That's not to say that there haven't been virulent anti-semites in the USA -- Prescott Bush was a Nazi collaborator but his buddies kept the full extent of his treason--and that it was treason--secret for something like 50 or more years--the was a lawsuit which the damned Supreme Court was it, threw out claiming the statute of limitations had run out. The lawsuit was filed when the proof came out, until then there was no actual proof of what had long been suspected.... (I think I or someone else wrote that up on Making Light months or years ago).

Jews were banned from all sorts of clubs and institutions, Harvard has a quota of how many Jews it allowed well into the 20th century, Grosse Point, Michigan in the 1960s was off-limits to Jews, the US Army and then Air Force also were averse to promoting Jews to general officer rank even in the 1950s and 1960s.... (the father of a cousin's wife had that particular glass ceiling applied).

There -were- I think lynchings....

#229 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2011, 04:20 AM:

One of the things I noticed, in a program on genealogy, was that the Jews were organised. They helped each other. And they also kept detailed records, not just births, marriages, and deaths, but how each synagogue was helping Jews in trouble.

The Jews passing through England, from Europe to America, knew where to go when they arrived.

Maybe the difference is that things are better-documented, but I can see how that could both feed anti-semitic myths, and avert them. They were a different sort of immigrant community in how they slotted in to American society.

#230 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2011, 04:47 AM:

#229 [myself]

Since the USA and the other countries in the western hemisphere are much newer societies with newer traditions and cultural memes than European societies (eastern hemisphere diseases having wiped out most of the societies and people who were here before the European colonizers arrived, from the infectious disease carriers who were on-board Columbus' ships)

(note that dear darling Messrs. Paul and DeMint want to apparently defund all actions regarding inspection and quarantine of materials suspect for harboring pests, being imported.... one of the effects of the creation of the DHS and the hysteria about immigrants, terrorist fantasy scenarios taking primacy for funding and attention, is that the inspections for incoming pests and invasives species be they animal, vegetable, fungus, bacteria, virus, or whatever, dropped down to where the Asian longhorn beetle devastated the trees of Worcester Massachusetts and are threatening the hardwood forests of the northeast--the quarantine of wood in Worcester and tree inspection and felling of infected trees and disposal of them failed to be sufficiently effective measures to prevent the things from spreading, and where other pests have gotten into the USA --due to lack of inspection and clueful inspectors being used as inspectors instead of shunted into stupid DHS hysteria alleged terrorist tail-chasings....)

the institutionalized anti-Semitism of Europe didn't have the root-depth of the situation in Europe--there were embedded cultural stereotypes being applied from generation to generation with the same reinforcement of "see that stream, that was where a Jew sold a horse to your great-grandfather that turned lame two days later!" or "the Jewish tax collectors 200 years ago came into this very house and...." etc. New places mean some degree of new tradition and new adaption and changes in thinking.

Also, there were a lot of Jewish peddlers who brough much-needed goods our around the frontier particularly, if one is dependent upon a merchant for needles, nails, etc., antagonizing the merchant is a bad idea!

Perhaps additional factors were that with more -space- and without long-institutionalizd ghettos and without again reinforced long histories of real or perceived ancestral grudges with the very geography being reminders and reinforcement, those encouraged thinking differently and being less mindlessly repeating word and actions (actions being intolerance and abusiveness). The mobility level was a lot higher, and it wasn;t the same people all spouting and spreading and reinforcing the same posion to the same degree....

#231 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2011, 07:06 AM:

The Modesto Kid @216 Alas, that that one isn't true.

#232 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2011, 07:56 AM:

Alan Yee: Happy Birthday!

#233 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2011, 08:46 AM:

Paula Lieberman @ 228: The most notorious lynching of a Jew was the case of Leo Frank. It's a sad story in more ways than one.

#234 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2011, 09:12 AM:

In Lisa Goldstein's alternate Elizabethan tale "Paradise Is A Walled Garden", a young Englishwoman who travels to the Moorish Empire runs into a Jewish scientist and realizes there are no Jews in England.

#235 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2011, 09:14 AM:

Paula Lieberman #226: Some of that stuff is way past irrational. Permanent economic crisis? Class war of a kind this country hasn't seen since the Gilded Age (or possibly ever)? These people make Coughlin look sane.

#236 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2011, 09:29 AM:

I think it's a mistake to underestimate US anti-semitism; certainly, when my grandfather was a boy in NYC in the 1920's, it was significantly hostile to Jews. Jews couldn't live in Bronxville; he was routinely roughed up by "Christian" children; he was once tied into a wagon and rolled down a hill into an intersection.

My great-grandfather, his father-in-law, a well-respected and successful businessman, I asked him to describe once. "He was a good man. A good Christian man. A good, praying, church-going, Baptist man. And he hated Jews." Somehow, I'm not surprised that my grandparents left NYC right after they married and never went back.

#237 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2011, 09:30 AM:

Paula Lieberman #228: There were lynchings of Jews in the US. The most famous case happened about 15 miles from where I'm sitting, the lynching of Leo Frank in Marietta in 1915.

#238 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2011, 09:51 AM:

By the way, this is why I take such a hard line on anti-Semitic imagery in popular movements. That I don't care for my causes to be smeared with false but plausible accusations of bigotry is the least of it. There's history of good causes gone bad in America when economic issues are turned into ethnic conflicts. Above, I referred to the corruption of the Populist movement. Consider the East St. Louis Riot as another example.

#239 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2011, 10:03 AM:

Dear Sirs:

Swarthy people with scary-sounding names and religions should be obliged to change to nice American names and religions and get their skin lightened. Hey presto: no more terrorism! Just isolated incidents.


#240 ::: ehedgehog ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2011, 11:33 AM:

re: #201 ::: shadowsong

Which reminds me -- Thank You to whoever it was in whichever thread it was that mentioned Middleman favourably enough that I have acquired, watched, and enjoyed said program, and expect to repeat the latter two actions many times.

#241 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2011, 11:54 AM:

Nancy, #221 & Paula, #225: You appear to be responding to Melissa's response to my comment here.

#242 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2011, 12:13 PM:

Semi-local news: Seems last year's Murakami balloons were well-received, because Macy's is adding a Tim Burton balloon to the Thanksgiving Day Parade.

#243 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2011, 12:52 PM:

Melissa Singer @242 It took me a moment to realize you meant Takashi Murakami. I spent a good minute or two imagining what a Haruki Murakami balloon would look like.

#244 ::: Jennifer Baughman ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2011, 02:06 PM:

HLN: Local woman and husband leave for work in the morning, discover very sweet and affectionate orange cat outside apartment door. As devoted cat people, woman and husband spare time to offer cat scritches. Woman and husband presume cat is indoor/outdoor cat, until cat follows woman and husband into parking lot and emits heartbreaking wail. Woman and husband further espy food and water bowls near carport, and conclude that cat is lost or abandoned (suspect abandoned). Woman and husband share glances, husband beats woman to question, "So, do you want a new cat?"

Local woman is now concerned because she and husband didn't have time to isolate new cat; time was something of an issue. Woman hopes that apartment is still intact when she and husband return tonight.

#245 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2011, 02:47 PM:

Alan Yee:

Happy birthday, by the way, in the midst of all of these interesting and powerful developments. And many happy returns of the day!

#246 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2011, 03:05 PM:

Larry Brennan @ 243... There is also Jimmy T. Murakami, who directed 1980's "Battle Beyond The Stars".

#247 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2011, 03:35 PM:

And Les Murakami, longtime coach of the U of Hawai'i baseball team for whom the on-campus stadium is named.

#248 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2011, 03:49 PM:

HLN, Household Hints Dept.: Local woman discovers the absolute utility and goodness of kitty litter in dealing with fried chicken livers falling onto her new mesh and suede shoe. Says local woman, "shoe is as good as new!"

#249 ::: sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2011, 06:12 PM:

HLN: driving down street, local woman finds small Chihuahua walking down the middle of the road on three legs. Upon opening car door, dog runs over and jumps in. Trip to vet says she's unchipped, but signs are going up in the next hour, hopefully to find her family. She's a brave, sweet dog, 2/3rds the size of woman's cats - thankfully, potential new home has already been arranged.

#250 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2011, 06:48 PM:

Update to my #166, about getting a concussion in a fall: I was pretty much recovered by the next day, so I went back to work that night. I did have one strange after-effect: the Men's Room at work smelled like French Toast.

I would certainly not call this a bad thing, but it sure was a weird thing.

#251 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2011, 07:16 PM:

HLN: Woman reports that a grand piano has moved in next door. No people, just a grand piano.

The old neighbors moved out on Tuesday and had said that closing was Wednesday. On Wednesday afternoon, a piano moving truck pulled up. A grand piano was visible afterward in the picture-windowed front room, until a sheet was tacked up (presumably until a more elegant window treatment can be arranged). The piano was heard, briefly, while a van was parked in the driveway (tuner, maybe?)

Since then, no people have been observed in or around the house. Perhaps fortunately, the piano has not been heard either.

#252 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2011, 07:27 PM:

OtterB, that sounds like it belongs in the story thread! I imagine a story where the narrator is at first just bemused, and assumes that the people will be moving in shortly...but then they don't, and s/he becomes increasingly nervous as odd sounds issue from the otherwise empty apartment.

If it's a horror story, the piano is haunted by the serial killer pianist who used to own it.

If it's a paranormal romance, the piano is haunted by the romantically handsome pianist who pined away for his lady love or something.

If it's a psychological thriller, the narrator is actually slowly losing hir mind OR there's actually a human living there, but hiding.

If it's a spy story, the piano has vital secrets concealed inside it, but in such a way that wrecking the piano will destroy the secrets too.

#253 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2011, 07:31 PM:

OtterB @ #251, now there's a contest to be had.

"What piano piece should be heard emanating from that ghostly instrument?"

"Fur Elise?" "Colour My World?"

#254 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2011, 07:51 PM:

"Do you hear what I hear?"

#255 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2011, 07:54 PM:

John Cage's 4'33".

#257 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2011, 09:14 PM:

Linkmeister @253 As long as it's not "It's a Small World After All"

Xopher et al, it does seem like some kind of story. If there's something nefarious going on, my dog is probably at risk, since he's guaranteed to bark at any spy or eldritch creature trying to sneak into the house.

Perhaps it's a sapient piano. But how does it manage to get things done for it? And what does a piano want? That led to a plot line that came sufficiently alive for me that I may try to write it.

#258 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2011, 09:26 PM:

The eastern-European (not sure where he's from) Jewish immigrant in my sister-in-law's family tree, who's listed on the passenger list as a 'shopman', and turns up in California ten years later as a merchant, and later, roughly simultaneously, as a doctor, a manufacturer and distributor of patent medicines, and a winemaker (he got some prizes for it - back around 1900). He was a major factor in one congregation in Stockton changing from Orthodox to Reform, during the late 19th century. And he wrote at least two tracts, one on herbal medicines and one on 'Poland and Palestine'.

#259 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2011, 09:28 PM:

"what does a piano want?"

Either love or a major part in a heroic quest. Unless it's an old piano, in which case it wants a seat on the porch, in the sun, with a pitcher of tea on the stand.

#260 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2011, 10:27 PM:

Pianist envy?

#261 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2011, 11:06 PM:

On the subject of the generally milder treatment of Jews in America:

Bear with me, please. I find this disturbing, for reasons that will become clearer.

When I was a small child, we lived for a while in a common-wall duplex house. In the other side lived an elderly Hungarian couple, Mr and Mrs Boros. It was 1956, the Melbourne Olympic Games, the infamous water-polo match between Hungary and the USSR, and the Hungarian uprising. My father got to talking with Mr Boros about it.

Years later, my father told me about that conversation, which had been several hours long, over beers. Mr Boros had a fascinating life history. Briefly, he had joined the Austro-Hungarian Army as a boy soldier at the age of twelve, in 1908. He had fought through WWI, and had miraculously survived, had stayed in the Army during the period of Hungarian independence, and then fought as a senior warrant officer through WW2 on the Eastern front, and again had survived, escaping to the West in 1945. He had finally been accepted as a refugee and spent his last years in peace, in Australia.

I have the very strong feeling that if his background had been investigated with rigour, he would not have been admitted as a refugee, for he had probably committed atrocities. Why do I think this?

Mr Boros said that he had joined the army because he was the only son. That would mean that his family's total debt to the moneylender - who was, of course, Jewish - would fall on him. There was no prospect of ever paying that debt back. It had already been paid three or more times over. Any small farmer was in the same situation. It meant permanent poverty and effective serfdom, and that had been so for generations - centuries.

The army was the only way out. Jews were restrained from pursuing soldiers. But of course the conditions were very harsh, and the hitch was for - get this - twenty-five years. He would never see home or family again.

Mr Boros served willingly under German command in WW2. He said, however, that he disagreed with Hitler on the treatment of the Jews. Hitler had made serious errors there. He hadn't killed all of them.

Now, here's the thing. I look at Mr Boros, and I see myself. The monster looks back at me, and I suddenly realise that I'm staring into a mirror.

If I were to write a novelised treatment of his life, how would I treat my protagonist? I won't, though. There is no way that it wouldn't be understood as a defence of something vile beyond words, and I have no wish to offend people whom I esteem.

But here is one reason for the milder treatment of Jews in America. The United States wasn't being run by the Austrian Habsburgs. This, in my opinion, is no small point in its favour.

#262 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2011, 01:36 AM:

Paul A @ 184:

Kipling's feelings about Jews are made quite plain in "The Light That Failed", in which the protagonist's Jewish mistress is shown to be not at all a nice person primarily because she's Jewish. Not as bad as a person of really dark color, perhaps, but still one of the dusky tribe. <spit to get the taste out of my mouth/>

Paula Leiberman @ 230:

My own theory is that the lack of traditional ghettos (the kind with walls) in America made a large difference to the way Jews were treated even when antisemitism was at its peak here. Large concentrations of Jews in specific parts of a city made a tempting target for pogroms and a constant reminder of that target. Similarly, blacks in America were concentrated in specific parts of any town, and there were far more "race riots" and mass lynchings against blacks than against most other groups who were less concentrated.

#263 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2011, 02:06 AM:

Possibly of interest: pictures I took in Bodie a couple of weeks ago. Bodie was once the third largest town in California, with 10,000 residents, but is now deserted, and preserved by the state park service in a state of "arrested decay." It's very beautiful in its way.

#264 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2011, 02:09 AM:

Bruce @ #262, no walls, maybe, but even a Gentile like myself knows some of the history of New York City's Lower East Side in the 20th century. Maybe I got it from reading Irving Howe and Leo Rosten, but it stuck.

#265 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2011, 02:26 AM:

My mom has this pair of Victorian (seeming) asparagus tongs.

#266 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2011, 02:27 AM:

OhNoSecond: these pairs would be more accurate.

#267 ::: MikeB ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2011, 03:17 AM:

Could we not go for "The International Day for the Eradication of Bosses" and have done?

#268 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2011, 03:54 AM:

MikeB @ 267: Management have deemed it is not appropriate to pursue this project at this time.

#269 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2011, 04:03 AM:

Well, there's a sense in which I'm for the eradication of 'bosses', since I've got somewhat unorthodox views about what sorts of division of labour are desirable and possible for human beings.

If, on the other hand, you're in favour of the actual eradication of persons occupying managerial roles than a) you'd probably better run that suggestion past the moderators (especially the one that has recently started working in a managerial role) and b) I believe that that's been tried in one or two places. Didn't work out too well, I believe.

#270 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2011, 04:04 AM:

While we're on the subject of children's songs regarding the consumption of useful numbers*: 7 8 9.

(Though I prefer the alphabet song from that album.)

* Two songs. It's a GENRE.

#271 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2011, 04:05 AM:

Well, there's a sense in which I'm for the eradication of 'bosses', since I've got somewhat unorthodox views about what sorts of division of labour are desirable and possible for human beings.

If, on the other hand, you're in favour of the actual eradication of persons occupying managerial roles than a) you'd probably better run that suggestion past the moderators (especially the one that has recently started working in a managerial role) and b) I believe that that's been tried in one or two places. Didn't work out too well, I gather.

#272 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2011, 04:06 AM:

OK, it seems that I am again writing Dictionary of the Khazars as a post on Making Light. Sorry about that.

#273 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2011, 04:09 AM:

I am not in favor of the eradication of bosses. Not that I dislike bossless games like Sim City and Minecraft*, but in a game with levels and collecting items and all that, one needs some kind of a climax.

* Well, if you play people's pre-made worlds, you can have bosses, but in the standard mode, there aren't any.

#274 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2011, 04:39 AM:

HLN: local woman, riding train at ungodly hour into New York City with FG, realizes Amtrak has free wi-fi, accesses internets instead of napping. FG, wiped out by trauma of getting to train station on time (had to detour around major accident, arrived with minutes to spare), is sleeping on her first American train ride.

#275 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2011, 04:55 AM:

Some bosses are quite decorative.

#276 ::: Tamlyn ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2011, 07:26 AM:

My sister is visiting Perth at the moment, and so I have her car. I missed driving. Lots. I didn't realise how much (I haven't had a car since I moved to Melbourne and after my first attempt driving ended badly I haven't driven other people's cars much). While I could use the car when Cerise isn't, she mostly is for work, and when we go places she normally drives.
I'm happy using public transport for work/school, but today I didn't have to fret about how to get to dinner to meet friends (and home again, which is the problematic part) and was able to get to St Kilda at 9.30 without getting up at 6.30. It was lovely. And I just like driving. I like accelerating and I liked having to park on the top level of the carpark because I got to go round and round and up.

Hopefully, this reminder will help my saving efforts for a car next year, rather than impulsively buying stuff.

#277 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2011, 08:47 AM:

Ginger @ 274... How dare the two of you act like a married couple? And in public too!

#278 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2011, 08:48 AM:

Abi @ 273... I'd rather not associate bosses with climaxes.

#279 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2011, 10:28 AM:

Managers we can keep. Bosses, on the other hand, I would favor eradicating. (I have a would-be boss, and I have a real manager. The difference is noticeable.)

#280 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2011, 10:56 AM:

Bruce Cohen @262: I can see similar attitudes in the Father Brown stories, where they're really shocking in the context of the gentle, wise title character. One of them has a villain who is an educated negro, and Father Brown assures us that putting a veneer of civilization over that sort is a terribly bad thing. When I want to think charitably of Chesterton, I tell myself "It's not racism... just xenophobia." It took a special sort of person to perceive the water they were swimming in, and a better one to rise above it.

abi @270: When I was in sixth grade, I was into codes and ciphers, thanks to a book I got through the book club. Much of what I played with was pretty simple substitution ciphers, and solving them required counting forward or back a certain number of letters. One day Mom told me that knowing the alphabet backwards would make part of that job easier, and she taught me to sing Z, Y, X to the traditional "Twinkle, Twinkle" tune.

Many years after that, inspired by the Sesame Street song where Big Bird thinks the alphabet is a word and pronounces it as one, I came up with a word for the backwards alphabet as well, and taught it to myself. I impressed a couple of little kids with it just last week.

#281 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2011, 11:24 AM:

Kip W @280: Alvin's Secret Code by Clifford B. Hicks

#282 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2011, 01:34 PM:

Kip W #280: I read the Father Brown stories when I was 13. I was really upset by that.

#283 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2011, 02:18 PM:

Is Firefox 3.6.12 unstable? I upgraded to that a few days ago because Google+ didn't work with the older version I was using. It's now crashed four times and counting.

Or should I be blaming the new RAM I installed last night? All four crashes were since then.

I'm not fond of the current version of Firefox, but I'll upgrade again if it's more stable.

#284 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2011, 02:21 PM:

I admit I didn't notice that in the Father Brown stories.

For practical purposes, I'm not sure what the difference is between racism and xenophobia. I think another motivation in Chesterton's case was that he was very fond of his cleverness, and that made wide generalizations attractive for him.

The break point for me was an obscure non-fiction book of his (sorry, title forgotten) in which he suggested that Jews were actually an agricultural people (this actually was mildly clever, since I think the common wisdom at the time was that Jews were urban), too weird to be assimilated (I think there was something about wearing brightly colored dress coats(?) and top hats at Margate), and should be relocated. This shocked me so much that I didn't read anything of his for a decade or two-- and I'd been a fan, that's why I was reading his obscure stuff.

If anyone can think of what book it might have been, that would be good. I'd like to check on whether I read the passage accurately.

#285 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2011, 03:57 PM:

"tiNB -- the link on the word "Nativities" in the Poodles etc. Particle is broken.

#286 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2011, 04:23 PM:

Kip W @280: There's a Playfair cipher in Have His Carcase.

#287 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2011, 04:40 PM:

Dave Bell #286

For added realism, the cipher, which would be very secure without computer assistance if used correctly, is cracked because of the combination of easily-guessed headers and a weak key.

#288 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2011, 04:49 PM:

Regarding the particle on headline writing, my local paper, the Athens Banner-Herald, did indeed have their day made:
"Man in Gumby costume tries to rob 7-Eleven; he could end up in the pokey."

#289 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2011, 06:06 PM:

Colson Whitehead rejects idea of genre vs. literary fiction in interview about his new zombie-themed novel.

#290 ::: Patrick Connors ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2011, 06:37 PM:

Mary Aileen #283:

Test the RAM, definitely. I assume you're on an MS-DOS machine. You should be able to do a complete RAM check from the pre-boot set-up menu.

Firefox version: I think 3.6.2 can be a bit hinky due to memory leaks. I recently upgraded Mom's Vista laptop to Firefox 4, and it's working better. I also advised her to reboot once a week or so, which I do myself on both Windows and OSX.

I'm currently on my Mac, which is at Firefox 6.0.2 (I have auto-update on). My MS-DOS laptop (an Acer Aspire netbook running XP) is at... (slight delay while I plug it in and boot up) ...Firefox 4.0.1, and no problems.

#291 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2011, 06:46 PM:

Just wanted to say that Teresa's Particle on Halloween costumes is absolutely fascinating.

Off to catch up on the various threads now...

#292 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2011, 07:20 PM:

Patrick Connors (290): Thanks. I'll definitely check the RAM.

The problem could have been my Flash player. When I upgraded Firefox, it advised that I update Flash to the current version, too. I didn't then, but I have now. We'll see if that helps.

#293 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2011, 07:37 PM:

Nancy @284: The break point for me was an obscure non-fiction book of [GJ Chesterton] (sorry, title forgotten) in which he suggested that Jews were actually an agricultural people (this actually was mildly clever, since I think the common wisdom at the time was that Jews were urban), too weird to be assimilated (I think there was something about wearing brightly colored dress coats(?) and top hats at Margate), and should be relocated.

Based on a quick poke at Google Books, you may be remembering the chapter "The Problem of Zionism" in his book The New Jerusalem.

#294 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2011, 07:43 PM:

Me (292): Okay, the RAM looks all right, as best I can tell. If Firefox keeps crashing despite the updated Flash player, I'll go ahead and download the current version.

So far, so good...

#295 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2011, 08:06 PM:

Jennifer Baughman @ 244: So was the sweet orange kitteh sweet to your abode while you were gone?

sisuile @ 249: Any luck on find the chihuahua's rightful people?

OtterB @ 251: Try calling song requests to the piano. If it plays the song you asked for, get in touch with the Magic Castle in Hollywood and tell them you know where Invisible Irma went!

#296 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2011, 09:09 PM:

Mary Aileen @294: I've noticed a rising curve in my Firefox upgrades (7.01 currently).

I doubt it heralds the technological Singularity — but I wonder where the marketing Singularity will lead.

#297 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2011, 12:04 AM:

Eric @ 214 :: " They have some basic honesty that's missing in the Republican party."

I think that may be an unwarranted assumption that they must be lying, that they can't possibly be that stupid. From my perspective, it isn't really honesty that's missing from the GOP these days, but something more fundamental: an appreciation of the value to be found in truthful propositions and an effective methodology for identifying them.

#298 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2011, 01:45 AM:

On pianos - if it's a grand piano, it probably cost enough that the person who bought it is actually good at playing it. Used upright pianos, on the other hand, have apparently become quite cheap now that electronic pianos have gotten good and cheap enough to be serious competition (and take up a lot less space and are easy to move.) Also, while grand and baby grand pianos are designed to disassemble in ways that make them easier to move than you'd expect, professional piano movers are still wizards who can move things in ways that mere mortals can't. Many years ago, we inherited a very used baby grand from a friend who had to move out of her house (we were an exception to my assertion about grand pianos being owned by excellent players), and the next time we moved we found that for local moves, piano movers are sometimes cheaper than conventional movers as well as being wizards.

On Firefox - you will be much happier upgrading to the newest version you can. I'm running this on a Linux virtual machine on top of VMware Player, and it's still much better than the 3.x version that my corporate IT department supports running natively on Windows.

#299 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2011, 02:26 AM:

Thomas @287

And two very smart people working on it, with the help of the author. But words such as "Warsaw" were big clues.

#300 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2011, 02:35 AM:

#293 ::: Julie L.:

Thanks, that's it, and a bit less extreme than I remembered (I thought he'd said that *all* Jews should be relocated to be farmers), but only a bit.

He really wasn't seeing individuals at all.

It looks like my breakpoint wasn't insults, and it wasn't exclusion (he's got a bit somewhere about eating breakfast on the roof, but Jews wouldn't like it (for a reason I can't remember)-- however, as it happens, I would especially like to eat breakfast on a roof), but advocating outrageous policy was too much.

#301 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2011, 02:57 AM:

Dave Bell@299: I did always wonder how he concluded that it was a Playfair cipher. That was an awfully important bit of information, leapt to without sufficient ground that I recall.

#302 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2011, 06:54 AM:

HLN: Woman has cat! "I was worried that he wouldn't like it here, but late last night I was purred at and required to administer skritches. I guess I forgot that cats can recognize a carefully-trained servant," she said. The woman added that her new cat comes to her from a knitter/spinner, does not damage yarn, and is known to be an absolute sweetheart.

#303 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2011, 08:57 AM:

Purrfect, TexAnne!

#304 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2011, 09:02 AM:

Nancy Lebovitz @ 300... He really wasn't seeing individuals

We should introduce him to Liev Schreiber.

#305 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2011, 09:23 AM:

Three cheers for new cat! May he be a comfort and a consolation, and help keep any eye on stressed students who need a bit more than kind words and cookies!

#306 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2011, 09:58 AM:

HLN: Local woman's Firefox crashed *again* this morning. Woman very frustrated, vows to download and install new version at earliest possible moment. "Many thanks to all who chimed in with advice," she said, then added, "AARRGGGHH!!!"

#307 ::: sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2011, 10:01 AM:

syd @ 295 - none. And i've got found dog reports in all the appropriate places. It looks like she whelped recently (vet says 4-8 weeks), so i doubt I will find her owner. OTOH, it looks like I've found her a good home.

#308 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2011, 10:22 AM:

Xopher @ #252

If it's a Goon Show, the piano has CD plates attached.

#309 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2011, 10:45 AM:

It looks like she whelped recently, so i doubt I will find her owner

This bit of causality saddens me.

#310 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2011, 11:19 AM:

HLN: Local man has birthday dinner at excellent Chinese restaurant with parents and sister en famille. This was followed by repairing to sister's house for cake and cards. Kids are adorable as always (one made a pop-up card with a giraffe!), and present is in transit -- family is pooling on an iPad!

OK, now I really have to get syncing and wireless working on my Ubuntu box. I've got iTunes 10 running, but slower than s**t, and apparently it's supposed to auto-sync when I connect the cable, but it's doing no such thing....

#311 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2011, 11:29 AM:

The saga continues...

Firefox 7.0.1 downloaded and installed. It crashed on the second page I tried to open (Facebook).


#312 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2011, 11:50 AM:

HLN: Local woman and spouse awakened at oh-dark-fifteen by rooster. Investigation reveals that rooster is in side yard, and that since fence is over six feet high and does not contain big-enough holes, either he was placed there by enemy action, or he fell out of the sky. "This is a very dense New Urbanist area, so we have no idea where he came from," says woman. "We've posted to the community bboard; if no one claims him* by late this afternoon, he will become a free-range rooster, since Animal Control have expressed a complete lack of interest." An Animal Control spokesman, when pressed for comment, said, "We don't do avians, and we don't know who does."

* A somewhat fraught concept, as chickens are not on the list of permitted pets, as per the HOA, and the city has said in the past that they should be considerably further from neighbors than it is possible to get here.

#313 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2011, 01:24 PM:

Joann @312, a six foot fence is something even a wing-clipped rooster could jump over, no problem. He could have been dumped on the road and come into your yard by way of bouncing and flapping from ground to garbage can to shrub, or flapped himself through several yards until he found yours hospitably free of pets or other chicken-hostile entities.

There's quite possibly more than one of your neighbors with a discreet little egg operation going on. If they've had their "90% pullets guaranteed" order from a hatchery come up on the wrong side of the margin of error then they have a security problem. Hens can be kept quiet, close neighbors easily won over with a dozen extra-good eggs every once in a while, but roosters are roosters and unlikely to stay quiet. The metaphorical qualities assigned to them are there for a reason. I have three cockerels in their full strutting and crowing maturity, and know this anew every morning.

A friend of mine on a chicken posting-board had someone dump three full-grown peafowl next to her husband's deer stand last week. Chicken feed just went up three dollars a bag, craigslist is full of people wanting to "rehome" pet roosters, and driving up and kicking unwanted animals out of the car is one of those American traditions farmers especially could live without.

Which reminds me, I will have nine or ten young Easter Egger chickens to find homes for after the first of the year; that the cockerels' homes might be someone's freezer is something I'm fine with, being an actual farmer and all.

#314 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2011, 01:52 PM:

Another example of cute-until-they-grow-up, I see. (Who would buy peafowl when young, without knowing what they'll be as adults?)

#315 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2011, 01:57 PM:

David Goldfarb @301

We know, from what Wimsey says when he sees the ciphertext, that he was using a German alias during the war, for some purpose, and that was how he came to know the guy who knew how to break Playfair.

Now, there's several possible clues. First, the marked words in the dictionary, all long words with no repeated letters. Now, it's a mistake to think that a keyword has no repeated letters, because you can strike out the repeats, but it is a clue nevertheless. But there is a whole set of ciphering methods which use keywords, not just Playfair. (Chapter XXV)

Then we see the ciphertext at the start of Chapter XXVI. We still don't know why he plumped for Playfair, except that he is familiar with it. But the ciphertext contains a lot of I and only one J, and that's a common mistake in using Playfair. If it were a some other keyword cipher, J would have to represent a quite uncommon letter, and that letter would have to be some way from the end of the alphabet, or close to the beginning as part of the keyword.

Another feature of Playfair is that it breaks up double letters if they form a letter pair. It has to for the cipher to work. Well, there is a BFFY, twice, and, once you discount the punctuation, an SS, an MM, and a CC. How many double-letter pairs are there in English? And if Wimsey is thinking Playfair, he will have split the message into digraphs, and all those double-letters will split. Well, they take an hour before Wimsey explains Playfair. Yes, the marked dictionary brought it to mind, but that's plenty of time to do a basic frequency analysis, and find a rather flat distribution.

And, as Wimsey says, it's a cipher that an amateur might have come across, which is simple to use. And that makes it a good bet. So he decides to have a go, when his acquaintance in the Foreign Office isn't available.

And you'll note that Harriet Vane is the one who spots "Warsaw" as a potential plaintext.

#316 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2011, 02:05 PM:

PJ, these were adults. Who would dump adults knowing that you can sell them on craigslist within twelve hours for $200 each?

#317 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2011, 04:00 PM:

JESR @316 -- you're assuming they knew that about Craigslist.

I wouldn't have. I might have looked on Craigslist to see what they're going for, but I wouldn't have had any prior idea of the price.

#318 ::: Steve with a book ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2011, 04:08 PM:

Nancy Lebovitz@300: It's unfair to judge a writer by his posthumous cheerleaders, but one thing that I find striking is that Chesterton's fans, en masse and organized, can manage to be off-putting in a way that few other literary fandoms manage. Read this, for example, and watch for when your jaw drops.

#319 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2011, 04:17 PM:

Blogger sucks big time. When Google first took them over, I tried to access my blog and couldn't, and there was no information about why.

I just tried again, hoping they'd fixed it. They haven't, but now they'll take all kinds of information from you, try to make you tie everything you do together, then tell you they're not going to let you have access to your old blog.

I can't access it, update it, or delete it. I fucking hate those people.

#320 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2011, 04:24 PM:

Hoom. My favorite Chesterton is the one in Sandman. All the good bits, none of the ickiness.

#321 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2011, 04:50 PM:

Re. peafowl. Of course, over here, you'd advertise them in Cage & Aviary Birds.

#322 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2011, 05:32 PM:

JESR, I assumed they were dumping adult birds. (Thanks, I've met peafowl. Why anyone would think they would be any good as pets is beyond me. Burglar alarms, maybe.)

#323 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2011, 05:36 PM:

Friends of mine, down in rural Maury County, found feral peafowl in the woods when they first moved down there several years ago; these have since fallen prey to the coyotes that moved into the area a couple of years later. You could sometimes see a flash of blue-green feathers in the woods when you drove by.

#324 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2011, 05:56 PM:

Xopher... Janet Brennan Croft... While going thru 3 decades's worth of photos this weekend, I found one from 1982 of Alexei Kondratiev with Judith Merril and CJ Cherryh.

#325 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2011, 06:22 PM:

Anyone here who uses Yahoo Bookmarks? When I logged on today, I found that all my bookmarks were arranged in apparently random order. (By date or alphabetically are supposed to be the available choices.)

I wonder if this has to do with the recent behind-the-scenes revamp of Yahoo Bookmarks? (Which left users unable to add new bookmarks for nearly four months, up until a few days ago.) (And who at Yahoo thought that was a reasonable way to handle a revamp?)

#326 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2011, 07:59 PM:


Updating Firefox didn't help. Windows blue-screened a little while ago. The error report afterward said a) looks like the RAM, but also b) the BIOS is old.

While I was investigating updating the BIOS, Firefox crashed so many times in succession that I shut down and reinstalled the old RAM.

Back to square one, $45 poorer*, with a version of Firefox I don't really like. Not happy.

Think I should update the BIOS anyway?

*I haven't checked yet if I can return the new RAM.

#327 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2011, 08:27 PM:

PJ Evans- I guess my confusion was because I've never thought of baby peafowl as "cute" although I'm averse to cute, in general, and much prefer the adult stages of most animals, even sheep.

I'd like to keep peafowl, I have sufficient room and it would be a way of drowing out the boom cars, but the fences they require are discouraging.

Tom Whitmore, I suppose that the ways in which Craigslist has pervaded small farm product sales in this country is something which is not widely known; I'd never looked at the place until I started buying chickens, but my brother-in-law sells hay, feeders, and locker beef through that means. If I wasn't in the middle of a documentary project on my chicks I would probably have been to turn all of them in one sale as soon as they'd hatched.

Knowing the going price is another thing; I suspect that pricing of everything on Craigslist is on what I've heard called the "big enough fool" basis, or there wouldn't be listings for substantially identical chicken coops at prices ranging from $159 to $1500.

#328 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2011, 09:12 PM:

JESR, that would be the greater fool theory, which holds there's always an idiot even more dumb than the holder of a bad investment who's willing to buy it.

#329 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2011, 12:26 AM:

At some point I have to convert this fake rosary on my desk into a real one. "How do you know it's fake?" Well, for one thing, it's got the wrong number of beads.

I found it a couple of years ago and only noticed it was fake when I cleared it off my dresser last week. Oops. Bad Catholic.

#330 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2011, 12:38 AM:

Mary Aileen @ 326 -- Any reputable vendor should take back bad ram. (Though, if it's 3 megs of hot ram for a hosaka, you may be on your own with nasty people after you).

It's common enough that it's the first thing I suspect if a computer's gone wonky. (though, not always, I just traced one wonky computer to a bad hard drive, the first time I've had a drive fail in a non catastrophic manner).

The surefire test is memtestx86, let it run for a day or so. It's one of the boot options on ubuntu cds now, and I think it's included in one of the mac hardware test disks. I wouldn't be surprised if it's buried in windows somewhere too. (and of course, it's downloadable on it's own)

#331 ::: sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2011, 12:39 AM:

b. durbin @ 329: how many beads, in what pattern? It may not be wrong, it may just not be 'standard Catholic' (and oh boy are there a lot of 'standard' patterns for rosaries).

#332 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2011, 12:50 AM:
I'd like to keep peafowl, I have sufficient room and it would be a way of drowing out the boom cars, but the fences they require are discouraging.

Pea Foul? Fences? They have a disdain for fencing, and can fly quite well if they are sufficiently motivated. The neighbor has pea foul, (and chickens, and ducks, and a whippet, and used to have guinea foul, but "they make too much noise". oh. dear. ) Quite often there are peafowl on the roof of his coop, occasionally in the trees, and once on our house. They don't even seem to be bothered with the predators around here, though the chicks are probably pretty good snacks for the wildlife. There are several colonies of feral peafowl on the island, either escaped or the humans got fed up.

The chicks are even kind of cute, and kind of quiet. That ends though. They get to be beautiful birds, but with loud voices and sensitive minds. Once I was cutting trees, and the sound track was something like "Roar. crrrrack. WHUMP. Help Help Help!" Every Single Time. I could hear it through the hearing protectors.

#333 ::: A.J. Luxton ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2011, 01:41 AM:

The Gumby particle made me sporfle:

Surveillance video showed the costumed man walking into the store with his arm raised above his head. He then walked to the register, leaned over the counter and told the clerk, “This is a robbery,” police said.

The 7-Eleven employee thought it was a prank, police said.

Gumby insisted he was serious and told the clerk he had a gun. He then tried to reach into his pocket, but after fumbling for a moment only managed to drop 26 cents on the counter.

The accomplice — not dressed as a cartoon character — had already gone outside and was honking the horn of a minivan...

Pure comedy.

#334 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2011, 01:43 AM:

eric @ 332: Why, yes. Peafowl do fly quite well. There were several in the trees on the grounds of the Maryhill Museum when I visited, and one of them shat on me from above. Charming birds!

#335 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2011, 03:51 AM:

eric @332: If you wing-clip them (cut the primary feathers on one wing only*), it stops them really flying, but they can still jump upwards quite well, so you'd need substantial fences, but it could be done.

We used to keep peafowl (and many other species). Back when we had a dozen or so adult peafowl, they used to go for a walk each day, up the road a way, then work their way back home throught all the gardens. Mostly people didn't mind (we had one complaint about damaged flowers, over a period of several years), but once a neighbour came to ask for them to be moved - his sister was visiting and she was terrified of birds. Well, I went along and shooed them all into the next garden nearer to us (about all I could do) - except the peahen sitting on the roof; I couldn't do much about her.

Yes, they were noisy** but so were several of the other animals we had. Looking back it's really lucky that most of the neighbours liked being able to look over/through the fences and see various unusual animals. And (in my opinion) the various calls were more pleasant than the sound of lorries braking on the main road, or the background noise from the constant whizz of traffic on the motorway.

* Clarification provided for those who don't know the term.
**I actually like the noise they make. So sue me.

#336 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2011, 09:39 AM:

Steve with a book @318, C.S. Lewis's posthumous admirers and apologists, particularly the American ones, can be just as bad. Between the hagiography and the evangelical hijacking of his Anglicanism, it can get pretty difficult to take.

#337 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2011, 10:01 AM:

eric (330): Thanks. They'll definitely take it back, although there will be a restocking fee if it's not actually bad, just wrong. I'll try the memtest.

#338 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2011, 10:18 AM:

Happy Birthday, Ginger!!!

#339 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2011, 10:51 AM:

Happy Birthday, Ginger!

Also, on peafowl, the Bronx Zoo had a peahen go wandering not that long ago; she spent a couple of days "on the run" before being captured and returned to the zoo. Newspaper accounts almost universally referred to her as a "female peacock." The peafowl at the Bronx Zoo wander all over the place with impunity; this one decided to try the outside world for a while and was apparently none the worse for wear (roosted on a windowledge the first night, in full view).

#340 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2011, 11:41 AM:

#262 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers):

On the other hand, America presumably could have had ghettos, but didn't. I don't know if this was enlightenment thinking or something else.

Here's why I asked about the change between Europe and America in regards to Jews, and why I probably seem weirdly mellow about current American anti-Semitism.

Part of this is that I'm trying to manage depression, and I spent a lot of years obsessing about how the Holocaust proves your government can kill you at any time. Later I added that Rwanda proves that your neighbors can also kill you at any time.

Eventually, I realized that I was just knocking myself down-- it wasn't as though I was doing anything which might make me safer. Later than that, I realized I could outsource hypervigiliance. If things really were getting bad, there are any number of people who'd tell me. I didn't have to keep reminding myself of the possibility.

I do know that murderous anti-Semitism exists in the US, and you don't have to go back to Leo Frank to find it. These are attacks extreme enough that it's just chance that Jews weren't killed.

Without trying very hard, I found about synagogue arsons, though murder came later, and it wasn't of Jews.

Guard killed at Holocaust Museum-- he wasn't Jewish, but I think this could be reasonably described as an attempt to kill Jews.

Seventy bullets fired into a Jewish community center, five people wounded.

My mother was bullied by Irish kids for being Jewish in Philadelphia. One of her college professors deliberately scheduled a test on Yom Kippor. When we moved from one suburb to another near Wilmington, DE, one that we looked at was "restricted"-- no Jews allowed, and the one we did move into had only recently started allowing Jews. This was the early 60s.

And yet, I've only personally run into overt anti-Semitism a few times, and all of them mild. (Details available if anyone cares.) Of course, there might be people covertly avoiding me because I'm Jewish, but I really think it would make me crazy to worry about it.

Maybe it's just me, but I think the only reason it's interesting-- maybe even fascinating-- that Rumplestiltskin has anti-Semitic roots is the implication that modern Christians are less trustworthy than they look.

It seems indecent to me to encourage myself to believe that a significant proportion of the Christians (for these purposes, I'm treating being Christian as an ethnicity/religion) I live with and who haven't mistreated me for being Jewish have a dangerous amount of anti-Semitism in their subconsciouses when I have no evidence that it's true.

In particular, I think that a lot of history really gets forgotten. There may be a little emotional shading from it, but that doesn't mean it's strongly in play.

So, how did America become so much less anti-Semitic than Europe? Less crowding, so that Christians felt less zero-sum about things? Christians becoming better at business so that they didn't feel as overwhelmed? Enlightenment ideals? An effort at good will?

I think there's the more recent shock at the Holocaust, but America was less anti-Semitic than Europe before that.

The reason why I think this is important is that the decline of anti-Semitism from Europe to the US is the most striking example of a prejudice getting substantially faded out that I can think of (there may have been plenty more-- let me know), and there might be something which can be duplicated to fade out other prejudices.

#304 ::: Serge Broom:

I don't know enough about Liev Schreiber to get the joke.

#318 ::: Steve with a book:

Maybe I've gotten jaded, but that didn't shock me. I was expecting a bad imitation of Chesterton's prose and a strong defense of his prejudices (we haven't gotten started on his anti-Muslim and anti-Asian stuff) rather than moderately life-wrecking advice, no worse than would be seen in a lot of other places, and possibly consistent with what Chesterton said.

Anyone remember whether Chesterton pushed people to have children?

By contrast with Creativity, a atheist closed-system anti-Semitic metaphysical group which has a branch in Philadelphia, an ordinary fool doesn't look like much.

When poking about searching on Chesterton and anti-Semitism, I found claims that he came out against Hitler's anti-Semitism, but I haven't found the original text. I did find this(p.279), in which Chesterton bashes the early Nazis (Chesterton died in 1936, and never saw the worst) for absurd and dangerous flattery of Germans. I wish more people, especially Germans, had listened.

#341 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2011, 11:58 AM:

Nancy Lebovitz @ 340... Well, he's 6'3.5", for one thing. :-)

#342 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2011, 12:02 PM:

The Flushing Remonstrance of 1657:

Widely considered one of the forerunners to the 1st Amendment to the US Constitution and one of the earliest written documents supporting religious freedom in the US.

Peter Stuyvesant was not a supporter of religious freedom (and didn't like Jews much), but he was beaten back on several occasions, by the Remonstrance and by the directors of the Dutch West India Company, who forced him to allow Jews from Brazil to settle in New Amsterdam (joining Jews who were already there and had come from Holland).

#343 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2011, 12:45 PM:

TexAnne @302: Yay, cat!

Has his name become apparent yet?

#344 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2011, 01:02 PM:

I'd never have figured out that the rooster was a prank had not the perpetrator(s) decided to add complications involving a fake reward flyer. Evidence pointing to our next-door neighbors' teenage son is indirect but weirdly compelling.

#345 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2011, 01:29 PM:

Is this the place where I'm supposed to deposit the horribly disturbing hamster gifs?

Well, alrighty, then!

#347 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2011, 02:36 PM:

Sweet WTF Jeebus, what's the story behind THAT?

#348 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2011, 02:56 PM:

Nancy Lebovitz@340: James Nicoll has talked about how religious conflicts among Irish immigrants to Canada stopped being cause for violence. (He too would like to know why.) That strikes me as similar in a way to the fading of anti-Semitism.

#349 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2011, 03:09 PM:

I would also strongly suggest memtest86 on any issue like what you have. Also, having a copy of it on a CD is a good idea in general; the first thing my work does, my small-business-IT-management company owner does, and I do (steal from the best, I always say) with new memory, is install it and memtest86 at *least* overnight, preferably 24 hours.

Two reasons: First, it finds flaky memory.
Second, it kicks the memory so hard that if it is on the top of the bathtub curve, it causes it to fail immediately rather than flake out two or three months in.

#350 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2011, 03:29 PM:

Wow. I'm really upset right now. I'm shaking a little bit. Here's the message I sent to NPR about a segment on Fresh Air:

I just ran to the radio to turn it off, because Terry Gross just announced she was going to play a scene from Boardwalk Empire where someone (a Jew) is drowned, essentially for repeatedly refusing baptism. She said the character "ends up" drowning him, which makes it sound like they're going to pretend it was an accident (though she also established the strong enmity between these two characters).
If I want to listen to an anti-Semitic torture-murder (and that's what it is, no matter what kind of religious trappings they cloak it in), I'll actually watch the horrific series, or maybe a movie about the Holocaust, where the anti-Semitic torture-murders are conducted by people not much worse (if any worse at all) than these supposed "baptisers." Don't need to hear it on the radio, thank you.
I avoid shows like that one because they give me nightmares. I HAD thought I could listen to Fresh Air without that particular risk. Clearly I was incorrect.
Really, I have no objection to people putting scenes like that on TV. I just don't watch those programs. It was a bit of a shock to hear that a tame cloth-eared radio program.

And Terry Gross didn't even say "warning, folks, this is graphic" or anything. Maybe it wasn't, but I wasn't about to take the risk. She really has no judgment at all.

#351 ::: Steve with a book ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2011, 04:01 PM:

Nancy Lebovitz@340: I've never seen a decent explanation for Chesterton's anti-Semitism; it's as though he really can't stop himself when he gets going on the subject. There's a vague sort of notion that he got his attitudes off Hilaire Belloc, who was worse; and there's an interesting bit in AN Wilson's biography of Belloc where he suggests that Belloc's hatred was fired by the bad treatment he received when he served in the French army with what some of his fellow soldiers took to be a Jewish name.

France surely has something to do with it: more than once, Chesterton makes the point of how the French see Jews so much more clearly; that is, in a bad light. Here, for example, and in the discussion about the Dreyfus case here. A few biographies seem to have come out recently; I don't know if they shed any light on all this rather winceworthy stuff.

#352 ::: sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2011, 04:06 PM:

Xopher @ 350 - I've had to send NPR nastygrams a couple of times in the last 6 months, as they start discussing *widely triggery subjects* with no warning. Forex: Whoever thought it was ok to discuss experiences of childhood abuse at 8:30 on a Saturday morning (or 6:30 or whenever one's local station got around to that point of Weekend Edition) needs some sensitivity training. It did not make a good start to the weekend. Yours sounds like more of the same lack of judgement.

#353 ::: Patrick Connors ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2011, 04:10 PM:

Stefan #347:

I, for one, suspect - and hope - that video is a clever fake, but I can't watch it enough times to prove it to myself.


#354 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2011, 04:18 PM:

Steve wab: Is that why Belloc helped the Nazis find the Ark of the Covenant? Oh, wait, that was this guy.

#355 ::: Steve with a book ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2011, 04:50 PM:

Xopher HalfTongue@355: ha, I'd forgotten about him!

'The Ark of the Covenant' brings to my mind an image not from the Indy film but from a comic strip version of Old Testament stories that I read in a hand-me-down annual as a young lad. 2 Samuel 6: Uzzah touches the Ark and is struck down and David interprets it as a sign of God's displeasure. A quick Google tells me the strip must have been Frank Bellamy's David The Shepherd King, first published in The Eagle, 1958–9.

Sympathies on the radio experience; radio is the most intimate of media and it's nasty when it injects something like that right into your brain.

#356 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2011, 04:54 PM:

Anybody remembers when the MythBusters built their own Ark of the Covenant and zapped Adam with it? He was not amused.

#357 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2011, 04:56 PM:

Stefan Jones #347: On the surface of it, yon hamster got handed a toy "eyeball" for a payload.

What makes me suspicious is the center-symmetry of the spit, along with lack of bulging cheeks. Even if their bottom palate can stretch that much, I'd expect it to bulge far enough to impede climbing!

A much nicer link: Randall's geeky love letter.

#358 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2011, 05:31 PM:

Serge, I just watched that one a couple nights ago. It's a terrible trick, but hilarious because of Kari's beaming, "Do you feel God?"

#359 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2011, 05:54 PM:

#351 ::: Steve with a book:

That's interesting. I'd never thought of Chesterton's anti-Semitism as requiring an explanation. I assumed it was in the air, and it never occurred to him to question it. Since it was in his mind, and he wrote about what he thought, he wrote anti-Semitic things. Does anyone know if he was typical of his era? Less or more anti-Semitic?

As for the hamster, I've see a video of the same hamster, but it's giving a great big yawn as it climbs. In a way, the ribbed inside of the hamster's upper jaw is more disturbing than the unlikely to be true excellent CGI of the glass eyeball.

#360 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2011, 06:04 PM:

AKICML: Is there a simple, single-word term for the concept of "things you can give away but still have undiminished in your possession" like ideas (as opposed to "things which are lost when you give them away", which is most tangible items)?

I keep thinking that a word for this should be in my top vocabulary, but I'm not seeing it. Thanks to Charles Cameron for putting the question into my head.

#361 ::: Steve with a book ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2011, 06:42 PM:

Nancy Lebovitz@351: there was anti-Semitism around in his time, sure; it was there at all levels of society, and at the higher levels of society there was a genteel version where some-of-my-best-friends-are-Jewish but they don't get let into the nice clubs or smart regiments. However. Chesterton is polemical about everything, but on the subject of Judaism he's polemically nasty in quite an individual way. The theme is usually: They are among us and you might think they're the same as us, but they're foreigners in disguise, pretending to be natives of this country while actually owing loyalty only to their own tribe. There's something obsessive and buttonholing: he's grabbing your lapel and yelling about the aliens in our midst that only he can recognise. He seems to be to be completely off his head when he's in this sort of rage; it's a sort of kink, and I wonder what caused it.

Although GKC only converted in the twenties he'd been more Catholic than the Pope since about 1908. One of the traditional complaints about Catholics in non-Catholic countries was that they were agents of a foreign power, expatriates: perhaps he felt a desperate need to point out another race as being bigger exemplars of this sin.

There's a to-the-modern-reader-almost-unreadably-racist Father Brown story called The God Of The Gongs which also turns on GKC's horror of disguises and Aliens Among Us; he's scratching a very personal itch in public.

#362 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2011, 07:07 PM:

Tom Whitmore @ 360, in my writings, I tend to use the word incorporeal for that purpose. It tickles me that this shares a root with incorporated, which is spelled almost the same but has an entirely different meaning.

#363 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2011, 08:17 PM:

Worth noting (for me, at least, this helped it make sense) on the racism evident in Chesterton (and Kipling, and Wilson, and many others) is that good scientific late Victorian thinking thought of racial characteristics somewhat like we think of sexual orientation--as only harmfully mutable.

#364 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2011, 08:24 PM:

j h woodyatt -- "incorporeal" doesn't quite work since there's a clearly corporeal thought-item that has the same property, namely the Philosopher's Stone.

#365 ::: James E ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2011, 08:32 PM:

Unfortunately (for those of us who like real life to be deeply unsettling) the hamster gif seems to be a photoshop of this video. Which is not to say of course that hamsters aren't constantly regurgitating glass eyes when we're not looking.

#366 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2011, 08:34 PM:

I've been away, in the sense of "my hard drive seems to have melted down, my computer's in the shop, and now my daughter is letting me use her laptop." Naturally, a conversation was just getting started that I've missed, in large part. Let's see if I can catch up.

Earl Cooley III @281: No, it was Codes and Secret Writing, which I still have. I did pick up Alvin's Secret Code recently, thinking Sarah might be interested in it.

Bill Stewart @298: I've had a grand piano for just over two weeks now. A team of three brought it in, but it still seemed advisable for me to lend a hand on the stairs, and they didn't say not to.

Tom Whitmore @360: a simple, single-word term for the concept of "things you can give away but still have undiminished in your possession"a simple, single-word term for the concept of "things you can give away but still have undiminished in your possession"

(yeah, but think about it)

Anyway, I'm hoping I'll have more time to be around here now. I think I've finally kicked RASFF, cough cough.

#367 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2011, 08:46 PM:

Kip W: Maybe "uploads" would work better. A download is something you can receive without diminishing the giver's possession.

#368 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2011, 08:55 PM:

"Downloads" are how they (mp3s or ideas) come into most people's possession.

I agree that at the time they are handed off, they become "uploads," but I think that cutting it that fine at this point will lose you a lot of people who would have understood the analogy.

#369 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2011, 09:07 PM:

Tom, I was going to say "intangible" until you mentioned the Philosopher's Stone; presumably another, but actually existing, example of the sort of thing you are talking about would be a candle-flame, which is certainly tangible but you can give away without having it leave your possession?

I don't know that there is a word that would encompass stories but not books, software but not hardware, and flame but not water; if you come up with one I'd like to know it as well.

#370 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2011, 09:17 PM:

lorax -- lovely example! I'll pass that back to Charles.

And isn't it interesting that there isn't an obvious word that has leaped out already for a concept that most of us intuitively recognize? I'm glad I'm not just getting senile and not remembering it!

#371 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2011, 11:36 PM:

Serge @338; Melissa Singer @339: Thank you!

#372 ::: cliff ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2011, 05:34 AM:

What, no respect for Herpes? It's the Gift that Keeps on Giving! (tm)

Herpes(TM) is a trademark, and the "If It Moves, We Fucked It(R)" logotype is a Registered Trademark of Miracle of Life GalactiCorp.


#373 ::: cliff ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2011, 06:57 AM:

lorax / Tom: Going back, there's Heraclitus' "fire".

In the beginning: Logos.

Information, Instructions, HowTo, Pattern. Angel, Demon, Spirit, Morphic Resonance. Law, Rules, Ruleset, Procedure, Protocol. Ritual. Method. Meme. Sequence. Code. Message. Scheme. Rules. Signal. The Signal That Stoppeth Not. Language. Formula. Recipe. Algorithm. Ehm, Form. YHVH. IAMTHATIAM, IMPOPEYERTHESAILORMAN. Ishmael.

(I always liked Gregory Bateson's definition of information or signal as "a difference that makes a difference" in one of the essays in Steps to an Ecology of Mind, although he may have been quoting Shannon or ehm, that catastrophe guy, or that other one.)


ShitFuckUploadFormat333LastShotBeforeThGAAARHHHKKK NO CARRIER's lacking a certain Unf, y'know? That je-ne-sais-quoi.

RUNME.BAT. Incantation. Spell. You May Already Be a Millionaire! (see below for official Pandora's Box sweepstakes rules. No purchase necessary. By decoding the enclosed message, cryptanalyst agrees to waive all rights.)

blondejokes.txt"); DROP TABLE sys_log;

:OnOpen {if this.parent.wizardgrade == wg_apprentice { ((this.parent) as host).possess;

Neal Stephenson proposed a new mysterious post-nanotech-tech called the Seed in Diamond Age. Seed.

Seed. final answer.

#374 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2011, 07:33 AM:

@312, @313

Coincidentally, my own HLN is that I gave my wife two hens for her birthday on Saturday. We are first time livestock owners with little pet experience, so it's all quite exciting.

Molly (Black Orpington) and Betty (Buff Orpington) seem to be getting on well now, after Betty spent Sunday establishing she was going to be top of the (rather literal) pecking order. They seem to like their Omlet Eglu(tm)*, but so far have shown an unfortunate tendency to roost in the nest box rather than the, er, roost. Still, hoping for eggs by Christmas.

We're still working out what treats they like :D

*The management would like to point out that other brands are available

#375 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2011, 09:20 AM:

cliff @373:

I can see that a word-count limitation is not going to be enough to keep you from falling into your more distracting habits of conversation. So from this point forward, I'm simply going to unpublish your more far-out comments.

Please endeavor to remain on-point. If I find myself spending too much of my time cleaning up your digressions, the next step will be to unpublish everything you say by default and only release comments when they're relevant and useful.

#376 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2011, 11:43 AM:

Discussion of how to keep writing interesting.

Here's a question I've got, since I don't expect everyone to read a long article and all the comments-- what's good redundancy? I have a feeling I'm too apt to just say things once, and some repetition with variation might be a good idea.

#377 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2011, 11:49 AM:

Here's one for all posters here: Definition: microsecodn

(Thanks to my husband for sending me this!)

#378 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2011, 12:53 PM:

Xopher HalfTongue @252: And it's a story written by me, the piano is in witness protection. It abides quietly for a time, and then disappears as mysteriously as it came. The sheet music is the window treatment of choice, because that was all that was available. The piano's means of getting it onto the window is left as an exercise for the reader.

#379 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2011, 12:55 PM:

Drat. OtterB got there first.

#380 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2011, 01:02 PM:

Tim Walters @263: Love the textures.

#381 ::: Antonia T. Tiger ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2011, 01:09 PM:

A week from not, it will be November. Halloween with be over with, and we Brits will be gearing up for the entertainments surrounding Guy Fawkes, who some say was the only man to enter Parliament with honest intentions.

And some of us will be ignoring this blog as we struggle to get started with NaNoWriMo, that annual challenge to produce 50,000 words in 30 days. At least they don't have to be good words.

If you can manage to tell a story, with a beginning, a middle, and an end, you'll be doing more than most schoolteachers expect. And you will at least get some idea of how to organise your life to find time to write. That's an essential skill for anyone who wants to take writing seriously.

Meanwhile, sketching an idea...

The three Tellurians recoiled in horror from the creatures that had captured them, seeing a crude caricature of themselves in the stance, and the erect symmetry, but with a total lack of discernible expression. These strange creatures were smooth-skinned, lacking even the patterned scales of a Venusian, and wore scanty harnesses of some metallic mesh that hid nothing of importance. They were obviously male, and well-muscled, but there was nothing else in their favour. They had no tails, no muzzle, save for a vestigial lump in the middle of a flat face. Did they even have ears? There were curious flaps of skin on the sides of their heads, but nothing moved. Such was the horror, but Cleopatra took note that they had no claws, and were as vulnerable to a well-placed kick as any Tellurian, and she took slight comfort from that.

Yet their captors were just as horrified by what they saw, with equally grotesque and inexpressive faces, crazily-patterned fur disarrayed by the rigours of the journey and, yes, the savage natural weapons of the beast.

#382 ::: Jennifer Baughman ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2011, 01:30 PM:

Syd @ #295: Sweet orange kitteh was not welcomed with open arms by the other two cats (expected) and escaped by popping the screen off a third-floor window (unexpected). We encountered her again the next morning, friendly and sweet as could be, but decided not to repeat the experiment unless it looks like she's losing weight or otherwise not being cared for. The cats currently resident, Bubastis and Circe, approve of this. :D

TexAnne @ #302: Congrats! IMHO, cats make life better.

HLN: Local woman has been looking for a copy of "The Dragon Waiting" at a reasonable price off and on for over a year now. Woman starts cleaning and reorganizing bookshelves, discovers copy hiding in the bottom back of a stack of paperbacks. Local woman unsure whether to be annoyed or pleased, settles on pleased, and re-reads it during day off due to stomach bug.

#383 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2011, 01:36 PM:

Jacque @379. Not exactly. Witness protection hadn't occurred to me. But of course, nobody is going to think about what the piano might be overhearing.

#384 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2011, 06:31 PM:

sisule: I know it's "fake" as opposed to just different because the beads are all the same, strung with no gaps. The 80s fad of wearing a rosary like a necklace has shown up a bit around here, so I should have realized that. Oh, and the Y-junction bead is a heart.

They're nice beads, though. I just have to take some of them off and put a few distinguishing beads at the appropriate points. I'm just glad I noticed, because I *had* contemplated giving it as a First Communion gift and that would have been Very Bad Catholic.

In regards to Rumplestiltskin, I would never have thought about it being anti-Semitic, probably because I didn't grow up with those views (what with, you know, actually knowing Jewish kids and all.) As for the name, I'm half Polish, so I wouldn't have noticed. :D

#385 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2011, 07:39 PM:

all answers delayed by beautiful weather and subsequent grand festival of catching up on laundry

332, eric, I'm quite aware of the rocket like ability of peafowl to jump and fly, which is why I said the fences are discouraging: they take the kind of bird-netting more usually applied to keeping golf balls inside driving ranges. I've actually known several private keepers of the things, and they all had 8-10 foot tall double-walled (two layers of heavy-duty 1"X 1 1/2" cage wire) runs with plastic-covered woven wire tops. I also had an encounter with a free-roaming flock of peafowl, four males and six feemales, as they wandered through Olympia one full mooned beautiful May evening, as beautiful and surreal as only Puget Sound spring can be, and saw one of the peacocks flat-foot jump onto the roof of a three-story apartment building.

Russ, congratulation on your sane-persons level of poultry having. Some advice: remember chickens need a little extra light to lay in the short days of the year, so if you're in the northern hemisphere you'll want to give them some light; solar-powered yard lights are a popular item in the online poultry community.

And: don't let anyone loan you an incubator and fertile eggs. Stay firm against the whiles of roosters, who are amazingly beautiful. And stay out of feed stores in baby-chick season.

Oh: and away from craigslist. You can get anything on craigslist.

#386 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2011, 07:40 PM:

And of course I saw the double strike on "feemale" just after I hit post. Life is so unfair.

#387 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2011, 08:06 PM:

JESR @ #385: Those wishing not to become owners of Too Many Poultry should also avoid the writings of Bailey White, and the Murray McMurray Hatchery Catalog, which makes me long for exotic chickens the way some women long for fur coats (the fur looks better on the original owner, and the chickens are definitely better off belonging to someone besides me).

#388 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2011, 09:07 PM:

Lila, I'm in worse shape: I'm hanging out with a set of people who are poultry enablers. I have five Blue-Laced Red Wyandottes, and four Silver Spangled Hamburgs, all of which were pointed out as available as soon as I expressed interest in the breeds, a habitually broody Black Austalorp I got for free, and fourteen not quite two-week-old Easter Eggers* I hatched from free eggs in borrowed incubators.

It's called chicken math, and it's dangerous.

Proof in my LJ posts tagged "chickens"

*Murray McMurray calls these "Araucanas/ Americanas" which they are not, and people who raise the real things are emphatic and forceful in explaining why they're not.

#389 ::: sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2011, 09:15 PM:

B. Durbin @ 384 - well, it certainly sounds like a non-R.C. rosary, at any rate. The only variations that I know without gauds (the big/different beads) are the 119 bead and the 150 bead (benedictine). In any case, have fun! (also, being someone who makes a lot of rosaries, have you considered giving a non-standard pattern? The Michaeline pattern is one I send with those being deployed, or who are warriors in any other sense. The Raphaelite pattern is one I make for those who heal or need healing or sailor-types (traveling and waters also being under that patronage). And though I hate having to do it, I've made several 4 decade sets for the dead and the mourning in the past couple of years. Yay for Approved Variations.)

#390 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2011, 09:54 PM:

I've seen a peacock on top of a telephone pole. I doubt he climbed up there. (Trees and roofs, oh yeah. Those are easy targets, even with that tail trailing.)

#391 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2011, 10:09 PM:

B. Durbin, if the string has 108 beads it's Buddhist. Islam also makes use of prayer beads. They come in a set of 99 beads (for the 99 names of God) or a smaller set of 33 beads. Of course, if your beads have a cross, they are meant for Christians.

#392 ::: A.J. Luxton ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2011, 10:40 PM:

Nancy Lebovitz @ 340: I think that the prevalence of anti-Semitism in the US varies by locality, more than anything else. I grew up in California, where people were mean to me for being weird and nerdy but never for being Jewish, and I have somewhat of a stereotypically Jewish appearance and temperament as an adult, which also, I feel, sets me apart a bit from the WASP-backgroundy people around me but I never have gotten any kind of vocally anti-Semitic flack for it.

Contrast this to the experience of a friend of mine, who grew up in Nebraska and literally had to deal with Nazi sympathizers running the neighborhood. In general this kind of negative experience seems more common in the Midwest, though I haven't done any kind of survey.

On a whole, I'll say that the American relative lack of anti-Semitism pertains to generational localized racism and how it's always, always worse than "imported" racism.

Like: I have a white Jewish friend of the curly-haired phenotype who was quietly, thoroughly given the run-around when he tried to get an apartment in Beijing... until they figured out he wasn't Uighur.

Like: anecdotes I've heard from African-Americans in Britain report generally favorable treatment compared to how it is in the US... whereas a very Irish-looking American guy I knew was once turned away at the border.

There's a hundred-something-year rule, I think, whereby the longer ethnic factions have coexisted with each other unhappily, the harder it is to root it out. And Europe's anti-Semitism is deep-rooted and long-standing, whereas the US has only got it as an import. Another factor may be population size and historical population size.

...I just found a Wikipedia article with a rather sobering table in it.

Tells me what I was looking for (the statistic of how many Jews lived in Europe historically, both as population percentage and as raw numbers) and also just... wow. The sheer number of Jews in Austria, Hungary & Poland at the turn of the century and the sheer number of Jews NOT there now. Which is some the Holocaust and some migration and... I just...

...there's some rather oft-repeated bit about Japan's national psyche being permanently altered by the Hiroshima bombing, a kind of cultural post-traumatic stress disorder.

I never really thought much of the fact that I spend many spare cognitive cycles making contingency plans for sudden homelessness, despite growing up in a rich-ish family of pale skin color, until the point where I met other ethnically Jewish people who do the same thing. Until I was emailing back and forth with my father and he told me about how, in the community where he grew up just post-Holocaust, nobody talked about it; an older boy once furtively showed him a photograph of concentration camp victims from some clipping or other.

It's weird knowing that; that I grew up whole but learned to move as if I have scars where none exist on my own skin. Disquieting.

#393 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2011, 10:56 PM:

Peacocks and peahens... Circa 1995, when we were living in the Bay Area, one day our suburb was treated to the sight of a peacock regally strolling on the sidewalk with his peahens.

#394 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2011, 11:27 PM:

According to Locus's report about the Reno worldcon, next year's affair, Chicon 7, will be August 30 through September 30. Yes, you read that right.

#395 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2011, 11:48 PM:

Serge @ 394 -

I guess that's because it's the last one ever, what with the world ending in 2012.

#396 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2011, 12:03 AM:

B. Durbin, if the string has 108 beads it's Buddhist.

Or Hindu, especially if the beads are all the same (no separators). But it has a Y-junction; do Buddhist malas have one of those? The Hindu ones don't, so maybe I'm just wrong.

#397 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2011, 12:21 AM:

76 beads on the loop; six between the junction and the cross. Faceted black beads. I'm going to do the standard changes to five decades, though I hadn't heard about the four decade version.

#398 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2011, 12:58 AM:
And what does a piano want?

A starring part in the performance of a piano concerto?

To be the reincarnation of Liszt's piano?

To play stride in the parlor of a house of ill-repute?

To be Victor Borge's straight-piano?

#399 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2011, 02:50 AM:

I happen to have just recently read Rocket to the Morgue, which interested me because of its portrayals à clef of science fiction writers of the early Forties. It's part of a series about a detective who's a Catholic nun, and the plot peripherally involves a rosary with seven decades. This is called out in the book itself as greatly non-standard (apparently it had something to do with the Stations of the Cross -- I myself am not familiar with all of how rosaries are used and didn't grasp the details).

#400 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2011, 03:15 AM:

This? (The Franciscan Crown)

#401 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2011, 03:37 AM:

David Goldfarb @ #399, thank you for mentioning that book. It led me to learn something I'd never known.

I'd always thought that Anthony Boucher (the author, although he used a pseudonym) was a good mystery reviewer and occasional novelist. I had no idea he had any connection to sf, much less that he was one of the founding editors of F&SF.


#402 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2011, 08:33 AM:

This ate my morning. Jer. = Jeremias, a Moralist; Cle. = Cleïs, a Mistress.

Jer. Fair is the face and dark is the heart.
Beauty and grace end with seeming and skin -
Worm and corruption hold revels within.
Fair is the face, ah, but dark is the heart!

Cle. Fair is the face, aye, and dark is the heart.
Charms are our banners in daylight unfurled.
Hearts are the horrors we hide from the world -
Facing it graciously is our kind art.

Jer. Black is the death when white is the urn.
Flies buzz when hypocrites speak the world fair.
Ghosts fester foul as they fear the free air -
Black is the soul, Cleïs: white is the urn!

Cle. Black is our marrow - to light we must turn.
Artful decay brings red wine and rich food,
Fairer for sharing than raw tripes and blood.
Black are our souls, but how brightly they burn!

Jer. Foul is the heart though fair is the face.
Venus' eyes hide the charnel of Mars.
When he breaks through, who'll compare you to stars?
Fair make your heart, ere it shows in your face!

Cle. Foolish is heart that's unfriend to its face.
Brave is the heart that will fight from its hell.
Inwards must find what is fair from their shell:
Learning life's kindness is all our hearts' grace.

Jer. Dark is the heart caught deep in the clay.
Cle. Deck it with flowers, and dance in the day!
Jer. Fair is the face, but the spirit is sin.
Cle. Let it look out, while the stars soak our skin
By the banks of the wide Milky Way...
A Whisper. - Come in -

#403 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2011, 09:09 AM:

This is picture of a Franciscan Crown, with 76 beads in the main part and five extras. I would never dream of suggesting there are anything unpleasant like rivalries among the various orders of Roman Catholic clergy, and so noting the Franciscans perhaps saw a way to annoy the Dominicans, while being high-minded and all is a temptation I shall pass by.

The Anglicans and their ilk (and, occasionally, other mainline Protestants) have picked up the idea of the rosary, now that the Reformation is a thing of the past and they can admit to a tad of mysticism (and, for some denominations, ritual) without causing hysteria*.

I have never seen a Buddhist mala that had a Y-junction; most of the ones I've seen are either the short form or the 108-bead variety, split up into four groups of 27 beads, with tassels and other add-ons variable. Interestingly, the Manchus used a necklace derived from the mala as an item of court regalia.

The various Eastern Orthodox churches have their own tradition, which appears to be considerably older than the RC rosary, and uses a different prayer; it's a rope, traditionally of black wool with special knots tied in it (there are directions out there on the internets, some with videos, for those who'd like to tie their own, or are particularly interested in knots); there are different lengths for different purposes, including a short one with 33 beads that masquerades as a wristlet.

*A Baptist acquaintance of my aunt's down in Mississippi admitted to some concern about the introduction of an Advent wreath ceremony into her church's Sunday services in December about 10 years ago: "I don't know, Sarah, I know you Methodists to do that sort of thing, but we're Baptists!" She also had some reservations about the regular recitation of the Creed in services; it seemed like such a Papist thing to do.

#404 ::: Antonia T. Tiger ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2011, 09:10 AM:

While following up a few ideas for NaNoWriMo, I discovered that Traci Lords had played Dejah Thoris in a movie called Princess of Mars.

Traci Lords?

Well, there's a trailer on You Tube, and she doesn't look bad.

#405 ::: fidelio has a post coralled for inspection by gnomes ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2011, 09:11 AM:

I suspect they're looking over the links, and may have become sidetracked by Emperor Yongzheng's chao zhu.

#406 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2011, 09:55 AM:

Gray @402, Lovely!

#407 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2011, 10:17 AM:

Gray Woodland #402: Wow... a little scary in how dark you paint your Moralist, but certainly pointed.

Antonia T. Tiger #404: Oh yeah, after she grew up, she made a decent attempt at breaking into mainstream movies, though AFAIK she hasn't got past B-flicks.

#408 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2011, 10:53 AM:

Steve C @ 395... Party like it's 1999!

#409 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2011, 11:20 AM:

David, #407: I thought the Moralist rang very true. But then, I've recently been reading Sex With Kings: 500 Years of Adultery, Rivalry, and Revenge and seeing rather a lot of those attitudes historically deployed. It's an interesting book; the author has gone thru a lot of historical and biographical sources, pulled out the bits specifically relating to (mostly European) royal mistresses from the Middle Ages forward, and organized them into a useful overview. I think even Serious Medievalists might enjoy reading it.

#410 ::: sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2011, 11:24 AM:

Yep, sounds like a Franciscan Crown.

The Michaeline version is 9 sets of 3 with gauds between. The Raphaelite version is like the Franciscan - it's 7 decades, but with gauds. There's a 3 decade version (of resurrection), and the paternoster (one decade, two gauds and a terminus, linear), and the Anglican version with 4 sets of 7, with gauds and three to the terminus.

In a box somewhere (my life, it is still in boxes) is my research about rosaries, prayer beads, and "approved" patterns for various religions, sects, etc. As an initial resource, I suggest Paternoster Row. She has done a lot of really good, solid research on Catholic and Christian prayer beads.

#411 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2011, 11:44 AM:

HLN: local authorities fail to call a snow day, despite 8" inches of snow. When reached for comment, local woman says, "Feh."

#412 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2011, 11:56 AM:

Steve C. @395: I guess that's because it's the last one ever, what with the world ending in 2012.

I was soooo disappointed that they didn't manage to pull off the End-of-the-Worldcon in the Yucatan for 2012.

#413 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2011, 12:43 PM:

I'm sorry I never got any photos of the Nativity I saw on a trip back to Fort Collins in... uh... 90s or 00s, I guess. It was very much out there, involving vacuum cleaner hoses seemingly frozen in flight, and other semi-abstract conceptual weirdity. It was in the yard of a photo studio. I can't find anything of it online. Maybe my sister took pictures of it.

#414 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2011, 12:45 PM:

Bruce Cohen @398: And what does a piano want?

Actually, it's a very sad story. The piano secretly always dreamed of being a computer. Its saddest day was when the tuner finally told it, in no uncertain terms, that this would never happen. "I'm sorry. Your shape is all wrong, and you just don't have it in you."

#415 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2011, 01:01 PM:

Lee #409: In my more cynical moments, I might agree -- certainly, there is that nasty taint of death-worship that infects Christianity. But that's certainly not the whole of Christianity, or even of the moralist urge within it. (Nor is Christianity the only place such sentiments have popped up!)

These days, someone who was quite that blatant about their thanatophilia might well get diagnosed with depression....

#416 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2011, 01:38 PM:

While Wiccans today often use a mala when praying to Hindu gods (especially Ganesh-ji), there's a traditional (by which I mean it might be 50 years old or might be 1000, depending on who's lying about what) tool for repeated visualizations (not so much prayers) called a Witch's Ladder.

It consists of a length of string with thirteen knots in it. This is consistent with the "Old Craft Laws" idea that everything has to be either innocuous or disposable; a Witch's Ladder can be tossed in the fire if you're about to be caught with it, and isn't all that incriminating to begin with (unlike the wax pentacle).

I used one for my success visualization prior to my first attempt at Drawing Down.

I think it makes a fair amount of sense that the number of beads tend to be inversely proportional to the length of the activity counted on each bead. The Franciscan Crown is a very long total, much longer than anything I've done on a mala, even though the mala has a lot more beads. Most of what I've done on a mala has been one repetition of "OM GANESHA YA NAMA" on each bead.

I did once do a whole mala of something like "Thank you for holding your hand as a shield over me and mine" (probably there was a formal address to the God at the beginning of that, but I don't remember what words I used) in September 2001, once I found out that while many of my coworkers, including several I had quite liked, had been killed in 9/11, all the ones I was really close to (and worked with at several previous jobs) were safe, and so were all my close friends.

I've seen Buddhist malas with all kinds of slide counters meant for counting how many times around the 108 beads you're going. I'm not sure how they're used, though I wouldn't be surprised if a whole round of the mala takes hours and hours.

#417 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2011, 01:58 PM:

@416 Xopher HalfTongue
I've seen Buddhist malas with all kinds of slide counters meant for counting how many times around the 108 beads you're going. I'm not sure how they're used, though I wouldn't be surprised if a whole round of the mala takes hours and hours.

That might be what I saw a woman on the Metro doing, then. She was using a round length of beads (rather pretty, jade looking) that had tassels every so often, and a long-ish bit that hung off with movable beads; every time she reached that bit, she would pull a bead down, abacus-like. I figured she was counting off some kind of prayers, but it seemed rude to interrupt to ask what. It had nowhere near 108 beads. Seemed more in the neighbourhood of 30 or so.

#418 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2011, 02:38 PM:

Re: Rumpelstiltskin as anti-Semetic

I'm pondering this reading of the motifs. I confess I always connected Mr. Stiltskin with the gold-loving dwarfs of German/Norse mythology. (Who were also prone to getting tangled up in unfortunate contracts, bad deals, and reneged promises.) And I was always too distracted by the lovely metaphor of "spinning straw into gold" for linen processing to do much other analysis.

#419 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2011, 03:24 PM:

Tom #360:

In economics, the term used for that kind of thing is non-rivalrous. That's any good where your using it doesn't diminish the amount or value left for me.

#420 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2011, 03:28 PM:

Xopher and Cheryl: Buddhist malas come in several lenghts -- 27 beads*, usually worn around the wrist; 54 beads, and 108 beads. All have an anchor 3-hole bead known as the 'guru' bead, which often has a tassle or fancy knot emerging from the bottom-most hole.

Often the practitioner will be assigned a number of mantras to be chanted by their teacher, especially after they have received an empowerment. The 2 long counting tassels help to keep track -- there are 10 counting beads on each.

I count the hundreds on the tassel with the bell and the 1000s with the tassel with the dorje. When I have counted 10,000 I move the wheel of dharma marker up one bead on the mala. When the wheel reaches the guru bead again I will have done 108,000 recitations of the Chenrezig mantra (Om Mani Padme Hum).

I have several malas -- one for Chenrezig, one for Tara, one for Medicine Buddha, and so on. I also note in my organizer my current totals so that if something should happen to the mala I'll still know how many recitations I've accomplished.

You can also get little markers to show where you had to stop when you're doing recitations while travelling.

*You will sometimes see these sold as "power bracelets..."

#421 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2011, 03:32 PM:

Almost forgot -- I use the tassel that hangs from the guru bead as a reminder to dedicate the merit of my recitations to the benefit of all sentient beings when I end the practice.

#422 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2011, 03:41 PM:

O assembled Flourospheroids: what can you tell me about Theodore Beale?

#423 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2011, 04:00 PM:

Earl @400:

Good reference. Nutbar site, though.

(How do I know? It has 2800 words on how women should still cover their heads, with amazing footwork to explain how Vatican 2 didn't really change things. It has a "Posture and Gesture" page listing the times to bow and kneel and so forth, detailed enough to explain that you genuflect on your left knee when meeting your local bishop. Meanwhile, both Creeds are tucked away on a mathom-house of prayers, and the kneeling it suggests for the Incarnation* is not included on the "Posture and Gesture" page.

I recall someone saying that where your treasure is, there is your heart. I say, where your words are, there is your attention. Veils and hierarchy get more energy than creeds? Nutbar.)

* Everyone I've met who does anything bows at the waist for that bit.

#424 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2011, 04:03 PM:

C Wingate @422:

Speaking of nutbars! There are many tales to tell, usually under his nom de net, Vox Day. (Better yet, Google around a bit using that term; if we discuss him too much he might show up.)

Can I ask why you want to know?

#425 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2011, 04:13 PM:

Interesting open-threadiness: Felix Salmon's comment on being part of the 99%, despite having an incredibly rich and wonderful life.

#426 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2011, 04:35 PM:

And one more: Baseline Scenario links to this very nice chart from the New York Times visualy demonstrating one part of the unfolding European debt crisis.

#427 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2011, 04:53 PM:

Lori, thank you! Very informative, and you've also answered a question that has been much on my don't do the whole mala in one session (not the full 108,000 reps, anyway). That's really very useful to know.

Charlie, what abi said. VD is something you want to avoid (less punny now than when I was young). Advocated positions include solving the illegal immigration problem by mass deportation, which doesn't sound completely nutbar by today's standards (cf. Michelle Bachman) until you get to the part where he points out that after all it was done successfully in Germany in the 30s and 40s...and to my reading he thinks that's an example to emulate.

#428 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2011, 05:18 PM:

re 423: I notice that three Anglican hymns snuck into their page of "traditional Catholic hymns", particularly seeing that one of them is back-translated into Latin from the English and one of the others has a snippet of an Orthodox hymn hidden in it.

#429 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2011, 05:20 PM:

re 424: He has come up on the Wikipedia fringe theory noticeboard, and his article seems to be largely self-authored.

#430 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2011, 05:35 PM:

You're welcome, Xopher -- it takes me about 3 minutes to do 108 repetitions of Chenreizig's mantra, a little longer for Tara's (more syllables).

A few years ago, the entire sangha (world wide) was trying to accumulate a million mantras for one of our teachers -- so we were sending in totals every week, and managed to reach the mark just before their birthday.

#431 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2011, 05:55 PM:

C Wingate @429:

Both of those phenomena fit my understanding of his character as expressed on the internet. incidentally, a site search on his name here on Making Light is not unhelpful; it yields this compendium of links,as well as at least one more recent popcorn-and-lawn-chairs observation of his performance on Charlie Stross' blog.

#432 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2011, 06:41 PM:

Re. #422, I'm pretty sure the entity in question was regularly mocked on Pharyngula a few years ago; treated similarly on the AtBC forum, and turned up somewhere else talking about global warming and got their arse handed to them.
From what I remember they are far right Christian, for the opression of women etc, pretend to libertarianism but have trouble with the letting others do what they want bit and generally aren't worth knowing.
Oh, and they have a big flaming sword according to one photo...

#433 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2011, 06:55 PM:

By Tara's mantra do you mean OM TARE TU TARE TURE SVAHA (or SOHA)? The one I call the White Tara Chant? Or am I confused?

#434 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2011, 08:01 PM:

Genuflect when I meet the bishop???

Not bloody likely.

I manage to remain civil. That's about all he can expect.

#435 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2011, 08:20 PM:

Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) @ #262:

That is unpleasant, certainly. I don't think, though, that it's quite fair to Kipling to let "The Light That Failed" stand as his last word on the subject, any more than it would be fair to Dickens to stop at Fagin; people do change over the course of their lifetimes, and Kipling still had most of his life ahead of him when he wrote "The Light That Failed". ("The Treasure and the Law" was many years later, and Kadmiel is not his last Jewish character either.)

#436 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2011, 08:22 PM:

abi @ #270:

I once read a short story about why 7 8 9, which was beautiful and haunting, and I thought it was on Hitherby Dragons but I've never been able to find it again.

#437 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2011, 08:25 PM:

Xopher@433 Tara's mantra

Or possibly it's "The inward eye, the sightless sea. Ayala flows through the river in me."

Although that's probably a different Tara...

And it's not precisely a mantra...


#438 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2011, 08:33 PM:

#395, #412:

Next year's Swancon is calling itself Doomcon, and has a focus on floods, asteroid strikes, zombies, Windows Vista, and other world-ending calamities.

The official slogan is "The apocalypse: it's just a big con."

#439 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2011, 08:49 PM:

Swan song for the world?

#440 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2011, 09:13 PM:

I admit it. I'm a materialist, gadget-loving gearhead. Sue me.

I still want a Real Light Cycle

#441 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2011, 09:29 PM:

Michael I @ 437... Tara King?

#442 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2011, 11:56 PM:

To judge from the pilot, Once Upon a Time is bland and joyless and utterly predictable. It reminds me of those tedious holiday TV movies in which adult characters encounter Santa Claus (e.g., as a future father-in-law).

The worst thing about it: Its version of the fantastic and fairy tales is lowest-common-denominator Disney tapioca.

My standards for what qualifies as strange and wonderful is much higher.

#443 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2011, 12:16 AM:

Stefan: I do the cast bios for my local theatrical group. For this spring's production of Iolanthe, I asked the cast what their favorite fairy tales were.

Almost everybody cited Disney. A couple of people cited Into the Woods at least, but almost everybody said "thus-and-so because of the songs or the specific Disney-invented character."

To someone who loves the source materials and the vast cross-cultural interaction of the original not for kids fare, this was pretty heart-rending.

#444 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2011, 12:39 AM:

@B Durbin:

Ugh, that's sad.


My sister, who has not had much time for reading for years due to a hectic career schedule, is studying toward a Masters in library science. She's taking a course on childrens' lit right now, and is reveling in wonderful stuff, new and old.

Last week she listened to Gaiman reading The Graveyard Book and Coraline, and was blown away.

I think today's young'uns have a better chance of tapping into far better and a more fantastic grade of the fantastic than my generation did.

#445 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2011, 12:43 AM:

LIzzy @434:

Just be sure you remain civil with your left knee, not your right.

Wait, that didn't come out very well, did it?

#446 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2011, 01:12 AM:

Paul A.@436: It is Hitherby Dragons. To wit, Six's Story, and it is indeed a beautiful and haunting thing. I wanted to read it for the traditional Sunday-morning "Joy of Reading" at this year's Farthing Party, but when I tried it out it ran to fifteen minutes, which was far too long for a one-hour panel. Alas.

(I read Writing Real Life Person Slash about the Pope Day instead. It went over quite well.)

#447 ::: David DeLaney ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2011, 03:12 AM:

David @446 - Arg, I had JUST spent a few minutes finding that for Paul, only to fall victim to end-of-the-thread syndrome. (Though searching through various posts on Hitherby Dragons seems to always be its own reward, so hey!)


#448 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2011, 03:41 AM:

JESR @386: see link @377 - for which you just provided an excellent example.

#449 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2011, 06:43 AM:


Tara Maclay from Buffy. The line is from a ritual chant in the episode "Who Are You".

#450 ::: Gerald Fnord ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2011, 09:27 AM:

But every day is Bosses' Day.

#451 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2011, 10:38 AM:

David, thank you very much.

(Both Davids. Even if only one of you got to present the answer, I appreciate that you both made the effort.)

#453 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2011, 11:11 AM:

What does a piano want? The first seventeen people you ask will assert with perfect confidence that it wants to be played. Enlightened, liberal-thinking people who would never presume to enforce their will on other human beings -- or even (sometimes to the detriment of housekeeping) on the furred and feathered creatures with whom they share their lives -- will none the less assure you that this entity of wood and strings desires nothing more greatly than to have its very being and essence bent to the will of alien creatures, to be a conduit for the voices they hear in their heads.

What does a piano want? Don't ask a piano. They are moody and doleful and have abandoned hope that any one will listen. Ask a harp -- those high-strung cousins have no compunction about giving you a piece of their minds. They know what pianos want: to listen through the depths of endless space and hear the thousand-layered music of the spheres. To pulse as one with all eternity and shiver invisibly as when a dewdrop falls from the spiders web. To sway in sinuous arcs that bring in harmony all light and time. To throb as one with all that they perceive and give it back to the universe, altered yet the same.

What does a piano want? To be in tune.

#454 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2011, 11:24 AM:

What does a piano want?
The keys to success?

#455 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2011, 11:27 AM:

#360 Tom
Replication, perhaps?

#456 ::: sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2011, 11:31 AM:

Heather @ 453 - have I mentioned lately that I admire you?

#457 ::: DavidS ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2011, 12:13 PM:

Occasional lurker here, hoping to take advantage of the accumulated knowledge about publishing.

I've been teaching a calculus course out of Hughes-Hallet's textbook, published by John Wiley and Sons. I've collected a small list of typos in the text. Who is the right person to send them to? The book has been through 5 editions, so it seems likely it will be reprinted again and (perhaps I am naive here) the typos might be fixed.

#458 ::: FaultyMemory ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2011, 12:50 PM:

Open threadiness of possible interest to several here. Giles Fraser, Canon of St Paul's Cathedral, London, has resigned over plans to evict Occupy LSX protesters from Cathedral grounds, saying he could not support the possibility of "violence in the name of the church". Full article in the Guardian.

#459 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2011, 01:47 PM:

Xopher -- yes OM TARE TUTARE TURE SOHA -- which is Green Tara's mantra.

White Tara's mantra is:

oṃ tāre tutāre ture mama āyuḥ puṇya jñāna pu ṣṭiṃ kuru svāhā

I'm not sure how many Taras there are -- in addition to Green and White, there is also a Red Tara -- I'm guessing her activity relates to what my teachers would call "wrathful practice."

#460 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2011, 01:54 PM:

@453: From my long experience with pianos, I must conclude that a piano really wants to be out of tune. If you stop forcing it back in tune, it will invariably get worse and worse sounding.

#461 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2011, 02:12 PM:


Isn't that like saying that human beings want to die ... because if you leave them alone, inevitably they will? Is not a piano entitled to want something at odds with entropy?

#462 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2011, 02:28 PM:

abi @ 445:

"First you fall down on your knees,
fiddle with your rosaries.
Bow your head with great respect,
then genuflect - genuflect."

#463 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2011, 02:36 PM:

Bruce @462

Yes, but how? Are you bowing, fiddling and genuflecting correctly? Nutbar websites want to know.

#464 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2011, 03:12 PM:

The current discussion reminds me of the photo Brother Guy showed us, of the Pope bowing to take a close look at his ring. The latter sees plenty of Cardinal rings, but not many MIT ones.

#465 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2011, 03:34 PM:

Paul A.@451: No great effort on my part. Since I remembered the story's title, all I had to do was go to the site and type it into the search bar. Hey, presto. If anything, I appreciate the opportunity to mention Hitherby in general (of which I am a huge fan) and that story in particular to the people here.

(Of course, it was Making Light that led me to Hitherby in the first place, some years ago when Teresa blogged about the story "Night of the Antinomian".)

#466 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2011, 04:52 PM:

A couple of Open Threads ago, there was some discussion of eReaders and criteria for picking the you want.

I thought some here might be interested in Kobo's latest offering, the Vox (there's a review at the link).

It integrates Kobo's Reading Life program, which "tells you how many hours you've spent reading, how many pages you read per session, hours per book, times of day you read and more besides." It can also integrate Facebook, Twitter, etc.

I just wondered if anyone here has had a look at it? I probably won't be getting it - the one I have now, the Wireless, isn't even a year old, even if I could afford it.

I'm a little disappointed in the supported file formats. The model before the Vox, the Touch, supported EPUB, PDF & MOBI for books, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP and TIFF for images, TXT, HTML and RTF for text, and even CBZ and CBR for comics. The Vox has added formats for video and audio, but taken away everything but ePub for the written word. I really don't think I like that.

#467 ::: sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2011, 06:59 PM:

FaultyMemory @ 458

May God reveal His mercy and grace to the brethren of the Church of England. That's...going to cause waves. Probably needed shaking up of some attitudes and certainties, but it's not going to be a fun time.

#468 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2011, 08:33 PM:

Heather Rose Jones @461: I'm using all three names because I don't know where the join is. Anyway, it's a thing I pondered before posting, but darn, it's like pianos work at going out of tune. You can touch them up daily, and fuss over them, and make the environment optimal for them, but they find ways around my best efforts.

I do expect to have an easier time with the grand piano. It's like they're made to be tuned, unlike its small upright predecessor (I hate to use that word — it's not deceased!) that waits until I put a mute on a string and then swallows it with hilarious consequences!

#469 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2011, 08:53 PM:

Kip W #468: Another reason to use full names for reference, is that someone else with the same first name may join the conversation. This becomes rather more important when there are, say, three or four Davids hanging about. ;-)

#470 ::: Angiportus ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2011, 09:21 PM:

Pianos--in Gelett Burgess' "Lively City O'Ligg", a piano falls in love with a windmill, and after suitable fictional tribulations they get together, their children being a portative organ and an Eolian harp.

#471 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2011, 10:11 PM:

Heather Rose Jones @453, applause.

I've enjoyed the other speculations about pianos too.

IRL, a moving van (local mover, not long haul) arrived a couple of days ago and Stuff was unloaded, but once the movers left, no people are in evidence. Perhaps the piano was lonely and ordered in lounge furniture in anticipation of becoming more popular. Or an array of chairs and music stands and a conductor's podium. (It's a large front room the piano is in, but it's not that large.)

Which reminds me of the house we liked, but didn't buy, that was a fairly normal older colonial ... except for the short hall attaching it to a large addition with windows on 3 sides, which had been used by a previous owner for organ recitals. We called it the Grand Ballroom. Our kids being the age they were at the time, we contemplated filling it with gym mats and nothing else.

I digress, but that's what open threads are for.

#472 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2011, 10:29 PM:

David Harmon @469: The post number helps disambiguate as well. (I was responding to someone who called me by first name, and the explanation was partly to say why I hadn't answered in kind.)

#473 ::: FaultyMemory ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2011, 11:36 PM:


Those consequences being that you take the bottom panel off the piano and retrieve your mute?

I have an old Harrington upright. I think it predates the Great Depression. Last time I had it tuned, the tuner said he couldn't bring it up to A440; it was made for a lower pitch. I mostly play unaccompanied, so it's not an issue, but it's interesting how much the standard tuning pitch has moved over the last few centuries. I'm informed that some orchestras now tune to A446 or even A448; compared Mozart's and Handel's tuning forks (A421 and A422.5 respectively) that effectively transposes entire symphonies up half a step.

#474 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2011, 12:11 AM:

Snow!!!! ....

Meanwhile... Nightline had a clip of Barbara Walter reporting on having interviewed Madoff at the prison he has a century plus sentence in. She said he seem content there, he said he's free from the fear he lived with for 20 years of being discovered. He feels he deserves to be in jail and punished for having defrauded people of billions of dollars...

Meanwhile, there are tens, probably hundreds of thousnds of people gratitously dead because of the two people who headed up US Government in 2001-2008, millions displaced (a large percentage of the population that was in Iraq before 2002) and defrauded the US taxpayers of trillions of dollars. They are not in jail, they are not facing sentenced longer than the maximum current human life span....

I am NOT saying Madoff should be free, he's one of the biggest thieves alive... but the people who presided over the non-enforcing non-regulating (deregulated in effect, realy) regulatory agencies during 2001 - 2008 (the ends of absolute Republican control of Congress ended the absolute anti-regulatory stance of the US Government's Legislative Branch and squelched some of the "initiative" of the Executive Blanchers...) belong in jail and stripped of their perks etc. even more than Madoff does... he didn't write the orders which authorized torture and torturing people to death, and the launch of a gratuitous invasion and atrocity-ridden and needlessly lethal and deadly and irreplaceable antiquities and records and other properties-destroying occupation, in violation of the provisons of the Geneva Convention regarding protection of civilians, property, and the common cultural heritage of humankind...

Madoff was a thief and a shyster; the Executive Branch 2001-2008 President and Vice President and their cronies, are war criminals responsible for more death and misery and economic collapse than a lot of dictators.

#475 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2011, 12:25 AM:

Kip @ 468

To satisfy curiosity, it's "Heather" or "Heather Rose Jones" but never "Heather Rose" and absolutely not "Heather-Rose". At some point in my life I decided that I wanted to use all three parts when doing creative endeavors. (At work I'm just plain "Heather Jones".) But "hey you" also works.

#476 ::: A.J. Luxton ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2011, 02:06 AM:

Paula Lieberman, above: The obvious pun somehow didn't occur to me until now (apologies if others have made it here before) but - some people just have greatly portentous names, because he sure madoff with a lot of money. Heh, huh, huh. I feel sure I missed that round of jokes somewhere and am that person who gets it hours later.

But yes, there are worse. On the other hand people tend to do evil not in proportion to their inherent state of moral decay but in proportion to the power they have to use it.

#477 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2011, 04:57 AM:

FaultyMemory @ #473:

We did a production earlier this year of one of the modern reincarnations of The Beggar's Opera. One of the musicians had a copy of the songs from the original, in an edition with a foreword that discussed the practical issues arising from how the tuning baseline has drifted in the centuries since it was first produced. If memory serves the whole thing is now a key or two higher, effectively, than originally intended. (And boy, weren't some of the singers feeling it on the high notes. I don't think the musical director read the foreword.)

#478 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2011, 08:33 AM:

Crossing the history of anti-Semitism with Dysfunctional Family Day, I wonder if one of the reasons people hated the idea that Jews had loyalties and support outside the government is that it undercut the fantasy that the government was entitled to total loyalty no matter what it did.

#479 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2011, 11:14 AM:

Nancy Lebovitz @ 478... And that expection of total loyalty to the government comes from the same people who decry the guvmint as the Ennemy when a Democrat is in charge, right?

#480 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2011, 12:39 PM:

re 431: Thanks for the pointer. I think I will let braver folks than I handle this one.

#481 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2011, 02:54 PM:

FaultyMemory @473: It took months for the mute to finally appear at the bottom of the piano, and in the course of reaching for it from above, I managed to bend a little stiff wire that sticks off the back of one of the jacks, and that'll finally get fixed when we get the piano tuned prior to selling it. If it had dropped right down, I'd have had it in five minutes.

Heather @475: Thanks! If I say "hey you," lots of people turn, but nobody answers.

#482 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2011, 03:33 PM:

BIG NEWS!!! "Wild Cards" is heading to he big screenm, and Melinda Snodgrass is writing the script. WOOT!!!

#483 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2011, 04:00 PM:

Well, the initial Dog-Snorted-Something problem seems to have worked itself out, but I do believe I'll be bringing Ardala to the vet this weekend in hopes of solving a new mystery that has presented itself in the last week.

Ardala's normal routine is to get up roughly 10 minutes before the alarm, get whatever servant monkey she can based on who's left their door open, cuddle, eat breakfast, go on leisurely, I Sniff Everything walk which is never long enough, go home, nap during the day, greet servant monkeys happily after work, eat, go on longer, slow, sniffy walk, hang out, sleep.

Her new routine seems to be - get up at 4am, whine, wander around distractedly until someone gets up to feed her, refuse kibble in bowl, fidget, whine, refuse kibble on plate, wander, refuse kibble in snack dish soaked in chicken broth, fidget, eat mushy kibble one at a time hand fed by frustrated servant monkey, fidget, whine, finish half the mushy kibble, go outside at a fast trot we haven't seen for 3 years, continue energetically running around the house.

When we come home, it's celebratory zoomies for at least 15 minutes (again, not her normal curmudgeonly pace), energetic digging in bedding (OK, so that's normal) and a repeat of the morning's food-refusal performance. Her evening walk is uncharacteristically purposeful, done at a fast trot and business complete, she trots back to the house. I have also noticed her drinking water a lot less messily than usual. I think it might be a tooth pain issue, which would explain her food refusal, but wouldn't explain her newfound energy. She seems to be in pretty good spirits, so long as someone's paying attention to her. In fact, I'm kind of wondering what to tell the vet - "Dog acting weird. Not pigging out, is happy and energetic."

Oh, who the hell knows why this dog does anything. I guess that's why we pay the vets the big bucks.

#484 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2011, 04:24 PM:

Kibble in a snack dish soaked in chicken broth sounds pretty good right now; I guess I shouldn't have skipped breakfast today. heh.

#485 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2011, 04:53 PM:

nerdycellist #483: She seems to be in pretty good spirits, so long as someone's paying attention to her.

That seems worrisome to me -- I suspect something is in fact paining her, but not so badly (yet) that she can't be comforted by her people.

#486 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2011, 05:12 PM:

David Harmon -

That's what we were thinking, actually, since dogs don't show pain the same way humans do. She's got a 9:30 appointment for tomorrow morning at any rate. We're feeding her enough tasty, soft food that she should at least be able to avoid her acid reflux/bilious vomiting issues while we try and figure out what's wrong with her. I hope they can fix it and I hope whatever it is is entirely coincidental with her high energy. It's been kind of fun to have her running around like a puppy again.

#487 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2011, 06:34 PM:

Entirely frivolous comment warning:

Is anyone else disgruntled that Maximus the Military Horse in Disney's Tangleddoesn't even get mentioned in the cast and voices of the characters on IMDB? I mean, really! Without Maximus, Eugene would be on the gibbit and Rapunzel would be who knows where under the duress of the eviLe Mother Gothel, even now!

#488 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2011, 06:47 PM:

The Who did the What, now?

Ad for gun training bars Muslims and Obama voters

I guess I should be happy the gov't is investigating?

#489 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2011, 07:03 PM:

Cheryl @488 -- now there's someone who knows how to use the media to get attention! While I don't agree with him on any level, I admire his SEO savvy. He'll be well known for a couple of months, at least, which is a lot better than Andy Warhol's 15 minutes.

#490 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2011, 07:05 PM:

This is the most reassuring part:

It seems unlikely that Keller will back down, though. "I'm not going to do it," he told the local news. "I will give up my license to teach before I will teach them," he said, referring to Obama voters and Muslims.
I hope he means it, because it will mean giving up his license. And a flaming asshole like that has no business being a gun instructor.

#491 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2011, 07:57 PM:

Xopher... giving up his license

Keller will be back in "License Revoked"!

#492 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2011, 08:39 PM:

#479 ::: Serge Broom :

This pattern was long in place before anyone had heard of America, let alone current American politics. Also, the Tea Party et al. doesn't seem to be especially anti-Semitic. Their xenophobia seems to mostly be spent on Hispanics.

The gun ad guy is using his xenophobia points on Muslims.

#493 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2011, 08:48 PM:

Nosferatu Barada Nikto!

#494 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2011, 09:32 PM:

Nancy Lebovitz @ 492... Oh, I know that. The teabaggers may be predominently against Hispanics, but that's because the latter are the current poster people for those furriners who are stealing our jobs. I myself am a furriner and, by simply living in America, I probably stole someone else's job. But I digress. The bottom line though is that not very deep down they all are authoritarians, unless the authority is a Democrat and I don't think we tend much toward authorianism.

#495 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2011, 10:07 PM:

by simply living in America, I probably stole someone else's job

That... was YOU??

#496 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2011, 10:15 PM:

I have a very bad feeling about the kitty who should have come home a couple of hours ago. We lost her littermate 6 months back. Tonight, it's dark and rainy, and she'd normally be curled up by the fire.

I have no idea how I'm going to deal with my kids when the turn into teenagers who miss curfew.

#497 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2011, 12:10 AM:

Kip W @ 495... You can have it back. Right now I feel like Mister Scott stuck inside the Seaview. :-)

#498 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2011, 01:33 AM:

#493 Kip

#497 Serge
Are there exploding consoles all around you??! (The one actual real world console failure that happened in the Tactical Operation Room (TOR) at Thule Greenland on a shift I was on, was completely unspectacular--no sparks, no flames, no fireworks, no noise.... the radar display went blank, was all that happened, the operator reported "Console Number Four [or whichever number it was] Failure no [something or other]" I hit the squawk box button to CSMR [pronounced "siz-mar" where the contractors who did the radar site systems operations and maintenance were] and repeated, "Console Number Four failure no [something or other]", the contractors took over watching the video for that console on the backup system in their part of the facility, and a couple technicians came in and started tearing the console apart to troubleshoot it. Again, it was totally unspectacular, and it was an automatic response from the operator and from me... console failures being standard items in Performance Exercises, and life in the TOR being so utterly boring that the crews -asked- for an exercise every shift to cut the tedium....

#499 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2011, 01:52 AM:

Kitty is back, and she is soooooo grounded. At least as long as we can convince the 2yr old to not open the door for her.

#500 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2011, 01:56 AM:

eric -- glad to hear your cat adventure had a good ending. Most of them do. I wish all did.

#501 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2011, 01:56 AM:

Paula Lieberman @ 498... No exploding console, but this group includes the equivalent of giant humanoid goldfish, short clowns and others in its ranks. Besides, no one seems to have the key that'll keep the radioative rods locked so as to prevent an outbreak of scientifically induced hairiness.

#502 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2011, 01:59 AM:

It was disappointing, in my last years of high school, to discover that real computers don't look like those in Irwin Allen's shows. On the other hand, as Paula Lieberman pointe dout, the real thing is less likely to literally blow up in your face.

#503 ::: Lenore Jean Jones/jonesnori ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2011, 02:47 AM:

HLN: Local woman has to put down 11-year-old cat with liver cancer, who lived in separate room due to inability to get along with rest of household. Woman reports being much more upset than expected. Other cats weirded out for a while, but have adjusted. Sadness.

#504 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2011, 05:07 AM:

Lenora @ 503... :-(

#505 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2011, 07:59 AM:

re 502: In high school ours was a IBM 1620 Model 1, so it certainly did look like something from an Irwin Allen show-- except if you actually saw the MAR lights move in a pattern, it usually meant that you program had just wiped itself from memory.

#506 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2011, 09:00 AM:

Lenore Jean Jones #503: I'm sorry for your loss.

#507 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2011, 09:38 AM:

C Wingate @ 505... "If our computer is going to die, we want it to be cinematic about it. No stinkin' boring blue screen of death!"

#508 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2011, 10:28 AM:

Serge, you can have that job. I've heard what you say about it and it's not a job I want.

I am getting to the point where I may take a permanent position with the school district-- same pay, probably, but with sick days and benefits and I could maybe go to the dentist-- and I know it's time to start up the realjob search again. I just need to remember that jobsearching is a job and it's not rude and antisocial to ignore my friends and roommates so I actually do it. I just wish jobsearching-is-a-job meant it paid me.

#509 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2011, 10:50 AM:

Diatryma @ 508... C'mon... You know you wanna my job, which means you need an Intervention. :-)

My best wishes in your search.

#510 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2011, 11:21 AM:

Interview with Amos Oz-- he describes Jews as the first Europeans, back before it was something people were begging to have a chance to be.

#503 Lenore Jean Jones:

My sympathies.

#511 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2011, 12:21 PM:

Kip @481: It took months for the mute to finally appear at the bottom of the piano [...] If it had dropped right down, I'd have had it in five minutes.

Because it is early in the morning and I am uncaffeinated, I immediately envisioned a little tiny mime (perhaps a mouse with beret, striped shirt, and face paint) base-jumping into a propped-open piano lid, setting up camp somewhere among the strings for the next few months, and occasionally popping back up to make rude gestures at your attempts to play Bach or a cool jazz riff etc.

#512 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2011, 12:37 PM:

#502 Serge
Back in the days of wirewrap circuit boards for RAM and giant high speed rotating drives for storage, one of the big monster rotating storage units parted company from its housing and went rolling away smashing -through- a wall at a university....

On the other hand... "electronic kills" are nearly completely disappointing as regards drama to visual observers--there is -nothing- to see, Newtonian physics means that a missile or warhead in ballistic flight and an airplane which was flying above its stall speed in "straight and level" flight to the casual observer continue in their flight trajectories, not dramatically going into corkscrew tumbles, not exploding, and not falling out of the sky suddenly. It's one of the drawbacks from a funding perspective, that the people who make budget decisions but have no tech sophistication/appreciation for recognizing there is a difference between inertia of "objects in motion stay in motion" and "live" munitions delivery systems when to the human eye they -look- exactly the same from the outside--same sort of folks as get fooled by canned demos and not insisting on proof that the demo is actually being run live from inside the box claimed to be running a live interactive demo, but instead of the case where the canned demo is the zombie persuading the audience that that demo is live and interactive and the box is running a for real live interaction session, the case is that the electronics killed weaponry -looks- like it's alive and working to the casual observer, and only checking for characteristics of a live system, will prove it's dead....

#503 Lenore Jean
Sympathy on the loss of one of your household.

#513 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2011, 01:09 PM:

Serge @ 502 -

Back when I was a computer operator, we had this sign in the machine room:

ACHTUNG! ALLES LOOKENSPEEPERS! Das computermachine ist nicht fuer gefingerpoken und mittengrabben. Ist easy schnappen der springenwerk, blowenfusen und poppencorken mit spitzensparken. Ist nicht fuer gewerken bei das dumpkopfen. Das rubbernecken sichtseeren keepen das cotten-pickenen hans in das pockets muss; relaxen und watchen das blinkenlichten.

I'm sure that was posted in a lot of computer rooms around the country.

I have to admit, we would sometimes turn the lights off and watch the light show on the front of the 360.

#514 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2011, 01:29 PM:

Paula @512

Isn't the point of some modern aircraft that they are inherently unstable, and need an active fly-by-wire system to maintain a stable attitude? Kill the electronics, and they cannot maintain stable flight.

#515 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2011, 02:20 PM:

Julie L: I don't remember the incident, but my sisters say that one of them once remarked that Grandma had a little hunchback, and I asked "Where does she keep it?"

Lenore @503: Yours is a human response. I'm sorry you have lost your kitty.

#516 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2011, 02:25 PM:

Steve C @ #513, I remember those lights. We never had the power go out at NavCommSta Japan, but our 360 did fail a few times, so we didn't even have its lights. Instead we had a DSTE terminal with really really slow throughput as backup.

#517 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2011, 02:26 PM:

Lenore @503 -- losing a cat has always been more painful than I thought it would be. I send sympathy.

#518 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2011, 03:04 PM:

Steve C. @ 513, that gave me the best laugh I've had in days--thanks.

Lenore @ 503, I am so sorry. Even when a situation has led me to think I was prepared for such an outcome, I never really was, so I can surely sympathize with you here. I hope you and the remaining furpeople are able to comfort each other.

#519 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2011, 03:13 PM:

Adventures in veterinary care, parte ye first:

After waking me up at three am for walkies, and then keeping me up with her whining and pacing, Ardala has finally made her scheduled visit with the vet, who has concluded the following:

It's not her teeth or anything in her mouth. Dog wee in bedroom points to possible bladder infection. X-rays show a bit of arthritis in the spine, with a concentration at the sacrum, leading to her gimpiness on her left hind leg and mildly inflamed pancreas indicates maybe a change of diet is in order. Pancreas panel and urinalysis ordered. At this point all we can rule out is lupus.

Ardala is currently waiting at the vet for them to get some urine (which is good, because I didn't especially enjoy chasing her around with a soup ladle last time). If it turns out it is another UTI, we're going to have to try and find a new dog walker with some sort of method in place to "clock in"; thrice in the last month we've discovered our current walker here over three hours late.

#520 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2011, 03:18 PM:

Lenore @503: My condolences on your loss. Even when we have time to make the decision, it hurts to lose a loved one.

#521 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2011, 04:18 PM:

nerdycellist #519: Oh dear. It sucks when the folks you're depending on aren't reliable, doesn't it. Good luck in figuring out what's troubling your dog. (I keep thinking the hyperactivity ought to be a Clew, but I have no idea what it would mean.)

#522 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2011, 04:46 PM:

Lenore @ 503: Condolences.

#523 ::: sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2011, 04:51 PM:

HLN: Local woman has lost neighborhood Catholic cred by placing elemental carved pumpkins out front of house with Turret! and Gargoyle! Photos inside.

#524 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2011, 05:10 PM:

Lenore at 503: so sorry. I wish you comfort.

nerdycellist at 519, I hope it's a simple, treatable issue that resolves with a minimum of hassle to the dog and to you.

#525 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2011, 05:21 PM:

NPR fires another free lancer, this time from WNYC-PRI co-produced program (which is really a brown-nosing pos for the corps anyway -- I can't listen to it at all -- el V's always getting invited to come on and after the fisrt time has refused ever since), The Takeaway.

Boing Boing is also involved, because they printed a photo the free lancer took -- for herself, not for The Takeaway. Story here.

Love, C.

#526 ::: Singing Wren ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2011, 06:57 PM:

Lenore: My sympathies.

OT - cooking:

My husband being away for the weekend, I took the advantage to play with vegetables. I thought I was going to make a vegetable soup. The result was actually vegetable stew. This is not a bad thing, as I'd been wondering how to make such a thing.


2 medium potatoes
1 acorn squash
3 carrots
3 stalks of celery
2 bell peppers
The last of the frozen pearl onions (2 c?)
2 (16 oz) cans vegetable broth
1 (10 oz) can Ro-Tel
2 c. high fiber rotini pasta

Peel and cut potatoes and squash into pieces (about 1/2 inch - size not very important). Place potatoes, squash, and both cans of broth into a dutch oven over medium heat. Peel and cut carrots into bite size pieces, and celery into pieces somewhat smaller. Add carrots and celery to dutch oven. Cover and cook over medium heat for approx. 45 minutes.

At 45 minutes, toss frozen onions directly into pot. Cut both bell peppers into bite size pieces (make them match the carrots, more or less). Add peppers to pot. Open can of Ro-Tel, and dump into pot, including any liquid. Measure pasta and add to pot. Cover and cook for about 7 more minutes. Uncover and discover pasta is not yet cooked. Leave uncovered, and continue cooking until pasta is al dente.

Serve with red wine. Makes far too much for one person.

The long cooking time for the squash and potatoes will cause both to fall apart, making for a nice thick, smooth texture. There are no added seasonings - the Ro-Tel adds both salt and heat. I meant to add a clove or two of garlic, but I didn't end up missing it.

#527 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2011, 07:05 PM:

Lenore @ 503:

My sympathies.

#528 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2011, 07:12 PM:

Linkmeister @ 516:

Holy nostalgia, batman. I worked in a commcenter in 1967 where the vendor reps were setting up an AUTODIN station. They plugged in serial number 4, IIRC, of that DSTE, and fried every single chip in the chassis. There was a little bit of smoke, but no sparks. Seems there was a short between the AC power input and the 5 volt power supply bus to the chips. Instant Fritos.

#529 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2011, 08:06 PM:

To go way back up to the topic of American vs. European anti-Semitism, I just ran across this passage in Chapter 23 of Mark Twain's The Innocents Abroad (1869), describing an imaginary Italian's attempts to tell his compatriots about America:

Jews, there, are treated just like human beings, instead of dogs. They can work at any business they please; they can sell brand new goods if they want to; they can keep drug-stores; they can practice medicine among Christians; they can even shake hands with Christians if they choose; they can associate with them, just the same as one human being does with another human being; they don't have to stay shut up in one corner of the towns; they can live in any part of a town they like best; it is said they even have the privilege of buying land and houses, and owning them themselves, though I doubt that, myself; they never have had to run races naked through the public streets, against jackasses, to please the people in carnival time; there they never have been driven by the soldiers into a church every Sunday for hundreds of years to hear themselves and their religion especially and particularly cursed; at this very day, in that curious country, a Jew is allowed to vote, hold office, yea, get up on a rostrum in the public street and express his opinion of the government if the government don't suit him!
#530 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2011, 08:14 PM:

Adventures in Veterinary Care, Part Deux: The Vettening:

No UTI, pancreatitis panel not submitted, as vet informed us she can't get separate bloodwork and the whole mega panel is rather expensive. She said even if the expensive extraneous panel came back indicating pancreatitis, she would just treat it with a few days of bland chicken and boiled potatoes, a pepcid every day forever (rather than just "as needed"), and different, lower fat food after the bland diet is done. So the "not eating" was probably due to an upset tummy.

The whining and pacing was most likely due to the arthritis, which is worse than we thought after her last exam. The xrays showed moderate arthritis at the sacrum, which was inflamed and apparently putting pressure on the bundle of nerves going down her left hind leg. She showed us the extend of the nerve damage by gently folding Ardala's toes backwards - first on the right foot, which she immediately flexed forward, and then on the left, which she didn't even seem to notice. Poor puppy. Reconfiguring a Honda Civic coupe for ease of arthritic corgi-mix entry will be challenging.

We really like this vet. She explains everything, is not afraid to do old-fashioned things like massage and stretching, and Ardala is miraculously relaxed around her, even on the scary vet counter. Boiling chicken for dinner now,

#531 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2011, 08:14 PM:

Bruce @ #528, NCSJ was the principal msg ctr for 7th fleet in 1972-1974 when I was there with that thing as backup to a 360/20 (ah, the 500-card program deck needed just to switch to a new Zulu date!). The 360 failed once for four days, and the base IBM tech rep couldn't fix it. He had to call in IBM Tokyo to get it working, which meant temporary clearances to our TS facility for several Japanese nationals.

Meanwhile, we were swamped with message traffic since the DSTE's top speed was 1200 baud.

#532 ::: Steve with a book ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2011, 08:33 PM:

Lila@529: that passage reminded me of something I'd read within the last month, and after a bit of digging I found that it was this interesting period piece from 1870, which contains some profoundly depressing anecdotes about Jewish life in the Papal States (and elsewhere). Via.

#533 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2011, 09:43 PM:

Re: Jews in Europe: It's important to remember that Jewish life was very restricted in many parts of Europe; Jews didn't congregate in certain sections of cities by choice but because laws restricted them to the ghetto. They worked in certain professions and not in others because laws restricted what jobs they could hold.

Anti-Semitism created the laws, but the laws reinforced anti-Semitism by keeping the Jewish people separate, which caused the non-Jewish populations to continually view them as "other." Though schools in the US had quotas for Jewish students and communities were "restricted," the web of laws that controlled Jewish life in Europe never existed in the US.

Which is not to say that quotas did not have an effect on Jewish people in the States; my grandfather could not get a job in his profession (he was a scientist) and was flat-out told that more than once that it was because "we already have enough Jews." OTOH, he became a public school teacher without trouble and loved his career, even though it wasn't what he originally chose.

My father used to tell stories of being chased and, if caught, beaten up by the Irish kids in his neighborhood, who beat him up because he was Jewish. But the family did not live in fear that someday there would be a knock on the door and they would be put out of their home.

#534 ::: Lenore Jean Jones/jonesnori ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2011, 10:07 PM:

Thanks, everyone. The other cats have been very comforting. I do get a twinge every time I walk by the open door of the room where Cookie used to live. She was 11, but I'd only had her for 3 years, after the friend who had her before moved. She was never the happiest cat in the world, but I did my best for her, and I think she was contented with me and came to trust me. She was still rubbing my hand in her last hour. Poor thing.

#530 ::: nerdycellist - I'm glad you're finding things out about your dog. Diagnosis is good, and being able to do something about it is even better.

#535 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2011, 10:19 PM:

Lila @ 529: To go way back up to the topic of American vs. European anti-Semitism, I just ran across this passage in Chapter 23 of Mark Twain's The Innocents Abroad (1869), describing an imaginary Italian's attempts to tell his compatriots about America

Sadly, that passage represent's Twain's attitudes, and describes legal rights that weren't necessarily available as a practical matter. While it was perfectly legal for anyone to run for office in 1869, I wonder how many Jewish candidates did, or won when they did? It was legal to buy land, but you can find deeds from much later than that where neighborhood organizations specified that a house could not be sold to a Jew (among other ethnic restrictions). I recall a conversation with my father in the 1970s about the two country clubs in the small city where we lived in SE Pennsylvania, and he mentioned that the more hoity-toity one didn't admit Jews.

Still, all in all, a paradise compared to what Steve with a book's link in 532 describes in the Papal States.

#536 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2011, 03:59 AM:

nerdycellist, as a check-in system for your dogwalker, would it work to get your dog a cheap cell phone? You could keep it with her leash, and when the dogwalker goes by to get her, he/she could send you a text using the phone.

Even if not viable, perhaps will spark a better idea.

Lenore, so sorry for your loss.

#537 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2011, 07:40 AM:

sisule @523. Turret! Gargoyle! They make the pumpkins much more impressive than they are on the steps to my little colonial.

#538 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2011, 07:52 AM:

I thought I remembered that at some point in the past six months to a year, someone posted a comment with simple instructions for roasting/toasting garbanzos, but I'm not finding it by searching within this site on garbanzo, chickpea, or chick pea. Can anybody help me out, either with a link or with a repeat of the instructions? Thanks.

#539 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2011, 09:51 AM:

#350 ::: Xopher HalfTongue:

That radio interview didn't activate my fear-of-anti-Semitism reflexes, my reaction was a combination of "Is that what normal people use for entertainment these days?" and "Isn't that playing into anti-Christian prejudice?". I noticed that the viewpoint character viewed drinking and extra-marital sex as temptations, but the murder as a sin (I think-- I haven't seen the show) but with no specific temptation involved.

#540 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2011, 01:28 PM:

Lenore @ 503: Condolences, and good wishes for all the rest of you.

#541 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2011, 01:36 PM:

#525 ::: Constance:

NPR reports on the issue. It strikes me as less than excellent, but I'm not sure what's missing.

#542 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2011, 01:40 PM:

OtterB at 538, coming right up:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Drain and rinse a can of garbanzo beans. Blot them dry. Spread on a baking sheet. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil over them, and use a spatula to turn them until all the peas have some oil on them. Season to taste: I use garlic powder, paprika, and a small amount of salt. If you like hot stuff, try cayenne pepper.

Bake 30 minutes, maybe a little longer. After you do it a few times, you'll figure out the best baking time. They have a tendency to burn in the last few minutes, so you want to remain watchful. (I usually smell it if that happens.)

I suspect if you'd searched for roasted chickpeas, you'd have found the recipe.

They have become my crunchy snack of choice. Enjoy.

#543 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2011, 02:17 PM:

HLN (or not so hyperlocal):
Got job with eSolar. Drove across country to LA. Found apartment. Started job. Liking it so far. I'm on the code side, but throwing things onto the lawn of the engineering side.

I started this post to say "I have almost no stuff except moving boxes, so my costume is a stegosaur. There is no sodomy planned" and then I realized I might have to give some background.

I don't know if this picture is visible at all to people who aren't logged onto facebook as me.

Hi everyone! I'm behind on my reading!

#544 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2011, 02:18 PM:

@ 541 --

That addresses previous news, that of Lisa Simeone and World of Opera. -- And she wasn't an acting spokesperson for Occupy Wall Street D.C. They out and out lied.

This is another, new, different freelancer dismissal, from the co-produced WNYC-PRI program The Takeaway.

#545 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2011, 02:26 PM:

Lizzy L, thanks

#546 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2011, 02:35 PM:

Sandy, picture is visible to me. Cute, simple idea!

#547 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2011, 02:36 PM:

@541 -- as for what might seem missing the comments by listeners make very clear what is missing -- and what is there -- i.e. they lied, they fudge, they are misleading what is going on, equating getting paid to do political commentary for the vile Fox news with doing work with OWS on your own time -- and not getting paid.

The listeners know darned well what they don't say while saying bs, and are calling them on it.

As for donating to public radio -- never never never again. This year that money went directly to a friend who is having such financial difficulty that when her last check got lost she literally was down to nothing to eat.

Love, C.

#548 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2011, 03:10 PM:

Update on my computer trials and tribulations, for them what care: Windows crashed, and the error message said it was probably the RAM. Memtest86 didn't show any errors, so it must have just been incompatible with my system. I was able to return the RAM, although there was a 15% restocking fee.

I had carefully bought the same speed RAM as was already in the PC, but it turns out that the system was running at a slower speed. So I bought new RAM at the slower speed. That also crashed Windows and is being returned.

At this point I think I'll just leave well enough alone. The computer takes a while to boot up, and to load programs, but it's fine after that. I will be buying a new system sooner than I had hoped. But not right now.

#549 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2011, 03:56 PM:

Mary Aileen... You showed more patience than I would have.

#550 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2011, 04:49 PM:

Mary Aileen: Is this a desktop?

If so, open it up and look at the motherboard under a bright light.

Look for electrolytic capacitors. Little cans with shiny aluminum tops, decorated with a cross.

If the tops are bulging, or leaking tan goo . . .yes, time for a new computer.

You can replace those, but it is generally not worth the time or trouble.

#551 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2011, 06:07 PM:

This year that money went directly to a friend who is having such financial difficulty that when her last check got lost she literally was down to nothing to eat.

I remember a time when my roommates and I were still a week from our next paychecks, and there was pretty much nothing edible in the house, and a friend of mine came by with one of her friends and said they were in the process of moving and had some leftover boxes and cans of food to get rid of. You can see our picture in the dictionary next to "pathetically grateful," or could last time I looked.

#552 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2011, 06:10 PM:

HLN: Man ends a week of tech support calls and multiple trips to Genius bar with a brand-new computer just like the old one, only with improvements including 50% larger hard drive and quad core processor, thanks to Apple Care.

Dictionary upgrades picture of "pathetically grateful" for first time in thirty years.

#553 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2011, 06:22 PM:

HLN: Woman goes to fabric store for "just a spool of thread," manages to escape with only five additional quarter-yard cuts for Christmas quilt which she wasn't really planning on making. Woman considers this a bargain and is worried about that little voice that sometimes says "chutney," because it wasn't talking much in the store.

#554 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2011, 07:07 PM:

Stefan Jones (550): Thanks for the tip. I just checked and those look fine.

The computer runs okay, it just takes a while to boot up and to load programs. The hard drive has lots of room left on it, too. (I'm not doing much with it besides word processing, web browsing, and some very basic photo editing.) I thought more memory would speed things up a little--and it did, except for the crashing problem.

I can live with the slow booting until I have enough spoons to deal with setting up a new computer. Not this year, I don't think.

#555 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2011, 07:49 PM:

Kip W @ 552... What's the Genius bar?

#557 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2011, 10:16 PM:

Mary Aileen, have you run a defrag utility recently? Heavily-fragmented disk drives can cause all sorts of weird shit to happen.

#558 ::: Syd, somewhat disguised ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2011, 10:59 PM:

Sandy B. @ 543...moving boxes? If the LA you reference is the one on the Pacific Ocean rather than the Gulf of Mexico, I would be happy to relieve you of said boxes. Although I can't afford to buy them from you. But if we're in the same neck of the woods, so to speak, and this idea is of use to you, let me know and I'll provide a real email address so we can discuss it.

#559 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2011, 11:07 PM:

Hyperlocal news... During Halloween party last night, man is called remarkably vertical.

#560 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2011, 12:06 AM:

Mary Aileen: Is fully reinstalling Windows an option?

I mean a total reinstall, over a formatted drive.

There might be creeping malware crud slowing things down. Just a possibility.

#561 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2011, 12:16 AM:

Lee (557): Yes, thanks, I tried defragging first, before buying the memory.

Stefan Jones (560): A full reinstall of Windows would require at least as many spoons* as a new computer, so that's not happening any time soon. Thanks for the suggestion, though.

*Just the thought of having to reinstall all my programs, set up the desktop and folders the way I want them, and restore all my files makes me tired.

#562 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2011, 01:08 AM:

LizzyL @ 542: I do my roasted chickpeas out of the gospel according to Bittman (aka How To Cook Everything), like so:

1. Rinse and drain canned/cooked chickpeas well.
2. Peel and mince a load of garlic, at least 1 tablespoon minced.
3. Heat up a 12-inch cast iron skillet (chosen because it can go both on stove and in oven). Meanwhile heat oven to 400 F.
4. Put a couple tablespoons olive oil in skillet.
5. Add chickpeas and garlic to skillet. Stir/toss for a couple minutes; season with salt and pepper.
6. Put skillet in the preheated 400 F oven for about 20 minutes. They're done when just starting to brown.
7. Put in bowl. Toss with more olive oil (a small drizzle, teaspoon magnitude), lemon juice (I usually do juice of 1/2 lemon), and more black pepper (and more salt if you like). Eat.

These made quite a splash when I served them at an impromptu gathering recently. People said they were going to go home and make themselves some. I was told they taste "like really good roasted chicken only better." Hadn't thought of it that way, but I can see it. I personally find them addictive.

#563 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2011, 01:22 AM:

Mary Aileen, my sympathies on the computer troubles. I still feel like my computer is failing me by not working as well at three or so as it did when I got it. I can't help but compare it to the desktop it replaced, which was seven years old, and that's not fair. The laptop hasn't had its video card, network card, and power supply replaced, and all it really needs is a nice new battery so I can use without the cord.

When I Am Rich, I will have another computer. But a lot of things will happen When I Am Rich.

#564 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2011, 01:39 AM:

Nearly all my moving boxes came from liquor stores. And I only had the one or two left. (Yes, this is Los Angeles. Where there is sun and lots of it.) I can probably get a couple boxes to you, if that will help.

#565 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2011, 05:19 AM:

Caroline @ 562: I am so going to try that, just as soon as I have a functioning cooker again. Many thanks!

#566 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2011, 10:17 AM:

Stefan Jones (560): Thanks for the suggestion about creeping malware crud. I downloaded Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware last night and ran a full scan; it found and cleaned out three suspicious things.

I also uninstalled Amazon Unbox, which I haven't been using. (I think it got slower after I installed that.)

It remains to be seen if either of those actually helped (I'm posting this from work; it was very, very late by the time the Anti-Malware finished), but I have hopes.

#567 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2011, 10:28 AM:

Steve C. @513:
I had one of those signs on the big computer (which was otherwise not interesting; only external light was on the power button) at my first job. Below it was another (and this is one place where I'm certain there are people who will get it; since it's not that obscure, it's somewhat depressing how rare that is):

I am the imp of the perverse
(knowing this won't help you, either)

#568 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2011, 10:31 AM:

(Said sign earned its place after a series of crashes was diagnosed as the OS swapping itself out.)

#569 ::: Joris M ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2011, 10:54 AM:

Teresa, I loved the nativity scenes linked in the sidebar.

#570 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2011, 11:11 AM:

geekosaur #568:

I heard about one of those once, happened long ago where DH was working. Dual Dec-10. Under certain circumstances it could get *very* confused.

#571 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2011, 11:42 AM:

I am struggling with a very different sort of problem... syncing an iPhone to Linux.

Installing iTunes 10 via PlayonLinux gives me something that's slower than sh*t, prone to crashing, and doesn't recognize the iPhone when it's connected. (I can mount the iPhone as a drive and copy the files, but at least some files aren't available that way.) The PlayonLinux site isn't very helpful.

Anyone have any ideas?

#572 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2011, 12:15 PM:

Lenore Jean Jones/jonesnori @503: Sadness.


#573 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2011, 12:20 PM:

Well, speaking of pets, I actually have some good news to report, for once.

That tumor that Tiny is suffering from; turns out it was not getting bigger; it was abscessing. "This is good news?"

Well, yes, actually. She managed to lance it herself, which is how I discovered this. A course of antibiotics and periodic Betadine flushings later, and she's looking much happier and more spry. Still has a half-inch-deep pit in her belly, but overall I'm much more optimistic about her prognosis than I have been in quite a while.

She's even gone back to being the dinnertime soloist.

#574 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2011, 12:26 PM:

Serge Broom @502: It was disappointing, in my last years of high school, to discover that real computers don't look like those in Irwin Allen's shows.

It's a total rip-off, is what it is. Here we were brought up to expect rows and banks of pretty das blinkenlights, and what we get is a tv with a typewriter tied to it.

I'm particularly fond of the Stargate productions' solution to this problem. Those panels of lights and such you see in the background? My understanding is that the technical term for those is "BLDs." "Blinking Light Devices."

#575 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2011, 12:26 PM:

Hm. I have somehow attracted the attention of the Gnomes.

#576 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2011, 12:31 PM:

Steve C. @513: Oh, so that's where that reference comes from! Thank you. Thank you also for causing me to ream my sinuses, she said dryly.

#577 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2011, 12:35 PM:

Jacque @573: Glad Tiny is feeling better!

#578 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2011, 12:54 PM:

nerdycellist @519: UTIs are very wierd things. My Gustav has been losing hair for the last month or two, with no other discernable symptoms. She finally started showing overt blood in her pee, so at last she got a trip to the vet and a tiny bottle of Baytril plus Metacam (otherwise known in our house as Weasel Juice).

Unfortunately, it wasn't until yesterday that I remembered to get a bottle of Knudsen's Cranberry Juice Concentrate for her, too. (Alas, she seems to have lost her love of syringe-food, which means we get to have twice-daily wrestling matches.)

Do they have some sort of doggy cranberry supplement? I've seen a powdered version for cats.

#579 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2011, 01:12 PM:

Continuing the pet health theme:

I took my hyperthyroidic cat for his regular follow-up and checkup this past weekend. It now seems that his thyroid hormone levels are too low, which can lead to kidney problems, apparently, so I have to change his meds to a lower dose and take him back in a month for a new blood test.

Other than that, he's doing very well. He gained weight and is now 3.325 KG (7.33 lbs, ish). He can stand to take on a little more, but the trend is good. She was actually surprised to see how good his muscle tone and general health was - he's 16, but she said she would have guessed younger just by his checkup.

I hate that I have to take him back so soon - the visits are so stressful for him, even though all the doctors and techs are very good and let me hold him through all the prodding and bloodletting. It always takes him at least a full day to recover, during which he MUST NOT BE SEPARATED FROM ME EVER.

Still, much better news than it could have been, so I'm happy with it overall.

#580 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2011, 01:22 PM:

Sandy B. @543: Yaayyyy!!!! An actual job in your desired field. W00t!!!

#581 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2011, 01:38 PM:

Cheryl @578: I hate that I have to take him back so soon - the visits are so stressful for him

I've always wondered if a shot of oxytocin before the vet visit would make any difference.

I'm very lucky; my pigs trust me enough that they will actually even tolerate having tumors aspirated without uttering a peep. (Although I'm a little ticked at one of my vets; she didn't give me a chance to get Gustav combobulated before palpating her belly, which was very tender, and thus made Gustav cry piteously.) It's amazing what they will put up with if you hold their face and talk to them calmly while the procedure is being performed.

#582 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2011, 02:07 PM:

I've always wondered if a shot of oxytocin before the vet visit would make any difference.

I don't know about oxytocin, but low-dose narcotics work for babies.

When our youngest was in the hospital (3 months old) we asked that they give him a small dose of a narcotic (I think they used fentanyl) when setting IV's. (As he was on multiple non-compatible medications, he had a lot of IV's). It made a huge difference in how upset he got during and after.

#583 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2011, 02:12 PM:

Cheryl @578: Glad to hear your cat is doing well and sympathies on the looming return to the vet. My guy (kidney disease) is supposed to go every 6 months for weight check and blood/urine work as needed (urine definitely needed as he must have just gone right before I took him last time). He's 13ish and Large, and Does Not Enjoy the Vet, so I hate to take him. Plus, they squeeze his belly, which he generally doesn't like touched under the best of circumstances.

(btw, you can see a not very good picture of him here: He's Alex, 10th photo down)

There was an interview with a cat photographer in the NYTimes Magazine on Sunday. He says he's photographed hundreds of thousands of cats over the decades. The remark of his that struck me most was this: "The first reaction of any cat when you take them somewhere they don’t know is, Oh, is this the vet?"

#584 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2011, 02:52 PM:

Sorry to hear of pet illnesses.

I sometimes wonder if my dog, whose only health scare at age ten has been a spurious lump, is like the Parson's One Horse Shay, and will suddenly just fall apart one day, every bit separated from the other.

#585 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2011, 03:18 PM:

@580, 581, 582

He never fights or cries, he just sort of freezes, and stares at me with huge eyes while his fur falls out. He's not aggressive, he's just plainly terrified.

I'll ask about a tranq for next visit, although if I'm having to worry about his kidneys now, I'll worry about too many meds making those worse...

And Alex is a cutie! My little fellow is all black, and his furry brother (similar age but no health problems so far, knock on wood) is orange, so they make a dandy Hallowe'en decoration when they sit in the window.

*And can I take a sec to fall in love with 'Stilts' expression in the pic a few above your fellow? I'm afraid I'm having the standard XKCD reaction to all these cat photos!

#586 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2011, 04:00 PM:

Cheryl @585: There were some very lovely kitties in the poll. All the winners were marmalade cats, which makes sense if you've read the books. I would love a marmalade cat, but I'm rather fond of basic tabby (2 of my 4 cats have been black/brown tabbies, as luck would have it. The other two were a Russian Blue/tortie mix--she looked all Blue and was mute but I saw her littermates--and an Aby/tabby mix who was very conversational).

I somehow missed that XKCD, which just made me LOL. Too true!

#587 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2011, 04:23 PM:

Cheryl @ #585 -

My last cat, Spot, reacted that way with the vet. He could somehow increase his density (the poor boy was already 20 lbs) and just sort of go limp, ejecting tufts of fur at regular intervals. He never scratched or bit anyone. On one memorable occasion, the vet tech, clad in cat-proof gauntlets and rubber apron and holding a terrified Spot from under his armpits, passed him over the counter to me, at which time he promptly peed all over my favorite sweater. He was too scared to pee on the vet tech, who was at least clad for such a contingency. Of course, we could hardly blame him; he had a very tragic kittenhood, starting with being a stray, being mauled by an Irish setter, and then having kidney stones so severe they had to remove his, uh, equipment. If that happened to me in my first two years, I don't think I'd ever go back to the doctor again.

Spot eventually lived to be 20, but never liked the cat carrier, car rides or the vet.

#588 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2011, 04:35 PM:

nerdycellist @ 587... My last cat, Spot

A fan of ST-TNG, eh?

#589 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2011, 04:35 PM:

Oh! Poor Spot! R has never pee'd on me, though he does stick his claws into my shirts in an effort to not be separated from me.

He was abused before being rescued and coming to me, which is why, I guess, he's so afraid of strangers. It took so long to get him accustomed to me, and to a certain extent, my mother (she kitty-sits when I'm away), but once he did, he seemed to thoroughly decide that I am his One And Only Person.

He accepts my mother as someone who may be trusted to provide food and clean the box. He rewards her for this by allowing her an occasional head-pat. It still surprises me that he'll let her pill him, as long as she has cookies in her hand!

#590 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2011, 04:57 PM:

Cheryl #585, nerdycellist #587: Um, wait, cats lose fur from being scared? I had not heard of that... OK, there are similar some (possibly folkloric) human cases, but that parallel makes me hurt for those cats!

#591 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2011, 04:57 PM:

SamChevre @582: we asked that they give him a small dose of a narcotic (I think they used fentanyl) when setting IV's.

One of those BFO* "Well, duh!" moments: Last time I had to have a mega-dose of antibiotic injected into my butt, they bundled a painkiller in with it. Which meant that I could actually walk during the week after the shot. What a concept.

Cheryl @585: I'm afraid I'm having the standard XKCD reaction

You should hear me talking to my guinea pigs. Downright sickening.


* Blinding Flash of the Obvious

#592 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2011, 04:59 PM:

David Harmon @590: Um, wait, cats lose fur from being scared? I had not heard of that...

Basically, anything with fur will do that. There's even a technical term, which I forget (paging Ginger...).

#593 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2011, 05:11 PM:

Re: Serge Broom @ 588:

nerdycellist @ 587... My last cat, Spot

A fan of ST-TNG, eh?

Yes, but which version of Spot? The original exotic-longhair Spot, or the post-transporter accident orange tabby Spot? Or the post-second-transporter-accident Spot who switched from male to female?

Why, yes, I do take issue with changing important details of a character--or a character's pet, if you prefer--simply because the original "portrayor" is no longer available (e.g., original Spot cat-actor died) or to fit the exigencies of story ("We need a pregnant animal to give birth while Picard and Data are off the ship in order to suggest to Data the correct logical path to solve the Dilemma of the Week! Let's use Spot--she can have kittens!" "Uh...earlier this season, we had Data hand Spot to Worf with extensive instructions to 'play with him, tell him he is a good cat' and so on. You think the fans aren't going to notice?" "It's just a cat..."). Why do you ask?

#594 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2011, 05:21 PM:

Syd @ 593... Never let the truth stand in the way of a story. That being said, I could ask then-storyeditor Melinda Snodgrass if she was involved. She herself has a cat named Gozer the Gozarian who very much likes George RR Martin's lap.

#595 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2011, 05:37 PM:

I actually am a fan of ST:TNG, and Data in particular, but my Spot pre-dated Data's Spot by around a decade. He was black and white, docile, fat, and had a hernia which caused his lower belly to hang a little lower than the rest of him. Due to general anxiety, he would overgroom that lower belly so his pink flesh showed through. Looked like he was wearing a Holstein costume.

He adopted us when my dad was in the hospital for a knee surgery and subsequent infection (gained at a hospital where his doctor would stash band-aids at the top of door-jambs. Nice.) so he only really let dad pet him after about 15 years. He was timid, but sweet. I miss having a kitty.

#596 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2011, 06:53 PM:

Me (566): Now home, computer not booting noticeably* faster after eliminating malware and an unnecessary program.


*Okay, maybe a little faster. A teeny-tiny, itsy-bitsy, little bit faster.

#597 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2011, 07:03 PM:

Our rat terrier, Spencer, has very short, coarse hair, which he sheds at a constant low level most of the time. Because he's black & white, there's always some hair that will show up on any background. When he gets anxious, such as when we take him to the vet, he starts shedding at a high rate, and I swear I've seen the hair ejected ballistically and fly across the room.

#598 ::: sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2011, 07:32 PM:

I have a grey tabby shorthair and a black and white (Holstein) long hair, both with white undercoats. This is the reason I own a lot of black/white/gray tweed/herringbone/shot pants and blazers. I always have cat hair on my slacks. I love them, though.

#599 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2011, 08:03 PM:

Caroline @562 that sounds really good.

#600 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2011, 08:14 PM:

Hyperlocal news... Man driving past the police station and the detention center near work sees a woman wearing a star-spangled mini-skirt, and a cape with a double "W".

#601 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2011, 09:01 PM:

David, #571: My partner suggests ditching iTunes altogether in favor of MP3 software which is native to Linux, of which he swears there are several varieties; further than that respondent knoweth not.

Jacque, #574:
"I had to have a console just to make my system run;
Without a fancy console, then my system wasn't done.
So I tied a ten-buck typer to a broken TV tube,
And now I've got a console that can write the evening news!"
- "Do It Yourself", words and music © Bill Sutton

Melissa, #583: I thought that was a very good picture, of very nearly Playcat quality! Something about his expression strongly suggests "bedroom eyes".

Serge, #588: That's exactly why our most recent feline acquisition got the name Spot. Well, that and that she does have well-defined spots...

David, #590: Oh, yes -- stress-shedding is very common among cats. Most of mine have done it to some extent whenever they visited the vet.

Syd, #593: The original portrayer of Spot was a Somali, which is the long-haired version of the Abyssinian (although by Persian standards they only count as a medium-hair). And no, you weren't the only person who noticed and was bothered by the changes. Spot's not a Timelord!

#602 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2011, 09:43 PM:

Mary Aileen @596: My (free-version) AVG anti-virus software suggested it would be a good idea to upgrade to the paid version, which would be able to clean up my Registry to the benefit of my computer. I took the hint and looked online for a freeware program which would do that. It did seem to have cleaned up a fair bit of kruft, but this computer has seen a lot of use, and over the years programs have been installed and removed — the clean-up removed registry entries that the program uninstalls failed to pick up after.

Someone more knowledgeable might comment whether that does in fact provide any benefit.

#603 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2011, 10:18 PM:

Rob Rusick (602): What registry cleaner did you end up using?

#604 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2011, 10:46 PM:

Serge, can I submit a new Making Light and faces photo? I've forgotten where to send it.

#605 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2011, 10:59 PM:

Lila @ 604... Pictures for "Making Light and Faces" should be sent to sergeunderscoreljatcomcastdotnet.

#606 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2011, 11:39 PM:

Jacque @592: Telogen effluvium? Blowing coat?

The FG's Fabulous Daughter's cat just had a bout of excessive shedding, to the detriment of the Fabulous Son-in-Law. It followed her abrupt transition from the FG's house to the FD/FSiL's new apartment. Endocrine stress can cause the hair follicles to -- as they say -- synchronously cease anagen phase.

#607 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2011, 11:43 PM:


Area corgi-mix recovering from pancreatitis well, has expressed desire to stay on bland (all chicken) diet rather than transition back to kibble. Pain from arthritis being managed and stairs avoided.

In related news, area servant monkey bakes celebratory batch of chocolate- and butterscotch- chip pecan cookies. And there was much rejoicing.

#608 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2011, 11:45 PM:

I'm not a fan of zombies, but I like this:

Oregon chapter of the Zombie Squad teaches disaster preparedness in the guise of getting ready for the zombie apocalypse:

#609 ::: Lenore Jean Jones/jonesnori ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2011, 11:58 PM:

#607 ::: nerdycellist - I'm glad your dog is doing better. Bland chicken sounds better than kibble to me, too. But I'll take the cookies by preference!

#610 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2011, 03:19 AM:

Rob @602

A Windows Registry with a lot of crud is consuming memory that it doesn't need to.

Some of the Registry Cleaners advertised as free are fear-inspiring demo programs. They tell you what's wrong, but you have to buy the full version to fix it.

I have used Eusing Registry Cleaner, which is genuinely free, and seems to have made a noticeable difference to my system.

So I don't think using one is stupid, but tread carefully.

#611 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2011, 07:57 AM:

nerdycellist @607: glad to hear your dog is better.

My kitty is the opposite--complains whenever we take away his kibble . . . .

#613 ::: E. Liddell ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2011, 10:15 AM:

David@571: Full instructions for working with iPhones with native software under Ubuntu can be found at, and can probably be adjusted for other distros—the main requirement seems to be the presence of libimobiledevice (or a jailbroken phone plus iFuse).

Alternatively, if you have a Windows install disc handy and your heart is absolutely set on using iTunes, you could try using VirtualBox to run Windows inside your Linux. (PlayonLinux and the other WINE derivatives are, IMNSHO, largely a waste of time, because WINE itself is painfully unstable, subject to constant regressions, and the devs there seem to be mostly interested in getting games to work, not more useful software.)

#614 ::: Jennifer Baughman ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2011, 12:53 PM:

Mary Aileen @603:

If it's a Windows box, I highly recommend running Piriform's CCleaner; it's a free (donationware) program that cleans up temp folders, browser cache folders, and the registry, and backs up the registry before making changes. It will also clean out excess cookies (though it does have a function to allow you to keep necessary cookies).

I'm a techie, and I love this program; I have it on every computer I use (including work), and I run it about once a week. I haven't had to reinstall my OS since I put Win7 on it originally, and it's still running strong.

I also strongly recommend the Microsoft security suite, as it's lighter-weight than both AVG and Avast, and doesn't nag you to upgrade.

#615 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2011, 01:46 PM:

Jennifer Baughman (614): Thanks. That looks promising.

#616 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2011, 04:24 PM:

And the winner in the category of most egregious use of quotation marks in a headline is NPR News for:

Hundreds Of Millions Missing From MF Global, 'New York Times' Reports

"They said they were the New York Times, but we haven't been able to confirm that."

#617 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2011, 04:24 PM:

And the winner in the category of most egregious use of quotation marks in a headline is NPR News for:

Hundreds Of Millions Missing From MF Global, 'New York Times' Reports

"They said they were the New York Times, but we haven't been able to confirm that."

#618 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2011, 04:26 PM:

Oops, those quotes must have confused me into double-posting. Sorry.

#619 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2011, 06:51 PM:

Lee #601, E. Liddell #613: The problem is actually that I don't care about the music, I want the backup provided by Syncing -- not to mention file transfer and the like! (The simple drag-and-drop from the mounted "iPhone" got 5 directories, which do not seem to include the phonebook or calendar.)

Also, I'm getting an iPad soon, and then the file transfer will become far more important.

I have a disk for Windows 98, but I'd really rather not have to try and set up a dual-boot system just now, especially as that requires backing up my Ubuntu stuff, to be reinstalled after the Windows installer wipes the disk.

#620 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2011, 09:12 PM:

Mary Aileen @603: Rob Rusick (602): What registry cleaner did you end up using?

The one I downloaded was called 'Free Window Registry Repair', which I had originally got (I believe) from this CNET site. I found another download site and description of the program here. The version I had downloaded was 2.0 — I note it is currently at 2.5.

I notice Dave Bell and Jennifer Baughman make recommendations also, and possibly you have already downloaded one of these.

#621 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2011, 09:31 PM:

Jennifer Baughman at 614, thank you for that recommendation. I've been looking for a good cleaner since I got a new computer in July and by default, began using Windows 7. I downloaded the free version of Piriform CCleaner as you suggested. I've had no particular trouble with the new machine, but it's always good to clean the system regularly and I was kind of looking for a recommendation... Serendipity. Again, thanks.

#622 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2011, 09:33 PM:

Lila... Yours is now one of the visages of "Making Light and Faces" right HERE.

#623 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2011, 09:49 PM:

Hyperlocal news... Man buys DVD of Charlton Heston's "The Omega Man" for $5.99. Man's spouse makes retching noises.

#624 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2011, 10:13 PM:

Serge: thank you! Also, apparently I'm from the FUTURE! Which is cool.

#625 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2011, 10:30 PM:

Rob Rusick (620): Thanks. I looked at all three of those but haven't downloaded anything yet. Right now I'm leaning toward the Piriform CCleaner.

#626 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2011, 10:52 PM:

According to the NYT via Google News, BofA is abandoning its plan to charge some debit card users $5 a month for the use of their own money.

*raises fist high*


#627 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2011, 11:12 PM:

Lizzy L @ 626... Wells Fargo also gave up on that idea.

#628 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2011, 11:14 PM:

Lila @ 624... While you're bouncing around the Corridors of Time, watch out that you don't bump into Tony Newman and Doug Phillips otherwise you'll never make it back home.

#630 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2011, 08:17 AM:

Serge writes in #623:

Man buys DVD of Charlton Heston's "The Omega Man" for $5.99. Man's spouse makes retching noises.

She Knew The Job Was Dangerous When She Took It.

#631 ::: Cat Meadors ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2011, 08:48 AM:

Yesterday my daughter posed me a question I couldn't answer, so I thought I'd come to the experts.

Are there any kids' books that have bad endings? At first I said oh, sure, I can think of three off the top of my head, but then she differentiated "bad" from "unhappy" - they have to be books where "the bad guys win but the good guys don't die," so none of the dead dog books qualify. Also book 2 of a trilogy doesn't count, because the *story* has a happy ending even if the book doesn't. (Which she phrased as "serious stories with lots of books always have triumphant endings even if some of the books make it look like the heroes will be defeated" which kind of cracked me up but I knew what she meant. Kid reads a lot.)

#632 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2011, 10:11 AM:

Cat Meadors @631: Kin Platt is the man for you. I'm loath to simply blab the endings of books, but you might be able to find synopses of some of his works online. They're sort of borderline YA, but a couple of ones I've read are kind of downers that start with a bad situation, and by the end, it's downright hopeless.

Maybe that's not what you're after.

#633 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2011, 11:06 AM:

Well Ardala's behavior seems to have reverted to what we originally called the vet about. She is eating better (if only to prove to us that she is talented enough to eat balls of mushed up boiled chicken and starchy potato and SPIT OUT THE POTATO like some kind of tuber-hating ninja) but she's back to the pacing, panting, whining escalating to almost yodelling, not wanting pettings or cuddlings, etc. No further peeing in the house though. Woke me up at 3 this morning. I took her out in case she needed to pee, which she did but it didn't appear desperate. Kept me up the rest of the morning.

I am at the end of my tether. Her medications are being administered regularly and she is making her dislike of 50% of the bland diet known so we're now starting to do chicken mixed with her regular stuff (she prefers the chicken). Is this just behavioral? Is she acting out with bad herding behavior at night? Has the expectoration of half of her diet made her hungry and distracted? Can I just get a sedative for her? Or is there a medical reason for this that was missed?

Dang, I need to get some sleep.

#634 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2011, 11:15 AM:

Syd @593: Let's use Spot--she can have kittens!" "Uh...earlier this season, we had Data hand Spot to Worf with extensive instructions to 'play with him, tell him he is a good cat' and so on. You think the fans aren't going to notice?" "It's just a cat..."). Why do you ask?

Of course, discovering that a "male" cat is female by producing a litter of kittens is an event with no precedent... ;-)

#635 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2011, 11:25 AM:

Ginger @606: synchronously cease anagen phase.


#636 ::: Jennifer Baughman ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2011, 11:36 AM:

To all who get use out of the suggestion, I'm very happy to help! I would be very wary of other registry cleaners, especially those that are heavily-advertised; I tend to suspect those of carrying malware loads.

#637 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2011, 11:39 AM:

nerdycellist @633: Is her behavior consistently timed? Do you live in a discrete house, or do you have neighbors in adjoining apartments?

Reason I ask is that it took me a while to work out that sometimes my guinea pigs "random" reactions are actually in response to hearing my neighbors moving about. ("Ah! Human is up! Time to play/eat!")

Is there maybe some kind of subtle auditory signal she might be responding to?

#638 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2011, 12:15 PM:

"Realms of Fantasy" is no more.

#639 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2011, 01:06 PM:


Does anyone know where I can purchase some no-longer-in-production yarn? Specifically, Coats Opera #5, white. I've contacted the company, and they said that they no longer make that yarn and suggested searching the internet, but I've had no luck.

Some time ago, my mum wanted to crochet a tablecloth; she found a pattern, bought the specified number of yarn balls* and then put the whole thing away until she finished one of the 5 she already had going.♪ She got a little of the way in, decided she hated the pattern, and switched to a different one, only noticing once she was halfway through that she would not have enough yarn to complete the project.

She doesn't care about dye lot, since the difference between 'white' and 'white' should not be very noticeable, she thinks, and anyway she's prepared to live with it, or maybe bleach it, or something. She just wants to finish the tablecloth!

*I guess they're called balls? They're wound around some kind of stiff cardboard, not like the skeins of knitting yarn with which I'm more familiar. I did not inherit the handwork gene, I'm afraid. I'd rather sew.
♪She generally has one for each room, one portable in a bag, plus one she has put away for now and will get back to later

#640 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2011, 01:15 PM:

Via NPR: photographer documents the suitcases left behind by patients in a mental asylum.

Anyone who was looking for a subject for a short story or poem, you're welcome.

#641 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2011, 01:33 PM:

Jacque -

We live on the top floor of an apartment building that is one of the quietest I've ever lived in. Every now and again a downstairs neighbor will put on some sort of dance music that shakes our floor, but that never lasts past 9. Sometimes you can hear our next door neighbor take his chihuahuas out by the sound of the door and the jingling of the dog tags, but that's about it. We're starting to worry that Ardala's escalating whining is going to carry through the building.

When we're awake, it's easy to do the right thing behaviorally and just ignore her. We've also noticed calmer behavior from her when we're both within eyesight - in the same room or similar. That she gets increasingly hysterical in the evening, when we retire to our separate rooms, makes me think it's her latent herding instinct. She gets so wound up that even when we sat in the living room to feed her this morning she just kept pacing, making the odd distracted pass at the food dish, occasionally stopping for food presented as a "treat" (we make her sit, or down, and then give it like a reward. she got bored with that too). She doesn't seem to be able to "settle".

Of course, I also thought the initial problem had to do with her teeth, and that was wrong. Maybe it's not herding behavior at all. Maybe she's trying to tell us she's hungry, or wants to watch the SyFy channel or something.

On the positive side, I modified pericat's advice at #536 and called the boss of the dogwalking company we use. She apologized profusely and agreed to have our dogwalker call one of us at work from our home phone (we do not have a spare cell) when he stops in. He has a two hour window, which I feel is generous. She has also requested a spare set of keys and will be checking in with him herself so that if he's unable to make it to our place in time, she will take Ardala out.

#642 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2011, 01:38 PM:

Cheryl (649): Is this it, by any chance? Here's more of the same.

#643 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2011, 02:25 PM:

@642 Mary Aileen

No, that's acrylic, while this one is cotton.

It's also not "Coats & Clark", it's "Coats Opera" (although they are the same company, really).

Thanks for looking.

#644 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2011, 02:27 PM:

This is what I'm looking for, for a bit more info.

#645 ::: E. Liddell ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2011, 02:30 PM:

David Harmon@619: The reason I suggested VirtualBox is that it's a way to install a copy of Windows without the extra hassle that goes with setting up a dual-boot and having Windows trash your Linux setup. VirtualBox is a Type-2 hypervisor—essentially, it emulates a blank set of PC hardware to which you can install an operating system without overwriting your hard drive (what it sees as the "hard drive" is actually a large file on your real system). You can then run the "guest" operating system inside a window on your real desktop.

Your Linux distribution will probably have packages for VirtualBox and/or VMWare Player, another free Type-2 hypervisor.

Mind you, using a hypervisor still does mean running through the Windows installation process, but honestly, if there's a specific piece of Windows software that you need to run, my experience is that it's usually a more effective and stable solution than a WINE overlay like PlayonLinux, and less tedious than a dual-boot.

(And don't I sound pretentious? Sigh.)

#646 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2011, 03:24 PM:

Cheryl: Ravelry will show a list of people who have a specific yarn in their stash, and some of these people are willing to part with it. Joining is free.

I'd also look all over eBay, and check there regularly, as new items will show up all the time.

#647 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2011, 03:44 PM:

@646 fidelio

Thanks, I will check out Ravelry. I'd seen it mentioned here before, but it seemed kind of large and intimidating. I'll screw up my courage and jump in, I guess.

I'll check eBay as well.

#648 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2011, 03:51 PM:

Cheryl (647): I checked eBay again with the additional information from your link, and didn't see anything that looked right. But fidelio is correct that new listings go up all the time. One tip for eBay: don't get too specific in your search terms, as some sellers don't put all the pertinent information in the title.

#649 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2011, 04:09 PM:

Cheryl @647 -- I just took a look on Ravelry, and it looks like a couple of people have some stashed, though not very much in the color you're looking for. At the very least, you might be able to ask them where -they- got it. (and if you want help navigating through Rav, feel free to email me, minus the 'nospam')

I can also take a look in a couple of German yarn stores, on the off chance that it's still being manufactured here. How much does your mom need?

#650 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2011, 04:15 PM:

E. Liddell #645: Hmm, that sounds promising. I'm still worried about system load, but I'll at least try it.

#651 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2011, 05:27 PM:

The last doggeh update, I promise!

Adventures in Veterinary Care: Revenge of the Osteophyte -

Talked to a different vet at the clinic. They DID send the bloodwork in. They didn't charge us because it came in so much higher than the estimate. IT'S NOT PANCREATITIS!!!! However, she does have pretty severe arthritis in her back, and it's called Spondylosis. She's been in intense pain all this time. He prescribed another pain med on top of the Metacam. She can eat whatever she wants, and we should also start her on glucosamine immediately. Relieved! And somewhat guilty that I wanted to throttle her this morning.

#652 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2011, 05:34 PM:

nerdycellist @641: The reason I ask is that if one of your neighbors has installed one of those sonic rodent repellents, I would think that would drive a dog mad mad I tell you mad. If her behavior shows changes associated with time, I'd wonder about things going on that she could hear but humans couldn't.

#653 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2011, 05:37 PM:

Cat Meadors at 631, The Prince of Mist by Carlos Ruiz Zafon was incredibly depressing for me because it's YA and nothing the POV characters do matters. Bad guy wins, full stop. It's not hugely old YA, either, so it would probably be fine for a middle-grade reader.

#654 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2011, 05:43 PM:

nerdycellist @651: Poor doggie! Poor servent monkeys! Yes, I've experienced dogs being clingy in response to chronic pain.

Cheryl @644: Ya mean kinda like this? Or are you looking specifically for second-hand?

#655 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2011, 05:48 PM:

Oooh, I never thought about sonic rodent repellents! Other than a surfeit of squirrels (this truly is a canine paradise) I haven't seen any rodents in the two-ish years we've lived there. Of course, that could mean widespread use of sonic rodent repellents...

So damn relieved I can't even express it. Now not only will my pup feel better with a minimum of change to her lifestyle, I might possibly be able to afford a dining table big enough for the dinner and cocktail parties we've been hosting! (huzzah, craigslist).

#656 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2011, 06:31 PM:

@649 Debbie

I would very much appreciate the help with Ravelry! I didn't have much time to look today, but it seems they have a heckuva lot of stuff in there...

I don't think ML shows your email. Unless I'm not looking properly?

@654 Jacque
That seems to be size 10. My mum needs size 5. I'll take new or clean second-hand.

#657 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2011, 06:44 PM:

HLN: Area Man and Amazing Girlfriend to look at apartment together this evening. If successful, would be Very Easy Move for Area Man [across street and two buildings over]; almost as easy for Amazing Girlfriend [two blocks].

Here's hoping.

#658 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2011, 09:00 PM:

nerdycellist @651: Yay for progress on the doggie health front!

#660 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2011, 12:33 AM:

Earl @ 659

I resemble that remark... (My husband and I have occasionally had people directed to "just look for the hobbit couple, it should be really obvious.")

That said, I am in complete awe of that conversation...

#661 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2011, 01:18 AM:

The topology of gerrymandered districts is becoming increasingly complex as the donkeys and the elephants battle it out for control of the (increasingly irrelevant) Congress. At some point I suspect that a district will become so twisted that it will be homeomorphic to a Klein bottle and the population will be set adrift in 4-space. Since almost no one in America has studied math in school anymore, most of them will be unable to figure out how to get back, and the wingnuts will have yet another reason to revile science. "Oh, the Humanity!"

#662 ::: E. Liddell ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2011, 09:12 AM:

David Harmon@650: System loading can be adjusted to some extent—there are settings for what percentage of time on how many processor cores, how much memory, etc. the guest system can use. I've never tried the percentage limiter (seems pointless when I usually have a core to spare), but the other settings do seem to work.

#663 ::: Cat Meadors ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2011, 10:48 AM:

Thanks for the book suggestions - I'll check them out. I'm a little leery of actually giving them to my daughter, but when I said some people were giving me names of unhappy books she was *really* excited, so... er, yay?

Also I have to say big thanks for all of Jim's "what to do in an emergency" posts. This morning a man at the gym had a heart attack, and, well, he was still alive when the paramedics took him out, so that's a good thing. I think we did everything right, and at least we didn't do anything wrong (except for nobody at the gym having a working cell phone on them, but it's in a building we have to leave to get reception anyway). Luckily said gym is less than a mile from the hospital, so I'm feeling hopeful for him. None of us even know his name, but he was a young guy, seemed more or less in shape - very scary. And now I will actually heed the warnings not to work out by yourself that are posted all over the place. And get better about keeping my phone charged and accessible. (I bought the stupid thing for emergencies, and the one time there actually is one I can't use it. Yep, kicking myself pretty hard over that one.)

#664 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2011, 10:49 AM:

E. Liddell #662: I don't usually have that core to spare. I installed the packages, but something seems missing... oh yeah, documentation! The virtualbox (1) command gives a handful of options, but no information on how to set up a VM as such....

<Grumble, snort>. I will try googling around, but that's not encouraging.

#665 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2011, 12:58 PM:

David@664 - there should be a virtualbox gui that will guide you through all of that. Once it's up,it should be obvious how to create a vm, give it some basic parameters, and tell it to boot using the cd in the drive (or an .iso image, which is waaaay faster).

(but personally, I use kvm and virt-manager when I need a console)

#666 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2011, 02:00 PM:

This seems a good moment to link to a conversation about Occupy Mordor (discovered via Earl Cooley III's link).

#667 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2011, 02:57 PM:

In the "if you don't read Ta-Nehisi Coates, you should" file.

This awesome piece on family history and its echoes into the present.

#668 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2011, 03:08 PM:

Do you know someone who works in Child Protective Services? If so, would that person be willing to answer some questions my wife has, for the novel she's writing? Here's what she says: "...I have a rather involved scenario involving homeless streets kids and murders they witnessed, and need to know what would happen to the kids under specific circumstances..."


#669 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2011, 03:19 PM:


I keep wondering whether Amazing Girlfriend is any relation to Fabulous Girlfriend....

#670 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2011, 03:36 PM:

albatross @669: Thanks for the laugh! At least Benjamin doesn't refer to her as the AG, because I would totally read that as Attorney General instead.

#671 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2011, 04:41 PM:

Cheryl, it looks like there's one person on Ravelry willing to sell some of that yarn in the color you're after:

(I don't know if you can see that if you aren't a member of Ravelry, but it's free to join.)

#672 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2011, 04:42 PM:

My problem with FG is that "Fabulous" is *never* the word that comes to mind, being a techie, and having RTFM for years.

But as she's not *my* FG (after all, there's someone in my life who might have something to say about that!) I guess it doesn't matter.

(matter, matter, matter, matter!)

And as far as whether the alternate reading is also correct, I am *so* not going there.

#673 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2011, 05:04 PM:

#659, #661:

Redistricting is a mathematical puzzle to work out with census data and maps. It's also a chess game where players must anticipate the possible moves of their adversaries. I have a pal who thinks it is considerable fun.

To teach about this, the University of Southern California made The Redistricting Game. Try it.

#674 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2011, 05:14 PM:

@671 lorax
Cheryl, it looks like there's one person on Ravelry willing to sell some of that yarn in the color you're after


Ok, I'm a member, and I can see the page. Now what do I click on to tell her I want to buy it?

There must be something wrong with me these days. I'm not usually this helpless.

#675 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2011, 05:30 PM:

Hi Cheryl, welcome to Rav! I just got back to ML and saw your messages. You can contact me there as "Chatelaine".

As for contacting Sylvie, toward the top of that Rav page on the left, you'll see her name. Click that, and you'll go to her 'home page'. Just under her name, you can click 'send message' and you'll get the private-messaging window. When you get a reply, you'll see a little white envelope in the top right corner of your Rav window -- click that envelope, and you can view your message.

#676 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2011, 05:46 PM:

Totally randomly in the spirit of open-threadiness:

Do we have any serious opera buffs here? I'm trying to figure out (for plotting purposes) if anyone wrote an opera based on Ovid's story of Iphis and Ianthe that would have been in the repertoire in the first decade or two of the 19th century. My initial Googling hasn't turned anything up. (If, in fact, no such opera exists in our space-time continuum, that might be even more convenient, since the story is already set in a solidly alternate version of history, and that would enable me to invent a composer and the necessary snippets of libretto that I want to use.)

#677 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2011, 06:59 PM:

@649, 673, 675

Thank you so much for your help! I have contacted Sylvie, paid via Paypal, and the yarn will be shipped tomorrow! My mother thanks you also.

Maybe once it's finished I can put a photo on Flickr, so you can see the fruits of your labour.

The Fluorosphere rulez!!

#678 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2011, 07:37 PM:

Heather Rose Jones @676 -- the person to ask is Dave Nee at Other Change. I know you know him, and he's the most serious opera buff (as opposed to opera buffo that I know. If you need the number I can give it to you -- it hasn't changed despite the move. Or drop him an e-mail ( I'm sure he'd help you.

#679 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2011, 08:58 PM:

Heh. Not any relation I know of, but I was inspired to refer to my girlfriend as my Amazing Girlfriend (because she *is*) by Ginger's use of Fabulous Girlfriend as a sufficiently anonymous referent for her significant other. My Amazing Girlfriend knows I post on ML, but I see no reason to refer to her by name (even if I'm happily known by my name here) - it's not my decision to make for her.

Speaking of which, we saw the unit yesterday and mailed in our application today. Here's hoping we get it... but no guarantees, especially in the Berkeley rental market.

#680 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2011, 09:31 PM:

I asked about the opera over at, and so far I've gotten one reply that says the only one they know of was written about fifteen years ago.

#681 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2011, 10:08 PM:

Tom @678 -- Or I could just swing by the store tomorrow after work!

Kip @680 -- Thanks, I'd seen references to that one but it was clearly not useful for my purposes.

Well, I rather like the idea of inventing an opera. And besides which, then the lyrics can have exactly the right nuances for the scene. (It's one of those set-ups where one character is translating the lyrics for another character while wishing she were saying them in her own right.)

#682 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2011, 11:32 PM:

praisegod barebones @ #666:

Sounds like an interesting link to follow, but... I've never seen a link borked quite like that before. Could you try again?

#683 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2011, 12:00 AM:

Paul A. @682: This link comes up high in a Google search, and seems like a good place to start.

#684 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2011, 08:19 AM:

I'd like to wish a Happy Birthday to Paul A and to Linkmeister!!!

#685 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2011, 11:41 AM:

re: Occupy Mordor

No surprise that the link was initially borked. Did you notice the number of the post?

#686 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2011, 02:19 PM:

Open thread emergency preparedness note:

Our carbon monoxide detector went off at 3 AM the night before last -- an actual CO alarm, not a low-battery alert.

Neither we nor our cats showed any CO poisoning symptoms, and the alarm stopped going off after a few minutes. So we opted not to call 911, even when the CO detector started going off again.

Instead, we first checked the pilot light on the gas water heater, since that's the only combustion occurring in our house. The pilot light was burning properly blue, and we didn't smell gas anywhere. So we turned the gas water heater as low as it could go. We figured if the gas burner didn't kick on, it would minimize the CO produced.

We also tried new batteries in the CO detector, just in case it was secretly some kind of low battery problem after all. It kept going off with the new batteries too.

None of us, including the cats, showed any CO poisoning symptoms yesterday either. So we continued to not panic.

The service guy just came (actually, he's still here, writing up the paperwork for the visit). He inspected the water heater and its entire exhaust system, and couldn't find any leaks.

He also brought his own CO detector, which has not alarmed the entire time he's been here. (Ours continued to go off during that time.)

So we're putting it down to our CO detector malfunctioning.

I've just ordered two new ones (on Amazon, where pretty much all brands and models of CO detectors are selling for 50% of list price). I figure that they probably won't both malfunction at the same time, so if one goes off I can check the other.

I got this model (Kidde KN-COPP-LBM battery-operated). I like that it has a digital readout of CO levels in ppm, updated every 15 seconds. Yay, data!

Also, Cat Meadors @ 663 -- I'm glad you were there and prepared to act. Calling 911 and getting the paramedics there with speed was the best thing you could do for him. I hope he made it through.

And I hope you're doing okay, too. It sounds like it was a fairly scary thing to witness.

Other open threadiness: At the recommendation of a friend, I have been considering buying eyeglasses from Warby Parker. Their glasses cost $95 with lenses included ($125 for very strong prescriptions). They have some nice-looking frames. My friend has been very happy with the glasses he bought from them a few months ago. And they do a really cool "buy a pair, give a pair" program that provides access to eyeglasses in parts of the world where it's hard to get them.

They also have a very nice home try-on program, where they will send you 5 frames (with fake display "lenses") for free, let you keep them for 5 days, and provide a pre-paid shipping label to send them back. I'd already gotten my 5 frames (which come packed in a very attractive presentation box) and was having fun trying them on.

Unfortunately, my eye exam yesterday proved that I am too near-sighted to buy glasses from Warby Parker (or any of the online eyeglasses places). They only make lenses up (down?) to -10, and in one eye I'm -11.25. Le sigh.

I finally have vision insurance again, so buying glasses from a regular optician is a financial possibility. But I'm still disappointed.

The most fun thing about Warby Parker is that they sell a monocle. I could still get a real-life prescription monocle for the other eye. It would be ridiculous, but I am actually somewhat tempted. I mean, how cool would it be to have a real-life monocle?

#687 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2011, 02:43 PM:

On the opera question, another r.a.m.c. denizen says: "I found that a Google search under the rubric 'iphis and ianthe opera' disclosed a large number of hits on this subject, including an 18th-century work on the subject imitative of Gay's _Beggar's Opera_."

He and I both hope this helps.

#688 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2011, 05:00 PM:

In regards to the sonic mouse-control devices (boy, that sounds cooler than it actually is), we have them. They have never bothered the cats; they have never bothered visiting dogs. So I don't think that's an issue.

They work very well. Plugged them in and the mice departed within the day and have never returned.

#689 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2011, 06:06 PM:

Kip @687

You will laugh. To triangulate rapidly on your opera candidate, I googled "iphis and ianthe opera imitative of gay" ... and promptly got the google groups version of the post in providing you with that response!

But without the problematic last phrase, this is one of the searches I already tried before asking. While there are lots of hits that contain all those keywords, none of them leads to any actual opera on the subject (other than the very recent Elana Kats Chernin one).

#690 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2011, 07:27 PM:

Heather @676: Based on more quick Googling, I think the 18th-century work referred to is probably Colley Cibber's 1729 "ballad opera" Love in a Riddle, which was performed twice amid storms of hissing; description of its ignominous reception here. As such, it seems somewhat doubtful that it would've been in the performance repertoire in the early 19th century, but hey.

Fascinatingly, this book mentions a spurious Shakespeake play "Iphis and Ianthe" which was apparently submitted to somekinda publishing/performance index in 1660 but never printed.

#691 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2011, 07:29 PM:

Er, that would be "spurious ShakespeaRe play", although now I'm imagining Birnam Wood marching on Gormenghast.

#692 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2011, 07:35 PM:

Julie L., 691: I'd read that fic.

HLN: Woman survives school play, bonds with new cat, misses all her friends very much.

#693 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2011, 08:18 PM:

Julie L #691: Actually, I'd want to see a Titus and Juliet set in Gormenghast. Though, certainly, the Scottish play offers possibilities:

'Sleep no more, Steerpike doth murder sleep...'

#694 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2011, 09:09 PM:

Oops, I see I have forgotten about my anti-gnome hack.

#695 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2011, 09:17 PM:

Eek! An anti-gnomian heresy!

#697 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2011, 10:36 PM:

Heather, I went and looked at the Google page for a few moments, saw Cibber's name (mark of quality), but didn't have time to get detailed on it, so I just passed it along. I thought it was interesting that it was apparently some kind of a response to John Gay's "Beggar's Opera," which used recognized melodies for all the songs (which gave added resonance to the informed audiences of the time that we mostly don't get now).

Anyway, I hope I haven't wasted your time. My goal was to help, not hinder.

#698 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2011, 04:26 AM:

Caroline @686

A part of the reason for that limit on the strength of the lens may be that the lens is too thick and heavy without using a special optical glass of higher refractive index.

There might be an online source which can handle that, for an extra charge. You may find that you're not going to be able to use "fashion" frames. I know that the (British) outfit I have used in the past charges a lot for a high refractive-index lens, and so wouldn't have so much price advantage over a local supplier.

#699 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2011, 09:42 AM:

TexAnne @ 692... What is the feline's name again?

#700 ::: Throwmearope ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2011, 10:03 AM:


Hope I got the abbreviation right. Plus most of the folks on this site are writer-y types, so I hope you can help. Here's my question: does anybody know of a brief, down and dirty (like for Dummies) guide to grammar?

I've had two complaints about my employees' grammar in the past week. Which is odd, because my grammatical skills are rusty at best, so my patients' expectations should be low.

After a little research, I realized that these young women (who have a year or two post high school training and are very competent at their jobs)were never taught grammar. I asked them if they knew why the phrase, never use a preposition to end a sentence with, was a bad joke. Right over their heads. They never heard of a dangling participle. Not only did they not know the difference between an adjective and an adverb, they were iffy on noun/verb.

Colorado mandates four years of English to graduate high school. One wonders what went on for those four years. Both of these two employees were solid B high school students.

Anyway, I was hoping for a way to remediate the failings of the local school district (which isn't the worst in the state, although close). Plus, as you can tell from this post, I probably could use a bit of review myself.

Thanks in advance.

#701 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2011, 10:11 AM:

Serge, 699: Random, as in "of Amber."

Throwmearope, 700: There's a slim volume called _English Grammar for Students of French_, and I believe there's one for Spanish as well. If you skip the French stuff, you're left with a basic explanation of grammar for native speakers of English who've never had formal grammar training. (My students frequently tell me they're learning as much English as French, and I don't think that's just because I'm a massive grammar geek.)

#702 ::: Throwmearope ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2011, 10:18 AM:

@Texanne 701--

One of my employees is a native Spanish speaker, this could be a real help! Thanks!!

--Off to

#703 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2011, 10:20 AM:

TexAnne @ 701... An excellent name. Not that I'm suggesting that cat brain functions have a strong random component, of course.

#704 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2011, 10:47 AM:

Throwmearope, my mother taught high school English for many years, including the 1970s and 1980s when the schools went from requiring grammar to making it optional to actually forbidding it to be taught (including physically removing the grammar textbooks from the school). She insisted on teaching it anyway, much to the benefit of her students' performance in college.

She really, really liked Warriner's English Grammar and Composition. Used copies are widely available.

#705 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2011, 11:20 AM:

There's probably a book called GRAMMAR FOR DUMMIES, but I fear me that if you look inside, it will turn out to say, "Your doing fine without a bunch of 'dumb ass' rule's!!!"

#706 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2011, 11:34 AM:

TexAnne #701:

Also comes in old-fashioned Latin flavor.

#707 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2011, 12:56 PM:

TexAnne (701): It comes in German, too. Also Italian, I think, but I could be wrong about that.

My mother says she learned most of her English grammar in Spanish class. This was in the 1940s, so the problem goes back a long way.

#708 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2011, 01:46 PM:

Not just schools in the USA: there was a lot we had to pick up about grammar that was assumed in teaching French, and ignored in teaching English. My brother once said to me that you had to be taught Latin to get the foundations at that school.

#709 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2011, 02:05 PM:

Computer travails: Set up the virtual machine, installed Win98. Attempting to run Windows Update send browser into apparently-infinite loop. Microsoft does not support 98 anymore; there are individual patches in their Download Center, but those are scattered among 500+ entries under the "Windows 98" category.

#710 ::: Sarah Magpie ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2011, 02:05 PM:

On Grammar, the learning of: I suspect that the reason why many people will say that they learned their English grammar in a foreign language class is a case of "fish not seeing the water." I spent the two years of junior high diagramming sentences. My English teachers were decidedly not incompetent. One of them rose to true excellence and caused me to believe for years that there was no greater felicity than teaching eighth grade English (midway through college, I got over that, although I still graduated with a degree in English). I could have spent those two years standing on my head for all the good it did me in the grammatical department (although I did get introduced to Dickens, Shakespeare, and Vonnegut so it wasn't a dead loss).

Here I venture into territory for which I don't have the words, because linguistics is not my area of expertise... namely English organizes its meaning by word order, we do not conjugate or decline as a way of indicating grammatical function in the same way that Latin, and Spanish do, nor do we combine things the way many of the other Germanic languages do. So it's easier to get along without knowing "the rules" (which are fairly fluid anyway). Long before I knew that there were rules I sounded like a member of the educated class, subset: Pacific Northwest and white (well proto-member at that point). Yet, if I want to make absolutely sure that my grammar is correct, I translate it into Spanish, because I understand Spanish grammar on a conscious level.

So I come from a background which causes me to speak a comparatively privileged dialect of American English. I get to be taken seriously when I open my mouth. I've lived in places where saying "I seen you were upset, so I brang an extra fishing pole so you and me could go fishing," would raise no eyebrows in a casual context. In those places, my dialect can cause some social tension with people who would say that. When I'm talking with strangers (usually in a context of working with the public*), I usually down play my vocabulary and let myself slip into a bit of the twang that comes of spending time in West Virginia at an impressionable age so that I am more approachable.

Which leads me to my next observation, that people who complain about other people's grammar are often really complaining about class, and more importantly people stepping out of the social bounds that make the complainer comfortable. This may (possibly, even probably) say unfortunate things about the complainer, but it also means that the young women whose grammar occasioned this mini essay are giving these sorts of petty bullies ammunition. (On that head I am also reminded of Amy Post's list of "do's and don'ts" in polite society, namely the things people say to sound educated and the things educated people actually say. It's an antiquated list but it reflects an understanding of the class landscape which has been forgotten.)

*At home or in social situations in which I am comfortable, I revert to sounding like the sort of person whose family reveres Bill Moyers and recites poetry at the dinner table. My father has a rampant Yeats infection that has gone untreated. At this point we think it might be terminal.

#711 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2011, 02:43 PM:

Computer travails, worse: The Ubiuntu guid to setting up a shared folder (between host and client) isn't working.. it says the machine name (the host disk as seen from the client) isn't there. Oy...

Anyway, off to my sister's birthday party soon.

#712 ::: Throwmearope ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2011, 02:48 PM:

@Sarah Magpie #710

My clientele are all middle class, mostly blue collar families, a huge variety of ethnic origins (which I personally enjoy a lot) with a smattering of eddicated folks, a couple of college professors, a ton of engineers (which must say something about me, one wonders what, exactly). So when my crowd comments about grammar, I do think it needs to be addressed.

Both of these young ladies are prepping to go to nursing school and "more better" is not going to further their ambitions, I fear.

As for me, I too diagrammed sentences, once in the shape of a phallus which got me sent to the principal's office, but I digress. . .

I also have a degree, although in French Lang and Lit, but going to medical school ruined my ability to communicate in written, oral and probably even non verbal communication forms.

#713 ::: Throwmearope ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2011, 02:54 PM:

@ David Harmon #711--

The gubmint mandated that I upgrade my beloved 11 year old Dells. Brand new server, 7 brand new workstations, brand new software. And the brand new software promptly ate the brand new server and workstations. We can't bill, we can't use the electronic medical record for charting, we can't even print. $15,000 and nada to show for it. Only the scheduler and reviewing the old data works.

So we've been saving up for new software and then my son the geek is going to nuke the server and workstations back to the box. And then we start over and get to learn a whole new system. I hate computers.

#714 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2011, 02:59 PM:

Paul A @ 682 : Tom Whitmore @ 683's link is the correct one (thanks, Tom). Carol Kimball @ 684 - I'm afraid that previous experience suggests I'm quite capable of borking a link on my own, without diabolical intervention.

#715 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2011, 03:32 PM:

Language learning: over here (UK), my class was largely taught grammar only in the sense of "this usage correct, that wrong" in English and French - but in German, where the case system made full-on grammatical structure impossible to ignore and useless to fudge, we perforce learned a great deal about all three.

For my father - a grammar(!) school boy, the language relied upon for the purpose was Latin.

#716 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2011, 04:34 PM:

Throwmearope, Muse of Rescue: The Transitive Vampire, subtitled A Handbook of Grammar for the Innocent, the Eager, and the Doomed, by Karen Elizabeth Gordon is my favorite handbook. She does believe in the silly rules about prepositions and infinitives, but goes over the basics with very amusing examples ("The woman squatting under the bridge is a debutante" to demonstrate a restrictive clause). The link is to the Deluxe version, which I haven't seen; apparently the basic version isn't available new anymore.

#717 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2011, 04:36 PM:

My comment with a link to a grammar book by an author whose initials are KEG is being held in durance vile. It may be because of the long URL (just one), or because the title of the book mentions creatures who have recently been depicted as sparkly (even though the book has nothing to do with such creatures in reality).

#718 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2011, 04:54 PM:

The URL structure is one that many spammers use (and verily, did use earlier today!). I have freed the comment.

#719 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2011, 05:27 PM:

TexAnne @ 701... If you skip the French stuff...

What an insulte to even consider such an act! Oui?

#720 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2011, 05:46 PM:

Kip W.@705: You want Grammar for Dummies? You got it.

Although, glancing through it with the "Look Inside" feature, I'd say the rest of your joke is off the mark, and it might indeed be something that would meet throwmearope's needs. (Except perhaps for its being, like most of the "...Dummies" books, a tome.)

...oh, and if you click on the link, read the topmost review.

#721 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2011, 05:51 PM:

Remember, remember
The fifth of November
At ten forty five, on BBC2.
Isn't it groovy
This holiday movie
Is available for view?

#722 ::: Errolwi ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2011, 06:36 PM:

This post by Australian aviation journalist Ben Sandilands links to (and provides context for) a passenger's video from the LOT B767 which belly-landed in Warsaw recently. As Ben says

There is applause as the jet comes to a halt but almost immediately a surprisingly calm departure through the main doors and overwing exits. The running exit slide sequence is of particular interest, and comfort, for those who might find the thought of using one intimidating. ... This is a rare inside-an-emergency-video that many airlines and safety authorities will study frame by frame to see what lessons can be learned.

If I'm ever in the same situation however (even a best-case scenario like this with plenty of time for crew to re-brief passengers, reasonable weather etc), I won't be reducing my (and fellow passenger's) chances of a safe exit by distracting myself with a recording device.

#723 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2011, 06:47 PM:

Completely OT and plagiarized from myself commenting on Whatever:

I feel compelled to invent a currency called Dunning-Krugerrands, with which to pay the salaries of incompetent people who can't be fired.

Okay, I'm done. Nothing to see here. Move along.

#724 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2011, 06:56 PM:

Oh, now we're getting into the silly. That's like when I used to think that Doppelgangers must run around in Doppelgangs.

(Handsigns and colors optional)

#725 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2011, 07:30 PM:

I want a guinea piggy bank.

#726 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2011, 07:51 PM:

To put your small change in, Serge?

#727 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2011, 08:00 PM:

David Goldfarb @ #720, a wonderful review it was.

"What a country!"

#728 ::: Angiportus ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2011, 08:14 PM:

I still think that vehicles traveling in the opposite lane are Dopplergangers.

#729 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2011, 08:38 PM:

David @720, many, many more people appear to have found that top review useful than any of the others.

#730 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2011, 08:40 PM:

David G., somehow I didn't see your helpful post when I posted (about V FOR VENDETTA on TV today). Obviously, we are thinking of different books. The one I had in mind was originally called GRAMMER FOR "DUMMYS" but they had to change the title when the actor complained.

#731 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2011, 09:00 PM:

ThrowMeARope @ 700 et al

I'm rather a fan of the "English Grammar for Students of French" recommended above; I have a copy and still use it, and would probably list it in my "most helpful books when learning French."

I'm not at all certain that it is the right book, though, for someone whose knowledge of grammar isn't already pretty good. It's like some of my well-used VBA reference books--you need to know what to look up, and your question needs to be technical, not general, to get much help.

What I'd recommend--well-known deficiencies and prescriptiveness and all--is "The Elements of Style" (Strunk and White).

#732 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2011, 09:56 PM:

Kip@730: That's because when you posted your rhyme, my post had not yet been pried out of the clutches of the gnomes (I assume by abi).

#733 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2011, 10:05 PM:

Angiportus @ 728... I love it.

#734 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2011, 10:44 PM:

HLN: After several days of increasingly slow and frustrating internet access (as in, several minutes to refresh a page!), local household's problem is solved by replacing the network modem. And there was much rejoicing.

#735 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2011, 12:07 AM:

Yowza!!! Big earthquake here in central OK. Reports are people in Dallas and Wichita felt it too. House rattled for at least half a minute. Cat went out the cat window into the backyard at warp speed.

#736 ::: cajunfj40 ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2011, 12:14 AM:

Way back at post #100 on OT#159 I asked for stories about weaponized cuteness.

I got several responses - thank you all - and one pointer by Dave Bell to Simon Barber's work 
At The Mountains of Cuteness

I liked it quite a lot, even if it wasn't exactly what I was looking for - in this story it isn't really that the cuteness has been weaponized per se, more that the "natural" cuteness of the "enemy" is a dangerous force in it's own right. IE it isn't like they use "cuteness rays" it is that the rays their cuteness gives off are deadly and/or psychosis-inducing. 

That said, I read everything I could in the parent directory for that story and found I wanted more in similar veins.  Does anyone have further pointers of that sort? I was strongly reminded of parts of the trailer for Sucker Punch (still have not seen it), though there is considerably more species variation in Simon's work.  
I have also enjoyed what I have read of Antonina T. Tiger's work (the Wolf Baginski series was quite good), I'll need to poke about on the Spontoon Islands site and find some more. Btw, the brief glimpse you gave us on the "fiction" thread has me intrigued. Should you feel like letting others read it when it is complete, please let us know where we can find it!

That reminds me: a further while back, Dave Bell posted some Story on a thread here and I've been unable to find more - Dave Bell, is your work available somewhere or must I content myself with the few snippets that make their way here?

On a related note, I have recently finished working my way through "H.P. Lovecraft, The Fiction", and while I liked some of it, I have found that I like the parody/pastiche of his themes far more than the original work. Anyone else have a similar response?

#737 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2011, 12:40 AM:

The USGS says 5.6 - that's an attention-getter, all right.
There are did-you-feel-it reports from the Texas Panhandle, and up to Kansas City.

#738 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2011, 12:53 AM:

Janet Brennan Croft @ 735: We had a very noticeable earthquake some years ago. Woke us from a sound sleep at about 5am, shaking and noise. We had 3 cats at the time. One shot under the bed and wasn't seen for hours. One jumped up, looking a bit alarmed, then laid back down. The third appeared to sleep through it.

#739 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2011, 01:33 AM:

TexAnne @ 701:

Ah, the cat plays drums?

Lila @ 723:


#740 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2011, 06:59 AM:

cajunfj40 #736: I can only speak to your last point... I suspect that you have fallen victim to the Seinfeld Is Unfunny trope. Lovecraft is (already) almost as bad for that as Shakespeare....

#741 ::: E. Liddell ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2011, 09:08 AM:

David Harmon@711: I assume you're talking about setting up a Samba/CIFS share, given that the VirtualBox shared folder thing isn't available for the 9X branch of Windows. Current Samba needs a non-default security setting to authenticate correctly with Windows 98, so your smb.conf needs to contain the following three lines in the [global] section:

lanman auth = Yes
client lanman auth = Yes
client plaintext auth = Yes

as per . (If it still doesn't work, you may have a bug.)

#742 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2011, 09:53 AM:

Bruce Cohen @ 739... Ah, the cat plays drums?

Gene Krupaw?

#743 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2011, 10:13 AM:

cajunfj40 @736: Weird thing about the Spontoon Islands is that around 1981, I did an engraving (or maybe an etching; memory) of a clock tower rising out of the sea. I named it "Spontoon!" after something a friend once said. Then, years later, I heard of this Spontoon Island thing — which seems to be the product of people I've heard of, over the years, some of whom I know — and keep thinking there's some connection, but can't figure out what it might be.

The edition of the print was rather small — two, I think — and the school kept one, so there doesn't seem a way anybody would have heard of it. Spontaneous degeneration, perhaps.

#744 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2011, 10:26 AM:

E. Liddell #741: I wasn't, and well, crap! I do have a copy of an XP disk, but there's that DRM, and the original is certainly in use. The question is whether it will let me complete an install without network access.... If I have to, I might yet buy a copy of XP, but apparently those are still running about $80.

#745 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2011, 10:39 AM:

David Harmon @740: You know, it's cruel to link to TV Tropes without a warning. Thank god it's a weekend...

#746 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2011, 11:06 AM:


Anyone have any ideas or suggestions about how I could go about removing my Ex from my mortgage? Let me explain that a little: she didn't help buy the house; I put her on my mortgage for the purpose of ensuring that if I predeceased her, she'd already have half the house and I could leave the other half in my will. I know, it was Not Smart of me, but that was Twu Wuv at work.

Anyway, she's still on the mortgage despite having moved out, changed her address, and not paid anything at all towards the mortgage or even towards the upkeep of my house. I know I need to show my history of payments, which means I have to stop in at my credit union and get the information from the past 11 years, but I was wondering if there were any other things to do that I should be considering?

She just wants me to sell the house and split the profits (if any) with her. I am not inclined to sell the place I live in, along with my dogs and cats, because good luck trying to buy another house for all of us in the same price range and in the same location; she has an apartment and has been there since she moved out. She won't just get off the mortgage because she thinks it helps her credit rating to be on it. She has said she could force me to sell.

She uses this threat of a sale to keep me toeing the line, which upsets the FG (and to be honest, I'm not happy about it myself). Right now, the Son is spending most of his time with her, except when she needs time to herself, and we don't have a regular schedule anymore. We had one, until he was hospitalized, and when he chose to stay with her "until things stabilized", all schedules went out the window and haven't reappeared. I feel like I can't push her because then she'll start making loud noises about selling the house.

It's been a year since we were in the mediator's office, and no progress has been made since then. I have managed to remove all the crap she'd left behind, from the past twenty years (and I wish I was exaggerating); she has managed to remove still more items that were not necessarily hers and kept them, while overlooking all her stuff in the front room.

So, bottom line: what else should I be thinking, saying, doing? I'd like to resolve this without getting angry, because my son comes first -- and he needs stability -- but I can't go on letting her have this much control over my life despite having ejected herself nearly two years ago.

#747 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2011, 11:58 AM:

I wish I could help, Ginger, but remember that all knowledge can be found in Making Light. If you need me to dress up like one of Ma Ginger's Boys who take people out for a ride when they make Ma unhappy, I'll be quite happy to oblige.

#748 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2011, 12:46 PM:

You might need a lawyer. Heck, even talking to a realtor might help. (I think, here, and IANAL, you might need your ex to quitclaim her half, and if she wants to cause trouble, you have some leverage, in that she has things that shouldn't be hers that you want, and you have things that are hers that you don't want: get her to trade....)

My mother wanted to put me on the mortgage when she bought the house in town, for the same reason. The realtor convinced her it was a bad idea. Which made life easier for both of us a year later when my mother sold the house.

#749 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2011, 12:54 PM:

Ginger -- it probably varies by state. You do want to consult a lawyer. Even though it may be expensive (check with your local Legal Aid group, which may give you a free first consultation), it will be worth it if you get a good one. I would recommend against trying to do it by yourself.

Not a lawyer, seldom use one, have found them useful at times. Didn't always follow the good advice I was given, and may still regret that.

#750 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2011, 01:04 PM:

Caroline@686 - If the CO detector goes off, get outside first, and then go back and open the windows, though I'm glad to hear it was a false alarm.

On glasses - I've been using Zenni Optical for cheap online glasses. I only need fairly standard reading glasses, so I haven't chased down their more interesting options, but they've got a choice of kinds of glass, some of which go to about 20, though most only go to about 10.

#751 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2011, 01:19 PM:

David Harmon@711 - Is your host Windows or also Ubuntu? I've got the virtual machines living under My Documents/vmware/VirtualMachineName, a shared folder named My Documents/vmware/SharedFolder, and the Ubuntu guest and other Linux guests have it always mounted, and it shows up as /mnt/hgfs/SharedFolder.

#752 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2011, 02:05 PM:

Ginger @ 746

Is your ex on the mortgage, or on the deed, or both? In the states where I know something of the law, that matters a lot.

(For example, our house-that-I-really-wish-we could-sell has my wife and I as joint owners on the deed, but I am the only one on the mortgage--which means her credit wasn't considered in underwriting it, and won't be hurt if we default; she had to agree to the mortgage deed but has no responsibility for the mortgage.)

#753 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2011, 02:07 PM:

Ginger @746, I'm in the same boat but at the opposite end. I'm still on my ex-husband's mortgage, even though his girlfriend is living with him. My risk is that if he defaults, I could still be responsible for payments, even though I signed a quitclaim on the property as part of the divorce settlement. Of course, with my name on it, he can't refinance or sell, and I think even with the quitclaim he'd have a hard time leaving it to his girlfriend in his will. In any case, I've been told that what he needs to do is refinance and have it all in his name. I'd have to sign off on that, but that would be the end of it. So yes, you probably need to speak with a realtor and possibly a lawyer. Your leverage over the ex is that if YOU default, she will have to pay, unless she agrees to be taken off the mortgage.

#754 ::: E. Liddell ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2011, 03:10 PM:

David Harmon@744: Creating a writable Samba share on your real machine and then mapping it to a network drive in the Windows 98 guest works just as well as the shared folders, in my experience. (Putting the writable share on the guest and only readable shares on the main OS is safer, but doesn't work quite as well.)

Also, I should probably have pointed you at before now, as it has some info on settings, plus a link to a better video driver.

Alternatively, the Guest Additions *do* work for Windows 2000 and even NT4 (with sufficient service packs), neither of which require activation, so if the folder sharing is a must for you, try to find someone with an old install disc. Also, XP should install without networking (you have a thirty-day window in which to authenticate it, IIRC).

(There's more than one way to skein a cat, as the knitter said after the kittens got into her yarn stash . . . although I do realize that this must be trying your patience by this time. Cheer up, you're almost there, and once the dratted thing is set up you shouldn't ever have any problems with it again.)

#756 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2011, 04:18 PM:

Ther's no "might" about it, Ginger. You need a lawyer. If nothing else, to serve as a dispassionate intermediary between two emotionally-compromised parties.

#757 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2011, 04:50 PM:

Oh, I do have a lawyer, and so does she. My lawyer will step in if we go to court, but I was looking for methods to avoid court and for ways to gently suggest a quitclaim (thanks for the term!). Yes, I do realize that if I default, she's liable. I don't think she's grasped that yet.

Financing possibilities? Suppose she convinces me to "buy her out", although I can't afford a huge payment -- what could I offer in lieu of a lump sum?

Thanks again..seeing all these suggestions makes me feel better that I'm not missing something obvious.

#758 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2011, 04:52 PM:

C. Wingate@275, too cool! I wish I'd noticed if Esme took off through the cat door before the shaking started or after. Well, now that I've been through TWO palpable earthquakes here in Oklahoma, perhaps I can pay better attention next time.

#759 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2011, 05:12 PM:

OT politics:

I stopped by my local Occupy encampment today, giving a ride "home" to one of the young people at my church who's been a regular there. Everything was quiet and they seem pretty well organized in terms of living space.

Can't help wondering where this movement was ten years ago when I was single and more flexible in terms of sleeping in strange places.

#760 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2011, 05:39 PM:

cajunfj40 @736

I'm trying to recall just what I might have posted here that would be actual story. There may be something of mine from way back, but it would be a web re-issue of some old B7 fanfic. Doesn't look as though there is. The only thing I can pin down as even indexed is a story in Horizon #6, which one review describes as controversial

#761 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2011, 06:59 PM:

Those seeking other examples of my work may turn to The Exploding Shampoo Plot. Ah, those were the days,

#762 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2011, 07:20 PM:

Incidentally, after digging out the Exploding Shampoo Plot thread I skimmed through things subsequent...

There were several heartfelt please for help at around that time in 2006. I hope things worked out.

Would anyone be willing to summarise any good results?

#763 ::: Older ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2011, 07:51 PM:

Kip W (#730) -- That sounds like it should be "SPEELING FOR DUMMYS" or maybe "GRAMMAR FOR DUMMY'S".

#764 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2011, 08:54 PM:

In case anybody's interested... Sy Montgomery will be leading an internet discussion next Tuesday of octopus intelligence. Her article on Deep Intellect in the November issue of Orion is pretty fascinating.

#765 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2011, 09:31 PM:

Interstate news... Man will be in Bay Area this week, training and being trained, with little acces to blogosphere, thanks to building's superduper firewall. Man hopes the fridge's supply of soft drinks won't have run out like it did during man's previous visit.

#766 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2011, 09:53 PM:

HLN: Woman downloads and runs registry cleaner*, doesn't notice any significant improvement in system performance. "At least I didn't zorch anything," she says.

*Piriform CCleaner, for the curious

#767 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2011, 10:31 PM:


Area woman's arthritic dog FINALLY eats actual dog food without any pill spitting, wheedling, game-playing or related bullshit. Area woman so thrilled she doesn't care if Area Dog has to eat expensive, stinky canned food for months, is optimistic that dog sleeping through the night is imminent.

#768 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2011, 10:39 PM:

nerdycellist @767: I have some slight idea of the relief you must be feeling. I am happy for you.

#769 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2011, 10:47 PM:

nerdycellist -- yay! Hope the improvement continues.

And on a more somber note: the stuff about Penn State and child rape is awful. No worse -- in fact, damn similar -- than the revelations about the Catholic Church that we have been reading for two decades, but horrible.

#770 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2011, 11:08 PM:

HLN: Local amateur astronomer shows Da Moon to many people, oohs and ahhs are heard.

#771 ::: sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2011, 11:11 PM:

IANAL, but I am a a different state.

Clarification of terms: Deed - the piece of paper who says who owns the house. Mortgage - the piece (stack) of paper contracting you with the bank to pay for the loan on the house. As was said above, relevancy of names on deed and/or mortgage varies state by state. I don't know what it is in your locality, but if she's on your mortgage *but not the deed*, there are very good chances that she can't force the sale. Mortgages are not quitclaim-able, it's going to take a refinance without her name on it. That can be forced by a judge if need be. If she's on the deed, she can probably force sale. If she's on the deed and not the mortgage, it does nothing for her credit, because she's not got a name on the loan that is being paid off. If she is on both (and if you expected it to last forever, she probably is), it gets more complex.

Also, a good real estate lawyer is worth his weight in gold. Also, a divorce lawyer usually deals with this kind of thing and should have resources explaining your state laws about home ownership in the advent of a split.

#772 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2011, 12:08 AM:


Now is a good time to refinance; I checked the interest rates a few days ago, and a 15-year fixed-rate loan for $150K was at 3.2% (which might just pay me to refinance now, even though I refinanced just a year ago). See what you need to pay to assume the entire debt on your house; maybe the low interest rates will allow you to afford it.

#773 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2011, 01:44 AM:

To those here of a mind, please send prayers and healing thoughts in the direction of my wee Gustav. We've had her on meds for a UTI for the past couple of weeks, and while her overt symptoms have maybe improved slightly, her overall health continues to decline.

She's fairly young and comes from strong stock, but she's my bottle baby so, you know.

#774 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2011, 02:40 AM:

I've been a little reluctant to post this, mostly because it's a definite downer, but I think I don't want to ignore this and make it a big embarrassing elephant in the room.

My dad died Friday night. The cause was lung cancer, from the cigarettes he quit fourteen years ago (though he did get VA disability for being stationed in Vietnam because the current ruling is that if you were stationed there, you are default assumed to have been exposed to Agent Orange.)

At this point I'm mostly dealing with undirected anger of the "quit smoking, dammit" variety. Jim, if you ever want to do one of your PSAs on smoking, I'd be totally happy to see it.

I wish my daughter were old enough to remember him.

#775 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2011, 08:06 AM:

B Durbin @774, hugs. I can especially identify with "I wish my daughter were old enough to remember him." It was just on my mind over the weekend that 3 of 4 grandparents died before my kids were born, and they barely if at all remember the other. My kids are in their late teens, so this is not recent, but still a regret. It is one of the places where story comes in useful, as in, be sure to tell your daughter stories that start "I remember the time your grandfather..."

#776 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2011, 08:12 AM:

B. Durbin @ 774: I'm sorry. My condolences, good thoughts, and best wishes to you and all yours.

#777 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2011, 08:54 AM:

nerdycellist @ 767: Yay!!!

B. Durbin @ 774: I hear and sympathize. My condolences on your loss.

Jacque @ 773: Sending good thoughts to Gustav!

sisuile @ 771: I will have to recheck the paperwork, but I believe she's on both the mortgage and the deed. I'm pretty sure she can force the partition if she wanted to. As Bruce Cohen pointed out (772), mortgages are at lows right now -- would it make sense to not only refinance (as our mediator has indicated we will do, to get her off the mortgage once she's satisfied with her settlement), but to include the settlement as a loan? I mean, include the buyout moneys as part of my new mortgage? I can't afford a huge buyout, which is what she's asking for. I'd need to take out a loan. Does it make sense to do it all in one?

Thanks everyone for their comments! It is a relief to know that I'm not missing something important. Our divorce mediator has been a divorce lawyer, and we've gone over the refinancing concept as part of our mediation. We're just stuck on the negotiation of the price for the buyout.

#778 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2011, 09:11 AM:

would it make sense to not only refinance (as our mediator has indicated we will do, to get her off the mortgage once she's satisfied with her settlement), but to include the settlement as a loan?

In my lay opinion, that would be the most sensible course of action. An appraisal should give a good idea of what "half the gain in value" is.

#779 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2011, 10:29 AM:

nerdycellist: glad there was improvement and hope it continues.

Jacque: supporting thoughts and sympathies.

B. Durbin: my father died of lung cancer about 9 years ago, after quitting smoking about 15 years earlier. You have my deepest sympathies. We were all frankly surprised by the extent of the cancer and the speed of its growth; the dr. said that the fact that he had begun smoking in his teens and smoked so many cigarettes for so many years before there was any kind of regulation about tar and nicotine was a major contributor even though he'd been clean for so long.

My mother smoked too, but less, and quit earlier.

My brother smoked a little on and off throughout his teen years and young adulthood, then stopped.

I never smoked.

I get rather furiously angry at people I know who smoke; it seems so _stupid_, given everything we know. And yet, people make stupid choices every day of their lives--including me; I eat too much and too much of the wrong kind of food.

Still, still, still . . . smoking, like not wearing sunblock, drives me bugfuck, particularly since I've lost people I love to lung cancer, emphysema, and melanoma.

P.S. My daughter was 5 or 6 when my father died, and had a loving and vivid relationship with him. But she remembers him as a feeling more than as a person, alas, which makes me quite sad, particularly at this time of year (his birthday is coming up).

#780 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2011, 10:32 AM:

B. Durbin #774:

Condolences, and please pass them along to the net.granny.

My father did not die of lung cancer, but 35 years of smoking were a major contributor to 20 years of invalidism and congestive heart failure. As the recipient of 18 years of his second-hand smoke, I do occasionally worry about the consequences.

#781 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2011, 10:46 AM:

B. Durbin (774): My condolences.

#782 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2011, 11:23 AM:

B. Durbin @774--I'm sorry to hear this.

#783 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2011, 11:29 AM:

B. Durbin -- so sorry. I was just reading a friend's poem about her father, among other things his death from lung cancer...

#784 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2011, 11:44 AM:

B. Durbin, sympathy.

Your comment on your child not knowing your dad resonates as well — it's a reason I drove Sarah to Michigan this summer. She sees the other side of the family far more often (at nine years of age, she'd seen Dad twice). Her maternal grandfather died years earlier from smoking-related causes, come to think of it.

So I plan to drive her to see relatives at least annually. It's something I can do.

Jacque, best hopes for your little one.

#785 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2011, 11:49 AM:

I found my 2GB flash/USB card in the drier this morning. It's as clean as I could ever want it, and the data seems to be okay too. There's something that has gotten better over time, rather than worse, in several ways.

1) It survived washing and drying
2) It exists in the first place — 2 Gigabytes, in a little package that fits in my camera
3) It also plugs right into my computer's card slot
4) It also plugs into a USB slot if you fold it
5) It was fairly cheap when I bought it, and I could probably replace it for a lot less (a mini SD card with 16GB on it cost me half what that did, though it doesn't have the USB feature)

O brave new world, that has such gizmos in it!

#786 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2011, 12:03 PM:

B. Durbin: I lost my mother to lung cancer; my father had stopped smoking years before. I only remember one of my grandparents directly (and there's not much interesting to remember); on my mother's side there are lots of stories and people around who remember them. And my father's mother -- I've gotten to do a lot of research, and found out that I wish I'd known her. I've done a lot of work with the artwork she was involved in selling for most of her life, and read many of her letters.

Sympathy around your dad. It's difficult when parents die, often in ways that don't make sense to other people.

#787 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2011, 12:05 PM:

B Durbin @774:

My sincere condolences on your loss.

My maternal grandmother died of breast cancer the year before I was born. I've been told many times what a shame this is, because I am apparently much like her in both appearance and character (but with rather more luck in my life).

But although I never met her, I feel I know her somewhat from the stories that I've been told about her. I know enough to feel that deep connectedness with my lineage, both physical and emotional. That's the reason I asked my mother for her clock, which now ticks away on my bookshelves*.

I never met her, but I love her anyway. It is possible for that sort of thing to happen.

* Earworm!
My grandmother's clock was just right for the shelf,
Since Ikea sells ones that adjust.
It has long outlasted the owner herself,
And it will, I hope, run when I'm dust.

(Because it's needlessly egotistical for your clock to die when you do. The clocks of the truly generous tick on in memory of their owners and in service of their families.)

#788 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2011, 12:13 PM:

Open threadiness: I was reading Patrick's sidelight about ten years of Once More, With Feeling before I went to bed last night. That appears to have spawned a dream where I got a bunch of people, including my sister's ex-girlfriend, to record an album of covers of the songs.

I wish I could reproduce the hip hop version of "Going Through the Motions" they produced. I don't even like hip hop, but it was amazing.

#789 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2011, 12:22 PM:

B. Durbin, so sorry.

My maternal grandfather died of lung cancer when I was three. I have one memory of him. But he was a towering figure in my mother's life, so she spoke of him often, (the good and the bad), told many stories, and so I grew up with a clear sense of who he was in her life. For example, I know his nickname, and where it derived from. When I look at a photo of him, I feel a strong connection to him. It is not the same as having known the man, but it is meaningful.

#790 ::: Angiportus ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2011, 12:31 PM:

One grandparent died many years before I was born; the other 3 lived well into my youth but I only met each one once, because they lived far away. It was like I never really had any grandfolks, and I sometimes wish I had.
Sympathies and good wishes to all.
My stepfather had this old clock which counted about 3 x 10^9 ticks before quitting. He's a decade younger and still ticking. I had a clock-radio which lasted me 26 years; the replacement didn't make 26 months.

#791 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2011, 12:48 PM:

B Durbin -

I'm sorry for your loss. My grandfather died of throat cancer when I was about 7 or 8. He was a pipe smoker until he married my grandmother and they converted to mormonism. His career was as a bandleader in nightclubs, so second hand smoke abounded. 35 years after his last smoke, and the cancer still got him.

I do remember him - and there are old reel-to-reel letters he sent when I was a baby, with him singing and playing the ukelele. But I can't remember what he looks like and I don't know what my mom's done with his pictures, but I still remember his voice. If I get particularly nostalgic, I can find an old Betty Boop cartoon he did on Youtube.

Cigarettes are evil. I hope the habit I had in my idiot 20's doesn't haunt me later.

#792 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2011, 01:50 PM:

B. Durbin @ 774: I am so sorry.

*hugs*, if you want them.

I feel you on the undirected anger of the "stop smoking dammit" variety. I still haven't gotten over that since my grandfather died of lung cancer two years ago.

[I am specifically talking about myself in the next bit -- not making a prescription for what you, or anyone else, should do.]

I'm slowly learning to think of smoking as I think of other addictions -- as a disease. I'm slowly learning to tell myself that I can't make a smoker quit, just as I can't make an alcoholic quit; they have to make their own decision to quit. I can and should be honest with them about how it's affecting me. But that's all I can do.

Thinking like that helps, some, with letting go of my anger at people I care about who smoke.

But that anger was and is part of my grieving. Nobody should go like that, dammit.

#793 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2011, 02:20 PM:

Lizzy 769: the stuff about Penn State and child rape is awful. No worse -- in fact, damn similar -- than the revelations about the Catholic Church that we have been reading for two decades, but horrible.

In some ways it's worse, because the people who covered it up kept the perp on staff, and just told him not to bring his victims into the school (which is the jaw-dropper for me—they don't appear to have made ANY attempt to get him to stop, or even to seek counseling!). In some ways it's not as bad, because it only happened at that one school, as far as we know, and as far as we know it wasn't pervasive throughout the college sports system, with head coaches moving pedophile assistant coaches from school to school as they got caught.

Either way, though, it's quite bad enough, and I share your horror. I hope this time they put the perjurers in prison too.

Steve 770: Wow. That made a silly nonsense song I haven't thought about in years pop right into my head:

Singin' rooty-toot-toot for the Moon,
It's the biggest star I've ever seen!
It's a pearl of wisdom, a slice of green cheese,
Burning just like kerosene,
Burning just like kerosene!
I have no idea who wrote that. Supposedly it's one of those things you can't get out of your head if you sing it without doing the gestures that go with it (right hand on top of head, left arm extended straight up with forefinger pointing, waving whole body back and forth to the music).

This level of transcendent silliness is so wonder-producing that I believe it must be divinely inspired.

Jacque 773: Good thoughts for Gustav.

B. 774: I'm sorry for your loss. Damn tobacco. Damn Agent Orange. Damn all that.

My own cancer mostly occurs in heavy smokers or drinkers, though not in my case, since I've never been either. Still, it's another reason to heap curses upon smoking as an activity (not, I stress, upon smokers as people).

#794 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2011, 02:41 PM:

AKICIML question:

I need suggestions for vegetarian, gluten-free hors-d'oevres. I'm cooking for the choir (1) Christmas party, and there's a friend there who is both. I am fine with main dishes (Indian and Chinese both provide plenty of options), but my repertoire of heavy finger food in that category is slim.

1) My wife is in the choir; I'm not. The reason would be obvious if you've ever played something and asked me to sing it.

#795 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2011, 02:44 PM:

Jacque @ 773: And more good wishes for Gustav here.

#796 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2011, 02:56 PM:

SamChevre, I make a delicious tofu pate, which can be served with rice crackers and is entirely gluten-free. I don't have a recipe as such, but I'll describe the process of making it if it sounds interesting.

You do have to make it a couple of days in advance for the flavors to develop properly. I usually make it for US Thanksgiving, and I try to have it done by Tuesday.

#797 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2011, 03:01 PM:

@ B. Durbin. Condolences.

Smoking-related cancers cut a swath through my father's side of the family. Two of these deaths occurred while the tobacco industry, and their ideological lap dogs*, were making a last effort to pooh-pooh any connection between smoking and lung disease. A last effort before switching to the "You have a lot of nerve suing us, didn't you read the warning on the package?" defense.

Man, how I despise those bastards.

I had a hard time, even at the time, of feeling angry with my aunt and uncles. How can I put this? Not sophisticated people, apt to scoff at do-gooders who criticized a pleasant habit, over-willing to find hopes in anecdotes about old ladies who lived until 100 and smoked cigars every day, and perhaps a bit fatalistic.

I am so happy no one in my immediate family smokes.

* COUGHconsuitelibertariansCOUGH

#798 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2011, 03:06 PM:

B. Durbin @ 774:

My sympathies for your loss, and as many good thoughts and virtual hugs as you need. My father died about 15 years ago, at the age of 75, of heart failure almost certainly consequent of smoking 2 packs of cigarrettes a day for his entire adult life. That may sound like a ripe old age, but most members of his family lived a lot longer: his mother lived to 94, several of his brothers and sisters are still alive and older than 75 (he was the next-to-youngest), and one sister will be 100 in March. And my mother is 86 now and going strong.

I'm still angry about his smoking: I started smoking a pack a day at 18 because of his example, and am lucky (because I did it before the increases in addictive ingredients) to have quit before I was 25.

A friend of mine (we worked together many years ago, and I haven't seen him recently) was one of the guys who tossed the cans of Agent Orange out the back of the plane. He was showing symptoms as long ago as 1980, and I don't imagine they've gotten any better. And now the VA has admitted that most of the soldiers deployed in Iraq during the invasion were subjected to toxic combustion products, with unknown etiology and prognosis. Arrrgghhh!

Jacque @ 773:

Good wishes and good luck to Gustav.

#799 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2011, 03:21 PM:

SamChevre #794:

Chickpeas are gluten-free. You could make the roasted chickpeas we've been talking about lately, or hummus, although what to serve the hummus on might prove problematic.

I don't require gluten-free myself, but I've been mostly avoiding wheat because of its high glycemic load [*], and recently encountered a couple brands of hummus chips. (Check the ingredients carefully; sometimes they contain other more glutenous stuff as well.) So you could reverse things, and serve hummus chips with any number of dip-like things being possible to go with them. For a recent party, I added spinach-artichoke dip.

Same deal with bean chips.

[*] And have lost thirty pounds. Many more to go, though, and this weekend's dinner-for-eight with my contribution of tiramisu Did Not Help.

#800 ::: geekosaur sees spam in OT164 ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2011, 03:33 PM:

(am I doing this right?)

#801 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2011, 03:34 PM:

Serge Broom @725: I want a guinea piggy bank.

So that's what they mean when they say, "He's so tight he squeaks."

#802 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2011, 03:38 PM:

joann @799 -- and then there are those of us who have a dietary allergy to chickpeas....

#803 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2011, 03:39 PM:

nerdycellist @791: I can find an old Betty Boop cartoon he did on Youtube.
Hey! Don't leave me hanging! What's the title? I've got all those on tape.

#804 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2011, 03:42 PM:

geekosaur @800:

Thank you for the report. Note for the future that it's easier to just comment on the thread where the spam is. There are back-end tricks I can use that your link doesn't facilitate as well.

#805 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2011, 03:47 PM:

Stefan Jones at 797: With you in despising tobacco companies. I was left some stock in Altria Group (Philip Morris). I sold it almost immediately, because owning it completely creeped me out. I could have certainly made $$$ had I held on to it, and I knew that, but I could not keep it.

And on that note: a federal judge has enjoined the FDA from requiring graphic warnings (i.e. pics of diseased lungs, and so on) on cigarette packages, on the grounds that such graphic images violate the free speech rights of corporations!

Not a joke.

%^&$#@*&!!! People have free speech rights. Damn it, a corporation is not a person!

#806 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2011, 03:48 PM:

Kip W @743: Not "spontooneous degeneration?"

#807 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2011, 03:50 PM:

SamChevre @794 You could also do a 7-layer taco dip (refried beans, sour cream, salsa, chopped green onion, guacamole or chopped avocado, shredded cheese ... that's 6 layers, I left something out. Tomato? Lettuce? Anyway.). Check the label on the tortilla chip bag, but most are gluten free.

#808 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2011, 03:51 PM:

Kip W -

He's the lead singer for the Royal Samoans, featured in Bamboo Isle (warning! distressingly typical 30's Casual Racism).This was before he met my grandmother. . His voice on the reels he did for me was a little lower, but not by much. Grandma could sing baritone though - mom was a mezzo, I'm a contralto.

Tom Whitmore -

As a garbanzo fan, that is an allergy I would hate to have. My roommate is allergic to corn, which is IN EVERYTHING. She had a massive reaction last year around Xmas so we had to really crack down on our corn intake. It kind of sucks and it can get pretty expensive and time-consuming, but since we've really diminished our consumption of processed foods she's lost about 25 lbs and my endocrinologist is thrilled with my bloodwork (still lectures me on being fat, but hell - my blood sugars and cholesterol are down, so I'll take it!)

#809 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2011, 04:09 PM:

I'm behind on the thread, so pardons:

Thanks to all for good thoughts for Gustav. We have an appointment with the vet this evening after work, so keeping appendages crossed.

Ginger @746: Others have chimed in wrt the mortgage. IANALREL, but my first step would be to see how the ownership is listed on your deed. If you'd like a little free research, feel free to contact me privately, via the email address at the bottom of the webpage my name points to.

#810 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2011, 04:31 PM:

nerdycellist @767: Area woman's arthritic dog FINALLY eats actual dog food

Yay! I am mindful of the amount of relief afforded by these small victories.

#811 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2011, 04:37 PM:

B. Durbin @774: Condolences and shared anger. ::sigh::

#812 ::: FaultyMemory ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2011, 05:00 PM:


"Kaleidoscope", by Ray Bradbury, is a child-accessible short story which ends badly for the hero/narrator. I'm unclear on whether it was written for children, but the language is fairly simple. It is included in The Illustrated Man.

#813 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2011, 05:11 PM:

FaultyMemory @812: I str all of The Illustrated Man being pretty easy to process as a kid.

#814 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2011, 05:26 PM:

This should probably go under "Why We Immunize" but I think the thread is closed.

It seems their are folks in the USA who are shipping childhood diseases to others for money:

Mail Order Diseases

B. Durbin, my condolences, I've lost family members to smoking related diseases, makes me angry too.

#815 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2011, 05:29 PM:

Eee Gad! That there "their" should be "there."

#816 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2011, 05:47 PM:

nerdycellist @808: Aha! That's one of the first ones I saw after childhood. Actually, it was BETTY BOOP'S RISE TO FAME, which used clips from BAMBOO ISLE, but not a major diff. That's pretty neat!

Casual racism, yep. They could be pretty peculiar about it, as when I'LL BE GLAD WHEN YOU'RE DEAD (YOU RASCAL YOU) fades back and forth between live footage of a member of Louis Armstrong's orchestra and a cartoon cannibal. Just what are you trying to tell us here? A friend of mine used to ironically say, "It was a simpler, more natural time" when faced with examples of now-glaring racism, sexism, or just plain weirdness (like a line of cats sucking the milk out of each others' tails).

I suppose this is what the "P.I. Police" want to return us to — a time when jokes like this could be dropped in major media without a qualm, and anybody who doesn't like it just needs to suck it up and get a sensahumor. Always wondered what it would be like to be an Asian kid in Chicago when Bozo was showing BUGS BUNNY NIPS THE NIPS. ("Here ya go, Slant Eyes!")

#817 ::: FaultyMemory ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2011, 06:03 PM:


I've read multiple stories now about chicken pox outbreaks in which vaccinated kids come down the the disease. The vaccine does not appear to provide same assurance of lifelong immunity that the disease itself provides. While there are cases of chicken pox that are atypically severe, I can't fault parents who weigh the risks and decide that deliberately exposing their kids to chicken pox better suits their children's long-term interests.

#818 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2011, 06:07 PM:

I remember my mom getting all offended when we moved back to the midwest near Dad's family, and one of his brothers-in-law guffawed that mom couldn't be Samoan because she wasn't wearing a bone through her nose. I guess he thought he was being funny because mom looks pretty white (if you look closely at the Betty Boop footage, you'll see my grandpa on the far right - the smallest and palest of the band. His father was a Canadian, so he was only half Samoan). Mom wanted to know where he got the "bone" info. As if Samoans were AFRICANS! (oh noes!!!) Come to that, are there any non-cartoon African tribes who wear bones through their noses?

Our annual choir fundraiser had a 40's-60's era Tropical Nightclub theme. I thought I could stretch that to throw in a little Polynesian tiki flair and thought about going through Grampa's repertoire for music. Skewing a little mainstream - and because I don't play the guitar, so Tiare or Pearly Shells might not sound so "exotic" with a piano - I expanded my search to stuff he sang during the period that was in English. I had almost decided on a fun little up-tempo tune I remembered loving to sing along with Grampa on, and then I listened to it. Suffice to say that while "Bongo, Bongo, Bongo, I Don't Want To Leave The Congo" was a fun song for a 5 year old white kid to sing with her Grampa, it is soooo very inappropriate for, well, anyone to sing in the 21st Century. Yikes! Eventually I ditched my musical heritage and went with something in Spanish that's not cheerfully racist.

#819 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2011, 06:24 PM:

FaultyMemory @817:
Getting chicken pox doesn't always confer immunity either; I got it twice as a kid. (Briefly: it depends on the degree of exposure; vaccination will protect you against normal exposure, but if you're at the center of an outbreak your immune system will probably be overrun before it can react anyway.)

Also, for several years it's been known that it's not lifelong immunity with either the vaccine or actually contracting the disease; it seems to wear off after 10-20 years. IIRC what obscured this was that it doesn't manifest later as chicken pox, but as shingles.

#820 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2011, 06:38 PM:

SamChevre @794 re: vegetarian/gluten-free hors d'oevres

As part of my complete dietary overhaul project, I started brainstorming creative and appealing hors d'oevres that were also extremely low-calorie -- many of which could be adapted to your requirements. One of my experiments was identifying which vegetables could be sliced into thin rounds as used in place of crackers with assorted toppings. As I recall I got excellent results with carrot (you have to find humongous carrots, though), daikon, and jicama. Cucumber failed as a cracker-substitute (due to excessive moisture) but could be used for slightly goopier toppings if you used a small-diameter cuke, cut the slices a little thicker, and scooped a depression for the topping using a melon-baller. If you're willing to put some labor into it, cherry tomatoes also work for the slightly more liquid toppings if you halve them then scope out the guts (again, with the melon-baller). And never forget the usefulness of mushroom caps as a base for hot appetizers (especially if your vegetarians allow for egg whites as a binder).

My project was aimed much more at reducing calories while including a lot of flavor, so my toppings didn't entirely avoid meat (especially seafood), but the general concept transfers nicely. It is advised to use highly flavorful toppings and make use of herbs and spices liberally since the vegetable bases tend to be fairly bland.

#821 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2011, 06:56 PM:

Someone needs to make up a poster for a

Give your children vaccine-free natural immunity by playing with infected kids. Free balloons and face painting!

See how many go for it. Give them a good talking to.

#822 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2011, 07:04 PM:

Heather Rose Jones (820): Non-humongous carrots might work if cut on an angle, yielding oblong pieces rather than circles.

#823 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2011, 07:10 PM:

Stefan Jones @ #821, if it were a cowpox party and if smallpox were still endemic, it might be worth a shot (pun intended).

#824 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2011, 07:10 PM:

Thank you all, so far, for the vegetarian/gluten-free suggestions. A couple more specific notes: this is a fairly formal party, and there will be alcohol[1]. Thus, fairly high-fat snacks, fairly formal snacks are particularly desirable--and that's exactly where my repertoire is weakest.

1) How can you tell it's an Episcopal Church kitchen? There's 15 bottle openers and no can openers.

#825 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2011, 08:05 PM:

SamChevre #824: For those who'll eat eggs, there's always the classic devilled eggs, which you can sprinkle with various spices or other toppings.

#826 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2011, 09:07 PM:

Shingles isn't fun, either. They have a vaccine for it, but you have to be 60, according to the FDA, before you can get it. Everyone I know who's gotten shingles has been younger than that (in some cases much younger).

#827 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2011, 09:13 PM:

B. Durbin, #774: My condolences on your loss. May he be remembered well.

My grandfathers both died the year I was born, and my paternal grandmother died when I was three -- I know I met her once, but I have no memory of the visit. I don't know whether cancer was a factor in any of those cases, or whether any of them smoked, but it wouldn't surprise me. (Neither of my parents smoked, nor did my maternal grandmother, who lived to a ripe old age.)

Kip, #785: I know. I have an 8G flash drive in my belt-pack -- not so much because I actually need such a thing, but because it makes me feel SO COOL to be walking around with 8 gigs of data storage in my pocket! And today my partner logged into our business associate's postal account (by request), generated a mailing label, and e-mailed it as a PDF to someone else, so that a package could be sent in time to meet our associate when he gets back to his place, and before he has to load up and leave again (with about 24 hours of turn-around time). I love living in the future.

Lori, #814: As usual, don't read the comments -- after a quick scan, I think every single one of them is from an anti-vaxer loon. These people need to be locked up permanently, with no online access.

(And do they really think making a private Facebook group is going to save them from legal liability? Facebook will roll right over and hand out their contact information to anyone who asks!)

#828 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2011, 09:23 PM:


The tofu pate instructions would be greatly appreciated.

#829 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2011, 10:07 PM:

5.6 Saturday night. 4.7 tonight, DURING a severe thunderstorm watch while tornadoes have been spotted in other parts of the state. Why is Oklahoma trying to kill me???

#830 ::: Lenore Jean Jones/jonesnori ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2011, 10:35 PM:

#794, 828 ::: SamChevre - You will LOVE Xopher's tofu pate. If he tried coming to Thanksgiving dinner without it we would bar the door. It actually is rather elegant - it unmolds onto a plate, and you can use an elegant plate and fancy little spreaders.

I make sushi for that particular application. I use the fried tofu wrappers (inari) that come in a can at the oriental grocery (I go to Mitsuwa in Edgewater, NJ, but I've seen them lots of places). Make short-grain rice (bag should say sushi rice on it) and add flavored rice vinegar while the rice is hot. Mix well. I'll look up the proportions if anyone is actually interested. When the rice has cooled enough to handle, take the tofu wrappers out of the can. They're conceptually sort of like pita - they've been cut in half, and your job is to separate them at the cut to create a pocket. Stuff the pocket with rice, top with something or other decorative (powdered or shredded seaweed, sesame seeds, Japanese rice topping in a jar), and put on platter. Serve with wasabi (made up from canned wasabi powder), sliced pickled ginger, and wheat-free tamari (or soy sauce if you don't have any wheat or gluten allergies in your crowd).

It's actually not difficult, but you do need the ingredients. My crowd loves it.

#831 ::: Lenore Jean Jones/jonesnori ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2011, 10:40 PM:

B Durbin 774 - my condolences on the loss of your father. May his memory be for a blessing.

Anger is a very normal reaction. I dreamed yesterday that my husband had been in jail (instead of dead) and I was getting ready to yell at him for leaving me alone all that time when he showed up, and all I could do was smile and hug him and cry. Then my alarm clock went off, d*mn it. I was really enjoying that hug.

Jacque 773 - I hope the vet figures good, easy things out for wee Gustav. Soon.

#832 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2011, 10:50 PM:

It's using awfully broad-spectrum methods. I suspect its target isn't you in particular; you're just in the neighborhood. (I suggest using any method that works to calm your nerves.)

#833 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2011, 11:14 PM:

P J Evans' mention of shingles sent a chill down my spine.

Many years ago the fellow across the street -- father of a friend of my brother, and a nice gentle guy -- fell ill. My mother mentioned that he had shingles. I was busy with college and didn't follow the neighbor-news well, but next thing I knew Chet had passed away.

I'd assumed it was because of shingles. It wasn't until just a few years ago, when I mentioned this in conjunction with a relative getting a case, that I learned Chet had in fact died of lung cancer. (He was a smoker.)

#834 ::: cajunfj40 ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2011, 11:15 PM:

David Harmon @#740, That could very well be. I did go too many years reading the later stuff and wondering about the origins. There are a few other things that might be at play, though.  For one, I kind of expected some scaredness out of the Lovecraft work, but didn't find any. The tome I have also includes some of his writings about the genre he writes his stories in, and he describes a sense of frission or similar that those who read and write in that genre get from the wierd and horrific that I seem to lack. I haven't really gotten any out of the parody/pastiche work either, so part of the problem could be a mismatch with expectation in that area. Maybe I'm wired for the wrong genre? Frex, Stross' Laundry works, which I enjoy immensely have a very Lovecraftian underpinning, and read to me as action/adventure/humor(often dark). The previously mentioned work At The Mountains Of Cuteness had a lot more parody/ inversion to it, so there was- intended or not- a fair bit of absurdity humor as well. Hellboy had a lot of humor worked in, too - and being a movie tended to use the "surprise" factor to make you jump.

The "expecting scariness" thing is tough because I recall only two movies that actually scared me at the time: Silence of the Lambs and C.H.U.D., and the latter suceeded in making nightmares. Not much else has done much other than the surprise/shock "make me jump" stuff.
Maybe I am also expecting the humor that later works added to Lovecraft's themes?

Dave Bell @#760 I found some of your fiction here. I could have sworn I posted in the wake of that asking if there were more available, but I cannot find where I did do. I know I poked around on the Spontoon Island site to no avail.  

BTW, apologies to Antonia T. Tiger for mis-spelling earlier. I work in the same building as an Antonina, so that is what I read when I see similar name shapes.

Lenore Jean Jones/jonesnori@#821: "I was really enjoying that hug."
Oh, man. It has been way too long since I dreamed of being hugged. One of the best dreams I ever had included a hug. I'd want to break the alarm clock if it woke me from another one!

#835 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2011, 11:31 PM:

Xopher's Pate de Foix Tofu:

Get the Extra Firm Style tofu, the kind that comes in fluted plastic tubs. Soak the closed containers in a sinkful of warm water until the tofu is room temperature. Open and drain the tofu well. Cut as much of the plastic label off the top of the tubs as possible. Wash and dry the tubs and set aside.

Using a flat cloth (that is, not terrycloth or anything nubbley like that) squeeze as much water out of the blocks of tofu as you can. Then grate them with a cheese grater, and either use a cheesecloth to squeeze as much water as possible out of them, or squeeze one handful at a time until your hands ache with cold and you're just about completely sick of even looking at grated tofu. I prefer the cheesecloth method.

When you've got a pretty dry bowlful of grated tofu, mash it a little more with a fork. Add a bit of extra-virgin olive oil. Then really mash it in earnest; I use a wand blender because the finer the pieces the better, but you don't want to reduce it to soy milk.

Add wheat-free tamari until it's about the right color for pate.

Add carmelized onions to taste (or if you don't keep carmelized onions around, saute some and use those, or use raw minced onions if you want the pate to be really HOT, but I stopped doing that years ago myself).

Add freshly-ground black pepper. Be careful with this; it gets stronger as the pate matures.

Add minced garlic in oil. It's hard to overdo this, though it gets stronger; I just like garlic a lot. If you put in garlic until you taste garlic in the uncured pate, it will be strong enough in the final version. If the other things you're cooking have delicate flavors, you might want to cut the garlic a bit.

Add extra virgin olive oil until the texture is right. The pate should stick together, but not be visibly oily.

Press the pate into the tubs. IIRC three tubs of tofu make two of pate, but I could be misremembering that. Be sure to get into the corners and flutes of the tubs. Cover the tubs tightly with food film or plastic wrap. I usually wrap around that with foil, but you may not need to. Refrigerate for at least a couple of days.

When ready to serve, unwrap the tub. Put a plate on top of it, face down, and invert. If the pate doesn't come out right away you can squeeze the tub this way and that until it does. If you've done it right the pate will stand up in a firm shape, and you can stick pate knives into it. Surround with rice crackers and serve.

#836 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2011, 11:39 PM:

Grumble. We [the Amazing Girlfriend and I] found out that we didn't get the apartment we'd applied for. This is lame, because it would have been the Easiest Move Ever, and it had more built-in storage than I've ever seen.

Well, now we're hunting for one bedroom apartments in North Berkeley so we can move in together... gives us something to do between research / classes / conference abstract deadline. Still, grumble.

#837 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2011, 12:03 AM:

The reason for the "undirected" part of the "stop smoking, dammit," is that I'm biting my tongue rather than haranguing people, though I do have some friends who are interested in quitting within the next few months. I'm bouncing ideas off of them in terms of information and ideas for quitting to see if any of them will help. Some people can quit cold turkey; some get physical symptoms; some just fall prey to the social aspects.

In a year or two, when I'm calmer on the subject, I'm considering making a series of videos on smoking, starting with "85%" (85% of lung cancer cases occur in smokers (not even counting secondhand smoke), and 85% of lung cancer cases don't last past a year from diagnosis [I'll have to check that latter number], so why don't you leave the 85%?) and going through "Other things that are better addictions" (that's one to get ludicrous friends in on—addiction to steampunk! Addiction to chocolate) and "Benefits from quitting smoking" (immediate and long-term.) The whole idea is to be supportive rather than haranguing, and to get people to think about their habits.

I also remember, back in college, there was a classmate of mine who was horrified that one of the big tobacco companies owned a snack food company. I told her that no, that's good—if they're just tobacco, they fight for smoking tooth and nail, because that's all they have. But if they have other interests, then when smoking gets attacked, they have the option of pouring more money into those other things. Don't corner an enemy.

#838 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2011, 12:33 AM:

Well, vet visit was...equivocally encouraging. Gustav does appear to have bladder stones, and is too depleted for surgery, even if I could afford it. But we were issued a new round of antibiotics, plus sub-Q fluids. (HLN: guinea mom survives first administration thereof.)

Haven't heard her crying while peeing this evening. Conversely, Silkie is in heat and is making a horrible pest of herself, and Gustav (the herd alpha) has been right in the thick of it (though I'm unclear on what, exactly, she's trying to accomplish; normal hierarchy seems to go out the window when estrus occurs).

Front row center for dinner, and everybody else is still avoiding her bitey end, so...all in all, fingers continue to be crossed.

#839 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2011, 12:46 AM:

B. Durbin @ 837:

Smoking is a nasty addiction. My wife, Eva, and I both quit many years ago, but a lot of people our age never did quit. Eva's best friend for the last 30 years or so finally quit (with Eva cheering her on the whole way) about 10 years ago, but has had lung trouble of one sort or another for awhile now. About 3 years ago she developed severe emphysema and was in the ICU for a week. She had to keep an oxygen tank with her for months after that (and it's not easy for her to lug even a small tank around; she's about 4' 10" tall to start with, and working with about half of one lung makes it really difficult).

#840 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2011, 07:40 AM:

cajunfj40 #834: There's also the matter of social context... remember that much like C.S. Lewis with his later "Space Trilogy", Lovecraft was writing into a newly expanded world... with figurative dragons at the edges. But where Lewis was an optimistic explorer, confident that the Universe Is Good, Lovecraft was... a fearful invalid. He was also fairly racist, and that was typical of his readership as well.

If you look at the original in that light, you can see that a fair part of the "scariness" to his original comes from the horror of "those people coming in and invading our world with their horrible practices". In the decades since then, that sort of xenophobia has largely become declasse, as those "unknown savage realms" were not just explored, but absorbed into various empires and alliances. In the 21st century, Darkest Africa is just another continent, and its natives are obviously human. That was not received truth in Lovecraft's day....

A second part of Lovecraft's "horror" comes from the mere prospect that humanity might not be the pinnacle of creation, chosen by God to rule over the Earth -- that instead, we might be ants scurrying between the feet of the true masters of the universe. Of course, in his time, we were just learning that the universe is far, far, bigger than we thought. Especially linked to the xenophobia (and the incomplete exploration of the Earth), it wasn't at all unreasonable to wonder what might be lurking in that endless night, wherein our world was a mere pebble.

In the decades since then, we've continued to both explore our own world, and examine the skies. We've learned that those great distances are isolating, but at the same time, protective. We've explored the nearest bodies and recognized them as utterly sterile, and gotten a bit of an idea as to just how special the Earth is for our neighborhood. But we've also gotten a better sense of just how small we are even on our own planet, living among terrestrial processes that have been churning and changing since before we learned to split rocks into sharp bits. We know about the Great Extinctions, and guess at the causes... could it happen to us? Could we do anything about it, if it did?

Then too, look back at that xenophobia... at least some of us have recognized all of humanity as a community, our fates bound together by the condition and fate of our world. Having done so, we began to hope to expand that community even further, to look for other races. Perhaps we'd fight them -- but now we've learned that war is not inevitable, that those different from us can become valued friends.

And so we began to hope for potential friends out there, visiting from world to world, carrying Society through the darkness. And, we found... nobody, and wondered. Perhaps indeed no humans out there... but perhaps, something else that we could talk to? Perhaps furred, or scaled, or feathered? Anything? We explored our own world, and began to recognize our cousins among the apes, and to see that sentience wasn't a walled city, but a thing of gradations. More, we found bits of intelligence even in the sea, among dolphins and whales, and even octopi. Could we find friends beneath the sea? Our imagination expanded, and the image of a tentacled sentient shifted, from incomprehensible monster to rival (BEM), and finally to potential friend.

And this modern world... that's the world that Charles Stross is writing in. The fears have changed since Lovecraft's time. We no longer fear mere contact with the alien... but we do fear intrusions and failures of the mind -- the loss of control to brainwashing, the disabilities of brain damage. We no longer worry about invasion... the new threat is apocalypse. We mostly consider science as our servant... but we do worry about but misuse of the awesome powers we've gathered for ourselves, by the foolish, evil, or mad. Of course, a few things haven't changed: now as then, the forefront of scientific knowledge involves confirmed facts, that strain our minds to encompass. And so we worry still that truly understanding the Universe might just be too much for a mortal mind.

Charlie's stories reflect those emphases, and that's why they are far more frightening to a modern reader than the terrors of nearly a century ago!

#841 ::: Susie ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2011, 07:57 AM:


Xopher HalfTongue @ 793: "Rooty Toot Toot for the Moon" is by Greg Brown, found on his 1988 album One More Goodnight Kiss. I'm happy to be reminded of several of his other songs that make good earworms. Now where's my cassette tape of In the Dark with You?

B. Durbin, my condolences on your father, sympathy for the anger about smoking, and admiration for the kindness that's evident in your approach to encouraging others to stop.

I've been feeling angry about smoking in general lately. Ever since the indoor smoking ban finally took effect where I live, there seems to be more of it on the sidewalks via which I commute. I'm fortunate not to have many friends or relatives with the addiction, but emphysema took my eldest uncle two years ago this month. He had given up smoking on doctors' orders some four decades earlier and it still caught up with him. It's an end I wouldn't wish on an enemy.

#842 ::: Hilary Hertzoff ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2011, 08:05 AM:

Jacque @838 Good luck with Gustav and the rest of the herd.

I probably wouldn't have said anything here (the curse of the lurker) if bladder stones hadn't come up but my Peppermint (rabbit) was diagnosed with a huge one on Saturday and is going in for surgery today. She's healthy (good appetite, and she's been bouncing around all weekend), I've got a really good bunny vet, she'll have her brother with her for company and, perhaps most importantly, I'm doing well enough financially that I can afford the surgery (okay, it's going on the credit card I'm trying to pay off, but in the long run, I'll be okay).

That doesn't stop me fretting though.

And now I have to get dressed and annoy the bunnies by catching them and putting them in the carrier. They're not going to be happy about that.

#843 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2011, 09:26 AM:

B. Durbin #837: Alas... I'm one of those persistent smokers. I've tried to quit a couple of times, sometimes being interrupted in this by various personal crises. The thing is, the spoon metaphor applies to this, because withdrawal takes away a lot of spoons! For years now, I've been trying to rebuild my psyche from my big breakdown over a decade ago... but life keeps happening, and so far, I have not had the willpower and energy to spare to get through the extra trials of quitting an addiction which is widely considered to be stronger than heroin's. (And I was told that last bit by an ex-junkie, between puffs.)

For a good part of the last 15 years I've been passively suicidal, and even now, I don't have a whole lot of enthusiasm for life -- that seriously undercuts the threat of cancer. This despite the fact that my father died of complications from lung cancer -- which itself is a complication for me, as I identified deeply with Dad. Yes, his parents lived a lot longer -- but his father, in particular, spent his last years deeply ill with kidney failure, damn near took Grandma with him*, and had descended into suicidal incoherence before Dad and my uncles got there to pull the plug. Dad's death was at least quick, when it came, and if it hadn't been, he'd looked into arrangements for choosing his own end.

And when someone comes by to tell me that I really ought to quit smoking already... that's yet more stress, interfering with my already shaky ability to navigate ordinary life, right now.

I guess my point is that other people have, not just their own burdens, but their own limits and priorities, and pushing someone to quit smoking is pushing your priorities onto them. "Living longer" is just one choice of priority, and it's not at the top of everyone's list. I understand and sympathize with your grief and the anger that comes with it, but I can't absorb that anger -- it can't be a motivation for me.

* She was giving him home dialysis -- besides her own age, she was a very small woman, and he was not such a small man.

#844 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2011, 09:32 AM:

Re: PNH's Maple Syrup sidelight--

Damn you, Atlantic! Those of us who live up here in maple syrup country were trying to keep that secret for ourselves!

Seriously, I remember what happened after Esquire magazine discovered single-malt scotch. I used to be able to purchase the occasional bottle of the very good stuff even on a grad student's traditional pittance; once it became fashionable, the price went through the roof.

#845 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2011, 10:36 AM:

Janet, #829: It's not you. It's the Christians' God getting tired of what people there are doing in his name, and trying to get their attention. You notice this sort of thing rarely happens in areas which are "full of sin".

David, #840: That's a nice analysis!

I'm also one who doesn't get that pleasurable frisson from horror, and I've come to think of it as being akin to the connection between sexual pleasure and pain. Some people are wired for that sort of connection; I'm just not. All I get is the pain -- or, in the case of horror, the squick.

#846 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2011, 10:50 AM:

Heather Rose Jones @820: Using your "crackers" as a base, much muchness may be achieved in flavor with the application of miso paste, nutritional yeast, onions, garlic, and various other flavoring elements.

I have a lovely little raw food "cook"book that I stumbled across online. Google "Raw Food Fast Food" with quotemarks in. It's, like, $12 as an ebook, but all of the recipes I've tried have been tasty and quick to prepare. (Though I think I did something seriously wrong with the "meatballs.")

#847 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2011, 10:52 AM:

HLN: All parties survived second application of subcutaneous fluids. Bell pepper served as surprisingly effective distraction. Afterwards, breakfast was enthusiastically embraced.

#848 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2011, 11:27 AM:

Hilary Hertzoff @842: Oh, goodness! You and Peppermint have my best wishes! Do keep us posted. (And, as noted in previous comment, I have been pleased to discover that Bribery Works.)

#849 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2011, 11:43 AM:

On one's relationship to friends who are trying to quit smoking:

I have a dear friend who went through a long and relapseful process of quitting smoking. (Currently still successful.) A lot of us went through the frustration and unhappiness of watching her succeed for a while then pick it up again. But we pretty much all knew and agreed that if she were going to quit for good, she was the only one who could make that decision and make it stick. No amount of loving and "helpful" nagging and badgering would make a whit of difference and might even hurt. She was very conscientious about not smoking around other people (and especially not around other former smokers), but it was always the big smokey elephant sitting there in the room.

The only time we really lit into her (if I may use that phrase) was after she had finally quit for good and was saying something to the effect of, "Well, I'm glad I did it finally. I know you guys didn't really mind, but it always bothered me that I couldn't quit." And the lot of us turned on her and said, "LIKE HELL WE DIDN'T MIND!!!!!!!"

I don't know what the balance point is between giving a person space to deal with their addictions in their own way at their own time and giving the false impression that you don't care one way or the other if they quit. I don't know whether she honestly thought her smoking wasn't impacting those around her every single day or whether she was just really good at the denial thing.

#850 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2011, 12:01 PM:

"For a good part of the last 15 years I've been passively suicidal, and even now, I don't have a whole lot of enthusiasm for life -- that seriously undercuts the threat of cancer."

You deserve better. Please believe that. But I hear you on the difficulty. It's hard to be good to yourself when you're drained.

Lately there have been a lot of stories about willpower, and how if you have to be strong in one area, you have less willpower to deal with other things. That's why I encourage "safe" addictions like chocolate. Give in to the chocolate! It gives you the willpower to resist the cigarettes! (j/k)

#851 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2011, 12:11 PM:

Heather Rose Jones @849: I don't know whether she honestly thought her smoking wasn't impacting those around her every single day or whether she was just really good at the denial thing.

That right there is the meat of my fury with the tobacco industry.

I lived the first twenty years of my life with two heavy chain-smokers. I'd come home from class in the evening, and walk in the front door to be greated by a thick layer of smoke hanging at eye-level. My parents were, of course, oblivious. Worse than that; when the negative consequences of smoking began making the news, my mother particularly pooh-poohed the claims. Both of my parents died of lung cancer around age '70. (Non-smoker life-span on both sides of the family tends to run into the nineties.)

And then, when I finally got out of that house, I spent the next ten years in and out of jobs where second-hand cigarette smoke was a tacitly accepted part of the work environment.

On the day when smoking inside of public buildings was finally banned, I rejoiced unto the heavens, and have never looked back.

I confess to a certain bigotry against smokers. Much of that derives from an attitude I encountered from smokers near-universally before the smoking ban: "Doesn't bother me, why are you making such a fuss?"

BECAUSE I DON'T WANT TO SMOKE, YOU @$$HOLE! Kill youself if you like, but don't impose your choice on me!

I dearly love Spider Robinson, but the one time I really wanted to punch him in the nose was when he compared non-smokers' complaints about second-hand and residual cigarette smoke to "Negro musk." E.g., it's all in the mind of the complainant. Like bloody hell!

#852 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2011, 12:57 PM:

Two things I feel the desire to promote -- one thing of mine, one of a friend's. (In the spirit of semi-hyper-localism.)

In reverse order: a guy performing the "yelping the apple store" Particle link, in the persona of Tom Waits:

And: I am now purveying a iPad/iPhone adaption of a choose-your-own-adventure graphic novel. _Meanwhile_, by Jason Shiga. It's got a time machine and the end of the world. It's pretty awesome, if I say so, and I do say so because I've been looking forward to releasing this for many a day now. If you have an iDevice, take a look:

#853 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2011, 01:05 PM:

In re chickenpox vaccines: my family should be on a poster! I got them when I was seven, and gave them to my five-year-old sister (this was in 1959, for the record). I had a somewhat harder than usual case, and ended up, as usual, with a bacterial ear infection and bronchitis afterwards. That did it's bit to stast the rolling disaster. I got hard measles after Christmas, and came close to dying* and developped bronchial pneumonia afterwards, only to come down with mumps in March, and then, at the end of the summer, after a bad sunburn and a couple of blackberry thorns in my feet, I got shingles. I've had chronic low-level shingles outbreaks off and on for my entire life since.

My sister's case of chickenpox was much less damaging from the point of view of mere health: she had no fever, and only had a few lesions. The problem is that all of them were on her face, and each of them turned into a large pale-brown raised mole of the sort which plastic surgeons will not remove for fear of making them worse. This did not do much for her body image, especially as a teenager.

*Every time someone tells me they're thinking of not giving their child an MMR vaccine, I relate the story of hearing my doctor telling my mother that she needed to get my fever down by any means necessary, or I would die or be blinded. It is also the case that my learning disabilities were probably exacerbated by the neurological part of the infection although that's been something only supported retrospectively. Measles kills, and it also harms: I grew up around several people who had long-term brain damage from measles encephalitis.

#854 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2011, 01:10 PM:

Thanks for the maple syrup particle, Patrick -- a great read.

#855 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2011, 01:11 PM:

SamChevre - High-fat crunchy gluten-free vegetarian snacks? Easy - celery sticks with peanut butter, or with other spreads. (I haven't actually tried goat cheese on celery, but cream cheese works ok and can be mixed with a variety of flavorings, herbs, olives, fruits, etc., and back when people ate artificial-colored processed cheese-like spready stuff, that worked well on celery as well.)

Hummus and corn chips are another good combination, if the event can survive large quantities of garlic.

#856 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2011, 01:16 PM:

Re Lovecraft: I have always said that Stephen King wrote the best Lovecraft (mostly in the short stories). The problem with Lovecraft for today's readers (apart from the casual racism and otherism, discussed above) is that there is a base assumption that "there are things out there that man [and yes, it's always a man] does not know, and is truly incapable of knowing without panic."

With the advance of science in the last 100 years (in particular, with the advances in medical and microscopic science) - and the advance of knowledge of science by the general public, we as a society do not have that fear of the unknown any more; it's there, it's explainable, and it may be terrifying but it is a rational fear; a fear that can be understood. If one is willing to start reading the stories consciously returning to that worldview, they stop being "news of the weird" articles and become truly terrifying.

I think there are some things that still work - primarily the "corrupted society" ones (although that, yes, taps into the latent "otherism" (originally, yes, racism. It may not be that way now)) without the "there are things that are so horrible a civilized man can not relate and remain a civilized man".

I still like reading them (and maybe the safety is part of it - I don't like horror in general) but I have to consciously put myself in the frame before I start, or it's just not-well written random.

Re: 843 David Harmon: *Please*, whoever is writing helpful things in this area, listen to what David is saying (if you care, at least, about not being "helpful". That's just an assumption here, but not everywhere). "This will take years off your life" just *isn't* relevant to a significant fraction of your audience. For instance, soldiers throughout this century were *given* cigarette rations (may still be, but the tobacco companies are no longer using that as advertising) - when you're 50-50 to see out the year, the chance of dying 5 years earlier 50 years from now isn't a big concern.

Or, as David alludes to, median death age for childhood-onset chronic depressives is 30 - and while if you make it past 18, that pushes up to 40 or so, what's the harm in smoking? It's really not likely to be a problem. I still can't see 50, never mind 60; but that's well ahead of where I was for 15 years, where I just assumed I'd be dead by 30, had *no fear whatever* of death (still don't really have that), and couldn't see much past the next bridge tournament. There were years where I made *sure* that I had a game booked for next Wednesday, because letting my partner down by suicide between now and then wouldn't be *fair to them*.

If not quitting smoking makes the decision to not do it *today* that much easier, while it's still not a good idea, the fact that it might kill me 40 years from now instead of 50 is...lost in the wash. Also, there is evidence of an antidepressant effect from smoking, and certainly nicotine withdrawal can be a depressive trigger. This adds to the "who cares if I die at 65 instead of 80 if I'm going to bed every night praying to *not* *wake* *up*." issues.

Sorry to be banging on the drum, and I know to at least a few here, I am preaching to the choir, but I have found that this concept is so totally alien to the "normal" world that they literally never think of it. Many people I've talked about this with have told me "I just can't understand that." - note, not don't.

Note: another thanks to God that I have never been tempted to start smoking (and am now allergic to it, so...) It was just fate, and luck, and some smarts, and the time (the evils were coming out into heavy public rotation just about when I was 13) was right. "There but for the grace of God...", indeed. Yet more reason why I am not in the "you have to quit" category, more the "when you decide to quit, I will be there to help" one.

#857 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2011, 01:17 PM:

@844 Debra Doyle
Re: PNH's Maple Syrup sidelight--

Damn you, Atlantic! Those of us who live up here in maple syrup country were trying to keep that secret for ourselves!

I was brought up in the Montérégie, producer of some 75% of the world's supply of maple syrup; the province of Quebec supplies over 3/4 of the global market. The rest is divided between Ontario, New York, and Vermont. From the Wikipedia article, "Vermont is the largest producer in the United States, and generates about 5.5 percent of the global supply".

I find the article's persistence in referring to maple syrup as "symbol of American authenticity"... bemusing.

#858 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2011, 01:21 PM:

Shingles vaccine - they're now saying down to age 50, so I need to get it sometime soon. My grandmother had decades of pain from shingles, in addition to her arthritis, and since I've had chicken pox as a kid, I'm vulnerable to it. (It was a birthday present from my younger brother :-)

Those idiots giving their kids the disease instead of the vaccine are radically increasing their risk of long-term pain and suffering, in addition to the short-term effects of the disease.

#859 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2011, 01:42 PM:

Mycroft W @856:

Also, there is evidence of an antidepressant effect from smoking
It's a sword that cuts both ways: there is evidence for some antidepressant effects, but there are also some proven strong depressant effects. That said, nicotine withdrawal is definitely a depression trigger — leading to a lovely catch-22 for those of us with severe clinical depression.

#860 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2011, 01:45 PM:

Bill Stewart @855: celery sticks with peanut butter, or with other spreads.

Blend the following: 4 parts cashews, 2 parts onions, 1 part garlic, 1 part lemon juice, salt to taste. Add enough nut/soy/rice milk to produce desired consistency. Add chopped chives and parsley. Voila! Lactose-free faux ranch dressing.

#861 ::: Jennifer Baughman ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2011, 02:00 PM:

David Harmon @843:

My father smoked all the years I lived with him (I don't have contact with him anymore, so I don't know if he's still smoking), and he tried to quit two or three times in that time period. It was miserable -- he was nasty and abusive while he was on the cigarettes; trying to quit, that became much, much worse, to the point where it was easier for the people around him to deal with his smoking than his quitting.

I've got several friends who smoke, and because I'm sensitive to smoke, I don't allow them to do it around me -- it's out on the patio or the apartment staircase if they're going to light up.

All my friends know my opinion of smoking -- I hate it. But I don't hate the people who do it, and I do understand (from my own brief moment of temptation) how addictive smoking is, and how hard it is to quit. I tell one of my friends when he complains that he's always getting colds and he's always short of money to quit smoking, because he's got the spoons to deal with it and the insurance to give him Chantix (which I have seen work miracles with another smoking friend). I don't tell another friend who's highly-stressed that she needs to stop smoking, because she doesn't have the spoons, and it helps her cope, though I do quietly encourage other coping strategies in hopes that we can get her to the point she can quit again.

I guess my point is, you're an adult, and it's not like you can be a smoker in this country and not know what it does to you, and you are the only one who really knows what you can and can't handle. And all anyone else should do is wish you hope and peace and strength to deal with the larger troubles in your life.

#862 ::: Jennifer Baughman ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2011, 02:12 PM:

I should also say that I'm somewhat biased w/r/t smoking, as my kneejerk reaction is much like Jacque @851; I started getting multiple chronic winter bronchial infections at the age of 12, and they didn't let up until I was almost 30 and had been out of my parents' house for over a decade. More than one doctor asked me if I smoked, because I'd been exposed to that much secondhand smoke.

So I know I'm biased, because I've taken personal and serious harm from it, and I really appreciate people like David and Mycroft reminding me that it's not a cakewalk on the other side.

#863 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2011, 02:19 PM:

Jennifer, #861: it's not like you can be a smoker in this country and not know what it does to you

Excellent point. Sort of like how you can't be an adult in America and not have "heard the Good News about Jesus Christ!" Anti-smoking evangelism is no more pleasant to be subjected to than the religious kind -- and I say this as a staunch supporter of outlawing smoking in public spaces. IMO, smoking is like sex; it should only happen between consenting adults in private.

#864 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2011, 02:28 PM:

When my brother and I got chicken pox, we recovered in the usual time. However, we gave them to our father, a healthy Infantry officer in his early 30s. He got sick enough that the Army had him stay home for a month. We kids did not realize at the time how serious this was, nor that he came close to being hospitalized. He grew a wonderfully bushy black beard, which, with his shaggy fringe of hair ( he went bald in his 20s), gave him quite the mad scientist look. Somewhere there are photos.

#865 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2011, 02:40 PM:

geekosaur @859: nicotine withdrawal is definitely a depression trigger — leading to a lovely catch-22 for those of us with severe clinical depression.

I should take a moment to express gratitude to whatever Powers of the Universe allowed me the good sense to avoid smoking. Partly, it was the counterexample of my parents, partly it was that none of the "Cool Kids" in high school who smoked were people I had any desire to emulate.

But given how much trouble I have regulating my intake of coffee Haagen-Dasz (which is becoming an issue with age and the onset of insulin resistance), I'm pretty confident that I am not nearly grateful enough that I never started smoking.

I do faintly regret, however, not having had the foresight to tuck away the money that I would have spent on cigarettes had I been a smoker. By all accounts, I could have retired by now.

#866 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2011, 02:42 PM:

Only this: I was diagnosed with depression when I dropped out of college in the middle of my sophomore year, at age 18. I probably had been actively ill for at least 4 years by then.

I often said that having had my mid-life crisis at 18, I would be dead by 36. And for a long time I believed it. Even after I "finished" treatment.

At 36, I had a baby instead of dying.

I'm 50+ now. Not "well," not "normal," but still here. Doing the best I can, everyday. Some days are easier, some days are harder, some days I simply don't recall (true of a lot of my life).


#867 ::: J Homes ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2011, 02:45 PM:

Re Lovecraft:

On reading "The Whisperer in Darkness", I noted that the ending, too horrible to state explicitly, was something that, only a few years later, could have been offered (possibly was) by an author writing for John W Campbell as a glorious adventure to be revelled in.

J Homes.

#868 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2011, 03:00 PM:

J Homes @867: try, published a month before in Amazing Stories (July 1931 to Lovecraft's August 1931 Weird Tales publication for "Whisperer...") if you're referring to Neil R. Jones' Professor Jameson stories (which I think you are). Pre-Campbell and the wrong magazine....

Pedantically, Tom W.

#869 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2011, 03:29 PM:

WRT cigarettes, I've often said I enjoyed every one I had, and to an extent that's true. It took me several tries, with lots of cheating ("I'll only smoke when I'm out having a drink." and the like) but I managed to quit. It's hard to do so, but the effects on my health (blood pressure, primarily) gave me enough incentive. I couldn't have done it without the patches and gum.

Stephen King said something to the effect that we get punished out of all proportion for minor pleasures. You smoke, and what do you get for this little bitty pleasure? Cancer, emphysema, heart disease! For that kind of punishment, one would think that every cigarette would be a supreme moment of bliss.

Addiction has its own unassailable logic: if you don't keep taking the drug, you feel terrible. And nicotine is a drug that gives you several hundred hits a day. It's a hard addiction to break.

#870 ::: sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2011, 03:40 PM:

SamChevre@ 794, HRJ@ 820:

Traditionally, I do cucumber sandwiches with herbed cheese (boursin or allouette), using slices of cucumber as the base instead of bread.

Also, goat cheese or blue cheese stuffed dates (add a little black pepper and/or garlic for contrast), broiled and drizzled with a little balsamic vinegar. (even better when wrapped in bacon before being broiled, but then it's not veggie.)

Slices of apple or pear, dipped in lemon water, with a dab of carmel and half-a-nut. I use candied pecans, but I've seen variations using pears, honey, and almonds.

Tortilla chips and any kind of gf or vegetarian dip. Spinach and artichoke is a favorite here, or anything involving the rest of the cheese mix that didn't make it into the dates.

#871 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2011, 03:42 PM:

(I'm also glad I didn't get hooked on cigarettes. Quitting addictions is tough indeed, and being told to do so didn't work at all for me. I had to find something I wanted more.)

And now for something completely different. Jonathan Coulton has a new album out, and he's been doing videos. Here's one, a duet with a friend who's on iPhone: Nemeses. Perfect for all you superhero comics fans....

#872 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2011, 03:55 PM:

David's #840 reminds me of this:

"In a universe whose size is beyond human imagining, where our world floats like a dust mote in the void of night, men have grown inconceivably lonely. We scan the time scale and the mechanism of life itself for portents and signs of the invisible. As the only thinking mammals on the planet -- perhaps the only thinking animals in the entire sidereal universe -- the burden of consciousness has grown heavy upon us. We watch the stars, but the signs are uncertain. We uncover the bones of the past and seek for our origins. There is a path there, but it appears to wander. The vagaries of the road may have a meaning, however; it is thus we torture ourselves."

"Lights come and go in the night sky. Men, troubled at last by the things they build, may toss in their sleep and dream bad dreams, or lie awake while the meteors whisper greely overhead. But nowhere in all space or on a thousand worlds will there be men to share our loneliness. There may be wisdom; there may be power; somewhere across space great instruments, handled by strange manipulative organs, may stare vainly at our floating cloud wrack, their owners yearning as we yearn. Nevertheless, in the nature of life and in the principles of evolution we have had our answer. Of men elsewhere, and beyond, there will be none forever."

-- Loren Eiseley, "Little Men and Flying Saucers," The Immense Journey

There's a suggestion of Lovecraftian immensity in Eiseley's passage, with an acknowledgement that the real dangers and mysteries are more local.

#873 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2011, 04:07 PM:

Oh, smoking and depression...

I started smoking when I was 19, and my younger sister and brother were committed to teen psych wards within the same week. This was due more to their incorrigible Teen-ageness and mom's comprehensive insurance than any mental illness as far as I can tell, but it was still a shock.

I smoked the heaviest (about a half pack a day) when I was going to theatre school in NYC. Had an instructor give me the truth one day when he said I'd be better off gaining of losing 25 lbs - I'd never be cast at the weight I was at. Nice. Deciding against gaining weight for obvious reasons, I began to smoke. It was, in addition to being a fantastic appetite suppressant, a fabulous coping mechanism. (it also borked my lung capacity, but who gives a crap how well you sing if you're a chub, am I right?).

I kept smoking after school, as I went from lousy job to lousy job, had to move back in with my parents, and then moved back to NYC to live a charmingly impoverished life with three other roommates and two jobs. The smoking really helped me not thinking about killing myself, even as I subconsciously knew it wasn't good - that grampa had died of throat cancer. The idea that I might eventually succumb to the disease (as someone with no experience seeing actual emphysema sufferers) seemed darkly, ironically appealing - and that should tell you all you need to know about my psychological fitness at the time.

I kept smoking even after the thyroid issue gave me that "extra" 25 lbs and more. Moved to Wisconsin, had a low-paying name-tag job and smoked there too. It wasn't until nearly a decade ago that I gradually tapered off. It coincides with my move to L.A. Now that I think of it, I don't wonder if I was self-medicating for SAD. I certainly couldn't have afforded medical treatment, let alone therapy, with the insurance I had in my 20's(when I did have insurance). And I'm one of the lucky ones who was able to just not smoke anymore. My sister was not so lucky, and went through the Quitting thing at least 4 (miserable) times before giving it up for good when she decided she wanted to have a baby.

#874 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2011, 04:24 PM:

Re: smoking, my mom did, and I as a direct result did not. Didn't like the smell, didn't like the smoke (which made me cough), could hardly stand to retrieve at her request a sealed package of her Herbert Tarytons (sp?) from her nightstand. She would "try" to quit now and then, but it never stuck...not even after her heart attack kept her comatose for three weeks and in ICU/Cardiac Care for another month. Frankly, I think most of it was boredom: she'd been stripped of her identity as a strong, healthy working woman (her boss had already hired three other people to replace Mom, and didn't want her back because she had become an insurance risk, and her short-term memory was poor for several years due to oxygen "starvation").

At first she wouldn't smoke when I was home; then she'd only smoke in her room (as if my nose no longer worked...); then, not quite a year and a half after the heart attack, she "celebrated" the late-night announcement of my engagement by lighting up in the living room.

I should have known then the engagement was doomed, but that's another story.

Point is that nicotine addiction is hard on everyone, and even people with good reason to stop sometimes can't, or won't, or just don't see the point. Which is when I just keep my fingers crossed and hope for the best.

Sympathies, B. Durbin, and to all who have lost loved ones as a result of smoking.


Open-threadiness: I seem to have missed (or haven't retained) the adoption of a metaphor, i.e., references to spoons that indicate the subject is in reality money or possessions or resources or some such. I think. Can someone point me to the origin post/comment?

#875 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2011, 04:33 PM:

Syd (874): It's a reference to Christine Miserandino's Spoon Theory. (That's not the original source, but it was the first thing to come up on a quick Google.)

#876 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2011, 04:49 PM:

Stefan Jones @ 872 -

Thank you for reminding me of Loren Eiseley, who I think was one of our most gifted essayists. I'll have to hunt for that book. I had it at one time, and lost it.

#877 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2011, 05:25 PM:

Stefan Jones @ 872:

Reading Eiseley's essays in my early teens was a booster shot to the sense of wonder that I was first innoculated with from reading Heinlein, Clarke, and Anderson. Then, IIRC, I discovered Stapledon's The StarMaker and Last and First Men, and that finished opening my internal landscape to cover all time and space.

That sense of Deep Time and Vast Space that Eiseley, Clarke, and Stapledon especially tried to present is vital, I think, to a realistic understanding of the human race' (and each of us individual humans') place in the universe. And despite what many may think, knowing how small you really are may be humbling, but it is just the opposite of engendering despair.

#878 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2011, 05:27 PM:

For those interested, the Keck Observatory in Hawaii will have a live broadcast of the asteroid flyby this evening.

Asteroid flyby

So play your Michael Bay soundtracks extra loud. :)

#879 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2011, 05:56 PM:

OT, except to the extent that the subjects of smoking (giving up) and bars (difficulties posed to the previous because of prior associations between drinking and smoking) are inextricably linked: when I bumped into these folks I felt they probably belonged in the same bar as Mike Ford, Heisenberg, Godel, and Chomsky . Sadly, the shutters are closed over there, so I pointed them over here instead. I hope they won't disturb the regulars too much...

#880 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2011, 06:05 PM:

Somewhat belated comment: Am I the only one who keeps reading "Katie Roiphe Saw a Fight" and thinking "Doo-dah, doo-dah"?

#881 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2011, 06:11 PM:

Xopher @880:
Am I the only one who keeps reading "Katie Roiphe Saw a Fight" and thinking "Doo-dah, doo-dah"?

Not any more.

Also, drat you!

#882 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2011, 06:14 PM:


#883 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2011, 06:30 PM:

"That sense of Deep Time and Vast Space that Eiseley, Clarke, and Stapledon especially tried to present is vital, I think, to a realistic understanding of the human race' (and each of us individual humans') place in the universe."

Oh, yes, this.

A lot of the SF I've read (and for a long time subconsciously preferred?) seems, despite being set Out There, to want to make the universe cozy and familiar. Settings which move the Cold War, the rise and fall or Rome, or Renaissance Italy into outer space, or feel compelled to imagine settling another world as a re-play of history ending in a declaration of independence from decadent Earth. Settings which persist on treating evolution as a new spin on The Great Chain of Being (with us, or people we like to imagine we are rather like, on top) rather than a vast and impersonal emergent process.

Eiseley finds sobering wonder in an small skull embedded in the side of an arroyo, learns wisdom from a kid throwing star fish back into the water, and wrote that the most important thing he'd ever done was a spontaneous game he played with a young fox he ran into on a beach. These were to me an antidote of sorts.

#884 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2011, 06:51 PM:

David Harmon, re smoking: You have my sympathy. I have no patience for those who say "X is a crutch — therefore, I must kick it out from under you for your own good!" It's a crutch because it holds you up sometimes. I wish you the best in perhaps finding something else that can help.

It's funny. When I was a kid, I loved the smell of cigarette smoke, but not now. What changed?

#885 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2011, 06:53 PM:

firefox extension that automatically finds "doodah" headlines.

#886 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2011, 06:53 PM:

Xopher, #880: Not any more.
(I take it her last name is pronounced with 2 syllables? Because otherwise it doesn't scan.)

#887 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2011, 06:58 PM:

Lee #845: Thanks!

B. Durbin #850: And thank you for understanding.

Stefan Jones #872: Brilliant and poetic. I'll note that there is also a flip side to that humility, of being aware that "the world is very large, and I am very small". It can make us that much more conscious, and conscientious, about holding on to and maintaining what we have. We have our place in the world not because "Goddidit", but because we are born of this world. We are not spirits fallen from grace, but beasts who aspired to more... and have done surprisingly well at it. What humanity has made of ourselves is ours. But then, if we destroy ourselves from our greed and short-sightedness... that's ours too.

Syd #874, Mary Aileen #875: Clearly it hasn't become universal yet... but I wonder if that "spoons metaphor" might be destined to become simply "what people call that".

#888 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2011, 06:59 PM:

Lee: I looked it up. Apparently it's ROY-fee.

#889 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2011, 07:02 PM:

And continuing the Lovecraftian theme, we've all seen the J. Dee "Chick Tract", right?

#890 ::: Hilary Hertzoff ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2011, 07:03 PM:

Jacque @848 and anyone else who is interested.

Pepper came through just fine. She's still a little stunned (probably just from the events of the day at this point). She and Wintergreen are in a pen in the living room as she's not allowed to jump on anything for a few days and her hutch has 4 floors.

I'm not quite sure she's forgiven me yet, but I shall give her some time. And I'll be sleeping on the sofa tonight for my peace of mind.

#891 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2011, 07:05 PM:

Erik, #885: That app is badly flawed. It only counts syllables, not allowing for emphasis -- and the "Camptown Races" thing depends on trochees. More specifically, to get the earworm, there needs to be a "DUM-da DUM-da DUM-da DUM" pattern.

Look at one of the headlines it provides as an example: "Maryland Jail Death Questioned". Read it out loud, if you can't hear it in your head. Does it sound like "Camptown Races"? Of course not! The stress pattern for that headline is "DUM-da-da DUM DUM DUM-da", which doesn't fit the song at all. Reading it with the trochee pattern yields "MAryLAND jail DEATH quesTIONED" -- the acCENTS are on the wrong sylLAbles.


#892 ::: Hilary Hertzoff ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2011, 07:06 PM:


They showed me the stone. It was about an inch in diameter (they told me when she was diagnosed that it was filling almost her entire bladder). Quite a big stone for a 5lb bun. And I think she'll be much happier with it gone.

#893 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2011, 07:08 PM:

Kip W #884: Thanks for your comment too, which posted while I was composing my last one.

#894 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2011, 07:25 PM:

Hilary Hertzoff: Yay, Pepper! Here's to felicitous continued recovery. And, wow. 1" stone. I expect she'll be feeling loads better. (Gustav's issue is apparently a lot of small gravel.)

#895 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2011, 07:26 PM:

Surely bunny bladder stones have some kind of magical power?

#896 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2011, 07:29 PM:

Hilary Hertzoff @ 890--Yay for Pepper! Sending the good bunny-healing mojo. And Jacque, good mojo also for Gustav. How goes the day?

As long as I'm sending out mojo, here's some for anyone who needs it... }}}mojo{{{ (Those are wings, btw.)

#897 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2011, 07:33 PM:

Xopher @ the upper-left corner of this page (and on other such pages of this site), there is a string of text that, when clicked, takes the reader to the home page.

"Go to Making Light's front page."

Doo-dah, doo-dah. Dammit. :p

#898 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2011, 07:35 PM:

David Harmon @ 887:

Re your reply to Stefan Jones:

Yes, exactly. I would add: what purpose we have is not something given to us, but something we made; that makes it important to us in a way that no word handed down from above could be.

#899 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2011, 07:35 PM:

David Harmon (887): It can be problematic, however, as when a friend of mine who has struggled with depression mentioned that she was low on spoons. I thought she was speaking metaphorically, until she went out and bought more silverware.

#900 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2011, 07:38 PM:

Burlusconi announces resignation; demands full legal immunity, harem of young women, and right to pass Ring of Power to his son.

#901 ::: Angiportus ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2011, 08:25 PM:

Mom quit smoking when I was 7, and I was glad, because I found it disgusting. Still do.
Lovecraft, and Stapledon. I discovered the former in my late teens, and found myself curious and enthralled instead of horrified. As a lifelong outsider--bigtime--I had a tendency to identify with the monsters. I still read Mythos-type stories, and criticism/studies, and parodies--I really enjoyed the Barber "H.P.Lushcraft" stories and wish he would get them into a real book. And I am still ticked off that the Mountains of Madness movie thing didn't gel; that's my favorite of HPL's stories.
The vastness of the universe is not humbling to me, but uplifting, for I am the one learning about it, moving toward knowledge, and still feel that even the scary parts will become a bit less scary when we come to understand them better. Not that there aren't some things that still scare the daylights out of me, but they are right here in ordinary life, not in the books I read for fun.
As for Stapledon...I discovered him a year earlier, thanks to fortuitously coming upon a Dover catalog in the horrendously isolated town I was stranded in. I was flabbergasted. While repeatedly fearing for my life as 200 mph gusts slammed our house the day after the book arrived, I read things I thought he must have pulled out of my brain before I was ever born.
It was so different from such sf as I had gotten my pseudopods on up till then, because of the sheer scope, and the tone/style. I sometimes find myself thinking in that style.
I've found what the rest of you are saying about this enlightening, and plan to get hold of the Eiseley book too.

#902 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2011, 08:48 PM:

Cauliflower and broccoli florets with a dip of yogurt or sour cream flavored with curry powder (there are commercial curry mixes that don't include onion and garlic). Let the dip sit in the fridge for a couple of hours to mellow before using. (It's tasty with other veggies, too.)

#903 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2011, 08:58 PM:

My grandfather smoked cigars, but only outside the house. (Granny had a firm rule about smoking.) He died at 79, after a stroke. (Doesn't seem to be from smoking, particularly, as that seems to be a fairly usual age of death for males in his family. The only heavy smoker in the family that I know of died from leukemia.)

#904 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2011, 09:46 PM:

B Durbin: I'm awfully sorry for your loss. I also hope you're heartened by the support expressed here.

I lost my father suddenly earlier this year. We don't know exactly which of his health issues felled him, but the emphysema brought on by years of smoking when he was younger is a very likely causing or contributing factor, as it severely constricted his breathing.

You may find that you need to take some time to slow down, or scale back, or just be with people who matter to you. Nine months after my Dad died (and 4 weeks later, my Mom), I'm still feeling weighted down. (Though in my case, a series of family aftershocks hasn't helped, the latest being a big tree crashing onto my parents' old house after the late-October New England ice storm.) I can still believe things will get better in 2012, but I'd just as soon have lots of 2011 never happening.

Anyway, you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

#905 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2011, 10:20 PM:

B. Durbin - I'm sorry to hear about your father. I'm going to echo what John Mark Ockerbloom said about giving yourself time; I lost my father about 15 years ago, and it was quite a while before I stopped getting randomly interrupted by memories and grief.

My father had cancer for about three years; we don't know if his smoking was related to it, or being a chemist, or having had a skin cancer a few years before. He'd been a light smoker most of his life - a pipe or two a day, or maybe half a pack most years. His older brother had died of lung cancer, and so had his father, who didn't smoke. Grandpa died at 75 when I was 10, so I'd gotten to know him a bit during family vacations, and he and Grandma were the calm, functional side of the family.

Because my father smoked, I never wanted to (yukk!), though I've tried an occasional cigarette or cigar out of curiosity over the years. And at least he was well-behaved about it; my wife and I asked him not to smoke inside the first time he visited us, and it was never an issue (as opposed to her mother, a heavy smoker who whined about having to go out into the cold to get her fix.) But I can understand the addictiveness a bit; there are years when I've been a heavy caffeine addict, and fewer years when I go off the stuff, and while the idea of following up a meal with nasty smoke sounds gross, I guess it's a bit like having coffee for dessert.

#906 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2011, 11:02 PM:

Hilary Hertzoff #890: Yikes, but good that she's doing OK. I presume dietary changes have been implemented?

Stefan Jones #895: Charm of carpet destruction? ;-)

Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) #898: Well, some of it came from evolution well before we gained intelligence. That part can be a trial sometimes....

Mary Aileen #899: :-)

Bill Stewart: There's also the point that "drugs of addiction" vary widely among people. I obviously have tobacco as my primary, but I've learned to be careful about my caffeine intake, as that can get out of hand pretty quickly. (I once had a chance to try cocaine, and from what I've learned about these things since, I suspect it is a Very Good Thing that I refused....) In contrast, I have no problem with alcohol: I often have a drink in the evening... if I don't forget to! Someone else might have the reverse pattern, being able to take or leave stimulants (and perhaps even tobacco) but rapidly addicted to alcohol.

And then there's differences in effects... I don't seem to respond at all to chocolate. Or, as I learned the hard way, codeine.

#907 ::: CZEdwards ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2011, 11:15 PM:

@Jacque: best mojo for Gustav.

@ B.Durbin: my condolences.

@ Sam Chevre: perhaps Thai spring rolls? (the not fried type, using rice paper, rice noodles, bean sprouts, shredded carrots and cucumber. They look time consuming, but 99% of the work is the chopping, and a mandolin or food processor does the job.)

#908 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2011, 11:23 PM:

Mary Aileen @ 899 ...
David Harmon (887): It can be problematic, however, as when a friend of mine who has struggled with depression mentioned that she was low on spoons. I thought she was speaking metaphorically, until she went out and bought more silverware.

Heh. I had similar responses recently to complaining about watching paint dry[0]...

[0] It's hard to go out a door without getting paint on you, when you've gone and painted the threshold and surroundings _before_ running your errands du jour ...

#909 ::: Lenore Jean Jones/jonesnori ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2011, 11:56 PM:

#853 ::: JESR: My hearing loss is probably due to the measles I had when I was four (I had mumps, too, but the measles seems more likely). I know it wasn't much before that, because my speech is normal, and I've been told that I'm deaf enough that it wouldn't be if I'd been that deaf at birth. Because I unconsciously learned to read lips, had good eyesight, and was smart enough to sit in the front row at school and to get good grades, I "passed" until I was fifteen. That's when my father's second wife, a nurse, took me to a professional audiologist for the first time. Parents can be clueless sometimes. Though actually my mother admitted a few years ago that she really knew, but couldn't afford to do anything about it. I wish I'd known - I might not have felt so broken.

Now I wear two hearing aids. Oddly, I was musical through all this, and currently sing in two choirs and take voice lessons. Xopher recently quietly pointed out to the director of one choir that I'm a lot deafer than I seem, and he might need to give the starting notes more loudly. (I hate it when that director sings the starting notes to us - I feel horribly unsure for pages. I wish he'd always use the piano.) I mostly have issues around hearing instructions. Speech has a heck of a lot more information in it that pitch does, so you need to hear more of it to understand speech than to match pitch.

#910 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2011, 12:07 AM:

Reading Olaf Stapledon's Star Maker a couple of weeks after reading Rand's Anthem for a class assignment probably saved me from becoming an obnoxious Objectivist dweeb.

Stapledon could easily have lived to see the 1960s. I like to think he would have moved to California to help George Pal turn Odd John into a movie (really, Pal planned to do that) and witness the beginning of the counter-culture. He would have like that . . . his idea of the ultimate stage of human evolution was a ninety-six gendered folk who had reshaped themselves into animal forms and had centuries-long childhoods.

#911 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2011, 12:08 AM:

... while I'm thinking about it, watching asteroid fly by

#912 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2011, 12:13 AM:

"You may find that you need to take some time to slow down, or scale back, or just be with people who matter to you."

Part of the issue is that I feel as though I don't have time to deal with this; I have a three-year-old and an eighteen-month-old and they really don't need to have their mommy going to pieces. I'm also the resident child, and I know I'm more emotionally resilient than my mother (and also father != husband in terms of loss). My mother-in-law is here to watch the kids—that's a stress in its own*—and about the best thing that can be said is that my back's starting to un-knot after a few sleeps on strategically-placed pillows.

Oh, and I've got tendinitis in my ankles, so I can't go for long walks with or without the kids. I want them to heal, dammit, and they just aren't getting better very quickly. (Recommended treatment: rest. I'm feeling like a slug.)

So I'm pretty irritable, and reining it in pretty hard. And feeling useless, though not as badly as my sister who was restless because she couldn't be doing anything other than knitting.

*Kitchens and bathrooms, kitchens and bathrooms.

#913 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2011, 01:29 AM:

David Harmon @906:

Someone else might have the reverse pattern, being able to take or leave stimulants (and perhaps even tobacco) but rapidly addicted to alcohol.

*waves* I like the taste of clove cigarettes, and smoked them on and off in my younger years, but never got the nicotine addiction, and found it no particular trial to go without them if I couldn't get more, and no physical or psychological difficulty when I decided I wasn't going to partake any more. Except for the occasional bit of nostalgia when I'm around one particular young man who smokes them, but it's nostalgia, not craving.

I find no recreational value in stimulants, and while I have a physical dependency on my morning caffeine intake (withdrawal headaches are nasty) my required dose has stayed steady for years.

Alcohol is no longer on my list of easily enjoyed substances, because of medication interactions, but while I always kept my usage social, I know damn well that the WAY I respond to it contains all sorts of dangers of abuse.

And opiates? I like them WAY too much. Enough to be very strict with myself about them. If I had lived in a time when laudanum was freely sold? I would have had QUITE the habit. I understand Stephen Maturin far too well.

#915 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2011, 07:53 AM:

Rikibeth #913: Yep, there we go... human diversity in action!

#916 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2011, 08:13 AM:

David Harmon @843:

If what I wrote above hurt you, I truly am sorry. (I don't mean that to be a weaselly apology; it's just that I don't know how you responded to what I, specifically, wrote).

I do realize that anger is neither a rational nor a helpful response, and I don't aim it at the smokers I care about. If I talk to them about it at all -- which I don't do often -- I say things like "I'm not gonna lie, I wish you didn't smoke, because I'm scared of what might happen to you. But I know quitting has to be something you decide to do for yourself, not because anyone else told you to."

God knows I haven't always dealt with depression and anxiety in perfect, healthy, constructive ways. I don't have a lot of room to judge on that front. I've done what I felt like I had to do to make it through the day, and it sounds like that's what you're doing. And I want you to get through the day.

My anger is a reaction to feeling scared and sad and helpless at my grandfather's death and the uncertainty about cancer with another smoker I care about (had early-stage lung cancer, affected lobe removed surgically, no chemo/radiation necessary, but this person still smokes and I worry what could happen next). So I try not to take it out on people. I am sorry if I ended up taking it out on you. You're not responsible for dealing with my grief and worry.

#917 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2011, 08:21 AM:

This smoking discussion leaves me muddled (in a useful way...).

My maternal grandfather worked for Liggett all his career. His reason? During the Depression, no matter how poor people were, they managed to buy cigarettes--and he wanted a Depression-proof job. I'm inclined to say, given his actions, that he didn't believe cigarettes to be harmful; he used to bring experimental cigarettes home for his children to try and comment on (not teenagers, but 8-10-year olds.)

Both my paternal grandparents died of smoking--my grandfather of congestive heart failure, my grandmother of lung cancer. But they were in their mid-80's. My uncle died of lung cancer in his 60's. A very good friend of my wife's--sort of an honorary grandparent--died when our oldest was one of lung cancer; it's not a pretty way to go. (On the other hand, it beats Alzheimer's by a mile in my book.)

I've smoked socially and for effect (1) for 15 years--and like Rikibeth above, it's attractive but not addictive for me. I've smoked an average of a pack a quarter over that time, I don't think I've ever smoked more than a pack a month over a quarter.

And I know smokers whose health would be improved by quitting, but I also know that in the case of the one who would benefit most, she's a much saner person when smoking. Sanity is worth rather a lot.

1) Smoking for effect--there's got to be a better way to put it. Nicotine is a great stimulant, and it will keep me driving, or programming, for another few hours after coffe with hot chocolate in it won't work any more.

#918 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2011, 08:46 AM:

My dad smoked till I was in my mid-teens, and it was hard for him to stop; I worry about him getting delayed effects from the cigarettes. I never picked up the habit. I haven't any idea how heritable addictive tendencies might be, but I think it's a good thing I never tried it.

I can't drink because of my meds, and alcohol tastes horrid anyway. Opiates hit me hard, but (for example) I have three extra Vicodin rattling around from when I sprained my back a few years ago; I didn't take them because I didn't feel the need to. By now they're probably no good.

Got a pretty good caffeine tolerance, but I don't get withdrawal if I don't have it. I think what I'm mostly addicted to is starch, honestly.

#919 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2011, 08:57 AM:

Mississippi voters rejected the Personhood amendment, but did not elect Johnny Dupree as governor. But then, he's a Democrat...

#920 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2011, 10:19 AM:

An observation on the interactivity rant: it's not too much of an exaggeration to say that the point-and-click method, on iPad/Pod devices, tends to reduce everyone to a two-year-old saying "Mommy! Gimme!"

And why I read The Atlantic: a TNC column featuring a comment by Ralph Waldo Emerson (with a little help from James Fallows)

#921 ::: JM ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2011, 10:57 AM:

Frivolous HLN: Woman has a dream about introducing a rather stodgy long-ago acquaintance to Making Light. He, uncharacteristically, is so delighted by the discourse that he begins posting under the name Professor Lovers. When woman asks what the good professor's first name might be, username is gleefully changed to Poop Lovers.

#922 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2011, 11:40 AM:

Caroline #916: Looking back at your #792, you were (and still are) being quite sensible about this: recognizing the limits of your influence, and reality-checking your emotions quite admirably. I probably missed the post before because yesterday morning's posts were dashed off before I dashed off (to vote and later go to work).

SamChevre #917: Smoking for effect--there's got to be a better way to put it.

Indeed -- until I reached that, I thought you were using the cigs as a social prop, like if you needed to look world-weary and jaded. :-) I'd say "using them as a stimulant" is brief and to the point.

You're apparently older than me and probably know this already, but for the record, using stimulants that way is risky: The fatigue will still impair your judgment, attention, and reaction time, even if you feel alert. I've lost count of the computer disasters I've had from trying to do tricky/sensitive stuff while running on fumes and caffeine.... For the programming side at least, good backup/versioning habits can help cover for that (not while installing operating systems), but I don't know what would help for driving.

#923 ::: John M. Burt ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2011, 12:16 PM:

Sam Chevre @917, I thought for years that there was no such thing as an occasional smoker -- you were either an addict or a non-smoker. I supposed that those images of someone hard at work with the help of cigarettes and coffee were just a prop for dramatic effect.

My father suffered terribly quitting smoking, and felt intense shame when he failed to quit the first time. In retrospect, I think seeing his suffering had a strong effect on my attitudes towards "free will" and the like.

I have never smoked, but did try nicotine gum in hope of treating my attention deficit. I didn't notice any benefit.

#924 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2011, 12:32 PM:

SamChevre, #917: When I lived in Nashville, periodically the newspaper would have a human-interest story about tobacco farmers. Invariably, it would include a quote to the effect of "tobacco has been very good to me and my family". This was in the late 80s and 90s, when the health effects of smoking were no longer in dispute by anyone but the tobacco companies... and I couldn't help imagining that story re-set in Colombia, and a coca farmer talking about how good cocaine had been to his family, and how that statement would have gone over here.

Your grandfather's story strikes me very much the same way, unless he had retired before the truth started to come out -- I'm sure he started well before then, so that's not an issue. A "Depression-proof job" that relies on supplying addictive drugs that stand a high chance of killing the people who use them, if you know that's what you're doing, is blood money.

#925 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2011, 12:56 PM:

SamChevre: My father kept the nicotine gum around for years after he quit smoking; he used it on long driving stretches to counteract highway hypnosis. Maybe you could try it to see how it works as a stimulant? The primary dangers from cigarettes are not the nicotine but the smoke and the other things (like tar) that are present in it.

Yes, nicotine's a toxin. But AFAIK, it doesn't hang around in the body like the aftereffects of smoke, so it's not like metal poisoning. Heck, we use botulism for cosmetic effect, and that's much worse.

#926 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2011, 02:28 PM:

Syd @896: How goes the day?

Actually, I think Mister Junior's genes are holding their own. We had our fourth sub-Q administration this morning, and it went very smoothly. Victual distraction seems to be the key: "Ow, hey! Oh! Food!" NOM NOM NOM.

Gustav's appetite is doing her name proud, and she's actually looking slightly more shevelled than she has in quite a while. Reminds me; I need to remember to pick up more IV hose-thingies tomorrow. Which reminds me I need to call the vet to make sure they have them....

And I second the idea of magical properties for bunny bladder stones. Hilary, did they actually let you keep it?

#927 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2011, 02:49 PM:

Back when I was but a callow yout', and had resolved to get meseff an eddikashun, Jon Singer gifted unto me a copy of Immense Journey. I read it, but it appears to have wholly sailed right over my head.

Perhaps is time for a re-read. Now where the hell would I have put it...?

#928 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2011, 02:54 PM:

John Mark Ockerbloom @904: Oof! Your own little personal Year of the Jackpot, eh? I hope you're taking your own advice in taking care of yourself?

I'm currently reading Healing through the Dark Emotions by Miriam Greenspan and, while less insightful than I had hoped, it does eloquently make the very valuable point that grieving is a process of reassembly after having been metaphorically (psychologically?) shattered by a loss. Which is, I think, a good way of looking at it.

#929 ::: alsafi ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2011, 02:59 PM:

Apropos of nothing, except that I'd like a reaction check from the Fluorosphere:

My boss just flat out asked me if I'd ever considered clocking out, then coming back to my desk to finish my work. When I told her that I had done that before, but I was aware that it was illegal, she told me that no, it wasn't--that at that point I was a volunteer, and if I needed to do that to get my work done, I should consider it. She said, "All the rest of us do that. I mean, we don't have to clock in and out like you do..." (I am one of 4 hourly employees in a department of 17. "The rest of us" she is talking about are all salaried.)

I don't even know how to respond. Not verbally respond, mind you, but what kind of emotional response I should even be having to that, apart from open-mouthed disbelief.

#930 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2011, 02:59 PM:

David Harmon @906: Someone else might have the reverse pattern, being able to take or leave stimulants (and perhaps even tobacco) but rapidly addicted to alcohol.

I never got into the habit of consuming alcohol for many of the same reasons I don't smoke. An additional factor, however, is that all of my first-order relatives are alcoholics, and in the last ten-fifteen years, I've become actively afraid of alcohol, because on the (extremely rare) occassions I've take a (very small) sip, that flavor is just a little too Interesting.

#931 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2011, 03:33 PM:

B. 925: Yes, nicotine's a toxin. But AFAIK, it doesn't hang around in the body like the aftereffects of smoke, so it's not like metal poisoning.

But it's THE most addictive substance known to humankind. I knew someone who quit heroin and smoking at different times; he said that not only was quitting smoking much harder, but unlike with heroin you're never DONE quitting. It's a hunger that damps down but never quite goes away, ever. And I think he started smoking again some years after we had that conversation.

alsafi 929: About the same reaction you'd have to being told "I'd like you to work more hours, but without pay. In other words, I'd like to reduce your effective hourly rate and exploit you." PLUS some added resentment for being smarmy about it.

#932 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2011, 03:44 PM:

alsafi @929 -- not enough information. I'd feel pretty creeped out about it, most likely (and you might want to ask a Legal Aid person in your state about what state laws in relation to this are -- it does vary by state, and your manager may be handing you a serious crock of shit about it not being illegal). It's quite one thing to have people do this kind of work on their own stick -- to ask to have it done (particularly when he's salaried and you aren't!) is unethical at the very least.

#933 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2011, 03:45 PM:

alsafi @929 -- that's quite a bit of chutzpah your supervisor has. I haven't worked hourly much in the past 20 years but my sense of it is, if you're working hourly you should bill for the hours you are working. If you need to stay at your desk to finish your work find, but the "clock out" part doesn't quite seem to work.

#934 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2011, 03:46 PM:

alsafi @929: I don't even know how to respond. Not verbally respond, mind you, but what kind of emotional response I should even be having to that, apart from open-mouthed disbelief.

I think open-mouthed disbelief is a very good start. (I presume you are hourly?)

Turn it around: "Dear Boss, have you ever considered signing off on my time-card and then just slipping a few extra bills to my pay envelop? You know, purely on a voluntary basis."

Mmmm... don't think so.

I have, in fact, occassionally worked unpaid overtime, but always because I either (a) just felt like it or (b) because I was sufficiently disgusted with my performance that I felt I needed to make up the slack.

The fact that your boss would come out and say this, like, out loud ... I would find this very troubling.

#935 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2011, 03:46 PM:

OT: There was a post years ago in which Teresa described her interaction on the subway with a little boy who wasn't in the right time. Searches have failed to reveal it. Did it get lost in the Great Gunk?

#936 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2011, 03:52 PM:

Carrie S. (935): It was in August 2002.

#937 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2011, 04:05 PM:

@929 alsafi

According to the yearly Ethics Briefing I was recently required to complete, what your supervisor did was unethical and should be reported to management/HR (according to my company anyway).

Creepily, pretty much this exact scenario was in the briefing, and we were all talking amongst ourselves how silly these scenarios were, variations of, "like anyone would do that!".

Apparently, they do. Yuck. You may want to check your own company's ethics policy on the issue.

#938 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2011, 04:17 PM:

By the way, Open thread 166 is now up.

#939 ::: Hilary Hertzoff ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2011, 04:56 PM:

I had a post partially written before work but the computer ate it.

Pepper's appetite seems to have come back in full. I slept on the sofa last night, but around 3am I woke up and tried to turn over. This caused a flurry among the buns, so I turned on the light to check on them. Having given them some water and greens (the latter of which Pepper pounced on), I decided we'd all be happier if I spent the rest of the night in my bed.

And if anyone needs luck right now, I have eight extremely lucky bunny feet to offer up right now (see my comment to Stefan Jones below).

More specific comments:

Jacque @894 I imagine gravel is more likely to pass without surgery than a stone this size. Good luck to your guinea.

Stefan Jones @895 They showed me the stone. I wouldn't be surprised if it was magic. On the other hand I firmly believe that rabbit's feet are luckier when still attached to the rabbit.

David Harmon @906 No diet changes yet, but they've sent the stone in for analysis, so there may be some to come.

#940 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2011, 05:09 PM:

Jacque @ 904: Thanks. I'm trying to take care of myself, even as I still have a lot to do. (Among other things, I'm the executor of both estates.) I've at least been very fortunate to be able to lean on my wife; I've been reluctant to do it too much, but she's made it clear that she's there to help when I need it, and I've been very happy to accept that. (I just sometimes need to remind myself to *do* that when I need to!) Likewise, my sister and her husband, who live much closer to my parents' house than I do, have been a great help with affairs up there, even as they're dealing with their own storm damage.

B. Durbin, I hope you can find people you can lean on as well, when you need it.

#941 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2011, 08:53 PM:

Mary Aileen, #936: Thank you! Reading that thread caused me to add the Jack Finney collection mentioned therein to my Amazon wishlist.

#942 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2011, 08:57 PM:

alsafi@929 and others: The only state I've ever worked in for an hourly wage is California. There was (as I believe is mandated by state law) a copy of the labor codes posted in the break room. I remember seeing in them that "employed" was specifically defined to include being "allowed" or "suffered" to work -- so that bit of sophistry wouldn't fly in California; if they're letting you stay on the premises as a volunteer, then they count as employing you and are required to pay you (including overtime). As Tom W. notes, other states will certainly have different codes.

#943 ::: Patrick Connors ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2011, 09:22 PM:


In addition to being unethical (as others have pointed out), I believe that's a violation of Federal labor law, as well as some states' laws.

Seek legal aid and other employment.

(Note: I am not a lawyer, but I am married to a former nursing supervisor, who agrees with me on this.)

#944 ::: Lenore Jean Jones/jonesnori ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2011, 10:31 PM:

#929 ::: alsafi - chiming in here. I'm pretty sure doing that would be a violation of the Wage and Hours Laws. You know your company best - if you think it might help, certainly report it to HR. Or maybe just inquire of HR what they think about the request?

Anyway, you have my sympathy. I've been there, in a minor sort of way, as far as getting the request goes, but for what it's worth I've always put down all my hours. Good luck!

#945 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2011, 08:01 AM:

Thank you, Mary Aileen!

#946 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2011, 03:19 AM:

alsafi@929 - Different states have different laws; some places I've worked require your employer to pay time and a half for overtime over 8 hours per day, while Federal laws and some other states only require it for over 40 hours per week. But all of them require that you get paid for all the hours you work. If your boss were asking you to work an extra couple of hours today and take off early Friday afternoon, that gets into the different state laws area.

#947 ::: Rob Thornton ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2011, 11:32 AM:

On the "Social isn't" thread, Teresa said that I asked her to delete a message of mine on the "Social isn't" thread. I know for a fact that I did not ask for the message to be deleted.

I have contacted Teresa but until then, please be aware that someone may be spoofing my identity on Making Light.



#948 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2011, 11:36 AM:

Rob Thornton @947:

I think you're merely misinterpreting what Teresa is saying about ownership of information. I was going to wait for her to respond, but absent that, I'll take a stab at what I think she meant on that thread.

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