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August 8, 2012

Open Thread 176
Posted by Jim Macdonald at 11:53 AM *

Andy’s Tips for Strong Magic

  1. Make sure your sleights are well performed.
  2. Try never to flash.
  3. Have good presentations based on your own personality.
  4. Always be nice and friendly.
  5. Try to use cards that are in good condition.
  6. Practice, practice and practice.
  7. If something goes wrong then just laugh it off and carry on. Never mention it again.
  8. Be entertaining.
  9. Learn your patter for each trick.
  10. When performing do not answer people if they keep interupting your trick. If you do you will both lose point of the trick.
  11. Strive to be really good.
  12. If you get a heckler then ignore him. Pretend you’re deaf and cannot hear him.
  13. Practicing on your family is not the best way to improve. Use strangers.
  14. Always leave your audience wanting more.
  15. Try not to keep saying “Um” or “Er” when you perform.
  16. Try not to keep rocking from one foot to the other when you are performing. Try not to fidget.
  17. If your favourite trick is not entertaining people then it is time to remove your favourite trick.
  18. Do not let people touch your props unless you ask them to.
  19. Always look clean, tidy and handsome!
  20. Look after your hands and nails. Make sure they are clean or painted.

Continued from Open Thread 175. Continued in Open thread 177.
Comments on Open Thread 176:
#1 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2012, 01:04 PM:

Found this NPR story too funny not to pass on:

Rogue condoms in Olympic village!

#2 ::: Lila visits the gnomes ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2012, 01:06 PM:

I brought some fresh local chevre, with crackers.

(My offense was probably in naming Voldesport.)

#3 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2012, 01:15 PM:

Those are excellent tips for both stage and close-up effects. And there are real differences in the affect for each (and not just in magic, as Jim implies). (And differences in the effect, but that's harder for the performer to control.)

#4 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2012, 01:20 PM:

Heck, Tom, most of those are good advice for writing fiction, for interacting on the 'Net, and for living your daily life, too.

#5 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2012, 01:24 PM:

But I don't have a personality! Can I copy the guy next to me?

#6 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker To Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2012, 01:40 PM:

Lila @ 1:

So what does a DMCA takedown notice of a bucket of condoms looks like?

#7 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2012, 02:13 PM:

Bruce @ #6: I can't imagine, but it's probably comedy gold.

#8 ::: Steve with a book ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2012, 02:17 PM:

When I used to read books about simple card magic as a kid, I was fascinated with the idea of a 'force'—the magician appears to offer the spectator a free choice of cards but in fact forces him or her to pick a specific one. It blew my mind that you could undermine a participant's free will without their ever knowing. I was reminded of this years later when I was taught rudimentary telesales techniques such as asking the punter lots of questions expecting the answer 'yes', thus priming them to say 'yes' when you're closing the sale. Creepy to discover that we all have concealed administrative control panels giving access to easily-pushable buttons.

#9 ::: Rob Thornton ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2012, 02:21 PM:

British fingerstyle guitarist James Blackshaw, who is probably my favorite post-Fahey player, recently released "Love Is The Plan, The Plan Is Death," a collection of mostly instrumentals dedicated to the memory of James Tiptree Jr./Alice Sheldon.

It's quite nice and makes a decent entry point into his oeuvre. I am not a representative of the artist, the label, or anyone but myself.

#10 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2012, 05:18 PM:

Lila #1 - did the NPR people know what they were doing with the photo at the top of the story? Boris Johnson is well known in the UK for having had at least one affair which included his partner having an abortion. Hence him looking at packets of Olympic brand condoms could be understood as anything from comedy to having a go at him.

#11 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2012, 05:53 PM:

So much to do, but go lie in the sun
and watch the clouds; observe each changing shape
while looking upward with your mouth agape,
allow the world to go by on the run.
There are so many tasks that must be done
but not today; there's time for one escape
from sordid duty; take some rest and drape
your body on the bench. Just have some fun.
Soon you'll encounter the familiar task
hear the old words -- and even older lies --
plunge back into the service of the known
to answer all the questions that they ask,
hope to awaken light behind fresh eyes
and heal the causes of the longest groan.

#12 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2012, 06:18 PM:

PNH -- the Wally Wood thing is "22 Panels that always work" -- your alt text says "2 panels". Worth looking at!

#13 ::: John S Costello ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2012, 07:50 PM:

I spent 5 minutes trying to figure out why Jim posted 19 maxims but the website has 20.

#14 ::: Randall M ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2012, 07:51 PM:

If something goes wrong then just laugh it off and carry on. Never mention it again.

Oooooooooooooh yes.

#15 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2012, 09:28 PM:

Yoinks . . . Warren Ellis's yet-to-be-published novel "Gun Machine" is being turned into a television series for FOX.

#16 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2012, 09:41 PM:

I somehow got invited to a party at the loft of an animator in NYC, and he had a copy of the Wood "22 Panels" on his wall. Between that and a load of 1950s animated TV ads that someone else had brought in, I did precious little circulating. In retrospect, well, what's done is done, eh?

There's a nice big version of the panels online and downloadable, which I recommend to everybody. Another fan did an interesting mashup of the 22, using actual published Wood panels.

And over at the Comics Curmudgeon, I did my own homage, in words only, of panels that the artist of Mark Trail obviously thinks always work, because he always uses them, and later on, the Apartment 3G "3 panels" because the artist seems to have a somewhat smaller palette. (Those last two are kinda in-jokey; sorry.)

Four links. It's okay, gnomes! There's clam dip cooling in the fridge upstairs as we speak.

#17 ::: Kip W, gnomed again ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2012, 09:42 PM:

Four links, so I was probably asking for it. Clam dip will be ready in 45.

[Not the number of the links, but rather some internal things about those links, which resemble the common payloads of spammers. -- Flowri T'Urox, Duty Gnome]

#18 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2012, 11:42 PM:

Reveling in colors in Webster's third. Link thanks to

I thought the panels that always work were going to be convention panels. I was reminded of a (rassf?) discussion where the consensus was to find a really good talker (at most, two of them) and just let them have the hour.

#19 ::: Mishalak ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2012, 01:48 AM:

Speaking of Convention Panels working or not: I am currently staring down the barrel of having to invent myself as a really good talker to sustain a panel where the recruiting is going badly and the schedule is set. Oh well, I can always fall back on my usual plan of wearing leather pants and providing alcohol, hopefully that will distract from the lack of other brave participants in the Seriously Silly Slash Symposium at Bubonicon.

#20 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2012, 02:25 AM:

Back here I mentioned my surgery hunting for squamous cell cancers in my head and neck had come out very positively, meaning they thought they'd gotten it all.

Well, today I got the results of PET/CT scans done last week in an attempt to confirm the results were in fact as positive as they hoped/expected.

They were.

#21 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2012, 02:36 AM:

Excellent news!

#22 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2012, 03:30 AM:

Nancy @18:

Thank you for that link! I have Parheliated it.

#23 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2012, 04:08 AM:

Fragano Ledgister @ 11: I liked that. must remember to follow that advice sometime!

Linkmeister @20: Fantastic news! Congratulations.

#24 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2012, 07:15 AM:

This moose noticed a spam report on the John M. Ford thread and got sidetracked (not difficult) into reading the thread...

This one is quite appropriate for the Curiosity thread.

#25 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2012, 07:34 AM:

Linkmeister #20: That is, indeed, good news.

#26 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2012, 08:52 AM:

Cadbury Moose @24:

That kind of pearl almost makes the spammy grit worthwhile.

#27 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2012, 10:11 AM:

In case anyone is wondering, in that idle-Thursday way, if Jim is wonderful, let me just clear that issue up: what y'all are not seeing right now is that we've got a massive flood of spam coming at us. One or two have made it through, but the back end has hundreds sitting there, wishing they'd been published and cursing the gnomes.

All hail Jim and the magic filters!

#28 ::: Raul Flugens, Duty Gnome ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2012, 10:18 AM:

Hundreds indeed. The few that made it through are even now being ... examined ... to induce them to give up their secrets so their sisters and brothers will not make it through after them.

#29 ::: Raul Flugens, Duty Gnome ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2012, 12:43 PM:

Reached the bottom of the moderation queue! Go, us! Gnomes FTW! Now to have a nice scone....

#30 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2012, 01:32 PM:

Linkmeister @ 20

I had to do a little mental translating to convert "positive[1] test results" into "good news" -- but congratulations!

[1] It may be one of the worst cognitive dissonances of the medical profession that "positive" test results are normally bad news.

#31 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2012, 02:21 PM:

Heather Rose Jones @ #30, it struck me as a little odd when I typed it, but you're right -- I meant positive in the sense you eventually took it to mean.

Positive in this case meant proving a negative, never an easy thing to do.

#32 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2012, 02:31 PM:

Linkmeister: That's great news! Glad to hear it.

#33 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2012, 03:32 PM:

Good news is good.

#34 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2012, 04:00 PM:

I had the same trouble as Heather@#30 . . . GOOD positive, not "OH NO!" positive.

That always freaked me a little as a kid. ("You strep test came back negative." "What? MOM? Am I gonna die?")

In any case, thumbs up!

#35 ::: Stefan Jones is gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2012, 04:01 PM:

Positive comments about Linkmeister's negative test results resulted in false positive attention from the gnomes.

#36 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2012, 05:12 PM:

Linkmeister: further congratulations!

#37 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2012, 06:18 PM:

Linkmeister, yay!!

There's been a lot of bad neews in the spacetime-continuinuinuum recently; it's wonderful to hear some good news. Congratulations!

#38 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2012, 07:23 PM:

Cadbury Moose @ #24, doing that is a sure way to get sucked in. Sometimes the conversations here take a weird and wonderful track. And it is fun to look back on them.

#39 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2012, 07:40 PM:

Linkmeister #20: Excellent! Congratulations!

#40 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2012, 08:57 PM:

Current joke in Jamaica: Carl Lewis has been struck by a lightning Bolt, savaged by the Beast, and chased by a Weir wolf.

#41 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2012, 09:50 PM:

So you know how sometimes you're in some far-from-home-ground internet place, looking at somewhat random stuff, and suddenly you see a place or person you know?

Well, it turns out there are photos of my mom suggestively eating a banana on the internet. In a Chiquita ad she shot while she was a child model in New York in the early 60s.

I saw it and recognized her, then emailed her to be sure, and it certainly is. Small world, at least virtually. I got it off RetroGasm's twitter feed; Mom's curious what magazine it ran in, so I've tried to use Google Image Search to track it back to a 'Patient Zero' type original upload for context, but no luck yet.

#42 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 10, 2012, 07:07 AM:

Very strange dream last night.

I dreamed that I was an actor in a movie set in a world where stereotypical gender roles were reversed. I was supposed to act they way a particularly ill-mannered guy from our world would: ogle the men around me, talk down to them, and approach every interaction as a sexual encounter. I had to eye their crotches while talking to them. Meanwhile, they were supposed to dress to catch my attention, seek my approval, and agree with what I said if I contradicted them.

We could follow the script, but our unconscious mannerisms kept tripping us up. I found it particularly hard to talk over the male actors, even when I was supposed to. And they found it equally difficult to be talked over. The scene where I had to continually interrupt them to womansplain something left all of us wrung out and wretched, mostly because it highlighted how ground-in our current pathologies were.

Basically, it was a horrible, thoroughly discouraging dream.

#43 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: August 10, 2012, 07:24 AM:

abi @ 42... Next time you have that dream, try to pretend you're me. No, I don't mean your having to make puns. That'd turn the dream into a really bad nightmare. I was thinking about the real-world time I was told I could have joined a Girl's Night Out.

Speaking of strange dreams... Not long ago, I dreamed I'd acquired Captain Kirk's outfit from the first "Star Trek" movie. I think it was because of my recent promotion to coordinator of 3 people within our team. That it was his attire from *that* movie is rather disturbing.

#44 ::: rea ::: (view all by) ::: August 10, 2012, 09:10 AM:

abi @ 42: Sounds like you are dreaming an old Eric Burdon/War song with the genders reversed

"Spill the wine, dig that . . . boy?"

#45 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: August 10, 2012, 10:03 AM:

abi @ #42: I prefer my recent dream, in which the Black Widow was making out with Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace, not the one from the English-language version, which I haven't seen).

No, I'm not a lesbian. As far as I know.

#46 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: August 10, 2012, 12:45 PM:

OK, people who have made ice cream: I am making my first batch of vanilla this weekend. The recipe calls for 1 cup of whole milk and 2 cups of heavy cream. While normally I try to stick to the recipe when making something for the first time, I have a fridge full of oddball dairy products and no whole milk. Could I use one cup of heavy cream and two cups of half and half?

#47 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: August 10, 2012, 01:10 PM:


whole milk is 3.x % butterfat
heavy cream here is 35%
half and half is 10%

so the recipe is calling for ~ 0.74 cups butterfat - 3 cups of 25% butterfat solution.
0.35 + 0.1 + 0.1 is only .55

I get about 1.75 cups cream and 1.25 cups half and half, but check with your own product labels.

It's two equations in two unknowns, because the quantity needs to add to 3 cups.

#48 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: August 10, 2012, 02:16 PM:

re: Ice cream - whole milk, half and half, heavy cream

You can use any combination. If you used only milk, you'd have "Ice milk" (why bother?). If you substitute fruit juice or a mix of juice and milk, you get (American) sherbet or a cousin of gelato. I have made ice cream with whipping (heavy) cream alone, and it was fine - incredibly rich. The fat content was so high that the dasher collected bits of sweet butter on its blades.

Put a sticky note on the recipe with what you actually used, and when you've eaten the stuff, add how you liked it.

Other variations add eggs, raw or cooked ("frozen custard", literally), gelatin, etc. Honey or maple syrup give a different texture as well as flavor. Strong coffee and heavy cream make a superb dessert.

Non-frozen custard can have the same variations - whole eggs, whole eggs with extra egg whites, whole eggs with extra egg yolks, egg yolks alone.

Cakes need recipes followed exactly, adjusted for altitude when necessary. Pretty much everything else can be done with what you have on hand with the proportions you like. Usually the amount of sugar can be decreased.

#49 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 10, 2012, 02:41 PM:

Huckabee: Americans Should Be Forced, At Gunpoint, To Learn From David Barton

(David Barton is the fellow whose own publisher withdrew his work on Jefferson because it's so screamingly inaccurate.)

#50 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: August 10, 2012, 03:48 PM:

Another excellent Doug Muder piece, on an entirely different subject. (One day, I'll be as good at explaining something as he is at explaining everything.)

Software reliability

The problem is that security, reliability, and resiliency aren’t “features” that you can add to an already-existing product. They are systemic virtues that have to be designed in from the beginning and supported by a continual process...
#51 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker To Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: August 10, 2012, 04:16 PM:

Jim Macdonald @ 49:

Someone really ought to tell Huckabee that you can't be forced to learn at gunpoint; only forced to listen. And doesn't he support an American's right to shoot anyone who points a gun at them?

#52 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: August 10, 2012, 05:46 PM:

Thanks for the butterfat comparison, @Henry Troup #47. My math skills were never strong but I've managed to supplement them as an adult who is starting to cook and sew more often. It looks like I have another concrete narrative to hang what looked like an abstract equation on.

@Carol Kimball #48 - my brain is still in cake baking mode so I'm nervous to deviate from standard recipes. I'm also disinclined to spend time making a recipe that may or may not work - at least for the first time. I'll probably stick with the basic vanilla Philadelphia style (no eggs) recipe that came with the ice cream maker, and since the butterfat in the half&half won't compensate for that lost in the heavy cream, I'll just buy myself a small carton of whole milk and pick up another heavy cream when I'm out next. If I can get this one to work, the next recipe I try will be a custard. They seem a little more involved than the eggless recipes. My roommate has already requested a blackberry cabernet sauvingon sorbet.

#53 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: August 10, 2012, 08:17 PM:

Nerdycellist, watch out for the cream; that stuff goes bad fast. I have learned to really watch my timing if I want a double batch of anything. My next experiment will be honey ice cream, as the boy has inherited a jar of farmer's market honey from a moved-out friend.

#54 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 10, 2012, 08:49 PM:

So, we're having a major lightning storm here in Charlottesville... it may have quieted down now.

My power hasn't gone out, but it's flickered a bit, and my surge protectors were actually crackling at the lightning strikes. I'm betting most of town is dark until morning -- I'm lucky enough to live near a power substation. I have lined up candles and flashlight, just in case.

This has been an occasion to notice that my UPS is signaling a "building wiring fault"... maintenance just replaced all the plugs and switches, so it might be connected to that.

#55 ::: DanR ::: (view all by) ::: August 10, 2012, 10:52 PM:

Bonus tip for strong magic:

~ Believe the illusion. Disbelieve the sleight.

#56 ::: Mishalak ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2012, 02:53 AM:

@Diatryma #53
Oh how I wish that Häagen-Dazs still made Vanilla Honey Bee ice cream. It was my absolute favorite flavor and I have yet to spring for an ice cream maker. I will make yogurt, kefir, and beer, but I have not made ice cream in years.

#57 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2012, 10:17 AM:

Off-topic cri du coeur: does anyone else here have the feeling that their entire life consists of sending pings and getting no pingbacks?

(Emphatically NOT including ML, which is one of the strongest reasons I'm a regular here.)

No major life crises: just a sense of severe contraction. I had friends for a while in college; I have siblings and (adult) children and pets and a good job. But there are days when I feel it's just me and my husband living by candlelight in the shell of an abandoned building. So many of the things I used to do and love (SCA, theater, music, martial arts) have fallen away. And I dread putting the onus on my husband of being my sole companion through life.

#58 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2012, 11:22 AM:

Lila @57,

So many of the things I used to do and love (SCA, theater, music, martial arts) have fallen away.

Please ignore if hlepy, but do you have, say, a little community theater nearby you can volunteer at? In my experience, they're ALWAYS desperate for bodies.... Is there a community chorus? A dojo you can join? Is there any way to reconnect on some level with the communities you've fallen away from?

#59 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2012, 11:43 AM:

Cassie, not hlepy, but I have actually tried.

Community chorus--tried to audition. They're not taking women.

Community theater, in which I used to be active--long string of unsuccessful auditions; no skills in crew/lights/etc. Website and mailing list defunct; they're all Facebook now. Tried Facebook but couldn't cope with privacyfail.

Dojo--torn ACLs in both knees closed that door.

SCA and anything else out of town--can't leave ill, elderly dogs more than 5 hours at a time. Also, child's college tuition is eating all available $.

Disaster life support: local team disbanded. Got on mailing list for next closest team. No activity in 3 months. Took training. Never received certificates that would enable me to list my credentials/availability (presumably this means I failed the course).

Reconnecting in general: calls, emails, G+ and livejournal posts mostly go unanswered. One of my daughter's friends occasionally invites me to a group night out. I go, but have little in common with the much younger women there.

See what I mean about no pingbacks?

Anyway, not actually meaning to ask for help; more just wanting to know if I'm the only one this happens to.

#60 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2012, 12:54 PM:

I finally took a little action on the whole pings thing, in meatspace. I volunteered at the George Eastman House, and I hope I get on there. I'll actually see people, most likely talk to people.

Still stagnant on the community theater thing, because they look at me and stick me in the chorus without even letting me read for a part — apparently, the play is cast before auditions, and they just hold those so they can fill up the stage with bodies. I was spoiled by CNU, where I did one show as a chorus member and after that, I never had to do it again. Perhaps it's advancing age that prompts them to look at my resume full of great character roles and picture me swaying in unison and singing fa-la-la. I'm in awe of the chorus. They have the hardest job in the show. It's just not the skill I have, though I've simulated it a couple of times in hope of future acting parts.

If the Eastman doesn't want me, I'll think of some other place to try. Seven years of living in places where I don't have a single friend is long enough, and I don't have to consider Sarah's needs as much, now that she can be by herself for some of the day if need be.

#61 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2012, 12:59 PM:

Lila, you're not the only one. I spend hours online each day (the other options mostly seem to involve spending money and bringing home more junk — I take walks and exercise at the Y, but I can't do that all day long) and treasure those times when I post something that gets one response.

There's some piece online somewhere where one college-age student blogs well-worded epigrams and pithy observations, and she's lucky to get responses that say "too clever by half." Another blogs things like "MY CAT = KYOOT" and gets sixty enthusiastic responses in four minutes. I suppose we can all guess which one has my sympathy.

#62 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2012, 01:30 PM:

There were signs up by the roads yesterday evening warning of high ozone levels in Denver today.

I've been googling air purifiers, but the sense I'm getting is that most ADD ozone to precipitate particulates, and that that can be counterproductive for those with lung issues.

Is there any device or process that can limit how much of this I have to breathe?

Pondering respire, inspire, spirit...

#63 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2012, 01:33 PM:

Lila @ 57, 59: No, it's not just you. Before the Ex left, I was trying to do more things with friends, but nothing was happening frequently.

I lucked into getting certified as a CPST right after joining a community emergency response team (which I hardly do anything with because of car seats instead). Since the Safe Kids program is international, and it relies heavily on volunteers, it might be worth looking for the nearest training classes. The advantages I found are (besides the community service benefits) that it mainly uses upper body strength, so my knees are spared; parental units are always very happy to be helped, so there's an immediate positive feedback (which was very useful in those dark days after my Ex left), and it's a mental/intellectual challenge as well.

I hear you on the elderly ill animals -- been there with my diabetic cat, elderly and easily confused dog, currently dealing with my elderly hyperthyroid cat...but that reminds me, I enjoyed fostering the mom cat and her ten kittens. Is that something else you can do? Volunteer to foster pets, perhaps to work with elderly folks who have pets? (Apologies if this is hlepy.)

#64 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2012, 02:16 PM:

Kip W: as it happens, my favorite community theater experience was being a chorus member in The Mikado.* (Better than speaking roles in Comedy of Errors, To Kill a Mockingbird, and As You Like It, though all those were good too.) One thing I will say for Athens' Town and Gown Players (oldest community theater in Georgia)--when they say open auditions, they mean it. I have been going there since 1996 and have never yet seen a show without at least one newcomer. The trouble is the talent pool is so deep here that it's well over my head now.

Re feedback and lack of same: ho yus. On 900+ readers, 3 reviews. (My daughter has several thousand readers and regularly gets dozens of reviews. Dammit. Though fandom and output are definitely involved: she writes voluminous Final Fantasy sagas; I write 10K word Avengers movie fics. If anyone's interested, she's BoomChick, I'm hellseries.)

Ginger: thanks, I'll look into Safe Kids. CERT is apparently a non-starter, as mentioned above. (Our latest community disaster drill? One of the 2 hospitals in town didn't participate. At all. And it was the larger of the two.) Re fostering, I used to (that's how we got 2 of our 4 dogs) but with 4 dogs, 2 cats and a boarder, I just don't have the room or the spoons now.

All: thanks for making me feel less like a 3-headed fish.

*well, okay, second favorite. #1 was when they put on a one-act I wrote.

#65 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2012, 02:33 PM:

Lila, reiterating that it's not just you. You mention a kid in college, and I think the problem is common at that life transition. Of course it happens at other times and to people without kids, too, but it's not unusual to have been parenting along and look up and realize that all those things you used to do and adults you used to talk to centered around school or soccer or band or other kidstuff. And that stage is gone.

Are there any groups in your area? They seem to be pretty popular here in the DC area where there are lots of people moving in and out all the time.

#66 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2012, 02:45 PM:

Eat This Poem takes on "This is Just to Say." Amusement if not hilarity ensues.

#67 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2012, 02:46 PM:

O Gnomes! Why has thou held up my post? It held but one URL, I promise thee!

#68 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2012, 02:49 PM:

OK, two things: First, I can't fight this curiosity any more. Jim, why did you combine Andy's 4 and 5 into 4, resulting in 19 tips instead of 20? They don't even seem like aspects of the same thing.

The other is a link. This explains very clearly and succinctly why you can't oppose marriage equality without being an anti-gay bigot.

#69 ::: Xopher HalfTongue is gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2012, 02:51 PM:

Not sure why. One URL. Maybe Words of Power? Don't think I did the three-spaces (why do I always want to say "of Eve" there?) thing.

#70 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2012, 03:10 PM:

Lila @64, I would count my chorusdom in The Mikado as a peak experience as well. Grueling, but it basically gave me a new set of friends for the next three years. During that time, I was in some five shows, and could generally count on getting a part about half the time I tried out for a show. Then we moved, and it was all over.

Not to bore folks here who've heard this story (though maybe not the audio file I just put in), here's my wondrous tale of how I got to hear my lyrics on stage with a full orchestra, soloists, chorus, and audience.

#71 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2012, 03:10 PM:


Two answers. One, a typo.

Second, the format of the URL matched a common form of URL that spammers link to.

#72 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2012, 03:17 PM:

Thanks, Jim.

#73 ::: Bruce H. ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2012, 03:21 PM:

nerdycellist @46

According to Dave Barry, the One True Ice Cream Recipe is:

Enough cream to fill the freezer
Enough sugar to make it taste sweet
Enough vanilla to make it taste like vanilla

All else is fiddling.

No citation, sorry. I read it on dead trees 25 plus years ago.

#74 ::: LMM ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2012, 04:05 PM:

Well, increasingly concerned about the kitten. He's been panting after chasing his sister for more than a few minutes. I'm not sure why -- it may be partially due to the heat (he's definitely thicker than she is), but he's quite likely got some type of breathing issues.

I've tried to catch him and make him sit down until he's better, but it doesn't work very well.

I've got a vet appointment scheduled for him on Thursday; I've been assured that she's good and not motivated just by a desire for cash. Unfortunately, the diagnosis itself is quite likely to be expensive, and getting him spayed -- if it turns out that he does have issues -- will be *much* more expensive than I had budgeted for, mostly due to the desire to have better anaethesia options available. (He's male. Couldn't they just give him some form of local and do it quickly?)

Best case scenario -- which I actually just thought of -- is that he's allergic to pot, which the upstairs neighbors smoke far too frequently. Maybe. If I'm lucky.

#75 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2012, 04:27 PM:

WRT Teresa's Particle on Simple J. Malarkey--much as I love Walt Kelly, any time Simple J. Malarkey and his cohorts become more relevant to current events, I find my jaw muscles start hurting.

#76 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2012, 06:25 PM:

The gentle journey jars to stop,
The drifting dream is done.
The long-gone goblins loom ahead.
The deadly, who we thought were dead,
Stand waiting, every one.

Walt Kelly

#77 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2012, 06:30 PM:

I made bacon brownies, substituting 1/2 c of bacon fat with maybe a tablespoon of gritty bacon particles in the mix.

They tasted fine, but the salty / fatty aspect wasn't as pronounced as I thought it would be. I will in the future put in more crumpled bacon bits.

#78 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2012, 08:40 PM:

Stefan, I haven't reported about it in ML, but I use bacon in a lot of things. The flavor the fat imbues is rather .... not as pronounced as it would appear it should be. i usually just use crumbled up bacon.

The most outstanding things I've made are bacon choco-chip cookies and bacon in the topping of apple crisp. I also tried bacon in with the apples of the apple crisp but it is not as effective and tasty as in the topping.

#79 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2012, 11:43 PM:

Local man arises on this rainy Sunday morning to find that the ceiling has fallen in. Local man quoted as saying "How interesting, but where's my coffee?" just before, "Well, dang!"

#80 ::: Dr Paisley ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2012, 11:46 PM:

Bruce @6: Bukapperight.

Nancy @18: Started reading the linked story, and then turned around and confirmed I have that edition right behind me. Wonderful stuff.

Teresa, I want to thank you so much for the Pogo link. I grew up on Pogo, and we had many of the books in my house. Reading those strips again was great, and also let me know how deeply Walt Kelly warped my young brain.

See, back in the early '80s, I took over the reins of the KC clubzine, Cacophony. And started writing histrionic editorials (shocking, I know). I began to use "oui" when making pronouncements, with an asterisk referring to an appearance of the editorial frog.

So I'm reading the Pogo tonight, and at the bottom of page 8, Mole MacAroney tells the bats "You may stop using the editorial 'we'," and one of the bats (Bewitched or Bothered, if it wasn't Bemildred) asks "The editorial whee?" and another adds "oui?" And there it was. The inspiration for my schtick, planted in my brain waiting to come out 15 years later.

#81 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2012, 12:00 AM:

Dr. Paisley @80 -- is there some trick to making the strips show up large enough so that I could read them? It won't go any larger than a page per screen, and on a laptop that's nowhere near enough detail for me these days.

#82 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2012, 12:11 AM:

Ice cream successfully made with mostly cream and a small amount of 1% milk. Ice cream good but predictably bland. Is being used as a carrier for homemade salted caramel sauce. Next ice cream - vanilla bean frozen custard? mexican chocolate? mint?

#83 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2012, 12:50 AM:

Tom Whitmore @ #81:

This is probably dependent on browser set-up and so forth, but I find that if I right-click on a page and select "View image" from the context menu, the full-size image is considerably larger.

#84 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2012, 01:14 AM:

Is there a way to increase the size of the Pogo strips? They're not large enough to be legible on my screen, for my eyes at least.

#85 ::: Jeremy Leader ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2012, 01:41 AM:

Tom Whitmore @81, Stefan Jones @84, apologies if this is obvious to you and you've already tried it unsuccessfully, but Paul A. @83's suggestion of right click, view image, followed by as many presses of control-plus as needed works for me.

#86 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2012, 02:30 AM:

The tool to download for viewing serial art on your 'puter is a comic-book reader. That page gives a good list; Windows, Mac, and Linux.

The format of a .cdz or .cdr file is dead simple. The images are ordered by filename (as these are), they are archived in ZIP or RAR format, and that file is renamed.

If everything installed right on your reader program, this file will be auto-opened when you click on it. It could be a comic-book. It could be some of your photographs. There's also the fringe benefit that you don't have to worry about bit-rot on the web page.

Incidentally, it's worth downloading winhlp32 from Microsoft so you can access old Windows Help files.

#87 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2012, 02:39 AM:

Paul A. @83, Jeremy Leader @85: Worked for me, though I expect Dave Bell's 86 would work better. Thank you all for the help.

#88 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2012, 03:09 AM:

Some tyranny only makes cuckoo-clocks: a commentary on Harry Lime's famous comment on the Renaissance, with added real Soviet Spies.

#89 ::: Nancy Lebovitz sees spammity spam spam ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2012, 07:51 AM:

#88, Dave Bell:

That link goes to a moderately interesting article about Olympic athletes who didn't come close to winning but had a good time anyway.

#90 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2012, 07:54 AM:

Sorry again. Let's see if I can get that spam announcement to go away and stay way unless I want it back.

#91 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2012, 08:11 AM:

Link corrected

Some tyranny only makes cuckoo-clocks
: a commentary on Harry Lime's famous comment on the Renaissance, with added real Soviet Spies.

#92 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2012, 08:13 AM:

Nancy @ #90, #89 and Dave Bell @ #88

The Harry Lime link is here. Dave's link goes to the main page and the article is in the right hand "magazine" column.

#93 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2012, 08:13 AM:

When I made vanilla ice cream, it was good, but not quite up to what I can buy (and didn't save that much money, given the retail price of heavy cream around here). Increasing the amount of vanilla extract might give you an ice cream you like better—a little more won't make much difference to the water/fat/alcohol-as-carrier ratio.

What I use the ice cream maker for is flavors I can't buy, so it doesn't come out very often. I'm thinking of making lemon again (yes, lemon ice cream: milk, cream, sugar, and fresh lemon juice). "Flavors I want and can't buy" seems to be a shrinking set, so the ice cream maker doesn't get used much: I have about 1 2/3 pints of blueberry ice cream from a local dairy in the freezer right now, and the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory is reliably offering ginger again.

#94 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2012, 08:33 AM:

Dave Luckett @79: Well, that's not the kind of morning surprise a person wants. Everybody OK there?

#95 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2012, 10:23 AM:

elise @ 94, nobody hurt. Not even Morgan, my aged poodle, except in her feelings. She's insisting on lying in her basket under the table now. Always was prone to anxiety, but she was nowhere near where it came down. It made a loud noise when it did, though.

#96 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2012, 10:25 AM:

Dave Luckett @79: Roof repairs, ceiling repairs, AND nasty cleanup. My sympathies. Hope not to much was damaged internally.

#97 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2012, 10:30 AM:

Since my roommate is allergic to corn, there is much ice cream we can't buy! Haagen Daaz offers a few flavors and Trader Joe's does a few - vanilla, mint chocolate chip and a lovely vanilla/chocolate salted caramel ribbon. I just kind of wanted to test the machine out on a simple recipe. I'm debating whether to try the basic custard recipe and see if that's more to my liking for a base. After that, I'll be experimenting with cinnamon, cardamon, a sorbet or two, maybe see if the anise extract can make a good licorice flavor.

#98 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2012, 10:41 AM:

Dave Luckett #79: Drat. Glad no one was hurt.

#99 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2012, 11:10 AM:

Dave, yikes! Good luck with dog anxiety--I don't know how one goes about convincing a dog that the sky falling is an isolated incident!

#100 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2012, 11:32 AM:

Cadbury Moose, thanks for the link. That's a doozy of an article. It seems to me that art flourishes under despotism when the elites compete through art, but I don't know what the preconditions are for that. Psychohistory isn't an exact science.

#101 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2012, 12:32 PM:

Kip W @76:

Don't do that!

The hair began rising on the back of my neck, and the process continued up over the crest of my skull...

When did Walt Kelly write that one?! I haven't encountered it before, and ex-husband was a Pogo fan, so I thought I seen most of his work.

#102 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2012, 12:47 PM:

I've seen that poem - pardon me, pome - also. Can't remember which book it was in, alas, but it should be in Ten Ever-Loving Blue-Eyed Years.

#103 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2012, 12:49 PM:

Teh Google says it's in Stepmother Goose.

#104 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2012, 03:21 PM:

RIP Sister Mary Boom Boom, aka Jack Fertig, a historic queer activist and shit-disturber, of late more focussed upon Islamic scholarship ... and my mother's very dear friend. :-/ I barely knew him (he always lived very far away), but he felt like an active presence in my childhood as Mom shared stories about him and from him.

He also had the unusual luck to be a natural HIV immune, and made significant income giving regular blood donations to pharma companies looking to figure out WHY. Meanwhile, of course, he got the decidedly dubious honor of getting to watch almost everyone he'd ever loved die horribly, before AIDS became a treatable disease ...

#105 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2012, 03:56 PM:

HLN: Area woman completes her first 50-mile race (trail, and quite hilly) inside her desired time (under 10 hours) and much to her surprise is first woman to finish! Clutches prize (bottle of champagne) with amazement. Pleased to find legs fairly functional the next day.

#106 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2012, 04:01 PM:

dcb: Woot!! Many congratulations!

#107 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2012, 04:05 PM:

Elliott Mason @104 -- How sad! He was a mild acquaintance.

#108 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2012, 04:40 PM:

On the ongoing ice cream topic, I'd look in to getting cheap vanilla beans - think $20-50/lb rather than $5-10/bean. Most of the companies who do bulk vanilla (I've bought from Vanilla Products USA) will let you buy a quarter pound or less - and a quarter pound is thirty or forty beans. Looks like a quarter-pound of top grade Madagascar Bourbon is $16+shipping. That's enough to make lots of vanilla sugar, your own vanilla extract (split the beans and dump in cheap vodka) and to throw in any recipes you like to. My girlfriend and I usually buy a pound every year to year and a half, and it's totally worth it.

#109 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2012, 04:59 PM:


There's a refer-a-friend link on that vanilla company's site. Is there any benefit to you if you refer someone who then places an order? (I'm considering it; as of a couple of months ago I'm paying $3/5 beans, which is a good price as retail go, but if the shipping is reasonable I might do better mail ordering than getting these from the nice nut/fruit/rice/etc. importer with the retail shop on Atlantic Avenue.)

#110 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2012, 06:12 PM:

Meanwhile, people are already writing Romney/Ryan slash.

#111 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2012, 06:32 PM:

I keep reading Patrick's recent sidelight as "Our national steganographers at work".

Which, you know, it might also be. If they're doing their jobs well, we'd never be able to tell.

#112 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2012, 06:53 PM:

dcb @105, go you! Behold me, all admiration.

#113 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2012, 07:00 PM:

Lori Coulson, PJ Evans, my usual source for that poem (when I'm not sure of a word) is in the Ten Ever-Lovin' Blue-Eyed Years collection, which I rate as one of the most important books in my possession. It's a sobering jolt, read in context or out, and it comes to my mind quite often, especially these days.

His poem that finishes "And the Star in the wind is a word" also brings tears to my eyes, and always has, even when I didn't know how short his daughter's life was (she's the Kathryn Barbara of the title). It's amazing what he could do with words, and such a fine artist too.

#114 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2012, 07:02 PM:

dcb #105: Wonderful! The only time I ever walked 50 miles I slept for 16 hours afterwards.

#115 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2012, 08:08 PM:

Vicki @ 109: Nope. Didn't even realize there was an affiliate program. I just like their stuff.

#116 ::: Benjamin Wolfe has been Gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2012, 08:09 PM:

Would the gnomes like some vanilla pound cake? It's the great excuse for buying cheap vanilla beans...

#117 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2012, 02:13 AM:

RIP Joe Kubert at 85 -- a real giant in the field of comic books.

#118 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker To Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2012, 03:54 AM:

Benjamin Wolfe @ 108:

Thanks for the vanilla bean link. Years ago, when vanilla got to $1-$2 per bean I stopped using them in my coffee; at $16 per quarter pound I can afford to do it again. What I do is pinch off a short piece of bean, maybe 1/10 of the total length, and put it into the grinder with the beans for a pot of coffee. Not a heavy flavoring, just a hint of taste, but it makes a big difference. I've just ordered a quarter pound of beans; my coffee maker thanks you.

#119 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2012, 06:49 AM:

"I wasted Tesla's fortune. For the military. He'd be spinning in his grave if he hadn't been disintegrated."

Atomic Robo about his dad in Part Two of "The Flying She-Devils of the Pacific"

#120 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2012, 08:34 AM:

Lila, OtterB, Fragano: Thank you!

#121 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2012, 10:53 AM:

More fun with banks making up documents.

It often seems to me that a lot of our not-all-that-impressive elites believe, way down in their hearts, that the universe could be arranged in no other way but one that put them and their kids on top of the pyramid. And probably, hardly any can imagine what the world will look like for them, should a big chunk of the American people come to think they ought not to be on top anymore. Shit like this and the robosigning scandals don't just threaten this quarter's profit margins for the offending companies, they threaten the stability of the society. What does the world look like when the default assumption of most people is that someone having all their stuff taken for back debts probably is being ripped off? What do elections look like when the assumption of most voters is that the biggest companies have gotten rich largely by being above the law? How about when most citizens assume the police are lying when they present evidence in a criminal case--what do jury trials in that world look like?

The tail risk here isn't a big legal judgment or a stinging slap on the wrist by regulators. It isn't even bankrupcy and reorganization for the companies in question. The real tail risk, the low probability explosion that's being ignored in favor of stealing nickels from widows and orphans in front of a steam roller,runs somewhere from nationalizatiion to mob violence to revolution.

Now,these companies and their defenders (ultimately all the way up into Congress) will continue doing what they're doing, Nobody important will go to jail, even if documents are forged or destroyed as needed to turn a profit. The people doing this and defending it, that's all they know how to do. And probably, they'll get away with it. It will work until the day it doesn't.

#122 ::: albatross gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2012, 10:54 AM:


#123 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2012, 11:57 AM:

Weirdly, I keep going back to The Farthest Shore. As a result of a flawed effort to get immortality, people lose interest in everything they cared about.... and to my mind, a banker who doesn't keep records has forgotten what it is to be a banker.

#124 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2012, 12:48 PM:


I suppose it's cheaper not to have to keep records around. And since there's not actually a consequence for making up new records when the need arises, having long since discarded the originals, why not?

Each individual decisionmaker in all this is probably behaving rationally. Holding any politically connected, richer than God banksters criminally responsible for things that were technically illegal (like, you or I would go to prison for them) is costly. Holding anyone important accountable for illegal spying or torture or destruction of evidence, similarly, costs a lot. Imposing hard enough regulation to make systematic document fraud uneconomical for businesses that have come to rely on it could cost a huge amount, both in terms of lost poltiical donations and in terms of instability in big companies.

And probably most people aren't paying all that much attention, and won't notice each individual case where yet another rich or powerful or connected person or company gets away with stuff that's criminal, but only in the narrow technical sense of directly violating written law, not in the broader sense of offending or embarrassing the powerful. (That often remains a crime, even if no actual written laws were broken doing it.)

But the information about this accumulates, and my expectation is that over time, more and more of our institutions are undermined by it. I had a neighbor a year or two ago who lost his house to foreclosure. He claimed he was being screwed out of his house by a predatory lending company. A decade earlier, I'd have assumed he was lying to save face. Now, I'm not so sure.

I've commented on this before: I'm a middle aged, middle-class white guy with a wife, kids, a mortgage, and a steady job. When the current social order loses the confidence of guys like me, this is probably a very bad sign for the future. And yet, it has. I am increasingly skeptical of official pronouncements, court verdicts, police testimony, etc. If someone gets their car or house taken for debts, I have no particular confidence that this represents actual debts the person knowingly incurred--probably it does most of the time, but who knows? If someone gets arrested, I have only limited faith that the police are behaving honestly--again, I imagine most of the time they are, but if they aren't, if someone plants evidence and lies on the witness stand, and the prosecutor hides evidence that the accused isn't guilty, probably none of them wil ever face any serious consequences for it beyond some embarrassment.

This could go very, very badly for us. But reversing it would require some leadership from the top, in the sense that elites would have to start imposing rules on other elites. And that costs the decisionmakers in ways that, say, sending more 17 year old nobody low-level drug dealers to longer prison terms never will.

#125 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2012, 01:07 PM:

albatross @ 121/124

I have a major problem with both the article and your analysis.

And since there's not actually a consequence for making up new records when the need arises, having long since discarded the originals, why not?

If this were happening, it would be a problem.
And just the fact that it is widely believed to be happening, as you note, is a problem.

BUT the Naked Capitalism post, like so much of the birther controversy, really relies on distrust of electronic record-keeping. Yes, President Obama's birth certificate (if you request it today) is printed in modern fonts and on modern paper and obviously came off an electronic system, not out of a file cabinet. Similarly, on a lot of financial systems, one can print off a historical bill--but it will be printed today, and I can easily imagine that it would have today's non-billing info on it.

Electronic records are real records.

#126 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2012, 01:12 PM:

The WSJ's a-head this morning (that funny article on the front page is called the a-head) is on -- Minecraft song parodies!

#127 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2012, 01:27 PM:

Here's an idea that seems plausible to me.... that means I'm interested in what folks here think of it, but I'm not sure I'm right.

One of the things that has happened is that ordinary business practices aren't viewed as a big moral issue.

How poor people are treated viewed as a big moral issue, whether it's help that they're supposed to get or help which is supposed to be bad for them, and unfairly taken as well.

People's sex lives are a major moral issue.

Discrimination is a major moral issue.

How rich people treat other rich people (for example, bundling bad mortgages and selling them as though they were good) fell off the moral radar.

I'm not saying that the financial crisis could have been avoided if ordinary business practice were a public moral issue, but it might have helped put the brakes on.

#128 ::: Steve with a book ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2012, 01:56 PM:

Re Abi's Parhelia about the all-female Ponzi scheme: we had something pretty much identical in the UK at the start of the century. IIRC the banks were the first to notice it; lots of customers were all asking for withdrawals of the same large amount of cash.

#129 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2012, 01:58 PM:

Electronic records are real records.

Not when those records belong to an entity known as MERS, created with the intent of doing an end run around county title clerks thereby depriving the said counties of the recording fee, and thefore clouding title to the properties in question. This happened in every state in the Union.

And ginning up an entire industry (Google "robo-signing") to create documentation, because MERS failed to store the original documents (in some cases actively destroying the same). Most, if not all, of these documents are frauds.

All in the interest of selling "mortgage backed securities." Talk about your pig in a poke...

#130 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2012, 02:32 PM:

Tom Whitmore @126:

Thanks for the a-heads up. We've been all about Minecraft song parodies around our place for over a year now. I've lost count of the number of times the kids and I have danced around the house to Revenge. And when Dynamite came on in the Olympics closing ceremony, I thought it was TNT and got all excited.

Captain Sparkle is a household name for us.

#131 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2012, 03:34 PM:

abi @130: I should have included the direct link, and probably posted it on the Minecraft thread, but I wanted to get it here quickly!

#132 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2012, 03:47 PM:


It's clear that most people have different morals for their private behavior than their business or government behavior. For example, Megan McArdle had a sequence of discussions back when she was at the Atlantic, in which she argued that strategic bankruptcy and strategic default on mortgages when done by individuals was a moral fault, but when similar or identical things were done by businesses, it was just standard business practices that everyone understood. I'll admit I never enirely understood how this could make sense.

Most people seem able to compartmentalize actions of government offiicials from the rest of their lives. Thus politicians we like who have people blown up or tortured or handed to allies' secret police for torture, but who attend religious services and seem to be good husbands and fathers can be referred to as good, decent, Christian men. I suppose this isn't much different from being able to associate with some mafioso who is cultured and decent to his friends and family, even though you know somewhere, someone is being fitted with cement overshoes for causing him trouble.


Electronic documents are not, however, strong evidence of what was on the source documents seen by humans and signed by them. If there is a dispute about the accuracy of the computer records, the signed paper originals are useful in deciding that, whereas a recreated document with an affidavit claiming that someone once saw the original and it agreed is a lot less valuable. If, as has been shown many times in the robosigning scandal, other parts of those affidavits were clearly wrong (like, they were signed by someone who hadn't been working for the company that created them for many years), their value drops to zero. And if either the people maintaining the electronic records or the people creating the new paper records to vouch for the old, missing ones have an incentive to lie, there is a huge potential problem.

This is parallel to the problem with electronic voting machines. The electronic voting records are indeed useful information about what choices the voters made. But if you think something went wrong with the computer tally somehow, you will never find the problem by having that same computer print the totals again on a piece of paper.

#133 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2012, 05:43 PM:

Abi: Listening to Revenge, all I could hear was 'The Creeper Sleeps Tonight'. I'd imagine it's been done, but I don't see it in a quick search.

#134 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2012, 06:44 PM:

For the last month or so, trees around the parking lots both at work and home have been showering cars and pavement with a fine mist of sticky yellow sap.

I found out last night that this "honeydew" is essentially aphid crap.

As crap goes, I suppose it is relatively benign. Ants and geckos actually eat it.

But it makes the sensation of your feet sticking to the pavement, and dealing with windshields coated with a pebbly crust, all the more gross.

#135 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2012, 07:21 PM:

Not nearly as bad as tent caterpillars, Stefan -- and I say this as someone who had to attend a birthday party with swimming-pool activities in one of the worst tent-caterpillar seasons that region had seen in decades ... it was a nice SHADY pool, very overhung by mature trees.

We were pool-skimmer-ing corpses out of the pool throughout the party and it was STILL heavily salted with them. Also they squished underfoot. BARE foot. My grandfather had no idea why I wasn't having fun.


#136 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2012, 07:30 PM:

AKICML: I remember reading a story where astrology was given a mechanism. A guy doing telepathy experiments starts traveling mentally to various civilizations that embody characteristics of the corresponding signs of the Zodiac. Eventually his body gets taken over by the aggressive aliens in Scorpio.

Anyone remember the story? Title, author?

#137 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2012, 07:45 PM:

#136: Oh, man, I remember the story vividly. What a blast.

The title was something like "Through all your houses _____".

#138 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2012, 07:53 PM:

WANDERING! Through All Your Houses Wandering! THANK YOU!

#139 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2012, 07:54 PM:


"Through All Your Houses Wandering" (Ted Reynolds)


#140 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2012, 07:56 PM:

By Ted Reynolds. I read it here.

#141 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2012, 08:08 PM:

#132 ::: albatross

I'll grant that people can't care about everything, and they have different morals for institutions and private life.

Still, the amount and kind of corruption matters, and I think something unusual happened to cause the financial crisis.

#142 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2012, 08:43 PM:

I was thinking that these days I wouldn't call the police for anything less than attempted murder. Because they'll take a few hours to show up for anything less, if they show up at all.

#143 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2012, 10:51 PM:

Hey, remember a while ago I was talking about sending pings into a black hole?

Today my CDLS certificate came in the mail. EIGHT MONTHS after I took the course. So the BDLS and ADLS should be here by....Thanksgiving?

Progress, I guess.

#144 ::: Lila got gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2012, 10:52 PM:

No idea why. Might I offer the gnomes some fresh cherries and decaf chai? It's what I'm having.

#145 ::: LMM ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2012, 10:52 PM:

@129: That's been a point that I've seen made off-and-on for awhile.

Basically, our moral principles (such as they are) are designed for much smaller social settings. (Hm. Come to think of it, they're not even particularly good at addressing issues that would have come up hundreds of years back -- until recently, for example, few people have interpreted the commandment against murder as a commandment not to commit genocide.) As such, we're far less able to even formulate objections to the much larger social issues we're facing. (I would argue that the collapse of any sort of Marxist ideology has contributed to this.)

Of course, the other issue is that corporations are legally *bound* to make decisions based on profit for shareholders. (Allegedly, although one might argue that levels of CEO compensation would disprove this.)

#146 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2012, 12:10 AM:

LMM @144: But CEOs have to get megasalaries in order to bring in the money for the shareholders. If they didn't, why ... the corporation would have a CEO who wasn't paid enough.

It's not that they're more expensive, it's just that they cost more, to paraphrase Cordelia Chase.

#147 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2012, 11:18 AM:

Stefan Jones #134:

So we're not the only part of the world with an aphid problem just now. It's spreading through our neighborhood like crazy, and our HOA manager was told that it's the worst aphid year anyone can remember. Started off on crape myrtles, of which we personally have more than anyone else around. Once we got those dealt with, it then migrated to our oak trees.

Since it actually contributes to a leaf die-off (which in summer heat may not be the Good and Expected Thing that it is in fall), we (read spouse) have been pursuing active countermeasures including washing the leaves, spraying them with neem oil, and then putting awful stuff on the roots to discourage further visits.

#148 ::: Joseph M. ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2012, 06:01 PM:

In the spirit of the gallon of milk and gold-plated speaker cables, here are some reviews of a useful and informative book.

#149 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2012, 06:25 PM:

I just need to say, since this is an Open Thread...

I love Joe Biden.

You may now return to discussing aphids. Or CEO salaries. Whatever floats your boat.

You're welcome.

#150 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2012, 09:35 PM:

As I was reading this thread, a tiny little insect crawled over the word "aphid"

Still a few bugs in the system...

#151 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2012, 09:41 PM:

LMM at 145:
"Basically, our moral principles (such as they are) are designed for much smaller social settings."

But now we are in the global village,and that's a very small social setting.

#152 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2012, 09:51 PM:

Kip W @60: I volunteered at the George Eastman House, and I hope I get on there [..] If the Eastman doesn't want me, I'll think of some other place to try.

I was at one of their recent lawn concerts, and I saw a lot of people with Eastman badges looking like they were having a good time. I don't know what percentage of those might have been staff vs volunteers.

I did on impulse take the house and lawn tours a couple of summers ago. I recall that the lawn tour had been conducted by a couple of ladies — one with a notebook was a docent in training for the tours.

If the Eastman House doesn't work for you, perhaps another place you might try is the Seneca Park Zoo; I have a friend who has worked there as a docent for years. There was a training process there too — you have to learn about the animals before they'll trust you to speak about them. That might be something your daughter would enjoy learning with you.

#153 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2012, 09:58 PM:

Remember how Jay Lake had beaten cancer?
It's back.

#154 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2012, 12:24 AM:

Serge, the only response I can think of is !@#$%^&*(.

#155 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2012, 02:45 AM:

I suspect our moral reasoning is even worse than it appears, because the default seems to be not noticing moral problems in widely accepted parts of your own society. It's easy to see the moral flaws in the actions of people elsewhere and elsewhen, largely because we didn't grow up in their society with their widely accepted parts of life. Meanwhile, in our own society, we probably don't see a lot of the worst stuff for what it is.

#156 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2012, 05:09 AM:

Open Thread linkiness: "Bluebeard's Wife", a short story by Ursula Vernon (author of Digger, among other things).

The premise: Bluebeard gives his new bride the key to the topmost room of the house, and tells her she must never use it - and she doesn't.

#157 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2012, 07:01 AM:

By the way, I've posted another installment of my highly intermittent Babylon 5 rewatch writeups, if anyone is interested.

#158 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2012, 07:53 AM:

Serge #153: Bu ohttre.

#159 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2012, 08:16 AM:

After the Guardian has done a spectacular job of embarrassing itself, I'm wondering which news sources are notable for good fact-checking, if any. Any suggestions?

#160 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2012, 08:54 AM:

Relevant to Jay Lake's news, somewhat, but also of general sciency discovery interest: apparently tumors have two kinds of cells, regular ones (which respond to chemotherapy by dying, etc) and 'cancer stem cells' (which respond to chemotherapy by hiding so they can come back later, and are not generally killed by our current run of therapies). now that they've been identified, we can come up with stratagems that target them specifically so they die FIRST, leading, hopefully, to fewer yo-yo cancers that come back years later, as there are strong hints that many such are due to them.

Theorized to exist for over a decade, new results claim to have actually found some for study, which is hopeful.

#161 ::: Elliott Mason spotted a bug? ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2012, 11:02 AM:

I just got an Internal Server Error trying to post over on the Chicon thread. And then it suddenly showed up twice.

#162 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2012, 11:12 AM:

More whistleblower investigation and retaliation. Pushback for this stuff needs to come from the top (ulitimately from voters) or from the courts, because the local incentives for a bureaucracy are all aligned with shutting up people who air their dirty laundry in public. And yet, it seems to me that retaliation against whistleblowers has become yet another piece of bipartisan consensus policy. (To be clear, I have zero reason to imagine Romney would push back against this much more than Obama has. Though who can say what the man really believes or thinks or intends at this point--he'd profess belief in the Easter Bunny and a commitment to send US troops to occupy Tatoine if he thought it would win him a vote or two.).

#163 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2012, 11:34 AM:

Open threadiness. Those in the DC area may want to know that authors at this year's National Book Festival on September 22-23 include Lois McMaster Bujold, Nalo Hopkinson, and Vernor Vinge.

I missed Bujold at the Book Festival in 2004; I don't intend to miss her this time.

#164 ::: Rob Thornton ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2012, 11:40 AM:

I'm writing a blog article about the Jefferson Starship album "Blows Against the Empire," which was nominiated for a BDP Hugo in 1971 but lost out to No Prize.

If there is anyone who was at Noreascon 1, the 1971 World SF Convention, and knows anything about how No Prize won over "Blows," Firesign Theater, and "The Forbin Project," I would like to hear from them.

#165 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2012, 11:43 AM:

OtterB: I managed to see Ms. Bujold at the LoC NBF a few (ok, more than a few) years ago. I have since then managed to infect my FG with a great appreciation for her books, so I am sure we will be there. Shall we attempt a mini-Gathering of Light?

#166 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2012, 11:58 AM:

Rob Thornton @164: Tony Lewis, who chaired Noreascon 1, is still alive and active (though I don't think he reads here). He'd probably know more about it than anyone else, or at least can point to who would.

I was there, and I remember some discussion, but I'm not a serious primary source for you. Would you like me to forward Tony your contact info, which I assume is on your linked website?

#167 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2012, 12:50 PM:

Ginger @165: I'm in favor of a mini-Gathering of Light. Bujold speaks from 12:55-1:40 on Sunday 9/23 and signs books from 2:30-3:30. Before or after?

Anybody else available and interested?

#168 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2012, 01:45 PM:

abi @157: Hm. That means I need to get the next DVD into my queue.

Elliott Mason @160: 'cancer stem cells' (which respond to chemotherapy by hiding so they can come back later)

It has long seemed to me that cancer very often behaves as an independent organism, with its own strategies for survival and propogation. (I suppose this is not a completely wacky notion, with the growing beastieary of virus-caused cancers.) Which seems very weird, as the general scientific discussion seems to regard cancer as simply "diseased tissue" with no independant existence of its own.

#169 ::: John M. Burt ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2012, 01:47 PM:

I am currently reassessing a lot of things in my life, in the hope of improving a lot of things, including my ability to get and hold a job. The magician's advice touches me deeply. I am not kidding. This is EXACTLY what I need to do, I now see.

#170 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2012, 02:07 PM:

Elliott Mason spotted a bug? @161: I've run into that one before. All I can say is that if you get an error while trying to post, refresh the main page and check to see if the post went through anyway before re-posting.

Sometimes it just up and double-posts anyway, but there's nothing you can do about that.

#171 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2012, 02:38 PM:

Paul A. @ #156: Thank you so much for that link! That story is brilliant. I'm a huge fan of Digger but clearly I need to read a lot more of Vernon's stuff.

#172 ::: Janet K ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2012, 03:06 PM:

OtterB at #167. Wish I could meet up with you and Ginger but I'll be in Michigan that weekend for a family wedding.

I had a chance to speak with Bujold at the Philadelphia worldcon. That was way cool.

#173 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2012, 08:33 PM:

Rob Thornton writes in #164:

I'm writing a blog article about the Jefferson Starship album "Blows Against the Empire," which was nominiated for a BDP Hugo in 1971 but lost out to No Prize.

Give us a pointer once you're done. I wasn't around fandom in 1971 but I loved that album when cuts from it drifted out of my progressive FM radio. Rock! About science fiction! Cool!

Not every cut is wonderful, and the politics were a caricature even then, but my fondness for the album has never worn off.

Have you seen the stars tonight?

#174 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2012, 09:17 PM:

Light was made at the Denver County State Fair. That's CZEdwards and me in the back, Carol Kimball and Jacque in the front. Sadly, the rest of the event was... disappointing.

#175 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2012, 09:31 PM:

Nancy Lebovitz: which news sources are notable for good fact-checking, if any

It's topic-dependent. For example, the BBC, who are usually regarded as pretty good, can fall down embarrassingly when it comes to science stories.

For science news, in my experience, you can typically rely on the New York Times. The LA Times isn't too bad. New Scientist magazine used to be excellent, and when they aren't trying to be controversial or trendsetting they are still ok -- unfortunately, that's increasingly rare. I think the Guardian is probably the best of the British papers on science, but the blog section is much more variable (in both directions-- they host Ben Goldacre).

#176 ::: thomas was gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2012, 09:32 PM:

And not even one URL.

Would the gnomes care for ginger cookies?

#177 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2012, 10:08 PM:

Rob Thornton @ #164, I second what Bill Higgins says at #173. I'd like to read your blog post. I bought that album when it first came out. I'd like to hear the story.

#178 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2012, 10:09 PM:

Nary a URL, and yet I wuz gnomed, alas.

Ah well. Carrot stick, O Gnomes?

#179 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2012, 10:16 PM:

Unfortunately, the LA Times has made glaring errors in some of its stories. Like having Titan orbiting Jupiter. (Obviously, they didn't grow up with Bonesteel's artwork anywhere around, even in books.)

#180 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2012, 10:53 PM:

Rob Rusick @152: Thanks for the thoughts. It would be nice to hear from the Eastman House folks. My interests overlap with what they have going on to a larger degree than I first thought, what with music, photography, movies, and earlier days. I think I could give the house tour with a small amount of coaching, for instance. The zoo is an interesting idea, and I'll hold it for later use as needed. I'm already doing the web page (formerly the newsletter) for the Pittsford Library Friends group, so I've got the design thing going on too.

#181 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2012, 02:22 AM:

I don't think there was any collusion at all around Blows losing Best Dramatic Presentation. There were a lot of people in fandom in those days who didn't particularly like rock, and thought that it was silly that any record album could be up against either a movie or a TV show. It didn't fall into their worldview of a DP. And those people would have voted "No Award" higher than either of the albums. Similarly, there were a fairly large number of people who were rock fans who thought it was awesome that an album, with a leftist political slant, could get nominated at all, and they voted for it (and maybe the Firesign album) and put "No Award" higher than anything else. I don't have the actual numbers to hand (and I'd bet they were published in the appropriate issue of LOCUS, which is included in the Gregg Press reprint volumes and so available in many libraries). It's not that difficult to see the vote split in that way (and it's a lot easier to think that than to think there was something underhanded that happened).

But I'd check the LOCUS issues for Sept 1971 closely, because they should have all the published info about the actual votes.

#182 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2012, 02:36 AM:

Small addition: Noreascon 1 did an album recording the Awards Ceremony (at the bottom of the page) -- that might let you know how the crowd reacted to the announcement. NESFA has a list up of folks who were at all 4 Noreascons; many of those people are easy to find, and some probably know more than I do.

#183 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2012, 10:47 AM:

Assange granted asylum by Ecuador. Whatever happens with Assange, the powers that be have made their lesson clear, here as with the ongoing very aggressive whistleblower prosecutions and harassment of the last administration, and even more, of this one: Embarrassing the powerful is a serious matter, and even if they can't manage to put you in jail, they can and will f-ck you over enough to make it impossible for you to have much of a life, for years if need be.

At a guess, we're seeing such an aggressive response largely because the PTB know that they're losing control of what information and ideas and images their people see. It wasn't that long ago that you could convince half a dozen media sources not to talk about something, and that would mean that most Americans never heard of it. A few well-informed people might read foreign media or fringe media and hear of it, but if the big three networks and biggest newspapers decided not to cover it, for most people, it might as well not have happened.

That power is evaporating over time. And my guess is that ever more fierce prosecution of whistleblowers and the urge to make an example of Assange and Wikileaks is a reflection of the fear that they won't be able to control what information we can see in the future. It seems to me that they can't really be successful suppressing the production of information, and what they're doing now is visibly thuggish and probably costs them loyalty of many of their supporters. But who knows? Maybe the surveillance state we all had to have to protect us from crazy people hiding in caves half a world a way will be powerful enough to enforce secrecy by fear among people who feel little loyalty to their bosses.

#184 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2012, 11:26 AM:

So the government of Ecuador has granted Julian Assange political asylum, which is hardly surprising after the UK government did its sabre-rattling about diplomatic status. There is now the problem of getting him out of the country.

It might be terribly convenient for everyone if there is a Police cock-up that lets him disappear from the Embassy and reappear in Quito. Nobody tests whether that awfully nice Mr Hague can simply declare that an Embassy is no longer an Embassy. Assange is a fugitive from justice, and is cosily tucked away in South America. And people will eventually forget that very convenient sexual assault accusation.

It's that accusation which makes it difficult. But all the Swedish authorities want to do, it seems, is ask him a few questions. Maybe he thinks he will be locked in a room with kenneth Branagh until he confesses?

#185 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2012, 12:33 PM:

I gather Assange is very worried about going to Sweden. He and his supporters claim that he fears somehow being extradited to the US, or worse, kidnapped by the US and disappeared into a hole somewhere. Both of these are plausible fears, to my mind. However, it's also quite possible that he really is guilty of something that will get him locked up for several years, and prefers exile in Ecuador to prison in Sweden.

One problem here is that we've already made it clear by our past actions and rhetoric that we don't feel bound by any particular law, even our own, in dealing with people whom we designate as enemies. I don't *think* we would kidnap him and ship him off to Bahrain with a list of questions, or put a bullet into the back of his head and dump him in the ocean to avoid any further questions, or lock him up in some overseas gulag forever with no trial and no rights. But we have done all of those things to our real or alleged enemies in recent memory, and continue doing them still, so it isn't crazy for him to fear those things. Nor do I think we would actually have our own people torture him, though again, we've done that pretty recently, and established that only disposable enlisted men ever actually face trial for that kind of thing. And my understanding is that we still won't let Bradley Manning speak in private to the UN anti-torture representative regarding his treatment in prison. Certainly, if we got hold of Assange somehow and locked him up, and then he was repeatedly raped by the other inmates, or locked in a tiny cage in isolation till he went crazy, or denied needed medicines till he became seriously ill, or hanged himself in his cell after tying his own hands and feet and gagging himself, that would be neither a huge surprise nor anything that would cause any problems for those responsible. I imagine we won't blow him up by drone fired missile, because Sweden has an air force and the collateral damage would be made up of white people. But I suppose the Obama administration has the power to do that, even if they won't let anyone see the legal justification for it (which is presumably some legalese version of "might makes right").

Really, though, we need to get with the program. I'm pretty sure the protocol for irritating gadflies who piss you off is that you have them poisoned with polonium.

#186 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2012, 01:08 PM:

Tom Whitmore writes in #182:

Small addition: Noreascon 1 did an album recording the Awards Ceremony (at the bottom of the page) -- that might let you know how the crowd reacted to the announcement.

Interesting! Whom do we know who has a copy?

Presumably Rob will want to compare the applause levels as Isaac Asimov reads the list of nominees. And maybe see whether No Award was cheered or booed.

NESFA has a list up of folks who were at all 4 Noreascons; many of those people are easy to find, and some probably know more than I do.

Hmm. I have e-mail addresses for a fair number of these people.

Rob Thornton: if you want to go to the trouble of contacting Noreascon 1 attendees, e-mail me at higgins at fnal dot gov and I'll send you the addresses.

#187 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2012, 01:15 PM:

albatross: Jeez. Cynical, much? I wish I could call you out for being over-dramatic. ::sigh::

#188 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2012, 01:28 PM:

Yeah, I do too. For what it's worth, with an hour's work and Google, I could have made just about all those dreadful things I described into links to mainstream news articles describing the US doing them. I wish to God that weren't true, or that there was anyone running with a chance of winning who would stop it. But that isn't the world we live in.

#189 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2012, 03:23 PM:

I don't know what Assange might or might not have done in Sweden, but I do think it's a little grotesque to extradite someone who hasn't even been charged with a crime in the requesting country. I don't actually know that that's rare, but bunches of people on the radio have been talking like it is.

I have no doubt that once he's handed over to Sweden, the course will be short to his disappearing down a rabbit hole under the (covert or overt) control of the US.

#190 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2012, 04:56 PM:

I've been away, so forgive me if someone has already mentioned this, but tickets for the NYC MakerFaire (at the end of September) are already on sale and the price goes up at the end of August, so if you live or will be in the area and want to go, buying now would be a good idea.

Also, Hi!

I'm way behind on everything but hope to catch up soon.

#191 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2012, 05:55 PM:

Since Melissa brought it up . . .

There's going to be a Portland Mini Maker Faire.

September 15 / 16, at OMSI.

The first orientation meeting is tonight. I hope to get a handle on the size and ambition of the event.

Attendees may see me on exhibit in the Oregon Rocketry booth.

#192 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2012, 08:04 PM:

On the "Blows Against the Empire" subthread, Tony Lewis explains how the voting went to Mike Glyer at File 770. Thanks very much to ace researcher Dave Nee of The Other Change of Hobbit for pointing me to the reference.

#193 ::: Tom Whitmore visits the gnomes ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2012, 08:06 PM:

I've got a box of spare SF books with me -- like some reading matter to while away the idle hours along the Yann when the spammers aren't keeping you too busy?

#194 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2012, 12:42 AM:

If anyone in the Portland area plans on going to the Maker Faire, let me know. I have $2 discount coupons.

#195 ::: Stefan Jones, gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2012, 12:43 AM:

A follow-up comment on the maker faire held for review.

#197 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2012, 08:16 AM:

So, a while back I posted about feeling I was sending pings into the void, and getting nothing back.

Since then, I've gotten the certificate from my CDLS training (8 months after the course!); I've reconnected with 2 groups I used to volunteer with and will be doing 2 volunteer stints on Sept. 1; and I've written an 1100-word fanfic that's gotten more reviews than the previous 4 put together.

Thanks to this community for propping me up long enough that I still had a "yes" in me when these opportunities came.

#198 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2012, 08:42 AM:

Lila @197: Go, you!

#199 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2012, 11:24 AM:

Lila #197: Those are very good things indeed.

#200 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2012, 12:24 PM:

Xopher @189--this is charging after arrest thing is a function of Swedish law, which operates from a different tradition than US law. They do not follow the same procedures in the same order.

Here's the English text of Sweden's extradition law (PDF file).

Here are some other links which might be helpful: An overview of this mess; a Swedish perspective; and Owen Jones in The Independent gives details of both the nature of the charges against Assange and the extradition problems. He says this about the fact that the Swedes have not yet chaged Assange: "Again, his supporters query why Sweden has not charged Assange. But that is not how the Swedish legal system works. Defendants are not charged until very late into proceedings, and just before prosecution. He cannot be charged until he is arrested, which can only take place in Sweden." (People who are triggered by accounts of sexual assault might want to have someone else look these links over for them.)

Jones appears to feel it's much harder to extradite from Sweden to the US than from the UK to the US, which is an interesting thought. Sweden's cooperated with extraordinary renditions before, however, so I don't know how completely I trust that. I suspect Assange might have an edge over the random Muslim who does not have a large cheering section already in place, but that means little more than "I HAS A CYNICISM LET ME SHOW U IT."

You may insert the rant of your choice on my part about how the habit of extraordinary rendition and the use of Guantanamo (to say nothing of the treatment of Bradley Manning) have enabled a loathesome diva like Julian Assange to avoid facing up to the consequences of his bad personal behavior, and how unfortunate that his actions have affected the perception of the useful work Wikileaks does in the matter of governmental openness. I remember the release of the Pentagon Papers, and the attacks on Daniel Ellsberg as a result. Ellsberg gave his detractors a lot less to work with than Assange has, but I suspect Ellsberg was not as much of a grandstander by nature as Mr. Assange.

I think what Wikileaks has done, and is doing, is good for the world; I am not so sure I can say that about Julian Assange. I wish the US government had played its cards in previous rounds with a better eye to its future reputation, because making it easy for suspected wrongdoers to hide from investigation of their possible wrongdoing in other jurisdictions because of fears about extradition to the US profits the world nothing.

(No, random reader, I will not say that Xopher is trivializing sexual assault charges. I know him, and he wouldn't do that, and I know his issue here is the matter of the perversion of the machinery of justice, which we all should worry about.)

I am now going to fix some treats for the gnomes, because this has a lot of links and I'd like to be prepared.

#201 ::: fidelio is visiting the gnomes ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2012, 12:45 PM:

I have some iced tea here which is quite pleasant.

#202 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2012, 01:07 PM:

I'd be a lot more cynical about the charges against Assange except that they date from before his big release of information.

On the other hand, I've never heard of rape charges being grounds for extradition if there wasn't also a political angle, though I simply not have heard of a common practice.

#203 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2012, 01:38 PM:

Patrick Farley retells . . .

The Gingerbread Man

Read his comment afterwards. There are a lot of fables that deserve that treatment.

(Oh . . . I don't know if anyone out there could help, but Farley is trying to get illustration work. I got the impression that he wants to do book covers, but after seeing this entry, childrens' books are another possibility.)

#204 ::: Stefan Jones is gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2012, 01:40 PM:

My last post had a link to comic, and a word meaning that which we do to achieve our daily bread.

#206 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2012, 03:23 PM:

I've been gnomed. I offer Little Baby sriracha and earl grey ice cream.

#207 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2012, 03:38 PM:

Thank you fidelio, both for the information about Swedish law (which information changes my perspective on this considerably) and for pointing out to occasional visitors that I did not and would not trivialize rape charges.

In fact, now that I've read what Assange's lawyers are ADMITTING to about the case, ISTM there are more than adequate grounds for charging him (if it were under US law, but also IANAL).

#208 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2012, 04:22 PM:

Artsy Awesomeness, mashup edition: an artist has done a series of illustrations for the Wizard of Oz ... if it took place in China.

#209 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2012, 04:34 PM:


I have no particular reason to doubt the Swedish justice system, except that Assange is an obvious target for retaliation. I don't really understand why Ecuador decided to grant him asylum (they're not an especially big haven for free speech), or why the UK threatened to violate the embassy to take him back. Neither of these seem like sensible actions, to me. What the hell does the UK care if Assange goes into exile in Ecuador? What the hell does Ecuador gain taking Assange?

My problem is this: Whatever he did or didn't do in Sweden, and however unpleasant a person he is, recent events that are well-documented make it entirely sensible for Assange to fear what will happen if he should fall into the hands of the US authorities. Public statements by powerful people in the US government also make this entirely sensible.

Wikileaks has been pretty much wrecked, by the combination of the legal procedings against Assange, the defection of some of his fellow activists, denial of access to credit card or most other online donations, denial of service attacks, harassment of Wikileaks volunteers here in the US, and the threat of potential retaliation against anyone who donates or maybe even interacts with them. Some part of this is Assange and his soap-opera-esque personality and life. But far more of this is almost certainly the result of some powerful people who wanted Wikileaks shut down, managing to do so. (In particular, the denial of service attacks are presumably done by the US government or its contractors, and the cutoff of donations is the result of US government pressure.)

Let's imagine a different world. A website run by a publicity-seeking diva leaks secrets that embarrass the hell out of the Russian government. And then, the website and its organization is wrecked, banks are intimidated into not doing business with the website or its organizers, and the diva has his life wrecked and ends up in prison in some Russian ally.

Now, if the story had gone down that way, I'd know what to think about it. It would be clear to me that the diva, whatever his personal flaws, was in jail because he made the wrong enemies. (And maybe I'd be wrong--publicity-seeking divas do bad things deserving of jail time sometimes.) And that the Russian government was sending a very clear message to anyone who might embarrass them in the future.

So, it's pretty hard for me to see it any differently in this world, where my own government has behaved in a way I'd have been unsurprised to see Russia behave in.

Again, I don't know whether Assange is actually guilty of some crime. But if I were him, I'd be scared sh-tless of somehow finding myself in the hands of the US government, for very good reasons.

#210 ::: albaross gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2012, 04:35 PM:

Take me drunk, officer, I'm gnomed again.

#211 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2012, 04:41 PM:

Soliciting ideas here -- I'm signing up (with much trepidation) for a Storytelling Class. With possible performance. (cue stage fright....)

I've done this in the past, and although terrifying, it's doable, but here's where I need help. The organizer seems to think I have a passable singing voice (strictly a chorus-member here; not a soloist!) and has asked if I can come up with a spooky sort of song. She's acquainted with filksongs. In fact, a year or two ago she had someone performed "Black Widows in the Privy". My problem is that the spookiest filksongs (or folksongs) I can think of are too SFnal. (I did sing Tam Lin for that previous storytelling class; I don't think I can do the same thing twice. Especially since it's eighteen verses long.) Anyone have any thoughts? Also any thoughts on very short creepy stories suitable for storytelling? The link to Ursula Vernon's "Blackbeard's Wife" made me think that the Fluorosphere might enlighten me.... (That's suitably creepy but assumes the audience is familiar with the Blackbeard/Reynaud story. Which I can't assume.)

Oh, dear. I'm usually a clearer writer. I guess pre-stage-fright already has me rattled...

#212 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2012, 04:44 PM:

Xopher @207--Dude, we know you. Not even for an instant would you wink at that sort of thing.

I was confused about the charging issue myself.

#213 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2012, 04:56 PM:

Albatross @209 Yes. Whether Assange has well-founded fears, is needlessly paranoid, or is simply grandstanding to avoid facing the music (all these are possible, consecutively or concurrently, depending on circumstances at that moment), the US government's recent record since 2001 does not inspire a lot of confidence in assurances that there would be no effort to extradite him from Sweden. Wikileaks has been enough of an irritant that simple vengefulness (which cannot be ruled out, alas) paints a target on him, even if it cannot be established that neither he nor anyone connected officially with Wikileaks put Bradley Manning up to securing the leaked documents for them.

However, the issues with regard to the Swedish complaints do deserve accurate reporting as well.

What Ecuador gains? Thumbing their noses at the US, mostly.

#214 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2012, 05:31 PM:

Elliott Mason @208:*


I wanna be a artist waaaahhhhhhh....   D`}


(This after spending 16 of the last 19 hours sculpting.)

* I am especially tickled by Toto.

albatross @209: Wait, shouldn't that be: recent events that are well-documented make it entirely sensible for Assange to fear what will happen if he should fall into the hands of the US Syrian authorities?

Oh. I just figured it out. I seem to have taken a wrong turn during a dream, and woke up in the Trek ЯOЯЯIM Universe. Okay, it all makes sense now.

Damn. Only thing clicking my heels together is doing is giving me sore heels.

#215 ::: Jacque, gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2012, 05:34 PM:

Probably for bad spacing and/or getting too creative with the html.

No comestibles for their gnomeships at the moment, but hot home-baked peanut butter cookies should be on offer later today.

#216 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2012, 06:44 PM:

Open thready: Had a discussion with a co-worker about Bulwer-Lytton contest.

I give you:
“His moan, like a bull with a thorn in its paw, echoed across the ocean.”

#217 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2012, 08:53 PM:

Open threadiness: The Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland is splendid. It's a repertory company that performs 9 plays simultaneously, using 3 theaters. Most of the 120 actors perform in multiple plays, so you get the amazing Dan Dohohue playing Hamlet one day, and a waiter the next (and such a hilarious waiter he was!). This season, 5 of the plays are Shakespeare. Two of the other are world premieres from OSF's American Revolutions project. They're commissioning 37 plays set a pivotal moments in US history. These two, All the Way and Party People are both about the 1960s civil rights struggle.

OSF added noontime talks this year, and they are fantastic. Wednesday's was two women from the struggle, a Black Panther and a Young Lord, discussing their experiences: Ericka Huggins, and Denise Oliver-Velez. Today's speaker was the dramaturg working on the LBJ play, and tomorrow is both speakers and a poetry reading: "former Black Panther Party Minister of Culture Emory Douglas, San Francisco California Bay Area, and Black Panther Party Historian Billy X Jennings, Sacramento, CA. Poetry Readings by Meres-Sia Gabriel and Jelal Huyler, Sons and Daughters of the Black Panther Party."

You can come and just see Shakespeare and buy imported English tea and china in the gift shop, but there is plenty more! Part of the fun of the talks was the audience. Silver-haired people in sensible sandals and Shakespeare-themed t-shirts, jumping in with clarifications about Ramparts and COINTELPRO.

#218 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2012, 09:33 PM:

Cassy B: You might see if you can find "Janet's Ride", which is about a woman who goes to negotiate with the Queen of Death for her lover's life.

#219 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2012, 09:41 PM:

Carrie @218: Sounds very promising! Thanks!

#220 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2012, 09:48 PM:

Hm.. I wonder if "Twa Corbies" would fly? (pun only slightly intended). I mean, I'd have to explain what the title meant. I'm not sure if it's creepy enough. On the other hand, "o'er his white bones when they are bare-o/The wind shall blow forevermaor-o..." is pretty darn creepy....

#221 ::: Susie ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2012, 11:24 PM:

Delurking to share some local news (previously discussed in Open Thread 149) that may be of interest: Chris Armstrong prevails over Andrew Shirvell in defamation lawsuit

#222 ::: Susie has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2012, 11:28 PM:

O gnomes, may I offer some hot ginger tea as ransom for my post?

#223 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2012, 11:47 PM:

Hyperlocal news... On bus ride from work, as vehicle abruptly resumes forward movement, man sees teenage boy 'fall' all over teenage girl, after which boy blames Entropy.

#224 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2012, 11:49 PM:

In a discussion on reading, I decided I needed a new word. So I looked up the Latin root for reading and came up with several, deciding on "lectum," "to read."

So my new word is "omnilector." "One who reads everything." I'm throwing that out there as a starting point for other flavors of the word. Yes, my kitchen Latin is wretched. I still like it.

#225 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2012, 11:51 PM:

Serge Bloom @222: one suspects that it would be more accurate to blame equal parts Inertia and Hormones....

#226 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2012, 11:52 PM:

Me @ 224: Bloom = Broom. So sorry.... {offers Serge virtual bouquet in apology}

#227 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2012, 12:17 AM:

Casey B @219

If you were to want to lay your hands on a copy of "Janet's Ride", I just might be able to help you on that. **

** given that I happen to be the author

#228 ::: y ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2012, 12:22 AM:

Cassy B: When you ask for spooky filksongs, "Ferryman" comes to mind.

#229 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2012, 12:28 AM:

This hobby-classicist has no problem with "omnilector".

#230 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2012, 12:57 AM:

Re, the Ponzi Parhelia link: SEC Shuts Down $600 Million Online Pyramid and Ponzi Scheme.

This one was huge. And there's a lot more of them out there where this one came from, but they're probably not as big yet. And this one had a ton of suckers.

#231 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2012, 01:08 AM:

*blink* This appears to be my night for discovering authorships.

Heather, you wrote "Janet's Ride"? I'm seriously impressed. It's a wonderful song. (And I can't think of a better example of the maxim about "If your name is Janet, change it" from the Folksongs thread.)

#233 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2012, 02:03 AM:

211 ::: Cassy B.

For spooky (yet short) American trad songs:

Asheville Junction (Swannanoa Tunnel)

Darling Cory

Henry Lee (Yes, this is a Child Ballad, but this version is American Appalachian)

O Death

Recent, composed:

Scarlet Town

Long Black Veil

Bad Moon Rising

Ghost Riders in the Sky

#234 ::: David Wald ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2012, 08:04 AM:

B. Durbin@224: So my new word is "omnilector." "One who reads everything."

Pre-coffee free association just turned up "Hannibal Omnilector", which the Asterix school of history translates as "One who reads everything while sitting on an elephant."

#235 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2012, 08:48 AM:

Cassy B @211: There's Ben Newman's Blue Butterfly (lyrics, mp3) if singing a horrible-fate song about ants, butterflies, and wasps isn't too SFnal (this is the song that got him banned by his GF from watching the Discovery Channel anymore).

I second the recommendation for Ferryman (video link).

Talis Kimberley's Death Danced at My Party (lyrics, video) recalls Poe and other sources more than anything specifically SFnal, and is really sweet and sad and creepy all at once.

Little Green-Eyes (Kathy Mar has sung it; I don't know who wrote it, but I know someone who will) is a wonderful sad ghost story where a tiny kitten comes out of the rubble of a house looking for his whole family, sees ghosts of them, plays with the ghosts and is happy … and then fades away at sunrise because he is ALSO a ghost.

Eric Bogle's No Man's Land or his And The Band Played Waltzing Mathilda may be too long.

I bet Stan Rogers sang something that would work for you.

Jonathan Coulton's I'm Your Moon is a song of love and consolation to Pluto from Charon, along the lines of "everyone else can say what they want, I'll always be there for you."

Michelle Dockrey's Girl That's Never Been (lyrics, video)is alt-universe Alice in Wonderland fanfic, and amazingly creepy and awesome.

You can go through my filkbook at Worldcon if that's not too late.

B. Durbin @224: I've been using 'hyperlexic' for years to cover a similar sort of meaning to your 'omnilector,' though I deliberately use mine to imply parallelism with a medical condition. I usually define it as "complete inability to read text in my vicinity," like compulsive reading of breakfast-cereal boxes when you're stuck somewhere with Nothing Else To Read. D&D's Explosive Runes spell works amazingly well on hyperlexics.

#236 ::: Elliott Mason got gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2012, 08:49 AM:

It's a fair cop.

[Number o' links, sir. Happens tae all o' us. Seamus O'Orleanxo, Duty Gnome]

#237 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2012, 10:09 AM:

CassyB @ 211: my favorite spooky song is "S/he Moved Through The Fair"; you can hear Sinead O'Connor's version here, but my favorite version is Lisa Deaton's, from the album "This Time 'Round", available from a certain large Brazilian river.

It's reasonably short, especially if you don't sing it too slowly (as I think O'Connor does, and Deaton too, slightly). The melody is, IMO, hair-standing-up lovely, esp. with a drone accompaniment.

#238 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2012, 10:14 AM:

Heather Rose Jones@227: Oooooh, oooooh, yes please! Email is cassy at bookwyrme dot com. May I have your permission to perform it for a (very small; 2 shows, probably 50-100 audience members total, mostly family and friends of the performers) storytelling class performance?

I haven't found music online, but I did find lyrics, and it looks COOL. Also, creepy. {grin}

And would it sound ok a capella? (I can't play a musical instrument, alas, other than handbells, which hardly counts...)

Copyright issues have been bugging me, so permission-to-perform would be a vast relief.

#239 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2012, 10:25 AM:

::y:: @228, the "Ferryman" that Leslie Fish does? Haven't thought of that for years. Good suggestion. Yes, very creepy (but getting into those pesky copyright issues...)

John McDonald @211, oh, a whole bunch of traditional ones! Goody! Thanks!

I don't know how concerned I should be with copyright, given the limited venue and the whole community-theatre-class aspect of it all, but given my druthers, I'd rather stay on the bright side of that line, if at all possible. This is, after all, not a filksing but a paid (albeit a nominal fee; I think $5) performance.

#240 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2012, 10:36 AM:

Lila @236: Thanks! I'll check it out!

(I *love* the Fluorosphere; you guys really come through....)

#241 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2012, 12:50 PM:

Modern (1960s) and spooky, especially the tune: Shel Silverstein's In the Hills of Shiloh. Works very well unaccompanied.

#242 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2012, 02:09 PM:

A note on Swannanoa Tunnel: It's the longest of the seven tunnels on the Western North Carolina Rail Road connecting Old Fort to Asheville. It was dug in 1877-1879 using convict labor and home-made dynamite in place of black powder. Over 300 lost their lives digging the tunnels.

The entire project took twenty years.

The tunnels remain; the single-track rail line was in use as late as 2007 (and may still be in use today). You can find Swanannoa Tunnel off Old US 70 (North Carolina Route 10).

The song "Asheville Junction" is related to "Nine Pound Hammer" and you can find wandering stanzas from "Nine Pound Hammer" in performances of "Asheville Junction." It was collected in 1916 by Cecil Sharp.

Asheville Junction
Swannanoa tunnel
All caved in, babe
All caved in

I'm going back
To Swannanoa tunnel
That's my home, babe
That's my home

Last December,
I remember
The wind blowed cold, babe
The wind blowed cold

Well a hammer falling
From my shoulder
All day long, babe
All day long

When you hear
My watchdog howling
Somebody 'round, babe
Somebody 'round

When you hear
That hootowl squalling
Somebody dying, babe
Somebody dying

Asheville Junction
Swannanoa tunnel
All caved in, babe
All caved in

And I'm going back
To that Swannanoa tunnel
'Cause that's my home, babe
That's my home

#243 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2012, 02:09 PM:

Tracie @241: Creepy indeed. {shiver} Thanks!

#244 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2012, 02:30 PM:

Cassie B.: If you're interested in "The Raven Banner" or "Song of the Shieldwall," permission could probably be gotten rather easily.

#245 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2012, 02:51 PM:

Jim McDonald @242 & 244: Cool history lesson. Thanks; I did not know that. (We take for granted those old train tunnels...)

Both "Raven Banner" and "Song of the Shieldwall" are terrific, rousing songs, but not I'm not sure they're really right for a "Spooky Stories" storytelling evening. (I challenge ANYONE to listen to "Song of the Shieldwall" and not start improvising percussion with hands, feet, or anything else available...)

#246 ::: Adel ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2012, 03:12 PM:

Open-threadiness and Minecraft mentioning urges me to ask whether anything came of the idea of having a Fluourospherian server? I absolutely adore the idea on principal, and would be filled with light if a lurker such as myself could join you fine folk.

#247 ::: tykewriter ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2012, 03:28 PM:

Jim Macdonald @242:

That reminds me of a story.

#248 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2012, 04:21 PM:

Cassie B @ 225/226... What about the Butterfly Effect?

#249 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2012, 05:17 PM:

Serge Broom @248: Um, a movie thriller....? Never actually saw it... If there's a song or story by that name I'm not familiar with it, and it's drowned out in google by the movie and by chaos theory.

#250 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2012, 05:25 PM:

At this point, I think it is safe to claim that one has seen everything.

#251 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2012, 05:33 PM:

Elliott Mason #235: (this is the song that got him banned by his GF from watching the Discovery Channel anymore)

LOL! Yeah, I can believe it....

Also, "hyperlexic" actually is a medical condition, or at least a neurological one. And it does include that compulsiveness, along with markedly faster-than-normal reading speeds. We had a discussion about that a few months back, when someone asked how folks kept up with the firehose that is Making Light.

#252 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2012, 05:46 PM:

Just got back from watching "Paranorman."

I'll give it an unqualified, but not raving, thumbs-up.

The story is only a B+. Funny, no real slow spots, good for young (well, maybe 8+) and old. But not utterly brilliant. Just a tad . . . well, sappy is the wrong word. Movies about appreciating misfits? Kind of routine by now.

The visuals are A+. Just gorgeous. The characters are not lifelike; they're animated caricatures, but well done as such. The sets and lighting are, well, beautiful. The movie is set in an old New England town, and its depiction is dead on. A mix of old and new structures, kind of congested and scruffy. I've driven through many, many towns like it.

If you've seen the commercials or trailer, you know the setup. I won't say more, to preserve what surprises there are.

Oh . . . stay past the credits. There's a little treat at the very end. A kind of bow from the animators. Sweet.

#253 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2012, 05:52 PM:

Cassy B. @ 249, Serge might be referring to the idea that a butterfly flapping its wings can set off a series of events culminating in, say, a hurricane half a world away. Or at least, that's my first frame of reference for the phrase, since the film you mention seems to have completely escaped my notice.

#254 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2012, 06:06 PM:

Fragano #250: the editor of these proceedings worked for my father. One wonders how he managed to make it through the fourth grade.

#255 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2012, 07:37 PM:

Tracy #254: That's a very good question.

#256 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2012, 08:06 PM:

Syd @253: I wonder if Serge misremembered the name of "A Sound Of Thunder"? Creepy story, which involves the butterfly effect in a very concrete way; history is changed by a timetraveller accidentally killing a butterfly.

#257 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2012, 10:01 PM:

Cassie B: One of my favorite spooky filks is Kathy Mar's Doppelganger. Link goes to YouTube, where someone has put it up from an old filk tape, but the lyrics are readily available on a search if you can't pick all the words out.

#258 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2012, 10:10 PM:

Lee @257, Ah, yes, I heard Kathy Mar sing it once (I'm pretty sure it was a Chicon, but whether 1982 or 2000 I don't recall). Sends chills down the spine.

#259 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2012, 10:52 PM:

So, Ijust had the maintenance guy Do The Right Thing. I noticed a strong and nasty smell in my apartment... it didn't ping as "gas" (I checked the stove anyway) nor like the various doggie messes, but it certainly smelled "wrong" -- almost garlicy, but really not like someone cooking (also it was a bit late for that).

When it didn't go away, I called emergency maintenance, and explained the above. In due course, the guy came... he said he couldn't smell anything except my cigarettes, but he did take me seriously... and after checking the stove (all pilots lit, as I'd already verified) and thinking a few moments, he decided to open up the A/C cabinet... and discovered that the water heater's exhaust hose had come loose, and was probably dumping fumes into my apartment. He told me I had a "good nose"....

The repaired A/C is now running, and I hope it and my fan will get the fumed out reasonably soon.

#260 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2012, 11:01 PM:

How can I never have noticed that 'GBEPUJBBQ' vf na nantenz bs 'QBPGBE JUB'? I feel incredibly stupid never to have noticed that.

#261 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2012, 11:25 PM:

I am REALLY hoping that something I saw today ends up as Internet Gold.

This evening I went to a performance of "Trek in the Park." Outdoor amateur-theatrical productions of old Star Trek episodes:

This year's episode is "Journey to Babel." There's a scene where Kirk is jumped by a knife-wielding Andorian. (Well, actually a fake Andorian.) They're really going at it . . . a pretty darn good staged fight . . . when a dog in the audiance gets freaked out and CHARGES them, barking.

I don't think he actually intended to attack either of them. He probably wanted them to settle down, damnit.

The dog's owner grabbed him by the ear and hauled him off stage.

The fight went on. Kirk, losing concioussness after decking the Andorian, calls Security and reports the attack, ad-libbing something about the dog. The audiance was clapping and cheering too hard to make it out exectly.

I really hope someone taped that.

#262 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2012, 11:50 PM:

Adel @ 246: I don't play Minecraft myself, but we have a couple of (bright, tween-age, American) kids who have expressed interest in playing on a server with some like-minded folk. Not sure if that's what you have in mind, though...

#263 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2012, 12:04 AM:

Elliot Mason: Actually, hyperlexia is a medical term, used to describe children who are frighteningly literary at a very young age. I first heard it in regards to my son, when we were working on an ASD diagnosis, and the psychiatrist said "Hyperlexia is often a sign of autism," to which I replied, "Or family history, given that both of his parents read before the age of three, as did his grandparents..." (He does have an ASD diagnosis, but his non-ASD two-year-old sister has her alphabet down as well and is moving into reading territory aggressively.)

janetl: "OSF added noontime talks this year"—I'm assuming you mean something other than the actor talks they've been giving since at least 2006? Or is this something that you found out accidentally (as we did) and hadn't known it was there?

I have a tendency to forget that most people don't know about Ashland. For the theater-minded on the West Coast, it's basically an affordable dream trip you can take multiple times and be gratified each time. Of course, having a replica Elizabethan stage doesn't hurt—especially once you learn about how a minimum of seven entrance points and no major set changes can really speed up the action.

#264 ::: Sebastian ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2012, 12:35 AM:

(long time lurker, occasional poster)

It occured to me that I've lost the origin of "spoons" as a token of focus, concentration, and general conscious capacity. Can someone with better research-fu or a better memory remind me of the first appearance?

#265 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2012, 12:41 AM:

My Flickr set of today's Trek in the Park performance:

* * *
Spoons = "silver spoons" = more generally, a valuable resource one can sell to keep the wolf from the door in hard times?

#266 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2012, 01:00 AM:

Sebastian @264 -- the original essay about it is escaping my google-fu at the moment, but this article has a very good summary of it. There's a reference from there to the source, but its link doesn't work.

#267 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2012, 01:05 AM:

Current link for that spoon article:

#268 ::: Sebastian ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2012, 01:18 AM:

Tom Whitmore @266, Andrew Plotkin @267: Thanks!

#269 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2012, 01:38 AM:

Cassy @ 238 (my phone auto-mangled your name last time - sorry)

I'll get in contact about the song when I get home from my camping trip. Currently posting by phone from piney woods and campfire land.

#270 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2012, 01:38 AM:

Open Threadiness, Dutch edition: abi, a friend was on a cruise which let her do a walking tour of Kinderdijk and its 19 windmills. She saw a bird with about a 12" - 15" wingspan and has no idea what it might be. Can you or any other person familiar with Dutch ornithology help?

Pictures here. Scroll down to pictures 7 and 8.

#271 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2012, 06:26 AM:

Xopher HalfTongue @260: The story was they were shipping the recording of the first episode of the new series, and RTD was concerned that someone (fan or opportunist) might intercept the package. Some unnamed staffer (unnamed at least as RTD told the story at the time) came up with the anagram by way of camouflage, and RTD was so struck by it he mentally filed it away as something he needed to find a use for.

#272 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2012, 08:34 AM:

Xopher @# 260, well, if Feeling Incredibly Stupid Not to have Noticed loves company, you haz some.

#273 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2012, 08:48 AM:

Heather Rose Jones @269: Don't worry about misspelling my name; there are very few Cassys in the world compared to the number of Cassies. {smile}

Hope you have a lovely camping trip; no huge rush on the song since the performance won't be until October (close to Hallowe'en, doncha know).

#274 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2012, 09:00 AM:

Things are getting weird on the Julian Assange affair. He has reason to be scared of what the US Government might do, and the UK government has sullied its hands over its dealing with suspects oif the brown-skinned persuasion since 9/11.

Is Ecuador over-reacting to the infamous letter? Is it really a threat? Talking about the possibility of the arbitrary revocation of the embassy's status isn't exactly normal, and the legislation does require such things to be done in accord with international law.

Reuters are saying there are a hundred Police Officers surrounding the embassy. There are reports that Julian Assange is going to make a Public Statement, from a balcony.

I don't feel proud of my country. They can take a strong position, and refuse safe passage, but they're saying that they can do whatever they wish, throwing away centuries of diplomatic precedent.

I wonder if this is going to be on live TV?

Do I want to watch the idiots at work?

#275 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2012, 09:10 AM:

Looking at the pictures on TV, I do wonder what the actual legal boundary of the embassy is. It's one of those London buildings with a roadside fence protecting a semi-cellar pit, with a half-flight of steps over the pit to the doorway, and the physical wooden door a pace or so further back than the actual wall of the building.

And three Police officers stand at the top of those steps.

I wonder if the Foreign Office would agree with an estate agent on the boundary line.

#276 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2012, 09:25 AM:

"If the UK did not throw away the Vienna Conventions... was because the world was watching, and that was because you were watching."

He's spinning this like crazy, but it is hard not to agree with that point.

#277 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2012, 11:24 AM:

Well, I also didn't know those stories about Torchwood. Thank you, folks! I didn't think it was a coincidence, but I thought they made it up for the Victoria/Werewolf episode.

#278 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2012, 12:22 PM:

It sure sounded like a threat from here. Because embassies are covered by long-standing treaties that say they're considered to be the territory of the parent country (that is, Ecuadorian embassies are legally part of Ecuador). Invading one for whatever reason would be a very big thing.

#279 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2012, 01:10 PM:

Based on an interview with an ex-Ambassador for the UK on NPR Friday, the most likely next step is that if Ecuador doesn't give up in the next couple of weeks then the UK can go through the process of closing down the official Ecuadorian Embassy and ejecting the Ambassador. Basically, the UK Government has been saying that the Diplomatic and Consular Premises Act allows them to close the mission, but if they just close down the mission/embassy to search it without ejecting the Ambassador, it may violate the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations which requires the host country to help the country whose mission has been closed to help find another place for the mission.

The folks at Darker Net argue that the only way to avoid arrest is if the Ecuadorian government grants Assange immediate citizenship and appoints him Honorary Consul or UK or UN Ambassador (they seem to feel the last two are the stronger option). That way he has up to 31 days to leave on a private plane.

Since the Embassy is in a rented space in a building without a garage it gets really insane if they try to get him to a plane. He would be open to arrest between the building and the car (hence the officers at the top of the steps), but since Embassy cars are by international law protected against "search, requisition, attachment and execution" the police could stop the car but couldn't search it for him. Assuming the car could get past the cops he'd be up for arrest at the airport end of things once he got out of the car, unless they did something like rent the Antonov An-225, drive the car into the main bay, then take off.

I don't quite Brann very often nowadays after finding out what a horrible racist he was (if you were black he was on your side, but if you were Chinese, oh boy...), but his final comment about the Editor of the L.A. Times does fit: "The dam rascal seems to be a white elephant on the hands of Deity, and I have some curiosity to know what he will do with it."

#280 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2012, 01:14 PM:

Here's how it is going to go down:

Mr. Assange is going to be extradited to Sweden.

While his flight is in mid-air, over international waters, it will be diverted to Thule Air Base. From there, he will vanish into US custody, never to be seen again.

There will be popular outcry, to which the answer from the UK, Sweden, and the US will be, respectively,"Not our problem," "Not our concern," and "Whatcha gonna do about it, eh?"

If, by some miracle, he makes a getaway to Ecuador, his plane will be diverted in mid-air, over international waters, direct to Naval Air Station Guantanamo, saving everyone a great deal of time.

In a few months (if not weeks), it'll all be forgotten.

#281 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2012, 01:15 PM:

AAARGH!!! MAJOR brain-fart. Brann was against blacks, not Chinese--I got it backwards. How could I be that dumb! Clearly I need to post later in the day when I'm fully awake.

#282 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2012, 01:18 PM:

I'd like to point out that Bradley Manning is still being tortured.*

*Solitary confinement. They'll break him with it and he'll plead to anything they want.

#283 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2012, 01:38 PM:

One morning Comrade Stalin discovered that his favorite pipe was missing. So he called Lavrenti Beria and instructed him to find the pipe. A few hours later, Stalin found his pipe where he had left it in his desk and called Beria to tell him. "I was just about to call you, Comrade Stalin," said Beria, "five suspects have already confessed to stealing it."

#284 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2012, 02:26 PM:

B. Durbin @ 263

We honeymooned in Ashland. The theater was fantastic, but what we remember most vividly is the number of stories we heard that ran along the lines of "So we had this great idea for a public work, but the guys in charge were crooks, so we took it away from them, half-built, and it's never been finished."

But yes, I agree that the performances I've seen have been unvaryingly excellent.

#285 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2012, 04:08 PM:

Stefan Jones @ 261:
I like your pictures of Trek in the Park! I want to know how the Andorians managed to not sweat off the blue paint. I asked a friend who went to same performance about the dog-related ad lib. Kirk said that he found the ensign's lost dog. ;^)

I'm hesitating to go to Trek in the Park this year. I've really enjoyed it in the past, but getting there at least 2 hours early to get a spot to sit is a bit much. I'm not a fan of sitting in the sun on a hot afternoon. For those of you not familiar with this event, hundreds of people show up for every performance.

B. Durbin @ 263: I'm a fan of tiny theaters, so my first love was the Oregon Shakespeare Festival's Black Swan, and now the New Theatre. The Elizabethan Theatre with its stairs and levels is fabulous for anything involving sword fights! I saw The Three Musketeers there, and I do believe that someone actually swung from a chandelier. The Pirates of Penzance and Don Quixote were memorable, too. I'm going to the annual Daedulus Project there on Monday.

The Daedulus Project has been running for more than 30 years now. On the 3rd Monday in August, the people of OSF do performances to raise money for HIV/AIDs research and services. There's a great bake sale, too. You know those old movies, where the characters need to raise some money, and they say, "Let's put on a show." Well, when the volunteers are from a theater company, the resulting show is quite amazing. I can't recommend it highly enough. In addition to good acting, dance and music, the performers prance around in minimal attire just before intermission, and during the break you're encouraged to hand money to your favorite Shakespearan actor or actress (or costume designer, set carpenter, musician or stage manager) in their underwear.

What I referred to as noontime talks are properly called Festival Noons. I was told that they're new this year. They are in Carpenter Hall, next to the New Theatre. We've been to 3. One speaker was the dramaturge who worked on the LBJ play. The other speakers were brought in from all over the country -- 2 speakers for the first talk, and 4 for the other. I got to speak with Denise Oliver Velez yesterday. (Here's one of her articles on Daily Kos)" She was invited to speak about her time with the Young Lords and Black Panthers in the 60s. She's an academic now. She admired my Obama t-shirt (the O is the Venus symbol), and we spoke about young women voting. She's rather in favor of it, and can't believe her students who aren't registered, or don't consider themselves "feminists." They just expect, you know, to have access to contraception, be able to get the same jobs men do, and so on.

#286 ::: janetl has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2012, 04:10 PM:

For a really long post, with one link. It did contain both "Andorian" and "Bake Sale" which I know are terms frequently used by spammers. I'm afraid that I finished the inn keeper's excellent blueberry scones, so I'm just relying on the kindness of your heart.

#287 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2012, 04:48 PM:

Just to get things right, there are a lot of common beliefs about embassies that amount to explanations for children rather than having any basis in law.

If you want to get an argument going on amongst lawyers, ask them what happens if Assange rides through the front door on a motorcycle which bears CD plates.

There's all sorts of ways been suggested to give Assange status as a diplomat. They all fall down on the necessity for the British Government to accept that status. Any government, notified of a new diplomat being posted to an embassy, can say no. In the pre-telegraph days, I'd suppose that there was a custom of granting safe passage, in and out, but no country would be fool enough to appoint somebody notorious.

A lot of the stuff in the Vienna Conventions amounts to setting limits that only an idiot would want to start hair-splitting on.

That's why I wonder just what is going on, and why the British government has done something that provoked such a reaction from Ecuador.

#288 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2012, 04:55 PM:

@janetl: Thanks for clarifying Kirk's line.

I got to Cathedral Park an hour early, and found a nice spot. Any further back and it might have been difficult to hear.

I had an umbrella with me, in case it rained. I ended up using it to keep the sun off. That really made a difference. By wonderful timing, the sun went behind St. John's Bridge a few minutes into the show.

#289 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2012, 05:11 PM:

Rep. Todd Akin, the Republican nominee for Senate in Missouri, is one seriously ignorant jackass:

Republican Senate Nominee: Victims Of ‘Legitimate Rape’ Don’t Get Pregnant

“First of all, from what I understand from doctors [pregnancy from rape] is really rare,” Akin told KTVI-TV in an interview posted Sunday. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
Really, where do they find these guys?
#290 ::: Stefan Jones, gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2012, 05:12 PM:

A comment, with links, about a mind-boggling ignorant politician was gnomed.

#291 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2012, 05:48 PM:

Now he says he "misspoke." But note that he doesn't actually repudiate the batshit-crazy belief he's still trying to sell.

He's a piece of shit, and I hope he takes the advice of some other conservatives and drops out of the race.

#292 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2012, 05:48 PM:

Stefan, I don't know where they find them, but I suspect their biological knowledge starts and ends with cabbage leaves. And their legal knowledge is no better quality (WTF: 'legitimate' rape?)

#293 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2012, 06:00 PM:

Speaking of countries not credentialing diplomats, the Vatican is refusing to accept Bulgaria's proposed ambassador because he wrote a novel that included a gay sex scene.

#294 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2012, 06:01 PM:

#292: I suspect that in the minds of many conservatives, many claims of rape are just a way to get around abortion restrictions.

I'd suggest research to see if there was something in the water out there . . . but if it was discovered that there was something in the water that caused people to be ignorant bigots, they'd call it "morality juice" insist we all drink it.

#295 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2012, 06:38 PM:

Linkmeister @ 270

It's a tern of some sort. From the indefinite plumage on the head it looks like it's immature, which makes it a lot harder to identify species.

#296 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2012, 07:10 PM:

Apparently this particular piece of nutcasery goes back to the mid-90s, not not earlier. Always men saying it, AFAIK.

#297 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2012, 07:16 PM:

Dave Bell @287: but if the Ecuadorians appointed Assange their envoy to the UN (as Bruce Durocher suggested up at 279), then the UK would have no necessity or ability to approve him, making his traveling more possible. True?

#298 ::: Andy Brazil ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2012, 07:27 PM:

#270 That's an juvenile Black Tern

#299 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2012, 08:03 PM:

Heather Rose Jones, Andy Brazil:

Can I say "thanks for the good tern?"

Serge, I'm sorry if I'm infringing on your turf.

Seriously, thanks. I'll pass it along to my friend.

#300 ::: Mea ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2012, 08:32 PM:

Comment #298 shows how helpful numbered comments are, when keeping track of multiple conversations. made me giggle, however. Such a lovely comment to break up discussions of Assange and ignorant R candidates.

Xopher @291: how enraging and weasel-worded that guy is! Misspoke means what? He has a duty to 1. Clearly explain that what he said about women's bodies is false and women cannot magically control whether they get pregnant and 2. Apologize to the world and specifically to rape victims for his massive ignorant disrespect.

But his comment does reveal a lot about the nature of the debate over women's body autonomy in America. When the other side doesn't understand basic biology, engages in magical wishful thinking, and prioritizes hazy emotion and The-World-Should-Be laws that deny medical realities, how do we have a conversation? Where does it start? That comment makes me realize how many unspoken truths I bring into any discussion of laws about control over women's bodies:

1. Women and their bodies can't control whether pregnancy occurs. There is some speculation that orgasm can increase the chance of pregnancy by moving sperm deeper into the right zone, but the opposite isnt true..Lack of orgasm doesn't prevent pregnancy. And orgasm can be a physical response that isn't voluntary. (There are even evo-biology hypotheses that humans don't have physical signs of when women are fertile because our bodies are trying to trick us into getting pregnant - something a smart woman in a pre-medical society with high death rate might rationally want to avoid.)

2. Even women who want to be pregnant can have medical problems that require a choice between the woman's life and continuing the pregnancy. Delay in terminating a pregnancy in those situations can result in death of both the woman and the fetus.

3. Bad things happen to good people.

It frightens me to contemplate how much of the desire to impose laws that restrict women's ability to access health care is based on a deep unwillingness to intellectually and emotionally accept those three points.

And I have to say with respect to Mr. Wikileaks: I only agree with Equador's actions if Equador (or some neutral source) is also willing to pay for everyone involved in the Swedish sexual assault cases (witnesses, prosecutor, judge, jury) to be flown to Equador, have a fair trial, and throw his ass in jail if he is convicted of sexual assault. He can serve his jail time safely in Equador, but it offends me on multiple levels that the threat of extrajudicial kidnapping is being used as a shield against standing trial for sexual assault. I want those two issues separated out. And how the hell did we get to this point?

#301 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2012, 08:55 PM:

Mea @ 300: It is most sad that we are at the point that Mr. Wikileaks has (what I think is) a legitimate fear of being kidnapped. We got here with over a decade of not respecting the rule of law, by both Republican and Democratic administrations. Torture, indefinite detention,...?! Note that I agree with your desire to see him face trial on the rape charges.

I'm also aghast at where we are with elected politicians' statements, and laws passed, about women's health. Scalzi just tweeted about this:
Serious question for women: is 2012 a particularly bad year for sexist fuckery, or am I just noticing it more now? Because, DAMN, Y'ALL.

Shortly followed by this:
The thumbnail tally for that last question is about 50% "worse this year," 30% "You're noticing more," and 20% "both." #Yikes

I believe that it's been worse this year. I am fervently hoping that this is what nerdycellist described as an Extinction Burst.

#302 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2012, 09:04 PM:

Mea @300: Ecuador, please. I do not normally quibble about spelling, but proper names seem more important to get right.

Based on certain things the United States has done to Ecuador in the past, I can totally understand a certain amount of glee in being able to thumb their nose at that country for once. Quite likely there are more complex motivations than that, but...oh, I can sympathize with that part.

#303 ::: Mea ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2012, 09:06 PM:


Oh, I love the idea of it being an extinction burst.

#304 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2012, 09:53 PM:

P J Evans @292, and the rest of the 'legitimate rape' thread: it used (pre-1500s-ish) to be "common knowledge" and prevailing medical opinion that pregnancy only happened if the woman orgasmed. This was used to 'prove' all kinds of things in cases of alleged rape, and was also used to support annulment in cases where there were no children of the marriage …

I'm trying to remember which of my recent crunchy-nonfiction reads went into this, it was all about the history of sex and sexual 'knowledge' through the centuries.

#305 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2012, 10:06 PM:

#296 ::: P J Evans:

I used to know a woman who believed that rape was very unlikely to lead to pregnancy.

#306 ::: Mea ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2012, 10:13 PM:

#302: mea culpa?

I would blame it on the difficulty of editing on the iPad, but I am an abysmal speller, even of words I know. Seriously, there is one word I have been trying to learn for over a decade - it gets used routinely to describe my workplace, and I am still constantly flummoxed and pawing through the dictionary (hard copy, since I will misspell it so badly that autocorrect can't fix the error) every time I want to use a variant of that word. I have sat down to memorize it and repeatedly failed. (bureaucrat - got it right this time! But the next time I need it, it will be gone). And once written down wrong, it is really, really hard to see the misspelling. But even so, that should have jumped out at me. So thank you for the correction.

304 Elliott it sounds like you have the actual citation for what I was just vaguely remembering and trying to address. If you come up with the name of the book, please let us know.

#307 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2012, 11:14 PM:

I sure hope it's an extinction burst. I fear it may just be that the Republicans are counting on Citizens United and the Koch demon princes brothers to ensure that they don't need any votes from women ever again.

Once they get a 2/3 majority in Congress, take over 2/3 of the states, and get in the White House (they already own the SCOTUS), they'll start repealing Constitutional Amendments.

In a way I hope they count on that and lose.

#308 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2012, 11:28 PM:

Xopher @307 -- that would require 3/4 of the states as well as 2/3 of the Senate and 2/3 of the House, and not require the President at all.

#309 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2012, 11:31 PM:

Mea @300, as Jim Henley pointed out on Twitter, if Sweden would guarantee to Assange that they wouldn't extradite him to the US, that'd demonstrate a serious commitment to prosecuting sexual assault.

#310 ::: Mea ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2012, 12:35 AM:

Avram @ 309:

Extradition is subject to treaty. No treaty, no extradition (unless the country decides to just do it anyway) Sweden must have an extradition treaty with the USA, since extradition is an issue. Does the treaty allow for a signing country to say "no" in a particular case? In other words, I'm not sure that Sweden has the legal ability to guarantee no extradition. But I haven't been diving into the details. Does Sweden have the ability to give that assurance?

#311 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2012, 03:16 AM:

Xopher HalfTongue @277: In fact there's a reference to Torchwood in season 1 (it's the answer to one of the questions in the "Weakest Link" game). So they were planning at least that far back.

#312 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2012, 03:36 AM:

England has an unusual legal tradition. by European standards, starting with Common Law, and seeing spread across the rest of the world in ex-Colonies. Sweden, and to some degree Scotland, are part of the European mainstream.

Extradition, whatever the local law, is based on proving there is a case to answer. Unfortunately, recent extradition treaties with the US seem to be based on applying lower standards of proof to cases initiated by the USA.

Whether the bias is real or not, I don't know. But the differences between UK and Swedish law do matter, and have been confusing onlookers already.

Maybe Sweden can't make an absolute promise, and maybe Sweden is another of those countries which has a US-friendly treaty. The UK-Sweden process is under a Europe-wide treaty. Just the different legal system is worrying, you could easily feel more vulnerable. Sweden could easily say you would get the same protection against extradition as any other resident, but what does that mean?

And, if you're the lawyer, can you explain that meaning to your client?

#313 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2012, 06:18 AM:

Is anybody watching this this? Is it any good? It's odd for me to think that there's original BBC programming out there that's not available in the UK. I'm used to the smugness that comes with getting the best of your* TV and all ours too.

* by "your" I mean USian, and occasionally Canadian, which makes up most of our imported stuff.

#314 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2012, 08:06 AM:

Mea @306: After extensive googling and searching my library's database (for which, thank you! I've found a lot of fascinating-sounding titles on the history of sex and gender), I'm pretty sure the book I got it from is Thomas Laqueur's Making Sex: Body and Gender from the Greeks to Freud.

An interesting book with quotes from primary sources to attest to period views of sex, gender, reproduction, etc. I'm not so sure I buy his theoretical frameworks, but it's a good read if 'very academic' doesn't put you off.

#315 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2012, 08:40 AM:

David Goldfarb @311: When they were working up the Doctor Who return, 'Torchwood' was the code-name of the project (to prevent people from finding out that Doctor Who was coming back before The Beeb was ready to announce). Kind of like "The Burly Man" for the Matrix movies. They then used it in the series as a joke/nod, and later when they came up with a spinoff series they thought, "Hey, we have this perfectly fine red herring lying about -- and if we tell people we have a new project called Torchwood in development, they won't believe us!"

#316 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2012, 09:05 AM:

Lila @ 197: Yay!

#317 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2012, 10:33 AM:

Submitted for the consideration of the Fluorosphere: Julian Assange is an avatar of a Trickster, like Old Man Coyote and such. I await the reaction of the folklorically inclined to this observation...

#319 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2012, 12:56 PM:

How would the gnomes feel about some lotus rootlet and shrimp salad?

#320 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2012, 01:25 PM:

We're seeing folk medicine mixed with folk magic.

#321 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2012, 08:07 PM:

In other news, saw the new doctor today. Apparently I continue cancer-free. He doesn't think 6-monthly followups are frequent enough, so we're going back to 3-monthly ones. But I think that's his belief about such things in general, not my case in particular.

#322 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2012, 08:46 PM:

Xopher, that's good news.

#323 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2012, 08:55 PM:

Xopher (321): That's good news! I was on a three-month followup schedule for several years after finishing radiation therapy (it's up to six months by now), so that's probably fairly standard.

#324 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2012, 09:35 PM:

Xopher @ 321... Glad to hear!

#325 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2012, 10:08 PM:

Xopher: Hooray!

#326 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2012, 10:51 PM:

janetl: Those are different than the outdoor talks with actors they had in 2006, then. Those were overlooking Lithia Park and may have been more because the actors volunteered than that the Festival set anything up.

KayTei: 'We honeymooned in Ashland. The theater was fantastic, but what we remember most vividly is the number of stories we heard that ran along the lines of "So we had this great idea for a public work, but the guys in charge were crooks, so we took it away from them, half-built, and it's never been finished."'

I heard none of those, but I've only taken the public tour—and that six years ago. (I took the tour in seventh grade as well, but they certainly don't gripe in front of kids the way they might in front of adults.) I know they've done some improvements to the place, but much of the backstage is semi-permanent storage right now, so I don't know if they've ever had the chance to fix it up back there.

I want one.

#327 ::: GlendaP ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2012, 11:50 PM:

Xopher @321: Yay! I think you and I had our follow-ups on the same day last time, too. My news today was equally good, although it came with a brief episode of false alarm.

#328 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2012, 12:17 AM:

GlendaP: Yay!

Everyone: Thanks!

#329 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2012, 12:20 AM:

Thumbs up for Xopher!

#330 ::: Mea ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2012, 01:39 AM:

Xopher at 321: Great news! Glad to hear that the big C stays banished.

Elliot at 314: Thank you!

Anyone else feel like it has already been a long week, and it is only Monday?

#331 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2012, 03:08 AM:

B. Durbin @ 326

We took a tour of the local park, I think, which was where a couple of them came up. IIRC, they were in relation to sale of the local waters for health purposes, a public pavilion or something of the sort, and a nearby ski-lift?

I just remember thinking it would be fun to go through their newspaper archives to see if that was really all of it, or just the tip of the iceberg. Because seriously, the stories all followed the exact same pattern. It was hilarious.

#332 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2012, 07:50 AM:

Xopher and GlendaP: Glad to hear your good news!

#333 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2012, 09:42 AM:

GlendaP (327): Yay!

Mea (330): Anyone else feel like it has already been a long week, and it is only Monday?

Ohhhhhh, yeah. Tuesday here now, but it's not getting any better.

#334 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2012, 09:51 AM:

GlendaP: additional hooray!
Mea: God, yes. ***DRAG***

#335 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2012, 10:47 AM:

woke up this morning half-convinced it was Friday, so, yeah.

#336 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2012, 11:59 AM:

I'm not treating the bad behavior of the crazy edge of the right wing [THAT IS SOMEHOW BEING TAKEN SERIOUSLY BY ONE OF OUR TWO PARTIES] as an extinction burst.

It would be NICE if that were the case, but until I know otherwise I'm going to treat it as a real threat.

Speaking of real threats: Congratulations to the Halftongue on his continued health!

#337 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2012, 12:04 PM:

Xopher, Glanda P: great news for each of you!

Open-threadiness: Okay, I think these guys deserve a prize for committment to research: In an observational cohort study on 44 ultramarathon runners over 4,487 km in 64 stages from South Italy to North Cape, Norway (the Trans Europe Foot Race 2009), Schütz et al. [2] recorded daily sets of data from magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), psychometric, body composition and biological measurements. Beyond the logistical achievement of following the runners and moving a 30-m, 45-tonne 1.5 Tesla whole-body MRI across Europe (!), they succeeded with a high rate of test completion and data collection. (Quote from, commenting on Schütz et al.(2012) The Transeurope Footrace Project: Longitudinal data acquisition in a cluster randomized mobile MRI observational cohort study on 44 endurance runners at a 64-stage 4,486 km transcontinental ultramarathon. BMC Med 2012 -

#338 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2012, 12:36 PM:

Sandy B @336:

Whether or not it's an extinction burst doesn't change what you do about it. All it does is give you hope and energy to go on through a flood of crazy turned up to 11.

I'm treating it as a threat as well: the ceaseless nigging at what's "really" rape, the "personhood" amendments, all of the quite serious threats to women's bodily autonomy and personal freedom. It's a menace to us all. And I think we all need to push back, and push back hard. Speak, write, convince, vote. We can't let this crap go unchallenged or all the work we've done thus far will be wasted.

All that is different, if this is an extinction burst, is that in ten years' time we'll be amazed at how crazy it was in 2012.

#339 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2012, 12:39 PM:

Also, congratulations to both Xopher and GlendaP! It's good to hear about the good outcomes.

#340 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2012, 01:34 PM:

#289 ::: Stefan Jones :

I wouldn't be surprised if there really were doctors who told Akin that rape doesn't result in pregnancy, and I wonder if those doctors can be identified.

#341 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2012, 01:41 PM:

There are such doctors, or there were. From ancient Greece right up through the late 19th century.

#342 ::: Susie ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2012, 01:49 PM:

Stefan @289, Nancy @340, Jim @341: One possible source of the misinformation is described here.

I'd like to know why any doctor who tells such lies is allowed to keep a medical license.

#343 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2012, 02:30 PM:

#342 ::: Susie

Is talking medical-sounding nonsense grounds for a doctor to lose their medical license?

#344 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2012, 02:38 PM:

I'd like to know why any doctor who tells such lies is allowed to keep a medical license.

Once you have a medical license it is incredibly hard to lose it. Even being convicted of a felony isn't a 100% sure way to get it revoked.

#345 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2012, 03:50 PM:

The meme about rape messing up the menstrual cycle and therefore preventing pregnancy doesn't make much sense to me just from a logical standpoint. IIRC, ovulation has to happen shortly before fertilization, and the sperm stay alive for a relatively short period of time (days, max). So if the woman has already ovulated, how can trauma mess up the presence of the egg (which apparently lives 12 to 24 hours after leaving the ovary)? And does the stress at the particular necessary times prevent ovulation? How? I'd expect that it would be more likely to cause a slightly premature ovulation, given the ways bodies respond to stress. It's possible that it might affect implantation of the embryo -- but not at all clear that it would.

Yeah, it's likely to mess up the next two or three ovulations, but that's not going to affect pregnancy now.

#346 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2012, 04:01 PM:

dcb @ 337 : That actually sounds doable - demanding, yes - but doable. I've seen 1.5T MRIs on flatbeds; the larger issue is powering it and having enough shielding/space around the MRI.

#347 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2012, 04:16 PM:

Benjamin Wolfe @346: I think it was an amazing study to conceive and carry out, logistically speaking. The diesel on the semi was able to power the helium cooling unit for the MRI, but they had to take an additional generator along to power it when they were actually taking readings. Then they had to do the calibrations and stuff, and... They pointed out that you can't really ask athletes to do that sort of running in the lab, so they took the study along to where the runners were! I think it's a great study and (as an ultrarunner, if not of that calibre) I must look out for the papers as they come out.

#348 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2012, 05:02 PM:

Re batshit crazy misogynist doctors: I nominate U.S. Representative Paul Broun, M.D.

He also calls the Occupy movement "an attack on freedom" and tried to defund the Voting Rights Act.

#349 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2012, 05:38 PM:

OT vaguely "movies and women" related:

A very interesting excerpt from an independent newspaper movie review (of Union Square):

The ensuing change in the relationship comes too fast to believe, but the acting by Blanchard and Sorvino make up for most of it. Union Square isn’t without flaws — the male characters seem unreasonably undeveloped and the cinematography is forgettable —

So, it's a movie about two sisters' relationship and history with each other - and the male characters are "undeveloped" is the biggest problem with the film. It's even "unreasonable".

Odd, that.

#350 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2012, 06:23 PM:

Thanks everyone!

I have two theories about how people can believe this particular piece of crazy bullshit (the no-pregnancy-from-rape one).

First theory: This one applies to fundamentally decent people who believe life begins at conception, and aren't able to think critically. Two unacceptable things (a woman bearing her rapist's child and "killing an innocent child"—even if the father is a rapist, the child doesn't deserve to die) form an unresolvable dilemma, so they are vulnerable to junk beliefs like this one, because it means the case never comes up. This is akin to the "bad things can't happen to me" junk belief that Teresa has discussed.

Second theory: This one applies to misogynist jackholes whose belief is that rape itself is rare. The only thing they count as rape is a stranger-rape of a chaste woman who wasn't walking through a bad area alone at night or wearing anything "provocative" (so basically, anything short of Victorian clothing that makes it impossible to run or fight) or "weak" (anything that makes it impossible to run or fight). So they also find this easy to believe, because they fundamentally want to give rapists a pass anyway.

I hope the second group are vanishingly rare, but unfortunately I doubt they are.

I just heard that in some states rapists actually have parental rights to children they father through rape! That's utterly sickening. What the hell is WRONG with people?

#351 ::: GlendaP ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2012, 08:17 PM:

Tom Whitmore @345: It's my understanding that the typical sequence of conception has intercourse occurring before ovulation, such that sperm, which can survive up to 72 hours, are present and waiting* for the egg to appear. This is the scenario exploited by morning-after pills.

That would be some tiny grain of truth behind the meme, but hardly enough to justify it. Relying on stress and trauma to disrupt ovulation for all rape victims is preposterous.

*I believe it may have been someone here who linked, a few months ago, to a very nice documentary portraying the journey of sperm and how many hours it takes them to reach the Fallopian tubes. (And how many fail along the way.) Unfortunately, I didn't save the link.

#352 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2012, 08:49 PM:

Lila #348 -- Re batshit crazy misogynist doctors: I nominate U.S. Representative Paul Broun, M.D.

Second the nomination. He still occasionally practices medicine, too. Our local free paper, the Flagpole, features "Paul Broun's Krazy Korner," and it writes itself.

Broun: does that rhyme with "clown" or "buffoon"?

#353 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2012, 10:36 PM:

Re Jim's "Clanadonia" diffraction--I'm astounded it took till 2:14 for one of the passersby to start dancing.

Tracie: he still practices medicine? On whom, God help them?

(And I love Paul Broun's Krazy Korner. Almost as good as This Modern World.)

#354 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2012, 12:16 AM:

Three cheers for good outcomes! Have many more.

And now, for some reason, the recent thread has brought some singing Vikings to my door.

"Sperm, sperm, sperm, sperm..."

#355 ::: Kip W, begnomed ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2012, 12:17 AM:

Oh, we'll all have a good laugh about this in the morning.

#356 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2012, 02:26 AM:


Akin also characterized his mistake as isolated and relatively minor.

"Well it just seems that I just misspoke one word in one sentence on one day," he told Huckabee. "I hadn't done anything that was morally or ethically wrong, as sometimes people in politics do. ... It does seem like a little bit of an overreaction."

Later, he said on the radio show of Sean Hannity that he sees no harm in continuing to remain in the race.

"My interest in this race has nothing to do with me. It has to do with who we are as a nation," he said. "I think it will help Romney and I think it's going to help the Republican party."

His decision won support from the Missouri Republican Assembly, which issued a statement urging the party to back Akin in the battle against McCaskill.

"The Republican leadership needs to grow a spine and disallow the Democrats, who always support their candidates even when they are wrong, to dictate our stance," the group's statement said. "... While Todd may have been indiscreet in his word choice, he was not wrong in his facts. Todd can win despite this misstep. All Republicans will lose if they continue throwing their candidates under the bus because of a poor word choice."

My very dear friend, it wasn't "one word." Yes, "legitimate" was unfortunate, but I know what you were fumbling to say. It was your missing the basic facts of mammalian biology that make me wonder what in the heck you were doing in school while the rest of us were studying, and whether any more unqualified person ever sat on House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.

#357 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2012, 06:33 AM:


I've just spent a couple of hours wiki-walking through old clips from "What's My Line?" on YouTube. Although some of the clips showcase interesting professions (I got started because somebody on Mark Reads Good Omens linked to one about a nun who was also a dentist), most of them, perhaps inevitably, are up there because the guest is somebody famous.

Usually that means they're in the Mystery Celebrity round, where the panel is blindfolded and has to identify not only the job but the individual. But sometimes, if the person was famous for something that didn't expose their physical appearance, the showrunners would sneak them in as a normal contestant and see how long it took the panel to twig. Two cases in point that I've watched this afternoon: C. E. Yeager and C. Charles Nash.

But the really interesting one was one of the last ones I watched. When I clicked on it, I expected it to be a Mystery Celebrity round, because these days this person's name and appearance are ubiquitous - but apparently it wasn't so back then. It's a normal round; no effort is made to alter his appearance (nor, as was done with Chuck Yeager and Clarence Nash, to disguise his name) - and none of the panel has any idea who he is. Ladies and gentlemen, from December 1963, Colonel Harland Sanders.

#358 ::: Paul A. has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2012, 06:38 AM:

I expect it was the links, either individually or in aggregate, that did it.

I'd offer the gnomes a gourmet waffle, but I just ate the last one. There's plenty of fresh fruit, though (but no plums, in the icebox or elsewhere).

#359 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2012, 07:15 AM:

We have our own argument about rape here in Britain, focused on what Julian Assange is accused of doing, and on what a politician, George Galloway, said.

1: whatever Julian Assange really did, he seems to have acted like an idiot.

2: George Galloway has done some strange things, but he's also older than me, and he maybe still thinks about some things in pre-AIDS terms. I can see why he might see the no-condom accusation differently. I have a more rational than emotional reaction myself. He isn't asking a stupid question, but it is provocative, and veers into the territory of the "rape culture" argument.

3: Some of the reactions that have been provoked seem wildly excessive. Assange was in a one-night-stand situation, and there was nothing to base assumptions on. So the people raging about the consent issues are rght about that case.

3a: But what about a long-term relationship, where you can build up patterns of understanding? The scream-point-shriek reaction I see suggests that there are people who don't see any way in which a man can ever "assume" consent, that it has to be explicitly arranged before what Galloway calls, quaintly, an "insertion".

4: In any event, when somebody says "the law is clear", I hope they have checked on the law in Sweden, which is what matters. But they way they are pitching their view, the way they are almost not answering a rather obvious question, I find it hard to trust them.

5: At least Galloway is raising an issue worthy of debate. The USA still has a hold on the market for foll-blown brainless idiocy. I don't envy you your election.

#360 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2012, 08:10 AM:

This morning's spam in my mailbox:

Greeting, I want you to stand as next of kin so that we can transfer a very huge amount of money and I have all the legal documents to back it up.

No details, just that sentence and the signature.

#361 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2012, 09:46 AM:

me @ #357:

Whoops, failed a copy-and-paste roll. Here's a proper link to Clarence Nash's appearance on "What's My Line?"

The other interesting thing I noticed was that at some point there was a change in the way the Mystery Celebrity rounds were run. Initially, they worked the same way as the normal rounds, where each panellist got to keep asking questions until they got a guess wrong; later, the rule was that play rotated one guess at a time, regardless of whether each guess was right. I also came across an example of why the change might have been considered necessary: the occasion on which the Beyond the Fringe troupe appeared as the collective Celebrity - and the first panellist pinned them down in less than a minute, without any of her colleagues getting a word in.

#362 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2012, 10:44 AM:


Someone responding to Galloway may be "raising an issue worthy of debate." What Galloway is doing is announcing in the press that if you have sex with him, do not risk falling asleep in his presence or he may rape you. What he's talking about isn't part of a long-term relationship (though such a relationship wouldn't give the man in question an automatic pass). This isn't asking while having sex with someone "have you ever thought about starting to make love while you were asleep?" It's clear that Galloway hasn't stopped to think about whether there are circumstances in which he wouldn't want to wake up in the middle of being fucked.

If we can take his own word, Galloway believes that once a woman says yes to a man, she has to explicitly tell him "I don't want to have sex with you again" or he has consent. (I am going to be generous here and assume he doesn't extend that to having a one-night stand with someone and then running into her by chance months later.) It's not just "bad sexual etiquette" to not stop and see whether your partner is in the mood.

Starting to have sex with a sleeping partner should not be default-acceptable. It's playing with edges of consent, which means it can be okay if the people involved have discussed and agreed on it ahead of time. That's not what happened here, it's not what Galloway is claiming happened.

#363 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2012, 04:32 PM:


Thanks for recognising that consent issues are more nuanced than most Galloway critics are making out.

That's the big problem: too many people are exhibiting a starkly black-and-white thinking pattern.

#364 ::: Lin Daniel ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2012, 05:40 PM:

Question of biology here, with regard to the "it's not rape if she gets pregnant" meme:

How correct is it to state that under normal/average circumstances, a human male cannot ejaculate without orgasm?

Reason behind this question: if a human male cannot ejaculate without orgasm, this may have caused the primitive belief that a human female cannot do whatever is the other half of pregnancy without having an orgasm. Hence the belief that if a woman gets pregnant, she *must* have had an orgasm, so somewhere in there, she "likes" it.

Which then of course leads to the human male belief that "no means yes" because if a woman gets pregnant even after saying no and still having intercourse forced upon her, she must really mean yes.

Does this logic make sense?

#365 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2012, 06:01 PM:

Lin Daniel: Given that some men (and women) orgasm during rape, due to the body having its own reactions to things, I'm not sure that the argument, regardless of its level of logic, is relevant. Orgasm isn't consent anyway.

#366 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2012, 06:04 PM:

Lin Daniel #364: How correct is it to state that under normal/average circumstances, a human male cannot ejaculate without orgasm?

Not at all. If the orgasm gets cancelled by circumstances, some of the semen is liable to come out anyway.

As far as I can see, this crap is coming straight from mysogynistic justifications for rape, and "othering".

#367 ::: Lin Daniel ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2012, 06:30 PM:

Fade, David, that's why I asked here first. With all the hoopla on this issue, I figured now might be a time to ask about patterns of thought/memes and possible roots of same. Sometimes knowing how something started may show a way to make it stop. Then again, sometimes not.

I guess I'm trying to figure out an effective argument, should I need one, other than ripping the head off the Arrogent Male (tm).

#368 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2012, 07:06 PM:

In fact, full ejaculation without orgasm is possible. It's rare, but it happens.

Orgasm without ejaculation is also possible, but as far as I know it's strictly a Tantric technique.

#369 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2012, 07:25 PM:

About the Sidelight on the Great Northern Vowel Shift - I just don't hear it.

I've lived half my life in Brooklyn, the other half in Buffalo, and I have noticed some things, but not what's described in the article.

Unless the article is trying to say that Mary, marry, and merry are pronounced the same up here, or Aaron and Erin are pronounced the same way.

#370 ::: Naomi Parkhurst ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2012, 07:50 PM:

Nancy C. Mittens @369, This video might help you hear it better. It's the sort of thing where if you hear words in context, you might not notice the differences. Labov presents some data here so that you hear the words in isolation first and then in context.

#371 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2012, 07:52 PM:

Lin Daniel: While Fade and David and Xopher are all correct biologically, the thought-pattern you're seeing is part of the medieval logic, yes. There was a belief in an analogous female "seed" as well, as they had no clue about ovulation.


What especially croggles me is that it wasn't a UNIVERSAL ancient belief, or the "a child is Jewish if its mother is Jewish" law would not exist. You'd think, even if these twerps had somehow missed BASIC HUMAN BIOLOGY CLASSES, like, oh, their fundamentalist parents refusing to sign the permission slip to let them be there for the unit on human reproduction, that in that case they'd have done enough Bible reading to get that example? Although maybe that one's in the legal writings. But there are PLENTY of rape-resulting-in-pregnancy scenarios in the Bible, right?

My current fantasy solution is to suggest that if Akins and his ilk have such a strong belief in medieval medicine, that the next time they get sick, they seek treatment with bleeding, cupping, purges, antimonial emetics, and plenty of mercury compounds.

#372 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2012, 08:05 PM:

Rikibeth, 371: But there are PLENTY of rape-resulting-in-pregnancy scenarios in the Bible, right?

Bathsheba springs to mind...but the woman-hating perverts currently running the GOP shitshow will probably tell you that she cooperated.

#373 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2012, 08:06 PM:

A candidate for Sheriff in NH says he'd consider using deadly force to stop abortions:


Please . . . no matter how disgusted you are with Democrats, or disappointed to the point of crawling under a rock and giving up . . . VOTE this fall.

Keep the loony toons away from the steering wheel.

#374 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2012, 08:39 PM:


I never would have thought that my reaction to being called "nuanced" would be "what did I say, and how does this connect to what he's responding to?" In particular, what are the black-and-white statements that you're objecting to in favor of my more "nuanced" comment here?

Am I getting the nuance points because I suggested that Galloway might think about this differently if he thought of himself as the one potentially being raped, rather than as the rapist? Or is it because I suggested that what in Galloway's case almost certainly is rape can be a consensual kink in some cases, if people are careful and know their partners well?

"I thought s/he wouldn't mind" isn't consent or negotiation. "She wanted to have sex last night" isn't consent, no matter how much the woman enjoyed herself then. Neither is "but my last girlfriend liked it when I woke her that way."

Even if you have (if someone has, I am not speculating about your sexual preferences here) negotiated that it's okay to wake your partner that way, no means no. It means stop. "No" means there is no consent, and sex without consent is rape. The woman's speculations of three weeks ago, or three hours ago, about what she might want do not override what she says now.

#375 ::: Lin Daniel ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2012, 08:50 PM:

RikiBeth, don't forget maggots. Unless maggots for gangrene is a modern solution.

#376 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2012, 08:59 PM:

Lin Daniel #375: Not so much (I think) for gangrene, but for necrotic wounds and such. Nowadays they're of chosen species and sterile-raised, of course... they're better than any knife at separating dead flesh from living.

#377 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2012, 09:03 PM:

Leeches. (I think there are a few uses for maggots, but if that's required, you're already in serious trouble.)

#378 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2012, 11:15 PM:

Kip W. at 354:

Sperm is like spam; cheap to send out in mass quantities, usually unwanted.

#379 ::: Eric Walker ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2012, 03:43 AM:

#360, P J Evans:

A plausible-sounding theory I heard about the apparent silliness of so many spam emails is that it is deliberate, in that spammers still have to do some things once the punter has responded before they can extract the wanted cash; so, they make it as obvious a fraud as possible so that they needn't waste time on anyone who isn't 117% dead-on gullible.

#381 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2012, 08:53 AM:

Xopher @ 350
I have two theories about how people can believe this particular piece of crazy bullshit (the no-pregnancy-from-rape one)....

I'll add a third.

There's a LOT of folk wisdom floating around, both in what you hear from family and friends and the impression given in women's doctors offices, that sex-intended-to-result-in-pregnancy should be gentle and enthusiastic to make pregnancy more likely. I've certainly heard enough to be very familiar with the idea. (As my wife and I have been married 6 years and have 4 children, we're hardly the target audience--so I'd assume my familiarity is lower than average.)

#382 ::: SamChevre has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2012, 08:56 AM:

I have room-temperature coffee and potato salad.

#383 ::: Raul Flugens, Duty Gnome ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2012, 10:54 AM:

Yes, there's a spam-flood in progress. On it.

Raul Flugens, Duty Gnome

#384 ::: Howard Bannister ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2012, 11:08 AM:

Of course, to add to SamChevre's point, folk wisdom tends to abound especially in States that don't have comprehensive sex ed, or insist that the only proper sex ed is abstinence only.

States like Missouri, where Akins hails from.

As one person says, this shit doesn't happen in a void.

Or, perhaps more aptly, it's all connected.....

#385 ::: Raul Flugens, Duty Gnome ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2012, 12:17 PM:

It's over, folks. Nothing to see. Move along.

Raul Flugens, Duty Gnome

#386 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2012, 12:31 PM:

Howard, #385: It bears repeating: the Republican policy of emphasis on abstinence-only sex education is both deliberate and malicious. It's an ideologically-correct "solution" which is guaranteed not to work, which is therefore perfect for keeping the teen-pregnancy issue (and the associated money they can milk from it) boiling along. They are using their own followers' children as political pawns.

#387 ::: parkrrrr ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2012, 12:41 PM:

Eric Walker @379: the details of that theory, with lots of statistical mumbo-jumbo to back it up, can be found linked from this article on its findings.

#388 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2012, 05:43 PM:

I want a bug spray for lobbyists.

#389 ::: Lin Daniel ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2012, 08:27 PM:

Open Threadiness
Apollo 11 Flight Journal, with MP3 sound files!

#390 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2012, 09:14 PM:

Naomi at 370:

They still don't sound like me the people I associate with to me. Of course, according to the Sidelight, I wouldn't notice anyway.

Anyone want a phone call to test this theory?

#391 ::: Naomi Parkhurst ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2012, 09:34 PM:

Nancy @ 391

It's a growing phenomenon, which means that not everyone is doing it yet. I remember a brief bit of reading about it when I was a linguistics undergraduate twenty years ago; back then it was still limited to teenagers and maybe children, if my vague memory is correct.

When I was listening to the sentences that Labov was playing, I had a much harder time hearing the shifted vowels as shifted; when they were isolated was when they sounded shifted.

And yes, self-reporting about phonology is inaccurate in general, not just for this particular vowel shift.

#392 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2012, 09:52 PM:


We are around the same age, then, so I would know/ be hanging out with the oldest of the teenagers and the adults from back then.

I totally hear the shifted vowels as shifted when in the sentences.

I think I might be paying attention to what I hear for the next few weeks...

#393 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2012, 09:57 PM:

Ok, I just found this:

and yes, that sounds more like the accent I know when I listen to the sentences, not to the individual words or phrases. I always thought it was the Polish influence in the area, probably because the friend's parents who sounded most like this were Polish.

#394 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2012, 10:00 PM:

That is, American-of-Polish-descent.

#395 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2012, 03:05 AM:

I loved the Damon Runyon on Corzine link. Is there a good explanation anywhere of a good reason this won't be prosecuted? I mean, from the outside, this looks like more America as banana republic stuff--a politically connected super rich guy just doesn't have the same kind of laws applying to him that you or I do. But maybe there is some legitimate reason for the decision not to prosecute?

#396 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2012, 03:16 AM:

I rather suspect Akins has succumbed to a common mental flaw--it's easier to remember and think about "facts" that fit with your worldview and preferences, even when they turn out to not actually be facts at all. It would be a better world if rape couldn't lead to pregnancies, but more particularly, it would be an easier world in which to argue for banning all abortions with no exceptions if people never got preganant from rape. Allowing for tragedies of various kinds (rape, strong evidence of big health problems in the baby, mom diagnosed with cancer who needs to start chemo ASAP) makes it harder to make that kind of argument.

Not only are such "facts" easier to remember and think about, they seem more plausible when they make the world a nicer place for your other beliefs to live in. And powerful people living in a bubble of like-minded lower-status people are very susceptible to saying and believing complete crap, because even if the problems with what they say are visible inside their ideological bubble, few people want to call the boss on his dumb opinions.

#397 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2012, 07:52 PM:

Open threadiness: I happened onto some righteous hen eggs at the Farmer's Market. Anybody got a recipe for linguine noodles they're particularly fond of?

#398 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2012, 03:06 AM:

Note: A live link to twitter[dot]com will get a comment gnomed.

#399 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2012, 10:29 AM:

Jacque, what makes the eggs righteous?

#400 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2012, 11:38 AM:

Abi, re your "Brother copyist" Parhelia -- it's also perhaps the first known case of "A post correcting someone's typographical error will contain a typo."

Note that the insertion finger is pointing to the middle of a verse, rather than the beginning or end -- meaning that this insertion splits the verse, rather than unambiguously being inserted either before or after it.

#401 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2012, 01:57 PM:

HLN - Area Dog goes swimming.

Ardala has been progressing nicely on the underwater treadmill. When she's finished her workout of three 3.5 minute sets, they fill up the tank and let her swim. Judging by her reactions, last week was the first time in her +/- 11 years that she had ever swum. This week was her second time and she seems to have picked it up pretty well. Her physical therapist suggests that next week she might be ready for the big pool. She's sleeping now, exhausted. I don't know if she'll ever walk on her own again, but she is stronger every day, more than happy to have assistance with her butt harness, and enjoys her weekly sessions very much. I hope she's OK with semi-weekly sessions, because soon we won't be able to afford them as frequently.

#402 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2012, 03:53 PM:

Neil Armstrong has died.

#403 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2012, 04:50 PM:

nerdycellist @ #402, Ardala looks a little puzzled. Game, but puzzled. "What is this weird environment and why am I in it?"

#404 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2012, 05:13 PM:

OK, I have several questions about this: RNC Official Says NM Governor Disrespected Custer by Meeting American Indians

  1. WTF?
  2. How the hell does meeting with Native American leaders disrespect Custer?
  3. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?
  4. Does anyone respect that genocidal loser?
  5. What the frak?
  6. As Fragano said elsewhere, the GOP has gone down the rabbit hole. OK, that's not a question.
  7. WTF?

#405 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2012, 05:35 PM:

RNC in this case stands for Reality/Nonsense Confused?

On the plus side the other Republicans are calling for the guy to be dismissed so they aren't all completely living in an alternate reality.

#406 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2012, 05:54 PM:

Xopher, I'm wondering how the 'RNC official' missed the fact that a significant number of people in New Mexico are Native Americans.

#407 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2012, 06:50 PM:

P J, yeah, but do they all have six pieces of government-issued ID? If not, they don't count.

#408 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2012, 06:57 PM:

I'm diss-Custered!

#409 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2012, 07:00 PM:

New today at the New Pals Club Web-Log, The Virginian-Pilot sets the record straight.

"... The pilot lay prone on the lower wing. There was no pilot's car.

"The Wrights have always said they were equal inventors of the machine. Wilbur never took credit as the chief inventor.

"The brothers had no plans to build a much larger machine and never did.

"Their success came after four years of work, not three..."

#410 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2012, 07:11 PM:

nerdycellist: Yay for Ardala! She does look puzzled, but game. Lovely ears.

#411 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2012, 08:28 PM:

HLN: My daughter's amazing adventures continue. A little over a week ago, Smash was filming near my office. She came to hang out--just watching the crew and technical people working was a thrill--and wound up taking a picture with Katharine McPhee (who is a tiny person).

Today was the Doctor Who Series 7 premiere at NY's Ziegfeld theater. She'd tried to buy tickets but the servers crashed and the show sold out in less than 5 minutes. She'd tried to win tickets several different ways. No luck.

So she went to the theater. Because.

She got there at noonish. The BBC America people there thought she was nuts--but some ticketholders were already on line and they knew she wasn't nuts.

Eventually other people showed up and there was a standby line.

The end should be obvious: she got in.

I have no details beyond she got in and there was a Q&A and she made friends online and now they're getting food and then she'll come home.


#412 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2012, 11:51 PM:

Diatryma @400: what makes the eggs righteous?

Dangit, I knew somebody was going to ask that! :-)

They are little eggs of varying shades of brown, which come from really and for truly free-range hens (scratching in the yard, eating bugs off the compost heap, like that).

I haven't actually cracked one yet, but the seller tells me that their yolks are deep orange, in contrast to the pallid yellow of the ones you get in the grocery store.

nerdycellist @402: "Okay, well, they're not letting me drown, so it must be okay, but um, I'm really not quite sure about this...." I'm with Melissa: love the ears.

Xopher HalfTongue @405: Yeah, really. There are some people who should just not be let out in public without professional supervision.

Melissa Singer @412: Your daughter cracks me up. I wish I had half her persistence and chutzpah.

#413 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2012, 12:29 AM:

Ardala's swimming is kind of adorable.

It made for a good giggle - I've just started reading* for my qualifying examination (in slightly less than two months) and I'm trying to get a paper submitted, so giggles are good.

*Note that in this case, reading means that I need to read on three topics (totaling 185 papers, in my case) and be able to write coherently about them and talk coherently about them in regard to my research come my qualifying examination.

#414 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2012, 01:13 AM:


I'd totally believe the deep orange yolks. You can tell when our chickens have been out and about in the yard by the color of the yolks. Deep orange is out, yellow is in their fenced run, that doesn't have any green stuff left.

I always wonder about that vegetarian diet thing that you see on chicken products. They're omnivores. They will eat just about anything, except Oregon grape plants. Bugs are a yummy snack, and an anthill or termite swarm is a clucking mad treat.

#415 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2012, 01:30 AM:

HLN: We said goodbye to our big old fluffy kitty yesterday. He was a 14yr old main coon that my wife had raised from a kitten.

We had been watching him get old for a couple of years, but this past week, he went in to a short, fast decline. Last weekend, he was headbutting our visitors, requiring love and petting. Tuesday he didn't eat, Wednesday I took him to the vet, Thursday we got back the bloodwork that was all in bold, with just about nothing normal. His kidneys and liver had gone, and with no food and little water, he was noticeably declining each day. Friday the vet made the final house call. Our other cat, a 2 yr old, was here for it and seemed to understand that her warm pillow is gone.

I've never had to make that decision before. I'm surprised by both how clear the decision was and how hard it was when it actually had to happen.

#416 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2012, 02:04 AM:

eric @415: They're omnivores. They will eat just about anything, except Oregon grape plants. Bugs are a yummy snack, and an anthill or termite swarm is a clucking mad treat.

In the last year or two before I moved out, my mom had a couple of ducks. It quickly became apparent that the duck's philosophy about food was: "If it moves, eat it. If it doesn't move, eat it anyway."

I got hours of amusement by wandering around the garden, catching grasshoppers, and tossing them to the ducks, who were following very enthusiastically.

& 416: Deepest sympathies. It's hard, but in a strange way, it's a relief when the decision is clear.

#417 ::: Jeremy Leader ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2012, 02:46 AM:

Xopher @405: The email excerpt in that article (the excerpt from a press release about the meeting, which Rogers was forwarding and commenting on) clearly states that the annual summit is mandated by state law. I guess complying with the law makes you a "Quisling" and a "French surrender monkey" in Rogers' eyes. I concur, W.T.F.?

#418 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2012, 03:18 AM:

eric, #416: My condolences. It's never easy, but you know when it has to be done.

#419 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2012, 07:55 AM:

eric #415: The "vegetarian diet" thing was a response to the "mad cow" disaster. Yes, it's biologically inappropriate, as truly free-range chickens eat lots of bugs... but that doesn't look so good on a supermarket package.

#420 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2012, 10:53 AM:

Jacque: my mother gets similar eggs from a local chicken keeper in the summer -- not identical, as a proportion of hers are aqua, because the chicken-lady has some Aracaunas -- but I have baked with the Righteous Eggs, and the results are interesting. I didn't like the blueberry muffins, for instance, because the intense egg flavor was unlike the usual neutral-sweet batter, and the blueberries got overwhelmed. Something MEANT to be eggy, though, like challah or brioche, probably would have been excellent.

Now I'm itching to find some Righteous Eggs and some raw-milk cream (I know where) and use the custard recipe out of Hannah Glasse, and see what HER custard really would have tasted like.

But for the most part I decided that Righteous Eggs were best enjoyed scrambled or soft-boiled, and the boring eggs reserved for baking.

#421 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2012, 11:39 AM:

Warning: if you watch this video you will never hear the correct lyrics to "O Fortuna" again.

#422 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2012, 11:41 AM:

Jeremy, I think he must have been drunk. It doesn't make any sense even with the most grotesque racist ideology.

#423 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2012, 12:06 PM:

Xopher @405: Also, what does GA Custer have to do with New Mexico? I could almost see this nonsense in the Dakotas, or Nebraska or Montana, where you in Sioux territory, but New Mexico? Seriously? The state with a Native American symbol on its flag? Did he move there from somewhere else?

#424 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2012, 12:35 PM:

Thanks for the encouraging words for Ardala. One of the things that makes her such a great dog is her sweet temperament. She doesn't actually like the water at all, but as long as one of us is there, she'll give it a try because she trusts us (sorry about the anthropomorphizing) and generally also wants to please us. There is also the matter of treats. We think she gets the ears from being part corgi, although we may never know for certain; her other servant monkey is anti-DNA testing for mutts.

#425 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2012, 01:10 PM:

eric @416: Of course. It was clear because you have a mind, and it was hard because you have a heart. My sympathy on the loss of your kitty.

#426 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2012, 01:20 PM:

eric @416: Kip says it better than I ever could.


#427 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2012, 01:29 PM:

nerdycellist @402: glad to see her moving, if not looking 100% okay about this swimming thing. As you say, obviously coping because you're there and she trusts you.

Melissa Singer @412: well done her!

eric @416: sympathies, but very glad for you that really, the decision made itself. And yes, it's always hard when the time comes, but at least you know you gave him the last possible gift: a good death.

#428 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2012, 02:52 PM:

Eric, my sympathies -- I know well the cat-shaped hole that has now appeared in your life. Eventually, the good memories will fill it...

#429 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2012, 07:05 PM:

eric #416: My condolences. It's always hard.

#430 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2012, 09:31 PM:

eric, I'm sorry for your loss.

#431 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2012, 10:27 PM:

Forgive me; there seems to be no specifically suitable thread.

Would he prefer Columbia? To fall
In glory like Gagarin, not amid
The medicinal hush? Thus to be rid
Of surly bonds, and with them, rid of all?
Would he prefer that final, fatal stall -
Controls that locked, and nothing that he did,
Or could have done availing? He had bid
Farewell to earth before. One time for all?

No. He’d have done that, if he must, but no.
He was a pilot, and his job, to fly,
Not glory; yet he’s gone there. We below
Look up, and see a monument: one sky,
One glory, and one answered call to go
For all of them; for us. He’d have it so.

#432 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2012, 10:42 PM:

On the omnivorousness of chickens: When I was in college I lived in a unit of ... well, they called it "experimental student housing" and let's just jump to the point where I was raising a couple of young chickens in the living room and dealing with a major earwig infestation at the same time. These two features intersected very productively. If I'd cared to deal with the mess, I would have just let the chicks free-range throughout the unit and save me the step of having to lob the earwigs into the cage.

In entirely separate open-thready goodness, I have just completed the second round of revisions to Daughter of Mystery (the book I describe as "a Ruritanian Regency lesbian romance with magic, a mystery, and a bit of swashbuckling"). As I recall, a few people have expressed an interest in being test readers (although I may be misremembering and the interest was more along the lines of "let me know if it ever gets published"). If anyone is sincerely interested in being a test-reader for big-picture feedback on a 1-month turnaround schedule, feel free to contact me at heather dot jones at earthlink dot net.

#433 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2012, 11:03 PM:

Thanks for that, Dave Luckett.

#434 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2012, 11:04 PM:

Thank you, Dave.

A friend of mine posted a Doctor Who quote that is very apropos: "Do you know how many people are watching this live on the telly? Half a billion. And that's nothing, because the human race will spread out among the stars—you just watch them fly. Billions and billions of them, for billions and billions of years. And every single one of them at some point in their lives will look back at this man taking that very first step and they will never ever forget it."

#435 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2012, 09:41 AM:

eric @ 416: My condolences on your loss. As you noted, you know when that time comes, but it's not an easy process. Kip summed it up so nicely, I'll just point to that.

#436 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2012, 10:39 AM:

HLN, dubious wetware division: Area woman and area spouse move around a bunch of furniture, which includes moving around a couple of pictures. Area spouse takes opportunity to touch up wall in several places, using paint from bucket originally used on wall six months ago. Area woman and spouse are monumentally shocked to see that paint color of touch-up is not even from the same universe as original color, even though paint is-was same paint.

Area woman volunteers that she never heard of anything like this during her several-year career running a paint department. All that area people can conclude is that a summer in a Texas garage did Something Awful Chemically, and that a trip to Big Box is in their future.

#437 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2012, 12:53 PM:

WRT Righteous Eggs: I am soooo disappointed. I cracked one last night, and the yolk was an entirely unremarkable yellow. Can't speak to the flavor, because I was baking peanut butter cookies (which came out peanut butter cookie–flavored).

I was very good: I did not eat any of the dough raw. (My mother was very firm: "I wouldn't eat raw eggs from any chicken I didn't know personally.")

Carol Kimball came up with a noodle recipe, so that's next (if I can pry my life loose from the HOA Debacle we're currently fighting).

nerdycellist @425: her sweet temperament. She doesn't actually like the water at all, but as long as one of us is there, she'll give it a try because she trusts us (sorry about the anthropomorphizing) and generally also wants to please us.

I don't think that's "anthropomorphizing" at all. I totally read that in her facial expressions. And the ears definitely look "Corgi."

#438 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2012, 12:55 PM:

Joann @437: Could the wall have gotten significant sun exposure? Though I guess there's be picture outlines.

Open-threadiness tv recommendation: a really entertaining and informative geography program called How the States got their Shapes is being 'rerun' on free Hulu; the eps will be taken down (or at least no longer be free) on 7 Oct 2012. I cannot recommend this show highly enough to anyone with even a passing interest in American history or documentaries in general.

#439 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2012, 01:16 PM:

Joann @437 -- And the obvious question, to me -- was the paint mixed properly before attempting to add the new coat? Pigment settles out. With a several-year career running a paint department, I'm sure you already know that, but is it possible your husband just forgot to stir the paint thoroughly?

#440 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2012, 01:34 PM:

Tom #440: We had that discussion. It was shaken *and* stirred. And then done all over again when things came out weird. And then they came out weird again. I'm figuring heat load, even in an insulated garage. Maybe there's something about orange-yellow pigments that causes them to go green in heat? (The color is supposed to be #2 pencil yellow, and what we got is kind of ... avocado.)

(That all said, I *do* keep having to explain to him why you don't shake varnish.)

Elliott #439: We checked the paint across the original paint strip as well, and also checked the paint strip with the painted wall (first version). No fading over a six-month period.

#441 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2012, 02:04 PM:

joann #441: Modern house/wall paints are chemically weird... they have multiple chemical reactions "propped up" and ready to go on exposure to air. I'm not at all surprised that heat exposure and time would shift the color, but that's probably a mark against the supplier or manufacturer. (So to speak. ;-) )

#442 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2012, 06:29 PM:

Cliodynamics is a (relatively) new field of study which attempts to apply mathematical analysis to history and use the results to make predictions. First reaction: can you say "psychohistory"? Second reaction: he may very well be onto something. Third reaction: I'd like to hear Paul Krugman's take on this.

#443 ::: Lee has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2012, 06:31 PM:

Probably because my first preview had a borked link. I fixed the link, but I've noticed that this tends to get the comment held anyhow. May I offer Their Lownesses some fried pork rinds?

#444 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2012, 06:52 PM:

Okay, here's a question for the Hive Mind:

Alice is in charge of the accounts for, say, a church group.
Money has been spent, without an appropriate accounting or paper trail showing where it went.

Bob wonders aloud about "misappropriation of funds."

Charlie is upset, and threatens to sue Bob for "defaming" Alice.


1. Does Bob's question constitute "defamation"?

2. Does Charlie have grounds for legal action?

Yes, this is a real, live situation. (::SIGH:: "Some people's children....") Fortunately, I'm just watching from the sidelines, facepalming.

#445 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2012, 08:43 PM:

My first reaction is 'no' and 'no'. I would also like to suggest better bookkeeping practices.

#446 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2012, 08:49 PM:

Lee #443: Well, Asimov is name-checked in the article... which also points out that folks have been postulating cyclic patterns in history at least since before the Christian era. My own bet would be that his cycles in American unrest arise from local conditions, quite possibly generational. If someone can draw a pattern or principle that applies, say, to all the modern Western nations... then I'll be impressed.

Jacque #445: IANAL, but my understanding is: (1) Possibly, but only if it's provably false. And given the prior context, simply raising the question almost surely doesn't qualify. (2) Certainly not: Alice might have grounds, but not Charlie. It's worth noting that in the USA, you can file suit for anything, regardless of whether you have a case. Winning is another question entirely! Also, groundless lawsuits can get you smacked hard by the judge, starting with paying the defendant's legal expenses.

#447 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2012, 09:28 PM:

IANAL but I believe there's such a thing as "standing," and Charlie doesn't have it.

If all Bob did was speculate that funds may have been misappropriated, and not suggest that Alice did it, I'm hard pressed to see how that defames her...unless the implication is clear, I guess.

There's a reason why the phrase 'false and defamatory' appears in legal documents all the time. Something can be defamatory without being false, and in the UK truth isn't an absolute defense against slander or libel IIUC. This is generally referred to under the heading of "the UK's insane libel laws."


#448 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2012, 09:50 PM:

Me, to a jackhole who used a Neil Armstrong memorial thread as an occasion for anti-Obama snark: "The reason you can't see the stars (or the moon) is that your bridge is in the way. And I for one hope I never see another comment from you on any topic (in the same sense that I hope a madman in a blue box will take me away on adventures; it would be wonderful, but I don’t expect it)."

#449 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2012, 03:16 AM:

Another author behaving badly.

Jacobson said that he felt a sense of "heartbreak" when he heard readers say, "I don't like this book because I don't sympathise with the main character."

He added: "The language of sympathy and identity and what we call political correctness is killing the way we read.

"That's like the end of civilisation. That is the end. In that little sentence is a misunderstanding so profound about the nature of art, education and why we are reading, that it makes you despair.

Obviously, a reluctance to read books in which the main characters are unsympathetic* has nothing to do with the books. The readers are simply interrogating the text from the wrong perspective!

* Why do I get the feeling that this is a synonym for "assholes"?

#450 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2012, 09:07 AM:

Lee @450: I once had an author respond (without, I think, behaving badly) to a review I wrote, namely Caitlin Kiernan, in regard to her book Silk.

I posted a teacup review of Silk in a Usenet thread about books that you love until you get to the end. Kiernan quotes me as saying:

I'd like to nominate Caitlín Kiernan's Silk in this category. It was lovely, creepy, atmospheric, with all these neat people ... and then, towards the end, not only did she avoid easy, obvious resolution - if this were a car, she swerved violently around several POSSIBLE points or endings she could have hit, and then just stopped the car, got out, and let it run there with the keys in until snow began drifting over it, leaving it for future generations of archaeologists to wonder about.

There was more, and she references it without quoting. (I tried to go find it in Usenet archives to quote it here for completeness, but Google apparently doesn't search those anymore? I do remember writing something like "Even 'And then the boy woke up and it was only a dream' would have been a better resolution to for this book and felt like less of a cheat.") The first paragraph of her authorial response is:

As I finished reading this passage aloud to Jennifer, I was ecstatic. Here was someone who really did understand the ending of Silk. To be blunt, she got it, the effect I was trying to achieve, the reason I threw out the first ending I wrote and wrote another instead. It was truly one of the most flattering paragraphs of amateur criticism relating to Silk I've read (and there have been volumes). I was actually smiling. But then I read on. How the ending made her want to fling the book against a wall, how that's a shame because she'd really loved the book up until the end, how any resolution, including one involving space aliens, would have been preferable to no resolution at all. I sighed and sat back and shrugged my shoulders. It didn't really diminish my joy at the first paragraph of the post. She still saw what I was trying to do. She just needed a little bow tied neatly on the top of everything.

It was a really odd thing to be reading this, for me, because from her point of view I was saying, "The operation is a great success, but the patient is dead." She wanted me to have the exact reaction I had ... only she wanted me to enjoy it? Instead of feeling betrayed by this book I was enjoying.

Artists are weird. :->

#451 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2012, 09:10 AM:

"That's like the end of civilization."

Yep, in that one little sentence is a misunderstanding....

What a self-centered, arrogant, idiot. (But I repeat myself, given the etymology of "idiot". ;-) ) How dare the unwashed masses reject his precious self-insertion!

#452 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2012, 10:57 AM:

I had the interesting experience of listening to an author tell an academic gathering how pleased he was that his last novel, an exploration of the agony of inadvertent personal failure, with the resolution consisting of the realisation that the pain would never end, sold six hundred copies. It demonstrated that his work was appreciated by the people he intended it for, a sliver of the elite.

I sighed long and silently, through my nose.

#453 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2012, 11:23 AM:

Elliott Mason @451 (My fingers wanted to make that $451, but I couldn't afford it.) I was in a play in high school, "The Death and Life of Sneaky Fitch," that ended on an intriguing note of hopelessness and non-resolution. Three weeks into rehearsal, the director called us in for a meeting. It seems a third act had been found.

We read through it, and I said I preferred it without, because it now had a pat little resolution ("tied up with a bow," I said). The director felt that way too, but was constrained by the principle of performing what the writer wrote. Well, it gave me more to do, anyway.

#454 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2012, 12:29 PM:

Kip, #454: You, and the author Elliott references, say "tied up with a bow" as if it were a bad thing. But y'know, I get plenty of ambiguity and non-resolution in my day-to-day life. I read for pleasure, and part of that pleasure is in having a STORY, and a story has an ending. I don't insist on the ending being complete and wrapping up every little loose end (because for one thing, that's where the fanfic starts!), but I'm not going to like a story with no ending any more than Elliott did; to me, that feels like bad writing. And there's nothing wrong with having that opinion.

#455 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2012, 01:31 PM:

P J Evans @446: I would also like to suggest better bookkeeping practices.

Heh. That would fall into the category of, "Oh, is that what the riot was about?" IOW: Um, yeah.

Dave & Xopher: Thanks, that confirms my sense, as well.

Basically, Charlie is a blowhard troll on a local listserv. @445 was his latest "contribution" to the conversation. I challenged him on those two points. Haven't heard a peep out of him since. He doesn't quite seem to know what to do with, you know, facts.

@450–455: And besides which, it's not like there aren't traditions and techniques for leaving an ending unresolved. There's a big difference between ending a story with the stylistic equivalent of "but we don't know what finally happened," or "what happened next? You decide." But it sounds like what Elliott is describing is just getting to some point of the story and, like, stopping. I would find that very annoying, bow-tie or not.

#456 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2012, 02:58 PM:

Jacque: It was worse than that, though I don't want to spoiler the ending for anyone yet to read it who is interested. Basically, in the last couple of pages it suddenly took a 270-degree curve into REALLY BIZARRELY WEIRD territory, and then stopped just as it raised several new "Wait, what's going on here?" questions.

Reading it was definitely the lexical equivalent of coitus interruptus, at least for me.

#457 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2012, 03:03 PM:

For me, Inception and The Prestige were movies that I felt did the 'OMG, wait, WHAT??' ending well.

But neither of them sounds like it did what Elliott is describing.

(Love's Labours Lost, however, feels to me like getting to the bottom of a staircase with either one more, or one fewer, steps than I was expecting. THUMP!)

#458 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2012, 03:29 PM:

Speaking of Authors Behaving Badly, one of the more recent examples (complete with an anonymous phone call telling a reviewer to commit suicide) is apparently going to get an article in The Atlantic, since the author in question is, for a change, not self-published.

#459 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2012, 05:09 PM:

Well, isn't Love's Labours Lost the first half of a two-parter? We just don't have the second half. If you saw the play without knowing that, then yes, I could well understand that reaction.

#460 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2012, 05:47 PM:

Relevant to Fluorospherian interests - bookstore sitter!
This author/bookseller is going on a book tour and would like someone to look after her bookstore and feline employee. No pay, but free lodging. If I had the vacation time, I would so do this.

#461 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2012, 06:19 PM:

nerdycellist @461, I agree that sounds like a lot of fun and I wish I could do it too.

But I also think it sounds like a setup for a cozy mystery, or perhaps a romantic suspense. Not that I wish ill on the inhabitants of the small town, but if I frequented the bookshop and owned a red shirt, I think I'd give it away...

#462 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2012, 12:27 AM:

nerdycellist @ 461, were it Here and not There, I would do it in a heartbeat!

#463 ::: Thomas ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2012, 03:46 PM:

Marriage equality bill passed its first reading in NZ Parliament, by a larger than expected margin (80:40). There are two more votes before it becomes law, but the size of the majority suggests it's pretty likely to do so.

Sweet as!

#464 ::: Thomas was gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2012, 03:48 PM:

A raspberry muffin for Their Lownesses?

#465 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2012, 05:55 PM:

The President is doing an Ask Me Anything on reddit right now.

Answers can be followed here, apparently.

This strikes me as an amusing counterbalance to the Republican convention.

#466 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2012, 07:44 PM:


Prosecutors: U.S. Soldiers Plotted to Kill President Obama

$87,000 worth of weapons and explosives and two murders to keep the plot secret seem to suggest these guys were serious about trying.

#467 ::: Jörg Raddatz ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2012, 08:26 PM:

Local news:

There is Haffen, a village with a few more than 1000 inhabitants, part of the bigger town of Rees on the Rhine.

Every year, there is (like in nearly all villages of this region), a Schützenfest, a very traditionalistic, patriarchal affair. In such small hamlets, even more so.

This year, the decisive shot on the wooden bird was fired by a councilwoman of the town of Rees - a member of the Green party.

And as every Schützenkönig (King of the Marksmen - having women compete is very recent) has to choose a queen for ceremonial reasons, the new winner did so, as well - and she chose her wife.

If you do not know the traditional mentality of German Schützenvereins, it is probably difficult to understand why this is remarkable. But a bunch of stuffy bourgeois, marching in hunters' outfits to the sound of a brass band, being "ruled" by a female royal couple ... well, maybe it is bad that such things are still remarkable, but it is great that they can happen at all.

#468 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2012, 08:51 PM:

And possibly a third murder - the weapons were bought with money from insurance on a wife who died.

#469 ::: Pete ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2012, 01:23 AM:

Just discovered this: while googling my email address after what may have been an attempted hack on my account.

Not really comfortable this is floating around given the efforts made here a while back to hide this sort of stuff from searches ...

#471 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2012, 02:15 AM:

Pete @ #470, not to diminish the severity, but it has an email address for me that's three years out of date.

#472 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2012, 02:22 AM:

Open threadiness: There's a sort of hot pepper that I like very much but haven't been able to identify.

It's small, round, and purple-- it looks a great deal like a blueberry. They're quite hot.

Sometimes I'll get one or two of them in a mixed batch of peppers, and I was given some by a friend who said it's no wonder-- the plants produce very few peppers.

#473 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2012, 02:29 AM:

Linkmeister @472 -- And it doesn't even have me at all! I feel slighted. Ah well, I'm easily enough found.

#474 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2012, 07:50 AM:

Hacking the brain. In Computerworld. Not theories, but off-the-shelf hardware being made to do some seriously scary stuff. Definitely living in the future....

#475 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2012, 10:01 AM:

Open theadiness: Is prosecutorial misconduct just a few bad apples?

My sense is that we are very lucky that most crimes are the boneheaded variety that are easy to solve, and most criminals (at least the ones who get caught) are not terribly bright or capable. Because the criminal justice system in general is horribly noisy, with a high error rate that's masked by the fact that most people pulled into the system are, if not guilty of the specific crime they're accused of, at least generally up to no good. (And many others are just poor and black and associated with crime for that reason, and they go to jail and improve the prosecutor's win percentage just as well as the actual criminals.)

#476 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2012, 10:34 AM:

Lee @455: In this case, the pat ending was less interesting than the floating one, in which a small western town ended up with a worse problem than the one they had to begin with, and I had a preference. This was, I should add, almost forty years ago, when I was in high school. As a general thing, I do not stop reading every book at the penultimate chapter or walk out of movies five minutes before the credits. Mine was a specific reaction to a particular story which carefully went back to the status quo, gave it a moral, and put a little hat on it.

#477 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2012, 10:44 AM:

albatross, #476: I'd be more impressed with the article if he had anything to offer as a potential solution. Even if he'd just said that prosecutorial misconduct ought to cost the perpetrator not just their job, but any further ability to participate in the justice system, that would have been something (and something I could agree with). Does he say that, or anything else concrete? No, he just goes on about how progressives (in this case, the "progressive" idea of professional licensing, and I think he's pulling a fast one there) are to blame for all of society's ills.

#478 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2012, 11:21 AM:

Lee @ 478

It might be worth reading some of his other articles, in which he does propose solutions.

But fundamentally, he's convinced, as I am, that as long as "he's credentialled and works for the government" gets the average person to believe "so he can be trusted to be honest", no reform will actually happen.

#479 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2012, 12:40 PM:

Nancy Lebovitz @471: Economics of becoming a journalist

In the article, Alexandra Kimball comments:

I’d bought into that old saw about struggling for one’s craft, as well as the updated version, Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hours rule

The Gladwell 10K-hours is only one third of Gladwell's Formula for Success: the other two are Luck and Support.

A point which she then proceeds to make rather eloquently, if not explicitly.

#480 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2012, 02:44 PM:

Dave Harmon @ 475: I need to grab lunch before class, but I spent a chunk of time yesterday debunking the "we can read your PIN or password with EEG" paper for a friend yesterday. Suffice it to say that even reading the original paper, the authors don't know what they're doing, they don't understand the existing literature and it's no more "we can decode your secrets" than fMRI decoding is "we can read your mind".

#481 ::: Steve with a book ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2012, 03:27 PM:

A quick query for the many Latinists here... a discussion of procrastination is currently linked from the BBC front page with the words 'Non carpe diem'. Shouldn't negative commands be given with nolo, hence it should be 'Noli carpere diem'? It's years since I did any of this stuff so perhaps I'm missing something obvious.

#482 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2012, 03:47 PM:

Steve with a book:

a. In classical Latin, undoubtedly.
b. In later Latin, I think 'ne' with the subjunctive was often used - so 'ne carpas diem'. But 'non carpe' is certainly wrong

#483 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2012, 05:07 PM:

In regards to ambiguous endings—for years, I didn't know there was a third book in Pamela Dean's Secret Country trilogy. You *can* end the series there—it's a weird, "adult" ending of "let's leave the magic behind"—but definitely frustrating to the general fantasy reader. I was very pleased when I found out about the third book.

Of course, I still don't get Juniper, Gentian, and Rosemary, but I chalk that up to complete unfamiliarity with the source material. And the internets has not helped me with it, either,

#484 ::: Steve with a book ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2012, 05:19 PM:

Andrew M@483: thank you!

#485 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2012, 05:41 PM:

Ambiguous endings: Dave Nee and I had a long debate on the ending of Nine Princes in Amber, back when it was new in hardback (over 40 years ago!), as to whether that was a reasonable ending or not. We came to the conclusion that it was, but that we'd like to read more. We read the second book immediately when it came out.

On the whole, I think I'd rather have just stopped at the end of the first. Where he took it was (IMO) monotonically downhill.

#486 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2012, 07:26 PM:

For my part, I read the second book of the Secret Country trilogy, knowing there was a third book but that I didn't have it and couldn't readily get it. (This despite having been warned!) It was rather traumatizing.

#487 ::: Stephen Sample ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2012, 08:40 PM:

Nancy Lebovitz @473: It might be a chiltepin (Capsicum annuum var. glabriusculum).

The size, shape, and heat are right, and some of them are purple.

#488 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2012, 08:58 PM:

B Durbin @484, yeah, I had the same thing happen with The Secret Country books, except it was just a few days (or maybe even hours) after I finished the second that I learned there was a third.

#489 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2012, 08:58 PM:

Just to follow up on my comment at 481 - at least for the EEG study that's referenced, they're looking at an EEG marker that isn't seen as a recognition signal the way they claim, but much more as an oddball signal. For example, if I show you a series of pictures of kittens (say, one every 100ms) and stick a picture of an octopus in there, you'd probably see a positive peak in the trace 300ms after the octopus was presented (that's the P300 marker). It isn't that you're recognizing an object as a particular known object, more that the object is an oddball in the set of presented objects.

#490 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2012, 10:59 PM:

re Amazon reviews: ballpoint poetry in review: for her.

#491 ::: C. Wingate thinks the gnomes need to share ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2012, 11:04 PM:

... instead of keeping the good stuff for themselves. (Also likely I have a duplicate comment.)

#492 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2012, 01:03 AM:

Pete @ 470 - I am suddenly glad that I've continued to use that mailinator junk email for posting on blogs.

Whu-du-fugh is that page? Up to no good, that's what.

#493 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2012, 08:49 AM:

Benjamin Wolfe #490: Interesting....

#494 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2012, 10:01 AM:

C. Wingate, I think it's already been linked in one of the front page sidebars. (Abi's Perihelia: SQUEE, etc.) It's priceless stuff, though. I read the lumberjack one to my wife.

#495 ::: Anne Sheller ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2012, 02:00 PM:

Nancy Lebovitz @473 - About 25 years ago I planted an ornamental pepper called "Pretty in Purple". Purplish leaves, small round very hot peppers. I think they ripened red, but were purple earlier. The plants were small, so you might be able to have one as a potted plant. Ornamental and edible (in moderation, well diluted.)

#496 ::: Anne Sheller ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2012, 02:32 PM:

Nancy Lebovitz @473 - About 25 years ago I planted an ornamental pepper called "Pretty in Purple". Purplish leaves, small round very hot peppers. I think they ripened red, but were purple earlier. The plants were small, so you might be able to have one as a potted plant. Ornamental and edible (in moderation, well diluted.)

#498 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2012, 07:29 PM:

Since probably not everyone is reading the Chicon Plans thread, I'll pass on a bit of accumulated wisdom from last night's dinner:

The proper collective noun for Fluorosphereans is 'pendantry'*. A pedantry of Fluorosphereans had a swell time at dinner last night, with good company and good food.

*or possibly 'candelabra'

#499 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2012, 08:20 PM:

I can't help thinking that if this hasn't already been linked here, it should be.
Nintendo knits.


#500 ::: Kip W - knomed for knitting-porn ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2012, 08:21 PM:

Yeah, you know you like it when I slide my needles around...

#501 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2012, 10:59 PM:

HLN: in honor of the anniversary of her birth, area woman often does strange things to her hair.

This year's version can be seen here if you have a Fb account.

Area woman is the pink one.

Area woman's transformation was highly amusing to the young male patrons in the next chair and some, but not all, of the stylists. At least one woman clearly thought I was too old to be doing such things.

Work will be interesting on Tuesday . . . .

#503 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2012, 04:22 AM:

My Ozzie died.

Happy fucking birthday to me. Ghod damn it.

#504 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2012, 06:56 AM:

Jacque #504: Um.. Guinea pig? Human? Other? Obviously somebody/something you cared about, so I'm sorry for you.

#505 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2012, 08:01 AM:

My condolences, Jacque.

#506 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2012, 08:16 AM:

Melissa Singer @ 502... (like!)

#507 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2012, 08:47 AM:

Jacque @ 504... :-(

#508 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2012, 09:13 AM:

Condolences, Jacque.

#509 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2012, 09:51 AM:

Condolences, Jacque.

#510 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2012, 10:00 AM:

The end of the Obama administration investigation into torture cases. The only people still in line to go to jail are the whistleblowers.

#511 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2012, 10:53 AM:

A photographer did mashups of 1906 and now. Warning: one of them includes a team of horses killed by a falling building.

They're very well done.

#512 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2012, 01:07 PM:

Jacque, I'm sorry for your loss.

#513 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2012, 02:04 PM:

Condolences, Jacque.

#514 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2012, 02:31 PM:

I just saw Premium Rush, a very pleasant movie about a bike messenger trying to deliver a package in the face of various obstacles. It's action-adventure with some screwball comedy mixed in.

The major reason I'm mentioning it, though, is that is passes the Lebovitz Moral Minimum. All the torture is done by the bad guy(s).

I believe that there should be a rule which highlights fiction that includes torture by good guys... and there's a lot of it. It's hard to notice (even I get sucked in sometimes), not just because you're encouraged to be sympathetic to the good guy's goals, but because there's frequently some detail to make you angry at the bad guy right before the good guy tortures.

I like the idea of having my name on the moral minimum, but since people tend to have problems remembering or spelling my name, I'm open to other possibilities for naming the rule.

Premium Rush also passes the Bechdel test.

#515 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2012, 03:12 PM:

Well, that was an interesting Dr. Who episode. Very much about memory and forgetting, self-knowledge and denial. Also, good use of the ingredients of a soufflé.

#516 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2012, 03:53 PM:

So sorry, Jacque. {{{hugs}}} if you want them.

#517 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2012, 07:18 PM:

A theoretical explanation of Akin's Folly.

In short: when someone believes X is wrong, he's likely to reshape his picture of the world in ways that makes opposing X less painful or more positive.

As an exercise: try to think of ways you are susceptible to this.
For example, I oppose torture and most of the war on terror--this probably means I have a certain amount of bias toward finding that torture doesn't work and that terrorism isn't that great a threat[1].

The best remedies to this I know of are to try to actively look for places where you may be misleading yourself, and then try to find ways to check your assumptions more strongly there ("how would the world be different if this were true?"), and to read/listen widely enough that you have relatively few "blind spots" where nobody ever questions your assumptions.

[1] I can come up with "how would the world look different if this were true" questions for the threat of terrorism in daily life--clearly there aren't that many competent terrorists attacking us here, since they hardly ever manage to blow anybody up or kill anyone in the US. But I don't really know how to weigh the risks of some low-probability really awful terrorist attack, of the kind that would make 9/11 seem like a minor thing. And I don't really see how to get a solid read on the effectiveness of torture, since a million unsuccessful uses doesn't mean there can't be an effective protocol for its use. (Think of surgery--thousands of years of surgeons that were probably at best slightly better than doing nothing, followed by a century of increasingly sophisticated surgeries capable of fixing apparently unfixable stuff.)

#518 ::: Tamlyn ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2012, 09:09 PM:

Sorry for your loss, Jacque.

#519 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2012, 10:03 PM:

Jacque: Very sorry for the loss of your Ozzie. I know he was very dear to you.

#520 ::: Pete ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2012, 07:14 AM:

Me@470: Good news - the list has been taken down.

Turns out it was part of the recovery effort back when ML had that temporary existence failure episode in 2008.

My thanks to Brooks for responding so quickly to the concerns of a stranger.

#521 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2012, 03:35 PM:

Thank you very much, all

Melissa Singer @520: Thank you, and sorry for distracting from your birthday good-wishes.

FB won't let me see Your Pinkness, but given the lineage, I imagine it's Very Pink.

Happy Pink Day, and many pink returns!

#522 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2012, 04:27 PM:

I find myself strangely unmoved by the death of the Reverend Sun Myung Moon.

#523 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2012, 06:20 PM:

Minecraft/moderation crossover: I've been active on the MC wiki, doing the usual sorts of stuff. Well, a couple of weeks ago, a fellow user decided that the "newbie" was ripe for some attention, and started giving me "advice" on my talk page that started out patronizing and snippy, and quickly turned not only obnoxious, but progressively more arrogant and incoherent.

Rather than lash back, I decided to give him some rope, quoting wiki rules, admin history, and his own warnings, against his "another user told me". Well, I haven't heard back yet from the mod I contacted just now... but given his last couple of messages, I do believe the fellow's hung himself. No profanity, but he's definitely way out of line.

#524 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2012, 06:26 PM:

Ever wonder how your favorite eating place manages to whip up those delicious "ice cubes" that make your beverage so refreshingly cold? Well, wonder no more! An experienced homemaker has written it down so you can duplicate the recipe at your own home! As usual, be sure and read the comments and reviews for additional tips and tricks.

#525 ::: Melissa Mead ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2012, 09:38 PM:

Kip W @ 525, Thank you. I really needed that laugh.

#526 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2012, 11:25 PM:

Congratulations on your Hugo, Jo!

#527 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2012, 11:34 PM:

What Tom Said.

I literally just today picked up "Among Others" at the library.

#528 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2012, 11:47 PM:

albatross—As regards torture, and the usefulness thereof, there was a military blogger I read some years back whose job was interrogation. Not torture. His published opinion of torture was that it was counterproductive at best, and that "good guy" question sessions (no "bad guy" involved) were, in his experience, very fruitful.

I don't usually go for the "appeal to expert" argument, but in this case, I think it's warranted. A professional interrogator says that friendly questioning gets more results? Maybe that's confirmation bias, but I really want to believe that, I do.

Nancy Leibovitz—have you read The Warrior's Apprentice? Gbegher frffvba qbar ol gur tbbq thlf, jvgu ubeevslvat erfhyg—naq gur tbbq thl va dhrfgvba unf gb frevbhfyl dhrfgvba jung ur nyybjrq gb unccra. Naq ur qbrfa'g qhpx gur ubeebe, rvgure.

#529 ::: B. Durbin got gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2012, 11:51 PM:

Salmon under pepper-onion relish, baked at 350º for 12 minutes and served with basmati rice.

[Thanks! It was delicious! (The problem was that one of the words in the ROT-13 section matched a common spam word.) -- Arocio Birst, Duty Gnome]

#530 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2012, 12:49 AM:

Jacque: Condolences and best wishes.

#531 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2012, 12:55 AM:

If you watched the Hugo Ceremony tonight, you saw my Mystery Project. No, I didn't design or build the Rockets. I designed and built the display they were resting on. There were a few issues with the final appearance, but some costumers were able to resolve them by covering this VERY sturdy affair with fabric. I got words of praise for it, including some from Fermilab's Bill Higgins.

#532 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2012, 01:36 AM:

#529 ::: B. Durbin:

I've read The Warrior's Apprentice, but not recently enough to remember that bit.

There's a Harry Turtledove story which includes a military interrogator-- I think it was about a time traveler. Anyone remember it?

#533 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2012, 02:31 AM:

Arocio Birst @530: Carl Jung shows up regularly in spam? How do psychology websites survive?

#534 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2012, 02:41 AM:

Well, our spam-word filter list would be different from theirs.

What I want to know is how fashion-designer websites, or those that talk about various brand-name sneakers, survive.

#535 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2012, 05:45 AM:

B. Durbin #529 ::: Would that be our own Terry Kearney?

#536 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2012, 06:22 AM:

Me #524: Eh, he got a warning. I'm moving his comments to a separate page, so they're still visible without fouling my talk page.

#537 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2012, 07:55 AM:

Jacque: my condolences. And rotten timing.

B. Durbin @529: Terry Karney (trained military interrogator) has noted repeatedly here on ML that friendly questioning gets much better (more reliable) results than torture.

I remember that bit in The Warrior's Apprentice well. Not the only part of the book where you-know-who has to look look back and wonder whether another decision would have been better. The fact that Lois McMaster Bujold has him thinking about his decisions, after the consequences have played out, is important.

#538 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2012, 09:02 AM:


It's great to have him back and I'm looking forward to the series, but I found the setup for the first episode disappointingly thin*. Then again, the plot making sense isn't exactly what I watch this show for (and from your comment, not your point of focus either). And I thought the introduction of the infiltrators made for some damned scary daleks.

* Apparently, daleks use "impenetrable" the way a Sicilian uses "inconceivable". And who puts the door controls inside the cell in the first place?

#539 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2012, 09:06 AM:


It's great to have him back and I'm looking forward to the series, but I found the setup for the first episode disappointingly thin*. Then again, the plot making sense isn't exactly what I watch this show for (and from your comment, not your point of focus either). And I thought the introduction of the infiltrators made for some damned scary daleks.

* Apparently, daleks use "impenetrable" the way a Sicilian uses "inconceivable". And who puts the door controls inside the cell in the first place?

#540 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2012, 09:36 AM:

me #536: Whoops, I misspelled his name. Sorry.

In any case, he has commented here and elsewhere about the topic.

#541 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2012, 09:53 AM:

So, in response to the sidebar items about "authors behaving badly" Amazon review self-puffery:

This makes me remember something.

Once somebody gave me a free copy of his book in exchange for promising to review it on Amazon, which I did.

I received nothing in exchange other than a copy of the book, which can be considered a bribe only if the book was actually good.

Would this be considered unethical either on the author's part or my part?

#542 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2012, 10:54 AM:

He didn't say you had to leave a good review, right? Thus, I'd say you're OK.

#543 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2012, 11:00 AM:

Because I was impatient: The Hugo Award winners.

Congratulations to Jo, and YAY! Digger won!

Now anxiously awaiting the announcement of the winning bid for 2015.

#544 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2012, 11:25 AM:

Geri Sullivan introduced this to me, and Jo's win reminds me that my first reaction to it was that it would be the perfect theme song for Among Others. There's an mp3 out there somewhere of Janis Ian singing it. (YouTube only has some other folks, and they're not the same.)

I wasn't familiar with "At Seventeen," but I was surprised at how many of the references in this song I was able to catch at first hearing.

#545 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2012, 11:28 AM:

For a group of music and/or comic fans that may overlap somewhat with the previous link, here's something completely different: David Carradine (ignore the typo in the blog post's title) singing "When I Set My Chickens Free" in a blues idiom. There's a link you can play or download at the page, and the original Gilbert Shelton one-pager is included as a reference.

#546 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2012, 11:32 AM:

#542 ::: Erik Nelson

Nope, not unethical at all. Publishers and authors send out hundreds of review copies every day in hopes of getting reviews.

Being all outraged if you gave them a bad review, or being all outraged if you didn't write a review at all after getting the book: Both bad form. But those are both the author's problem, not yours.

#547 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2012, 01:02 PM:

I have to ask: does anyone out there have a Kindle/Nook/whatever and a copy of the electronic edition of Danse Macabre? My wife bought me a copy of the new print edition because my old one was in such bad shape, and because I always gripe about the way the second edition flopped the footnotes about 3D film processes and an Arthur C. Clarke short story. Well, they didn't fix the footnotes in the print edition, which makes me wonder if the electronic edition is less sloppy. The two flopped footnotes are on pages 106 and 110 of the print edition if anyone can check what the equivalent would be in the electronic edition.

#548 ::: lenny bailes ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2012, 07:32 PM:

Kip, that's great about David Carradine. I didn't know that he actually played the guitar.

About the Food Insecurity sidelight, I would think that it should be obvious that government investment can create jobs. Entrepreneurs should also be able to create jobs when they manage to come up with something good that people want. Over here, they do that for maintenance and to increase sales distribution. From a cursory search, it appears to me that there are some corporate food distributors in the U.K. who have a conscience. If some of those distributors were able to create jobs for current welfare recipients, that might help the employment situation.

#549 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2012, 09:39 PM:

Russ @539, Abi @516: Also glad to see the start of the new series, but it did strike me as a odd story.

Er: Qnyrx vasvygengbef — vg fgehpx zr nf crphyvne gb frr n Qnyrx rlrfgnyx chfuvat bhg sebz gur sberurnq, naq rira zber-fb n Qnyrx tha rkgehqvat sebz gur cnyz bs gur unaq. Orggre zvtug unir orra n qvfx (engure guna n fgnyx) va gur sberurnq; naq znlor gur jubyr sbernez fubhyq unir ghearq vagb n tha.

Frrvat nf ubj gur Qnyrxf uryq gur Qbpgbe va njr naq srne, vg frrzf ur ybfrf yrirentr ba gurz vs gurl'ir sbetbggra gurve jubyr uvfgbel jvgu uvz; ur jnf nezberq ol gurve srne bs uvz. Gur fgbel fhttrfgrq gurl ertneqrq gurve ungr bs uvz fhpu n cresrpg guvat gurl pbhyq abg oevat gurzfryirf gb xvyy uvz.

As an aside, it seems my hotkey combination for ROT13 in Leetkey no longer works — I think I first noticed it broken in Firefox 14, and it still doesn't work with Firefox 15. It doesn't seem the key combination (Ctrl-Shift-Z) is being used for anything within Firefox.

#550 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2012, 10:26 PM:

Re the Doctor Who:

I was reasonably pleased by the episode; I'm happy to have Daleks being genuinely scary again. But I am not looking forward to a season arc of ebel naq nzl certanapl natfg. Not if it's dealt with this clumsily.

#551 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2012, 10:55 PM:

I can't find an official announcement -- which bid won for 2015?

#552 ::: B. Durbin got gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2012, 11:17 PM:

Actually, it wasn't Terry Kearny, it was someone whose blog I was reading about a decade ago and who had put together a collection site for donations to Iraqi children.

I find it pleasing that there are multiple people out there saying this message. May their word spread.

#553 ::: B. Durbin got gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2012, 11:31 PM:

Lee—selection is down to two years in advance (I think the reason for the change back was facilities-based.) So the 2014 Worldcon was chosen this year, not 2015. London, of course.

#554 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2012, 11:32 PM:

Dammit, you think I'd pay attention. NOT gnomed.

#555 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2012, 11:37 PM:

Andrew Plotkin @551: There are good reasons to think that particular subplot will not extend through the whole season. If you've managed to avoid the relevant spoilers, then you've done better at that than I have.

#557 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2012, 12:18 AM:

An awful lot of professional interrogators have come forward to say that torture yields bad intel.

There's an awful lot of anecdotal evidence, too, from other wars in other times and places. Torture just flat doesn't work.

#558 ::: Tom Whitmore visits the gnomes ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2012, 12:21 AM:

Can I bring you some video that got intercepted?

#559 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2012, 12:35 AM:

Some of the responses are wonderful, though.
(What kind of idiot uses bots to verify stuff like copywrong, on live broadcasts?)

#560 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2012, 01:10 AM:

B. Durbin, #554: Thanks. That was a brain-fart; with London running unopposed, I'd forgotten that the bid hadn't actually been officially voted on yet because people have been talking about it as a done thing for ages already.

P J Evans, #560: UStream, apparently.

#561 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2012, 01:20 AM:

I nominate Robert J. Sawyer's response on that UStream post for the winner of this week's Internet.

#562 ::: Lee has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2012, 01:21 AM:

Would Their Lownesses care for some iced chai?

#563 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2012, 04:40 AM:

Living about one hour (by public transport) from the ExCel centre, I might actually get to Loncon in 2014... Hope it doesn't clash with anything else (e.g. work-related conference).

The first SF con I went to was Intersection in Glasgow in 1995. It started the day the weather broke after a glorious summer: on the way there I stopped in the Lake District, went for a walk over Loughrigg, swam in Grasmere and Rydal Water along the way and was dry before I got back to the car in Ambleside (30 mins or so after the second swim). Us Brits then spent a cool, rainy conference plaintively telling the American visitors that we'd had a hot, sunny, summer. Really.

#564 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2012, 05:02 AM:

Rob Rusic@550

"Gur fgbel fhttrfgrq gurl ertneqrq gurve ungr bs uvz fhpu n cresrpg guvat gurl pbhyq abg oevat gurzfryirf gb xvyy uvz."

I think that was deliberate - sbetrggvat uvz is not an unalloyed good thing, but consistent with uvf qrpvfvba gb fgrc onpx naq gel gb or zber gur nabalzbhf jnaqrere ur jnf. Gur vqrn gung gur qnyrxf (naq bguref) unir guvf srne bs uvz nyy jnf cerggl zhpu vagebqhprq ol EGQ jvgu avar. V trg gur vzcerffvba Zbssng guvaxf gung'f tbar nf sne nf vg pbhyq tb naq jnagf jnyx vg onpx gb fbzrguvat pybfre gb gur byq Jub (nygubhtu pheeragyl ur'f birefgrccrq gung fvtavsvpnagyl!).

[Apologies for the wall of rot13 but being unsure of what was spoilery I opted for caution.]

Andrew Plotkin@551

That did feel rather crow-barred in, didn't it? Hopefully having gotten the anvilicious introduction out of the way they can either make proper time for it or leave it in the background as a subtler pressure.

#565 ::: oh my God - it's full of Gnomes! ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2012, 05:08 AM:

And me without so much as a cucumber sandwich in my knapsack. Possibly due to wall-of-rot13?

#566 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2012, 06:03 AM:

As a result of the Ustream Hugo Fiasco (that's a proper name now, right?), I didn't find out until just now that Neil Gaiman mentioned in his acceptance speech he's writing another Doctor Who episode (possibly for as soon as spring 2013). If I were less manly, I do believe I would squee*.


#567 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2012, 06:10 AM:

I'm afraid the Ustream explanation doesn't make sense to me. I might be out of date on the tech, but the software recognition of copyrighted material doesn't add up.

1: We're talking about a huge number of current and recent films and TV episodes. Round-figuring, call it half a gigabyte an hour.

2: With the different pixel counts that are possible, and artefacts of compression systems, the chances of two video streams, of the same material, matching seem a bit remote.

3: Given the data volume and the matching problems, I doubt that the system can match an arbitrary video clip to a particular movie or TV show. They must be looking for some distinctive pattern.

4: And a pattern which appears in a short clip provided by the copyright holder for the purposes of an awards ceremony.

5: But matching photographs of faces is a good enough trick to already be useful. Most cameras of today can at least pick out the general pattern of a face. and use that info to control auto-focus and exposure.

6: So either the system is matching the faces of a set of actors, or it is reacting to things such as the broadcaster-logo in the video clip. And we know that material captured from Live TV often has a TV-station ID graphic superimposed. That would be easy to detect.

7: I have the feeling that the Ustream boss may be thinking the service that he bought in is doing something that it doesn't actually do.

8: In any case, authorised usage of copyright material could still trigger some of these detection methods. I wonder how specific an ID claim the system makes. "2011 Doctor Who Season" might be the best that can be done.

9: And do you really think a convention masquerade would not trigger an alert?

#568 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2012, 06:16 AM:

Russ @566

The second half of the current season looks a bit too soon. And they're shifting season-timing to hit the 50th Anniversary next year. I'd say the episode would have been possible for the usual season timing, starting at Easter, but I doubt it's possible for the planned post-Christmas block. So the Anniversary Season looks more likely.

#569 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2012, 06:48 AM:

Dave Bell@568: I seem to recall that at least one of the Doctor Who clips ended with a BBC One logo. So perhaps that was the trigger.

#570 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2012, 07:14 AM:

Kip #545:

I read that with tears. Now I'm going to go sing and play it. I met that person, fortysome years ago. It was me, coming home out of the cold to warmth and family.

#571 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2012, 08:16 AM:

Russ @ 567... Spesking of Gaiman... I was one of the Hugo ushers and, just before the Ceremony began, I tried helping him find an electric plug.

#572 ::: parkrrrr ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2012, 09:17 AM:

UStream seems to have disappeared whatever comments there were on that not-pology, possibly while they **UPDATED** it to include a not-so-subtle attempt at blaming Worldcon for not knowing they had to jump through hoops in advance if they wanted to exercise their fair use rights.

#573 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2012, 09:41 AM:

Serge Broom@572

Wow! And here I had no idea he was even battery powered...

#574 ::: Sica ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2012, 10:17 AM:

Dave Bell you're out of date w the tech. In particular the audio recognition stuff is pretty solid and quick these days.

You load in the audio you want to be recognized, it gets boiled down into finger prints basically and can then be matched across a vast library. That's how apps like Shazam work (you can use it to identify most recorded music you listen to, it fails sometimes but it works quickly and is usually reliable).

Image matching over video is also mostly doable, it's used to track how much of each ad is visible during broadcast sporting matches and stuff like that. It's pretty interesting stuff actually.

#575 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2012, 10:21 AM:

Dave Luckett @571:
I couldn't find this before, but here's Janis Ian's download page for the song (with band, and unplugged; plus a concordance to the lyrics).

#576 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2012, 10:25 AM:

Lee @562:
What am I missing? I see the network's apology/excuse, but I don't see anything by Sawyer.

Did his comment get scrubbed? Does anyone have it? (I tried the RSS 'comments' link, and it apparently contains only enthusiastic, shill-like burbling about services and such.)

#577 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2012, 10:55 AM:

Kip: note parkrrrr@573 saying that comments have been scrubbed.

Sawyer's comment quoted the Ustream rep saying that people who pay for the Pro service don't get copyright-botted, and said something like "Not the best time to try an upsell, guys."

#578 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2012, 11:06 AM:

parkrrr, #573: I'm not surprised. Over half of the comments last night were from people with experience in the area of content-streaming, saying that the "explanation" was a steaming pile of bullshit and that they would no longer recommend UStream to any of their customers for e.g. videoconferencing purposes. One person called it "technobabble" and pointed out that fandom has a long memory. UStream didn't dare let any of that stand.

#579 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2012, 11:22 AM:

Soon Lee @498: I've had days like this. Somedays, you're the hamster. Some days, you're, uh, the other hamster.

#580 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2012, 12:06 PM:

David @578:
Whoops! Missed that. At least asking got me the explanation — thanks.

#581 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2012, 03:01 PM:

Cool photoessay on bookmobiles!

#582 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2012, 05:38 PM:

A trailing thought about the obnoxoid on MCWiki:

It's become a proverb that "on the internet, nobody can tell you're a dog". But you know, if all someone talks about is what they smelled and what they ate... that's a pretty good hint.

#583 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2012, 06:37 PM:

And a (hopefully final) wrapup on the MCW guy: He tried blanking the page where I'd stuffed his rambles, and left another equally supercilious (and equally misspelled) message on my talk page, claiming that I was being "childish" and insulting him, embarrassing myself, and "now he , my actions had "backfired", etc..

Naturally, I just reverted the blanking, and moved his new message to the archive page. Then I added a message to him on my talk page, wherein I quoted the First Rule of Holes, and asked him not to leave any more messages on my talk page.

He then went to the talk page of the mod I'd consulted, and posted a lengthy rant claiming he wasn't embarrassed etc., in the course of which he demonstrated a dire ignorance of how wikis actually work. But then he apparently thought better of that, and replaced it with an apology, and said he wouldn't talk to me anymore. Also, he changed his user page, declaring himself to be "inactive".

The apology is at least progress -- with any luck, he won't come back until he's grown up a bit (and/or started taking his meds again).

#584 ::: Dave Harmon has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2012, 06:41 PM:

For the wrapup on that wiki troll.

Working on some mac-&cheese I could share....

[It was a spacing-around-punctuation issue. Many of the Madlib-style spams leave commas just hanging out there with spaces on either side. -- Morix Eiosin, Duty Gnome]

#585 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2012, 07:05 PM:

Various regarding UStream of the Hugo ceremony: Does anyone know if anyone's uploaded the Hugo ceremony to YouTube? {hope hope hope} Although a Chicon member, I wasn't able to attend because of an unbreakable commitment. {sigh}


#586 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2012, 09:21 PM:

Seanan McGuire's October Daye novel "Ashes of Honor" is out.

#587 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2012, 11:59 PM:

Open thready news:

My favorite superhero MMO, City of Heroes, is going away after eight years. I'm deeply ambiguous about this. I spent a *lot* of time on it, got a lot of enjoyment out of it, but ... eight years, it might be time to move on.

There is a movement to save or rescue it, which may be more interesting than actually playing it for me. Again... I'm ambiguous about this.

#588 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2012, 12:52 AM:

Sandy B. @ #588:

Not "ambiguous", I think; you explain the situation quite clearly. The word you need there is "ambivalent".

Sorry for latching on to surface features; I'm afraid I don't have anything useful to say about the situation that's causing your ambivalence, except that I hope you find a resolution one way or another.

#589 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2012, 12:56 AM:

Cassy: I'm not sure the Hugo Awards *are* anywhere yet, because the planned route was to have them on UStream. Kind of hard to switch horses when you're fantastically busy elsewhere.

I'm sure someone has it; I'm just not sure they've figured out what to do about it yet. Besides, they're probably in post-convention comas right now.

#590 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2012, 02:49 AM:

Cassy B @ 586... Work indeed is going on to make the Hugo Ceremony available.

#591 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2012, 03:06 AM:

Sandy, #588: Yeah, I heard about this from a friend who plays CoH. He's very unhappy, and is looking for somebody with a 3-D printer who could perhaps do action-figure printouts of his CoH characters for a reasonable fee. Anybody got a suggestion?

#592 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2012, 06:24 AM:

Sandy B. #588: I saw that article... and the thing is... yeah, there are natural lifespans to these things. Communities can wither or rot, technology (technical or social) can become obsolete, people can start drifting to other communities.

But as I gather, that's not what's happening here. As I recall the article, The company was bought, by another company, and a few years after, the purchaser has decided they don't really want to be in the MMORPG biz - so they're throwing CoH in the dumpster. They could have tried making arrangement to let someone else buy it (perhaps even a collective formed by the players) -- but they couldn't be bothered. And that bothers me.

#593 ::: Dave Harmon, gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2012, 06:25 AM:

Possibly careless punctuation. (I could make some more coffee....)

#594 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2012, 08:04 AM:

B. Durbin @590: Good point. Post-convention coma plus dealing with work-desk-piled-to-the-ceiling from taking two freaking days off work.... (Ghod forbid I take a full week off.) (I *know* I shouldn't complain; I *know* I'm lucky to have a job, it just irritates the hell out of me when the people who are supposed to cover, don't.)

Serge Broom @591: Please please please let us know when/where it's available? {sending virtual chocolate bribe}

#595 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2012, 09:28 AM:

A rather creepily interesting article on CNN international's business model, which often amounts to getting sponsorship for its programs from the governments it reports on. Shockingly, if you are a major sponsor of CNNi's programs, you get much more favorable coverage, even to the point of having CNNi run what are more-or-less infomercials for your country.

I wonder how many of our media sources, strapped for cash as they have become, are beholden to governments they are supposed to be reporting on. And how many of those (probably most) shade their coverage a bit toward being inoffensive to those important sponsors. And this triggers a different question: I wonder how many big media sources are getting a substantial chunk of money by doing business with the US government, if any.

#596 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2012, 11:04 AM:

The usual complaint about US media is that it can be bought for "access"-- much cheaper for the government, and plausibly a more subtle problem to solve.

#598 ::: Jennifer Baughman ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2012, 02:20 PM:

Sandy B. #588 and Dave Harmon #593: People I know at NCSoft and Paragon Studios have let leak that the real reason (something many fans have figured out, hence the outrage), is that NCSoft isn't making the profits they expected on Guild Wars 2, and they're taking losses on older games such as Aion. It has nothing to do with community age -- the Citycommunity is still pretty vibrant and enthusiastic, and Paragon Studios has been really good about delivering new content, engine upgrades, etc.

But City isn't as popular in Asia, I think, which may be part of their decision -- NCSoft is a Korean company, and tends to make decisions that are biased toward the Asian market.

#599 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2012, 02:20 PM:

Cassy B @ 595... I'll let you know as soon as I know for sure.

#600 ::: Elliott Mason recommends books ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2012, 03:00 PM:

I compiled a list of book-reccs from panels I attended at Worldcon, and will be typing them up and posting them to my journal, both for general consumption and so I can fleeping find them myself three months from now when I go looking.

Installment 1 is now posted; it omits the largest category, which is Queer Interest, because I don't feel like typing all that this very second (but was done with the rest, so I share). Categories include: personal recommendations from me, non-generic-western-fantasy, weirdly awesome worldbuilding.

#601 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2012, 04:23 PM:


Okay, so I was having a problem with some kind of program hijacking my search engine. Google "llamar conjugation," get an ad for phone cards for Cuba. Use Yahoo to find a bread recipe, get a site selling Easter hats. HATE. So I complained here, and somebody suggested Malwarebytes.

It worked. For a while.

I just ran a full scan with a freshly updated version of Malwarebytes. It found and removed 8 objects. But I am still unable to use my search engines because the programs are still there, still trying to sell me phone cards and Easter hats when I would not buy water from companies that subscribe to these services if I were trapped in the Sahara!

Any suggestions as to how to get this crap off my computer?

#602 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2012, 04:28 PM:

Ambivalent! Much better word choice.

Lee @592, Arcanaville and some other regulars from the CoX boards (I'm Fulmens there) are working on it, but it doesn't look good in the time they have available:
Here is the thread. If anyone else is doing it, I'm not aware of it.

#603 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2012, 05:44 PM:

Was able to get my prosthetic leg today. Because there is still a scab, I was encouraged to just wear it first to get used to it without too much walking. If that causes no problems, then into the break-in schedule in full, and maybe physical therapy visits after that starts,


#604 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2012, 06:28 PM:

Paula #604: Yay!

#605 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2012, 06:40 PM:

Jenny Islander @602:

It sounds like you have a DNS redirect virus, which can be very difficult to dislodge. There are some instructions for removal here, but when I had to deal with this I found that I needed to manually edit my HOSTS file as described here. Good luck.

#606 ::: Hilary Hertzoff ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2012, 06:43 PM:

Jenny Islander @602 Try this solution. Specifically the instructions listed in post 5. I've used Kaspersky TDDSKiller for this problem in the past.

I haven't tried the solutions listed after that but I've seen OTL recommended in other places.

#607 ::: Hilary Hertzoff has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2012, 06:45 PM:

I posted a link to help Jenny Islander at with her problem at @602. I'd have been very surprised if it hadn't been held for moderation.

[We gnomes are predictable. -- Routis Mepheitmal, Duty Gnome (munching plums)]

#608 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2012, 07:40 PM:

Oh, all the condolences, Jacque. I know your Ozzie was so much more than just another piggie.

#609 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2012, 08:02 PM:

Should also like to assure friends whom I saw at Chicon that I'm home now and have even sort of gotten some sleep. Hooray!

Tuesday on the train was going to be my "recovery day" so I could get right back into things upon arriving in Denver Wednesday morning. But Tuesday got jinxed. Between being stunningly unable to find my bus stop, too stubborn to hail a taxi, and then sharing a car with that sort of jolly party of folks who are having a grand old time and no situational awareness whatsoever, I got neither work nor sleep accomplished on the California Zephyr.

Seriously. What kind of person carries on a half-shouted conversation such as to be heard from the left window all the way to the right on a darkened coach car filled with people who are obviously trying to sleep? Was this some sort of karma for annoying Passive Aggressive Lady on the train to dinner Thursday night? I call asymmetrical shenanigans!

But I managed to nap in my own bed between 9 AM and 1 PM today, so, feeling much better now.

Many thanks to everyone for the fantastic company and happy fun times, especial to elise for the shiny show-offs and to Elliot for the tour guidance re: Chicago and filk.

#610 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2012, 08:24 PM:

Paula: hooray! Hope it goes smoothly.

#611 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2012, 09:49 PM:

Nicole@610: You can console yourself, perhaps, with the thought that as bad as you had it, our hosts P&T had it even worse. (In related news: United Airlines customer service really really sucks.)

#612 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2012, 12:23 AM:

David @ 612 - I do not doubt it. *shudder* My grumbles aside, at least I was not dealing with commercial airlines or TSA. (The video loop playing in the south terminal doesn't count.) And the walk from the Hyatt to Union Station wasn't that bad. Just hot and sunny and sweaty and full of luggage.

Will we hear the full story so we can console our hosts adequately?


Hyperlocal news: Area woman not displeased with newest Doctor Who episode. Spouse grudgingly admits "It was OK." Both agree it felt more like a Christmas episode than a season opener, though. Not a bad thing. An odd thing.

#613 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2012, 01:02 AM:

I was following their saga on Twitter (and hopefully not coming off as some random weirdo as I commiserated) - the Amazing Girlfriend had a nearly identical experience in May 2011 coming back from the Big Yearly Vision Conference in Florida. I understand that flight and cabin crews have limited hours they can work in a day, but the whole board passengers and then cancel the flight after boarding and luggage loading is somewhere between exceptionally irritating and the sort of behavior that only the Devil could love. It's one thing to say "they're out of hours, and we do this for your safety" when you're still in the terminal, but quite another when you're onboard. I'd like to see the FAA impose some really nasty fines on the airlines - yes, I'm looking at you, United the Embodiment of Fail - something like multiple thousands of dollars per passenger per occurrence, to disincentiveize the behavior on the airline's part.

#614 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2012, 08:38 AM:

I discovered nearly a decade ago that United's corporate attitude towards any bump in the road is, "Well, it's your problem, what are you going to do about it?", directed at the passengers. In my experience, American's attitude is more like, "Wow, that sucks, do you need any information? Maybe we can make something work."

Because of this (and the trip with 7 major equipment failures on 6 legs of travel), I have not willingly given United my money since then. It's just not worth it, even if their airfare is nominally lower.

However, now I'm related to a bunch of people that live near a terminal (Sacramento) primarily served by United, and another bunch who live near a teeny-tiny airport (Eureka/Arcata) that is ONLY served by United Express, or puddle-jumpers ... sigh.

#615 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2012, 09:55 AM:

HLN: Area community theatre group's annual season of one-act plays opens tomorrow, leading off with area man's directorial debut.

"I'm really happy how it's turned out," says area man. "The actors have done very well, and the test audience we had at the dress rehearsals all laughed in the right places. And the set has in fact been finished in time for opening night, which is encouraging."

The play is David Ives' "Words, Words, Words", about a trio of monkeys who are bemused to find themselves part of a test to see whether monkeys with typewriters really will eventually start typing out Hamlet.

#616 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2012, 10:23 AM:

Paula Helm Murray:

Congratulations! Hope the healing continues and the adaptation to your new leg goes well.

#617 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2012, 12:57 PM:

Well, I'm back from Dragon*Con and very unimpressed. Never have I seen such disregard for the safety of the attendees. Crowd control was damn near non-existent.

They have a parade on Saturday that the bulk of attendees (I will not call them fans) go out to the street to see. Imagine 30,000 people packed onto the sidewalks of a two block area. No passage was maintained for foot traffic that needed to get through the area.

I was trying to get from the MARTA station to the dealers room, got caught in the crowd, and body-slammed into something (I have the scrapes and bruises on my right arm, and my right ankle still hasn't forgiven me) whereupon I ducked into the closest hotel lobby and sat down to wait it out. Another young lady came in and sat down with me, she'd been almost knocked into the street while she was trying to take pictures of the parade.

If someone in that mob had collapsed with heat stroke, there would have been NO way for EMTs to get to the victim.

Thank Goddess for cellphones -- I was able to let the dealer I was helping know that I was stuck and would be there to help when the crowd thinned out.

There was no WiFi in the dealers room -- the damned hotel jammed it and was asking over $800 per ballroom per day to turn it on. Made it really hard on some of the smaller dealers.

Hell, the Creation cons are better to their customers than Dragon*con...

#618 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2012, 05:00 PM:

In a melancholy mood today (I'm reading Through a Dog's Eyes, which has a lot of tear-jerking bits), I tried checking out something I'd been wondering about....

That poem "Death is Before Me Today" (quoted in The Sound of her wings)... I'd wondered if it had ever been set to music. I tried Googling it today (and yeah, lots of the hits were Sandman-related), but couldn't find any music or video. Does anyone here know if it's been done?

#619 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2012, 05:19 PM:

Awesome rant from else-web:

Mathbabe on Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo.

"She’s an inspiration to who, HR at her company?...In any case, I personally would like to go on record saying Marissa Mayer is not a role model for me."

Go read the whole thing.

#620 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2012, 05:26 PM:

Paula Helm Murray -
Great news!

#621 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2012, 05:34 PM:

Dave Harmon @619: Ran across this article last weekend: "Scientists conclude animals are conscious beings."

Sort of confirms the sense I had, starting with owning my first guinea pigs as an adult, that much of the animal world is sort of waiting around for the human race to get a freakin' clue.

#622 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2012, 06:02 PM:

Jacque #622: Yeah, Ms. Arnold (the book's author) would probably agree, and I certainly do. Of course, some folks anthropomorphize too much, it's just that scientists (among others) have tended to go too far in the other direction. My dog Gracie certainly has "her own life", it's pretty obvious just hanging around her.

Which reminds me, I should check again with the local center for "developmentally disabled" folks, to see if they're interested in having dog visits. (Gracie has always been terribly interested in going in there -- she loves meeting people.) I left a note early in the year -- I never heard back, but they were hosting a Festival of the Book event then, so it may have been lost on the shuffle.

#623 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2012, 09:13 PM:

PS for #623: Of course, then you have Skinner and his followers, who operated on the assumption that humans weren't conscious beings. (Or, less snarkily, that their consciousness was irrelevant to studying them.)

#624 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2012, 09:49 PM:

Serge @ 532

(I'm a few thousand messages behind and getting caught up slowly)

I commented to the person sitting next to me that the Hugo stand was a Cool Thing. Well done!

#625 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2012, 10:00 PM:

Paul A: I like that play! My high school put it on as part of a one-act festival and I got to see a few friends being chimps.

#626 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2012, 10:13 PM:

Cally Soukup @ 625... Thanks!

#627 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2012, 11:44 PM:

Nicole: The first time we took the Coast Starlight (which loads in Sacramento at an unambiguous 11:59PM, thank you to the person who decided against midnight or 12AM), some twerp decided it was time for a very long and loud phone call. I think somebody yelled that person down eventually, but sheesh. (Two girls had wisely boarded already wearing pajamas. That should have been a clue...)

#628 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2012, 11:55 PM:

Lori, #618: There was no WiFi in the dealers room -- the damned hotel jammed it and was asking over $800 per ballroom per day to turn it on. Made it really hard on some of the smaller dealers.

Clarifying this a bit: the hotel wanted $200 per day per computer that was logging in. Which means $800 for the 4-day con weekend for a dealer with one location. For Pegasus Publishing, with two separate locations, it would have been $1,600 for the weekend. Very few dealers of any size are going to find that a worthwhile ROI.

Also, cellphone access was both slow and spotty, and a large part of that was because the Dragon*Con Smartphone app was poorly-coded; it was updating every 5 minutes or less, and every update downloaded the entire 3-meg app instead of just the updates. Multiply by several thousand people in the room, and bye-bye bandwidth. This also makes it rough on both dealers who use Square (which runs directly off a smartphone) for credit-card processing, and those with regular wireless credit-card terminals, which are competing for the same bandwidth.

#630 ::: P J Evans has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2012, 12:12 AM:

I don't think I used any words of power, but I'll let the gnomes deal with it.

#632 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2012, 12:31 AM:

I've been gnomed. I offer a slightly locally sourced guajillo pepper and almond chocolate bar.

#633 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2012, 01:04 AM:

B. Durbin @ 628: If they'd scheduled the boarding time for 'midnight on [date]', the date would be the one following the day on which passengers should show up.

#634 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2012, 05:04 AM:

Random open-threadiness with earworm warning: I've been rereading eBear's Range of Ghosts, and something felt familiar about the name of one (off-stage) character: Qori Buqa. I couldn't think why, since I don't have any other contact with Central Asia. Then I realized: he shares a name with the mayor of Newark.

#635 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2012, 05:43 AM:

That reminds me.... any known reason for the evil policeman in Premium Rush using Forrest J. Ackerman as a pseudonym?

#636 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2012, 07:45 AM:

HLN: Local man woke up this morning to find this spectral image at the bedroom window. Either I'm being haunted, or there's a super dazed owl wandering around somewhere. No sign of him, so I'm going to assume he survived and hobbled away dizzily

#637 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2012, 08:16 AM:

I see the gnomes still have my last comment - they've probably hung it on a wall.
Curiosity with tracks.

#638 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2012, 10:54 AM:

The Hugos will be rebroadcast on Sunday:

[Chicon] Press Release 37: Ustream to Re-Broadcast 2012 Hugo Awards Ceremony Sunday at 7 p.m. CT (8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT)

Chicago, Illinois, USA - Chicon 7, the 70th World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon), is pleased to announce that the 2012 Hugo Awards Ceremony will be re-broadcast in its entirety and ad-free via Ustream on Sunday, September 9, starting at 7 p.m. CT (8 p.m. ET, 5 p.m. PT) at


To makeup for the disruption to the original broadcast, Ustream will feature the full un-edited and bot-free ceremony on its Homepage this Sunday, September 9, starting at 7 p.m. CT. Ustream will also run the broadcast ad-free on the Worldcon Hugo Awards channel at, and provide additional marketing and promotional support to raise the profile of the event. The broadcast will subsequently be available from the same channel on an on-demand basis. Ustream has also offered additional support and publicity for the streaming of future Hugo Award Ceremonies for upcoming Worldcons in San Antonio, TX (2013) and London, UK (2014).

#639 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2012, 11:08 AM:

Chicon 7 has announced that Ustream will rebroadcast the Hugo ceremony commercial-free on Sunday. They say it will be available after that on an on-demand basis (they don't say whether this will be free, but I expect so).

Not sure why they don't just post it now for on-demand availability. Why wait a week after the actual ceremony? (In fact it's a week to the hour if my calculations are correct, so it must be some legal thing.)

#640 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2012, 11:12 AM:

Xopher @ 640


#641 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2012, 11:39 AM:

Arrgh. Sorry.

But I linked to the full press release, so maybe not entirely useless.

#642 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2012, 12:54 PM:

Extremely cool Google Doodle today, an interactive celebration of the Star Trek anniversary (tomorrow) with animation and sound effects. Go look!

#643 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2012, 02:24 PM:

Just heard that the "same time next week" timing was requested by Chicon, and not due to any further weirdness of Ustream. Waiting for permission to quote my source on that.

#644 ::: Lee has not yet been un-gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2012, 02:50 PM:

Given that I've seen a reference to a spam-flood, it's likely that my plaint back @629 just got overlooked in the mess.

#645 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2012, 02:59 PM:

Xopher, #643: THANK YOU for saying "interactive". I have an unfortunate tendency to look at the doodle, say "oh, that's cool", and not think about trying to mouse-over it, and in this instance, the mouse-overs provide a lot of extra amusement.

#646 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2012, 03:11 PM:

SamChevre @620: Yes, there's something wrong when you're supposed to aspire to working 90-hour weeks and having no time with your family (whatever gender you are).

Russ @637: That's amazing. I certainly hope the owl is okay (collisions can damage important structures in the eye).

P J Evans @ 638: And that's amazing also.

Xopher@ 643: That was fun! Thank you for the heads-up

#647 ::: Jennifer Baughman ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2012, 03:41 PM:

I have a question for the linguistically-inclined Fluorospherians -- I'm working on backstory for an upcoming RPG, and I have a few family names that I'd like to "wear down" from their originals. Unfortunately, I don't have the linguistic background to know how the various phonemes would mutate over time for words involving anything more than simple consonant changes.

For example, "Gutter" is one of the clan names, and that's pretty easy, if my research is right; the 't' undergoes lenition to 'd', and maybe all the way to 'z' for "Gudder" or "Guzzer". The one I'm having real problems with is "Hookbarb". Any suggestions are appreciated!

#648 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2012, 03:58 PM:

Jennifer: Try here. There's a brief discussion of common sound changes at the end, plus a program to help you apply them if you're interested. :)

#649 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2012, 04:00 PM:

Is this for a real historical background, or in an invented fantasy world?

Actually I'd go Gudda for Gutter. Or even Hudda.

Hookbarb, eh? Hooggub, Hoobub, Hoober, Oogerb, Ooger. Any of those is possible; so are many others.

If you have a real-historical setting, then the specific sound changes for that place and time would apply. For example, Tolkien took the OE (IIRC) words for "hole" and "builder," stuck them together into the unattested *holbytlan, and took them through the real sound changes from OE to ME, and came out with 'hobbit'. 'Featherstone Haugh' is pronounced "Fanshaw." Remember that one.

#650 ::: Jennifer Baughman ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2012, 04:07 PM:

Carrie S.: Thank you SO MUCH! I foresee myself using this a lot!

Xopher, it's totally an invented fantasy world, and I'm deliberately avoiding using recognizable cultural backgrounds. I was going for the sort of changes that could occur when a name is used a lot in noisy or difficult environments, such as (in this case) a fishing village.

#651 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2012, 05:30 PM:

HLN: Area woman's daughter is cast as jury foreperson in Twelve Angry Men, junior year fall drama production at FSSA. Teenager pronounces herself satisfied.

#652 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2012, 06:13 PM:

Xopher @ #650, "hole-dweller" I think. I think "bytlan" is a cognate of "to abide".

#653 ::: Jennifer Baughman ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2012, 06:17 PM:

Also, Carrie S., thank you for re-acquainting me with -- I keep losing track of it, and re-discovering it every few years!

#654 ::: Older ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2012, 08:09 PM:

Dave Harman at #624: Skinner did not say that consciousness was irrelevant to studying human behavior. This is a common error but it's not true.

What he said was that we have no way of studying consciousness, but we can learn a great deal by studying what we can study.

#655 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2012, 10:13 PM:

HLN: Area man eats beautiful food at wonderful Thai restaurant. Enjoyment infinitisimally marred by earworm of little old Russian ladies singing "Pad Thai for everybody! Dance! Come on and dance!"

#656 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2012, 11:24 PM:

Xopher @ 642

Not useless at all! And no reason to be sorry. But you do owe me a Coke . (Ok, so maybe that's a reason to be sorry....)

#657 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2012, 11:30 PM:

This is just to say

I have bought
the plums
that were in
the fruit stand

and which
you were probably
thinking about
getting after work

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so much like Roller Skates.*

*except that the nice person who sold them to me was a woman from the Indian subcontinent, not a man from Italy. Whirrrr-clunk!

#658 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2012, 12:11 AM:

pericat: That's why the scheduling is brilliant. We had a panic attack the day before our ride, afraid we'd mistaken the day, because we'd been saying "midnight on Christmas". So we were very happy to see that 11:59PM.

#659 ::: Syd, somewhat disguised ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2012, 12:00 PM:

Taking a suggestion from the Dysfunctional Families thread and repeating an entry I left there, here:

***taps mic*** Is this thing on? Good.





Those of you who read my blog entry about my recent interview--that place. Founder-guy? Indeed was the founder and president, and according to the head of HR, he's one of the reasons I got the offer: he was impressed by my willingness to discuss the tough bits.

I start October 1.

And I'm 99.9% sure I also have a housing solution, including the kitties! But I don't have anything in writing yet, so I'm keeping quiet about that bit lest I get too cocky and jinx it.

And I want you all to know that your support, in all its multifarious forms, has helped me get here. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Yowza. I'm kinda jazzed.

***does insanely awesome happy dance***

#660 ::: JM ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2012, 12:14 PM:


#661 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2012, 01:27 PM:

Syd @660: Congratulations! (More in t'other thread, but it's been gnomed).

#662 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2012, 02:44 PM:

AKICIML: A friend tells me of a story (humor, not SF) where one man challenges another to a duel, and the challenged party selects hot peppers as the weapon. They take turns eating hotter and hotter peppers until one of them gives in.

He thought the story was by Ambrose Bierce, but after having Googled and looked at a list of Bierce's stories I'm dubious.

Has anyone read a story like this? Any idea of its identity?

#663 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2012, 02:48 PM:

Xopher, wasn't it a Simpsons episode? Homer coats his gullet with wax, but the Chilean Insanity Pepper doesn't stop for that. Best Flanders hallucination ever.

#664 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2012, 02:49 PM:



#665 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2012, 02:51 PM:

In other news, I get to play a Nazi butler in a musical. Yes, that one. (NAZI BUTLERS ON PARADE).

Fans of me will remember that I was pretty privileged in Virginia, able to get good roles in quality productions I only had to drive about five minutes to get to. In 2003 we became a family and I couldn't commit the time, and in 2005 we moved, and it was just about 100% dry from then on.

I really wanted to be Max, but what the heck. At least it's not dry right now, and I enjoy rehearsals too. They're like having a social life.

#666 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2012, 03:04 PM:


Grats, Syd!


#667 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2012, 03:08 PM:

Open threadiness -- Amazon won the ebook fight.,0,6946896.story

(Sorry; I don't know how to make tidy links.)

#668 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2012, 03:46 PM:

Yay, Syd! When I saw your great news, I think I exhaled a bit deeper than I had for some time.

#669 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2012, 04:06 PM:

Syd, you go. To work. At your job!

#671 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2012, 05:20 PM:

Great news, Syd!

My employer told us a couple of months ago that they were relocating to New Jersey by the end of the year. They'd keep our jobs for us if we moved out, and would cover the flight out and an housing rental for a month for while we looked for a house, but that's not possible for us right now. I'm now looking. Let's hope the job situation in Seattle improves soon so I can find something.

Xopher: when it comes to duels, my favorite story was from about 1960. Someone in Britain (named Kettledyke-Strange if I remember correctly) called Sweden "a piddling sort of country." This pissed off someone in the Swedish Embassy enough that they challenged him to a duel. As the challenged party, Kettledyke-Strange could choose the weapons: his choice? "Motorcars in the Hyde Park Underpass." The challenge was dropped.

My favorite American example was from New Orleans, and involved a very short but very deadly duelist (one of those who is supposed to have arranged a planting ground for his opponents with one of the local mortuaries) who became enraged with a blacksmith (6' tall, and built appropriately) and challenged him to a duel. The blacksmith didn't want to fight, and when his friends said it was a matter of honor he replied "Blacksmiths have no honor." They finally prevailed on him to reply and he sent his choice to the duelist: sledge hammers in the water at the 5'8" level of the river. The duelist thought this was funny enough that not only did he drop the duel but they are supposed to have become good friends.

#672 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2012, 05:26 PM:

Awesome news Syd!

#673 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2012, 06:11 PM:

Syd: Congrats :D

Dynosaurs on a spaceship: That was *fun*

Almost no sodomy, though.

#674 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2012, 06:56 PM:

Juan Cole reminds Democrats of the implications of their convention speechs.

#675 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2012, 07:58 PM:

I only listened to part of the Democratic convention, but what I did hear seemed to imply that the financial collapse just sort of happened for no particular reason, and the only thing to do was focus on cleaning up the mess. Did I miss something?

#676 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2012, 08:06 PM:

Glad to hear, Syd!

#677 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2012, 08:13 PM:

Well, Clinton's speech, after which the barn was a pile of smoking ashes....

#678 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2012, 08:19 PM:

Syd, your news makes me so happy!

#679 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2012, 09:16 PM:

Open threadiness -- Amazon won the ebook fight

No, they didn't. All that's happened is that the court accepted the settlement offers by the three publishers who didn't fight. That they were settling is old news.

Macmillan, Penguin, and Apple are still fighting this one.

Yes, Amazon is trying to destroy publishing so that it can rule the rubble.

No, I'm not certain that they'll manage to carry it off.

#680 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2012, 09:35 PM:

Jim Macdonald @680: Ah, good. Thanks for the clarification; I obviously read more into the newspaper article than I should have.

I, for one, would be very interested in any followup information you (or anyone else) may have, now or in the future.

(Is the first "d" in your last name not capitalized? I'm not used to seeing "mac" names without internal capitalization, but then again, not being in Scotland, I've seen only a very small sample....)

#681 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2012, 09:55 PM:

Syd, hooray! Even more hoorays if the housing situation is also resolved!

#682 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2012, 10:01 PM:

Syd #660: Most excellent news!

#683 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2012, 10:40 PM:

I'd previously heard of Feathertonehaugh (FAN-shaw), as well as Cholmondeley (CHUM-lee), but I couldn't recall whether Feathertonehaugh was a place-name or a surname, so I googled, and found Wikipedia's list of names in English with counterintuitive pronunciations. Check these out:

  • Godmanchester (GUM-ster)
  • Happisburgh (HAZ-bruh)
  • Kilncadzow (KILL-kaig-eh, and what a name like that is doing in Scotland instead of Poland, I couldn't tell you)
  • Laugharne (LARN)
  • Woolfardisworthy (WOOL-zee)
  • Barugh (BARK when it stands alone in South Yorkshire, but BARF as part of Great Barugh and Little Barugh in North Yorkshire)

#684 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2012, 11:55 PM:

Avram @ #684:

Then there's the nom de famille de plume of ML's own Serge, which he kindly chooses to spell phonetically, but which is more usually attested as "Bruttenholm".

Kip W @ #666:

Hooray! (And I can totally understand really wanting to be Max.)

Syd @ #660:

Huzzah! Here's hoping for more good news as events unfold.

#685 ::: TrishB ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2012, 12:31 AM:

Syd @660:Lurker who has read the saga says "woot!!!" Relurks. With a quick glance to either side, she pops out again to say "woot!!!!" with one more exclamation point for proper emphasis.

#686 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2012, 12:37 AM:

I do not have any capitalized letters in my last name after the "M."

The only place in the world that got this right, first time, without my having to tell them, was in Inverness, Scotland.

#687 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2012, 01:18 AM:

Avram, would it help that 'z' in Scottish words tends to be pronounced something like 'y'? (I think it was originally written with a z-like character; it was never a z sound, but Xopher can probably explain what happened there better than I can.)

#688 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2012, 01:23 AM:

Paul A @ 685... And there's Beacham, which started as Beauchamp.

#689 ::: Lydy Nickerson ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2012, 01:49 AM:

Syd, YAY!!!! That's wonderful. I'm so glad for you.

#690 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2012, 02:14 AM:

I'm sure Serge knows this, but one of the key clues in Philip MacDonald's The List of Adrian Messenger involves the name Bruttenholm spoken as Broom by a dying man and heard that way by a would-be rescuer.

#691 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2012, 08:36 AM:

Jim Macdonald, I totally sympathize; I had that problem with "Soukup"; a surprisingly easy-to-spell name given its Czech origin that still nobody could spell correctly. When I married, one reason I changed my name was it was simply EASIER. (Basic no-frills British surname now.) Apologies in advance for when I get it wrong in the future (and I *will* get it wrong in the future, alas....)

#692 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2012, 09:55 AM:

PJ Evans @688/Avram @684 There's a Middle English character called Yogh that doesn't get out much anymore; it looks rather like a backward 3, which means it also looks a lot like the tailed form of the letter Z, especially in lower-case.

Another word where this has led to endless confusion and frustration (and strictly limited amusement) is the name Dalziel, which is pronounced without any hint of a z sound at all.

#693 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2012, 10:37 AM:

fidelio, that's a good example of it.

#695 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2012, 02:53 PM:

Kip: Why, yes, it is.

#696 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2012, 02:57 PM:

fidelio #693: 'Dalziel' and 'Dalyell', which are variants, both cause confusion, since they're pronounced 'Dee-ell'.

Or, consider this bit of eighteenth-century verse, which, I gather, does not rhyme in America but does in the UK:

Great Chatham, with his sabre drawn,
Stood waiting for Sir Richard Strachan;
Sir Richard, longing to be at 'em,
Stood waiting for the Earl of Chatham.

#697 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2012, 03:45 PM:

Yep, that explains it all right. Dinosaurs and sodomy. And apostrophe's.

#698 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2012, 03:47 PM:

Yep, that explains it all right. Dinosaurs and sodomy. And apostrophe's.

#699 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2012, 04:13 PM:

Fragano and fidelio: on the other hand, Dalzell is often pronounced with a Z sound. At least, that's the way Bonnie Dalzell pronounces it....

#700 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2012, 04:26 PM:

Nancy Lebovitz @473, Stephen Sample@488 - I've got a jar of pickled chiltepe peppers in my fridge that match that size and shape description. They're not purple, but they're a color that could have been a purplish green before pickling. They're presumably a lot less hot after pickling, but I find I never use very many of them at once.

#701 ::: jude ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2012, 04:33 PM:

Occasionally the Scottish z-for-yogh is for g, as in Menzies (pronounced Mengis).

You only really see it in proper names, where it hangs around because they figure in things like legal documents and get set in stone there, archaicisms, scribal dimnesses and all.

The other fun one we torment visitors with is the mediaeval "quh", which can be wh (Cultoquhey) or h (the Colquhouns, pronounced Co-hoon, who when they get to the New World very sensibly start spelling themselves as they is spoke).

"Strachan" is different depending on which side of the Border you're on - it would rhyme with "drawn" in England but not in Scotland. Though I think the Scottish pronunciation gets used in England now too, because of Gordon Strachan the footballer.

#702 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2012, 04:47 PM:

Kip W #695: But what do apostrophes eat?

#703 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2012, 05:38 PM:

I can't see Tracie's Facebook photo -- I've noticed a similar thing happening with Kurt Busiek's Facebook wall: I can access the RSS feed, but if I try to go to one of the pages (which I like to do in case there's any discussion) all I get is a blank page. This is relatively new; I used to be able to look at Facebook pages. I assume this is something they've done to block non-members, to encourage people to join up?

#704 ::: David Goldfarb has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2012, 05:39 PM:

Mention of a certain popular social networking site gets gnomed?

[No, mention of "RSS feed" gets the gnomes to take a second look. Tioveo Borshalt, Duty Gnome]

#705 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2012, 05:40 PM:

One thing I would like to see, btw, is a note explaining why any given thing gets held by the gnomes. It always makes me curious. That may be too much trouble, in which case never mind.

#706 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2012, 05:42 PM:

Dave Harmon@703: I would think they eat letters. They're particularly fond of "o", but they'll settle for "a" and sometimes even "d".

#707 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2012, 05:53 PM:

David: the entirety of the facebook post (which I can see with Opera but not Firefox; I assume NoScript is blocking it) is this photo:

Headed by "Fundies Say the Darndest Things"

#708 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2012, 05:54 PM:

Err, by "photo" I mean "image", of course. I shouldn't post immediately after waking up from a nap....

#709 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2012, 05:57 PM:

Hyperlocal news... Man wakes up quite early when cat turns on the garbage disposal. Everybody is accounted for.

#710 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2012, 06:35 PM:

Serge (710): The cat was hiding the evidence.

What evidence? I don't know, it went down the garbage disposal.

#711 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2012, 06:46 PM:

I know Scottish people who pronounce Strachan as Strawn. I think it has class elements as well English v. Scottish.

The pronunciation of Menzies also varies within Scotland: in the north-east it's pronounced 'Menzies'.

#712 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2012, 06:57 PM:

Mary Aileen @ 711... Coming soon, Hitchcock's "The Cats", starring Kitty Hedren?

#713 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2012, 06:58 PM:

OK, I am, as someone just put it to me, stubbing my toe on Poe's Law. Is that dinosaur thing a serious "argument" by real creationist morons (if that's not redundant)? Or is it a parody of them?

I'm inclined to believe it's real, because the parodies I've seen hold together better. The nonsense logic isn't even chained well in that one. Like, dinosaurs were Satanists? WTF? And while WE know about the dinosaur/sodomy connection, how do THEY?

#714 ::: Lin Daniel ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2012, 07:12 PM:

And on the dinosaur connection, found at the bottom of this LocusMag blog entry

"...something I heard today: a nongenre publisher thought that a story wasn’t SF unless it had a dinosaur in it."

#715 ::: Lin Daniel ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2012, 07:21 PM:


#716 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2012, 08:03 PM:

Xopher, I hit 'WTF' when I got to the serpent symbolism. (The rest is just ... really, dudes? You think you're making your case?)

#717 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2012, 09:20 PM:

Re: "We're all Mad Here" sidebar: I like Kory's coinage of memento moron. Indeed, we're all idiots... sometimes.

The lentil-sorting was funny too.

#718 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2012, 09:31 PM:

I was thinking about something like that the other day:

"Your majesty, why do you keep a dwarf carrying a skull around?"

"Memento mori. He reminds me that I will die."

"And why the hot chick with the tambourine?"

"Memento vivo. She reminds me that I'm still alive."

#719 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2012, 10:05 PM:

Thank you, Cally. I couldn't manage to make the URL appear. The first version I found, BTW, did have an extraneous apostrophe, but it seems to have been cleaned up.

I'm currently tending toward thinking this is satire, inspired by the posters and t-shirts reading "Gay marriage killed the dinosaurs." Hoping, at any rate. Or a prank pulled on new earth creationists who believe dinosaurs and humans coexisted. Like this non-exhibit attraction from the Creation Museum. (Parents, shouldn't you be worried about an organization that promotes dinosaur riding?)

#720 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2012, 10:51 PM:

Andrew @ 712

How far in the north-east? When I lived in Dundee, it was "Mingis" (then the biggest bookstore in town.)

And the John Menzies plc website still has the limerick on the pronunciation. With audio, even. The poem is now an image, so I won't cut and paste. I remember a slightly different version a decade or so ago.

It rhymes "thing is" with "Menzies".

#721 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2012, 11:30 PM:

Poe's Law: "It is impossible to satirise fundamentalist creationists, because there is no satire of their attitudes, no matter how extreme, no matter how ridiculous, that some of them will not accept as canonical."

Hence, in science blogs, a Poe: "one who posts extreme creationist statements to get a reaction, certain in the knowledge that it can't be told from the real thing"; a subvariety of troll.

#722 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2012, 11:38 PM:

I thought Poe's Law was thinly-sliced raven.

#723 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2012, 11:40 PM:

There is also trollslaw, but that comes later.

#724 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2012, 11:44 PM:

On a completely different matter, I need to consult somebody who knows Jewish funeral customs, (who may or may not be strictly observant themselves) on a scene in a novel. I need to make sure that I have it both right, and respectful.

Any responses to my email address would be welcome.

#725 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2012, 11:50 PM:

If you want to see (one set of) actual Creationist humans-and-dinosaurs beliefs, you can look here.

#726 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2012, 12:03 AM:

Jim, it's not only impossible to treat such beliefs with respect, I firmly believe that it's morally wrong. They deserve whatever derision we have energy to heap upon them.

#727 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2012, 12:16 AM:

Dave Luckett, the email addresses no longer show up in mouseover, but mine is rikibeth at gmail dot com, and I was raised in a Jewish family and have at least a moderate familiarity with funeral customs, both halachically and culturally.

#728 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2012, 05:55 AM:

Henry Troup @721:

Neat limerick; I'd never heard it before.

As you know, Henry, that pronunciation of "Menzies" is why the Lib Dem politician Menzies Campbell's website is He's also been referred to as Ming the Merciless from time to time in his career.

My favorite pronunciation hairball in the UK is that Berwick, as in Berwick-upon-Tweed, the last English town as you go up the east coast, is pronounced "Berrik". But the capital of Shetland, Lerwick, is pronounced "Lerwik".

Berwick comes from Old English, and means "barley farm"; Lerwick is Viking for "clay bay". I love both the imperfect convergence and the cultural appropriateness of the two sources.

Also neat: the surname "Inglis" (derivation obvious) is generally pronounced "Ingalls".

#729 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2012, 08:33 AM:

Dave Luckett: Also raised Jewish, and moderately active in synagogue life until a couple of years ago. Been to rather more funerals/graveside services than I want to think about, in the last few years.

So I can backup rikibeth if you want two different povs/points of comparison.

em e el i jay a cee que at yahoo

#730 ::: Melissa Singer is gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2012, 08:34 AM:

Undoubtedly for the weird way I rendered my email address in response to Dave Luckett.

[You managed to hit not one, but two spam markers there. You were lucky, in the sense of "having luck"; it's just that in this case, it was bad luck.—Idumea Copteelf, Duty Gnome]

#731 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2012, 09:36 AM:

Reform (UK) Jewish here. May be able to assist.

After Melissa's gnoming I'll just offer the rot13 version:

#732 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2012, 10:27 AM:

My thanks to the duty gnome!

I'll stick to rot-13 in the future, but it was early and my brain wasn't quite up to speed.

I should mention that I am also Reform, but have some experience with Conservative customs (NY version) and very slight insights into some Orthodox matters.

#733 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2012, 11:18 AM:

More copyright/IP shenanigans: Or have we already covered the TPP/Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement?

#734 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2012, 11:42 AM:

Melissa @733: Ah, but US Reform and UK Reform are different! As I remember, US Reform is closer to UK Liberal, while UK Reform is closer to US Conservative - although I lean to the Liberal side of Reform so...

#735 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2012, 12:28 PM:

dcb: Yes, I recall we've discussed some of those differences before. Just wanted to clarify for Dave Luckett.

As for Dave Luckett: email received; will reply in a day or so

#736 ::: jude ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2012, 01:37 PM:

Henry Troup @721

Dundee is near where I come from, and I'm in the Aberdeen area now, and I can't say I've heard the spelling-pronunciation of Menzies from locals in either (much further north-east than this and you're in the sea). But it's a fair point about class - a Sir Richard might have called himself Strawn even in Scotland.

(Come to think of it, the place I *have* heard Menzies pronounced with a z was Edinburgh, from people who were trying to be Fraightfully Genteel. You don't get much of that in Dundee right enough)

Abi @729 - my favourite wic/vik thing is the old names of York: the Norse picked up the wic in OE Eoforwic as a near approximation of their word, and turned it in to Jorvik. No matter how homesick you might be for the sea there's no way the Ouse can pass muster as a bay or an inlet

#737 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2012, 07:12 PM:

For those interested in Worldcon history: some of Earl Kemp's correspondence about Chicon 2 in 1962, including letters to/from Heinlein, Asimov, Sturgeon, Bloch and others. A glimpse behind the scenes from long ago.

#738 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2012, 08:23 PM:

Tom Whitmore @ #738, those are wonderful. I do question the blurb for Clifford Simak's book, though. ". . . one of the greatest writers of terror and science fiction" (My emphasis)

Terror? Simak? Nothing of his I've ever read scared me a bit.

#739 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2012, 08:53 PM:

Linkmeister @#739: maybe they really said "terra."

#740 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2012, 10:35 PM:

*Cheers for Syd*

Yay! Yay!

eric at 416: I'm sorry.

#741 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2012, 10:37 PM:

I am visiting the gnomes: delightful folks. Have some blueberries and cream.

#742 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2012, 11:00 PM:

There are lots of bad blurbs out there....

#743 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2012, 12:43 AM:

May I record here my gratitude to Rikibeth, Melissa Singer and dcb for their kindness in checking my text and suggesting necessary changes?

Take it that I may, and do.

#744 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2012, 01:10 AM:

Dave, you're very welcome, and I honor you for your dedication to getting it right.

#745 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2012, 04:43 AM:

Dave: what Rikibeth said. Hope my comments are useful.

#746 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2012, 04:50 AM:

Open Threadiness: I feel that this may be relevant to your interests (via language log).

#747 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2012, 07:37 AM:

Happy Birthday, Xopher!!!

#748 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2012, 07:37 AM:

Happy Birthday, Xopher!!!

#749 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2012, 07:42 AM:

Dave Luckett: What they said!

Xopher: Happy Birthday!

#750 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2012, 08:14 AM:

Happy birthday, Xopher, and may there be many more to come!

#751 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2012, 09:45 AM:

Happy Birthday Xopher!

#752 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2012, 10:10 AM:

Happy Birthday Xopher! and many more!

#753 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2012, 10:34 AM:

Happy Birthday Xopher! And many happy returns of the day.

#754 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2012, 12:11 PM:

Cassy B. @692: Apologies in advance for when I get it wrong in the future (and I *will* get it wrong in the future, alas....)

Which is the main reason I nearly always use copy-paste when addressing a comment. It was impressed upon me from a very early age that spelling someone's name right is a basic, high-value courtesy. To this day, I'm slightly OCD about that. Especially on the Nets, where names are often slight but crucial variants of the "common" form.

#755 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2012, 12:44 PM:

Happy birthday, Xopher!

#756 ::: jude ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2012, 01:45 PM:

Just while I'm out of lurk, may I also wish you a happy birthday, Xopher? And express my gratitude for the notes on ganache you posted here some time ago, which have greatly added to the sum of human happiness (and slightly added to the sum of the waistlines) among my friends and family.

#757 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2012, 01:54 PM:

Jude @ 737

We called it being "pan-loafy". An interesting remark. Scottish bread in those days (I left in 1969) came in two styles: "plain" and "pan". Plain was baked in bulk, so had less crust - only top and bottom were crusted in general. "Pan" was baked in an individual pan, so had crust on all sides. Why that is fancier, I guess, is that it's more labor-intensive.

(I have impeccable Dundee working class credentials - my grandfather was a scaffy(*) and my grandmother was "in service", albeit at a hotel. We did generally buy "plain" bread.)

* garbageman

#758 ::: Jennifer Baughman ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2012, 02:04 PM:

Happy Birthday, Xopher!

#759 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2012, 02:21 PM:

Happy birthday, Xopher!

Syd, YAY!

#760 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2012, 03:34 PM:

Thanks, everyone. It's a tough day for me, as you can imagine. Good wishes always appreciated.

Today started with my old modem completely giving up the ghost. Now I have a new one, after some minor hassles, and I'm getting to things very fast indeed, which makes me think my old modem was sickly for some months before it finally died.

Actually, today began with noticing that it was a crisp, clear fall day just like 2001, and pulling the covers over my head for another attempt at sleeping some more.

jude, thank you! Nice to know I was able to provide some useful information for someone.

Syd, YAY!!!! May it be so for all of us who are now out of work.

#761 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2012, 03:38 PM:

Happy birthday, Xopher!

Henry Troup@721 and Jude@737: Ah well, perhaps it's not true, then. But I have heard people from the North East (Aberdeenshire) claiming this.

Castle Menzies is in Perthshire, near Aberfeldy, and there it's definitely Mingis.

'Scottish Plain' can still be found in supermarkets in Scotland.

#762 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2012, 03:55 PM:

#761: Happy New Modem and Happy Birthday!

#763 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2012, 04:39 PM:

Also on the site with the papercraft disaster dioramas that Abi pointed us to:

Papercraft Dr. Horrible Sing-Along Blog Characters!

I need to hook up my color printer someday.

#764 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2012, 07:18 PM:

Happy birthday, Xopher!

#765 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2012, 07:53 PM:

Adding my voice to the "happy birthday Xopher" chorus.

#766 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2012, 08:23 PM:

Open thready question for the cooking-knowledgeable among us:

Does candied citrus peel keep well, or does it need to be used right away?

If it does keep well, how should it be stored? Freezer? Back of fridge? Sealed up on a shelf?

#767 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2012, 08:37 PM:

Candied anything, if thoroughly candied, keeps exceptionally well: that's one of the reasons to candy it. :-> All that sugar (and the lack of water in the fruit bits) dehydrates to death most microbes that try to live on it.

#768 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2012, 08:46 PM:

Candied fruit will "keep" in that it will not get furry. It will, however, dry out and toughen. It is best used within a few months, but it has no special storage requirements beyond that.

#769 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2012, 08:49 PM:

Happy birthday, Xopher! If there were Aeslin Mice around here, they'd be making up new songs of xopherian celebration about you right now.

#770 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2012, 09:05 PM:

Happy birthday, Xopher!

#771 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2012, 09:05 PM:

Hoppy birdie, Xopher!

#772 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2012, 09:23 PM:

Happy birthday, Xopher!

#773 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2012, 09:29 PM:

Jacque (without an "s") @ 755: Why didn't I think of that? Thanks. Sometimes it's very useful when someone points out the obvious....

(I expect people add an s to you name like they change the y to an ie in mine.)

#774 ::: Cassy B. has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2012, 09:31 PM:

For commenting on variant name spelling; I'm almost certain it's the separate letters that did it. I'd offer them something but I'm not well, so they don't want anything I've prepared. I'll just sit over here in the corner and try not to cough on any of the gnomes....

[It was, in fact, three blank spaces in a row. Spammers have taken to adding random multiple spaces between words in their comment spam in an attempt to get by simple filters. (These all display in public as single spaces.) But ... we defeat that by filtering on unusual numbers of spaces. Alas, sometimes real people are caught in this strainer. -- P. M. liroa, Duty Gnome]

#775 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2012, 09:55 PM:

Elliott Mason (768)/C. Wingate (769): Thanks! That's very informative.

#776 ::: Tamlyn ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2012, 10:04 PM:

HLN: Local woman's housemate manages to get a bridging visa and isn't going to be kicked out of the country or anything, potential housing troubles diverted. Local woman relaxes, housemate turns around and says, "Cool, friend offered me a room, I'm moving out." Local woman's stress levels rocket.

(Happy (possibly belated) Birthday, Xopher!)

#777 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2012, 10:24 PM:

Thanks again, folks.

Mary Aileen, Elliott and C. are right. Candied fruit is shelf-stable. Do keep it in an moisture-tight container though.

#778 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2012, 12:43 AM:

Happy birthday Xopher!

On the candied citrus peel front, the Amazing Girlfriend and I made several batches over the course of a few months - only one was truly shelf-stable... the others grew fur. Keep an eye on it if you're at all skeptical of how thoroughly candied it is.

#779 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2012, 12:56 AM:

Happy birthday, Xopher! You're my favorite reason for remembering September 11! *hugs*

#780 ::: kayTei ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2012, 01:20 AM:

Happy Birthday, Xopher! Intent-mailing some balmy late-summer evening, to counteract your crisp clear fall morning....

#781 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2012, 02:50 AM:

Cassy B. @774: Why didn't I think of that?

You're not lazy enough? (I picked up the habit of copy/pasting rather than typing a long time ago; I got tired of correcting my "corrections.")

(I expect people add an s to you name like they change the y to an ie in mine.)

...Or leave out my c, or spell it as in Chan, or, or, or .... (Actually ran across a new variant last week. Sufficiently bizarre that I don't even remember what it was.)

#782 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2012, 02:52 AM:

Xopher: Have some nice, delicious, gray, drizzly weather for your birthday? Lovely for sleeping in....

#783 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2012, 05:23 AM:

There are multitudes of names for the little gnomes (are they little?) appearing here to explain the faults of the posters' typographical miscues and correct them, to the point where the question must be asked: Just how big is the roster from which Duty Gnomes are selected?

#784 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2012, 08:06 AM:

Linkmeister @ #784:

Gnome Central is not only bigger than you imagine, it's bigger than you can imagine.

#785 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2012, 08:12 AM:

I tend to cutpaste names/numbers and the piece of the comment I want to respond to, in a side text-editor window as I am reading the thread. Then I rework it into my post later.

My only annoyance is having to put the comment numbers AFTER the names, as in my copied text they're before. But then I also obsessively bold the names and italicize the quoted text, so I'm already doing a lot of work. :->

#786 ::: Elliott Mason got gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2012, 08:14 AM:

As I'm eating breakfast, I only have dry (no milk) original flavor Cheerios to offer, or else rotini with parmesan (my daughter's leftovers). Not very gourmet, but there you have it.

#787 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2012, 10:56 AM:

Linkmeister @784: Just how big is the roster from which Duty Gnomes are selected?

Well, considering the volume of tinned meat they have to process, one suspects there's a large pool of casuals available in the nearby gnome village. These are, of course, distinct from the the Black Gang that works deep in tunnels of Making Light to sort and catalog comments, and keep the infrastructure humming along smoothly. Just my guess, of course. ;-)

#788 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2012, 11:02 AM:

In Teresa's Particle "Christopher Robin and Pooh, photographed," that's probably not an iPad Christopher is holding in #7. Right?

#789 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2012, 11:56 AM:

Happy belated birthday, Xopher!

(Today is my eldest nephew's birthday, Friday is my stepfather's 80th birthday. This starts off my family's "birthday season".)

Jacque #788: I just read PJ Farmer's "Down in the Black Gang". Not what I'd expected from the blurb....

#790 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2012, 12:20 PM:

It was twenty years ago tonight for Sgt Pepper.
It was ten years ago tonight for Sgt Reynolds.

"I aim to misbehave."

#791 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2012, 12:26 PM:


If you manage to bend an iPad into a curve like that, it will make horrible noises, and probably you will too.

I suppose it's a... magazine? Pamphlet? Photo? If you look three photos down, he's holding the same thing and it seems to have a Pooh illustration on the back.

(Geez, apertures were enormous back then.)

#792 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2012, 12:41 PM:

Belated happy birthday, Xopher!

#793 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2012, 12:56 PM:

Thanks again, everyone.

Several people have pointed out that REINCE PRIEBUS disemvowels to RNC PR BS, but I just heard it today.

#794 ::: Rob Hansen ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2012, 01:11 PM:

I was croggled by this:

We got 400 hours of paralympics coverage over here, which got good viewing figures, and the closing ceremony drew an audience of 7.7m. I feel sorry for the 227 US paralympic athletes who won 31 gold medals for their country, but whose achievements were ignored.

#795 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2012, 07:48 PM:

#782: Jacque-chan? No, I don't think so...

(Yes, I know what you meant, but I've been watching too much anime recently, obviously, and that is the first thing that came to mind...)

Having worked with several Japanese clients in the last couple of years, though, the first time one sees email starting "Hello Mycroft-san:" is a bit of a loop-thrower...

#796 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2012, 08:04 PM:

Jim -- re your Diffraction "* Anti-Gay Activist and Prop 8 Donor Charged With Sexually Assaulting Young Boys" -- there's a flip from the original pointing out that the person profiled is not an activist, merely a donor to the Prop 8 campaign. A small difference, but one I think is important.

#797 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2012, 10:17 PM:

Tom, the article says he's "a longtime youth volunteer with the virulently homophobic Evangelical Free Church of Yucca Valley." How is that not being an anti-gay activist? Jim's Diffraction never said he was a Prop h8 activist, only an anti-gay one.

#798 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2012, 10:19 PM:

And yeah, I see where they're claiming he's not an activist. I call that "bullshit."

#799 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2012, 10:53 PM:

What I noticed was that they said the claim (apparently much repeated elsewhere, actual source not given) that he owned a particular website is wrong.

#800 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2012, 10:59 PM:

My only problem is that I don't especially believe confessions-- there's too much risk of pressure from the police.

#801 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2012, 11:35 PM:

Egad, I intended to do this earlier--happy belated birthday, Xopher!

#802 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2012, 11:35 PM:

And on a whole different kind of snake - parthenogenesis has been demonstrated in wild snakes. DNA tests of parent and child.

#803 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2012, 11:44 PM:

Rob Hansen—Most Americans barely know that there *is* such a thing as the Paralympics, and probably conflate it with the Special Olympics, which is a whole 'nother beast altogether. I'd call it a chicken-egg problem, except it's very obvious why people don't know about it. Our high-and-mighty information gatekeepers don't think they can get enough sales out of it.

#804 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2012, 12:17 AM:

Extremely local news. Woman with new lower leg prosthesis makes a successful outing to a local bar for their Octoberfest kickoff. Had cane in hand when I got out of car for uneven pavement, didn't really need it.

Still glad physical therapy is scheduled for next week, I need coaching for dealing with stairs, etc. so I can get my life back. There are 19 steps up to my bedroom.... I hate being down here despite my family's accommodations.

Love you all and your good thoughts on my healing./getting back to a semblance of normal.

#805 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2012, 12:23 AM:

#805: Glad to hear of your progress!

#806 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2012, 12:50 AM:

B. Durbin @804: It's worse than that. A proud mother of a US paralympian posted photos of THE TRIUMPH on her facebook ... and facebook instabanned her for 'offensive and derogatory content'. Presumably for posting a photo of a "crip". Not clear whether it was some kind of automated catch or a random passerby being offended and reporting her.

But seriously -- posting photos of YOUR OWN CHILD competing in THE PARALYMPICS is not in any way offensive content, people!

Google is failing me; I know the story was covered on local NPR (I know not whether it was a national story or of particularly Chicagoan interest), but I can't find any cites.

#807 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2012, 07:45 AM:

Paula Helm Murray @805, glad to hear it. Go, you!

#808 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2012, 07:54 AM:

Paula Helm Murray: Good to hear.

#809 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2012, 07:58 AM:

A mini-gathering of light has been discussed for the DC area for Sunday, Sept 23. At least, Ginger and I have discussed it. We're scheduling around Lois McMaster Bujold's appearance at the National Book Festival; she is speaking from 12:55 - 1:40 and signing books from 2:30-3:30.

Ginger, do you still want to do this? Anybody else interested/available?

#810 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2012, 08:02 AM:

More reviewers having fun: Uranium Ore for sale on Amazon.

#811 ::: Melissa Singer is gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2012, 08:04 AM:

Would their lowlinesses like some whole wheat garlic focaccia?

#812 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2012, 10:41 AM:

Paula Helm Murray @ 805: Excellent!

HLN: Area woman stumbles upon a street fair in southeast Portland's industrial district. It features the usual beer, art, tie-dyed garments, and music. She is particularly struck by one band, whose rather large dog is curled up in the guitar case open for donations. One speculation is that he was raised by cats.

#813 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2012, 11:41 AM:

janetl @813: My junior dog likes curling up in boxes/places with edges. For a while, he was convinced that those big blue nonwoven fabric bags Amazon gift-wraps big items in were THE BEST CAVES EVER and would importune nearby humans to hold one open for him.

We are his second owners; to our knowledge, he had little cat contact with his first, where he lived as an outdoor dog with an older chihuahua for a friend/mentor.

I joke I should see if someone would make me one of those cylindrical plywood-with-carpet-surface cat-den things in his size, but I'm half-certain if I went to the trouble he'd decide he didn't like it. So we keep putting a pillow in the bottom of a shipping box, which he eventually explodes the sides of (through snuggling into the corners really hard) and then we need a new box.

#814 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2012, 12:06 PM:

Ardala's a huge fan of the big blue Ikea bag. I used one to haul warm laundry out of the dryer once and came back from the bathroom to find her burrowed in like she'd been there for two hours. We now have four dog beds in the house, including a $250 orvis memory foam bed, but given the opportunity, she'll nest in the Ikea bag.

#815 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2012, 12:34 PM:

Boston's favorite (my dogs are Ajax and Boston) is an IKEA bag IN one of his favorite-sized boxes.

Though I did leave my guitar case alone and open for ten minutes once and he gave me the Big Sad Eyes when I asked him to get out of it afterwards. :->

#816 ::: Persephone ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2012, 01:45 PM:

#810 ::: OtterB ::: I'm in the DC area and wouldn't mind meeting some ML folks, but I'm extremely short on spoons this week and will be even shorter after my first solo concert (yay! and terrifying!) on Saturday. Sorry.

#817 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2012, 03:56 PM:

Xopher -- A belated "Happy Birthday!"

The last two days I haven't had much time to get here -- I had a colonoscopy on Wednesday, just a routine screening (everything is fine). However, I couldn't drag the computer to the bathroom with me on Tuesday...

Clear liquid diet is no fun, and the prep laxative they give you is disturbingly thorough, which is a good thing but still... And the taste of Sureprep...shudder.

To add insult to injury, I had to take a pair of vise-grip pliers to the bottle tops on the laxative. I've finally met a child-proof cap I can't open. I did tell the doctor about the problem, and he's going to talk to the drug company.

#818 ::: jude ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2012, 04:05 PM:

Xopher @761 - not only useful, but reassuring! The recipe for which I first needed ganache was in a book that made it sound like something you shouldn't attempt without a bain-marie, a diploma, and a team of Sherpas. Not the first time, or the last, that I've thought "somebody on Making Light knows more about that" and gone fossicking in the archives.

Henry @ 758 and Andrew @ 762 - nothing makes better toast than a plain loaf, especially the heel of one. I think the coarser texture means it soaks up butter more effectively (I always thought the finer texture of pan was the reason you brought it out when the minister came round, with accent to match. I hadn't considered that before the Chorleywood process, soft bread was the more expensive kind). And chewing the crusts is good for your teeth, according to my granny...

#819 ::: Naomi Parkhurst ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2012, 06:41 PM:


In reference to the librarian tattoo particle, I believe the Dewey Decimal number you're looking for is

391.65 Tattoing and scarification

#820 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2012, 06:52 PM:

Persephone @817 Hope the concert goes well -that's exciting. Maybe next time.

#821 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2012, 07:52 PM:


I'm interested in a ML mini-gathering on the 23rd.

#822 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2012, 08:23 PM:

One of my friends wished me a "belted" happy birthday. I only wish I'd been studying the martial arts long enough to earn a belt on my birthday!

AKICML: One of my tweeps (I can't believe I just used that word) pointed out that this picture looks like a particular painting of the Virgin. I agree, but can't place it. A Google Image search was no help. Anybody know?

#823 ::: TrishB ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2012, 10:02 PM:

Xopher HalfTongue@822

I'm getting a Modigliani vibe from the face, but I'm not sure that he painted a Madonna. Maybe that, or something Byzantine perhaps? Well, I'm sure that narrows things down.

#824 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2012, 10:45 PM:

Xopher, I think it's the eyes and the tilt of the head. (To my mind, late medieval or early renaissance seem appropriate periods. If there were a visible lap, it would have a baby Jesus sitting in it.)

#825 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2012, 11:39 PM:

Xopher @822: There are so many. The two that puts me in mind of are Antonio da Messina's Annunciata and the icon of the Virgin of Phileremos. If neither does it for you, give me corrections and directions and I'll try again.

Naomi Parkhurst @819: Thank you! I have modified the title tag accordingly.

#826 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2012, 12:06 AM:

You'll notice that two of the tattoos are Dewey Decimal numbers.

823.914R797 is Harry Potter.

027.625 is children's library non-fiction (e.g. Early Literacy Storytimes @ Your Library: Partnering With Caregivers for Success by Saroj Nadkarni Ghoting.)

#827 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2012, 01:40 AM:

Teresa, I think this one is the closest. You're right, it's the angle and the expression. Maybe I couldn't remember the specific one because there WAS no specific one.

#828 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2012, 03:30 AM:

I think this is better than "The Problem of Susan".

#829 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2012, 03:42 AM:

Nancy Lebovitz @828: Oh! That was...heartbreaking.

#830 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2012, 11:26 AM:

HLN: Area woman buys four tickets to Minecon, the Minecraft convention, which is taking place at Disneyland Paris in November.

W00tage ensues.

#831 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2012, 11:42 AM:

Abi 830: Have fun! I wish I could manage international travel but between the whole money thing and other issues...

#832 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2012, 11:46 AM:

David Harmon @831:

For us, of course, this is the easy kind of international travel. Last year's Minecon in Las Vegas was prohibitive. But for one on this continent? We're there.

(See also Worldcon and World Fantasy attendance, which follow the same pattern.)

#833 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2012, 11:48 AM:

HLN: Anxiety about upcoming Latin class canceled on account of the UT campus being evacuated over unspecified "threats on campus." Further information reveals that said threats are built of such ludicrous cliches as to be wildly implausible.

Area woman comments, "I can't blame them for taking it seriously anyway. After all, some terrorists are dumb enough to set up bombs in a manner as inefficient as that. This also explains all those sirens that keep going by, and why the campus shuttles stopped passing."

#834 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2012, 11:58 AM:

Best wishes, abi!

#835 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2012, 12:41 PM:

Yay, abi! Have fun! (Our building just recarpeted the halls...the new carpet reminds me of Minecraft, I'm not sure why. But I call it the "Minecraft carpet.")

Here's a pretty friendly article about Worldcon from WBEZ's website. Peter Sagal was apparently there; more amazingly, he was at my very first Worldcon, Noreascon II.

#836 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2012, 02:16 PM:

RE Teresa's climate change particle:

Once it is clear that the shit is hitting the fan, the denialists will switch from posing as the scientifically sane and cautious people who make fun of chicken littles to posing as the economically sane and cautious people who dismiss any solution to the problem on economic grounds.

Well, their solution will probably involve giving fossil fuel companies subsidies to build dikes around oil production facilities.

#837 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2012, 02:50 PM:


Probably so. And this will suck all the oxygen out of the room that might have been used for an intelligent discussion of costs and benefits of responses to AGW.

More and more, I despair of any kind of sensible decisions from our broken media and political system. From terrorism to AGW to deficit reduction to financial regulation, the MSM public debate is embarrassingly stupid, and the political decisions are subject to various levels of dysfunction based on infighting, power struggles within and between parties, personal rivalries, the need to keep important donors and lobbies happy, payback for past screwings-over, etc.

#838 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2012, 03:31 PM:

OtterB @810: Yes! I may even have the FG and -- distantly possibly -- the Son in tow. (I have converted the FG to a raving fan of Lois, with great pleasure.)

Feel free to email me using the n e i v e t "at" a o l "dot" c o m address. We should settle on a meeting place and time.

#839 ::: Ginger is gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2012, 03:38 PM:

Just realized I put in spaces between letters, to avoid collection of my email address. Perhaps I should have rot-13'd it instead.

#840 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2012, 04:27 PM:

Jacque, piggie-related questions for you . . . .

Last night my brother (who, as you may recall, already has one guinea pig in residence) was called upon by a neighbor to rescue a guinea pig seen wandering along the street.

Said pig is a cute little fellow currently being kept in isolation in my brother's home office (so as to keep him away from Boo-Boo). My brother says he has calmed down considerably and begun to vocalize and is eating.

Brother has posted signs up and down the street for two blocks, but is wondering if the little guy could have come from farther away and if he should be spreading the signs out more. Of course, we've no idea how long this fellow's been out on his own, though judging by his behavior, it can't have been long--he's clearly someone's pet.

His stated intent is that if no one responds to the signage by Sunday, the newcomer will be packed off to the vet and, assuming all is well, will become a member of the family.

So, second question, is there anything they should do/not do to introduce Boo-Boo and the newcomer? Can they share a cage, assuming they get along okay (and that baby-making has been taken off the table)? Any general differences between males and females they should be aware of?


#841 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2012, 04:53 PM:

Michael I @821, Ginger and I are switching to email for making plans. Her email is in her post above; mine is (rot13) ROOvmbg [at] nby.pbz

Anybody else who wants to join us at the National Book Festival on Sunday September 23 before Bujold's talk, feel free.

#842 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2012, 05:04 PM:

Ginger @838, I'm getting an error message trying to use your email. Mine's in post 841.

#843 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2012, 06:43 PM:

I hope all Portland-area M'Lighters have a chance to visit the Mini Maker Faire at OMSI this weekend. 10 am to 6 pm.

I'll be in the rocketry booth. Showing, not launching, alas.

#844 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2012, 07:01 PM:

abi at 830: may you -- have fun, stay peaceful, and return home happy.

#845 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2012, 08:20 PM:

Anybody else here planning to be at FenCon in Dallas next weekend? They've got a stellar guest list, including C.J. Cherryh as GoH and Peter David as Toastmaster. We will be in the dealer room as usual.

#846 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2012, 09:04 PM:

Russ @ #636; I worked in a university library facility that had multiple levels of stacks/offices connected by glass walkways. We often saw pigeon marks like that, sometimes you could almost make out the look of surprise, "What the...?" CRASH! as they hit. But we usually found the pigeons first, on the ground by the doorway that we all had to enter the building by.

#847 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2012, 11:06 PM:

I was at work one time, back in 1978, when a small flock of waxwings hit the glass wall in the cafeteria, on the other side of our office area. The crash was quite audible. (Most of the waxwings were able to leave the scene, although one of them was out cold for a few minutes.)

#848 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2012, 01:58 AM:

TNH, thanks so much for that Judith Dushku particle. I sent it to my active Mormon mom, who's been dealing with her unhinged Mormon Tea-Partier sister calling every other day with some sort of paranoid nonsense or another. Mom hasn't heeded my exhortations to fully exploit the power of caller ID and just NOT ANSWER THE PHONE, and instead just listens to Aunt TeaParty babble without surcease. Mom doesn't like confrontation. I told her that AuTePa considers her silence to be approval, but there is only so much bossing I can do from down here. I think she will appreciate hearing more Mormon women voice independent opinions. And Stake Relief Society President Dushku sounds like a pretty neat lady.

#849 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2012, 07:11 AM:


My email address (rot13):

zzvxrqn (at) rebyf.pbz

#850 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2012, 07:48 AM:

P J Evans #847: Unfortunately, for small birds especially such collisions tend to be fatal over the next few days. In particular, if a bird has knocked itself out, it has probably taken brain injuries that will kill it.

Birds are fundamentally fragile, because of all the adaptations of flight... it's commonplace that they have light, fragile bones, less well known that the issues run all through their physiology. Their overdriven metabolism, especially, means that illness or injury can get out of hand quickly. And of course an injured bird is easy prey, not to mention problems finding food. Even those intimidating raptors and ravens are glass cannons (and their tactics reflect that).

#851 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2012, 07:52 AM:

So, heading back to NYC for Rosh Hashana. Probably will be more-or-less connected, certainly on the train ride.

#852 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2012, 10:22 AM:

OtterB @842: I forgot the numeral "2" at the end of neivet. I hope that fixes it!

#853 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2012, 11:24 AM:

Well, seeing the remains of those that didn't leave was pretty clear - they'd hit head-first. Best described as massive head injuries.

#854 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2012, 12:47 PM:

Today on Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me the "Not My Job" guest was George R.R. Martin.

That's the game where they have a notable person on and ask them questions about something as vaguely related as possible. They asked GRRM questions about things that rhyme with 'thrones'.

But first, and more interestingly, they ask him things about...well, mostly about the HBO series. You've probably already heard that it was pitched to HBO as "The Sopranos in Middle Earth." He refused to confirm or deny the story that exposition is mostly delivered by naked characters to get viewers to listen to it.

#855 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2012, 04:09 PM:

That's interesting: I've got Google Chrome and am running Snow Leopard on my Mac and suddenly, when I try to load the store videos with the Hamsters, there's no play button: there's a empty spot where the video would be, but no image and nothing to click to play...

#856 ::: David Wald ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2012, 04:29 PM:

AKICIML: Does anyone here have experience with food printers (primarily, food-safe inkjets printing on confectionery sheets)? We're contemplating the fun we could have with one, but most of the information we can find is on half-baked merchant sites, and those don't fill us with confidence in either the safety or the effectiveness of the products.

#857 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2012, 04:45 PM:

Brief note on the Doctor Who episode, "A Town Called Mercy".

The episode was shot in Spain, in the area were most of the Spaghetti Westerns were shot. Yes you have seen that town before.

It's set about 1870. going by a couple of references to the Civil War.

I predict there will be fan-fic

#858 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2012, 04:51 PM:

Why did I think spaghetti westerns were shot in Italy? Were they named that by people of towering culinary ignorance?

#859 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2012, 05:00 PM:

Bulletin received from the Department of Nobody's Surprised:

The Netherlands' least charming politician, Geert Wilders, has uploaded "The Innocence of the Muslims", the video against which many Muslims are currently protesting, onto his website.

His website is now down. I haven't heard anyone in a position to know state why. I can think of a number of possibilities: hacking, self-dramatization (he's prone to it), Dutch national security.

Dutch politics. Never a dull moment. I really must write up our recent election.

#860 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2012, 05:26 PM:

Xopher @858 They're called spaghetti westerns because Sergio Leone, father of the genre, was an Italian, and quite a few Italian film-makers imitated him once his westerns caught on. I understand it was not originally a positive, or even a neutral term. The article at Wikipedia may not be absolutely correct and definitive, but has some interesting details.

#861 ::: Throwmearope ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2012, 06:35 PM:

@Abi, #859--

Some of our charming Colorado politicians invited Wilders to speak here. Despite the fact that the Denver metro area has a large population of followers of Islam. Fortunately, not many people noticed that he was invited.

#862 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2012, 07:46 PM:

Accidental truth in advertising: Rick Santorum says "Smart people will never be on our side."

(It's pretty obvious what he was intending to say, but the wording was... unfortunate.)

#863 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2012, 09:41 PM:

I met a salesman a-wandering the land
Who said: “A castle, small and faced with tin
Sits stark and vacant. Atop, a sign doth stand
Whose message welcomes trav’lers in
For doughnuts hot and coffee by command
Where none with dough be turned away unfed;
'Weary one, here's the dinner of your dreams,
With half pound burgers, served on fresh-made bread!'
In disrepair, the words yet stay clear:
'We never close! We’re Krispiest of Kremes
No further look ye for food, we have it here!'
Alas, it’s false. All business here did cease.
No doughnut holes, nor hot dogs, nuts, or beer.
A newer sign says ‘LOT FOR SALE OR LEASE.’”

(Written for elseweb, but nobody actually told me not to run it here as well. Fixed a line or two.)

#864 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2012, 12:44 AM:

This afternoon I went to the book signing by local author Melinda Snodgrass and had a wonderful time. When the author talked about her work on ST-TNG, I revealed something that she herself didn't know about the cast - that the father of "Q" had been a renowned oboist.

By the way, Melinda said that her episode "Measure of A Man" will be released on BluRay in two versions - one will be the aired episode, the other will be a 75-minute episode with all the stuff that had to be cut out because of time constraints.

#865 ::: Antonia T. Tiger ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2012, 09:01 AM:

I have been having one of those "I can write better than that moments."

I'm not going to name the book or the author, except to say it's a WW2 AH.

And, when I think about it, the problems are with what Jo Walton calls in-cluing. I'm maybe unusual in that I know enough about the history not to need things explaining, and I can figure out the AH aspects. But the author doesn't trust his readers to know or to figure it out.

Whatever the reason, it doesn't read well.

And then I wondered. Would I forget to in-clue my readers?

#866 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2012, 09:15 AM:

Antonia T Tiger @865: I'm reading one of the most recently-published books by a very-well-selling, big-name F/SF author of decades-long reputation. I am enjoying it, somewhat, but it is becoming clearer and clearer to me that this author's bad guys are bad BECAUSE THEY ARE BAD YO, and rarely have any actual supportable characterization backing it up.

I've been reading some absolutely amazing chapter-by-chapter deconstructions of Narnia lately (be sure to read at least halfway down the comment threads, too; her commenters are AMAZING and very Fluorospherian), and someone there has posited that part of why the narrator's emotional view of Edmund and the audience's observations of what he is shown to do are different, is that perhaps Lewis had a problem sympathizing (or wanting to sympathize) with the character, for a variety of interesting posited reasons. For example, from about halfway through the book, Edmund -- who until then has had the majority of the human-spoken dialogue lines -- never says another on-camera word. And his most redemptive moments happen off-screen. Clearly, the author did not think this was What The Book Was About, so he skimmed it to get to the 'good stuff'.

I'm wondering, as I read my current series-installment by a Big Name, Well-Known author, if perhaps she's throwing a splatter of 'evil bad-guy' shaped paint on the wall quickly so that her other characters can get to the Good Stuff, the stuff she's actually interested in writing about ...

(Names avoided to protect the guilty)

#867 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2012, 12:49 PM:

HLN: Area community theatre group's annual season of one-act plays (previously mentioned at #615) has concluded successfully.

At the after party, the cast of area man's play presented area man with a gift of appreciation, inscribed with messages from each. Area man takes particular delight in the message that, in the spirit of the play, includes a literary in-joke -- the more so as it represents a special effort by the cast member who had the most trouble with the literary in-jokes in the actual play.

#868 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2012, 01:08 PM:

Paul A @ 867... Well deserved!

#869 ::: Rob Hansen ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2012, 03:14 PM:

In re Teresa's psrticle about Judy Dushku, I assume everyone knows she's the mother of Eliza Dushku aka Faith on 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer':

I read an interview with Eliza some months back about knowing the Romney family when she was growing up and liking them well enough, but that she was still voting for Obama.

#870 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2012, 04:17 PM:

The plums, which you stored there on ice,
I have eaten; they went in a trice.
If you meant them to last
For a morning repast
Then I'm sorry, but boy were they nice.

#871 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2012, 07:57 PM:

Speaking of Patrick's * Bruce McCall, asshole Sidelight link, without reading the text, I interpreted that cover picture to be one of the standard NYC on the right, LA on the left, the entire-rest-of-America-with-buffalo in the narrow strip in the center pictures.

#872 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2012, 08:09 PM:

thomas, that's delightful. And it doesn't appear to be nailed down. I will credit you if I quote it in writing!

#873 ::: JM ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2012, 08:10 PM:

I will not allow the "Bruce McCall, asshole" Sidelight to affect my passionate love of his "In the New Canada, Living Is a Way of Life," but it will take an effort. Alas.

#874 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2012, 08:55 PM:

thomas #870: You have won this week's internet.

#875 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2012, 02:03 AM:

Open threadiness: @DailyPlum tweets one P.G Wodehouse quote a day. Such a refreshing note in one's twitter stream. The other day's was: It's no use telling me that there are bad aunts and good aunts. At the core, they are all alike. Sooner or later, out pops the cloven hoof.

I have two cats, a tuxedo named Jeeves and a blond named Wooster. Wooster is friendly, and Jeeves hides from strangers. When guests met Wooster, and failed to ask "Where's Jeeves?", I realized that not everyone had heard of Wodehouse. I now have extra paperbacks stashed, and hand them out. It's not that everyone has to read Wodehouse, but they should have the opportunity to make an informed decision!

#876 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2012, 02:12 AM:

Abi@859, I'd love to see your take on the election. Meanwhile, Wikipedia has the vote counts and a bit about issues and pollsters' opinions on possible coalitions.

I think Wilders just did that to say "I told you so" after losing badly in the election.

#877 ::: Antonia T. Tiger ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2012, 04:22 AM:

I lost a good chunk of yesterday to reading one of my own stories. I hadn't really looked at it since last November, and I was pleasantly surprised.

OK, I guess I'm biased.

But I am a bit worried now. I remember it as rather flowing from my fingers. But it's something that is old fashioned: think of the Galactic Patrol. I think I might do a search and replace on "Marsport", turn it into "Bradbury Landing", but...

Well, see for yourself:

Alice Baginski was a Baginski, and as she watched the space-armoured figure tramp deliberately along the corridor, she knew what she was seeing and her disciplined mind knew what she had to do. She looked young for her rating, but it had been honestly earned, and none doubted the reputations of the schools of the North Pacific Continental Sector of Tellus. Those who knew their trade, out in the endless dark and cold of space, knew what the little platinum badge—a three-note musical chord without a stave—on the uniform's collar was the signifier of. She was, as were so many before and after, a Songmark girl, part of a tradition that went back to that all too brief gap in the slaughter of the world wars which blended, horribly, into the Atomic Wars. She was competent –all Songmark girls were, of course—and she had that hard-tested integrity which so many could never claim.

It was Lieutenant-Commander Peston's space armour she could see, but it was not walking with his gait. And it was not his watch. As Chief Engineer of the Highflyer he was never, properly, off duty, but he was very clear about everyone getting their proper routine of meals and sleep, especially on this voyage. As the Chief, he was always available. As one of his crew, you knew disturbing his sleep was something not to be lightly done.

As Captain, of course, you could disturb the sleep of anyone on board the ship, with the impunity of absolute authority, but as Captain you trusted your subordinates to do their jobs. And, many decks above Alice, Captain de Broglie was seated at his desk, clad in his uniform of silver and black,listening to the reports of his officers. None had news to report. Which, on this voyage, was not really good news, just hopeful, if only in the was that whistling in the dark was hopeful. There was no joy in being bait for the pirates, even if he knew, without knowing who, that there were officers of the Solarian Patrol amongst his crew. Hard men, he knew they would be, with that iron-hard willingness to risk their lives which marked the best of Tellus, and some of the worst. And he knew that somewhere out in the dark, riding on baffled jets, the North Pacific Squadron of the Patrol was waiting for the pirates, out here in the darkness, as the Highflyer arced over the Sun, between lush Earth and the red deserts of Mars, which lay almost in opposition.

He didn't know where the Squadron was, but there was a globe of scoutships which also reported to him. They were flimsy, and tried not to be seen, and their detectors scanned the circumambient ether, and their crews would be in the acceleration tanks, ready to run at a full nine Tellurian gravities, drivers redlined, at the first hint of trouble.

And there was nothing to report.

Clear ether, for at least twenty million miles, before the glare from Sol would swamp the detectors; even though the scouts looked sideways, rather than directly into that raging storm of radiation.

If Amazon was genuinely international, rather than embroiling every author in the US tax system, I might shove out a Kindle version. As it is, I doubt the royalties would be worth the paperwork and other hassles.

#878 ::: Antonia T. Tiger has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2012, 04:29 AM:

Very carefully, the vixen kept her hands away from the gun that was slung low on her hip. Gnomes, thousands of 'em!

She threw the first thing that came to paw, and ran, and as she ran, she heard behind her the words, "I'm a thirty-second Pierogi! I'm a thirty-second Pierogi! Ywenty-nine! Twenty-eight!..."

#879 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2012, 08:49 AM:

Antonia: There's a typo in your long excerpt; if you copy-pasted it, it's present in the original as well. Third paragraph, "if only in the was that whistling in the dark was hopeful". I suspect that should be "in the way".

That said, are you selling this somewhere? Because I'm intrigued.

#880 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2012, 10:42 AM:

Antonia: Honestly, that excerpt reads to me like pieces of at least three separate chunks of story shoved together with the intervening sections excised. I'm fine up until "Songmark girl," but then you totally drop that thread and get into gait-recognition, without saying WHY the gait being wrong is important, because you suddenly go to talking about interrupting the character's sleep.

Does he walk funny when woken up? Because I was assuming the Songmark Girl had used Magical Songmark Skillz to spot that it was AN IMPOSTER in the armor, and therefore a danger to the ship, and therefore ... nothing, because there was a jump-cut to a different story? Nothing seems to pay off or connect. You keep getting me interested and then suddenly you're talking about something completely different.

#881 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2012, 11:14 AM:

New FISA bill, Congressmen don't know what they're approving, but they're still approving it. (A cynic might almost suspect that the only thing they need to know is what the folks doing the wiretapping already know about *them*.)

#882 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2012, 12:18 PM:

Xopher HalfTongue @822: One of my tweeps (I can't believe I just used that word) pointed out that this picture looks like a particular painting of the Virgin.

I get more of Botticelli vibe.

#883 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2012, 01:01 PM:

On birds vs windows: I occassionally get one of the neighborhood crowd trying to fly into my living room. Fortunately, the tree they're launching from is only about five-ten feet away, so they can't work up a lot of momentum before the collision. Still, you can almost hear them swearing afterwards.

#884 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2012, 01:53 PM:

Rob Hansen @869: In re Teresa's psrticle about Judy Dushku, I assume everyone knows she's the mother of Eliza Dushku aka Faith on 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer'

I was wondering about that.

#885 ::: Antonia T. Tiger ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2012, 02:13 PM:

Carrie S. @879

Thanks. I'm sure it's not the only typo left.

Elliot Mason @880

I can see what you're getting at.

The full chapter is here, in PDF format

#886 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2012, 02:23 PM:

Melissa Singer @840: Ah, piggles! My favorite topic! Innevitable Wall-O-Text warning:

First off, if piggy was running loose, I personally would be less than inclined to give him/her back to prior owner, even if they can be found. But that's just me.

Is Boo-Boo male or female? If both are male, you might be able to get them to cohabitate genially, but it's very much harder. They're sort of hardwired to regard N+1 boars as being N too many. What I have seen to work sometimes is for each to have his own cage, and to play (more-or-less) amicably in neutral territory (as long as neither can get into the other's cage). Very rarely have I seen two boars who are not littermates actually live together.

Getting females to live together is a slightly less fraught proposition. The problem there is that an ongoing battle over who's Alpha seems to occur. (Strangely, IME, peaceful cohabitation is more likely with three than with two. In that case, "herd" psychology seems to come into play, and one of them becomes alpha, and the other two fall into being beta.)

In either case, introductions should be made in neutral territory, with lots of room to run around in. (My 500 sqft living room is not too big for this purpose.) All appropriate piggy-proofing measures should be taken, of course, though Boo-Boo's humans have doubtless worked out all of this by now.

So, having chosen appropriate real estate for the introductions to take place, provide furnishings as follows. At least N+1 snuggly-places to hide. (That's so that there's always a place to run to if(when) the other one decides he/she wants your snuggly-place.) These can be a paper bag (without handles—handled paper bags often grab guinea pigs, chase them and try to eat them, which is hilarious for the humans, but traumatic for the pig), a cardboard box, a small stool with a towel tossed over to make a "tent," and so on. N+1 feeding stations (water bottle, pellets, hay), for the same reason, and additionally because the other food is always tastier than the one in front of you.

Initial introductions should be carefully supervised. Be prepared to be the alpha: if back-fur goes up and teeth start rattling, it's alpha's job to mediate. "Boo-Boo, be nice. Good Boo-Boo," and so on. Verbal instruction is surprisingly effective. There will, in all likelyhood, be much rumble-strutting and mounting (irrespective of gender); this is how we establish dominance. As long as teeth are not deployed, this is to be expected and is acceptable.

Another thing you as the alpha should keep handy is a Special Patented Guinea Pig Herding Device. In our house, that's usually a flyswatter. This is used to place between combatants, should they come to blows. DO NOT intercede with bare hands. Guinea pig vision is not great, and when they're in the thick of things, they can't tell the difference between their opponent and your hands, and guinea pigs have very sharp teeth. I have the scars to prove it.

When I've done it, what I've done is leave the door to the main cage open so people can come and go, and then put New Kid's house somewhere on the other side of the living room, door also open, plus feeding stations out "in the wilds" of the living room. Full intregration usually occurs within about a week.

However, this was when I was home all the time and could lock people up promptly if they misbehaved. I haven't actually done a good integration since I've been working.

Nowadays, I guess I would put their cages next to each other so they could get acquainted. Then, make a third, big cage available (which would eventually be their communcal cate), and let them out to negotiate as much as possible when I was home.

Does that help?

#887 ::: Jacque, gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2012, 02:24 PM:

Very messy strawberry cupcakes in the breakroom.

#888 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2012, 02:30 PM:

Elliott, #880: To me, the first paragraph is "introducing our viewpoint character", the second is Clue 1 (aka "that guy doesn't walk like the person who should be wearing that suit, plus that person shouldn't be awake now"), and the third is Clue 2 (aka "of course, he could be responding to a call from the Captain, but there's no reason for such a call to have been made"). It's a little heavy on the narrative exposition for my taste*, but I would expect the action (aka "she knew what she had to do") to start in the next paragraph.

* OTOH, based on other story excerpts I've seen Antonia post, that seems to be the normal style of the Wolf Baginski stories, so it fits right in.

#889 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2012, 04:29 PM:

I took some photos of the Mini Maker Faire in Portland:

There aren't many. I could have spent an hour taking pictures. Stupidifericiously, I left my more capable, some-much-memory-I-don't-ever-worry camera home, and resorted to using my emergency glove compartment camera. It didn't have an SD card inserted, and thus ran out of room after ten shots.

New York area people probably know there's a full-fledged gigantic Maker Faire coming to town in a few weeks.

#890 ::: Antonia T. Tiger ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2012, 05:09 PM:

Steal from the best...

Leaving the captain's desk, the watch officer resumed his tour of duty. The six great lookout plates into which the alert observers peered were blank, their far-flung ultra-sensitive detector screens encountering no obstacle--the ether was empty for thousands upon thousands of kilometers. The signal lamps upon the pilot's panel were dark, its warning bells were silent. A brilliant point of white light in the center of the pilot's closely ruled micrometer grating, exactly upon the cross-hairs of his directors, showed that the immense vessel was precisely upon the calculated course, as laid down by the automatic integrating course plotters. Everything was quiet and in order.

"All's well, sir," he reported briefly to Captain Bradley--but all was not well.

Danger--more serious by far in that it was not external--was even then, all unsuspected, gnawing at the great ship's vitals. In a locked and shielded compartment, deep down in the interior of the liner, was the great air purifier. Now a man leaned against the primary duct--the aorta through which flowed the stream of pure air supplying the entire vessel. This man, grotesque in full panoply of space armor, leaned against the duct, and as he leaned a drill bit deeper and deeper into the steel wall of the pipe. Soon it broke through, and the slight rush of air was stopped by the insertion of a tightly fitting rubber tube. The tube terminated in a heavy rubber balloon, which surrounded a frail glass bulb. The man stood tense, one hand holding before his silica-and-steel-helmeted head a large pocket chronometer, the other lightly grasping the balloon. A sneering grin was upon his face as he waited the exact second of action--the carefully predetermined instant when his right hand, closing, would shatter the fragile flask and force its contents into the primary air stream of the Hyperion!

#891 ::: Antonia T. Tiger ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2012, 05:10 PM:

Steal from the best...

Leaving the captain's desk, the watch officer resumed his tour of duty. The six great lookout plates into which the alert observers peered were blank, their far-flung ultra-sensitive detector screens encountering no obstacle--the ether was empty for thousands upon thousands of kilometers. The signal lamps upon the pilot's panel were dark, its warning bells were silent. A brilliant point of white light in the center of the pilot's closely ruled micrometer grating, exactly upon the cross-hairs of his directors, showed that the immense vessel was precisely upon the calculated course, as laid down by the automatic integrating course plotters. Everything was quiet and in order.

"All's well, sir," he reported briefly to Captain Bradley--but all was not well.

Danger--more serious by far in that it was not external--was even then, all unsuspected, gnawing at the great ship's vitals. In a locked and shielded compartment, deep down in the interior of the liner, was the great air purifier. Now a man leaned against the primary duct--the aorta through which flowed the stream of pure air supplying the entire vessel. This man, grotesque in full panoply of space armor, leaned against the duct, and as he leaned a drill bit deeper and deeper into the steel wall of the pipe. Soon it broke through, and the slight rush of air was stopped by the insertion of a tightly fitting rubber tube. The tube terminated in a heavy rubber balloon, which surrounded a frail glass bulb. The man stood tense, one hand holding before his silica-and-steel-helmeted head a large pocket chronometer, the other lightly grasping the balloon. A sneering grin was upon his face as he waited the exact second of action--the carefully predetermined instant when his right hand, closing, would shatter the fragile flask and force its contents into the primary air stream of the Hyperion!

#892 ::: jnh ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2012, 06:50 PM:

My Mom died this morning, a couple of months short of her 94th birthday. She was living in her own apartment in an assisted living complex, though people have been coming in daily to help her these last few months. Self-mobile and in possession of nearly a complete set of marbles, she passed quickly this morning en route to the Hospital. I was visiting her this weekend, made her dinner and saw her to bed last night before leaving for home and work this morning.

From the last few days of WWI through the Depression, WWII (working on a glass-blowing lathe), raising five children, surviving two husbands, and discovering a love of the New England mountains in her 50s, she had a full and eventful life.
I expect that I'll be climbing Mt. Kearsarge (Warner, NH) to spread some ashes sometime soon.

While I'm not religious, she was, so your thoughts and prayers will not be out of place.

May choirs of angels sing you to sleep, Mom.

John Houghton

#893 ::: jnh has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2012, 06:54 PM:

There is some fresh lemon pudding that I made in Mom's fridge. Help yourselves.

#894 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2012, 07:24 PM:

Most of you have probably heard of the secret recording of Romney smugging arrogant at a meeting with millionaire backers.

Kevin Drum provides a good description of why the "47%" that Romney sneers at pay no income tax:

Why the Poor Pay No Federal Income Tax: A Wee Tutorial

Irony: I imagine that the "47%" probably includes an awful lot of dedicated working-class conservatives who took advantage of god-given deductions for having kids, special tax rates being the head of a household, and the earned income tax credit.

Last minute add:

A map showing WHICH STATES have the highest percentage of non-income-tax paying moochers:

#895 ::: Lin Daniel ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2012, 08:29 PM:

John @892: Prayers and thoughts for all involved.

#896 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2012, 08:33 PM:

jnh @892: {{{hugs}}}

#897 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2012, 08:54 PM:

Some places sell silhouettes of falcons or other Hunting Birds in Flight to put on glass, to warn off real birds. There's also this sticker set.

#898 ::: P J Evans has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2012, 08:56 PM:

I have assorted cheeses available. Provolone in a size to fit sliced sausage?

#899 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2012, 09:55 PM:

PJ Evans @897: I just heard, perhaps a week or so ago, a piece on NPR with a bird expert; he said that the predator-stickers will only stop a bird from flying into that part of the window that is actually covered by the sticker. {wry} So, not as useful as one would suppose. The better trick, apparently, is to not light the windows up late at night; darkened buildings don't get flown into nearly so much.

#900 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2012, 10:41 PM:

John @892: Juan and I both send hugs and love to you.

While I'm not religious, she was, so your thoughts and prayers will not be out of place.

OK, then. I will be lighting a candle for her when next I go to the cathedral.

Love and sympathy to you from us both. You'll be in our thoughts, though it's been a while since we've seen you in person. (We'll have to fix that last thing, won't we?)

#901 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2012, 11:07 PM:

WE are the 47%!

(And Mitt, WE are going to totally kick your butt in November.)

#902 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2012, 11:07 PM:

That, too - birds don't seem to see glass as a barrier. Hang flashy moving things in front of the glass, and they'd be less likely to try it.

#903 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2012, 11:53 PM:

jnh, my sympathies.

#904 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2012, 12:07 AM:

I'm very sorry for your loss, John

#905 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2012, 12:26 AM:

John, I'm so sorry.

#906 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2012, 02:17 AM:

Sympathy, jnh. It's different for everyone, but losing a parent always comes with some emotional content.

#907 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2012, 04:01 AM:

jnh, my condolences.

Open threadiness: I have a literary conundrum. My partner has been reading an old Dell edition of Wolfling by Gordon R. Dickson, and the cover says "a Hugo Award winner". Now, I read this some 20 years ago, and my recollection was that I wouldn't have considered it Hugo-quality. So I started Googling, to see what year it might have won. And I cannot find any references to it, either in any of the Hugo lists I've checked, or as an award-winner in any of Dickson's bios that I've looked at. Can somebody tell me what's going on here? I wouldn't like to think that a publisher would put a false claim on the cover of a book, but it's hard to interpret this data any other way, so there must be something I'm missing.

#908 ::: idgecat ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2012, 04:21 AM:

Lee @ 907 -- it's probably a reference to Dickson having won multiple Hugos, not to that particular novel.

#909 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2012, 07:10 AM:

Mr. Romney chalks up a new euphemism for "said something stupid": "not elegantly stated".

[The gnomes have trouble with some URL formats, including, alas, this one.—Pinnosa Quilisma Neumes, Duty Gnome]

#910 ::: C. Wingate's remark sleeps with the gnomes ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2012, 07:11 AM:

... who probably don't like my punctuation, I'm guessing. Or perhaps it was not elegantly stated.

#911 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2012, 08:18 AM:

My condolences, John.

#912 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2012, 09:35 AM:

John, my condolences as well.

#913 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2012, 10:07 AM:

John, my sympathies...I'll light a candle for her tonight.

#914 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2012, 10:11 AM:

John, I'm sorry for your loss. May her memory be a blessing.

#915 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2012, 10:36 AM:

jnh, sorry for your loss. May she walk in beauty.

#916 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2012, 10:56 AM:

jnh, my sympathies. Light and peace to you and to her.

#917 ::: David Wald ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2012, 11:37 AM:

jnh@892: My sympathy and condolences.

It never seems like enough to say that.

#918 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2012, 11:55 AM:

John, I'm sorry you lost her. May the joy remain.

#919 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2012, 12:01 PM:

John, my condolences on your loss. It sounds like she was a fascinating person and that you will have good memories of her to carry with you.

#920 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2012, 12:24 PM:

John @892: My condolences on your loss. I hope you may be comforted by your memories of her.

#921 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2012, 12:33 PM:

Jnh, my condolences as well.

General: Rosh Hashana has been fun... I'm now on the train back. Hanging out with my adorable nieces and nephews (even the 12 year old) has been wonderful. Also, the family birthday season is now well underway... The cake place misspelled my step-bro's name -- fortunately, he's an easygoing. Dude who made a joke of it.

And we have brisket-and-chopped-liver sandwiches for lunch. :-)

(Lynn's chopped liver was my Dad's last "meal" -- he could have done worse...)

#922 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2012, 01:19 PM:

I'm sorry to hear about your mom, John.

(And I didn't see your post with the sad news until after I posted my political rantlet . . . the juxtoposition seems insensitive but was inadvertent.)

#923 ::: Stefan Jones gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2012, 01:21 PM:

Not sure what I said to upset the gnomes. No links.

#924 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2012, 03:01 PM:

jnh @892:

I'm sorry for your loss. I hope you have many good memories of her to turn to.

Go gently with yourself, and feel free to talk about it here if it would help.

#925 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2012, 04:45 PM:

Obama administration appeals court decision to keep indefinite detention powers. Is there some way to read this that isn't as bad as it looks? Fighting in court to keep indefinite detention powers isn't something you do when the powers were pushed on you by Congress and you never wanted them. You fight for them when you intend to have the power to use them. The appeal claims that suspending these powers would pose an immediate problem for national security, which sure sounds like they're either being used now or may be used any time now.

#926 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2012, 04:46 PM:

jnh: She sounds like she was a lovely lady! And she brought us, you know, you.

#927 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2012, 05:02 PM:

jnh: My condolences.

#928 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2012, 05:32 PM:

When you reach a convenient breakpoint, please feel free to move over to Open thread 177, which is now available. It lacks only your presence to be content (or have content, one of the two).

#929 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2012, 05:34 PM:

jnh: Condolences and prayers for you and your Mom.

#930 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2012, 06:49 PM:

All the cool kids are already hanging out in Open Thread 177.

This thread is going to be used to store old desks, canisters of sweeping compound, and scenery from the Christmas Pageant.

#931 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2012, 11:31 PM:

John @ 892

I'm sorry to hear that. I hope you and your family have all the love and support you need right now.

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