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February 20, 2013

Open Thread 181
Posted by Jim Macdonald at 10:32 PM *

Today in history, John Herschel Glenn, Jr, became the first American to orbit the earth. This made him the third American, and the fifth person, into space.

Continued from Open Thread 180

Continued in Open Thread 182

Comments on Open Thread 181:
#1 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2013, 10:49 PM:

If I remember correctly, one of my sisters-in-law was being launched into the world at the very time Glenn was doing this.

#2 ::: Lylassandra ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2013, 10:58 PM:

Coincidentally, two days ago I visited the Kennedy Space Center for the first time. I spent most of the day choked up. Apparently space museums have the same effect on me that cathedrals do. Who knew?

#3 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2013, 11:46 PM:

Just caught Texanne's post (in the previous OT) about Marilee. Please, if anyone finds out anything more about her situation, keep me and TNH in the loop via email. And let us know if there's anything we can do.

#4 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2013, 12:14 AM:

I happened to tweet a link to my flickr page where I have a scan of a 1906 PUNCH cartoon that would seem to be the prototype of all "young couple on a date, and all they do is text others" that have been done since. For some time after that, most non-junk email I got was notifications that it had been retweeted. It even made it to bOINGbOING, to my gratification.

I did my best, in my meatball amateur way, not to step all over PUNCH's copyright, which I presumed to still be in force, by stressing that the cartoon was part of a good nutritious breakfast review of the book that I got the cartoon from, and I limited my larceny to just that image, resisting any temptation to scan all the other cartoons they did before anybody else (estimated percentage of memorable cartoons that could be considered as having been cribbed from PUNCH: All of them.). I also pointed out that the image could be purchased from PUNCH.

A couple of days ago, I heard from a representative of the magazine. Of course, it took the email forever to load, during which time my stomach digested itself and asked for more. The note was polite to the point of outright friendliness, and quite reasonable. The upshot was that they didn't even mind me having the image up there, but would prefer that I limited it to the 500 pixel size. (As a post script, the writer mentioned that he enjoyed the picture of me with the panda.)

It took me a half hour to figure out how to limit the size. I didn't want to limit every picture on my flickr, which was the option the platform seemed to be offering, but by downloading the 500 size and then replacing the existing image with it, I could ensure that no larger image could be downloaded, and best of all, it preserved the record of all those page views, favorites, and even the four comments.

In retrospect, it was only common sense that I should have thought about the size. Retrospective common sense is my mutant superpower, you know.

#5 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2013, 01:12 AM:

That cartoon was a really neat find, Kip!

#6 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2013, 01:27 AM:

Kip W @ 3: I remember admiring that on boingboing!
Kudos to Punch on how they responded.

#7 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2013, 03:31 AM:

Kip W @3: Thank you not only for the cartoon, but for the lovely example of how such a copyright issue CAN be handled sensibly and with goodwill on all sides. Of course, it probably helped that you had included proper attribution from the outset. Nevertheless it's nice to have an example of an organisation which doesn't see the need to bring in the heavies over something like this.

#8 ::: Chris Lawson ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2013, 04:20 AM:

Interesting how the man looks 20 years older than the woman in that cartoon.

#9 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2013, 07:52 AM:

Chris Lawson @ 8: Interesting how the man looks 20 years older than the woman in that cartoon.

I've noticed the same thing in almost every Cialis and Viagra ad I've ever seen. The man is almost always *noticeably* older than the woman; ten to twenty years at a guess. Subtext: "Can't keep your trophy wife happy? Try...."

I pointed this phenomenon out to my husband, to whom it had been invisible before I said anything and yet blindingly obvious after I pointed it out.

<wry grin>

(I anticipate gnoming because of the name brands listed above.)

#10 ::: Cassy B. has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2013, 07:52 AM:

As expected, for naming drug names.

#11 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2013, 08:08 AM:

Huh. I thought "Gosh, a new Open Thread already?" and then felt oddly guilty for "using up" the old one too fast. Because the Internet is a limited resource or something.

(I mean, there are things about the Internet that are limited resources. But new Open Threads, I think, are not among them.)

In other news, this morning I learned that the ISS is in the same time zone as Scotland, by reading Chris Hadfield (@Cmdr_Hadfield) on Twitter. I love that I live in a world where I can wake up, roll over, grab my tiny handheld computer-phone that connects wirelessly to a global computer network, and read messages from an astronaut in space, who wishes the Earth good morning and tells us about his day. And then use the tiny handheld computer-phone to tell you guys about it.

#12 ::: Theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2013, 08:32 AM:

The ISS is in geostationary orbit? I didn't know that.

#13 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2013, 08:46 AM:

Kip W @3: Oh, yes, in this new century, the young folks are so distracted... (but which century was that again?).

#14 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2013, 08:50 AM:

Kip W @3: Addendum: In your flickr entry, you say that "Those desiring a larger size are directed to their web page." I don't see any such link there, perhaps you should add one?

#15 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2013, 08:57 AM:

Theophylact @ 12 -- the ISS isn't geostationary (it orbits 16x per Earth day). They just picked a time zone for shipboard life. According to Chris Hadfield, they picked that time zone because it's halfway between their two ground command centers -- equal insomnia for the people on the ground.

#16 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2013, 09:01 AM:
Since the world began, / The girl expects the man / To bring her tokens of his love.
These lines from "Frankfurter Sandwiches" (a delightful faux-20s single from the 60s by "The Streamliners and Joanne") pretty much sum up the attitude I've always encountered. He's a man, and she's a girl. A cave-dweller and his li'l Shirley Temple.
Some bring bags of gold / Their lady loves to hold / Or jewels bright as stars above.
That said, when I used to look at my sister's high-school yearbook, I couldn't perceive them as being younger than I was until I was at least a decade older, and even then it was erratic for a while. The haircuts, the ties, the shape of the glasses, the clothes… all of these things were powerful indicators of a generation before mine (six or seven years apart). Perhaps one day the "girl and her man" business will be as corny and obvious a sign of antiquity as the fashions in that yearbook.
But it seems my ideals are much higher / So here's how he fulfills my heart's desire…
Looking through pictures of different eras, it's sadly comical to see how the fascinating appurtenances of the beautiful girl in one becomes the indicators of the spinster in the next. It plays out even now, with caricatures of ugly people dressed as for Woodstock (and now I can see a political dimension too, and wonder if that's been there all along as well).
Ev'ry night he brings me / Frankfurter sandwiches, frankfurter sandwiches / How his baby loves those / Frankfurter sandwiches, frankfurter sandwiches…
(I just love that song, that's all. The other side is "Pachalafaka.")
#17 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2013, 09:02 AM:

For those who'd like to see with their own eyes that the ISS is not in geostationary orbit: Spot the Station.

There's a nice open space about a block from my house where we often go and watch the station pass over. It's quite easy to see in our suburban light conditions, a bright, steady golden dot sweeping across the sky. Someday my youngest daughter will be on it. I plan to wave even if she can't see me.

#18 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2013, 09:11 AM:

Dave Harmon @13, I thought about it, but was too lazy. You've shamed me into it. The full blather now reads thusly:

As this up-to-date steel engraving shows, they go to the park and spend all their time texting! Say, these trees are a lot younger-looking than I remember.
Artist: Lewis Baumer. Source: A Century of PUNCH Cartoons, page 164, Simon & Schuster, Inc. © 1955 by Bradbury, Agnew & Company, Ltd., and reproduced for illustrative or review purposes. Copyright has not lapsed. Short review — This book, as a sort of side feature to merely presenting wonderful cartoons, also shows that PUNCH pretty much did everything first, unless archaeologists should find another humor magazine that did everything before PUNCH, which seems pretty unlikely. (This cartoon, along with many others, may be purchased from PUNCH through their web site — punch dot co dot uk. or punchcartoons dot com, preceded by the w's, will take you to the next step.)
post scriptum: The kind folks at Punch wrote to clarify that the copyright on this image is robust (Baumer died in 1963, so watch this space in twenty years), and that they didn't mind me displaying it as long as I kept it to a reasonable size for screen viewing. Those desiring a larger size are directed to their web page. After a bit of research, I found that replacing the image can be done without disrupting the precious view count or comments. The tiny words on the tele-tapes didn't have anything profound on them. On hers, the word "dearest" was visible, on his the name of a horse or race track.
The URLs are awkwardly spelled out because flickr seemed to choke when I put them in.

#19 ::: Naomi Parkhurst ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2013, 10:02 AM:

The ISS is not in geostationary orbit, but surely they have an on-station clock that has a consistent time? I suspect that was what was meant.

#20 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2013, 10:14 AM:

HLN: Area woman is planning to move to the other side of the country in less than six weeks.

Area woman is nervous, despite having been to Seattle a few times, and knowing people there.

#21 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2013, 10:19 AM:

There's been lots of discussion here over the years of what a friend of mine calls the Bad Mommy Brigade: people who give intrusive commentary about other people's parenting, especially mothers. Here's an example from the other end of the spectrum: a woman who came in when her help was really needed and did and said all the right things. Really uplifting. Mild TW: a little child gets hurt in this story, which is why the help was needed.

Vicki, not that we see each other that often, but Area Man will miss having you in close proximity! That said, enjoy Seattle, which I understand is good for everything under the sun except a) hosting a WorldCon and b) people who need to be under the sun a lot.

#22 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2013, 10:30 AM:

Xopher: thanks for that. It's been a rough couple of weeks, featuring not a small amount of parental angst, and I really, really needed something to lift my spirits.

#23 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2013, 10:34 AM:

Vicki @ 20: From Oregon, welcome aboard!
Nice timing for the move — our springs are much lovelier than our autumns. I recall "spring" taking about 2 weeks in the midwest. Oh, look, forsythia-lilacs-tulips,...and, that's done. Here the first things start blooming in February, and the last rhododendrons are blooming along with the roses in June.
Venture a bit south and take in the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, and Weyerhauser's amazing Bonsai Collection.

#24 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2013, 10:34 AM:

Doesn’t everything in space run on UTC ?(Coordinated Universal Time), hard to tell from GMT. But no DST. I have a UTC clock on my desk, for reading system log files timestamped in UTC.

#25 ::: Janice in Ga ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2013, 10:35 AM:

Glenn's adventure happened just before I went into the hospital to have my tonsils out. I was 9, I think. I was so excited by it I had to write him a letter. I had to get my parents to tell me how to spell "Canaveral" so I could address the envelope properly.

I still have the autographed picture I got back from him. THAT was pretty thrilling too, btw. :)

#26 ::: Henry Troup visit the gnomes ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2013, 10:37 AM:

Probably for wonky punctuation. I blame my tablet's predictive function.
I can offer fresh but decaffeinated coffee.

#27 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2013, 11:20 AM:

Caroline #11:

Given that within a thread, things go wonky as we approach 1000 entries, will thread numbers do the same thing? (Not that it will matter for a few decades yet, at the current rate.)

#28 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2013, 11:24 AM:

The ones who guide have not seen all the map
but are so confident in their deep sense
of this old world that their most sharp, intense,
demand does not presage some sort of trap,
and yet we fall. The pain comes in a slap.
We have been fooled, there's no means of pretense,
the shock is sudden, and the hurt immense,
and it will take a whole life to unwrap
the meaning that is hidden in the deep
caverns of time in which we now must hide
both pain and fortune. Still there is a while
between the losses and the hope we keep
where salves exist for both respect and pride,
and in that space the memory of a smile.

#29 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2013, 11:25 AM:

Kip W #4: Everything new is old again.

#30 ::: Theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2013, 12:09 PM:

The ISS keeps GMT. If you have to pick a time zone for consistency, that's the most logical one.

#31 ::: Doug K ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2013, 12:15 PM:

Cmdr Hadfield did a q&a from the ISS, on Reddit..
It is a thing of wonder and beauty.

"What's your favorite thing to do in zero G that you can't do on earth?
[–]ColChrisHadfield[S] 1993 points 3 days ago*
Simply fly - to push off and glide magically to the other end of the Station. It makes me smile to myself, every time."

"[–]ColChrisHadfield[S] 1250 points 3 days ago
We conduct science every day, but are lighter-loaded on Sat/Sun.
The biggest danger is launch - all that power and acceleration. Once we survive that, it's just a steady threat of radiation, meteorite impacts, and vehicle system failure like fire or ammonia breakthrough. "

"what Space looks like to you still eludes me. Can you, or your colleagues, correct that short coming for me?
[–]ColChrisHadfield[S] 2177 points 3 days ago
It looks like a carpet of countless tiny perfect unblinking lights in endless velvet, with the Milky Way as a glowing area of paler texture.
[–]HunterTV 113 points 3 days ago
"They should've sent a poe--Oh, they did. Carry on."

#32 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2013, 12:17 PM:

With regard to the Glenn flight ...

I was a few months shy of 4 years old and I have one of those memories that may be falsely retro-planted by later family stories. My parents had bought our first family tv set specifically so that we could watch the launch. I remember it being set up in some sort of basement-like "rec room" area (my visual memory of this is completely disconnected from other, more solid, memories of the house in question). I clearly remember there being a rocket-launcher toy, and a wearable-size child's space helmet acquired to help my brother and I appreciate the event more fully. (But then, we still had the space helmet several years later, and my more solid memories of it involved significant battering through use.)

Still and all, one of those "anchor memories" that one could bore later generations with.

#33 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2013, 12:20 PM:

Fragano at 29, that's lovely. Thank you.

#34 ::: Brenda Kalt ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2013, 12:28 PM:

AKICIMAL: Here's a space-based question, appropriate for the moment and especially for Abi.

For an SF story, I need to name a planet "William's planet" in Dutch. (Emperor William sent out the colonizing expedition.) Also, the first settlement should be named "William's town". I initially used "Wilhelmstadt" but I think that may be wrong.

So, help will be much appreciated!

(What I remember about John Glenn's flight was the part of his descent when radio communication was lost. It turned out he was going through the Van Allen radiation belts, and no one had anticipated the problem.)

#35 ::: Theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2013, 12:36 PM:


#36 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2013, 12:39 PM:

For those interested in the canonical Chicago accent (or who've never heard one and want to know what the fuss is about), there's some recent exhaustive work on the subject, with an interactive soundfile database.

They use a custom-written passage to pull out the most characteristic vowel changes, called Too Hot for Hockey:

Don and Patty took the bus to the gym to watch some hockey. They met their pals Dawn and Chad. They snacked on nachos, hot dogs, sausage, and pop. Then they noticed something odd: The gym was getting hot! Don and Dawn took off their jackets. Patty wiped the sweat with a paper towel. Chad took off his hat and used it as a fan. The puck never hit the ice, which sadly had begun to melt. They couldn’t get the gym cool enough. The match was canceled, so the friends headed to a bar to watch the Sox game.

I'm somewhat Chicago-y in my vowels in ordinary speech, and can 'put on' a Southside Irish version, which is similar in some respects to their most-canonical, most-distinctive corpus example.

#37 ::: Elliott Mason got gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2013, 12:40 PM:

Not sure why, but links were involved in the Coventry'd post, so. I did check that they worked ...

#38 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2013, 12:52 PM:

Heather Rose Jones @32: I had just passed my 4th birthday, and I specifically remember watching that launch with my mom. There are a few vivid memories of that winter (very snowy -- trying ice skating with double-bladed 'trainer skates'), and the apartment we lived in for a short time waiting on base housing, and the launch is one of them. Who knows, maybe it was significant in shaping my later interests. For -years- I wanted to be an astronaut (and have been known to suggest it seriously as a career goal to my kids).

#39 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2013, 12:53 PM:

Janice in Georgia:

At the time of Glenn's launch, the "We Seven" bunch was still stationed at Langley Air Force Base.

I'm one lucky duck -- I saw the parade at Langley AFB honoring the first seven astronauts, and many years later I was on the street in Columbus, Ohio watching Senator Glenn's retirement parade.

And our investigators laughed their heads off when I jumped up and down as a formation of fighter jets went over...I didn't even blush, all my life I've loved those aircraft.

#40 ::: Raul Flugens, Duty Gnome ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2013, 01:03 PM:

#37 Elliott:

The links were to IP numbers rather than to words. We check such things.

#41 ::: Incoherent ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2013, 01:37 PM:

Vicki @ 20, janetl @23: Also, adjacent to the Bonsai collection, the Rhododendron Species Foundation botanical garden. If you visit in late May/early June, you get the added pleasure of seeing the meadow next to the Weyerhaeuser lake awash in blooming lupins. (The Weyerhaeuser Corporate Headquarters building actually creates the lake-- its foundation acts as a dam.)

#42 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2013, 02:47 PM:

Theophylact #35/Brenda Kalt #34: That's Willemstad. Willemstaat would be William's state, as opposed to William's Town, Willemstad, which I visited two years (and 45 years) ago. Interesting island, Curaçao. Nice liqueur, too.

#43 ::: chris ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2013, 03:37 PM:

#9: I've noticed the same thing in almost every [ED drug] ad I've ever seen. The man is almost always *noticeably* older than the woman; ten to twenty years at a guess.

I just attributed that to the facts that (a) women in our society usually try harder to look younger than they really are, and some succeed, and (b) a lot of relationships actually do have the man older by at least a few years (for a variety of reasons that people here may or may not be interested in discussing).

Do you think the ads have more apparent-age-difference than real (hetero) couples? (I suppose the same question applies to the cartoon, relative to real couples that existed at the time it was drawn. Has the actual age disparity between couples decreased over time, does anyone know?)

#31 (quoting Hadfield): The biggest danger is launch - all that power and acceleration.

I'm curious why he doesn't consider landing equally dangerous, given that IIRC, one shuttle has been lost to each.

#44 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2013, 05:05 PM:

chris #43: Columbia was lost on re-entry, but the damage was caused during launch.

A bit of local news reminded me of an old ML comment ("But I didn't stab you, I'm not a stabber"). However, in this case the person in question reportedly told police "I stabbed him" even though the scenario sounds very much like what Madeline F described in her comment....

#45 ::: Brenda Kalt ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2013, 05:30 PM:

Fragano and Theophylact, thanks for William's town. I still need William's planet (world). Anyone?

#46 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2013, 05:34 PM:

World in Dutch is, boringly enough, wereld, and planet is planeet. Thus, Willemswereld, or Willemsplaneet.

Probably Willemswereld.

#47 ::: ACW ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2013, 05:54 PM:

Abi, how does Willemsaard sound?

#48 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2013, 06:06 PM:

Theophylact @ 30: GMT/UTC is, however, the time zone Scotland is in. So it's still perfectly true to say the ISS is in the same time zone as Scotland.

Scotland got brought into it because a very nice Scottish Twitterer noticed that Cmdr. Hadfield was saying "good morning" when it was morning for the Twitterer, too, and therefore inquired about what time zone the ISS keeps.

#49 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2013, 06:18 PM:

ACW @47:

It sounds like Williamsdirt, or William's Nature. It's not the right sense of "world".

One of the problems with a language so close to English is that translations into it can sometimes sound uncharmingly prosaic. Alas, this is one of those times.

#50 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2013, 06:32 PM:

English Wiktionary's foreign word of the day yesterday was winterdip, so I thought of you, ABi.

#51 ::: Joerg R. ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2013, 07:08 PM:

Brenda Kalt @ 34:

Also, Willems Wereld is a long-running comic strip about a overweight barfly clumsily looking for romance, published in one of the leading news and gossip magazines.

As you said "Emperor William", what about Keizer Willemplaneet? That sounds more in line with places like Prins Bernhardplein of Prinses Margrietplas. (Yes, it is "Title" "Nametogetherwithtypeofplace"). The capital could be Willemstad, or if they have a reason to think of the capital of Curaçao, Nieuw Willemstad.

I am not sure how Willem is officialy latinized in Dutch documents, but at least the royal anthem is het Wilhelmus, so simply that or Wilhelma as planetaty name might be possible.

#52 ::: Joerg R. got Gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2013, 07:13 PM:

No URLs, so probably some arcane Words of Power. Or gratuitious use of Dutch language.
Anyway, I can offer some delicious grey shrimp with a tiny bit of mayo.

[Not that arcane -- three spaces in a row did it. Morio Niut, Duty Gnome]

#53 ::: Chris Lawson ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2013, 07:36 PM:

Theophylact, just to give some scale: the ISS is in LEO (Low Earth Orbit) in an operating altitude range of 330-410 km. Geostationary orbit is at 35,768 km altitude, i.e. about 100x higher...but more importantly, it takes about 15x the energy to launch a fixed mass to geostationary orbit compared to launching to LEO.

#54 ::: Jordin ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2013, 08:41 PM:

Chris @52:

No, it takes somewhat less than twice as much energy to launch something to GEO as to launch it to LEO. Remember Heinlein: "Once you're in low Earth orbit, you're halfway to anywhere."

The actual mission delta-V's depend on details like whether you do a direct launch to GEO or park in LEO first, and how much plane change you need to do, but in round numbers it's 8 km/s for LEO and a bit over 10 km/s for a direct launch to GEO.

You may be thinking of the energy needed to do a vertical launch to GEO altitude vs. LEO altitude; it takes much less energy to pop up to 300 km (and then fall back down) than to go into orbit.

#55 ::: Brenda Kalt ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2013, 10:23 PM:

Joerg R. @51:

Keizer Willemplaneet sounds good. Thanks to you, to Abi, and to everyone for the discussion.

#56 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2013, 12:14 AM:

SF Signal announces the Nebula finalists.

It seems to be a pretty diverse group. If I'm counting correctly (and on several of them I was guessing), there are actually more women than men nominated, by a ratio of about 3:2. I can't really speculate about the racial diversity because there are so many names I haven't met or seen photos of, but I do know that at least some of them are PoC.

It takes five (top-level) comments for "But what about the WHITE MENZ? Are we judging romances now?" to show up, promptly followed by, "And it's all fantasy too -- I guess the days of the Nebula being a science fiction award are over." But don't despair -- the rest of the commenters promptly string them up and break out the piñata sticks.

(h/t Jim C. Hines on LJ)

#57 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2013, 01:42 AM:

Lee #56: I laughed & laughed at the the ridicule ricocheting around Twitter about those oh-no-girly posts on SF Signal, so they were good for something.

#58 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2013, 03:48 AM:

Vicky #20

There are many obviously good things about Seattle, such as the flowers that bloom in the Spring (tra la), and microbrew beer.

A few less-obvious things: the (west-coast style) Mexican food at Agua Verde (south end of UW), the substantial oversupply of competent-to-good choral music for a city of its size, the local strawberries at the farmers' markets (or, potentially, your garden/balcony), and the University Bookstore.

This time next year you'll be wishing for a bit of sky, though.

#59 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2013, 04:19 AM:

Speaking of flowers that bloom in the spring, I was walking today and noticed the first wildflowers poking up from the grass at sidewalk's edge. Seems a bit early, but this has been a warm winter. (That, or my first two Texas winters were unusually cold.)

Later on today I saw out of the corner of my eye a large bird alighting on a tree as several smaller birds hastily flew away. When I turned my head, I saw some kind of hawk or falcon -- an unusual sight in the city at all, let alone perching on a tree rather than flying. It rested only a few seconds before flying off again.

(I did some looking, and think it was most likely a red-tailed hawk. But I'm not sure.)

#60 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2013, 05:32 AM:

Lee @ 56... NK Jemisin was quite amused too, being not only a girl, but... gasp... brown! She then went on about how resistance was futile aginst the onslaught by those threatening non-white hordes. :-)

#62 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2013, 07:31 AM:

Lee #56: Since the response of one white male nominee (granted, not in the novel category) was to exclaim with joy that he had been nominated, I don't think that white men are an endangered species in the Nebula nominations quite yet.

#63 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2013, 07:34 AM:

David Goldfarb #59: Note that red-tailed hawks (B. jamaicensis) are part of the dreaded Third World invasion. They are obviously displacing the all-American hawks. Carolus Linnaeus tells us so.

#64 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2013, 08:20 AM:

Lee & janet @ 56 & 57: I'm going to run right out and buy some of Mary Robinette Kowal's books, strictly on the strength of her comment.

#65 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2013, 08:37 AM:


Reading your list, I thought "of course there are local strawberries at the farmers' markets, that's one of the things you get" because I've gotten used to them at the farmers' markets here in the last couple of decades. Completely spoiled me for supermarket strawberries, and I tend not to buy things like strawberry cheesecake anymore, because they use the big long-distance berries even when local ones are in season.

#66 ::: Angiportus ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2013, 09:26 AM:

Vicky--Elliot Bay Books, on Capitol Hill; Edge of the Circle, to the west, Twice Sold Tales, a few blocks N; and Magus, in the U district. There are also Half Price Books, several, scattered around the region.
Plus, bridges that lift, on the Ship Canal and the Duwamish.
Fair warning--this is a geologically active region. Also, the traffic sucks.

#67 ::: Sumana Harihareswara ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2013, 09:27 AM:

Thought folks here would be have thoughts on why Black Mirror hasn't made it to the US.

#68 ::: Theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2013, 09:40 AM:

"Guglielmus" is a pretty standard latinization of William.

#69 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2013, 10:21 AM:

Theophylact @ 68... And 'William' is 'Guillaume' in French.

#70 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2013, 12:16 PM:

My google is failing, but someone here might have better terms. I'm looking for a puzzle that involved a straight-line shape with angles labeled. The challenge was to figure out one of the unmarked angles given the information you had. It was solvable with basic geometry skills but I never figured it out. I think it was on BoingBoing but can't find it.

Does anyone know which thing I'm talking about?

#71 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2013, 12:51 PM:

Diatryma @ 70

Are you looking for the World's Hardest Easy Geometry Problem? I never managed to solve it either. It's here.

#72 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2013, 01:25 PM:

Yes! Thank you so much, SamChevre!

#73 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2013, 01:29 PM:

My experience has been that in any ad ((retirement funds, etc))featuring an older het couple, the man looks like a very fit sixty-something, and the woman looks like a forty-year-old with prematurely-grey hair -- or possibly a very fit 60-something who doesn’t colour her hair but has some really good moisturizers.

#74 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2013, 01:30 PM:

Something for Abi...

#75 ::: Narmitaj ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2013, 02:34 PM:

On male and female partner age gaps, I remember from an illustrated bio of MC Escher that his father had a theory/formula for it: "the woman's age is half the man's age plus 10" - though I'm not sure if this was prescriptive or descriptive. My book is hidden in a box but this page repeats it.

This, btw, is the state of being at the start of the relationship - first meeting or marriage, or something (and this was 1878). So for a 20-yo man his ideal partner is 20/2 + 10, ie also 20. A 25-yo woman might expect to connect with a 30-yo man. A 60-yo man might hope to marry a 40-yo woman. I doubt this Escher theory often works below 20; for instance, I know a married couple who got together at 14; a 17-yo woman hooking up with a 14-yo boy with resulting matrimony I imagine is rareish. Real world examples or counter-examples are an exercise for the reader.

However, I think this is all irrelevant to our Punch cartoon, as I am guessing they are either unacquainted or father and daughter, given the young woman is receiving an amatory message from a third party - it would be rather rude for the time for her to be shown doing this in front of her husband!

#76 ::: Narmitaj ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2013, 02:58 PM:

On Glenn - I didn't meet him, or any US astronaut, but I once met Gherman Titov (in his house in Moscow, to boot), the second Russian in space and the fourth person overall (and still the youngest ever, at 25).

People say Yuri Gagarin was the first to orbit the earth, but my theory is that achievement belongs to Titov, in the sense of making a complete space circumnavigation. Gagarin went into orbit, launching eastwards like everyone else, but in his total flight time of 108 minutes he spent some time ascending and longer descending and only half the time "in orbit"; his landing zone was some way west of his launch site, so he didn't even make it all the way back to the longitude of his start point. Titov, on the other hand, went into orbit and stayed there for 16 orbits/25 hours, making sure.

Gagarin had had enough stuff on board to last several days, if something had gone wrong, but on the first flight they were being cautious and brought him down immediately. No American flight has ever gone into orbit and then descended out before the end of the first orbit (Shepard and Grissom's 15-minute sub-orbital hops don't count as their launcher was incapable of putting them into orbit in the first place).

Of course, being first was a poisoned chalice for Gagarin - he was grounded to keep him safe (as was Glenn, in fact) and relegated to glad-handing politicians round the world while his erstwhile buddies were clocking up long flights and thinking about space stations and the moon. So he battled hard to be allowed to get back into space training (and then got killed on a jet re-familiarisation flight).

#77 ::: ACW ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2013, 03:02 PM:

Abi @ 49. Thank you for the reality check. I feared as much.

#78 ::: Thomas ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2013, 03:05 PM:

Vicki #65 yes, but the Pacific NW climate is ideally suited to some of the best strawberry cultivars. The season is short, but they really are even better than local strawberries in most other places.

#79 ::: Brooks Moses ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2013, 04:44 PM:

Narmitaj @75: FWIW, that formula is very close to one that I've seen as the "how much of an age disparity is [potentially] problematic" for dating. The one I've heard is "half plus 7 years", with the idea being that you apply it symmetrically and that gives both an upper and lower bound for the age range.

So, a person 20 years old should (by this rule) not date anyone younger than 17, and would be too young for someone older than 26 -- or 27, if you round down the "half". And people 14 years old should only date other 14-year-olds, and people younger than that should not date at all.

In my experience, it seems like a reasonable rule of thumb if one takes it as a guideline rather than a completely hard-and-fast rule.

I also note that combining this rule and its interpretation with Escher's father's rule gives the result that a man's ideal woman is three years older than the lower age limit for women he should date. (And that a 14-year-old boy's ideal woman is 17 years old but he shouldn't be dating her.) That seems to pretty accurately sum up the spirit of Escher's father's rule -- and, in itself, is an ... interesting ... commentary on social views of age and femininity.

#80 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2013, 07:18 PM:

Also reminds me of Prince Hilarion's song in "Princess Ida" (he and Ida were married by their parents' arrangement as very young children):

Ida was a twelvemonth old, Twenty years ago!
I was twice her age, I'm told, Twenty years ago!
Husband twice as old as wife
Argues ill for married life
Baleful prophecies were rife, Twenty years ago!

Still, I was a tiny prince Twenty years ago.
She has gained upon me, since Twenty years ago.
Though she 's twenty-one, it 's true,
I am barely twenty-two
False and foolish prophets you, Twenty years ago!

#81 ::: HelenS ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2013, 09:40 PM:

I suddenly realized the other day that, by that rule, the couple of teachers (then in their 50s) who all but hit on me in high school would only just recently have hit the "right age" for me. Which shows just how far off they were, I suppose, but really -- still not interested, dudes.

#82 ::: Sumana Harihareswara ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2013, 11:14 AM:

I first read the "half plus seven years" formulation in Malcolm X's autobiography.

On another note: Sam Starbuck is hosting an online job fair.

SAM'S CAFE JOB FAIR! Our motto is, "Being unemployed is some bullshit. Give me a job."

The Job Fair is a chance for both jobsearchers and employers (and those with connections to employers!) to gather, talk, exchange information, and network from the safety of the internet. You can also ask for advice in your field, offer advice to others, and share your work experiences. You can check out earlier job fairs here, for an idea of what goes on.

IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR A JOB...leave a comment! Tell us what you're looking for and where, and what your qualifications are, to the degree that you're comfortable.

IF YOUR PLACE OF WORK IS HIRING...leave a comment! Tell us what the job is and where, and what kind of person you're looking for, again, to the degree that you're comfortable.

I've posted there.

#83 ::: Sumana Harihareswara, a-gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2013, 11:15 AM:

Please rescue. Maybe some barley-and-kale soup my spouse made?

#84 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2013, 05:12 PM:

I am engaged in marking papers, as the midpoint of the semester approaches. This causes me to learn things that I would not otherwise have learned.

For example:

As long as abusive narcotics exist and are being consumed and are adversely affecting the lives of many, this issue/topic will continue to arise and thus remain significant.

I'd go for those narcotics that won't abuse me.

US companies invested a major capitol as a growing industrial economy escalated, but had major implication resulting with major public debt and creating a welfare state.

I am tempted to invest in Appleton (not a US company, but quite necessary for the state of my welfare).

#85 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2013, 05:44 PM:

Fragano @ 84... US companies invested a major capitol

Is that a veiled suggestion that politicians can be bought?

#86 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2013, 07:08 PM:

I just heard that Marilee passed away last night.

#88 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2013, 07:15 PM:

#86 Oh, bummer . . . Marilee seemed to bounce back again and again, against enormous odds, so it seems odd that she is finally gone.

#89 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2013, 07:15 PM:

Serge Broom @ 86 ...
I just heard that Marilee passed away last night.

Unfortunately :( There's limited information here, which will be added to as more is known.

One thing noted there -- "Is there anyone in the Manassas area who could help Faith with "kitty care"? There may be a need to find the cats a new home, so keep your brains working. "

Marilee will be missed -- and I hope the cats she rescued will find good homes.

#90 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2013, 07:25 PM:

Serge, #86: Damn, that's sad news. I knew Marilee across at least 3 online fora, but the only time I was ever in her part of the country we couldn't make our schedules mesh for a realspace. She'll be missed.

#91 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2013, 07:32 PM:

Goodbye, Marilee. I'm sorry we never got to meet in person. Say hi to Mez for us.

#92 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2013, 07:33 PM:

Serge #86:

Shit, shit, shit. As far as I could tell she had been the glue that held rasfc together for many years. We all owed her.

Thanks for letting us know.

#93 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2013, 07:41 PM:

I was lucky to meet Marilee once, at a mini-Gathering of Visual Spectra (Janet and Albatross were there, too). I enjoyed reading her LJ especially when she was posting several times a day. I'd been watching sadly as her posts declined in number, and it was worrisome when she was hospitalized again so soon after a massive headache.

Go in peace, Marilee, on the next wave of your strange and wondrous journey through the universe.

#94 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2013, 07:48 PM:

Serge #86: That is sad news.

#95 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2013, 08:21 PM:

Oh, I'm so sorry to hear about Marilee. I met her, I liked her, and she'll be missed.

#96 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2013, 08:31 PM:

Serge Broom #86: Damn. That's all our loss.

#97 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2013, 08:43 PM:

I knew Marilee on rasseff and her LJ and here. I met her a couple of times at Minicons early last decade. This is sad news.

#98 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2013, 08:52 PM:

I knew Marilee mostly online, as I think most of her friends did, but I got to meet her in person at a convention, several years ago. I'll miss seeing her posts.

#99 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2013, 09:50 PM:

I never met Marilee in person, but I'll miss seeing her posts here. Go in peace, Marilee.

#100 ::: Velma ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2013, 09:59 PM:

Marilee was amazing during the early days of Soren's stroke, and a good person all around. She will be missed.

#101 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2013, 10:23 PM:

Damn. May she walk in beauty.

#102 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2013, 11:16 PM:

I was hoping we'd see her when we went back to Virginia for a convention in January. She was one of my LJ regulars, and a reliable commenter at my journal.

(This description also applies in every particular to Virginia fan Mary Gray, who suddenly and unexpectedly passed on just a few weeks ago.)

I'm sorry they're gone.

#103 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2013, 11:37 PM:

Rest in peace, Marilee.

#104 ::: Bob Webber ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2013, 11:52 PM:

I never met Marilee in person, but from her writing and what I learned of her history, she was both immensely kind and incredibly strong-willed. I believe that she suffered enormous losses in cognitive and physical abilities through accidental and iatrogenic medical misfortunes, but Marilee still found the generosity and strength to help others and to be reliably socially active.

Marilee will be missed by everyone who knew her, and those who didn't get the chance will be the poorer for it, even though they will not know it. All my sympathies to those closest to her.

#105 ::: Lizzibabe ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2013, 12:04 AM:

Thank you everyone for your kind words. I'm one of Marilee's local friends from the book group and I miss her very very much. She was my first local friend after a bad breakup and through her I made many many more friends. I have some of her handmade jewelry and will treasure it forever. I've forwarded this link to the rest of the group. Thank you ever so much.

#106 ::: Don Fitch ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2013, 12:40 AM:

#104 Bob Webber: Yes. You've said it marvelously well. I guess I'm sad, but... Marilee's health has been going downhill for at least two decades, she was acutely aware that she had become less intelligent (albeit still mostly smarter than I am) than she used to be, and I find some consolation in the belief that she decided that it was about time. I can only hope to do as well.

#107 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2013, 01:45 AM:

Don Fitch @106 -- may that come in its time, and for my personal sake, I hope it isn't soon.

Condolences to all who knew Marilee, as she was a wonderful figure. Our paths only barely crossed directly.

#108 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2013, 02:44 AM:

TexAnne @91: Say hi to Mez for us.

That is the exact thing I was thinking.

Marilee was a good 'un.

#109 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2013, 03:18 AM:

Oh, damn it. I've been watching her postings decrease on LJ, and missing her voice here, for a while. I kept hoping she'd bounce back one more time.

#110 ::: Fred ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2013, 03:56 AM:

I never met her, but when Soren had his stroke, she set up the method for people to donate to his care without paying PayPal fees. It's hard to know what to say at a time like this, how to sum up last words about (and to) someone who, although a peripheral part of my life, was there when it counted. Marilee- thank you.

#111 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2013, 05:38 AM:

Peace, Marilee.

I'll never forget her compassion when Mez was ill. She faced so much adversity herself with grace and courage. If anyone wonders what lived online community means, Marilee is where I'd point them.

#112 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2013, 06:40 AM:

I didn't know Marilee, but when I read the news, I thought of this comment. I hope she's dancing.

I dropped in to drop this off: Gutenberg: Not the Moveable Type. It's light and cheerful and maybe good to have at hand just now.

#113 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2013, 07:47 AM:

The link got messed up, John.

Gutenberg: Not the Movable Type

I think we shall all miss Marilee.

#114 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2013, 08:12 AM:

Well, shit.

I can't say I'm too surprised -- she was very ill for a very long time. Feorag and I spent a very enjoyable day with her in 2008 (we took her/she drove us to the Udvar-Hazy Annex to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum); I was afraid then that I'd never get to see her again, and I'm afraid I was right. I'm glad she lasted this long, and hope that her final illness entailed minimal suffering. Deepest sympathy to her relatives and close friends.

#115 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2013, 08:23 AM:

I'd seen Marilee at a number of conventions, but didn't know her well.

I followed her livejournal, and I was impressed with how she faced large difficulties with stubbornness and intelligence. In particular, since she wasn't able to chase her cats to put them into their carriers, she trained them (with a clicker, I think) to get into their carriers on command.

As for Movable Type, I'm left with a question. Moveable type made a huge difference in Europe. How much difference did it make in Asia?

#116 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2013, 10:42 AM:

Awake again, and thinking about Marilee. And feeling a profound sense of gratitude for knowing her at all. She was really smart and so dang kind. She connected things and people. She made fabric-of-society around her wherever she was.

Been rereading email from her, various back-and-forths. A bunch of them about Mez and various benevolent conspiracies, yeah. And there's a note here, an on-paper note, that came with a bracelet she sent in 2006, that says, in part:

"I made this bracelet to show how you and Mike will always intersect through space and time."

Like John said in #112, I hope she's dancing. I bet she is.

#117 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2013, 11:29 AM:

Having just slipped badly on my stairs, I forget: am I supposed to put an icepack on the muscular area with which I struck the stair, or is that now thought to retard healing?

I did take a prophylactic dose of 600mg ibuprofen.

#118 ::: Remus Shepherd ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2013, 11:30 AM:

Huh. I didn't know her as well as others, but I talked with Marilee on Usenet and she tried to get me out of my shell. I had spent a long time away from SF fandom, and she convinced me to go to Minicon. She was the only person I knew at that first convention.

Godspeed, Marilee.

#119 ::: Cclaudia ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2013, 11:56 AM:

Elliott, ice right after the injury, to reduce swelling. Then heat after 48 hours, both to relax the muscles and to speed healing. I hope you feel better soon.

#120 ::: Velma ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2013, 12:14 PM:

Marilee shared a fair amount of her time and experiences with me in emails, giving me information that the doctors didn't about possible effects of Soren's stroke and medications. She was amazingly generous with her energy and knowledge. (We're still shaken up out here.)

#121 ::: Melissa Mead ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2013, 12:35 PM:

Oh no. I only knew her from her posts, but I'm so sorry.

#122 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2013, 01:04 PM:

John and Elise: she is dancing again.

#123 ::: Suzanne ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2013, 01:19 PM:

Oh man. So very bummed about this. Nothing to add to what everyone else has already said, but I regret never having had the chance to meet her in person and tell her how fond I was of her. )-:

#124 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2013, 01:30 PM:

The man who designed one of the most memorable aliens in all of televised science fiction has left the sound stage:

#125 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2013, 01:39 PM:

Marilee, ave atque vale!

Re: her cats, my brother lives in Vienna, Virginia, is a cat lover, and might be able to help with re-homing them.

#126 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2013, 03:02 PM:

I did meet Marilee a few times (various conventions I cannot pin down). Now I am sorry to hear this (particularly as an out-of-the-blue thing, because I did not keep up).

#127 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2013, 03:06 PM:

Elliot Mason: Also, if your body is okay with them, anti-inflammatories.

#128 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2013, 03:16 PM:

B. Durbin @127 -- Aspirin, as an anti-inflammatory, is a bad idea with a bruise in the first few hours, at least - it cuts down on clotting (which you actually want when blood vessels are broken, which is the cause of a bruise). But that's actually more a question for someone with serious medical expertise.

Rest, ice, compression, elevation (RICE) -- ace bandages for compression, keeping the area higher than your heart, ice to reduce inflammation, rest to allow it to heal. And the ice should not be for long periods, and not directly on the skin (use a cloth between the ice and you), and make sure not to ice to the point of numbness -- that can cause frostbite damage.

#129 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2013, 03:48 PM:

I knew Marilee from rasfc, and liked and respected her enormously. Bad, bad news. Goodbye and good roads to her, and my sympathies to all her friends.

#130 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2013, 04:04 PM:

Hyperlocal news soon to be coastal... Man's carryon is packed. Boarding pass acquired. Man ready for trip to the Bay Area and for yearly review.

#131 ::: David Weingart ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2013, 04:58 PM:

I only met Marilee in person once, at MilPhil where she was doing something with the children's programming track that both of my children were attending. And I enjoyed her stuff on Usenet before I gave up on Usenet.

It's still sad.

#132 ::: green_knight ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2013, 05:11 PM:

Sad news about Marilee. I never managed to meet her in person, but she was always a warm, knowledgeable, and immensely admirable presence on rasfc.

#133 ::: Megpie71 ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2013, 05:59 PM:

I'm so sorry to hear about Marilee. I only knew her through her posts here, but what I could see here indicated a bright, cheerful person who genuinely cared about others. What I'm hearing now confirms it.

My condolences to her family and friends.

#134 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2013, 07:17 PM:

Marilee was a maker as well. She made a number of gifts for Sarah over the years, and as Sarah has gotten older and perhaps outgrown them, I've kept them because of who they're from.

She made me the coolest RASFF award ever (after dd-b awarded it to me), making me one of what I imagine to be a very small group that can actually hold their award up and, if need be, whack a mole with it. Yes, it's that solid. (Not that I've ever whacked a mole. In fact, I stopped and got out of the car on the way to work once to help one, and what did they ever do for me, I ask you.)

#135 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2013, 08:10 PM:

For those wondering, I stuck a small bag of frozen peas down the back of my jeans (but outside another layer of fabric) for about 45min, and have been trying to not sit down for more than an hour without getting up and moving around, to avoid stiffness.

I haven't had to put more ice on it; it mostly doesn't hurt now unless I poke at it or do some very encompassing motion. I'm calling it a win. And I'll do the hot-soak probably late tomorrow night; it won't be quite 48hrs yet, but I was planning on going to the gym tomorrow, so we'll see what I feel up to doing when I get there.

And then, Tuesday, the kid has her first dental appt! And on Wednesday, I have a root canal. Wheeeeeee. Hopefully it won't be painful to lie on by then, as it is right where the dentist's chair will be supporting my weight, and, well, root canals? Not short.

#136 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2013, 08:16 PM:

In the days of walled gardens, Marilee was a moderator on America Online's Omni Magazine Forum, as "OMNI Muse." When AOL joined the Internet around 1993, her address became

I did not participate in this service, but I imagine she became a familiar figure to users seeking conversation about science fiction. She would often arrange chats between AOL users and SF authors. I like to think this brought joy to many readers.

Did anyone know Marilee in those days?

The Nineties were a good time to experience the special thrill that the vaunted future was finally arriving, and all kinds of new things were possible.

I encountered her on Usenet, where we were both prolific contributors to SF newsgroups. Eventually I met her in person, as many here did, at a few Minicons.

Here's a good 1994 Usenet thread about the extent of SF communities on the Net (broadly construed).

Omni, October 1994, page 27: "The real virtue of the interactive forum," says Marilee J. Layman, who hosts This Week in Science Chat as OMNI Muse, "is being able to talk real time about a subject you're interested in with people all over the country who are also interested in that subject."

I wonder whether 1990s chatter on AOL forums is archived somewhere, or whether all AOL's bits have been swept away by the winds of Time? And Compuserve's, and Genie's, and the WELL's...

#137 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2013, 08:48 PM:

Compuserve's archives pre 2004 or so are gone, barring individual people having saved OzWin files or some such. Post 2004 they are, in theory, accessible, but good luck finding any particular discussion, as the Compuserve search interface is not very helpful, and cuts off searches after finding 200 possible instances.

--Cally, still a sysop on Compuserve (yes, really)

#138 ::: Ulrika ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2013, 10:21 PM:


If there was a kinder or more generous soul in fandom, I've not met them. I don't think I ever witnessed Marilee utter an unkind word, or one in anger, no matter what the provocation. She was patient with unkindness directed at her, and she was forever organizing ways to give to others, to help others. When I administered TAFF she was a regular donor of hand-made jewelry and pottery; at the time she was also taking part in a fund-raising effort for a fellow beading hobbyist with cancer. When another friend was feeling sad and unloved, Marilee organized a bunch of us to contribute to a bracelet comprised of totems from each of the contributors as a sign of our love. No matter how much crap her health threw at her, I never knew her not to be involved in doing what she could to make life a little better, nicer, brighter for those around her. She will be missed. She was one of the best.

#139 ::: Lenore Jones/jonesnori ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2013, 11:22 PM:

Today's Doonesbury cartoon references editing:

#140 ::: Lenore Jones/jonesnori ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2013, 11:43 PM:

I didn't know Marilee. I wish I had.

#141 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2013, 01:33 AM:

I never had a chance to meet Marilee in person, and only knew her through here. Nevertheless, I'll miss her presence. My condolences to those who knew her better still and will obviously miss her a great deal more.

And, yes, I hope she's sitting around with Mez and Mike and catching up on whatever they all please.

#142 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2013, 02:13 AM:

Oh no, Marilee! I'm sorry. She'll be missed.

#143 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2013, 02:56 AM:

I'm so sorry to hear about Marilee: she wasn't just thoughtful, but actionful. I remember how she helped us help Mez and others here.

#144 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2013, 06:23 AM:

I knew Marilee mostly from the old days of ras-eff-eff and some from here when I was able to help her a tiny bit with one of the many kindnesses she was doing for others. What a good person.

#145 ::: Chip ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2013, 08:00 AM:

Bill @136 - I was another OMNI host on AOL and also one of the hosts for the Other*Worlds*Cafe, an SF chat group that Marilee helped spin off. I doubt that any of the AOL stuff is accessible any longer (although it may be mouldering away on old backup tapes somewhere), but the hosts used to be required to log all chats on their own machines. I expect many of those are still floating around; there are some here:, several of which Marilee moderated.

#146 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2013, 11:56 AM:

I'm very very sad to hear about Marilee's death, though I never met her in person. She seemed a never-failing source of good. For those who don't understand the references to Mez upthread, when another regular here, Mez, was dying of cancer, Marilee helped coordinate a little conspiracy to buy Mez a few beautiful things that she had wanted but couldn't afford with her limited money. That's the kind of person she was.

Water to the dead.

#147 ::: Doris ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2013, 12:17 PM:

I never met Marilee in person, unfortunately. We were part of the AOL bead boards, starting in the mid-90s and, when AOL got rid of all the communities, moved on the Delphi. We were more casual acquaintances than anything else until my son died unexpectedly almost 6 years ago and Marilee got in touch with me and held my hand, offered a shoulder to cry on and listened. She was just plain there. I knew she was generous with her talents, donating beautiful beadwork to various causes, but I had no idea until reading all the posts here just how many people she touched with her kindness and generosity.
We had been in touch regularly over the past almost 6 years and it became obvious over the last two or so that she wasn't doing well. I had so hoped she would overcome this, too, just as she had so many other setbacks, but that wasn't to be.
My life is fuller for having known her, but emptier now with her gone.

#148 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2013, 12:52 PM:

I didn't know Marilee at all, only her posts here. Deepest sympathies to all who knew her and have lost her.

One thing I'm certain of, reading all the comments: she'll continue to live on in people's memories for a long time to come.

#149 ::: David Dyer-Bennet ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2013, 01:00 PM:

I've been worried about Marilee for a while; the decreasing frequency of posts, as others have said, and those posts mentioning how far behind she was on reading and other things as well. Damn.

I've known her online for a long time and spent time with her in person at several Minicons. As others have said, she was exceptionally kind and generous, strong-minded but apparently not possessed of a temper at all. She'd just quietly sit around doing good and helping people, and enjoying it.

Bob Webber mentioned that she had suffered major cognitive losses in her earlier strokes. This is certainly what Marilee told me. Elise and others have mentioned that the Marilee we knew was very smart. That matches my own impression. Marilee also told me that she was a much nicer person now than she had been before the strokes.

#150 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2013, 01:00 PM:

I never met Marilee in person, just knew her from various online places and her LJ where it was obvious from recent posts that her health was declining. She came across as a gentle, kind & generous person. I take comfort that she's no longer in pain.

#151 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2013, 03:30 PM:

Last night I said Bad Things about Seth McFarlane, his TV series, and his movie at a friend's LJ. Another of her friends rose to the defense with "Eleven seasons. He must be doing something right, even if it's not to your taste. It's actually quite possible to say that you don't like something without trashing it." My first impulse was to post something like "Eleven seasons of shit is still shit" followed by a reference to the 24 seasons of Hee Haw and going on from there, but I am instead chanting "," over and over. No great point to this: I just want SOMEBODY to appreciate that I'm not starting a fight at my friend's LJ.

#152 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2013, 03:48 PM:

Alex Wellerstein has found a song classified SECRET among records of U.S. nuclear bomb tests circa 1953. There's some SECRET poetry, too.

#153 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2013, 04:51 PM:

Bruce @151--I am impressed by your ability to resist.

Just because he's been successful doesn't mean that he merits respect. Confusing dollar signs with overall worth is a common failing.

has some good thoughts on the Onion fiasco (and apology) as well as other parts of the evening. He sums up by pointing out that satire is supposed to punch up, not down.

#154 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2013, 05:18 PM:

Brude D., #151: If money made is your sole criterion, the same comment would apply to any of the tobacco companies. Also, it says something ugly about our society as a whole that there are that many people who think he IS doing something right, and is that really what this person wants to identify with? (More or less for future reference.)

As usual, every Internet troll is defending the nasty Onion tweet with "but-but-but First Amendment!" So, a handy primer for anyone who needs to borrow it:

1) There is no First Amendment issue here, because the government has not said squat about it.
2) Freedom of speech does not mean, nor does it imply, freedom from consequences.
3) If you argue that the Onion guy had the right to say that, then you also have to acknowledge that everyone else has the right to call him on his assholism, AND that The Onion has the right to recognize the damage he has done to their reputation and respond accordingly.
4) When at least one of the people defending the Onion tweet was also volubly up in arms over Rush Limbaugh calling Sandra Fluke a slut, now you're past assholism and into RaceFail.

#155 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2013, 08:36 PM:

I agree, Lee. I was denouncing The Onion's tweet last night, so I feel obliged to also say that they got the apology apology right.

Say words of apology; admit wrongdoing; say enough about the wrong that it's clear you know WHY it was wrong; discuss any steps taken to remediate harm and/or prevent recurrence; say words of apology. Just about perfect, IMO.

#156 ::: Xopher Halftongue gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2013, 08:39 PM:

Perhaps for FB URL in link.

#157 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2013, 09:11 PM:

I had to rush my biggest boy cat to the emergency vet on Friday -- he's now in critical care after surgery (and surprised the vet by surviving surgery in the first place).

I've got my metaphorical fingers (and everything else I can think of) crossed, and I'm hoping he ends up falling into the 50%-or-less that survive his condition/side-effects.

Really hoping to not lose two cats in just over a month :(

#158 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2013, 09:30 PM:

I discovered today that I have the anti-abiveld.
How else to explain a program that fails when a co-worker runs it, but zips thru as it should when *I* run it?

#159 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2013, 09:36 PM:

Bruce E. Durocher II @ 151: I love Hee Haw.

#160 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2013, 09:53 PM:

xeger #156: May you and your cat see the best possible outcome.

Serge Broom #157: You're in tune with how the program is supposed to work? I'm assuming you didn't actually write it, because then that would be taken for granted.

#161 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2013, 10:13 PM:

Good luck to you and your cat, xeger!

#162 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2013, 10:14 PM:

Xeger @156, best wishes for a complete feline recovery.

#163 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2013, 10:18 PM:

Bruce E Durocher II @151, if you friend’s the sort of idiot who believes that popular material must by definition be good, she deserves to have a fight in her LJ. Go for it.

Seth MacFarlane is a complicated case, because he’s capable of being funny, but often phones it in with lazy jokes and sloppy writing. In addition to that, he often indulges in snide racial stereotyping, sexism, and transphobia. A shame, because the bits of his shows that are clever and funny really are authentically clever and funny.

#164 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2013, 11:12 PM:

Me 2 153--That was Harry Connolly I was linking to. I am full of typing fail today.

#165 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2013, 11:25 PM:

re 151: I felt a disturbance in the Force, as if a thousand people all cringed at once and applauded anyway.

#166 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2013, 12:30 AM:

Fidelio: thank you. McFarlane's success brings to mind Fred Allen's comment about the success of Milton Berle on television, which was along the lines of it said something sad about TV. (Allen suffered over the years from joke thieves, and Berle was famous for lifting anything he could, which may have contributed to Allen's animosity.) And Harry Connolly is a nice guy who's had bad luck with a superbly written series and I hope his next book takes off like a rocket.

Lee: it was more their attitude that it was my fault for finding McFarlane's stuff to be schlock and proclaiming it publicly. Damn it, the man makes the Farrelly brothers look good--there's certainly more real, believable people in There's Something About Mary than in any five episodes of McFarlane's stuff that I've tried to watch. Pointing out crappy stuff shouldn't be used as a club.

John A Arkansawyer: I love Hee Haw.

The musical numbers were top-rate, and I enjoyed the hell out of them, but the blackout sketches were old when they were originally used in Vaudeville. I guess we'll have to disagree.

Avram: if you friend’s the sort of idiot who believes that popular material must by definition be good, she deserves to have a fight in her LJ. Go for it.

The hell of it is that she's not that sort of idiot: she's sick with something like the crap that Patrick and Teresa have and can't police her LJ as well as usual. This is some numbnuts that decided to drop in and school me. On my LJ, which is my turf, I'd be at his throat. I'll have to take your word on McFarlane: the one time I heard him on Wait Wait Don't Tell Me he was smart and amusing, but I've never been able to last longer than five minutes watching one of his shows.

#167 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2013, 01:41 AM:

Xeger @157,
Wishing you good luck. My 17yo cat is sleeping behind me, one paw on my shoulder, weeks after the vet thought she might only have days.

#168 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2013, 05:11 AM:

Xeger @156
Keeping a good thought for you.

#169 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2013, 06:00 AM:

Bruce E. Durocher II @ 166: I love the classics. I never got to see vaudeville. But I did get to see Hee Haw. Those were awfully good performers working with classic material. What's not to like?

#170 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2013, 06:49 AM:

Open thready AKICIML
I am thinking of acquiring a tablet computer. I have never had anything other than PCs including the laptop I'm typing on now (which belongs to my office), various home desktops all now defunct, and a little home netbook which was supposed to be mine but has for various household reasons become shared property.

I think I'm going to get an Android. I think I'm going to get a 9 or 10 inch one; it looks like 7 would be better for e-reading but, while I expect to do some of that, if I'm going to use it for general purposes I'll be doing more email and web browsing on it than e-reading and therefore probably want the larger screen.

I'm planning to get a bluetooth keyboard.

I understand that I won't be able to use the tablet to manage my iPod touch (which contains no music purchased from iTunes, only things downloaded from my chorus or uploaded from CDs I already owned).

What else am I overlooking? If I'm replacing a Windows laptop/netbook with an android tablet, what am I assuming I'm going to be able to do that I will stumble over? Advice appreciated.

#171 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2013, 07:38 AM:

Bruce E. Durocher II #166: she's sick with something like the crap that Patrick and Teresa have and can't police her LJ as well as usual.

Do you have an out-of-band contact where you can ask her for permission/privileges to moderate on her behalf, or suggest that she pick someone to do so?

#172 ::: GlendaP ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2013, 08:17 AM:

OtterB @170: I got an Asus TF700 (10" Android tablet) a couple of weeks ago. One issue is that Android doesn't have a native print capability. There are work-arounds available, but I haven't managed to iron out all the kinks yet. I'm still going to my old laptop when I need to print.

Beyond that, it mostly depends on what software you use and whether there's an equivalent app available. Be prepared for a learning curve with each app, though.

#173 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2013, 08:38 AM:

OtterB @170: The thing I've been running up against is that a lot of tablet apps (I have a 7" Android, specifically a Nexus 7) deeply assume that you also have a desktop machine you can use to, for example, load them with content.

Evernote was recommended me as a great way to access a bunch of text-and-PDF files (for example, to keep my filkbook in). However, if you're just working with the tablet alone, the ONLY way to put content into it is to TYPE IT.

Suboptimal. I didn't even know you COULD load it with stuff from a different platform until I was complaining at a friend of mine, that I'd tried everything up to and including putting stuff in Google Drive and trying to side-load it, and he was all, "Wait, why would you think you could even do that? No Android app is ever going to be able to see any content owned by another app. They don't have a filesystem, they have individual, policed databases. You have to install the desktop version somewhere and use the same login on both to manage your files."

That would never have occurred to me.

An awful lot of app versions of websites are also mildly crippleware -- there are certain things you can ONLY do on the website. And other things are easier to do on the website. But some things are much easier and smoother on the app -- I really, really like Google Reader on my tablet, for example, except that there is apparently NOOOO zoom functionality. Though you can pop individual articles out to the web browser and look at them there ('click through'). And 'new' gmail made more sense (and was less annoying) after I'd used the app version. Some of my Facebook clicky games (zynga ones) are less annoying on the tablet than on my big computer, because they make things hang and crawl less.

There are a lot of things like that, where it really isn't a full computer and doesn't work that way, but none of the differences are DOCUMENTED because the people who make the apps assume everyone understands their basic metaphor-constraints and of course it's obvious, right?

I am now noting things down to bring to that same friend of mine for explanation, in future.

#174 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2013, 08:45 AM:

OtterB, I would recommend Bluetooth, but the two significant elements are the Google Play Store and a microSD slot. Some of the cheap stuff uses alternative App stores. Some of the expensive stuff doesn't bother with microSD.

The last time I checked you still needed Google Play to get the Kindle reader app

#175 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2013, 08:51 AM:

I am in that last generation that was taught to use a slide rule at school. One of the necessities is to be able to do rough mental arithmetic to get the decimal point in the right place.

Some of the stuff I see in the press today, I doubt they would get the decimal point in the right county.

#176 ::: Elliott Mason got gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2013, 09:09 AM:

... talking about my Android tablet.

#177 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2013, 10:12 AM:

Avram, #163: So, basically, it's the difference between those who are willing to give him a pass on being a lazy, racist, sexist asshole as long as he's sometimes funny, and those who feel that being occasionally funny isn't enough to make up for his being a lazy, racist, sexist asshole. Would that sum it up?

#178 ::: Kyndra ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2013, 10:42 AM:

On the tablet question:

I have the $199 Acer Chromebook and am really happy with it. I mostly blog and use it for social media and running videos for the children to use in studying science and German.

I also write drafts of documents in Google docs, I've been pretty happy with that and the form builder.

I do have a desktop machine that I use for graphics, and photo work, but I wouldn't do that on a laptop anyway.

Hope this helps...K

#179 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2013, 11:24 AM:

John A Arkansawyer :I love the classics. I never got to see vaudeville. But I did get to see Hee Haw. Those were awfully good performers working with classic material. What's not to like?

Let's put it this way: "Who's on First" and "Susquehanna Hat Company" were exceptional skits because they'd been hammered out over hundreds of performances, which is why they survived long enough for Abbot and Costello to use them--a similar process was used to grow the stateroom scene in A Night at the Opera even though Vaudeville was dead. Vaudeville also used jokes like this one from a monolog by the very young comic juggler Fred Allen: "Do you know Andy Mellon?" "No, but I know his cousin Water." Monologs and skits like this didn't survive, not because they were topical but because they were filler. In my experience, which was low because we couldn't receive the video from either the local CBS outlet or the independent that picked up the syndicated version, the majority of the comedy skits were in the latter category, rather than being based on especially funny, or part of a funny routine. There are folks that still quote Bob Newhart's phone call on Laugh In ordering things for the Christmas show ("And a chicken in a palm tree." ) or lines from MTM shows ("As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly!" "A little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down your pants.") which were done for weekly shows, so it wasn't a case of forging a routine over time, like in the Vaudeville days. I never heard any skit on Hee Haw that reached beyond the "We can't do musical numbers back to back and we don't have a Lawrence Welk, so shove a babe and Goober into the cornfield" level. The musicians, however, were excellent.

Dave Harmon: Since she's sick and I'm the only person this "special friend" (in the Animaniacs sense, not the MST3K sense) has pulled this on I figured that I'd let it slide since I don't know the commenter from Adam. (I'd ad the traditional "except he's much better dressed" but this is the Internet.) It just stuck in my craw enough that I had to sound off somewhere that he wasn't likely to be, but he doesn't matter enough (and isn't toxic enough) for me to bother her about.

#180 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2013, 12:15 PM:

Kathryn from Sunnyvale @ 167 ...
Wishing you good luck. My 17yo cat is sleeping behind me, one paw on my shoulder, weeks after the vet thought she might only have days.

My 15yo cheated death 2.5 years ago, but not today -- the vet called just after 3am to say that he was failing, and I rushed over, and was there with him when he passed.

He was a (very) large marmalade tabby, with white paws, a deep rumbling purr, and a great love and affection for everybody -- not the brightest, but his purr and heart more than made up for that. I'm going to miss him -- we're all going to miss him.

#181 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2013, 01:11 PM:

@Xeger: Sorry to here the news. I'm glad you got to be there.

#182 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2013, 01:12 PM:

Condolences, xeger -- at least you got a good long time with him. (For those following our current cat crises, Mabel is doing very well on chemo for the lymphoma, but our deaf white cat Sheba apparently has early renal failure -- totally asymptomatic except for blood work).

#183 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2013, 01:40 PM:

My condolences, xeger.

#184 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2013, 01:50 PM:

My condolences, xeger. I'm glad you were able to be with him at the end.

#185 ::: Lin Daniel ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2013, 01:52 PM:

It is with pain I report that jan howard finder died this morning at the Albany Medical Center CCU of complications of cancer and chemo. I was with him at the time, with a friend to keep me company.

Memorial service will be held in a couple of months. jan wanted an Irish wake style get together, and I want those who wish to come to be able to make it from where ever they are.

#186 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2013, 01:57 PM:

Lin, I'm very sorry for your loss.

#187 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2013, 02:27 PM:

Lin (185): Sad news. My condolences.

#188 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2013, 02:28 PM:

I'm so sorry, Lin.

#189 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2013, 03:16 PM:

xeger, I'm sorry.

I received a letter from my vet today; it included a letter of condolence and something I didn't know they'd done: an ink paw print from Rischa. I'm so glad to have it.

#190 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2013, 03:57 PM:

lin @185 -- That's quite a loss, and more so to you! I expect there'll be a wake of some sort at Worldcon.

#191 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2013, 04:16 PM:

xeger #156: Keeping fingers crossed for kitty.

Serge Broom @158: I discovered today that I have the anti-abiveld.

This somehow doesn't surprise me at all. Do you make housecalls?

#192 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2013, 04:23 PM:

xeger #180, Lin Daniel #185: My condolences on your separate losses.

#193 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2013, 04:31 PM:

AKICIML, Spanish Language Division: Any Spanish-speaking editors in the house? I have a Spanish-language web-page I've been tasked with reformatting to comply with our overall stylesheet, which calls for Title Case in headlines. I know that Spanish has some differences with English wrt capitalization, but my Google-fu is failing me in finding out what the Spanish equivalent practice is. Any thoughts?

#194 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2013, 04:43 PM:

Bruce Durocher @179 & John Arkansawyer @169--some of the comics on Hee Haw were veterans of the old traveling shows that were the 'country' successor of vaudeville, and of local radio shows--people like Grandpa Jones, Minnie Pearl, and Don Harron* (he played Charlie Farquharson, the radio station announcer) were veterans of that work, and quite a few of their routines showed the sort of polish you're talking about. Quite a few of the others didn't--you can tell which ones had roots, and which were thrown together for the show by a roomful of writers.

*For those who collect coincidences, his daughter Mary Harron directed the film version of American Psycho.

#195 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2013, 04:45 PM:

Argh. That'll teach me to post before reading through the thread.

xeger @180: Oh, dear, I'm so sorry. I'm glad you got there to see him off.

Cheryl: That's very sweet. I might suggest that to my vet. Though they're awfully good as it is. (Dr. Sue was at pains to reassure me that I'd done what I could when Tiny passed.)

Lin Daniel @185: Oh no! Not the Wombat...? I didn't know him at all well, but he was always wonderful when I encountered him at cons.

This on top of Marilee—seems like this month has been more than usually sucky....

#196 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2013, 04:54 PM:

xeger: Deepest sympathies for the loss of your cat. Fifteen years isn't long enough, is it?

Lin Daniel @185: my condolences.

#197 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2013, 05:35 PM:

xeger, #180: My condolences on your loss. A couple of our friends who do cat rescue have remarked that orange tabbies tend to be shorter-lived than other colors, we know not why. (Our Fafhrd only made it to age 14.)

Lin, #185: My condolences on your loss also. I didn't know jan well, but I've seen him at various cons.

#198 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2013, 05:43 PM:

My sympathies to everyone who has experienced losses lately. I'm very sorry to hear about Marilee, in particular. Wishing everyone comfort and healing...

#199 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2013, 05:46 PM:

xeger, I'm sorry for your loss.

Lin, I'm sorry for your loss. Condolences to all who were friends of jan.

#200 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2013, 06:07 PM:

Lee @177, nah, because there are also lots of people who don’t recognize lazy writing, or racism or sexism, when they see them. That’s why MacFarlane’s got a career.

#201 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2013, 06:10 PM:

Jacque, Cheryl:

When Sophie went four years ago this month, I was presented with a plaster-of-Paris pawprint. Rather like a large cookie. But I don't think it needed the silver paint inside, which rather spoiled the outline, *and* placed a barrier between the last thing she touched and my being able to touch it. Inky print is much better--the last gesture, as it were.

Sympathies to all on sudden passages.

#202 ::: Lin Daniel ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2013, 06:30 PM:

Oh not Marilee too. She was such a sweet person.

"Recently" sucks.

#203 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2013, 09:48 PM:

Some good news for a change: NZ is almost certain to get marriage equality before the end of the year.

Also notable in the discussions: nearly 1% of NZ voters sent a written submission to be considered by the Parliamentary Select Committee. These were about 55:45 in favour. Public opinion as indicated by polls is slightly more supportive.

#204 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2013, 09:48 PM:

Some good news for a change: NZ is almost certain to get marriage equality before the end of the year.

Also notable in the discussions: nearly 1% of NZ voters sent a written submission to be considered by the Parliamentary Select Committee. These were about 55:45 in favour. Public opinion as indicated by polls is slightly more supportive.

#205 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2013, 11:45 PM:

Well Bravo EnnZed!

#206 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2013, 12:33 AM:

My condolences to everyone for cats and friends.

I hate having to write that so much lately.

#207 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2013, 02:19 AM:

As said above by B. Durbin @ #206, condolences to all who've suffered recent losses.

Bad things come in threes, hell. They seem to be coming in tens this year.

#208 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2013, 08:32 AM:

I join with B. Durbin and Linkmeister in extending condolences to all those who have suffered recent losses. This is a time of much sorrow, and I hope that better comes soon.

#209 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2013, 09:41 AM:

Thanks for the comments on what can and can't be done with a tablet. I need to rethink my strategy.

#210 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2013, 11:20 AM:

I would like to register a complaint: however efficient it might seem to the universe to have snow fall and hit the ground instantly as slush (thus removing the messy several intervening days of ripening), it is HORRIBLY DIFFICULT to shovel up in any effective way. Dammit.

Today's insight brought to you courtesy of my newly-broken snow shovel, which will be incredibly difficult to replace on no notice, as I expect all the local home centers are sold out (given that it blizzarded yesterday and is snowing again today).

Salting today would be totally useless. I wish I could still find coarse-grit sand anywhere, since that's the proper response (shake it thoroughly on all walks and stairs, so if the falling slush freezes hard, the next shovel-attempt can easily get up the ice where it connects to the sidewalk); however, all our local home centers have had on offer the past several years is sugary playground sand, even in the 'mix your own concrete' section. Fine-grain sugary sand is not useful as sidewalk grit, it tends to just get entombed in the ice instead of forming a poor-crystallization band.

I am taking an executive decision: my scheduled morning yoga class can go jump. I desperately need a nap instead, before I continue with the rest of today's necessary activities: going out to (a) try to get a new snow shovel, (b) buy a huge bag of dog food, and (c) get a root canal.

#211 ::: Janet K ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2013, 12:18 PM:

There's a new post on the Marilee forum about needing to find a home for Marilee's two cats, Loki and Junie.

Her brother can't take them. None of her Manassas friends can take them but they are trying to find a home for them.

Even moving them to a temporary foster home would be a big help now.

I wish I could take them but I can't (2 cats already in a tiny apartment). But I'll be glad to pick them up and take them to a new home within 200 miles of Manassas.

-- Janet Kegg (jmk at

#212 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2013, 12:23 PM:

Elliott Mason: root canal

Owr! Condolences. (OTOH, chronic illness has given me new appreciation for dentistry: Something breaks, you deal with a couple of hours in the chair, a few days of discomfort (with drugs!), and it's done!). But: ow. I hope you don't have to do the attendant crown?

WRT sand: cheap aquarium gravel? Or: those sandbags they sell as ballast for trucks?

#213 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2013, 12:24 PM:

Janet K: What part of the country?

#214 ::: Janet K ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2013, 12:31 PM:

Jacque, Marilee lived in Manassas, Virginia, which is about 30 miles west of Washington DC (where I live).

#215 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2013, 01:37 PM:

Jacque @212: They used to sell that ballast sand (as 'tube sand,' because it comes in tubes) at home centers around here, and it was perfect, but I haven't seen it in forever and none of the clerks seem to have any idea it ever existed.

In re crowns, well ... there's good news and bad news.

TMI WARNING: Possibly dental-triggery

Turns out that my worst tooth, the whole pulp is dead and infected. The tooth is mostly intact on the outside, but wobbles in its socket. The dentist says it's a crapshoot whether, once the infected stuff is taken out and the inside filled up with make-it-not-collapse material, the root end will heal back into my jaw or not. If it does, I get a crown; if it doesn't, I get an extraction.

And it's already right next to the gap from a previous extraction, so ... suboptimal. There's a possibility, after the fiscal year for my insurance goes by in July, we might be able to afford to do an implant in the gap, which would be awesome and last 30+ years of good chewing time but is expensive. As heck.

#216 ::: cajunfj40 ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2013, 01:42 PM:

Elliott Mason @#210

Try searching for area landscape suppliers. We've got one near me (Minneapolis area) called Hedberg Aggregate that sells mulch, rocks from pea gravel to boulders, dirt, and two grades of salt/sand mix: 10/90 and 50/50. Sold by the ton (bring your own shovel/containers), if you fill up one 30 gallon barrel and ~4 30lb cat litter buckets, it cost less than $5 and lasted 3 years of MN winters. They probably also have straight salt and straight sand, but I was after the 50/50. Works great when it isn't too cold for salt, and even then the sand in the mix helps with traction. Drive in, drive over the scale, get vehicle weight, drive around to pile of #stuff, shovel it into your vehicle or containers therein, go get loaded vehicle weighed, go inside and pay by the pound for how much weight you dug up of #stuff.

#217 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2013, 02:02 PM:

Elliott Mason @215: "Sand Bags" local companies in Illinois

Yeah, it's astonishing how expensive those kinds of teefs are. Mine set me back a grand each—after insurance.

But that's one of the things I don't scrimp on. (But then, I'm able to not scrimp on it.)

"Tools aren't an expense. They're an investment."
—Duane A. Marshall

#218 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2013, 02:17 PM:

Elliott Mason @210

Sorry, I'm having a mental 'eep' at not being able to buy shovels/sand/road salt. Added to the list of "ways places are different": up here, I can buy those things anywhere. In a grocery store, at a dépanneur. Probably at the gas station. They are pretty much staples of a Montreal winter, available between November and April.

#219 ::: Zelda ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2013, 02:32 PM:

StatisticsFail from the bus fleet Diffraction link: “People always say [this bus line] is unsafe, they’ve been saying that for a long time, but I’ve been taking it for seven years and I’m okay,” said [...] a 20-year-old student.

*sigh* I saw too much of this attitude when working in occupational safety-- it has not yet happened to me personally, therefore it's not actually a Thing. The time we found out *after the fact* that one of our blood lots was positive for hepatitis gave everyone a useful jolt, though-- no, universal precautions are not just silly time-wasters.

Even I, the math teacher, don't think requiring a statistics course for high school graduation is reasonable. Not does it address the larger Fail here-- "my experience is Reality." What, if anything, helps get people out of their own heads?

#220 ::: Zelda is gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2013, 02:34 PM:

I think I can still offer Their Lownesses chocolate fruitcake cupcakes with hardsauce frosting.

It's my first gnoming. Be gentle with me.

#221 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2013, 02:55 PM:

JanetK @ 211: I can foster two cats until a permanent home can be found. I'm just outside of DC, and can meet you anywhere you like.

#222 ::: Janet K ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2013, 03:27 PM:

Ginger, I'll send you an email via LJ.

-- Janet (jmk at

#223 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2013, 04:15 PM:

Elliott Mason @ 215 and Jacque @ 217:

My fear of that kind of bill has kept me away from the dentist for about a decade at this point. I have no visceral dislike or fear of dental work itself. But I'm terrified at the prospect of a multi-thousand dollar bill.

I'm going to the dentist again in about a week. I do have dental insurance now, so that helps some. And I'm telling myself that this is just a checkup, which won't be super-costly. And if they do tell me I need expensive work done, it likely won't be a "Get this done now or die" emergency, so I can pause and figure out what to do.

And of course, there's the fact that not getting needed dental work done will just cost more in the long run.

But still, nervous.

#224 ::: Caroline is gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2013, 04:16 PM:

Vegetable panini? Almonds? I could probably rustle up a cup of tea, too.

#225 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2013, 06:11 PM:

Caroline @223: I was surprised, this latest round (I got initial exams at several dentists because the first one I tried, I didn't like the cut of his jib), to see that it is apparently now fairly standard for the dentist's desk staff to go over with you what things might cost, how much your insurance covers, what their office's policy on paying over time is, etc. They seem to expect (a) that you will have trouble with that degree of money, (b) that insurance is Complicated, and (c) that it shouldn't be solely YOUR problem to deal with (a) and (b), since they do this all day every day and you totally don't.

And if your dentist does not treat it as routine to be price-conscious and customer-service-oriented, try another; there are lots. At least, I'm lucky enough to be near lots that are both on my insurance and on ZocDoc, making them dead simple to schedule appointments at.

They also now will offer a slate of potential treatments, all of which address the most basic problem (in my case, 'that tooth is dead and infected' for the worst one) and that offer an array of differently-functional solutions of increasing price.

In my case, cheapest option (but probably least optimal, in terms of ability to chew) is extraction. Even if I had no insurance I could swing that out of pocket, if I had to. Second-best for this tooth is a root canal, with the caveat that it might end up an extraction anyway, depending on how the tooth-corpse reacts to having been dis-infected. In which case I'd pay for the root canal AND the extraction. Whatever. My insurance covers it reasonably well in this case, so not a problem. Then if I keep the tooth, it needs a crown (for additional charge). If it were extracted, or when speaking of its no-longer-extant neighbor, a full dental implant is the most expensive option, but nicely durable.

And they actually put real prices on a sheet of paper and talked about it with me after my cleaning-and-exam, before we made the appointment for what turned out to be today. They planned out the next several dental interventions/treatments I'm going to have, in what order, and how much they'll cost me out of pocket to do (after insurance).

It was really, really nice, and not at all an experience I expect to have in a medical office.

#226 ::: Cygnet ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2013, 06:53 PM:

There's an outside chance that Mars will get hit by a 50km (!) wide comet in November 2014.

That would be a very large boom.

#227 ::: Cygnet ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2013, 07:19 PM:

A blog with updated calculations, here.

There's got to be a Marvin the Martian reference in here somewhere.

#228 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2013, 07:52 PM:

Cygnet, #227: "Waitaminnit, that was supposed to be an EARTH-shattering KABOOM!"

#229 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2013, 08:59 PM:

Lin Daniel, my condolences on your loss -- and to xeger, I'm so sorry for your loss as well.

#230 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2013, 09:51 PM:

Elliott Mason, one of the reasons for living in the Bay Area instead of Sacramento is winter; another is summer. If you can't find the right kind of sand easily, cheap clay kitty litter works pretty well.

#231 ::: Teresa Rogers ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2013, 10:01 PM:

Elliot Mason @225 that's precisely the way it works in my orthopedic office as well. The only wrinkle is we can't control pathology and radiology, who are contracted and outside our office. But we run the insurance, pre-certify it, and tell all the patients what to expect before procedures and tests.

#232 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2013, 11:33 PM:

Hyperlocal news... Man celebrates the outcome of his yearly review by watching "Constantine" then "Guys and Dolls".

#233 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2013, 08:28 AM:

Serge Broom @ 232, you metaphorically escaped hell and found love? Or were you licking your wounds with comfort-movies? <ok, that's a badly mixed metaphor; anyone have a blender....?>

#234 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2013, 09:21 AM:

Elliott Mason @ 225, thank you. Now I know that that level of information and discussion about costs is reasonable to expect, and if they don't offer it I'll ask for it. And if they brush off my asking, I really will find another dentist.

I also think if they tell me I need root canals, I'll get a second opinion just on principle. I've had two friends recently be told they needed root canals (by two different dentists), but when each of them were seen by second dentists, they were told they probably didn't need root canals after all.

#235 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2013, 09:35 AM:

Caroline, re root canals, apparently edge cases are pretty common. I cracked a tooth and my dentist's verdict was, "we think we can fix it with a crown, but if that doesn't work you'll need a root canal". So far so good. So a different second opinion =/= first dentist trying to get away with something.

#236 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2013, 10:03 AM:


I am scheduled to present a six-minute speech on a topic of my choosing at the next meeting of our local speech club, in a couple of weeks.

It turns out this is the day before a National Day of Action Against Bullying, and I have decided to bend my efforts in that direction. I would particularly like to say something about the unhelpfulness of "Just ignore them/Just walk away" as a general solution to persistent bullying, and follow it up with suggestions for more useful approaches to take instead.

Can anyone suggest helpful readings/resources?

#237 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2013, 10:50 AM:

For one thing, ignoring them implies they've done nothing wrong, in the greater sense, and that the bullied person is being 'oversensitive'.

There's a lot of good stuff coming out lately on the related topic of street harassment of women by men, especially in and around the @everydaysexism twitter account, with a lot of people articulating that comments like "It's a compliment!" / "You're overreacting, it's ONE comment!" are totally unhelpful, because when it happens every time you leave your house with your hair down or wearing lipstick, 3-5 times per commute leg, it's NOT just ONE comment anymore.

Bullying works similarly. If the general assumption is that it's ok for the bully to do that, and it's your job to do the emotional work to not be wounded by their actions, it's never going to stop happening.

Maybe some fruitful keywords out that way, anyhow.

There was a recent book published about bullying whose author was all over NPR last week ... but when she was asked by the interviewer if she was ever bullied, her reaction ran along the lines of, "Yes, this once! It was horrible! All my friends decided they wouldn't like me, and for the two weeks they kept to it MY LIFE WAS HELL. I actually bonded with this one outcast girl, when I was an outcast too? And she really touched my heart. But when my friends took me back and then they bullied her, I didn't speak up."

I very nearly punched my radio. Excuse me, lady, if it happened just the once? YOU WERE NOT BULLIED go away.

#238 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2013, 10:53 AM:

Paul A. @ #236, try this.

#239 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2013, 11:10 AM:

#237 ::: Elliott Mason

I don't have anything directly helpful, but it took me a long time to figure out why "just ignore them and they'll stop" made me so angry.

It was the injustice. I had an obligation of extreme self control, while the bullies had no obligation to control themselves. I was supposed to do the thing which would impose the least cost on adults.

Some recent research. It turns out that bullying has an impact a decade later, which is not surprising, but also that those who were both bullies and bullied had much worse outcomes than those who were only bullied.

#240 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2013, 11:29 AM:

When I was bullied as child, flight was often impossible, much less walking away. I tend to view this "solution" as a rationalization of Christian non-violence which ignores that it is self-sacrificial, not effectual.

#241 ::: Sica ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2013, 11:42 AM:

Re: The harmful Bullying advice of just ignore them or walk away. Something will always leak through and the bullies will just redouble their efforts in order to get a reaction out and there will be a reaction anyway at the end because no one can stay "reaction less and just ignore it" even if they're trying not with multiple people shouting obscenities at you straight in your face (as one example)

Unless you want to train children to completely disassociate from their emotions and try and turn themselves into reaction-less robots which isn't exactly healthy and almost certainly wont work anyway (for a value of "works" meaning less bullying)

#242 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2013, 11:54 AM:

The biggest thing about bullying is what Elliott says @237: when the reaction to reports of bullying is to tell the VICTIM what to do, that says two things: (1) the bullies are not doing anything wrong; (2) the victim is in control of the bullies' behavior.

You may or may not find it useful to draw the obvious parallels to rape and the way rape victims are treated. Side note: I wonder if anyone has done a study of rapists to determine what percentage of them also have a history of bullying? It seems intuitively obvious to me that they might, because rape and bullying fall into the same general category of behavior.

#243 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2013, 01:06 PM:

#241 ::: Sica

I think some of the people who say to just ignore bullies don't think the bullies are right, they just think there's no way to get them to stop if the bullies don't want to.

#244 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2013, 02:27 PM:

Nancy Lebovitz @243: That may be true, but if you, the victim/target are being told "Just ignore them. If you don't react, they'll stop" then you're actually being told "being bullied is your fault for reacting" - because if you didn't react, they'd stop; they haven't stopped, therefore it's obviously your fault for encouraging them by failing to not-react.

Now, if the victim was told: "I know it's really difficult, but try to ignore them. Their behaviour is not your fault and unfortunately there's nothing YOU can do to change their behaviour, but if you ignore them they might get bored and stop, if you're lucky." - That would be different.

#245 ::: Jeremy Leader ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2013, 02:54 PM:

dcb @244 said what I was about to say. Ignoring them might help, or even solve the problem, under a particular set of circumstances; under other circumstances, not so much.

The same goes for "stand up to them, and they'll respect you". Sometimes, maybe, and sometimes it'll just make things much, much worse.

Pretty much any single sentence that's expected to be applicable and helpful for all instances of bullying, isn't. Other than "bullying is wrong", which is always applicable, and might help fight victim-blaming.

#246 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2013, 05:59 PM:

Lila @ 235, oh definitely, it doesn't necessarily mean the first dentist was trying to get away with anything. In the case of my husband -- one of the two people mentioned -- he still very much likes and trusts the first dentist, to the point that he specifically recommended her to me. (The second dentist in that case also said he could see why the first dentist had wanted to do a root canal, even though he disagreed about it being necessary. It wasn't a "What the heck is she talking about?" situation, but an "Eh, I see what she's saying, but I'd say something different" situation.)

That was kind of a tangential thought -- less about avoiding big dental bills, more just about dental work in general.

But yeah, it seems like there are edge cases with root canals, and I feel like it'd be worthwhile to get a second opinion just on grounds of getting more information.

#247 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2013, 08:42 PM:

Meanwhile, on Twitter: #FakeHugoAwardCategories

#248 ::: Angiportus ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2013, 08:54 PM:

HLN: Area retiree finds that favorite library is in danger again. County system wants to shrink it by 1/3 while keeping it in its unique over-the-river location. This in a growing city, when others are getting bigger libraries. Retiree and fellow patrons are taking action, writing letters, attending meetings, alerting media.
County system seems more intent on swallowing up all local city libraries and expanding its empire than actually providng good service to patrons.
Things could get...exciting.

#249 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2013, 09:26 PM:

Many of you know I work with the Alpha Young Writer's Workshop. As in years past, the alumni are running a fundraising drive so future students can more easily attend the workshop. They have a donation anthology, interviews with past Alphans, and other nifty things. If anyone is interested in donating or learning more, the link is here for the donation page and from there you can get to the workshop proper, or you can click on my name. It's an amazing program, seriously, and I'm flabbergasted by the skills the students arrive with and develop throughout the ten days of the workshop.

#250 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2013, 12:14 AM:

Elliott @ 237

She makes my teeth clench. I feel like she sees bullying as a problem of basic courtesy, rather than as a form of repeated verbal or physical assault.

Paul @ 236

Suzette Hayden Elgin had sort of an extended discussion of this across several (maybe more than several) LJ posts. In trying to clarify my recollection, I ran across this seemingly pertinent link, but I also just recommend searching on "ozarque" paired with some relevant search terms. Or reading the entire LJ, but probably not in one night... (The comments on her posts are consistently also worth a read.)

#251 ::: KayTei is waltzing with gnomes ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2013, 12:53 AM:

Can I offer some gingerbread walnut cookies and milk?

#252 ::: SarahS ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2013, 02:31 PM:

"Jedi mind meld"? That's a total Shaka when the walls fell, right there.

#253 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2013, 03:19 PM:

SarahS: "I'll take 'Scrambled Genre References' for $500, Alex."

#254 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2013, 03:21 PM:

Jedi mind trick.

Vulcan mind meld.

Pick one.

#255 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2013, 03:52 PM:

Does anyone else remember the Facebook meme with the cut line "use the force, Harry! --Gandalf"

#256 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2013, 04:05 PM:

I have a really bad feeling about this, Jim.

#257 ::: John M. Burt ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2013, 04:25 PM:

Re bullying, I think the thing is,

"Just ignore them" will not work if the bully is being rewarded by something outside the target's control (admiration from peers, cringing from other targets, your lunch money).

"Stand up to him/her/them and you'll be respected" will only work if there is a possibility for respect. If your race, gender, looks or age put you outside the category of "possibly respectable" in the bully's tiny lizardlike brain, the target will only become a "troublesome target" to be crushed more thoroughly.

#258 ::: John M. Burt ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2013, 04:30 PM:

Re Scrambled Genre References: I don't think any will surpass an issue of the Gold Key Star Trek comic (the one noted for things like rocket blasts shooting from the engine nacelles and away teams wearing backpacks) in which Spock reacts to surprising news by murmuring, "Shades of Pluto", a Wonder Woman oath.

Many years later, I was in a group coming up with things that Kirk, Scott or McCoy should have said, and I offered, "Doctor McCoy should have said, 'That's as useful as Vulcan cusswords'."

#259 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2013, 06:53 PM:

I heard a clip of Obama saying "Jedi mind meld," and he paused before "meld," in a way that sounded like he was trying to remember what the right word was. I've seen at least one report before that made me think his primary fandom is Trek (the 2008 campaign event where he saw Michelle wearing a crystal belt and excitedly said "Dilithium crystals!"), so I wonder if the word "mind" just irresistibly called forth the word "meld" for him, in such a way that he couldn't remember what the Jedi mind thing was.

Still, a facepalm moment, though.

#260 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2013, 07:08 PM:

Okay, here is your long-suffering academic ploughing his way through student papers. Up pops this, ahem, gem:

The “third wave feminism” championed by Rebecca Walker in Ms. Magazine in 1992 contest that the twenty first century is not a post-feminist era but rather Women’s rights an opportunities appear to need defense, even as women around the world gain more inclusion I the formal political process.

Whether or not it is post-feminist, the attitude appears to be that grammar is an elderly female relative who is suffering neglect.

#261 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2013, 07:44 PM:

Caroline @259, I remember that as “lithium crystals”, and that’s how it was reported.

Obama also famously screwed up a Sanford & Son reference (“I’m coming, Weezy!”), and once said that McCain was GW Bush’s sidekick, “like Kato to the Green Lantern”. He’s got a gift for this kind of thing.

#262 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2013, 08:49 PM:

I've just heard that Richard E. Geis has died -- even more of a hermit than Harry Warner Jr., and about as important to the next generation of fandom. A difficult man, and an astonishing writer.

#263 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2013, 09:10 PM:

Judy Gerjuoy (founder of the the Darkover Grand Council Meeting, a medium-sized excellent convention) just died, too. The news was on the smofs mailing list.

#264 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2013, 09:36 PM:

Avram @ 261, I saw it reported as "The lithium crystals!" and read it as a clueless reporter mishearing "dilithium."

#265 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2013, 09:40 PM:

Link to story. The full quote as reported is "The lithium crystals! Beam me up, Scotty!" I figure he said "dih-lithium" instead of "die-lithium," hence the mishearing.

#266 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2013, 11:42 PM:

Dental work is horrendously expensive, because it's something that's outright critical and can't be put off. And naturally, you always need it when you have less cash flow. More than half of my credit card balance is my husband's teeth. This is partly because of a crazy little family trait that means he's no longer affected by ANY of the dental sedatives—he didn't go to the dentist for more than a decade and when we found out about sedation dentistry the fallout was huge.

Anyway. My current dentist is replacing my aging fillings one at a time, partly because each filling is becoming a partial crown and she's spreading it out so we get insurance coverage each time. She's been very smart about it, too—the replacements have been coming in good time, just before they start cavities underneath. I'm glad of that, but I wish my mouth weren't such a mess. Did you know you "catch" cavities from adults? The bacteria don't just appear on their own. Oy. Trying to keep my kids from having to put up with cavities is probably a lost cause, but I can try...

#267 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2013, 10:13 AM:

Open thready: friend asks "Anyone know a good source on Renaissance-Period English grammar?" I figured someone does, and this is where they hang out.

#268 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2013, 10:18 AM:

Potential mini Gathering of Light: Texanne and I will be in the Boston area next weekend. We've got plans for Saturday (it's a different other 'net meetup, and if you're an Age of Sail nerd, get in touch with me), but we're staying in Watertown, so I've told Texanne that we're going to the Old Town Diner for breakfast on Sunday. I've suggested that we get there by 9:30 AM to try to avoid the insane wait that happens if you get there at a more civilized brunch-time. (The home fries are worth getting up that early.) We'd love to see you!

Texanne, you didn't say when your train home was. If it encompasses an early dinner, and that works better for folks, I'm thinking Mary Chung's in Central Square.

#269 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2013, 10:22 AM:

Sandy B @ #267, there's an old SCA source called The Known World Handbook that includes a useful article called "How to Speak Forsoothly" by Diana Listmaker. It's not bad. (Other similarly titled articles found online vary wildly in quality.)

#270 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2013, 10:25 AM:

Sandy B., I feel I should point out that the Diana Listmaker Lila mentions in her comment is known outside the SCA as Diana L. Paxon.

#271 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2013, 10:51 AM:

(That would be Paxson, Rikibeth.)

#272 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2013, 10:56 AM:

Rikibeth at 268: Count me in. That's not too far away from me.

#273 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2013, 11:21 AM:

Sandy B. @ 267

Anyone know a good source on Renaissance-Period English grammar?

(The references would be easier to provide if I were at home, rather than spending the day at work finishing up a critical investigation. grr.)

There are several excellent reference works on this subject, although they tend to be aimed more at those studying literature than those trying to reproduce the language. (Unfortunately the version of my bibliography database that I can access from the cloud can't be sorted or filtered, so this is a bit random in order.)

Matthew, William. 1943. English Pronunciation and Shorthand in the Early Modern Period. University of California Press, Berkeley. [probably not quite so much what you're looking for]

Ronberg, Gert. 1992. A Way with Words. Routledge, Chapman & Hall, New York. [if I'm remembering correctly, this book is exactly the sort of thing that would be useful for the topic, but I'm having to remember just from the title]

I'm a bit less certain about this one as I believe it's just a little pamphlet put out by one of the renaissance fairs: Zepeda, Gerald F. 2002. The Elizabethan Language Book. Renaissance Entertainment Corporation, Louisville, CO.

Barber, Charles. 1997. Early Modern English. Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh (ISBN 0-7486-0835-4) [definitely on-topic, but very much a technical reference manual intended for scholars rather than the general reader]

That's everything I can find by searching on "early modern" in my database (which is a very blunt instrument for searching), but Barber and Ronberg were the two I was definitely trying to find.

My friend Chris Laning could give a more extensive list of resources with critical review as she's done research and training modules for re-enactors trying to reproduce various levels of language accuracy. I can put you in touch if you like.

#274 ::: Heather Rose Jones has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2013, 11:22 AM:

Probably for sloppy typing or the peculiar formatting of bibliographic citations.

#275 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2013, 01:51 PM:

From the producers of Jane Austen's "Sonic and Sensibility" now comes "Downton Arby's"

#276 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2013, 01:59 PM:

A good sketch-comedy show* could do a parody set in a fast-food restaurant in lower Manhattan called "Downtown Arby's." All the usual interactions between people in a fast-food restaurant, but in Edwardian accents with cut-glass vowels.

*No, not SNL. I said "good."

#277 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2013, 03:27 PM:

Speaking of speaking forsoothly:


#278 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2013, 03:57 PM:

Sandy, 267: The best way to learn Renaissance English is the old-fashioned way, through exposure. Watch Shakespeare, Marlowe, all the revenge tragedies you can find; read what you can get your hands on. Don't read modern attempts because they're usually wrong.

#279 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2013, 04:18 PM:

Xopher... Eric Nelson... Some of us thought up a story where the Downton gang meets Wooster, along with Jeeves and his dread aunt Agatha, and Hercules Poirot. We threw in a few lovecraftian horrors to spice things up.

#280 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2013, 04:24 PM:

...the temptation to write a Downton-Amelia Peabody mashup is...excruciating.

#281 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2013, 04:48 PM:

Xopher (280): I'd read that, and I don't even watch Downton Abbey. Or read fanfic very often.

#282 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2013, 06:24 PM:

I just want to say:

Sidebar item "Literature and Murder" posted by Patrick, about drones and other things, links to another article,

about a drone operator who has post-traumatic stress disorder even though he was not actually physically present in the combat he participated in. So I just want to say that this article would be the perfect science fiction story if it were only fiction, and I am sad that it isn't.

#283 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2013, 09:24 PM:

Eric Nelson @ 282: Hilbert Schenk's "The Battle of Abaco Reef" touches on that in passing:

Gurer ner ivqrb-tnzr yvxr pbagebyf ba nagv-nvepensg jrncbaf naq gurl'er bcrengrq ol xvqf. Jr frr n tvey unccvyl qbjavat n cynar; gur ivrjcbvag punenpgre jbaqref ubj gung'yy jrne ba ure nf fur tebjf hc.

It's a wonderful story. He had a run of them.

#284 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2013, 09:33 PM:

I'm cooking up some polenta (from scratch, damnit!) with the intent of topping it with broiled salmon.

Any suggestions as to a quickie sauce? Tomato would seem overpowering.

#285 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2013, 09:55 PM:

Stefan Jones #284: Might be a little late, but I've always been fond of mustard sauces for salmon. Alternately, dill and butter is a classic.

#286 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2013, 10:50 PM:

I ended up dribbling olive oil with minced garlic over the salmon and polenta.

Dill in the olive oil might have been interesting . . .

#287 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2013, 02:21 AM:

Xopher Halftongue @280: I long to see Aunt Agatha square up against the dowager duches, and Jeeves sort out Thomas! I'm not quite sure how Amelia et al would fit in—Downton is completely lacking in Egyptian tombs, so why would she be interested?

#288 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2013, 09:49 AM:

It wouldn't take Jeeves to sort out Thomas, all it would take would be leaving Downton. He needs to slope off to Berlin like Christopher Isherwood, and find somebody, and then notice when it's getting frightening around 1933 or a little earlier and bring his somebody back to England.

Likewise, Daisy needs to take Mr. Matthews Mason (sorry, Paul Copley will forever be Matthews from Hornblower to me) up on his offer of running the farm, and then we'll see Fudge, the Minister of Magic Siegfried Farnon and The Fifth Doctor his brother Tristan and James Herriot attending to one of her animals on All Creatures Great and Small some years later.

Um. As I won't be watching next season (curse you, Dan Stevens, for your career decision, and curse you, Julian Fellowes, for not picking a different way to implement it), I've been engaged in thinking up better endings for the characters I care most about.

As for how Thomas will finance Berlin, at this point I don't care if he steals all the Downton silver. Grr.

#289 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2013, 11:23 AM:

Bowntonnage: Just a few minutes ago read that "Mrs O'Brien" will be written out of the show. I'm hoping the character goes to India with "Shrimpy" and company.

#290 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2013, 11:40 AM:

janetl #287:

Amelia actually could be quite interested; the real-life location for Downton, Highclere Castle, is the seat of the Earls of Carnarvon--of Tutankhamun fame. Lots o' Egyptian relics in the basement.

Personally, I think Beach, not Jeeves, would be the correct person to sort out Thomas. Much greater understanding of human nature and Original Sin than Carson.

Naq jung jvyy unccra jvgu Zbyrfyrl, abj ng ybbfr raqf naq univat qvftenprq uvzfrys ng gur Tuvyyvrf' Onyy? Abj gurer, V guvax Wrrirf jbhyq or gur pbeerpg pbhagreinvyvat sbepr.

#291 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2013, 11:44 AM:

Stefan #289:

Frrzf zbfg yvxryl. Fur qvq gryy Fuevzcl'f jvsr'f znvq gung fur ab ybatre sryg nal yblnygl gb ure, nsgre gur juvfxl vapvqrag--naq gura gebggrq evtug npebff gur ebbz gb Ynql Jbgfvg. Fbzrubj V qba'g guvax gur rafhvat pung jnf gbgnyyl nobhg unvefglyrf.

#292 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2013, 11:50 AM:

Stefan Jones @ 289: I hope O'Brien goes to India, too. May the challenge take some of the cranky out of her. I looked up news on her, and found a NYT article about who will show up next season, and who will leave. It described O'Brien as a "housemaid". I'd love to see the character's reaction to that. Paper of record, indeed! There's already an comment pointing out the error. I wonder if they'll print a correction?

O'Brien's Evil Secret has to one of the most ridiculous plot points in the series. Fbncvat n fznyy nern bs gur sybbe arkg gb n ongugho zhfg varivgnoyl yrnq gb fbzrbar fyvccvat naq snyyvat jura gurl trg bhg bs gur ongu, naq n cresrpgyl urnygul jbzna snyyvat gb gur sybbe zhfg varivgnoyl zvfpneel. Really.

#293 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2013, 12:04 PM:

Well, I see I shouldn't have gone catching up on Making Light threads before I had a chance to watch the stored last episode of this season of Downton Abbey. (That said, I agree it would be to the benefit of everyone--including Thomas--if he could get out of that place and move somewhere that he wouldn't keep getting drawn back into old toxic patterns.)

#294 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2013, 12:17 PM:

Abi or other mods, iff you feel that it would be a Good Thing to rot-13 the last line of my #290 and all of my #291, that's fine with me.

[Done. Morioc Riequor, Duty Gnome]

#295 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2013, 03:08 PM:

joann @ 290: Oh, ancient Egyptian artifacts in the cellars of Downton could explain so much about the improbable events. It's all due to malign forces of revenge!

The New Yorker's Shouts & Murmurs has a draft script for the next episode of Downton Abbey. It's a bit single-note, based on the last few moments of the last episode, but I quite like the (few) lines delivered by Tom Branson.

#296 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2013, 05:13 PM:

#291: I caught that too, and think your suggestion is likely. Heck, I'd watch that series. Znlor fur'q eha vagb Revp Oynve.

#290: V guvax Zbfryrl jvyy or sbetvira sbe jung ng zbfg jnf na rkuvovgvba bs uvtu fcvevgf naq wbyyvgl.

#297 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2013, 07:17 PM:

janetl 287: I'm not quite sure how Amelia et al would fit in—Downton is completely lacking in Egyptian tombs, so why would she be interested?

She'd be interested in the real house, as joann points out at 290. From this page:

The castle oozes history. In discreet cupboards nestled between the double doors of the drawing and smoking rooms, the 5th Earl of Carnarvon once stashed Egyptian artifacts sourced from his archaeological adventures. The current lord’s great-grandfather, the 5th Earl famously bankrolled Howard Carter’s quest for the tomb of King Tutankhamen. He was among the first to enter the child pharaoh’s tomb in 1922 and, after passing away merely two years later, was wildly speculated to have suffered the alleged — and eventually debunked — “Mummy’s Curse.” The Earl and Countess Carnarvon have since converted the cellar rooms into a museum that showcases his collection of Egyptian antiquities (as well as the antique cars he used to collect and speed around in).
Emerson would probably like to give the 5th Earl a good thrashing for his theft of antiquities.

And please note: Carnarvon did not find King Tut's tomb. Howard Carter did. Carnarvon just put up the money and grabbed the credit (and made off with artifacts, which even at the time was illegal).

#298 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2013, 08:40 PM:

I see that Amazon is doing even more strange stuff.

Now they're encouraging people to request refunds when the self-published version of a book is removed from sale, and a "real" publisher starts selling the book.

Anti-trust suit?

I keep an eye on what Kindle Direct Publishing is doing, but since they persist in wanting to entangle me with US tax law, there is no way I am going to jump through those hoops for sales on the order of sweet F.A. And, every so often, another story emerges of Amazon screwing over an author.

And then there is the story about the tshirts, some algorithm assembling tshirt slogans from a list of possible words, and offering thousands of items for sale through Amazon. What I find startling is that the seller didn't spot the potential offensiveness, and yet potential customers did spot those slogans. I wonder what they were searching for.

Oh, right, Shakespeare: The Rape of Lucrece.

Yeah, it's not so surprising that somebody would make an Amazon search that would turn up offensive tshirts.

Look what those crooks at Amazon let you get away with.

#299 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2013, 11:43 PM:

Order books from Powell's Books instead. They have a Real Store™ and if you buy from them, it helps keep it open.

#300 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2013, 01:33 AM:

B. Durbin @ #299, Or from Barnes and Noble, which ditto.

#301 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2013, 08:10 AM:

HLN: local woman is enjoying singing with symphony chorus, but is bemused by translation rhyming "over" with "Jehovah".

Translation is by John Rutter, though Bugs Bunny was also a strong candidate.

#302 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2013, 08:53 AM:


Mark Kleiman asks if anyone knows what happened to the concluding volume of Alexei Panshin’s Anthony Villiers tetraology, The Universal Pantograph.

#303 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2013, 09:11 AM:

Lila @ 301... rhyming "over" with "Jehovah"

Want to go to the stoning?

#304 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2013, 09:30 AM:

Serge, that was the SECOND thing that came to mind. (The first was "can't you see that I'm much sweeter/I'm your little señori-ter!" @ 2:34)

#305 ::: D. Potter ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2013, 09:47 AM:

@301, 303, 304: I was thinking Tom Lehrer, myself.

#306 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2013, 10:02 AM:

Lila @ 304... Ah, Bugs, that big crossdresser, as Jane Yolen once said around here...

#307 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2013, 10:42 AM:

#302 ::: SamChevre

Panshin planned it for seven volumes and had an outline. IIRC, he couldn't find a publisher and eventually felt he couldn't continue the series because he wasn't that person any more.

I wish he'd publish the outline.

#308 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2013, 12:31 PM:

janetl @292: O'Brien's Evil Secret has to one of the most ridiculous plot points in the series.

Oh, that's what that was about. I'd clean forgotten. Well, to be effective, it doesn't necessarily have to be a real Evil Secret, just one that the party in question would regard as a Evil Secret.

#309 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2013, 12:37 PM:

SamChevre @302: there is a ms for The Universal Pantograph, which a couple of editors I've talked with have read (I have not read it myself). The universal reaction among the editors is that it's dreadful, and depressing. Panshin should probably be allowed the right to say that he's no longer that person, and that he's not able to finish the series. These are editors whose taste I trust. The existence of a plan for the seven volumes was mentioned in a review (of Masque World) in a fanzine in the early 70s which I was just reading (page 36 of SFR 35, by Alexis Gilliland, if you want to look it up).

#310 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2013, 01:05 PM:

Jacque @ 308: Alexander Cockburn once said, "It's the essence of a witch hunt that the past is re-created as guilty secret."

#311 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2013, 01:33 PM:

One more thing for SamChevre -- your friend might enjoy either Walter John Williams' Drake Maijstral stories or John Barnes' Jak Jinnaka books. The Williams are closer to Villiers in style, with the Barnes being more of a young-lad picaresque; both suffer from having their maguffins be too important in the world, IMO (part of Villiers' charm is that the things that are going on are very minor in the scope of the universe, but large in the characters' lives -- rather like what we have to deal with in daily life). Happy reading!

#312 ::: oliviacw ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2013, 07:49 PM:

Hmm, Clouds of Witness is set in Yorkshire. If Downton Abbey ever makes it to 1926, Lord Peter Wimsey might stop by....

#313 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2013, 10:10 PM:

joann@290, what would be the appropriate dress for "the Ghillies' Ball"? A ghillie suit?

#314 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2013, 10:47 PM:

Former Canadian political figure and CBC employee says viewing kidporn is a "victimless crime" and should be legalized. He was caught on tape at a university event, and a furor has ensued. As well it should!

Sadly, this is not the first unacceptably outrageous thing this guy has said in public. But none of the others touched on any of the Ultimate Taboos -- they were only about things like the assassination of whistleblowers.

#315 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2013, 11:15 AM:

Bill Stewart #313:

Ordinary Highland Ball dress, looked like to me. Sort of like a south-of-the-Borders Servants' Ball, except with added kilts.

#316 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2013, 10:31 PM:

Erik Nelson @277: I should find the con book illo of the 30th-century SCA member I did a couple of decades ago. Jogging shorts, silk hat, futuristic rifle, a T-shirt with a dog on it labeled "Garfield," and so on.

re Seth MacFarlane: I'll have to take it on faith that he's capable of being funny. I watched the first ep of "Family Guy" and declared that it sucked. It wasn't just the "edgy" nature of the jokes, but the mere fact that he couldn't tell a joke. The one time the show veered close to humor, it proceeded to revisit the joke so many times I regretted ever smiling. I expressed my opinion at the animation group on Usenet, and was told that the show had gotten better, so I watched another couple of episodes and repeated my observation. The scene repeated until I'd seen a half dozen episodes, and I gave myself permission to never go check again, and I haven't.

re bullying: In high school gym, I was the particular target of one of the 'cowboys' (FFA member; early 70s) who threatened me on a pretty much daily basis. It was cowboys vs longhairs back then, and I was a longhair. There was one well-regarded cowboy who was always nice to me, and I think things would have been worse for me if he hadn't been. One day I snapped. He was engaging in his usual practice of using all the synonyms for homosexual that he knew, and I looked up at him (he was taller than me, of course) and, glancing at his rather full lips, decided I just didn't give a fck any more and said, "Well, at least I don't wear lipstick!" He didn't say anything to that, but there were audible snickers. I don't think he ever bothered me again. In fact, he vanished from the school not much later, and the word came back that he had somehow gone to jail for killing his nephew. A couple of years later, I saw him bagging groceries at Steele's. I said hey, and he mumbled something back, and I never saw him again.

(Figures I'd have the most to say about bullying. Years of experience.)

#317 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2013, 11:03 PM:

If the only cartoons Seth McFarlane was known for were the occasional "Brian and Stewie" adventures -- which are frequently time travel or otherwise SFish in nature -- I'd think he was quirky and creative.

Having seen too many episodes of all of his cartoons . . . well, I'd still consider him quirky and creative, but also a misogynist, misanthropic, mean-spirited jerk.

It pains me to hear that McFarlane is also behind a push to re-create Cosmos, because if he weren't I could dismiss him more easily.

#318 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2013, 11:04 PM:

Kip W... Sometimes the bullied get the last laugh. I seem to remember reading that, when he was in high-school, one well-known actor was the regular target of other students whose mission in life was to regularly beat him up. The actor? One Harrison Ford.

#319 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2013, 11:59 PM:

Serge Broom: Sometimes the bullied get the last laugh.

Years ago, when Nichols and May were on Broadway, a guy went up to Mike Nichols backstage and said "You probably don't remember me..." Nichols did: he'd bullied Nichols when he was in school, and I believe his stunts extended to forcing Nichols' head into a horse trough and standing on it. Nichols said "Yes I do. You are ____ ______ and you are a shit."

He then followed up with a question:

"What do you do for a living?"

"I'm a used car salesman."

"I'm so glad!

#320 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2013, 01:25 AM:

Huge Chavez has died of cancer. (Link is in Spanish)

The writing has been on the wall for awhile now, ever since he had an apparent recurrence of cancer just a few months after they surgincally revmoved it.

#321 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2013, 06:24 AM:

Brennan-monster alert.

#322 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2013, 07:45 AM:

Charlottesville status: Heavy snow began last night, resumed this morning. Power flickering increasingly, may go out for real soon. My UPS has saved me a lot of reboots already, and I've got the "shut down" dialog ready in another window.

I do live next to a power substation, so I rarely lose power for long, but Winter Storm Saturn might well be one of those. Doubting if the store I work at will be open tomorrow. I'm actually passably well stocked for a brief outage, but we'll see....

#323 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2013, 07:47 AM:

PS: The forecast suggests that the temperatures will also be hovering at and above freezing the whole time. This could be icy....

#324 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2013, 07:59 AM:

I find Seth McFarlane funny. I invariably crack up when he hits the "Picard perving on Troi" button. But I wouldn't go out of my way to watch his show. It's not consistently funny. The Oscars thing? I think his heart was in the right place, which is seldom enough.

#325 ::: Sica ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2013, 08:26 AM:

Ok so the weather back home in Iceland went absolutely crazy overnight. Buses not running, 20 car pile up on one of the roads, people told to stay at home. Basically a proper serious winter storm with almost no visibility and high winds in March. It seems to be going fine and no one has gotten seriously hurt so far, Google translated Icelandic news page about the storm

What it really made me notice though is just how many nice and crunchy words Icelandic has for bad weather, of the stormy type in particular.

Ok so the basic:

Veður = weather
Óveður = really bad weather, the ó is a negation prefix with negative connotations
Vonskuveður = really bad veður, vonska is related to vondur = evil
Hálka = ice on roads/sidewalks that makes you in danger of falling over.
Flughálka = really bad ice on roads that makes you very likely to fall over. Flug = flying
Bylur = blizzard or snowstorm, implies heavy winds
Blindbylur = blizzard or snowstorm with practicality no visibility, the blind there in the prefix is funnily enough blind in English as well
Hríð = blizzard or snowstorm, implies low visibility
Stórhríð = major blizzard, stór = big or large

Now this is one that bugs me in English that I dont know the word for:
Færð = The condition of the roads, travellability, "Fara" is the Icelandic verb for go so those are really related.

Then you can get
illfært = It's possible to get around but it's hard and not recommended. Illur is an adjective of bad,evil,angry. Feelngs of ill will etc
þungfært = pretty much the same as illfært, possibly a bit better. Þungur = heavy. Can also be used to talk about traffic jams on roads that are not weather related
ófært = it's not possible to get around

Example of use: Hey it's totally ófært outside, I'll just stay at home

More words:
illviðri = bad weather, viðri is basically the same word as veður. Icelandic has noun declensions that can include patterns of changing vowels and letters around and then sometimes new words get made out of variations of that.
Skyggni = visibility, related to Skuggi = shadow
Skafrenningur = snow that has already fallen being blown about
Skafl = big pile of snow caused by wind (or road clearing)
Ferðaveður = weather suited for travelling, Ferð = trip.

Anyway this is extremely open thready and a random dump in the thread but I figured someone might enjoy

#326 ::: Sica got gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2013, 08:27 AM:

Probably messing up with spaces again or a Word of Power. I offer up home made pancakes to the gnomes

Icelandic weather is truly dangerous

[You missed an apostrophe in "don't". Also, really neat post.—Idumea Abacoochee Cowper, Duty Gnome]

#327 ::: Rob Rusick with a question for the mods ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2013, 09:22 AM:

I'd tried to post from a new (to me) laptop, and put in my name and email exactly as I have always used it here. I got the response "Your comment submission failed for the following reasons: Name and email address are required."

My 'email address' is a lightly encrypted version of my real email address (which a human would easily be able to decrypt), going back to when the site kept visible email addresses on the posts. Is the new input form too clever for that? I would like to keep the same address on both machines so my 'view all by' keeps in sync.

#328 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2013, 09:29 AM:

Same name and address as on your #327, Rob?

Dunno. For some reason Moveable Type didn't parse the input as a name and address. It wasn't one of our filters.

#329 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2013, 09:30 AM:

Sica #325: Cool post indeed!

Skafl = big pile of snow caused by wind (or road clearing) English word: snowdrift or just "drift" in context, mostly wind but occasionally used for plow piles too.

#330 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2013, 09:42 AM:

Sica: so cool!

Skafl: sounds like it might share an etymology with "scuffle" or "scuffed up"?

#331 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2013, 09:45 AM:

Mini Gathering of Light on Sunday will have to be cancelled or shifted, as TexAnne has to catch a very early train. However, it's possible to shift it:! Potential venues: Sound Bites in Somerville at 9AM Saturday, or Mary Chung's in Central Square for a late dinner, say 8:30 or 9, as we're not likely to want to eat before then. As Mary Chung's is often busy, get in touch with me, so I can make a reservation if we're going to be a large party.

#332 ::: Janet K ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2013, 10:12 AM:

A memorial service for Marilee will be held on Saturday afternoon in Manassas, Virginia (details here).

I won't be able to attend but I thought others who live in the area might want to know about it.

The Web site also has the latest on Marilee's cats.

#333 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2013, 10:13 AM:

Sica@325: Flughálka = really bad ice on roads that makes you very likely to fall over.

Sounds similar to the road condition that the local Department of Transportation plowing and sanding guys are talking about when they say, "It's getting greasy out here."

One particularly bad night like that, we actually had a DoT salt truck skid and go off the road.

#334 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2013, 10:43 AM:

Jim Macdonald @328: I don't know if this is related, or a case of noticing something that has always been there, but at the bottom of the page the comment input form has "Type your name here:" and "Address, comma, email, comma, yours:"

On the preview page, the same fields appears as "Name:" and "Email Address:"

I don't recall the label of the email address input field as looking so cryptic.

#335 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2013, 10:47 AM:

Færð = The condition of the roads, travellability

It seems to be 'travel conditions' inn English.

#336 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2013, 10:53 AM:

Rob Rusick (334): The email input field has been that cryptic for years. We had a new commenter a while back who was quite confused by it.

#337 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2013, 11:06 AM:

325, 335: Conditions of interest to poor wayfaring strangers?

And I'd like to thank whoever it was who recommended the Trader Joe's version of the red pepper stuff T linked to. I bought a jar the last time I was there--Product of Bulgaria, it says--and I just made a sandwich of goat cheese, red stuff, and whole wheat toast. OM NOM, people, go ye forth and try it.

#338 ::: Sica ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2013, 11:25 AM:

#329 - Snowdrift, yes! I knew there was a word for that in English and even asked my coworkers but they couldn't think of it when confronted on the spot.

Bit of googling tells me that skafrenningur = blowing snow or drifting snow.

#333 One particularly bad night like that, we actually had a DoT salt truck skid and go off the road.

Yep, sounds about right.

Another fun word I just remembered from typoing just now

hálka = ice on roads and all that
hláka = warm spell causing snow/ice melt
asahláka = sudden warm spell causing really a lot of snow/ice melt, flooding pretty inevitable

I guess that travel conditions is pretty close but it doesn't quite capture it, maybe it's just because I've not been exposed to that as much. I don't know. Like I don't come to work and have people going "oh man the travel conditions were horrible today!" It seems pretty stilted, but in a dictionary that would absolutely work as a translation.

#339 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2013, 11:49 AM:

Sica (338): Radio/TV weather and traffic reports will explicitly say 'travel conditions'. The colloquial usage is more like "oh man the roads were horrible today!" or "oh man driving was horrible today!", with 'travel conditions' being the understood meaning of 'roads' or 'driving' in that instance.

#340 ::: David Wald ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2013, 11:51 AM:

Sica @ 338 I guess that travel conditions is pretty close but it doesn't quite capture it

In context, "conditions" would work. ("Conditions out there", if there's obviously a storm, is pretty unambiguous.) To me it sounds a little formal for griping to coworkers (around here I'd just expect to hear, "it's a mess out there"), but it would be fine in a radio announcement or an email.

#341 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2013, 11:58 AM:

Like the news will report that there's a Santa Ana condition, but the rest of us just go 'the wind is really blowing out there'. Because, for a lot of California south of the mountains, 'wind' means 'Santa Ana'.

The travel advisories when the wind is blowing usually start with the hazard level for 'campers, trailers, and slab-sided vehicles'. When it's really bad, they shut down the freeways in the affected areas and tell people to stay home.

#342 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2013, 12:12 PM:

Sica@325: Flughálka = really bad ice on roads that makes you very likely to fall over.

Sounds roughly equivalent to "black ice", although I think I normally only see that for ice on roadways and not on sidewalks. (And most specifically "ice on a road that's masquerading as a shadow or a puddle so you don't notice until you're already skidding".)

#343 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2013, 12:56 PM:

Sica @338: "road conditions" or "road surface conditions" would work, or "conditions on the roads are particularly bad" - but there's no single-word equivalent I can think of. We might just say "snowy conditions" or "icy conditions" and "of the roads/pavements" is implied by context.

#344 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2013, 01:26 PM:

Heather Rose Jones, #342: I know I've heard people talk about black ice on sidewalks, usually in the context of having taken a fall. Asimov mentions it in the introduction to one of his F&SF essays, too.

#345 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2013, 01:48 PM:

It's really nasty, because it can be thin and clear and look like a puddle of water. (I've seen it in California when the temperature dropped as fast as a storm cleared out. Lumpy ice on windshields, where the droplets froze in place, too.)

#346 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2013, 01:58 PM:

TexAnne #337: I think that's me, and you're welcome. I might get more of that next time I go... I'm currently having some of their olive tapenade on crackers.

#347 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2013, 02:01 PM:

Deep breath. Deeeep breath.

I've started looking for an attorney to handle the formal adoption of my hanai* daughter Elizabeth. Strangers have been assuming we were mother and daughter for a while, but when I told her "You can't go out of the house dressed like that!" we realized it was true. 25 years later we're making it official. I had to take her to the emergency room Tuesday and it just really hit home (again) that it needs to be legal. So wish me luck. Sage advice welcome. Whee!

Also, it's high time I did the grown-up thing and got a will! (Georgia doesn't recognize holographic wills.)

*Thanks to the Fluorospherian who introduced me to this concept and term. Albatross?

#348 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2013, 02:29 PM:

Having started German with my son, we were soon introduced to the word Hundewetter, which means pretty much what it sounds like it should. And today is certainly Hundewetter.

#349 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2013, 02:35 PM:


Not me, I heard it here too.

General parenting comment: Today, in the process of complaining about a bunch of stuff I had him doing around the house, my 11 year old son correctly used the phrase "shaving the Yak."

At least he's not vacuuming the cat. Yet.

#350 ::: Older ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2013, 02:46 PM:

Sica, I think the idiom you need, to match to "faerd' (excuse misspelling please, I don't have the characters,) is "going". As in, "it's rough going out there". Or, "The going was hard".

Thanks for the enjoyable short lesson in Icelandic!

#351 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2013, 03:08 PM:

Sica, I love the Icelandic posts!

I am turning over C. Wingate's "Hundewetter", contrasting "it will soak any dog outside" with "it's so bad any dog out in it will empty its bladder".

Unless "hunde" doesn't mean "hound".

#352 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2013, 03:12 PM:

Rikibeth @ 331: Now you're making me insanely jealous - I can legitimately claim to have been going to Mary Chung's since before I was born (I even remember the old location), and I haven't gotten my fix in nearly a year. I haven't lived remotely nearby in five years, and if Mary is around, I'll still be asked if the Professor (my dad) is joining me.

If you go, enjoy!

#353 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2013, 03:20 PM:

Carol Kimball #351: That's some startling imagery there... I just parsed it as "dog's weather".

#354 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2013, 03:46 PM:

"wet dog weather"—does it smell bad, too?

#355 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2013, 03:47 PM:

Sica 325: The common Germanic (and come to think of it, Common Germanic) roots in many of those words are astonishingly evident.

Blind is "blind" in German, too.
Færð is, I suspect, related to Germen fahren "drive."

A couple of thoughts about that: I'm going to see if I can borrow the ó- and vonsku- prefixes into English. Coolness. Also, someday I will use Vondur as the name of a villainous (or maybe only seemingly villainous) character in a story. Sounds like a Tolkien Dwarf name.

Also, what Older said. *suppresses urge to study Icelandic*

Idumea, don't commas without spaces do it too?

Tracie 347: I missed/forgot that word. Very cool. Good luck!

Are there any states that DO recognize holographic wills? I mean, as soon as you say "Computer, end program..."

Dave 353: Yeah, German Wetter (German capitalizes all nouns) is "weather," as in 'Das Wetter is schrecklich!' "The weather is horrible!"

#356 ::: Xopher Halftongue ist gegnomen ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2013, 03:49 PM:

Hi gnomes. Not sure what I did, unless it was the Norse characters or something.

#357 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2013, 04:14 PM:

Xoopher, AFAIK California does.

#358 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2013, 04:19 PM:

Sica @325:
Veður = weather
Óveður = really bad weather, the ó is a negation prefix with negative connotations
Vonskuveður = really bad veður, vonska is related to vondur = evil

In Dutch, weer is weather, and onweer (unweather) is a storm. I've heard really unpleasant weather referred to in the (very) vernacular as kutweer. The prefix is an anatomical term whose English cognate has an n in it.

#359 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2013, 04:36 PM:

Black ice is defined by its invisibility rather than its slipperiness. When I was going to school in upstate New York, we'd often get winter conditions where there'd be a couple inches of packed snow on the road, then the town would salt it (even though it was too cold for salt), turning the top into a thick layer of ice, and then we'd get a bit more powdery snow on top of that. It was hard to even walk on the stuff, much less drive.

Later, when I moved to California, I had to learn new terminology about weather conditions to take the driving test. For instance, the questions about ice talked about how it might be "hidden" in places you'd obviously expect ice, and there were questions about why you needed to be careful driving after the first rain of the season (what, because it might be a Monday? Actually it's because most of California gets no rain for 6-8 months of summer, so oil builds up on the highways and gets slippery in the first fall rain.)

#360 ::: Idumea Abacoochee Cowper ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2013, 04:38 PM:

Xopher @355:
Idumea, don't commas without spaces do it too?

Many and varied are the grammatical and orthographic infelicities of spammers.

#361 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2013, 04:57 PM:

Benjamin Wolfe, I've been going since the old location, too, but I currently live about two hours away and haven't been in about three years. For some reason, Redbones' is higher up the regular-revisit list when I'm in town. However, my craving for suan la chow sow is a lot stronger than my craving for corn pudding this week, and therefore, I'm calling it for Mary Chung's.

#362 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2013, 05:05 PM:

These days, I live across the country - and if I'm lucky, when I visit my parents, I get to snag a meal there.

#363 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2013, 05:16 PM:

Rikibeth@331: If it's Central Square on Saturday night, I could show up.

#364 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2013, 05:18 PM:

Rikibeth #361: Hmm. I do owe my sister a visit.... (Not this one, though, they're set to be snowed in this weekend.)

#365 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2013, 05:19 PM:

Andrew Plotkin, yes, it is! My handle at gmail for contact info (and I can check email on my phone).

#366 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2013, 05:21 PM:

Tracie, 347: Possibly "hanai" is from Linkmeister?

#367 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2013, 05:28 PM:

The killer of black ice is in the dark. The only thing that doesn't look like the asphalt, is a bit of shine. When the weather is about -2 degrees, that's rain on the road, and it shines. 30 minutes later, or down in a valley that got that little bit less sun in the afternoon, it's frozen and you're on black ice. And it looks the same.

The *second* time that happens, you're prepared for it. In your new car.

#368 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2013, 06:37 PM:

Dave H., 353: I parsed it as (idiomatically) "raining cats and dogs out there".

#369 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2013, 06:54 PM:

I think I may originally have heard "hanai" from ristaxis, but probably not on this site.

#370 ::: D. Potter ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2013, 06:56 PM:

In Germany, that was called "Glatteisgefahr," and was prominently posted on roads with curves. (Why I retained that and not quadratic equations is an exercise left to the reader.)

#371 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2013, 07:04 PM:

re 351: You can translate it roughly as "beastly day" but consider also Winnie Puuh und das Hundewetter.

#372 ::: C. Wingate ist im das Gnomenhaus ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2013, 07:07 PM:

Do they have something against German?

#373 ::: C. Wingate wonders what languages the gnomes do understand ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2013, 07:08 PM:

Do they have something against German?

#374 ::: Sica ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2013, 08:29 PM:

These are all super fun, yay posts :)

#359 Bill Stewart gets it right with black ice and flughálka. Black ice is absolutely horrible and is usually very slippy and impossible to see. If there's a ton of black ice around you'd totally say that it's flughálkt outside. The bit I really like about the Icelandic word is the flug = flying part of it. It paints a vivid mental picture, it's take off slippy outside

#355 Xopher - yep Vondur would totally work as a name for a baddie somewhere. That actually segues nicely into a pet peeve (that I'm aware is very specific to me) I have about the Hobbit movie. Ok so the dwarf names are basically lifted word for word from an Old Norse (or Old Icelandic, it's all about perspective) poem. Some of those names Þráinn (Thrain as in Thorin son of Thrain) is a common modern Icelandic name. It's pronounced very differently to how English people would naturally pronounce Thrain so it's nails on chalkboard for me every single time they pronounce it in the movie. I get the impulse of NO you're doing it wrong! while I'm aware that really it would throw off a lot more people if they were trying to pronounce it the Icelandic way and there's no need either really, it's just a yeah. Me specific peeve.

Abi - onweer and óveður seem to be basically exactly the same word. Neat.

#375 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2013, 09:15 PM:


I've finally called to mind the English word for "snow that's been piled up at the side of the road by the plow", by the simple expedient of casually using it to my husband earlier today. "Snowbank". I presume it's from the visual similarity between snowbanks and riverbanks.

Drifts, to my ear, are windblown piles of snow, though I might fall back on the word if snowbank didn't come to mind.

#376 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2013, 09:16 PM:

Tracie @ #347, I'm willing to bet it was Clifton who first used the term "hanai."

#377 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2013, 09:20 PM:

Me @ #376: Used the word here, I should say. I first heard it long long ago when I first moved here to Hawai'i.

#378 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2013, 09:59 PM:

P J 357: Thank you, but I was actually just joking.

C. 372: 'Im' is a contraction of 'in dem' so 'im das' geht nicht.

#379 ::: Xopher Halftongue gets gnomed again ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2013, 10:03 PM:

Possibly for German.

#380 ::: Bruce H. ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2013, 10:30 PM:

Re Teresa's laser particle:

Do not look into laser beam with remaining eye.

#381 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2013, 10:39 PM:

Bruce @ 380: When I worked engineering at a company that used lasers, we had that sign up on the door to the lab.

Reading that particle rather alarms me. We were careful with Class 1 and Class 2 lasers, and that puppy says it's a Class 4, and that googles are required. What could possibly go wrong.

#382 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2013, 11:20 PM:

I think - it's been a long long time since I was taking German - that 'in das' gets shortened to 'ins'.

#383 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2013, 11:32 PM:

Yep. "Wir gehen ins kino," we're going to the movies.

#384 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2013, 01:00 AM:

In other news, I was just reminded that I come from a family where you can use 'suffose' as the past tense of 'suffice' and a) no one bats an eye, and b) everyone knows what you mean.

#385 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2013, 07:59 AM:

wrt the laser - I have one of those. :)

Blue laser

Still have both eyes, too. In a fit of geekery, I named it Darth Laser.

#386 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2013, 08:05 AM:

Blinded by Science. Science!

#387 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2013, 08:26 AM:

Xopher @ #384: I also come from a family like that, and moreover someone would probably try to get away with it in Scrabble. (Probably my brother.)

#388 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2013, 08:46 AM:

Well, we haven't really started to deal with prepositions, so it's not surprising I'm doing it wrong.

#389 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2013, 09:33 AM:

Xopher @#355: Do you actually not know what a holographic will is, or are you being funny? I ask because I had to look it up myself about a year ago.

Which reminds me that I need to write one out, because my state does recognize them and I own a house these days.

#390 ::: Cath ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2013, 11:14 AM:

With respect to "snow that's been piled up at the side of the road by the plow", the term I use is "windrow". Here in Edmonton, after a couple of thaws and refreezes, they have converted to ice barriers. Which hold in all the melted water on the sidewalks - which, since it's -12C, are now covered with ice too. My walk to the bus stop has doubled in time this week.

#391 ::: jnh ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2013, 01:55 PM:


#392 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2013, 02:59 PM:

BTW, Steve C. should be commended for his prescience.

#393 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2013, 03:13 PM:

A Fluorospheroidal question: Can anyone tell me more about PageWise than this brief Business Week mention? It sounds like some sort of a vanity magazine scam but I was hoping someone else who knows publishing more might be able to give a capsule summary of it.

#394 ::: C. Wingate is getting a little annoyed at the gnomes dietary proclivities ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2013, 03:14 PM:

All I have to offer is green curry, extra hot.

#395 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2013, 03:14 PM:

please strip out any drama queen overtones

I was not quite an innocent bystander at a bank robbery yesterday.*

They were closing the lobby as I walked up. A deliberately calm guy with a lot of body tension said "we're having a situation, go to [branch], we should be open again in an hour or so."

Several "customers" in the lobby didn't seem out of the ordinary, and no automatic weapons were visible (so much for TV/movie tropes). I made no eye contact and left quietly.

This morning:
Me to teller: "so, are you guys over the excitement yesterday morning?"
Bank guy, telegraphing nervous relief, smiling and laughing a little: "we really can't talk about it."
Mtt: (as statement of fact) "a robbery."
Bg: "we call it an incident" BUT HE WAS NODDING HARD
Mtt: "Ah, it's a cost of doing business. Glad no one was hurt."
Bg smiles and nods even harder.

This has got to happen a lot more (and more quietly) than we can realize. Give them what they ask for, write it off as a cost of doing business. The banks certainly aren't going to publicize when it happens!

*boy, is that open to willful misinterpretation

#396 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2013, 03:24 PM:

RE the Much Ado About Nothing trailer:

I saw *something* trailer-like or preview-like or "making of"-like for the production in the theater last year. I saw it at around the time that The Avengers came out . . . possibly just before seeing Avengers.

It possibly ran in the block of video features that runs in the half-hour or so before the trailers start.

Does anyone else remember this?

My take-away was "Damn, that look great, and Joss Whedon is pretty much winning Hollywood right now."

#397 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2013, 03:31 PM:

Open threadiness:

Fans of The Hawkeye Initiative should appreciate this.

Stefan Jones @ #395, I do remember having a similar experience. Damn, that trailer looks good.

#398 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2013, 03:59 PM:

The trailer does look good (and so does the Brust cover for THE INCREMENTALISTS, which I'm looking forward to!).

#399 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2013, 04:10 PM:

I am amidst Iain M. Banks' Consider Phlebas (on the grounds that "everyone says" the Culture novels are awesome, and that this is one of the two volumes consistently cited as 'start here', and I found it in a thrift store for $.40), and I gotta tell you, it's a hard slog.

ROT13 liberally employed to disguise spoilers, because you never know what'll harsh someone's squee.

Occasionally there'll be a bit that I really like, that moves along well, and then suddenly it all derails into sloggy boring crap I DO NOT CARE ABOUT that I skim and skip pages of and STILL NOTHING HAPPENS and, seriously guys? Zbfg bs gur ba-gur-cvengr-fuvc, abguvat unccraf. Zbfg bs gur Zrtnfuvc pncre? ABGUVAT UNCCRAF. Naq gura n ahxr tbrf bss and STILL nothing has happened that I give a crap about.

I'm still reading through the pnfgnjnl fpranevb, but every time I put the book down it becomes more like taking my medicine to motivate to pick it up again.

Reassure me that it gets better?

For reference, the parts I particularly liked were the jbeyqohvyqvat vasbqhzcf qryvirerq ba gur guerr-yrttrq-nyvraf' fuvc, naq gur uvagf bs Punatre phygher.

Basically I'm only enjoying the worldbuilding, right now, which is kind of messed up. I think I may have fast-skimmed or completely skipped over 1/3 of the content to this point.

I eventually really liked Cyteen (once someone pointed out I should skip ahead to Ari II's birth and just pretend that was Page 1), for reference. Does Banks just have a Tolkien-babbling-on-and-on-about-hillsides problem? Is this a Known Thing?

#400 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2013, 04:37 PM:

Elliot Mason #399 - it's okay not to enjoy 'Consider Phlebas'. I found it rather dull. I much preferred 'The Player of Games'. Banks can tend to go on and on, for instance 'The Algebraist', not a Culture novel, is very dull and has a very stupid central character.

I have just found myself starting to search the web for a list of culture novels, when in fact there's one within arms reach. How annoying.

'use of weapons' is pretty good, as is 'Excession'.

#401 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2013, 04:41 PM:

I'm with guthrie. Of the three "early" Culture novels, I'd say my order of preference is:

Player of Games
Use of Weapons
Use of Weapons backward to figure it all out
Rereading Player of Games
Rereading Use of Weapons to see how he did it
Rereading Player of Games
Making up Culture ship names
Consider Phlebas

#402 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2013, 04:59 PM:

I love the ship names, the personality of the ships, and the grand scale of the plotting. On the balance, I tend to like the culture novels. When there's something good, or neat, It's really good. L love how the corners and hints can come together. I liked Player of Games, and Excession. I think I started with Excession.

OTOH. There's nearly always something in them that seems over the top gross or squickish. Frex: gur pnaavony yrnqre.

Then there's Song of Stone, not a culture novel. It's depressing and pointless, except in it's pointing out of depression. Avoid.

#403 ::: Zelda ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2013, 05:02 PM:

I'm currently somewhere in the middle of _Use of Weapons_, and am finding it medium incomprehensible. Give your poor reader some tiny clue to let them figure out where in the timeline each bit should go, please.

I will finish it, when I get around to charging up the battery on the ereader again. Yep. Getting right on that.

#404 ::: Jeremy Leader ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2013, 05:08 PM:

Carol Kimball @395: My understanding is that bank robberies are more common than most people realize, and are usually a single un-armed perpetrator handing a note to a teller (because the penalties if caught are much more severe if you're armed, and tellers are trained not to take chances, so a note is as good as a gun, and less risky).

My sister-in-law worked as a bank teller in the early 90s, for a little over a year, and she personally was robbed twice in that time. The FBI agent who interviewed her after the second incident expressed a little skepticism that two robberies of the same teller in a year was just coincidence, but other than a slightly tougher tone to the questions, didn't pursue it any further. She said the typical robbery of a single teller would probably get hundreds of dollars from the cash drawer, which sounds like a pretty poor return on the risk to me.

#405 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2013, 05:13 PM:

It seems very odd to me that a bank would keep it quiet once the robbery was over. I thought the protocol was to calm the robbers down and give them the stuff within easy reach, and then let the police arrest them the next day after the evening news and all the local papers put the picture of the robbers out.

Do banks keep it quiet when the robber is already in police custody, maybe?

#406 ::: Jeremy Leader ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2013, 06:05 PM:

albatross @405: my impression is that repeated bank robberies are mildly publicized by the FBI and local police, and maybe by banks (I've seen FBI posters on the door of a local bank, asking for information about a robber who'd hit half a dozen or more bank branches in the area).

From the bank's point of view, publicizing any single robbery might help catch the robber, which might discourage future robbers, but if the publicity doesn't lead to a capture, that might encourage future robbers. On the other hand, publicity tells the public "this is not a safe place to do your banking"!

#407 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2013, 06:25 PM:

*High fives Abi*

Eric - I too found 'A song of Stone' dull and pointless. I gave up after a chapter or two. 'Inversions' was however rather good, although not exactly a Culture novel. So is 'Feersum Enjin', once you get used to one of the narrators idiosyncracies.
In fact 'The state of the art' is probably as a good a way to get started as you can find. It has several stories that sum up the Culture well enough.

#408 ::: James E ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2013, 06:37 PM:

Zelda @403: there are two plot streams. (ROT-13ed): bar tbrf sbejneqf naq vf ahzorerq va jbeqf, bar tbrf onpxjneqf naq vf ahzorerq va ebzna ahzrenyf. Gurl jvyy gvr gbtrgure... riraghnyyl.

#409 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2013, 06:56 PM:

M. Banksage:

I enjoyed Player of Games a lot.

I read Phlebas twice. Enjoyed it, but in retrospect it could have been tighter.

Use of Weapons left me feeling like I'd been punched in the stomach. Wonderfully crafted, but I'd never read it again.

Excession struck me as excessive. Lazy, padded, phoned-in.

Look to Windward was too long, with some amazingly un-necessary bits, but had some interesting characters.

I really don't think I need to read another "Culture" book, but somehow one (Surface Detail?) sneaked onto my in-queue, and I'll give it a try.

#410 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2013, 07:15 PM:

Maybe the next Culture book should consist entirely of ship names.

Re-reading Consider Phlebas is on my list of things to get around to someday, but not very high up on it.

#411 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2013, 07:38 PM:

Carrie 389: I was being funny. I was riffing on the holodeck/holosuite thing.

#412 ::: J Homes ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2013, 09:34 PM:

guthrie @407

I have heard it said, and I can quite believe it, that Inversions is a Culture novel, inasmuch as the Doctor is from Contact.

General Banks. I liked most of Look to Windward apart from the deus ex machina at the end. It's recent, but apart from the end, I'd recommend it as a good start. Of the earlier works, The Player of Games is probably the best to start with. Some of the others are better, but need more work to get into.

Things to note about Banks:
He is very fond of the macabre. The easily squicked should beware.

He sometimes wears his left-wing politics, not so much on his sleeve, as on a huge placard slung around his neck, especially in the earlier works.

He likes to tell stories out of chronological order. This can be confusing (see various comments above).

J Homes.

#413 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2013, 10:23 PM:

Probably my least favorite Culture book was Excession. All those godlike Minds sounded like a bunch of scheming mid-level human bureaucrats. Only Sleeper Service was weird and unfathomable enough to actually carry off the effect of perhaps being much more than a human.

I liked Consider Phlebas, Look to Windward, Player of Games, and Matter quite a bit. But as J Homes points out, he seems to really like gallows humor and disturbing images and such, perhaps as a kind of weird contrast to the utopian existence of most of the Culture.

#414 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2013, 10:33 PM:

Ardala has new wheels! Of course they had to be custom made, because like her owners, there's no part of her that's standard size, but she's starting to get the hang of it. You can check out some pics and updates at Bitch On Wheels.

#415 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2013, 11:02 PM:

My book group read Player of Games and I quite liked it, but not enough to seek out more. Several years later we read Surface Detail and I only got past the opening scene because it was for book group. V'z abg n sna bs n fprar va juvpu n jbzna jub unf orra rafynirq naq encrq, nggrzcgf gb rfpncr, ohg vf pncgherq naq xvyyrq. It did get less squicky after that, but the Culture books generally don't engage me. I know they do others—including my friends in the book group. My taste can be idiosyncratic.

#416 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2013, 11:30 PM:

If Serge is still looking for dwarf/hobbit fanfic... here, have lots.

Jacque, #392: Yes, I can definitely see him as Miles Vorkosigan.

Stefan, #396: Someone linked it on LJ today. I'm... underwhelmed.

#417 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2013, 11:36 PM:

re: bank robberies

My initial reaction was like albatross'. As Jeremy points out, though, the usual take is small.

Capitol Hill in Denver is well-patrolled, but the three or four cop cars I saw on the way home didn't look like they knew an incident was in progress.

So, are minor* random thefts below their radar, like stealing bikes?

Or has the bank decided that they can't afford a SWAT team cowboying up the foyer? What does a SWAT event cost? Who pays? Even assuming we go into TV-land where the bad guys get cleanly sniped and everyone else is unscathed.

*still boggled that a bank robbery could be considered trivial.

#418 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2013, 11:42 PM:

re: bank robberies

I had imagined them like TV and movies, too—rare and dramatic. Then, some years ago, a coworker commented that his wife was rattled by the bank robbery yesterday. She worked as a teller. I was shocked, but he said that it wasn't all that uncommon. I tend to read the paper pretty superficially, but that got me noticing the news stories about a bank being held up. They don't make the front page, which tells you that they aren't rare.

#419 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2013, 12:20 AM:

Naked-eye comet will be visible starting Friday.

Look to the west about 45 minutes after sunset, about a hand's width above the horizon.

#420 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2013, 04:00 AM:

Although Consider Phlebas is not the best Culture novel, I think it is worth reading it first, as it has a different perspective on the Culture.

Even if you only like it in places, it's worth reading Use of Weapons, which really is the best, and The Player of Games, a more straightforward angle on the Culture.

If you don't like those, just stop, since Banks doesn't really do much that is new after that, except arguably spoil the mystery of the Minds. I'm still reading them, myself, and enjoying them, if not as much as Use of Weapons.

#421 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2013, 05:41 AM:

- the Aeslin mice

For those who didn't know, Seanan McGuire's monster-keeper Verity Price is back this week in novel "Midnight-Blue Special".

( )

#422 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2013, 06:49 AM:

re chibi Sauron: The Adventures of Lil' Cthulu

#423 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2013, 07:11 AM:

Hello Cthulhu!

#424 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2013, 07:42 AM:

Another perspective:

I have read two-and-a-bit of Banks's Culture novels.

I slogged all the way through Consider Phlebas, but I gave up on The Player of Games a couple of chapters in; it wasn't a slog, but I didn't much like any of the characters, and I was getting a growing feeling as if the author was hovering at my shoulder waiting expectantly for his moment to jump out and shout "Aha! Fooled you!", and he was getting on my nerves.

Having said that, I have read and enjoyed some of Banks's non-Culture novels, including Feersum Endjinn; personally I prefer those of his non-SF works I've read to any of his SF works I've read, with The Crow Road in first place.

The other reason I specified "Banks's Culture novels" above is that I've read Ben Aaronovitch's The Also People, the novel whose foreword coined the aphorism that talent borrows, genius steals, and Doctor Who writers get it off the back of a lorry no questions asked. It has all the high-tech post-scarcity sensawunda of the Culture, with the added bonus of characters I actually enjoyed spending time with. (In fact, there's a table in The Also People whom I'd rather spend time with than anyone from the Culture I can think of.)

#425 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2013, 07:50 AM:

Thanks to all for confirming that I don't want to read the Culture novels, ship names or no.

And Paul, 424: Aaronovich has written more than three books? I WANT THEM. Stupid outdated publishing territories.

#426 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2013, 08:09 AM:

TexAnne @ #425:

The Also People is one of four Doctor Who tie-in novels Aaronovitch did back in the 1990s; they're all out of print now. I don't know what the second-hand market is like, but I suspect that The Also People in particular is one of those books that don't show up second-hand much because people who have them want to keep them.

#427 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2013, 08:53 AM:

Today's Google doodle uses negative space, in case you're a graphic design geek.

#428 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2013, 09:08 AM:

Abebooks shows listings for several copies of Aaronovitch's Dr. Who work; the commonest are Transit and Remembrance of the Daleks, with Earth Aid as a CD for an audio version. The copies of The Also People are indeed fewer and more expensive.

Going by dates, it's possible some of these are reissues.

It looks as if he's done some Blake's 7 work as well.

#429 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2013, 09:51 AM:

Randall Marshall having too much fun with his What-if series:

(A normal bird would probably deposit more beak material on the mountaintop than it would wear away, but virtually nothing else about this scenario is normal either, so we’ll just go with it.)

And never mind what he does with the hair-dryer.

#430 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2013, 10:11 AM:

I have a homeowner question.

I've got wall-to-wall carpets in . . . well, almost everywhere but the kitchen and dining room.

I have placed in the living room, at the head of the stairs from the entry, a rug. It gives me the option of leaving my shoes on when heading for the kitchen, by protecting the carpet from stuff tracked from down below.

The thing is, the rug keeps shifting. Ditto the little rugs I've placed by the door to the deck, and the stairs going up.

I've seen tape for keeping rugs from sliding on smooth floors. Is anyone aware of something to keep rugs from sliding on rugs?

No permanent, mind you. Just to add friction.

#431 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2013, 10:56 AM:

Stefan Jones #430: I've seen it, but can't place the name. The stuff looks like a loose, coarse mesh.

#432 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2013, 11:18 AM:

@430 Stefan Jones

Walmart sells something called "Miracle Hold Rug Pad":

And there's anti-slip mat on a roll, which might be what Dave Harmon is thinking of:

I buy that one at the Dollar store and use it for all sorts of things.

#433 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2013, 11:27 AM:

Anti-rug sliding mesh

Google [anti sliding rubber].

I use rectangles of it under my kitchen appliances so they don't vibrate around my tile counters as well as under small rugs.

The rubbery coating will abrade*, so it's best used as intended: keeping the bracketing surfaces from starting to move.

*it does not work as an anti-skid sole for hand-knit socks worn on hardwood floors.

#434 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2013, 12:57 PM:

Stefan #430:

We had carpet at the last house, and the rugs migrated about like herds of so many patterned woolly mammoths. We tried several of the products mentioned by others, and alas, none of them worked for toffee. The most fun was when DH refused for some weeks to move a rug (with its anti-move stuff underneath) back to its proper place, just to see what it would do. It started crawling up the dresser, the leading edge getting well over a foot above the floor before it curled back over.

When we had the new house built, we made sure the only carpet was on the stairs and in the master closet. We love our rugs.

#435 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2013, 01:31 PM:

I am waiting patiently for someone with more money than I have to bring up the alternate definitions of "black ice" from the Dictionary of American Regional English. I remember looking it up when I gave a friend a copy of Volume One, but since she had it stolen about twelve hours later I have no good way to check further.

#436 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2013, 02:13 PM:

HLN: Local fool adds to a TV Tropes page: somebody was wrong on the Internet...

#437 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2013, 02:55 PM:

Dave Harmon, in #429, on Mister XKCD:

Randall Marshall having too much fun with his What-if series:

Contradicting you, just to be polite: It's Randall Munroe.

#438 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2013, 10:35 PM:

Is something hinky going on with the site? I haven't seen any new posts in several hours, and that's extremely unusual.

#439 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2013, 10:37 PM:

Okay, apparently not; my post came right up on the Recent Comments list. I guess everyone is just busy tonight!

#440 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2013, 11:15 PM:

Thanks all for observations about carpet anti-slide gear. Comments like Joann's are why I asked rather than googled.

Maybe my next dog can be a Border colllie, trained to herd rugs back in place.

#441 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2013, 11:29 PM:

Stefan @440, they'd have a lot of work at our house; the cats run and sliiiiiiiiiide on the area rug in the living-room, which consequently is always rucked up in odd positions when we get home from work.

We'd tack it down with carpet tape but we hate to deprive the Feline Overlords of their fun...

#442 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2013, 04:35 AM:


I said all Ben Aaronovitch's old novels are out of print. Apparently, the universe is susceptible to reverse psychology.

It has been announced that, as part of the 50th anniversary celebrations, the BBC is re-issuing eleven Doctor Who tie-in novels, one for each Doctor. The one chosen for the seventh Doctor is Aaronovitch's first novel, Remembrance of the Daleks.

(The one featuring the fourth Doctor, Jonathan Morris's The Festival of Death, is also brilliant. The others I'm mostly not familiar with.)

#443 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2013, 11:52 AM:

Stefan #440:

Something I forgot: if you've got furniture on top of a rug on top of carpet, the rug feels no compunction about trying to escape. Result: warped/stretched places under and around where the furniture rests on the rug.

#444 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2013, 02:12 PM:

Stefan Jones: You might need to beware of out-gassing. I put rubber-backed rugs on the vinyl floor in my kitchen at the door to the outside and in front of the sink. After more than 10 years in the same spots (over several generations of foot-wiper rugs), the vinyl is yellowed. It seems possible that a pale carpet might do something like that, too.

#445 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2013, 03:16 PM:

Sigh. Marilee was one of the ones excited about my house restoration life phase. She was a good'un.

#446 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2013, 04:13 PM:

AKICIML: Can anyone help my friend, who posted the following on FB yesterday?

There's a movie about a guy trapped on another plane... He creates cyborg replicas of his family and a fake city that he goes to work every day in... Someone tell me what movie this was. I saw it when I was a little kid and really need to see it again.
I've asked whether the fact that they're cyborg replicas is a spoiler, not because I'm worried about spoilering an old movie, but just to help ID it. He hasn't answered yet.

#447 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2013, 04:42 PM:

"Saw this when I was a little kid" ... any idea as to what decade that would be?

#448 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2013, 04:44 PM:

I think he's not yet turned 30. But he's a serious movie buff (got a film degree himself, currently working as an assistant editor on a reality show), so the movie could be from any decade before the 90s.

#449 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2013, 05:12 PM:

Xopher @ 446

Sounds similar to the plot of the X Minus One (or Dimension X, in a slightly different script) radio episode "Dwellers in Silence", where people from Mars come back to a ruined Earth and find such a family. It's from their Martian Chronicles sub-series; perhaps a movie was made from the same premise? Here's where the radio show can be found:

#451 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2013, 06:03 PM:

Thanks, Jim. I've asked there, but I'm still hoping someone here will know it; lots easier to find replies here.

#452 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2013, 09:33 PM:

Bill Higgins- #437: Um, yes. Don't know how I muffed that one.

In other news, my dog just had a playdate at Mom's house with my sister's puppy, which went very well. The two played happily, with my Gracie firmly in the submissive role (Tesla is half her size, but very dominant, while Gracie is very submissive). I got a little video, but Tesla as usual appeared as an inky black shadow. (They'd seriously thought about naming her Carbon. My sis and her hubby are both MIT grads, and the kids take after them.)

Meanwhile, I and my parents and sister's family had a nice dinner, and caught up with each other. We went next door to my late friend Marty's widow (she gave me his box of maps of the local Appalachian Trails).

And, Daylight savings begins tonight.

#453 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2013, 09:51 PM:

HLN: Trader Joe's Chocolate Ganache Torte is verrrrry civilized. And it stands up to being birthday-candled pretty well.

AND AND AND AND! My academically-inclined father-in-law actually GOT me the massive 3-volume recent Annotated Holmes! I put that on my wishlist to remind me to get it out of the library eventually and now IT IS MINE, I have such an excite. I grew up on Baring-Gould's one from the 80s, but my mom took it to California with her when she moved away. I have severely missed Watsonian fandom wank snark. :->

#454 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2013, 10:07 PM:

I grew up on Baring-Gould's one from the 80s

Oh. A different Baring-Gould.

(Googling noises).

Ah. His grandson. That makes more sense.

#455 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2013, 05:05 AM:

Is it true that the USA is switching to DST this weekend? It's always a different weekend to Europe, but this feels a bigger gap than usual.

#456 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2013, 08:10 AM:

Dave Bell: This is in fact Spring Ahead weekend. And yes, it's staggeringly early in the year ... it has been since sometime mid-Bush.

#457 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2013, 09:33 AM:

Elliott Mason (456): This isn't so very early, being only a week before* the equinox. The egregious one is changing back in the fall, a full six weeks after* that equinox. ::grumble::

*i.e., on the winter side of

#458 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2013, 09:35 AM:

There's no innate reason why the time changes 'should' be on or near the equinoxes, though.

#459 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2013, 09:41 AM:

Elliott Mason (458): Yes, there is. On the winter side of the equinoxes, the sun rises later. Adding in DST makes that worse (the flip side of making the light last longer in the evenings).

#460 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2013, 10:03 AM:

Following up my #459: The equinoxes themselves aren't significant; they're markers for day-length.

During the energy crisis in the 1970s, DST was briefly imposed in January (intended to be year-round as an energy-saving measure*). There was a widespread outcry; one criticism was that it left children waiting for schoolbuses in the dark. In late spring and early fall, days are long enough that that isn't an issue.

*Whether or not it would have saved any energy is irrelevant to my point.

#461 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2013, 10:18 AM:

All the 'reasons' given for 'why' we do DST turn out to not, actually, pan out in reality when they test for efficacy.

But we keep doing it anyway, and at whatever date we are told to. *facepalm*

This particular year I'm kind of annoyed, because it was JUST starting to actually be morning-looking outside when my alarm clock went off, and now I get to go back to getting up in the crepuscular ickness.

#462 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2013, 11:04 AM:

Elliott Mason (461): Yep. And getting up in the crepuscular ickness* will be an increasing problem throughout October, until we finally get rid of DST in early November.

To clarify: I'm not saying mid-March isn't too early; I'm saying that early November is even more too late. The shorter the days are, the worse problem DST is.

*great phrase!

#463 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2013, 11:32 AM:

My mother used to append the phrase "Damn Willett" (see item 3 in the link) to any reference to daylight savings. It's good to have a uniform time system for any local area, but the nominal savings for DST don't seem to pan out.

#464 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2013, 11:51 AM:

Mary Aileen, #457: IIRC, spring time-change used to happen on the first weekend in April, period. By that standard, this is indeed staggeringly early -- and, as Elliott notes, enough to leave schoolchildren still standing in the dark waiting for their bus in the morning.

OTOH, my understanding is that the extreme delay in the fall time-change is the direct result of the interaction of the helicopter-parenting trend and the candy industry, both of which were determined to push it to after Halloween so that the kiddies wouldn't have to be out after dark! doing their trick-or-treating.

#465 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2013, 12:17 PM:

DST probably made sense in the 20s and 30s, when people were less likely to have electric lights in the country, and headlights on farm equipment were iffy. (Seeing as how the usual rationale was to make life easier for farmers.)

#466 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2013, 12:23 PM:

Spring back.
Fall forward.

#467 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2013, 12:31 PM:

Or, as the Minicon theme had it one year, "Spring forward, fall over."

Mike used to mutter about Roosevelt time.

#468 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2013, 12:32 PM:

Lee (464): When I was a kid, DST started the *last* weekend in April and ended the first weekend in October. I was in college (1983, I think) when it switched to the first weekend in April through the last weekend in October. I wasn't a fan of the switch then--and I'm *really* not a fan of the most recent extension--but starting earlier didn't, and doesn't, hurt nearly as much as ending later. YMMV

#469 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2013, 12:37 PM:


I had no trouble waking up an hour early. I generally wake up at 5:00 am and stare at the ceiling for an hour anyway.

But STAYING up is proving difficult this morning.

I'm going to change the smoke detector batteries and hope that the danger of climbing a ladder wakes me up.

#470 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2013, 01:06 PM:

Daylight Savings Time was especially rough for me this year, as TexAnne had to catch a 9:30AM train home from South Station, which meant getting up early enough to eat breakfast and put her on the T at Davis in time to get there, after having been up fairly late the night before, but it was worth it, as the Gathering of Light at Mary Chung's was a delightful interlude, and I got to introduce TexAnne to suan la chow sow. It was great to meet David, and Andrew, and Erik, and Ed, none of whom I'd met IRL yet, and to see Christopher and Liza. And of course we went to Toscanini's after (it was right there), where salty saffron ice cream and goat cheese brownie ice cream were totally worth making room for.

But between that and the other things we had all weekend (Legal Seafood, Finale, Deluxe Town Diner, tea at the Taj, and Sound Bites) I don't think I'll be hungry again for a week.

Clicking on the link in my name will get you to a writeup of our other exploits.

We had fun.

#471 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2013, 01:22 PM:

Rikibeth @ 470... Dare I ask what *Illegal* Seafood would be?

#472 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2013, 01:27 PM:

Rikibeth (470): Sounds like a fun weekend!

#473 ::: Brooks Moses ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2013, 02:09 PM:

Serge @471: Well, their slogan is "if it isn't fresh, it isn't Legal," so.... (There's a little history of the name on the About Us page of their website, but it doesn't really say where the name originated.)

Meanwhile, I'm at Fogcon (in the S.F. bay area) this weekend, having stayed up until 1:45am -- aka "quarter 'till three" -- last night in the bar with good friends. It is 11am, and I just got up and showered.

It's sort of a tradition for Fogcon to be on time-change weekend. In previous years, we had program items scheduled from 2am to 3am Sunday morning, including things like a reading by Fritz Leiber, but they seem to have been omitted this year.

#474 ::: Zelda ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2013, 03:22 PM:

PJ Evans @ 465:

Except , as I understand it, farmers are the people who most hate DST. You don't milk cows because your watch says it's thus o'clock; you milk cows because it's been so many hours since you did it last and if you don't get on with it they'll start making Uncomfortable Cow noises at you. You plow fields when there's light to do it, and who cares what the number on the clock says.

Now that many small-farm farmers have day jobs too, I suppose there's something to be said for more light after office hours. But outside the equinoxes, there's not enough light to go around, no matter where you put it-- DST is pointless.

#475 ::: Zelda is gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2013, 03:25 PM:

I have once again displeased the gnomes. Twice in one Open Thread.

[A comma with a blank space before and after. -- Piro Quis, Duty Gnome]

#476 ::: Edmund Schweppe ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2013, 03:37 PM:

Rikibeth @470: The dinner at Mary Chung's and Toscanini's was fun. (With the exception of the trying-to-find-a-parking-space-in-Central-Square bit. That was annoying, but a worthwhile price to pay for the subsequent fun.) And it was great to meet folks IRL.

#477 ::: Janet K ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2013, 04:27 PM:

Marilee's cats Loki and Junie have taken up residence with Ginger. All hail the wonderful Ginger!

The cats didn't like being stuffed in carriers for the 80 minute journey. And they complained in chorus the whole way. I'm sure they'll soon realize what lucky cats they are to be with Ginger.

#478 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2013, 04:37 PM:

When Michigan voted to go on DST in the early 70s, the arguments pro were mostly about leisure activities after work in the summer. The economic benefit was supposed to come from more people doing summer-leisure activities, but that wasn't the focus.

The arguments con were...well, one lady wrote in to the paper, concerned that with the extra hours of daylight her grass would die. I don't recall coherent arguments against it.

I've heard people argue for standard time year round. I've also heard people argue for local apparent sidereal time everywhere. At the other extreme, I've heard people argue for "Zulu Time" - that is, everyone everywhere using GMT and just adjust according to longitude.

Some of these are more likely than others, but none is actually likely.

#479 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2013, 05:11 PM:

I would much rather have standard time all year round; changing the time sucks for everyone for a week (or longer) after, and given a choice between "noon is when the sun is overhead" and "noon is one hour before the sun is overhead" I'll take the latter.

#480 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2013, 05:14 PM:

Before I fall over, I'd like to agree with Rikibeth and Ed. A+, would eat at all those places again, preferably with the same stellar company.

#481 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2013, 05:16 PM:

Janet K @ 477... All hail the wonderful Ginger!

Hail, Ginger!

#482 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2013, 05:55 PM:

I was startled, this Giftmas season, to notice how much farther over in its timezone Toronto is than Chicago -- because, going by local clocks, it was bright enough to not feel like 'night time' yet at certain times of day when, in Chicago, it was already the depths of dark.

#483 ::: Jennifer Baughman ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2013, 06:17 PM:

Our sweet little Circe died peacefully today in her beloved "dad's" arms.

#484 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2013, 06:21 PM:

All hail the wonderful JanetK, who drove an hour to get the cats from Marilee's apartment (may she rest in peace), and then drove an hour and 20 minutes to my place with the aforementioned Cat Chorus. Junie was meowing nearly constantly as they entered the house.

Right now they are hiding under the bed in my son's bedroom (which he's not using these days, as he prefers my Ex's house). I've been chatting them up as I clean a bit, and I've left the radio playing some classical music (to soothe the savage, etc.). Soon I'll bring them some tuna and catnip, and attempt to ease their transition.

I'll post information about them -- hopefully with pictures -- on my LJ, and I'll make a note on Marilee's LJ with a link too, in case anyone would like to see them.

#485 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2013, 06:33 PM:

Janet 477: All hail the wonderful Ginger!

So say we all!

Carrie 479: I would much rather have standard time all year round...given a choice between "noon is when the sun is overhead" and "noon is one hour before the sun is overhead" I'll take the latter.

I think you actually meant the former, since you prefer Standard Time. Or maybe I don't understand what you were saying.

And, of course, only between (inclusively) the Tropics is the sun ever directly overhead. But even the most overhead the sun ever gets (that is, Local Apparent Noon) isn't noon standard time, depending where you are. For example, at 6:21 EDT (which would be 5:21 EST) today in Hoboken the Local Apparent Sidereal Time was 4:40 PM, which is about 41 minutes earlier. That means that in these parts LAN takes place at around 12:41 PM EST.

This time of year, anyway. I don't THINK it changes with the seasons, but I'm not completely sure.

#486 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2013, 06:35 PM:

Jennifer Baughman @483: I'm so sorry for your loss.

#487 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2013, 07:12 PM:

Brooks, #473: Until the most recent change, OVFF was traditionally on fall time-change weekend, because that gave the filkers an extra hour of singing time. :-)

Elliott, #482: I used to notice something similar when I went to Rivercon. Nashville is near the eastern edge of the Central Time zone; Louisville, nearly due north of it, is on the western edge of the Eastern Time zone. Rivercon being in the late summer, it would be light nearly to 10:00 PM.

Houston is much further west than Nashville, but still on Central Time. I notice the difference here, too, but it doesn't feel as strange because there is an east-west vector involved.

Jennifer, #483: My condolences on your loss.

#488 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2013, 07:18 PM:

Friends of mine in college used to have a "you won't lose the hour of sleep if you're up partying anyway" party.

#489 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2013, 08:35 PM:

Jennifer Baughman, my condolences for your loss.

Ginger, I trust the Cat Chorus will diminish with the arrival of tuna and catnip.

Carrie @ #479, Let me introduce you to Lahaina Noon.

#490 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2013, 08:35 PM:

Pixar's 22 Rules of Storytelling.

To which I would add #23: No matter how good your story is, it will never appeal to everyone. Accept that and move on, and keep submitting.

#491 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2013, 08:52 PM:

Jennifer Baughman @ 283, I'm so sorry. :-(

#492 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2013, 09:21 PM:

Jennifer, I'm sorry for your loss.

#493 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2013, 09:52 PM:

Xopher said I think you actually meant the former, since you prefer Standard Time. Or maybe I don't understand what you were saying.

Um...I think I got it right? Since you set the clock forward in the spring, in the summer when the clock says 12 the sun will be where it would be when the clock said 11 in the winter/standard time, right? I'm bad with off-by-one errors, so I could easily be wrong. :)

#494 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2013, 09:56 PM:

That makes sense to me. (Last week, it was getting light at 6am. This week, it's really dark at six am. So the sun is an hour later by the clock than it should be.)

#495 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2013, 10:18 PM:

Jennifer, my condolences.

Re: DST, I'm somewhat bemused to realize that at this point, we're only on Standard Time for four and a half months out of the year!

#496 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2013, 10:46 PM:

Carrie, ignoring the difference between Standard Time and Sidereal Time, Standard Time means the clock says noon when it's noon. Daylight Time means the clock says noon an hour before it's noon. So "noon is an hour before the sun is overhead" (the "latter" in your original statement) describes Daylight Time. But you stated a preference for Standard Time.

So I'm confused.

#497 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2013, 12:08 AM:

Lee @487 Brooks, #473: Until the most recent change, OVFF was traditionally on fall time-change weekend, because that gave the filkers an extra hour of singing time. :-)

This past fall time-change weekend, a local running club ran a "Fastest Time Ever" 5K. It began shortly before the time change, so that everyone would finish before they started.

My husband didn't run it, but I think he was seriously tempted.

"There was a young lady from Bright..."

#498 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2013, 12:24 AM:

Here in WA, three attempts over the last fifty years have been made to introduce summer DLS, and three times the electorate has rejected it on referendum, by a margin that has increased each time, the last time after a "three year trial" that the government thought would be permanent.

The only reason for it is to bring WA closer to the four eastern states which have it - Queensland doesn't, for the same reason we don't, which is that in our climate, it's crazy.

#499 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2013, 01:48 AM:

Daylight Saving Time, in any climate, is foolish.

#500 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2013, 05:40 AM:

True noon (Sun at its highest point in the sky) does actually move about a bit with the seasons, by up to 15 minutes or so. This is because of the Earth's orbit is not perfectly round, and its axis is tilted.

If you plot the Sun's position at any particular time (by the clock) across the year, it's a squished figure 8, called the analemma. Here is a picture of 0600 at Delphi. You often see this shape drawn on some empty bit of ocean on a globe.

#501 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2013, 07:36 AM:

Yesterday was the deadline for the Hugo preliminaries.
Did you do your duty?
I wonder which of my choices will make it to the finals.

#502 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2013, 08:15 AM:

I would much rather have light in the morning than in the evening. I'm staying up past sunset anyway, but getting up when it's still dark is tough.

#503 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2013, 09:12 AM:

Serge @501, I didn't, alas. I simply haven't read much new fiction this year. I'm looking forward to the Hugo Packet so I can redress that deficiency.

#504 ::: Daniel Martin ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2013, 09:47 AM:

A friend of mine, who has attempted self-publishing, and has a book out with a royalty-only press, (with a sequel coming in the fall) finds herself somewhat frustrated at the "self publishing is the future" and the "you're clearly no good unless a publisher is paying you an advance" camps that are currently causing a bit of a kerfuffle through the writerly blogs.

Although I suppose I have a dog in this fight, it is (to stretch the analogy) a mostly uninformed and stupid dog. I know little of the craft of writing or the art of creating income streams from novel-length stories. I'd just like to read more good stories, fewer crappier ones, and would like my friends who seem capable of being writers to have that as a viable career option. Anyway, was wondering what the fluorosphere thought of her post on the topic.

#505 ::: Daniel Martin has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2013, 09:48 AM:

...but has no idea why.

I don't think I put in any extraneous commas, or other spam-signature grammar oddities. I did have a link, but just the one.

[The one link contained a marker common to spam links. Specifically, /posts/. Typically, spammers don't link directly to their own sites in comment spam, but rather post something containing their commercial payload on message boards or forums, then spam the links to those posts. -- Ponoris Niri, Duty Gnome]

#506 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2013, 10:10 AM:

Daniel, my thoughts on the subject are a) extensive, and b) nuanced.

To boil them all down to a line or two:

I'm annoyed by the appearance of these two warring camps. Each individual work has its own path; that depends on 1) the writer, 2) the writer's goals, and 3) the work itself. As to being commercially published, self-publishing for money, self-publishing for free, and publishing "literary" works in "little and literary" magazines, I've done all of the above and can state of my own direct knowledge that they are not mutually exclusive.

Your friend should look at each work she produces, and ask, "What is my goal for this work?" Then ask, "What is the objective criterion by which I will know I have achieved this goal?" Then, "What route is most likely to lead to that goal?" Last, "Do I have the resources/ability to follow that route?"

Based on those answers, choose a path. Then move on to the next work.

#507 ::: Daniel Martin ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2013, 10:57 AM:

Jim, I believe that ("choose a path. Then move on to the next work.") to be her intention.

Unfortunately, the "What route ..." question is really thorny one, especially if you combine those last two questions into "Given my resources and abilities, what route is most likely to produce that criterion?". (As one must implicitly do anyway, because although one way to writerly success is to be Mao and get every household in China to buy multiple copies of your little red book, I really doubt that's a route you considered)

Plus she has the general issue that when researching that "What route" question one runs into these two warring camps who tend to have strongly voiced opinions on the moral turpitude of writers who do anything that looks like other-camp behavior. Yeah, she's bringing some of this angst on herself by reading hurtful words and applying those hurtful words to herself. It'd be easier to ignore if the "what route" question were answerable a priori and didn't require diving into the rhetoric of both camps.

I note that in your response you did not separate "commercially published" into "with an advance" and "without an advance" - part of my friend's problem is that both camps seem to see going with a small, royalty-only press as "other camp behavior". E.g., the SFWA won't allow a publisher to become a qualifying novel venue unless all novel authors are paid at least a $2000 advance - clearly, it is the opinion of the membership committee that royalty-only publishers are a qualitatively different market than publishers paying a $2K or larger advance. (which could well be true; my lack of knowledge doesn't allow me to say) The not-so-subtle implication I see in the SFWA rules for qualifying markets is that royalty-only presses are to be mentally grouped with advance-fee vanity presses. (which I think is unfair, so long as the press in question obeys Yog's Law)

#508 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2013, 11:06 AM:

Cassie B @ 503... I wonder if the Hugp packets have led to an increase in the voting. Or if they have led to an increase in worldcon-supporting memberships. After all, the packets include all those novels and shorter-legnth tales so that the memberships almost become a bargain.

#509 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2013, 11:19 AM:

Xopher: I have identified our disconnect. You mean noon in the sense of the sun being at its zenith; I meant noon in the sense of the clock reading 12:00. During standard time, these are (modulo position in the time zone) the same. During summer time, the clock says it's noon/12:00 an hour before the sun reaches its zenith.

#510 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2013, 11:29 AM:

Is her goal "Join SFWA"? If not, then "royalty only" isn't that much of a criterion.

As to why SFWA picked that particular point, part of it, I suspect, was that it was easily measurable. Another point was that it would tend to show a more financially-secure business. Beyond that, it's a case of defining the edge of the Sahara Desert on a yard-by-yard basis. Some points everyone will agree are inside of the desert. Some points everyone will agree are outside of it. But the edges? Constantly counting and recounting the number of grains of sand per square inch? Or should it be measuring the rainfall in fractions of an inch? Average rainfall or rainfall today?

One problem I see over and over again is the start-up publisher that is under-capitalized and closes its doors (with greater and lesser amounts of angst) inside of two years.

You sometimes hear folks say that being bisexual doubles your chances for Friday night. This isn't actually true: Both hetero and gay folks assume that you'll go back to "your own kind," so your chances are halved or quartered. The actual answer is, look deep inside yourself. No one is 100% anything.

In the current case under discussion: Going with a royalty-only publisher with a proven track record is likely to bring in more money than self-publishing, and less than going with a publisher that offers a $2K advance. This is more important if the goal is making money. Then I'll ask "How much, and when?" If the answer is "$2K within the first year," the answer will be different than if the goal is $20 within ten years.

There are royalty-only (or no pay at all) markets that frequently publish works that show up on "Best Of" lists and in award nominations. Those markets would score higher if the goal was to win awards or show up on a "Best Of" list.

Decide on your goal, determine how you'll know if you've achieved that goal, take steps that are likely to attain that goal, and stop overthinking it. Overthinking is likely to be less productive than other things you could do with your time.

#511 ::: Lin Daniel ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2013, 01:51 PM:

Abi, thank you for your parhelia link to Locus's obit of jan.

#512 ::: Daniel Martin ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2013, 03:07 PM:

Jim: I don't believe that joining the SFWA is a primary goal. (The primary goal appears to be "fail to starve") I was citing the SFWA's membership requirements mainly as a representative of the "you're clearly no good unless a publisher is paying you an advance" camp.

Indeed, "stop overthinking it" may be the most useful bit of advice. It's just that following it in this case means "just let it go and don't let it get under your skin when people imply that the class of business model you've chosen proves {your lack of respect for what you've written, your utter naiveté, your moral culpability in making advance-fee scams appear more respectable}".

What's she supposed to do, stop reading Scalzi? I suppose stranger things have been tried.

#513 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2013, 03:14 PM:

Jennifer Baughman @ 483 ...
Our sweet little Circe died peacefully today in her beloved "dad's" arms.

:( Empathies!

#514 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2013, 04:09 PM:

Jennifer Baughman @483: Via con Dios, Circe....

#515 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2013, 04:14 PM:

Daniel, I'd say "Stop overthinking Scalzi," or "stop applying one situation to all cases," might be better advice.

Or, she can come over to Learn Writing with Uncle Jim, where I promise to treat her gently. Or she can drop by here in propria persona, where she will be treated respectfully.

Any time you're getting the vibe "you're clearly no good unless..." or "you're morally culpable if..." consider the source, and consider the possible interpretations.

If the goal is to maximize income, then going with the largest publisher possible is a good idea. This usually includes the prior requirement of getting a legitimate agent. If the goal is to minimize hassle and maximize speed while still having an overall positive cash flow, then a smaller publisher may be a better path.

Writing out a flowchart might make sense.

Even if an author winds up in an out-and-out vanity-press scam, the moral culpability is on the scammer, not the writer.

It's long been a belief of mine, based on a lot of experience, that the on-signing money is the only money I should count on. On-signing money of zero means I can count on zero. This doesn't mean that there won't be money at some time, nor that the zero-up-front option might not be the best choice for some particular author on some particular day with some particular work.

As far as not starving ... a job at Burger King is a better bet. Income anywhere in the entertainment industry is generally small, slow, and uncertain.

#516 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2013, 05:47 PM:

Bye bye, Circe.

#517 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2013, 07:18 PM:

Serge @508,

I can tell you that the only reason I'm a supporting member of Worldcon 2013 is for the Hugo Packet. (It seems to me to be an excellent deal for the money.) And I only knew about the Hugo Packet because I was an attending member of Chicon in 2012. As long as their continue to be Hugo Packets, and as long as I can afford the supporting membership, I'm likely to continue to be a Supporting Member (although I can't afford to go to non-local Worldcons).

So, anecdotes aren't evidence... but it's a data point.

#518 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2013, 08:21 PM:

Carrie 509: Xopher: I have identified our disconnect. You mean noon in the sense of the sun being at its zenith; I meant noon in the sense of the clock reading 12:00. During standard time, these are (modulo position in the time zone) the same. During summer time, the clock says it's noon/12:00 an hour before the sun reaches its zenith.

Right, but what you said at 479 was

I would much rather have standard time all year round; changing the time sucks for everyone for a week (or longer) after, and given a choice between "noon is when the sun is overhead" and "noon is one hour before the sun is overhead" I'll take the latter.
"The latter" is "noon is one hour before the sun is overhead." "The former" is "noon is when the sun is overhead." You said you preferred "the latter," which takes place only during Summer Time, but also stated a preference for Standard Time all year round.

Whether you count clock or sun as "noon," those are two opposite preferences. So I'm still confused.

#519 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2013, 09:51 PM:

Me @517, long as there continues to be....

Bad fingers. No biscuit.

#520 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2013, 09:55 PM:

That "School of Thrones" diffraction is a hoot.

(I admit, I'm curious whether anyone who wasn't already a fan of A Song of Ice and Fire would get much out of it.)

#521 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2013, 10:36 PM:

Marilee's cats came out of hiding and got some petting as well as gooshy food tonight. Progress!

#522 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2013, 10:51 PM:

Glad to hear, Ginger.

#523 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2013, 07:10 AM:

Regarding the spate of sidelights about Bob Woodward: I actually have no special reason to want to defend the Obama administration in their recent spat with the guy. But I've been fascinated by the sudden outbreak of critical reassessments of Woodward's methods, work, and fundamental outlook on the world.

Woodward is no liberal hero. His background--before becoming a journalist--is in naval intelligence, specifically a very well-connected old-boy network of Navy spooks. He has a profoundly uncritical attitude toward the world's basic disposition of power. He combines that with a startling low level of what sometimes gets called EQ, emotional insight, understanding of how others see the world. He's very good at finding facts, but remarkably bad at figuring out what they mean. As a result, over and over again, his narratives are reductive--everyone does everything for the meanest of reasons.

Journalist Tanner Colby, author of the piece I sidelighted this morning, tells an interesting story about chatting with (now Senator) Al Franken about Woodward's sole non-Washington book, Wired: The Short Life and Fast Times of John Belushi:

“Tom Davis said the best thing about Wired,” Franken told me. “He said it’s as if someone wrote a book about your college years and called it Puked. And all it was about was who puked, when they puked, what they ate before they puked and what they puked up. No one read Dostoevsky, no one studied math, no one fell in love, and nothing happened but people puking.”
What we now know about Woodward doesn't vindicate his most famous victim. It would be difficult to be reductive enough in describing Richard Nixon's behavior in office. For all of Nixon's intelligence and policy creativity, there was a streak of meanness to the man a mile deep and a mile wide. But the triumph of Woodward and Bernstein's Watergate reporting--and some very well-chosen later Woodward partnerships, such as, for instance, his Supreme Court book with Scott Armstrong--gave Woodward, for decades, a kind of credibility that he doesn't actually deserve. When it comes to understanding how people tick, he's actually kind of a big dope.

#524 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2013, 09:34 AM:

Patrick, that sidelight about Wired was fascinating!

#525 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2013, 10:05 AM:

Xopher: Oh, then I mistyped. :)

#526 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2013, 11:39 AM:

Continuing to prove myself wrong about Ben Aaronovitch: I've just been reminded that his 2006 novel Genius Lcci (which I missed when it came out, and still haven't read) is still in print.

#527 ::: Clarentine ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2013, 02:01 PM:

In addition to all the other comments on why DST is a bad concept, allow me to add two related actual evils (IMO) inflicted by those who inflicted DST upon us: first, that DST physically and emotionally separates mankind from our environment at at time when we truly need to be more in tune, rather than less; and second, that through DST mankind pretends it can change the rules that govern that environment.

I can usually avoid talking back to stupid commercials and the like on TV, but lately have found myself shouting at the chirpy newsfolk gushing about how wonderful it is to have more time in DST. If they have more time, it is stolen from people like me, who quite enjoy our mornings and resent like hell the loss of daylight we had only just begun to regain.


#528 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2013, 02:03 PM:

Patrick, #523: Based on what you say here, it's no surprise that Woodward's Watergate work (say that three times in a hurry!) was so stellar. Compare

As a result, over and over again, his narratives are reductive--everyone does everything for the meanest of reasons.


For all of Nixon's intelligence and policy creativity, there was a streak of meanness to the man a mile deep and a mile wide.

It was the perfect match of subject and analyst -- for once, someone was actually doing things for the reasons Woodward imputed to them!

#529 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2013, 02:18 PM:

Help! Why can't I log into my LJ account?

When I go to my userinfo page, there is no longer any login button; instead, I'm given the choice of "Create an account" (but I already have one!) or "Log in using OpenID" (why should I log in using some other account when I have an LJ account?). How do I get to my own login?

#530 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2013, 03:16 PM:

Ginger @521: That's really good to hear. It's great that you're able to foster them - great for them, and great in that it gives one less thing for other people to worry about.

Hope to hear more good updates soon.

Meanwhile, my cat is getting very good at fishing her bits of food out of the various boxes etc. I'm trying to work out how I can next make it a bit more difficult for her, keep exercising her little kitty brain!

#531 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2013, 03:31 PM:

Complete OT open-threadiness: today I discovered that Trader Joe's sells shelf-stable whipping cream. Hmmmmmmmm. (I have a very short list of things I use cream for, and it often goes bad before I get around to using it up.)

#532 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2013, 03:32 PM:

Glenn Greenwald has links to a leaked audio recording of Bradley Manning in court. I'll admit I can't think of any legitimate reason for forbidding such a recording being made, but then, there is very little of the handling of the Bradley Manning case that looks right to me.

#533 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2013, 03:40 PM:

Lee @ 529... My LJ access looks ok. I use Internet Exploder, in case that matters.

#534 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2013, 03:41 PM:

I think I need to speak up, as a DST fan.

I like being able to get home from work in time to do something outside with my children. (And "get in at 7, leave at 4" isn't really an available option.)

#535 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2013, 03:57 PM:

Lila @ 531: I've been buying that cream since it showed up at the TJ's 500ft from my apartment - it's not quite the same as fresh (I might not use it to make a cream sauce, for instance), but it makes more than acceptable whipped cream when I toss it in my cream siphon. My GF and I used it to fill cream puffs a couple months back.

#536 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2013, 04:30 PM:

Clarentine @527 -- using a clock at all "physically and emotionally separates mankind from our environment" -- and all clock time is arbitrary. Changing it regularly can be used as a reminder of that fact.

There are lots of good arguments against DST, but that one doesn't survive examination.

#537 ::: Brooks Moses ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2013, 05:35 PM:

Lee @529: Try this direct link to the login page:

#538 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2013, 05:38 PM:

Carrie 525: Xopher: Oh, then I mistyped. :)


*takes deep breath*

Did you mistype "standard time" when you meant "summer time" or mistype "latter" when you meant "former"?

I'm not holding onto this whole harangue out of sheer pedantry. It's an element, but I want to understand what you meant.

#539 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2013, 06:03 PM:

I wrote "latter" when I meant to write "former to the latter". I think. Argh.

I like the sun to be overhead when the clock says 12, does that do it?

#540 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2013, 06:07 PM:

Serge, Brooks: Problem solved -- it was something weird with the page vs. my browser, and closing the tab and clearing the cache seems to have fixed it. Also, thank you Brooks, I now have the direct login page bookmarked so that I won't panic and freak out the next time this happens. Which I'm sure it will. :-)

#541 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2013, 06:24 PM:

Racists Spraypaint a Comedian's Car.

The victim shows major dignity in the affair....

#542 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2013, 07:21 PM:

Lee @ 540... I won't panic and freak out the next time

"Don't panic."
- the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

#543 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2013, 09:36 PM:

Carrie, yes, thanks.

#544 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2013, 11:47 PM:

Marvel Cinematic Universe nerds, help?

Both my husband and I are convinced that Captain America's line, "It seems to run on some form of electricity," is a quote from something from before he got frozen. I think it's Buck Rogers and my husband thinks it's the Superman cartoons. Does anybody know?

#545 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2013, 12:54 AM:

HLN: Area grad student submits first paper based on grad research to journal. Area student notes that it feels very anticlimatic, unlike the last time he did this (2010). Might have something to do with having a really great adviser this time.

#546 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2013, 02:23 AM:

Congrats to Tracie and her hanai daughter! (And I probably was the one you heard it from here, as I often refer to ours that way.) It's great that you're making it official.

#547 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2013, 02:32 AM:

The main reason I'm here, though, to brag about the prodigious daughter, my amazing composer.

Here is the website for her Masters' thesis project:

Beached on the Tidal Wound

She and her collaborator will be performing "This Jewel House", a 168 hour long (7 x 24) sound, video, and performance installation, "inspired by Aztec poetry, Victorian ghost stories, and our exploration of web art to create a piece to explore the ephemerality of our life on earth." (Yes, it's really going to go on for an entire week continuously.) New Yorkers can consider dropping in on it in late April if intrigued.

There's a three minute trailer of neat ambient sound and video at her IndieGogo fund raiser page for the show:

I am, as is obvious, so very proud of her.

#548 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2013, 02:35 AM:

Gnomed, probably for a couple of weird looking URLs.

If the gnomes are hungry, I was cooking up a storm this past weekend, and still have some leftovers: Roasted red peppers served with fresh mozzarella, a la capreze? Roasted butternut squash with caramelized onions? Whole grain oatmeal bread?

#549 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2013, 02:37 AM:

Jenny Islander: Could that be from Forbidden Planet? I haven't watched that in ages, so I may be completely off the mark.

#550 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2013, 05:48 AM:

Clifton... Jenny Islander... Not sure what the line is from, but I'm pretty certain it's not from "Forbidden Planet", which I saw again recently, and which is the first SF movie ever to mention quantum physics *and* to paraphrase Thomas Payne.

#551 ::: Clarentine ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2013, 08:20 AM:

Tom Whitmore @536 - fair enough; I probably didn't state it well.

While it's true that humans use measuring systems like clocks to frame our environment and our existence within it, I think it still illustrates my point - that a standard, non-DST clock scheme provides a constant frame of reference against which we can clearly see the movement of the seasons and all their variations (including those our species provokes), and that the adjustment back and forth from standard to DST and back destroys that constancy. It would be like running an experiment where the scale being used to measure the results is changed on an apparently arbitrary basis. In using DST, we become the experiment.

It's almost as if Douglas Adams was right. >:-)

#552 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2013, 09:32 AM:

So those escaped trained killer Ukrainian dolphins? Maybe they went AWOL looking for hot babes. Like no sailors in the history of naval service ever.

#553 ::: fidelio has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2013, 09:34 AM:

I have iced coffee and chocolate lacey cookies.

It could be the link, or it could be that my reaction to tree pollen (I don't mind trees having sex lives; I just wish they'd keep it to themselves) is messing up my ability to type.

[A link to a site in Russia and "hot babes." You can see how a gnome might want to take a second look.... -- Ionper Qunn, Duty Gnome]

#554 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2013, 10:03 AM:

Also, John Paul Miller has died. Most of us have never heard of him. why you'd want to know about him.

#555 ::: fidelio is gnomed again ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2013, 10:06 AM:

It's not you, gnomes, it's me; I understand.

We've moved on to iced tea and gingersnaps. They're the really awesome Nyåkers Peparkakor.

It's my link, I bet.

[It is. A link to is moderated, since a common spammer trick is to put some unique words or phrases on their webpage(s), then to spam links to a google search on those unique words in an attempt to evade filters. -- Nuriu Aeris, Duty Gnome]

#556 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2013, 11:04 AM:

Sam Chevre @534, yes. The switch to DST is unpleasant for a day or two due to the lost sleep, but I actually dread the switch back to standard time in the fall, since that's unpleasant for months when it's already full dark when I leave work in the evening. I'd rather have DST year-round than standard time. Morning light's a nice-to-have, but it's not like I'm going to be doing anything pleasant outside with it, and my lightbox compensates for the effects of SAD; evening light is useful and fun. Since 16 hours of daylight year-round isn't an option, I'm going for the evening light any time.

#557 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2013, 12:49 PM:

Jenny Islander: Both my husband and I are convinced that Captain America's line, "It seems to run on some form of electricity," is a quote from something from before he got frozen.

Well, my copy of "20,000 Leagues under the Sea" has Nemo making a comment about his electricity being different than what Professor Pierre Aronnax is used to, but I don't think the translation is particularly accurate and I don't see Whedon reaching back to Verne for quotes to hammer...

#558 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2013, 01:50 PM:

Clarentine @551 -- a lot depends on how comfortable one is with changing reference frames. I see your point in this comment, and I'm someone who recognizes that almost any statement will become false in a different reference frame (and contrariwise -- for almost all statements, there is a reference frame in which it will be more true than not [subjectively], or at least undecidable in a Godelian sense). That's a good topic for a long discussion, but this may not be the place!

#559 ::: Jennifer Baughman ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2013, 02:08 PM:

Thank you, everyone, for your kind thoughts--they have helped tremendously. We told the majority of our friends over the Book of Face, and in reading the responses of those who have known and loved Circe, we realized that, in her fifteen years, she touched the hearts of more people than many people do. I don't think we could ask for more.

The other two cats are upset, of course; the problem is compounded by the current state of the apartments, as we get it properly set up for my sister's move this week. Freddie's apparently terrified that we are moving and going to leave him, and Bu's badly missing her lifelong companion. We're giving them extra helpings of love and attention.

But this, too, shall pass, and the love remains. Thank you again.

#560 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2013, 07:15 PM:

May I commend to the attention of the fluorosphere the comments made by the UK Information Office of the European Parliament about the standards of newspaper reporting applied by one part of the British Press.

The Daily Express gets snarked on from a great height.

This is not something that you usually expect to hear from the people who make a living by feeding information to the media.

#561 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2013, 09:54 PM:

Thanks for the link, Dave. I like their line: If you want balance and context you have to knit it yourself.

#562 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2013, 09:04 AM:

And it's written in the highest quality Brit snark: surely to read it out loud they would have chosen Cleese in his most obnoxious civil servant tones.

#563 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2013, 11:15 AM:

RE: many conversations about ways in which the world is better/worse/entirely maddening.

Ta-Nehisi Coates, who is always worth reading, occasionally superb, and then writes something like this that's an order of magnitude better yet.

Please go read the whole thing, but just as a taste:

What I am asking you to do is to avoid an appeal to a more noble past. I lived there. It wasn't noble. It was fucked up. Like right now is fucked up.... I am sorry this new world is not fair. I am all for doing something to make it more fair. But while we are doing so, remember something: The old world was never fair.

I can't say it half as well.

#565 ::: Cheryl has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2013, 01:06 PM:

Probably for a link.

Would the gnomes like some garlic chicken?

#566 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2013, 03:46 PM:

Cheryl, #564: This is more of the Ramboland mentality. Instead of hiring someone with actual security experience to do security training, they hire an actor who plays at being quasi-military, with the director always standing over his shoulder to make sure it comes out all right.

You get what you pay for -- and in this case, they're paying for the name, not the expertise.

#567 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2013, 03:48 PM:

Literal security theater.

#568 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2013, 04:25 PM:

re 564: Verily, one cannot make this shit up.

I would be willing to bet that *I* know more about active shooter incidents than Steven Seagal. (I've witnessed one.)

#569 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2013, 04:29 PM:

Remembering what you said about that - I'm certain you're correct.

#570 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2013, 05:27 PM:

Since Steven Seagal is apparently a Reserve Deputy Sheriff, he maybe isn't a totally worthless trainer. But it remains one of thos giant economy size can-of-worms stunts. With added worms.

#571 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2013, 05:32 PM:

HLN: Semi-local woman will be in midtown Manhattan tomorrow, and wonders if anyone is up for a Gathering of Light. I should be free around 5 at the latest.

#572 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2013, 05:39 PM:

Mr. Seagal's Reserve Deputy Sheriff status seems to be for a reality show.

#573 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2013, 05:49 PM:

And from the account, this isn't about shielding victims or managing the response, this is about returning fire....

#574 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2013, 05:57 PM:

Steven Seagall? One of my buddies here once was hired to write a screenplay for him. I think the words 'stupid' and 'weird' may have been used in his description of Steven.

#575 ::: Jeremy Leader ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2013, 03:01 AM:

My understanding was that Seagal has been a reserve deputy somewhere in Louisiana for many years; the reality show following him with a camera is a relatively recent development. Wikipedia says it's suburban New Orleans, and mentions conflicting information about how much law-enforcement training and certification he has.

#576 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2013, 01:16 PM:

Gave my speech yesterday; it was well-received.

My thanks to everyone who responded to my request for assistance.

#577 ::: Older ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2013, 01:20 PM:

EeeeeeK!! Hotmail is threatening to turn into Outlook again!! Actually it says "a new webmail experience", but I know what it is, because it already happened to my sweetie. He says he can't find the "no thanks" button, doesn't think there is one this time.

I thought I had finally beaten the monster back, but here it is again, slavering on my e-mail pages.

#578 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2013, 03:07 PM:

Related to Older at 577, one of my labmates and I were discussing, essentially, your reaction to the tenticular horror from beyond spacetime that is Outlook (he's worked at microsoft, mostly on the UI side of things when he hasn't been in the lab getting his PhD along with the rest of us). I'm of the opinion that their attempts to do email are hobbled to a truly toxic brand - renaming your webclient anything related to Outlook seems to repel users. Hotmail didn't exactly have the best reputation for webmail, and they thought calling it Outlook would improve matters?!?

#579 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2013, 06:29 PM:

Lovely speech to the NZ marriage-equality bill (by a member of the more-conservative party.)

#580 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2013, 11:01 PM:

A claim that there isn't actually a frozen zone in Flatbush-- anyone have more information?

In re rape and ASoIaF: I've only read the books once and am no expert, but how do men and women compare for the amount of non-rape bad things that happen to them?

#581 ::: Nancy Lebovitz got gmomed ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2013, 11:04 PM:

Would the gnomes like some salmon and kale stirfry?

#582 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2013, 10:15 AM:

Paul A @576: Pleased to hear that went well. Glad if any of my comments helped.

#583 ::: The Raven ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2013, 12:38 PM:

On Wikipedia, there is a move to delete the page of Scott Prouty, the bartender who made the 47% video—in fact, to make Prouty a footnote to Romney's campaign. Seems to me it's the other way around. People of goodwill who care about the history, and want to know about Prouty, who seems to be a remarkable man, might wander by and put in a word for its preservation.

#584 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2013, 01:37 PM:

Seagal telling about safety puts me in mind of a video I caught partway through on cable access many years ago, with somebody in a Sugar Bear suit telling grade schoolers about school bus safety. Whoever it was had the voice down perfect. Some day I'll put it on DVD so I can always relive the pleasure of seeing him say "Mmm mmm mmm; can't get enough of that school bus safety!"

It's a cut above a show Joe Piscopo did on PBS years after his eclipse, doing sadly limp impressions of Dean Martin and such in the service of encouraging people to get their GEDs. Make that two cuts above. I can remember when Piscopo almost made me hurt myself laughing, on SNL.

#585 ::: Older ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2013, 08:49 PM:

Benjamin Wolfe (at 578) -- Actually, I like Hotmail just fine. It has been both better and worse since I started using it, but everything I tried instead I ended up liking less. I can't find anything that I like about Outlook.

The last time they did this, I spent quite a while investigating other possibilities, and just as I was about to try one, I found a little button that hadn't been there before, and was able to shift back, although my conversations were "nested" until I found another little button.

But while I was searching, I found numerous sites where people were gathered to moan and wail and petition the gods for relief from this awful Outlook infestation. I suppose those who thought "Wow, this is great!" felt no need to post.

#586 ::: Older ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2013, 08:54 PM:

Now that I recall it, I think one of the worst things about it was their cheery insistence on pretending that we were all voluntary changers who were "trying" a wonderful new thing! chirp chirp!

#587 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2013, 08:56 PM:

I'd agree with you there, Older - I've never found anything about outlook that I like. I haven't gone near hotmail in years, but Outlook, to me, is email with an added helping of evil, with nasty frosting on top.

For what it's worth, I've been happily on gMail for years now - I managed to migrate a decade or so of older emails from a standalone client to gMail when I switched in 2007.

#588 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2013, 09:55 PM:

Benjamin, #587: The first thing we do on any new computer is de-install Outlook. It's just too much of a security risk, even if we don't actually use it.

Scandal in the Massachusetts state crime lab. Over 30,000 cases may have been compromised by ONE corrupt employee. If I were a MA criminal-defense lawyer, I'd sure as hell be filing for retrials on any conviction that was supported by crime-lab evidence.

#589 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2013, 10:07 PM:

I hadn't logged into my Hotmail account in about a week and oh CRAP. Darn it, I've had the same Hotmail account since Hotmail was less than a year old!

Can anybody recommend a free, no-frills, Web-based service for somebody who is not super computer savvy? I just need something for non-business and non-shopping-related messages, nothing fancy. If it matters, I am using the no-signin version of Google Chrome.

#590 ::: Jenny Islander has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2013, 10:10 PM:

Apparently I used a Word of Power. Sorry about that. Raspberry sorbet?

#591 ::: Alison ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2013, 10:11 PM:

Crossbooks by LifeWay publishing:

I read this as scam, yes? One of my friends is touting her "book deal" with these guys and I want an expert opinion before I gently attempt to correct her misunderstanding. There is no marketing or distribution going on here, which puts this on a par with the disreputable "publishers" you guys talk about here all the time, right? Designed to take in folks who don't really know anything about how getting a book into an actual bookstore really works?

#592 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2013, 10:13 PM:

Lee 588: That's the Annie Dookhan scandal. That's been rolling for over a year; accused and convicted people are already being released.

#593 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2013, 10:22 PM:

Lee @588: Wow -- amazing story, especially when one goes to the link to the Boston Globe write-up in the second comment.

#594 ::: Tom Whitmore visits the gnomes ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2013, 10:23 PM:

Probably for an expression of amazement. Can I amaze the gnomes?

#595 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2013, 10:29 PM:

What, Lee, you don't want to leave a security hole you can drive a train through? I remember using Outlook back in high school at a summer job until the people I was working with made noises that Thunderbird was much less horrifying.

Jenny Islander, I'm fond of Gmail for my various emailing needs - I've got one account for everything I care about (I forward a bunch of other addresses to it), and I've got a second one as a dummy address (as in, random website wants my email? you get the one I never actually check). Weirdly, I can't even come up with a list of free email services off the top of my head beyond Gmail and Hotmail/Outlook Live.

#596 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2013, 10:35 PM:

#591 ::: Alison

That's a vanity press all the way. Their "packages" start at $1,299 and go up to $7K.

"Cross Books" from Lifeway is just Author Solutions, Inc., wearing a different mask. See the thread here at AuthorHouse Found Guilty.

There's a law firm right now investigating a class-action suit against Author Solutions and all its brands for deceptive business practices.

All that you need to get a "book deal" with ASI is enough money in your savings account. Note how they boast that you don't even need a manuscript?

What will your friend get for her thousands of dollars? On average, ASI sells around 150 copies of each of their titles.

#597 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2013, 11:02 PM:

Cheryl @ 564: Actor Steven Seagal trains Arizona volunteer posse on school security techniques

If anyone is interested in online training on how bystanders should respond to an active shooter situation, here's FEMA's. It boils down to:
1. Run away!
2. Hide!
3. If you can't run away, and can't hide, then don't let him herd people into a room. Grab something to hit him with, and rush him. You may recall that Gabby Giffords' shooter stopped to reload and a man hit him with a folding chair (glad he didn't have a larger magazine).

The video also tells you to always know two ways out (echoes of Jim), and has information for preparing your workplace to mitigate the risk of an incident.

#598 ::: Alison ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2013, 11:04 PM:

Thanks very much, Jim. I thought so, but wanted to check with an expert before I made any public noises. I really appreciate your checking on it for me and providing all the appropriate documentation. Thanks for your generosity.

#599 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2013, 11:57 PM:

Jim @596 -- I'm afraid that ASI means "Ah, Sweet Idiocy" to me -- no, wait, maybe they're similar?

Old Fan, and Tired

#600 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2013, 12:56 AM:

This is the City of Houston's training film on surviving a workplace shooting. Run, Hide, Fight.

#601 ::: GlendaP ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2013, 01:13 AM:

Jim @596: Oh, drat! Really? A close relative of mine has a book forthcoming from Crossbooks. On one hand, he has the right reasons for self-publishing: niche audience, platform for hand-selling, and mailing list of previously expressed interest. He also has a pro friend who did the cover design. And a while back I directed him to Writer Beware and AW Bewares & Background Checks.

#602 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2013, 01:35 AM:

Jim Macdonald @ 600: That's a much better video, thanks!

#603 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2013, 02:06 AM:

Do not look at the video labeled "Run, Hide, Fight Reponse" by some asshole calling himself "Yankeemarshall" if you want to keep your blood pressure normal. It's the same kind of Ramboland bullshit we've had to fight here a few times.

#604 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2013, 03:01 AM:

Oh, that's not good. A firetruck (with lights on but no siren) just pulled up to our neighbor's house. After a few minutes, the firemen came back out, carrying some equipment but in no hurry, and left. The husband of the elderly couple living there has been bedridden and in failing health since a bad stroke a few months ago. I'm afraid this may have been a "confirm death" call.

#605 ::: Jeremy Leader ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2013, 03:26 AM:

I just read the Parhelia Abi recently linked to on "Wealth, risk, and stuff", and I wanted to say that I absolutely love the phrase "moneybags twig-bishop" even though (because?) I have no idea what it means.

#606 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2013, 06:34 AM:

Jeremy @605

The phrase looks original to that blog.

The term"twig-bishop" puts me in mind of "hedge-wizard", but there's the additional element of how Bishops are ordained. There's a chain of selection and approval for Bishops which the term suggests, to me, doesn't exist.

A twig-bishop would seem to be one lacking any real authority, not even a wandering bishop whose ordinations might not be recognised by canon law.

#607 ::: Angiportus ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2013, 09:47 AM:

I'm having problems with an email provider that rhymes with bombast. Specifically that division thereof that rhymes with a mathematical concept symbolized by a lazy 8. Perhaps due to my not upgrading my Internet Exploder in some time, due in turn to dithering about whether to switch to another browser, all of a sudden I can't read new messages nor generate any. Also, that service by which I explore with satellite maps, won't pan.
I'm thinking of switching to a mail program that was recently praised here. All right, I need a tuneup too, but that will have to wait a couple of weeks.

#608 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2013, 09:56 AM:

Yahoo still has free email service, too. They recently tarted up their interface; existing users can still get the Classic version, but I don't know about new users.

#609 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2013, 09:57 AM:

Neither "Comcast" nor "Xfinity" are on the gnomes' list of naughty words.

#610 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2013, 10:38 AM:

Twig-bishops etc.:

In Lev Grossman's Magicians, a magician who learned his or her craft in an unauthorized, bootleg manner is called a hedge-witch.

#611 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2013, 12:17 PM:

HLN: Given today's lack of family gathering next door, it appears that our apprehensions may have been unwarranted. Partner suggests that perhaps neighbor managed to fall out of bed; neighbor's wife would certainly have been unable to get him back up by herself.

#612 ::: Bob Webber ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2013, 02:07 PM:

#608 ::: Mary Aileen:

Yahoo! email accounts seem to have their passwords cracked with some regularity. As someone who works in the field of computer hand-waving, I find it odd that this seems to happen to that company's accounts more than other companies'.

I can think of a number of reasons why this might be true, but since none of those reasons are that their users have worse password hygiene than other companies' users, I believe that there is something wrong with Yahoo!'s ability to keep users' secret passwords secret.

As such, a Yahoo! email account seems most suitable for someone who doesn't mind if their password is occasionally found by 3rd parties or someone who frequently changes passwords between maximum-allowed sequences of randomly chose letters, digits, and other symbols as permitted.

So I'm agin' 'em.

Does anyone have an opinion about the free email accounts provided by

#613 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2013, 02:16 PM:

"Twig-bishop" = a (self-)promoted hedgerow preacher?

#614 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2013, 02:21 PM:

Lee @611

While I am slightly bemused by the use of the particular emergency service, I know some places in the USA do these things in odd-seeming ways. With my father's health, we sometimes get ambulances at odd hours, and your scenario matches my experience well.

#615 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2013, 03:45 PM:

Lee #611, Dave Bell #614:

Lee, your theory is probably correct. We lost track of how many times the firetrucks came for our elderly neighbors across the street. And my mother in Dallas had the fire department a couple of times when my wheelchair-bound father got stuck, or fell out on the pavement getting into the car for a medical appointment.

Dave, I'm not sure of the exact division of labor, but the emergency services dispatcher (9-1-1 in the US) gets to decide who to send. And for non-life-threatening emergencies, they seem to favor the fire department.

#616 ::: Jeremy Leader ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2013, 04:01 PM:

Dave Bell @614: Around here (Southern California), it's fairly common for fire departments to also provide emergency ambulance services. Accordingly, many firefighters (all, in some jurisdictions) are trained as EMTs or paramedics. But not every fire station is equipped with an ambulance. So in the event of a medical emergency, a fire engine may be the closest source of help (including first aid supplies, oxygen, and AEDs).

In my neighborhood, the houeses were built in the mid-1950s, and the original residents still live in some of them. So every month or two, we'll see a fire engine show up with no obvious fire. Sometimes an ambulance will follow a couple minutes later, sometimes not, as needed.

#617 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2013, 04:32 PM:

When Karen broke (a small bone in) her ankle, the Fire Department is who responded. They wrapped her ankle in styrofoam to protect it, then carried her down the front steps to the car, in which I drove her to the Urgent Care area at Group Health. That was much cheaper than getting an ambulance, and just as effective!

#618 ::: Lin Daniel ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2013, 05:12 PM:

This might answer some questions about why Yahoo accounts hacked more often.

#619 ::: Lin Daniel was gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2013, 05:13 PM:

One url and not even linked. *sigh* I'd offer banana bread but my oven is misbehaving. A rain-and-snow check on that?

#620 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2013, 02:43 AM:

AKICML: The Amazing Girlfriend and I were recently given (for the AG's birthday last month) a juicer. Since neither one of us is going to start juicing copious quantities of plant matter and quaffing the result to substitute for breakfast (or the like), does the Fluorosphere have any particular suggestions? We're not averse to drinking its output, but if there's an Awesome Culinary Use for what it makes (either juice or shredded, low-water pulp), we'd love to know.

I've tried a few experiments with it - juicing apples is awesome, juicing citrus, peel and all, is fun (if bitter*), juicing fennel doesn't have much to recommend it.

*It does give me a way to make a high-speed version of Teresa's high octane limeade concentrate. Take juicer, insert quartered limes and process. Mix resulting juice (which is pretty aggressively bitter) 1:1 with vodka. Stick in a bottle and look at warily.

#621 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2013, 03:03 AM:

Remember when I complained that all the recipes for gluten-free oatmeal cookies required a mixer, and I didn't have one? Well, the recipes worked fine with an old-fashioned bowl and spoon, and I was just being silly, but that's not why I'm posting now.

I baked these friends of mine (she's just been diagnosed as gluten-intolerant) a couple of batches of oatmeal-raisin cookies, and a loaf of gluten-free bread from a mix they got me—and once again it suggests using a mixer, but I did just fine with a bowl and spoon. I mentioned this fact to them.

These crazy people...they went and bought me a mixer. Do I have the best friends in the world or what? Their young son, with whom I share a deep love of all things Whovian, said "humany-wumany" as he hugged me; I replied "Yeah, this is the happy crying." It wasn't the mixer itself, of course. I'd already proved I could do fine with a bowl and spoon.

And another thing: they considered getting me a bread machine, but she'd heard me say I didn't want one because I like kneading bread, so they didn't. Friends who listen and remember your preferences (and, let's face it, weird quirks) are priceless beyond gems and gold.

I'm tearing up again just typing this. I have the best friends. And some of you are some of them too, all in different ways. Keeps me going on, seriously. Thank you.

#622 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2013, 03:13 AM:

Xopher, that's awesome. Three cheers for amazing friends! I remember that discussion - I spent my childhood (when I got my love of baking and cooking) doing most recipes by hand, or, at best, with a pair of handheld electric beaters. Once I got a mixer, it became so much easier to do what I wanted to do, rather than what I had the equipment to do. This isn't to say that most recipes can't be done by hand, just that when they become easier, more can happen.

Aside from bread baking (Xopher, you said you're fond of kneading - I'm not, particularly, so I've always had the mixer do it for me), I really appreciate my mixer for recipes like my vanilla pound cake. If you'd like, I'm happy to post the recipe.

#623 ::: Benjamin Wolfe is dwelling with the gnomes ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2013, 03:15 AM:

Can I offer the Gnomes tomato-fennel pasta from the fridge? Or Israeli couscous with brussels sprouts, hazelnuts and sausage?

#624 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2013, 03:26 AM:

Xopher FTW, Xopher's friends FTW.

#625 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2013, 03:30 AM:

Benjamin Wolfe@620, fermenting apple juice into cider is trivially easy, just room temperature with a bit of yeast in a clean jug with a vapor lock, and you've got the juicer to make apple juice with. Or pear cider, though having a convenient source of pear juice sounds wonderful all by itself.

#626 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2013, 03:32 AM:

Benjamin Wolfe.

One possibility that springs to mind is apple+fruit crumble, with the apple (pear, quince) juice going in the fruit part and the residue in the topping.

Never tried it, but would be interested to hear how it works.

Separating tomato water from tomato paste would be another possibility: use the liquid in soup, the solid in tomato dishes.

#627 ::: crazysoph ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2013, 03:41 AM:

A link for the watchful, of an opinion piece by Bruce Schneier:

Crazy(oh, and I could have actually parked this under abi's top-post about Google Glass... but I won't let myself get caught up in a super-dither session about where it "should" go)Soph

#628 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2013, 04:46 AM:

Lin @618

I looked at the link.

The article is a year old, and points a finger at Yahoo, operating in a risky mode.

I checked, and it rather looks as though Yahoo still is vulnerable to the attack. I do have an email account, linked to some mailing list services that Yahoo acquired a few years ago. And, when I was last in Hospital, the internet service available was blocking Yahoo "groups".

If the loophole depends on unencrypted public wifi, there might be a distinctive pattern. But it it the only loophole?

#629 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2013, 09:25 AM:

Benjamin Wolfe @620--IIRC, when one makes potato pancakes, one grates the taters and then squeezes the water out of the mass before proceeding. Would that work? Is it worth the sacrifice of a potato to see whether the result can be latkized?

#630 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2013, 10:24 AM:

Benjamin Wolfe @620: The pulpy output of a juicer is awesome for mixing into quickbreads (think 'banana bread' or 'carrot loaf', only using anything you can fit in the juicer).

#631 ::: alsafi ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2013, 12:21 PM:

Benjamin Wolfe @622, I would like to put in a request for your vanilla poundcake recipe! I've been looking for a vouchsafed reliable one; we are big poundcake fans at my house.

#632 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2013, 01:50 PM:

Open thready rant:

A billion dollars in additional spending on missile defense, because North Korea is threatening to nuke the U.S.

North Korea. Which, if I understand correctly, not only does not have a missile that could reach the U.S., but if it did, does not have a nuclear warhead to put on it.

Meanwhile, about 30,000 Americans die every year from the flu. About 80,000 Americans per year have limbs amputated due to diabetes. And the U.S. lags behind 49 other countries in infant mortality.

Too bad we can't blame the problems with our health care system on the Communists.

#633 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2013, 01:53 PM:

In sad news of a Grace Bros kind:

#634 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2013, 02:08 PM:

Fragano @ 633... Farewell to Captain Peacock...

#635 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2013, 02:22 PM:

I'm just about to run out the door, but I'll type up the pound cake recipe later today. It's a pretty standard pound cake, but it takes advantage of the cheap vanilla beans I discussed here. I'd argue that bulk vanilla has transformed my baking - good vanilla is an amazing flavor, and having large quantities means I can experiment at will.

#636 ::: cajunfj40 ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2013, 04:01 PM:

CNN doesn't like your link, one that appears to work (on Chrome) is here.

Looks interesting.

#637 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2013, 04:50 PM:

I just got sandbagged at a faculty meeting by a surprise showing of _Bully_. I think I'll be glad I saw it, some time next week, but at the moment all I can think is "wow, I wish I hadn't had to keep my countenance in front of my colleagues." It was interesting to see things through an adult's eyes. However, if you've been bullied, I suggest that you watch it carefully, forewarned, and with your support system within arm's reach.

The upside is that now I get what all those fanfic "trigger warning" brouhahas are about.

#638 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2013, 07:04 PM:


North Korea definitely does have nuclear weapons. However, it is true that they don't have any missiles that could come close to hitting the U.S.

#639 ::: john ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2013, 07:16 PM:

MIchael I, 638: Nuclear weapons, but not a nuclear warhead for a ballistic missile (the distinction being overall size: as far as I know, right now North Korea could only make a relatively ungainly free-fall bomb).

#640 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2013, 07:41 PM:

Jim Henley twittered some interesting news on the creator/publisher legal front:

This effects me, at least indirectly. FGU published three or four V&V adventures of mine. I had and have the copyright, but . . . were my contracts still in effect? This ruling puts that to rest.

#641 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2013, 09:17 PM:

I and my fellow Hawai'i residents deeply resent news anchors and US Gov't officials saying more interceptors might need to be placed in Alaska to protect the US from North Korea's leader's potential insanity. We're a helluva lot closer to the DPRK than any other US state, and we're overlooked. This despite the evidence of Dec. 7, 1941.

I'm mostly being facetious, but we do feel a little more at risk than some of the talking heads worrying about the West Coast or sites further inland, and it's annoying.

#642 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2013, 10:49 PM:

WRT North Korea - I suspect that even the most insular of leaders would realize that exploding a nuke outside of their borders would invite pure hell. The purpose of acquiring nukes isn't to use them; it's to prevent what happened to Iraq from happening to them. A nuke is a weapon most effective when it's unused.

#643 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2013, 11:05 PM:

Linkmeister #641

I get 6037km Pyongyang to Anchorage, 7400km Pyongyang to Honolulu.

#644 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2013, 11:08 PM:

NKorea is also short on delivery methods. They could get to SKorea, but not many other places without a lot of help.

#645 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2013, 11:28 PM:

Now that I'm home, (and the Amazing Girlfriend and I have had dinner after a bit too much crazyness on/around campus) here's the recipe I promised:

It's originally from Amanda Hesser's Cooking for Mr Latte, and she cites Hi-Rise Bakery in Cambridge, MA. The only modification I've made is to take shameless advantage of buying my vanilla in hilarious quantities (rather than the single, solitary beans in glass tubes that the supermarket wants $10 for). So, yes, I am going to call for a full dozen vanilla beans for two loaves. If you're buying vanilla online, a quarter pound is something like 50 beans (for $15 or so, last I looked - sealed in a glass jar, they'll keep for a year or two). If you do get a pile of cheap, amazing vanilla, take half a dozen beans and shove them in your sugar bin; take another dozen or so, split them and shove them in a bottle of cheap vodka or rum to make your own vanilla extract.

Vanilla Pound Cakes

This recipe makes two loaves, and should not be thought of as health food by anyone. That said, it slices thinly and keeps, wrapped in plastic, for a month or more.

For the pound cakes
3 sticks unsalted butter
2.5c vanilla sugar
10-12 vanilla beans, scraped (husks reserved)
1tbsp vanilla extract
8 large eggs
3c flour
1.5tsp baking powder
0.5tsp salt

For the vanilla simple syrup
2c vanilla sugar
The beans you scraped for the cakes

Preheat your oven to 325F and butter two glass loaf pans. Butter them extremely aggressively (I'd guess ~2tbsp butter per loaf pan) - if you don't, the cakes will stick, and that'd be lame. They taste too good to lose that way.

Cream the butter, sugar and scraped vanilla seeds (the contents of the pods) in the workbowl of a standing mixer; add the vanilla extract, then add the eggs one at a time on medium speed until the mixture is light and liquid. Add the flour, baking powder and salt, and mix on low speed until just incorporated. Scrape the batter into your prepared loaf pans, place the loaf pans on a sheet tray (makes it easier to get them in and out of the oven, and they might overflow) and bake for 70-80 minutes at 325F, until a tester or paring knife comes out entirely clean. I've had them take as long as 90min.

While they're baking, mix 2c sugar with 1c water over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved, then add the scraped vanilla pods from making the cakes. Turn the heat off and let the simple syrup steep until the cakes are done.

Once the cakes are done, remove them from the oven and let them cool for 10-15min before you unmold them on to a cooling rack on top of a sheet tray. Then, take a pastry brush and brush the simple syrup all over the cakes. Go slowly, they'll take time to absorb it all. You'll want to rotate the cakes as necessary - they will drink all of it up, it'll just take some time. Leave the cakes on the rack to dry for several hours or overnight - they should feel hard (not stale, just sugar-crusted) when dry. Wrapped well in plastic, they'll keep at room temperature for 3-4 weeks without any noticeable loss of quality. In fact, I prefer to make them 2-3 days ahead so the vanilla flavor can bloom properly. That said, they're amazing the day after you make them. Maybe with a nice glass of red wine.

When the Amazing Girlfriend and I make these, we've never had a whole cake survive longer than a day in our lab. It gets inhaled by ravenous labbies.

#646 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2013, 12:21 AM:

Accomplishment Unlocked: Meat Pie!

The crust was perfectly well done, but I think it could have used another 10 minutes to brown up.

#647 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2013, 03:09 AM:

Bill Stewart @ 625: Making my own cider is really tempting; I'd want to find apples here I actually like (I've been pining for a good Mcintosh since moving away from the Boston area in 2008). Pear cider is even more tempting.

thomas @ 626: My Amazing Girlfriend and I have my family's crumble recipe, which I am loathe to change, but the idea of feeding the juicer tomatoes has serious potential. It's a almost scarily powerful centrifugal juicer (e.g., feed veggies in from the top, juice comes out one side and pulp is flung into a bin on the other). Either it'll be awesome, or it'll repaint the walls of our apartment for us. I'm willing to perform this experiment.

fidelio @ 629 : I've no idea if I could process potatoes for latkes with this thing - we usually make them by using the shredding disk for our cuisinart and squeezing out excess liquid after shredding, but the juicer should deal with the liquid problem quite handily. The texture will be a lot more like boxed latkes than the kind I usually make, but it's worth a try (the pulp is really fine, and often kind of dry).

Elliot Mason @ 630: Hm. My Amazing Girlfriend is nostalgic for carrot juice, so we might just try this. I don't mind channeling Benjamin Bunny on demand, provided I won't be chased by angry English farmers with pitchforks for raiding the fields. Besides, Trader Joe's is 500ft thataway.

#648 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2013, 10:21 AM:

#646 ::: Stefan Jones I think it could have used another 10 minutes to brown up.

Brushing the top of the crust with milk before baking it handles that.

#649 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2013, 10:25 AM:

Hooray, Hooray, O frabjous day!

Kirtsaeng (PDF) was decided that, yes, you can legally resell books legally printed and purchased abroad without the copyright owner's permission.

#650 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2013, 11:16 AM:

Benjamin Wolfe, you make me want to make pound cakes. I may experiment with this gigantically vanilla recipe of yours once I am willing to buy all the vanilla beans in the world. For now, I will make crumbly-top cake (boxed chocolate cake with brown sugar and chocolate chips on top, though lately they've been sinking down while baking-- still delicious) and eat other spring-break food.

#651 ::: Susie ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2013, 11:34 AM:

SamChevre @ 649, that is excellent news indeed!

#652 ::: Clarentine ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2013, 12:16 PM:

Steve @642, John @639, PJ Evans @ 644:

North Korea may only have the technology for a "relatively ungainly free-fall bomb," and lack the technology for ballistic missiles, but I would think those nearly 30,000 US service members currently working and living in the southern part of that peninsula would be well within range and at risk all the same. NPRK doesn't have to reach Alaska or Hawaii (or Guam, or Wake, or American Samoa) to be able to target significant numbers of Americans.

#653 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2013, 01:32 PM:

Clarentine, #652: However, the claim being made to justify an obscene increase in government spending is that there is a threat to "America", not to American citizens stationed overseas.

Open threadiness: a new-to-me lightbulb joke (found on Twitter, so not linking directly):

Q. How many copy editors does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A. Do you mean "change" or "have sex in"? Please clarify.

#654 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2013, 02:32 PM:

SamChevre @649: What annoys me is when a publisher is continuing to publish, e.g. in Asia, a book which is out of print in e.g. the UK, and is then stipulating that it can only be sold in certain (Asian) countries. Why? They're not making any money on it by only having (few, exhorbitantly priced) second hand copies available in the UK. Why not let people buy it?

#655 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2013, 02:43 PM:

Persona management software

IOW, now companies don't even have to pay actual people to manufacture astroturf. They can just hire one flunky to run hundreds of sockpuppets, all of which have supporting background information making them look like real people.

I don't think we have to be concerned about the Singularity any more.

#656 ::: Lee has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2013, 02:45 PM:

Would Their Lownesses like some virtual Ghirardelli 86% chocolate?

#657 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2013, 03:56 PM:

Lee @653, thanks for the laugh. That one's new to me too.

#658 ::: Jeremy Leader ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2013, 04:06 PM:

dcb @654: I think the reasoning might be "we might eventually want to publish this, and if there are lots of used Asian copies floating around, there won't be as much of a market for new ones." Presumably at present there isn't enough demand to cover the overhead of a new print run, but they think there might be someday.

I'm not sure that makes sense (the used copies might serve to draw attention to the book, increasing the potential market) but I can see a publisher thinking that way.

I think the key is that corporations think of the things they own rights to as "assets", even if they're not currently making money off of them, and so they'll act to preserve the value of those "assets".

#659 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2013, 07:26 PM:

# 654 dcb : SamChevre @649: What annoys me is when a publisher is continuing to publish, e.g. in Asia, a book which is out of print in e.g. the UK, and is then stipulating that it can only be sold in certain (Asian) countries. Why?

I'd suspect that the "why" is contained in the details of the contract that author signed with that publisher for that book.

#660 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2013, 08:21 PM:

Benjamin Wolfe #647: From reading about it in our local weeklies (Virginia is getting big into cider), the apples you want for cider are not necessarily the ones you want for eating. There are a whole bunch of "antique" varieties that fell out of production when (IIRC) temperance squelched cider production, and various other factors enabled shipping plain juice. Our new ciderworks have been busily researching these and growing them....

P.S. Apple "varieties" are grown from cuttings, none breed true. Any apple tree grown from seed is an utter crapshoot -- no way to tell beforehand if it'll be palatable out of hand (most won't be), or useful for cider (much more likely).

#661 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2013, 08:45 PM:

There's some overlap between cider apples and apples that are good for eating fresh. An "antique" variety I'm fond of, Esopus Spitzenberg, is considered mostly a cider apple, and stores badly, but for the 2-3 weeks a year (in a good year) that they turn up at the local Greenmarket, Andy and I are delighted by them. (There's no point stocking up, but I can eat quite a few apples in a fortnight, if they're good apples.)

It being March, I just had a Macoun apple by way of dessert.

#662 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2013, 09:35 PM:

And the interesting thing about hard cider is that the fermentation process makes palatable apples that, eaten in hand (or even cooked with) taste like rotting death, because the volatiles in question are changed and mellowed.

Non-alcoholic cider, you can taste 'eating' apples and guess how they'll do.

#663 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2013, 09:56 PM:

Good to know. I've been uniformly unimpressed with the apples I've found here in Berkeley; I've admittedly not gone too far afield looking for them, but still. In college (in Boston), I'd habitually go through 10lbs of "seconds" in a week when I could get good apples... and I've never found apples out here that were either reliably tasty or cheap enough to buy in quantity. I think this is mostly an artifact of where I've looked (Berkeley farmer's market and Berkeley Bowl), but you'd think that Berkeley Bowl would get better apples than they do. It seems silly to buy apples trucked cross-country from NY.

#664 ::: TrishB ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2013, 10:49 PM:

Benjamin Wolfe@663
I still have a small number of apples shipped every year from Bennington, VT during the fall. My childhood was in upstate NY, and then I spent 6 years in the Berkshires. The apples from Vermont are the only ones that have tasted right to me since my move to Ohio 20 years back. It's an extravagance, but a lovely one. It's hard to believe that the same store was in business back when I was in college. Good cider, fresh hot cider donuts, and a view always worked wonders to rouse me out of the covers on a Sunday morning.

#665 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2013, 10:57 PM:

I may need to do that next fall - I've yet to have a California apple that tastes right. I certainly never got on in Tennessee that tasted *remotely* right. All the apples I've been able to find have either been monodimentionally sweet or in possession of poor texture or both.

Maybe this coming fall I'll just order a crate of Mcintosh apples from one of the orchards I went to growing up, and damn the cost. I want proper apples.

#666 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2013, 10:58 PM:

They grow apples in the hills around Watsonville, and also in the Mother Lode area east opf Placerville ( has maps and a variety guide). Lots of varieties, including Winesaps and Gravensteins, but you have to go there.

(Martinelli's says it uses Pippins for its juice and cider.)

#667 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2013, 11:35 PM:

Benjamin, #665: I'm surprised that you're not seeing Oregon and Washington apples in California. Apples are dooryard trees in those states, which suggests that there's probably also heavy commercial cultivation.

#668 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2013, 11:37 PM:

I've only brewed cider from apple juice, not from raw apples, but there's a lot of organic Gravenstein juice around, mostly from around Sebastopol, and they may also be available as apples. Honeycrisp worked ok, a bit weak. I suspect Granny Smiths might work ok, and they're usually available.

#669 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2013, 11:54 PM:

The only Washington apples I've seen reliably haven't exactly been appealing; they've generally been commercial cultivars suitable for shipping cross-country.

I've tried a few Granvensteins over the last couple years - I can believe they'd make good cider, but they're not the eating apples I want. That said, come fall, I might buy some and try some cider production. The lab would certainly drink it.

#670 ::: Mea ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2013, 01:31 AM:

Benjamin Wolfe@663
Berkeley is split into overlapping camps: the people who flock to Berkeley Bowl, the ones who swear by the farmers market, and then my people, the zealots for Monterey Market.

I don't live there now, and I don't know how the generational change in management has affected it, but if I were looking for good ANYTHING in the realm of fruit or veg - or mushrooms, during the season - Monterey Market would be my first stop.

Preferably on a quiet(ish) week day morning.

Now I miss Berkeley.

#671 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2013, 02:12 AM:

Oh, I know - I've been known to tease one of the professors in my program who is a Monterey Market devotee, when I see her at Berkeley Bowl. I prefer Berkeley Bowl myself; they're both good, but I tolerate Berkeley Bowl better (the Amazing Girlfriend and I have tried Monterey Market a couple times, and found it less to our liking than Berkeley Bowl at 1pm on a Saturday).

That said, we usually try to get to Berkeley Bowl before 11am on Saturdays to avoid the rush.

#672 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2013, 02:21 AM:

Dave Harmon #660:

There is selective breeding of apples for fruit quality; it's not a complete crapshoot. If you look at the NZ apples that appear in your supermarkets in your spring, the cultivar names change a lot faster than they used to.

There's also published research on speeding up the breeding process by checking which seedlings have the right genetic markers so you can clonally multiply them before they first fruit and get lots of new crosses faster.

Unfortunately, most of this effort is going into selecting sweet, visually-appealing apples that transport well, not this century's answer to Ashmead's Kernel (which I miss from its brief appearances in Seattle).

#674 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2013, 09:15 AM:

thomas #672: Ahh, so they're siccing advanced technology on it now. As you note, that can be a mixed thing.

#675 ::: Lila is sad about borked links ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2013, 10:08 AM:

Nancy, your second and third links @ 673 led me to an error message.

#676 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2013, 10:34 AM:

thomas @672: Ashmead's Kernel was one of our options when we recently placed a sapling order with Trees of Antiquity. I forget which we actually bought, except that we definitely got Niedzwetzkyana, a Russian cultivar that is VERY RED. The apples are red inside and out, the leaves are PINKY-red in the spring and fall, the flowers are rich dark pink, and even the pruned branches have a bright red ring in the bark and pinky heartwood. Very pretty!

It'll take 3-5 years before any of them fruit, but the spur for the order was to buy a pollen-buddy for the mature cherry already in our yard. It used to have a friend beside it, but according to a neighbor a storm four or five years ago cracked the other tree in half, and it died and was gradually cut down to the standing stump that was present when we bought the house. So we got a sweet cherry sapling and a sour cherry sapling, one of which is self-fertile and the other of which is noted as being a very GOOD pollen donor to bings, which according to the neighbors (who ate it) is what the tree we have is. If not, one of them should be a decent match, and they can let our Grand Old Man fruit again even before they're old enough to set fruit themselves.

Plus three trees in one hole in the front yard, apples. YAY. I love the multiplex tree planting, because apples like each other a lot (they will entwine roots and stabilize each other) and it makes a multicolored tree in spring and fall, visually striking.

#677 ::: Elliott Mason got gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2013, 10:35 AM:

For talking about apple saplings and places one can buy them. And possibly for having a broken link. If the one I think was broken was the one, it should look like this: NIEDZWETZKYANA.

[It's the link that reads a href="http://" but should read a href="". The doubled http:// will get you every time. (The link that included page=product didn't help.) Moriz Lireial, Duty Gnome]

#678 ::: Elliott Mason got gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2013, 10:35 AM:

... making a gnomed report. So yeah.

#679 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2013, 10:38 AM:

Apple "varieties" are grown from cuttings

This part isn't quite true. Apples don't breed true, but I've never known them to be grown from cuttings. They are almost always grafted or budded. The good varieties rarely have good roots, so cuttings (which are self-rooted) aren't a good option. (I learned to June-bud apples before I learned to read--my father did some commercial budding and grafting.)

#680 ::: Clarentine ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2013, 12:15 PM:

Lee @653:

I wonder if the reasoning backing up the claim is a continuation of that which holds that a US embassy is actually US soil. We have an embassy in Seoul. (Assuming, which I don't agree with, that 30K US citizens don't constitute enough "America" to be concerned about.)

#681 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2013, 12:20 PM:

Lila is sad about borked links @675: Nancy, your second and third links @ 673 led me to an error message.

They're only half-borked. It looks like Nancy left off the http:// (Maybe they disappeared into Elliott's links). If you click on the "borked" link, and then take out the ML element in the address bar of the resulting 404 page, leaving only the http:// and the YouTube.cetera, they work just fine.

(And that K-scale knitting looks like it would make great hippie furniture.)

#682 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2013, 12:23 PM:

I can't abide Washington apples -- most of what I buy at the store has to be from Ohio, Virginia or New England.

We have a local orchard that is branching out into antique apples, Summer Rambo (a great dessert apple), Grimes Golden, and Yellow Transparent among others. They're always at our local farmer's market so I haven't had the pleasure of driving out to the orchard.

Another interesting apple is a variety called "Winter Banana" -- the first time I saw that one the fruit looked like it came from a Flemish still-life.

Oh -- and I love the Galas we get each May that are imported from New Zealand. I've tried the ones from the Pacific Northwest, but again they don't taste like the NZ Galas.

#683 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2013, 12:30 PM:

Lila, here are good links

1000 strand knitting:

Finding Einstein's brain:

#684 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2013, 12:48 PM:

The "thousand strand knitting" video (which doesn't use the thousand strands as separate strands, but makes a rope of them) includes the Dreadful Phrase (stbtm) "to the endth degree" in one of its captions. (The second two links didn't include the "http" prefix, but can be deciphered by removing the local "" from before the portion of the link.)

#685 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2013, 01:53 PM:

SamChevre #679: Quite right, I muffed the terminology there. Sorry.

#686 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2013, 01:56 PM:

Lee @653: A2: "do you mean "change" (cause to become different), or "exchange" (substitute a different item)?" —Jon Singer

#687 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2013, 02:50 PM:

Clarentine, #680: If that's the case, then they're palming a card. Most people (myself included) will think "the mainland" when they see the unadorned word "America," and the posturing about adding missiles in Alaska just adds to that impression.

I agree that 30,000 citizens stationed within the actual reach of such a bomb are reason enough to be concerned, but that's not how it's being spun.

#688 ::: Cygnet ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2013, 02:55 PM:

Best apples I've ever eaten come from an abandoned orchard in Oak Creek Canyon -- Sedona area, top of the Canyon, West Fork trail head, a half mile or so in. It's been a good decade since I've hiked back in there. I don't know if the trees are still there. I hope they are.

I still remember the time that I picked a nice, tasty apple and another hiker asked me how I knew that the apple was safe to eat ... I said if I dropped dead, I'd die happy.

#689 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2013, 03:25 PM:

The only proven way to get atom-bombed by the USA is to attack naval bases outside the North American continent

#690 ::: Magenta Griffith ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2013, 05:30 PM:

I have to make a case here for Minnesota apples. The University of Minnesota has developed a number of wonderful varieties, like the Honey Crisp, The Honey Gold, the State Fair (it gets ripe around the end of August, in time for the State Fair) and the new SweeTango. I'd give links, but I'd probably get gnomed. Either you can get these apples, or you can't. Links to the orchards would just be pointless, though I can post them if anyone wants to see them.

And Haralsons - I love them. Properly stored, they can keep for months in my basement.

Now I'm hungry, and it's months til apple season.

#691 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2013, 06:17 PM:

Honeycrisps aren't bad; my problem is that I want high-acid apples, and most varieties that I can find (that aren't mealy, which I loathe in an eating apple) are minimal to no acid, which means they just taste flat and sweet to my palate.

#692 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2013, 06:26 PM:

We used to get the best apples from one of the abandoned orchards on the Michigan State campus. Enough that we would harvest them for use in large SCA feasts. Back in those days there was a 5 cent apple machine in the Agricultural Economics building. Originally it had been part of a grad student's research on apple preference by looks, but it was kept stocked with excellent cold, crisp apples for years. Probably gone now.

I got an idea of how old supermarket apples are when they reach the supermarket when I bought bushels of apples in the Shenandoahs on Thanksgiving weekend. The last of the crop, picked several weeks earlier. Most of them I canned as applesauce or froze for pie use, but I ate the very last one, still fresh (well, just a little bit wrinkly, but still crisp) in late March.

#693 ::: Cygnet ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2013, 11:36 PM:

Hopefully this makes sense -- I overdid it today packing up (I'm moving) and am on Good Meds now. Dystonia sucks. The meds suck only slightly less.

On North Korea -- North Korea doesn't necessarily have to accurately hit anything on the US mainland to wreak havoc. In order to do some serious damage, they just need to be able to loft a nuke into orbit and set it off at a suitable altitude over a US target. The resulting damage from the EMP burst would be a mess to clean up, and it would damage many (most?) satellites in orbit.

They're not quite there yet, but they're putting the technological pieces together. They need a bigger bomb and a bigger missile. We could (and did) launch an airburst in the 1950's that would have been highly damaging if it were over land rather than open ocean. So basically, North Korea needs to equal our technological know-how as of the 1950's.

Hopefully, North Korea's leadership is smart enough to realize that if they're looking for global attention, that's really not the way to get it.

See Starfish Prime:

#695 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2013, 01:17 AM:

They don't have missiles that can carry the bombs they're making - and they don't have bombs that will fit on ones they do have. What NKorea would have to do is load it on an airplane and drop it - WW2 delivery technology. That means it's most dangerous to its neighbors and to everyone in range downwind.

#696 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2013, 01:42 AM:

re: North Korea: if the delivery technology would have to be airplane-based, how many of those things would they expect to be able to get out there and how far would they expect to be able to send them? And how big would they be?

I was born in 1970. My mental model is all still about missiles and multiple first-strike targets and knowing what the concentric blast circles looked like and planning my best route to be at a ground zero in the available time because, to be perfectly honest, instant vaporization sounded like a much better deal than firestorm or radiation sickness.

This sounds like it's on a much smaller scale. Still nightmare fuel, but a different nightmare?

I'll hope to stay serene and calm when Alabama gets the bomb.

#697 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2013, 02:47 AM:

Rikibeth, I submit that for all its flaws, Alabama isn't nearly as big a risk as South Carolina is.

#698 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2013, 04:03 AM:

Elliott Mason #676.

The University District farmers' market in Seattle had Ashmead's Kernel and Egremont Russet -- "yellow mutant dwarf apples", as we called them -- initially for a few weeks in autumn, then as more people caught on and bought them by the box, only one week in autumn.

I also rather like Snow apples -- small, with very white flesh -- but I've only seen them a couple of times.

Ben Wolfe: you might like Cameo from WA, especially early in the season. It's a new accidental discovery, not one of the planned-breeding cultivars. I also find that small, slightly underripe Fuji and Pink Lady, which sometimes get sold cheaply as seconds, are far better than the full-size ones.

#699 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2013, 04:10 AM:

There was some discussion here a while back about the problem of creeps at conventions. PyCon, the Python conference has had some similar problems. C. Titus Brown, who appears to be a mensch as well as an excellent computational biologist, has posted an excellent and somewhat Scalziesque piece on formal codes of conduct. It ends

3. As a community, we need to change the way we treat women, because my daughters will TASER YOU ALL INTO OBLIVION in 10-20 years if we don't.

#700 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2013, 04:44 AM:

Linkmeister, but when Tom Lehrer wrote the song, it was a different story!

#701 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2013, 08:36 AM:

May one offer felicitations to TNH on her natal anniversary?

#702 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2013, 10:56 AM:

Joyeux anniversaire de naissance, Teresa!

#703 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2013, 10:59 AM:

Ben Wolfe: I second thomas's reccommendation of Cameos. They are tart, and completely unmealy. I like them a lot for pie, actually, but they're excellent as eating apples.

#704 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2013, 11:01 AM:

Many more birdies to come, Teresa!

#705 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2013, 11:15 AM:

Joining in celebrating another turn around the sun by TNH!

#706 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2013, 11:21 AM:

Happy birthday, TNH! Hope your foot is doing well.

#707 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2013, 11:31 AM:

Happy birthday, Teresa!

#708 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2013, 12:56 PM:

Open thready badness: The feds are continuing to teach the all-important lesson: don't piss off the powerful

Among other things, this prosecution seems to me to be of a piece with the threats to prosecute Assange and the broader push to threaten prosecution to people who publish or publicize leaked documents, as a way for the authorities to exert control over what gets said in public. It is presumably easier to be a politician or general or intelligence chief or CEO of a big, politically-connected company, when people who call too much attention to your misdeeds or help distribute leaked documents that describe your misbehavior tend to end up losing their jobs, or going to jail, or otherwise getting screwed around with by powerful people.

I suspect there is also an increasing overreaction from the current class of powerful people to a perceived threat from the internet, with lots of politicians and CEOs and prosecutors and judges interested in making an example of some people who presume to challenge the power of their betters. I very much hope this does not pay off in the long run, because when thuggish behavior by the powerful pays off, you get a really lousy society to live in.

#709 ::: Cygnet ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2013, 01:29 PM:

PJ @ 695 -- oh, I agree they probably couldn't put a megaton sized bomb into orbit now. Doesn't mean they won't be able to do it in a few years, however.

#710 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2013, 01:41 PM:

Happy Birthday Teresa. Hope the foot is improving and that there have been no more unpleasant drug reactions.

#711 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2013, 01:48 PM:

Justice Department supports the right to photograph police in public.

This is big. A lot of places have been trying to suppress private citizens taking photos of video of police in the performance of their duties. The Justice Department has now officially come down on the side of the citizens.

#713 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2013, 02:49 PM:

Happy Birthday, Teresa!

#714 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2013, 02:59 PM:

Happy Birthday and Continued Rapid Healing, Teresa!

#715 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2013, 04:00 PM:

Ma chère Teresa, c'est à ton tour
De te laisser parler d'amour!

#716 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2013, 04:20 PM:

Happy Birthday Teresa!

#717 ::: Lin Daniel ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2013, 05:07 PM:

Happy Birthday Teresa!

#718 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2013, 07:02 PM:

Happy Birthday Teresa!

#719 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2013, 07:19 PM:

Happy Birthday, Teresa!

#720 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2013, 07:26 PM:

Happy birthday, Teresa! And many more.

#721 ::: J Homes ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2013, 11:57 PM:

Another Happy Birthday for our gracious hostess (who as seen on this blog really is gracious), and may future ones be less fraught with issues.

J Homes.

#722 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2013, 12:45 AM:

The BBC reports on black cowboys.

I've known about this for years, and what I also recall was that there was a whole parallel Hollywood making movies for black audiences: movies with all-black casts.

But after watching Avram's link to Donny and Marie Osmond, I am wondering why I have never heard of a female rapper.

#723 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2013, 01:07 AM:

Dave Bell @722 -- perhaps because you weren't looking for one? Here's a link to eleven of them, and there are more.

#724 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2013, 03:23 AM:

Holy schnikeys! At least according to the Beeb, the Lone Ranger has been racebent from the git-go:

For the link-phobic: There really was a lawman who rode in disguise through the Wild West with a Native American sidekick and never took a bullet wound. He even had an unmistakable black band across his face. However, it was a righteous 'stache, not a mask, and the lawman was black.


In other news, a former BNF, whose most (in)famous fanfics incorporated great big chunks of text lifted from profics, has sold the movie rights to one of her own profics. She sure looks like a nice lady in the photo in the article. Hope she learned the right lessons from her adventures in fandom.

#725 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2013, 06:46 AM:

Jenny, 724: Whoa, cool! to the first part. To the second part...nope. She stole large chunks of work from a friend of several of the regulars here, including me. There is no way in hell I am ever giving her any of my money. I also steer people away from her and toward my friend whenever possible--partly because of the thievery, but also because my friend is a better writer than BNF will ever be. (I've read excerpts and reviews of BNF's origfic. Nope nope nope.)

#726 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2013, 10:17 AM:

belated happy birthday!
(I've been so irregular here lately that I end up lurking a lot because conversations go right past the point where I'd have anything useful to say. . .)

Open thready thing: I'm going to be in Central Europe for six weeks this June and July. I will also have a modest travel-within-travel budget. If you live within a day of bus or train travel from Prague and you'd like to take an old lady sightseeing around your home town, let me know. I can bring things from the States or from Czech Republic, too. I am easy to please on the sightseeing front -- I like everything and the only souvenirs I am interested in are indigenous children's books.

#727 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2013, 11:47 AM:

Lucy Kemnitzer @726:

"...the only souvenirs I am interested in are indigenous children's books."

Taking books from indigenous children is more dangerous than taking candy, because the reading ones are usually older. Just sayin'.... (/Serge)

#728 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2013, 12:11 PM:

This morning I heard a short radio piece on Herb Jeffries, the Bronze Buckaroo, the best known of the black movie cowboys, and a singer with the Duke Ellington band. I had heard about him before, but I never knew that he was actually white, of Irish and Italian descent. He decided to pass as black, using makeup, partly to advance his jazz career, and partly to avoid anti-Italian sentiment in Chicago, although he did not describe it as passing. His Wikipedia article has this quote from an interview in Jet:

I'm not passing, I never have, I never will. For all these years I've been wavering about the color question on the blanks. Suddenly I decided to fill in the blank the way I look and feel.

Look at my blue eyes, look at my brown hair, look at my color. What color do you see?" he demand to know. "My mother was 100 per cent white," Jeffries said, his blue eyes glinting in the New York sun. "My father is Portuguese, Spanish, American Indian, and Negro. How in the hell can I identify myself as one race or another?

He's still alive, nearly 100, but he has dementia. He was still singing 5 years ago.

Looking at photos and videos of Jeffries, he reminds me of my father's piano teacher W.R. McKanlass. (second from right) Based on this photo, McKanlass could probably have passed as Italian (especially in that hat). His wife Bertha could have passed as white, too, but neither ever identified as other than "negro" or "colored" (this being the early 20th century). It was Mr. McKanlass who explained to Dad that "We are all colored people. I am a rich mahagony [that was stretching it]; my wife is a lovely cafe au lait; and you are, well, pink!"

Race is such a weird thing.

#729 ::: Edmund Schweppe ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2013, 12:48 PM:

Rikibeth @696: I'll hope to stay serene and calm when Alabama gets the bomb.

I can neither confirm nor deny the presence nor absence of nuclear weapons aboard USS ALABAMA (SSBN 731).

#730 ::: vee ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2013, 01:12 PM:

OT: I need help regarding a consumer electronics purchase or two.

Those of you who rock a combination of smartphone, kindle, and iPad--what are your usage patterns?

I'm trying to decide if I want to go two out of the three, and if so, which (of either the kindle or ipad). And in that case, do I want a less gigantic smartphone?

If it's at all useful, we already have one tablet in the house, an Asus transformer type, which is not primarily used by me but that I could theoretically take over. I'm not one to *buy* lots of books, e- or not, but I do make heavy use of the multiple library systems near me. (The Worldcat browser extension for firefox is a wonderful thing!)

#731 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2013, 01:24 PM:

re 694: Um, yeah. The COI editing thing is really rising to the fore in a lot of different areas. For instance, there's this archaeological hoax known as the Bat Creek inscription, which depending upon the analysis is fake Cherokee, fake paleo-Hebrew, or a real artifact. An amateur historian wrote a paper which he keeps pressing through letters to the editor in journals and the like. Now he's trying to get the WP article to use his paper as an authority.

Quashing this stuff is proving to be a big problem because "anyone can edit" starts out being so absolute. There's always one hard head, so I can't say I'm really surprised, but one would think that most people could figure out that a group of random volunteers is not up to the task of acting as gatekeepers for BP's edits. And I have to love the absolute dismissal of WP's reputation as needing any sort of defense.

#732 ::: Jeremy Leader ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2013, 03:19 PM:

C. Wingate @731: I have to say that I find it fascinating that Wikipedia works as well as it does. The conflict-of-interest thing is worrisome, but I really don't see that it makes Wikipedia any less reputable than any other encyclopedia, at least so far.

That Violet Blue piece struck me as a bit breathless. It's clear that BP wants to get the fluffiest coverage they can, and clearly they're participating in Wikipedia, but those 2 facts don't combine to mean that BP is going to be able to take over their article.

In particular, I wanted to point to the last line of the sub-head: "Some Wikipedia editors are crying foul". Um, yeah, it's pretty much guaranteed that at any given time, there is some subset of Wikipedia editors who are "crying foul" about something. It's like ending the headline of a scare piece about climate change with "... and sometimes the sky is cloudy."

I think the article is actually an argument against the quasi-policy forbidding principals from editing their own pages. If you don't let them do it visibly, the ones with money will figure out how to do it indirectly, and their influence will be less obvious.

It's also probably relevant to note that Violet Blue, the author of that piece, has had her own occasional issues with Wikipedia editors about her own Wikipedia page.

#733 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2013, 04:21 PM:

vee @ 730: out of the three, I'd say smartphone & iPad - the kindle variants; the iPad has the virtue of being a multiuse device, the kindle isn't (I've got a kindle DX... That I've stopped using in favor of my iPad 3). In a pinch - like now, with both our laptops in the shop, the Amazing Girlfriend and I can even edit manuscripts in progress on our iPads

Just my 2c (from my iPhone, so pardon odd capitalization)

#734 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2013, 04:21 PM:

I'm suspicious that the out-in-the-open nature of this is paradoxically causing less supervision of their edits, even though stealth editors ought to be able to sneak stuff in. The reality on an article about a controversial subject is that it's very closely monitored by people who are inclined to take an adversarial look at new editors. I haven't looked into the details of these cases that I know about, but my impression is that the polite interaction may be dulling the instincts of the reviewers.

#735 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2013, 04:56 PM:

I just got linked to a neat piece about probably the most famous 6-second drum loop in history. I was aware that the rhythm was used a lot, but not that virtually all of its appearances are SAMPLINGS -- quoted from a particular 1968 recording, and then looped, remixed, taken apart, put back together, and so on. I thought most of them were reperformances of a similar rhythm, but apparently not.

#736 ::: Elliott Mason got gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2013, 04:56 PM:

... talking about drums.

#737 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2013, 05:40 PM:

vee #330.

I'd rate a Kindle below a phone or tablet, even for reading (though your mileage may vary). I tend to use a tablet only when travelling and the phone for ebooks all the time and for internet when commuting. As Ben Wolfe says, you can write usefully on a tablet if you have to.

#738 ::: thomas was gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2013, 05:42 PM:

Intentions: Good, not Evil or Amusing

#739 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2013, 06:30 PM:

I got a Sony e-book reader for two reasons: 1) I can only use it to read books/papers. This means I'm not going to run the battery down browsing the internet or whatever and then find I can't use it for, you know, reading, when I want to. 2) The Sony handles pdfs well so I can use it to read academic papers if I want to (you can ask it to display for two or three column, so if it's on two column, as you "turn the page" it will display top left, bottom left, top right, bottom right, which makes it easy to read the pag)e.

I'm now thinking of getting a smartphone, but I'm not sure which one. I want to be able to look up info on trains etc., use maps, check my e-mail, ML and a few other sites. I don't think I want a tablet (thought about one) because I already have a netbook. (What I really want is a modern internet-compatible Psion 5, but there isn't one).

#740 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2013, 07:07 PM:

Spotted on Twitter:

"In North Dakota, life begins at conception.

And begins again when you are old enough to move out of state."

#741 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2013, 08:30 PM:

Like DCB, I have a Sony. I really, really, REALLY like the e-ink interface. Yes, it only reads books. However, it does read most formats, and I can translate .mobi to .epub with Calibre, so that's good.

For me, it's a practical choice; if I read an LCD screen for too long, my eyes start watering. (Seriously, I look like my best friend, my father, and my cat all just died.) E-ink is much easier on my eyes. And with all the free Gutenberg Project books available, not to mention occasional free offerings from authors and publishers, I'm not likely to run out of reading material any time soon. In fact, I'm actually investigating what's available currently in e-ink type readers to replace my Sony Touch, because it's four or five years old and sooner or later (but probably sooner) it's gonna die.

I have a Nook Fire for when I need a tablet; it's rooted to run Android and does everything I need a tablet for. I had an HP Touchpad which we got on fire sale when they stopped making them (my husband pulled in some favors to get it; they were sold out within hours -- how can you beat a $500 device for $99?) but it was too big to fit comfortably in my purse, and my husband found his Nook was too small to display photos at a scale he'd prefer, so we swapped tablet devices.

#742 ::: David Wald ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2013, 09:01 PM:

Picking up on the apple subthread:

My wife is the real apple fanatic in the family. (On our first visit to Versailles she spent at least three quarters of her time in the Potager du roi.) She started to come up with a book-sized contribution, but eventually trimmed it down to a link recommendation for me to pass along: is a really nice resource for comparing apple varieties, as well as finding orchards, finding trees for purchase, etc.

She also just asked me to ask if anyone knows a source for Nonpareil apples (preferably in the Northeastern US, but she's willing to travel). They're a probable ancestor of Ashmead's Kernel, and she's never managed to taste one. I think this is kind of like a birder trying to fill in a major blank in their list.

I agree about the Ashmead's Kernels; they're a favorite of ours, especially if we have to pick one variety that's good for both eating and cooking. (Bramley Seedlings are great for cooking, but a bit too tart for me, and they don't hold their shape as well, if that matters. If shape does matter, Blue Pearmains are amazing to cook with. And in any case, our best cooking efforts have all resulted from blends to get a mix of characteristics.) There are a few orchards in New England with great collections of older varieties, and we've been known to return home from field trips with ... unreasonable quantities of apples to work our way through. (My wife here interjects: "Five bushels is not unreasonable for two people!")

#743 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2013, 10:00 PM:

I got to work this morning, and went online to discover that Chinua Achebe had died. This wasn't a shock, he was, after all 82, but he was a major writer and a huge influence on all of us who have anything to do with understanding the post-colonial world.

I read Things Fall Apart in my early teens , and No Longer at Ease when I was at university, and both books influenced how I saw colonial and decolonising Africa.

I also met the man. Twenty-one years ago, I was an adjunct instructor at Bard College where he was writer in residence. I called him up and asked if I could meet him. He said yes, and I spent part of an afternoon at his house. The first thing he said to me was "You're from Jamaica, do you know John Figueroa?" Fortunately, I was able to say yes. It turned out that he'd known Figueroa, a poet of great ability by the way, when they'd both taught at the University of Ibadan in the early 1960s.

#744 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2013, 10:01 PM:

I have, apparently, caught the interest of Their Gnomish Lownesses once more. For a post mentioning the death of Chinua Achebe. I assure their Lownesses that I was not responsible for his death.

[It was a comma with a space on each side of it. Mad-lib style spam often has bizarre punctuation issues. -- JDM]

#745 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2013, 12:36 AM:

vee @ 730: On the subject of readers...
I bought an iPad (the full size one) and found it too heavy for reading a book. I also got eye strain if I read for a long time. The iPad (and presumably other tablets) is great for browsing the web from a recliner, and very nice for looking things up when traveling -- bigger screen than a phone, smaller than a laptop. If I was buying a table today, I'd get the smaller size instead.

I bought a Kobo and love it for reading books. I got the bigger one (7") that lets you turn on a backlight when you need it. I find the e-ink much, much kinder on the eyes, love how lightweight it is, and how long the battery life is.

For straight-up reading, I highly recommend checking out the various e-ink products. I have no idea how the Kobo stacks up against the Nook or Sony readers. I picked it up because my various local independent books stores were selling it. I buy my Kobo books through my local store's website, so they get a percentage.

I didn't consider the Kindle, because I do not want to buy books from Amazon if I can avoid it, because of their business practices. My sweetie bought a Kindle years ago, when they were the big reader out there, and replaced it once (or twice?) when damage happened. These days, he uses 7" Android tablet instead, to avoid Amazon. He likes his tablet a lot.

It is my impression that Amazon has done a great job of making it seamless to buy and manage books with a Kindle. I find buying and managing book on the iPad using iTunes quite easy. It takes a bit more effort with the Kobo. For example, I'm reading Scalzi's The Human Division and wanted to just buy all the episodes in advance, and have them automatically download on Monday nights. I couldn't do that with the Kobo online store, but could with iTunes. Since those are short stories, I'm just reading them on my iPhone anyway.

I am amused to see how the lightweight, backlit Kobo has changed my reading. With the soft glow of the backlight, I can read late in bed without feeling guilty. It's lightweight enough that I can hold it up in one hand while brushing my teeth for the full 2 minutes on the timer. (As this crowd may be aware, propping a paper book next to the sink, then bending over to read while brushing teeth is not kind to the book.) On the bus, I can read with one hand and hold onto a strap with the other. Standing at the bus stop, when it has rained recently, and there are ocasional drips from the trees, I don't worry about reading the Kobo, but wouldn't get out a paper book. I love that my Kobo fits into my small purse!

I have issues with carpal tunnel/RSI, and that was part of the problem with the weight of the full-size iPad. Even with the Kobo, I ration myself -- no reading two books in succession on the reader. I alternate reader & paper books.

#746 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2013, 12:39 AM:

C. Wingate, #731: The greatest thing about Wikipedia is that anybody can edit it. The worst thing about Wikipedia is that anybody can edit it.

#747 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2013, 12:40 AM:

Oh, Dave (@ #742), oh my. My parents bought a farmstead in the early 70s, and built their dream home on it. the original farm house was on the other side of the highway (their land also). And that homestead had one of the most fabulous cooking apples I had ever met before or since.

The local growers I have talked with keep telling me it "had to be a Macintosh," or some other such. Nope. The apples were the same shape (round, not tall) and tart to the point of making your mouth feel dry if you ate a whole one out of hand.

The tree was untended, had likely been untended for at least 20 years prior to our buying the property. You had to overlook some, urm, things in the apples tat would freak out a lot of people today. But it gave us lots and lots of chunky apple sauce and nice tart pies. My father liked the taste raw and I think overdid it a couple of times, not enough to really hurt him but enough for mom to tell him, "I told you to stop it!"

#748 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2013, 12:52 AM:

I admit somewhat shamefacedly that I was assigned Things Fall Apart in a world lit course in high school, slogged through it as if it were hip-deep quicksand, and remember nothing whatsoever about it (except the sort of lingering distaste one gets about books one was assigned, but disliked).

We also read The Palm-Wine Drinkard by Amos Tutola in that class, which I remember more of the plot of, but still was far too young when exposed to it to find it of any value at all. The same class also exposed us to Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko, and that I sort of actually got something out of ... perhaps because the subject matter was more approachable to me, and the cultural touchstones more familiar.

I should note that in the same class we were forced through Le Guin's The Dispossessed, which I STILL have a strong distaste for and cannot manage to enjoy as light reading.

Le Guin has a repeated problem for me: I love the sound of the blurbs on the back of her books, but when I actually read the book I can't find any of the stuff that interested me, in it. Vernor Vinge often strikes me similarly. I know a lot of people who love both of their works, but when I try, I bounce.

That was a bit of an odd class, in retrospect. I wonder if I still have the syllabus/reading list kicking around; I know we did 8 or 9 novels (and some short works), but those four are the only ones I remember off the top of my head.

#749 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2013, 01:09 AM:

Elliott Mason @ 747: I read The Dispossessed in college, and don't recall that I particularly liked or disliked it. Raves by a friend prompted me to read it again when I was in my 40s, and I loved it.

#750 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2013, 01:57 AM:

The Dispossessed is on my claimed from the thrift store shelf, unread so far. (Along with the second and third Dark Materials, A Delaney, Philip Jose Farmer, and a Heinlein). I'm behind in my paper reading.

As for electronics... I'm trying to figure out just what combination of small, medium and large bits of electronics I want and need. I think I've determined that I want one of each, but don't want to carry them, and don't actually need them either.

I've found the iPad (1 or 2) is where I'm reading the most lately. It's light enough that I could read it in bed the couple of times that I've been flat on my back for one reason or another. It's not (yet) a laptop replacement for me, but it's perfectly fine for most email and web browsing stuff. The kindle screens don't refresh quickly enough for me, and I don't really like the resolution. That may have gotten better though, my wife's is the last generation. She loves it though.

I get way more productive stuff done on the old laptop than the ipad. Web browsing performance isn't that different, but the keyboard is way better.

While I _can_ read a novel on my iPod, it's not optimal. It's better than I thought it would be. But, It's better than carrying the equivalent in paper on a plane, and I already had it on for the music.

#751 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2013, 07:58 AM:

Re electronics: I recently asked here for advice about tablets, etc. I got a Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7, which I've had for less than a month and am still learning to use. So far I'm very happy with it. It came preloaded with the Kindle app, which I haven't used, and I downloaded the Nook app and a free general-reader app called Aldiki that I use for things downloaded from other publishers, Project Gutenberg, etc. I downloaded Lila's Avengers fanfic in epub format and read it on the plane on a recent trip. I'd been wanting to read it for a while but don't like reading books on a laptop. It worked great on the tablet. (And was good stuff, too. Thanks, Lila!) I was afraid the screen would be too small, but it's been fine for reading. It is a little too small for much comfortable web browsing, but okay for quick checks on things while away from the laptop but within reach of wifi. And the larger tablet would be less comfortable for reading. I didn't get tired holding the 7-inch one (which I have in a Roo case) and reading for most of a 4-hour flight.

I don't have a smartphone, nor do I really want one, mainly because I'm unwilling to pay additional data rates and don't feel the need. Though I admit my husband and daughter have both looked up useful things on their iphones while we were on the move. I have a phone with a small sliding keyboard, so I can easily text, and that meets my needs for now.

#752 ::: OtterB is gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2013, 07:59 AM:

Reason unclear. I'm just sitting down to a bowl of oatmeal with bananas, walnuts, and dark chocolate chips - would their lownesses like a bit?

#753 ::: Ellen ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2013, 08:01 AM:

vee@730: more on on readers

For reading text, I prefer the Kobo - my household has a couple (Kobo Touch? Not backlit) that have been grabbed by the offspring who read *constantly*. A great size for portability and comfort, and less strain than using my iPad.

I also use my iPad as a reader (the retina screen renders beautifully for graphic novels), but even the iPad 2 is a bit on the heavy side to be comfortable for reading anywhere. Only useful on the bus if one is able to snag a seat, for example, where a lighter reader can be held comfortably in one hand while the other is used to steady oneself while bus-surfing. I think the iPad mini is a better size to consider for use as a reader + other functions. (Having said that, I do love my iPad and carry it everywhere, alongside my older Galaxy Phone. My phone is fine for email and certain apps and for reading for short spurts, but I find that the screen is simply too small for it to be useful for web browsing. I also did buy a separate keyboard to make it more useful for writing on, though I still find that I do most typing-intensive work on a proper laptop)

If you choose a multi-functional device to use as an ereader, be thoughful about what app you choose to download materials directly into. I primarily use the Kindle App on my current iPad for the sheer instant gratification capability of using 1-touch to download business books instantly, though I also use iBooks for works purchased elsewhere if I can download them in pdf format. On my 1st gen iPad, I used Stanza (since discontinued) as my e-reader app and subsequently some books got stuck when I upgraded because while it was to get books into Stanza, it's nearly impossible to get books out of it.

Another caveat - I haven't yet encountered ereader format that handles footnotes gracefully (they all become endnotes, which is not the same thing). I refuse to read Pratchett in anything but real-book version because I hate scrolling back and forth through the text order to read the footnotes which are never displayed on the screen I'm currently reading.

#754 ::: Ellen is breakfasting with the gnomes ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2013, 08:03 AM:

I'm guessing I used some suspect punctuation. Coffee and toast?

[Three-or-more spaces in a row. -- Mori Ocriris, Duty Gnome]

#755 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2013, 08:53 AM:

OtterB @ #751: Thank you! I hit a wall about a month ago on my original fiction, and comments like yours are invaluable in urging me to keep pushing through. Progress is glacial, but glacial progress can carve valleys in time.

#756 ::: Lila got gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2013, 08:55 AM:

Oh crap. I forgot about the suspect means of expressing gratitude. OtterB@ #751, I am grateful for your kind comment, as it is one of several that are assisting me in overcoming a rough patch in my original fiction.

#757 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2013, 08:58 AM:

I'm appreciating the electronics subthread (though I've gotten a bit behind) because while the MacBook is three years old and still all the computer I need, I've travelled with it a couple of times and compared to Everyone Else's tech gadgets it's this enormous huge heavy thing.

I expect to be doing significantly more travel and long-distance phone calling in the next couple of years, and I'm scoping the market for a more portable gadget that will let me Do Stuff (*) on the road, but I really don't know what's available let alone what I need or want.

Probably, as someone upthread mentioned, I will need more than one thing...

I've never owned or used a cell phone (yes, I am the last person in North America to not have a phone in their pocket) but it would be useful when I need to be both more reachable and more mobile at the same time. Except I am so very resistant to getting locked into a contract at this point, because I don't know exactly what my needs are going to be yet.

Argh. This living in the future is complicated.

#758 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2013, 09:21 AM:

Thena, I have been very happy with a Trac Fone (there is no space in the name, and the website is the name dot com). They do offer contracts, but they also offer pay-as-you-go. You can usually find a low-end but perfectly serviceable phone with double minutes for life, including a card for 60 minutes or more, for around 20 dollars. Additional minutes are reasonably priced and do not expire. If your phone breaks, the minutes and phone number can be transferred to your new phone, which again, will cost you about 20 bucks. (Keep your contacts list on paper or recorded elsewhere, as it will be lost if your phone breaks.) I was with a contract company for a while, and when the phone broke they wanted $150 and a 2-year contract extension to send me a replacement. No deal.

#759 ::: Susie ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2013, 09:25 AM:

David Wald @ 742, many thanks for the Orange Pippin website! I'm delighted that it lists the King David apple, a family favorite that grew in our local orchard in mid-Michigan (which sadly closed when the owners retired last decade).

#760 ::: Susie has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2013, 09:28 AM:

Would Their Lownesses like some eggs, greens, or fruit preserves from the Farmer's Market?

#761 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2013, 09:29 AM:

Lila wrote Avengers fic? How did I miss that, and where can I find it?

#762 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2013, 09:46 AM:

TexAnne: Here. If the link doesn't work, look on Archive of our Own, under the author name hellseries. (It's also up at fanfiction dot net under the same name, but they're in the throes of an update right now and having Issues.)

#763 ::: Lila got gnomed again ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2013, 09:48 AM:

Link to a fan fiction site? TexAnne, the fic is up at Archive of Our Own dot org (no spaces) and my author name is hellseries. Also at fanfiction dot net, same author name, but their latest upgrade is causing Issues.

[Archive of our Own unfortunately has a format to their links that resembles a common spam-link format. -- Quriens Floutus, Duty Gnome]

#764 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2013, 10:02 AM:

We also use Tracfone at our house for the various portables and have had no problems at all.

#765 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2013, 10:07 AM:

Lila! You wrote that beautiful Jonathan Strange fic for Yuletide!!!! *hugs it close*

#766 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2013, 10:15 AM:

*Grins appreciatively* Yeah, that was a pinch hit and I was SO HAPPY to get a shot at it! And also pleased that the recipient and others liked it. My gracious thanks to you as well! (Let's see if the gnomes let that one by.)

#767 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2013, 10:24 AM:

Lila, 766: And now I've read your standalone Avengers Wow. This might be the kick I need to get an AO3 account so I don't lose your username again.

#768 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2013, 10:34 AM:

This seems like an appropriate moment to mention that I just read a really nice Justice League fic by Sam Starbuck aka copperbadge. It's called "Victory Bonds", and the blurb begins: 'The year is 1947, and Daily Planet front-pagers Clark Kent and "Louis" Lane are about to get the story of their careers, courtesy of the fledgling Justice League...'

If the prospect of post-War historical Justice League doesn't tempt, I add the inducement that it has the best Clark Kent and Lois Lane, separately and together, that I've seen anywhere in quite some time.

(Fair warning, though: it's not short. Another few hundred words and it would have hit the minimum wordcount to qualify as a novel.)

#769 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2013, 10:38 AM:

Paul A., copperbadge is amazing. (I particularly recommend "American Patrol" for those not put off by a bisexual Steve Rogers.)

#770 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2013, 11:01 AM:

I use Trac fone. My last phone cost me 15 dollars and has a deal on it for the life of the phone they call "double minutes" but it's not quite that. Anyway, it's costing me about nine cents a minute, and a text costs a third of a minute. For my phone use, it's perfect. I don't use my phone for browsing or taking pictures (it does have a camera, but it's a waste of tech because it is so bad and it is destroyed the first time you drop the phone and who doesn't drop a phone?), and I only send a few texts and make a few calls. But those texts and calls are absolutely essential!

I got mad at them because their prices rose somewhat and their procedure for changing your credit card is hidden, so I went looking for a better deal. Didn't find one. Also decided that their prices are still low and now I know the procedure.

#771 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2013, 11:35 AM:

Ellen @753, regarding footnotes, it all depends on how the book is coded. With my Sony Touch, *if* the ebook is coded correctly, you touch the footnote number, it brings you to the footnote, you touch the footnote and and brings you back to the point you were reading. (Kindles don't use .epub, and while I presume that their format can also be coded to do this, I don't honestly know for sure.)

Endnotes, or end-of-each-chapter-footnotes, are really the only practical way for an ebook to handle footnotes, as the display size of the same book will vary from device to device and even from individual to individual on the same device, so the bottom of the page is never in the same place twice.

I understand what you mean about Pratchett books; some of mine were not coded to do this, and I got so frustrated I loaded the book into Sigil and redid the code myself....

#772 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2013, 11:36 AM:

Tech info -

I have a nook with eInk. Like many others here, I have issues with eyestrain involving staring at computer screens all day. It doesn't have any problem with footnotes - when there is an asterisk, you touch that asterisk, it takes you to the footnote, and you touch the asterisk on the footnote to go back to the text. This was harder to handle on my first gen nook, which did not have a touch screen.

My roommate has an Ipad that she uses as her primary futzing around on computer. She also reads books on it. Because she spends less time at work staring at a monitor she doesn't have they eyestrain issues. Her first tablet was an ASUS Transformer, which had a much better camera as well as other useful things (USB port), but it randomly crapped out after 8 days and she had a hell of a time getting them to fix it - they wanted to charge her for the privilege. She had them send it back and was just barely within the 30 days to return it to Best Buy. She got a refurbished iPad 2 and seems to enjoy it. She does have problems when a website requires Flash though, in which case she borrows my Macbook. It is heavier than my nook, and she's dropped it on her face whilst reading in bed at least once. (I understand this is a fairly common injury amongst iPad users.)

#773 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2013, 12:04 PM:

Copperbadge's stuff is uniformly awesome. I could count the number of slash fics I liked on one hand and have fingers left before I discovered Copperbadge. But for a change of pace, I suggest "Film Studies," "Black AmEx," and especially "Robot Trip," which is basically Steve and Tony in a buddy movie.

#774 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2013, 12:16 PM:

Another TracFone user! I find the service perfectly adequate to my very modest cell phone needs, and it is a good match for my cheap-skate nature.

My sister's family have them, as does my mother.

My first TracFone was a bar-of-soap Motorola that was prone to butt-dialing. I spent another $15 to get a Samsung model that slides shut so there's no accidental dialing.

I buy a year of service at a time. The minutes that come with that generally last me the year.

THAT SAID, after juggling my budget post-move, I think I could afford a "smart phone" with associated fees. I'm going to take my time and save up the budget allowance for a year while researching them.
* * *
Hmmm. E-readers. I have a Literati that I bought at Grocery Outlet for $40. It is slow to load books and turn "pages" but quite view-able. The Kobo service it uses is OK. My big complaint is that the on-board library occasionally locks or disappears. I've always been able to reload the books, but it does bother me.

I figure I'll get a nice tablet with e-book functionality down the road.

#775 ::: Stefan Jones, gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2013, 12:16 PM:

My discussion of cell phone triggered something.

#776 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2013, 12:46 PM:

Paul A @ 768... Thanks for the heads-up. I've now downloaded "Victory Bonds" to my Nook and am looking forward to reading it. I have a fondness for stories that take familiar characters back in historical periods. That's part of the reason why I particularly enjoyed the Martian Manhunter's graphic novel "American Secrets", set in the late 1950s, and featuring rigged game shows, exploding contestants, rock & roll, pre-Castro Cuba, and Castro himself playing baseball in the jungle.

#777 ::: Bob Webber ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2013, 12:51 PM:

Happy Marriage Anniversary, Patrick and Teresa. May your successful partnership continue to flourish, and may you continue not to get stupid, alright?

#778 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2013, 01:26 PM:

Patrick, thank you for the link to the Schumer petition in the sidelight.

#779 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2013, 01:35 PM:

About e-readers and phones...
I resisted the "long battery life and eye-friendly screen" lure of e-ink readers for quite awhile, because of the artifact you see when you "turn" pages. That is, you're looking at a nice, crisp page, then you swipe your finger on the screen, and there's a brief display of either black, or blurred letters before the next page displays. When I played with demo e-readers in the store, there seemed to always be a flash of black between pages, and I found that very annoying. When I mentioned this to friends who loved their e-ink readers, they were puzzled and said they didn't notice much of anything. I now suspect that the black page only happens when the gadget needs to get more info from wifi or whatever it has that's analogous to disk. When you're in the middle of a book that you've downloaded, it happens very rarely. A demo gadget in the store isn't usually in mid-book, hence you see it more. In any case, once I'm reading a book on my Kobo, I don't notice page-change artifacts at all. I'm just as immersed as I am when I read a paper book.

On the subject of phones, I have an iPhone with AT&T service, and my husband has Samsung SG2 with Ting service. Ting repackages Sprint. Our phones, as phones/tiny tablets/shiny objects seem to be very similar. Our service differs in that his is much cheaper, and he can make his phone a WiFi hotspot when traveling. Occasionally, I have phone "bars" when he doesn't. I could make my phone a hotspot, but I'd have to cancel my current, grandfathered-in unlimited data plan to do it. Ting puts you in the plan that's cheapest for you each month, so you can use it as a hotspot occasionally, or have a month with a lot of texting, and not do anything special to make that affordable, or pay for it when you don't want it. In a typical month, he pays $27, and he's had one month that was $17. Note that he doesn't talk or text much!

#780 ::: janetl has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2013, 01:37 PM:

I confess that I referred to brands of phone, and telecom providers by name!. Would the gnomes like a ripe mango?

[I've removed the word "Samsung" from the spam filter list. -- JDM]

#781 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2013, 02:34 PM:

Janetl @779, my e-reader is a 2009 model — a Sony PRS-300, which I got second-hand from a friend who was getting something newer. It flashes a black, or negative, page every time I turn the page, no matter what. This appears to be an artifact of how the e-ink of that generation of device worked. I think more recent devices may have found ways of eliminating or minimizing this effect.

In addition, it sometimes takes several seconds to update the page view, if I ask it to do something like jump to an endnote. When this happens, it displays a special symbol in the middle of the screen, a circle with two arrows, which I take as the equivalent of the watch, hourglass, or spinning-rainbow-beachball symbols you see on desktop computers when they’re feeling overwhelmed.

I find the flash annoying, but I find the small text size in most printed books even more annoying while I’m waiting for my new eyeglasses. The lightweight e-reader is also easier to carry around than most books.

#782 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2013, 03:44 PM:

Just to add a bit more to the electronics subthread; I had an iPad 1 and a kindle DX and for that generation, the kindle was superior. That said, once I sold the iPad 1 and got an iPad 3 (with the high resolution screen) it made the DX essentially obsolete for me. eInk is a nice way to solve the readability problem, but non-resolvable pixels do it too. I haven't used the DX in about a year now (and I spend lots of time staring at various glowing rectangles).

#783 ::: Rymenhild ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2013, 04:11 PM:

I have a Nook eInk reader with GlowLight. I really, really liked it for the first few months of its lifespan. Then I found out that the light is very close to the surface of the reader. If the surface gets scratched at all -- and you can't use a screen protector on these things -- you get lines of glaring bright light where the scratches are. The reader still works fine with the light off, but I can't use the light any more.

#784 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2013, 04:21 PM:

I've got a cheap little Pandigital e-reader, which I find is just heavy enough to make my hand cramp if I hold it for too long. But I got a case for it for Christmas (I'd recommend the case, but BodyGlove stopped making it) and I've found that the extra thickness of the case (about an inch or inch and a half) makes the book, paradoxically, feel lighter and easier to hold. It lowers the perceived density or something. So for people who find their tablets are too heavy, it's possible that changing the thickness to something more hardcover booklike might make their hands feel better about them.

#785 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2013, 04:26 PM:

Really disgusting outcome of the "Forking and Dongle jokes" diffraction: Ms. Richards has been fired.

#786 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2013, 05:27 PM:

On Apples for Benjamin Wolfe @665,

The Vallco Farmers' market in the south bay has had a seller who runs a heritage orchard up in the Santa Cruz Mountains. He'd usual have 20 or so varieties and could say which ones were best for different uses.

I haven't been to the market recently so can't remember the orchard's name (or if he's still selling there), but I'll ask next time I go. iirc he sold at other bay area markets.

#787 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2013, 05:45 PM:

I'm reading this on a BlackBerry PlayBook tablet. And my smartphone is a BB 7 model. The tablets were unreasonably cheap last fall. It's wifi only. Capable enough that I made a business trip in December with tablet and phone, no laptop. Small at 7 inches, fairly light, but so-so battery life.
E-reader software is Kobo.

The phone has a physical keyboard and can do wifi personal hotspot. I like the combination.

#788 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2013, 05:47 PM:

One of those momentary misreads: "The Velcro Farmers' Market..." And the first parse wasn't that Velcro was sponsoring a farmers' market, but that it was a market for people who farmed...Velcro™.

#789 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2013, 05:51 PM:

Xopher, my local market is the Carp Farmer's Market. In the town of Carp, but it sounds like fish should be a speciality. No fish available. And of course the inevitable typos.

#790 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2013, 05:54 PM:

There's a Michigan grower, Mr. Nichols, who comes to Chicago-area farmer's markets with semi-trailers of various produce. His apple selection is amazing -- and ever-growing. Because a lot of the orchards in his area are being bought up to put subdivisions on, when he hears of one going under he drives out and looks through their old-apples corner. If he sees anything he doesn't already have, he hires a tree-transplanter and buys the trees from the grower, then puts them in his heirloom orchard.

Mind, some of the things he's 'rescued' I'd be just as happy without (I see no point to Wolf River apples -- mealy AND tasteless? I mean, they're very white and pretty on the inside, but ...), but I applaud his methods.

#791 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2013, 06:31 PM:

Apples are a going concern in Alaska, and not in the most southerly part either. Apparently apples need a neatly demarcated winter and spring, which you don't get here on the coast, plus more heat in the summer than we typically have. So if you can get your tree to grow at all, it probably won't bloom, and if you manage to get it to bloom, it most likely won't set fruit. But in the Interior--even in the Fairbanks area IIRC--people are growing so many apples, they're making money. They have to give each tree its own insulated jacket in the winter, but they do well. They even come up as volunteers, if somebody tosses an apple away in a particularly sheltered spot.

#793 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2013, 09:01 PM:

Lila @765, you're welcome. I had several varieties of reading material available for a long flight but never left yours. And I'm *much* more likely to abandon fiction in the middle than I used to be.

#794 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2013, 09:04 PM:

Xopher lol!!

Martha Stewart explained! Human sacrifice!

Who knew?

#795 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2013, 10:15 PM:

Xopher: "God and Stan were equals" is probably my favorite.

#796 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2013, 01:23 AM:

lila @ 795... Behold (Stan) the Man?

#797 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2013, 06:43 AM:

Lucy Kemnitzer @770: Perhaps you can answer a question re: Trac Fone camera phones.

I have an older generation Trac Fone; a Motorola flip-top. It has a USB port for charging, and can be physically connected to a computer – but being able to actually link to a computer is a feature that is locked out (the explanation that I've read is that Trac Fone wants to be able to sell you ring tones from its website, and doesn't want you to load your own).

So when I've seen the Trac Fones with cameras, I'd assumed that they are similarly locked — that I'd probably have to pay a fee and go to their website to retrieve pictures I'd taken.

So, can you link to your phone and retrieve your own pictures?

#798 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2013, 09:14 AM:

Elliott @ 790 - Wolf River are one of our favorite pie apples. They cook down a lot but are then very tasty. Would probably make good apple butter, given that. The Wolf River we get are also huge apples.

I find that apple terminology is fairly iffy, outside of the few big names. Many older names seem to be applied to diverse fruit.

We have a backyard apple tree that also makes good pies some years. We have had various opinions about variety from growers.

#799 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2013, 12:26 PM:

Regarding Avram's "white-people music" -- OK, that was like Stepford-bizarre. Taking that song, one of the classics of pain and frustration -- and hauling it from cheery to chorus line?.

#800 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2013, 03:07 PM:

Xopher @ #792

On the immortality front, somewhere I have a cartoon (A3 sized from an office calendar) entitled "The Gospel according to Fish & Chips" with the punchline "I will go and prepare a plaice for you".

I considered it worthy enough to retain (and still do), I just can't find it right now.

#801 ::: Older ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2013, 03:29 PM:

Elliott Mason (748) I once married a man because he owned a copy of The Palm Wine Drinkard. I did not think at the time that was my reason, but in retrospect it became obvious. Unfortunately, we divorced, and he took it with him.

#802 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2013, 04:11 PM:

David Harmon @799: In my mind I tag that as "Covers that Miss the Point." Unfortunately, 90% of the stuff on Glee fits in that category of late (based on casual being-in-the-same-room-as-the-show when my sister's watching it), most especially the majority of the 'rivalry' mashups on the recent ep with that as its theme.

#803 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2013, 04:24 PM:

Lizzy L #794: Human sacrifice is a good thing? Who knew?

#804 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2013, 06:37 PM:

Rob 787: Since I've never had a decent photograph, I haven't tried to send or save one.

But the material that came with my phone did not indicate that I couldn't connect to the computer. On the other hand, the port on my phone is not a normal USB port. It's for one of those special USB-like charger plugs. However, if I did have a picture worth saving, I could email it from my phone, if I wanted to deal with the annoying, cumbersome, stupid email function on the phone.

So the answer to the question is something on the order of "dunno."

#805 ::: mjfgates ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2013, 09:27 PM:

Dave Harmon@799: It's a real shame that Donny and Marie were off the air by the time "Rainbow in the Dark" was released, isn't it?

#806 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2013, 03:04 AM:

Dave Harmon @ #799, mjfgates @ #805, imagine if Donny and Marie had tried to cover early Warren Zevon or maybe something from Neil Young's "Tonight's the Night" or "On the Beach."

Surely they'd have been too smart to try to perform anything so obviously bleak. I hope. The ensuing train wreck might have been amusing, though.

#807 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2013, 07:56 AM:

Lucy @804

There are certainly data-capable multi-connector USB cables for phones. Example here. Some of those connectors are power-only, some are combined power and data. Although I have USB->power cable for my phone, and it doesn't charge. 5v from USB isn't quite enough.

You really need the manufacturer and model no. for the phone to be sure. And maybe a specific connector would be better. Anyway, it doesn't look as though Tracfone uses obscure suppliers.

#808 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2013, 10:21 AM:

Dave Bell @ 807,
I'm not actually in the market for a cable to connect the tracfone to the computer. The camera was bad to begin with and broke immediately, and I don't use it as a calendar either. It's fifteen dollar phone and it makes calls and texts very well and almost all the other features are so miuscule that I woner why they bothered putting them in. Well, I did use the calculator at the grocery store yesterday when my in-head calculations didn't fill me with confidence.

I used to say that some day when my finances regularized again I would want an all-talking, all-singing, all-dancing smart phone just for the coolness of it and because it would match my childhood visions of the future, but I don't see my finances regularizing in my lifetime, so I take comfort in the fact that in reality I kind of hate touch screens, so sour grapes!

#809 ::: vee ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2013, 11:32 AM:

To everyone replying to the electronics subthread: Thanks for the input!

I think I'm definitely going to consider one of the e-ink readers, as I read a lot of screenplays (and will be reading increasing amounts of them in the foreseeable future). I really, REALLY dislike trying to read them on my current 3.2" phone screen and lugging 90-120x pages around is not ideal. I imagine that public library e-book offerings will only get better as time goes on, as well.

I'll probably stick with the SG Note 2 for videos and phone-y things and as a substitute for carrying around paper notebook. Any intensive video watching is going to happen on my laptop or TV, so really the phone is for on-the-go information access.

(An aside--I noticed I got much braver about venturing out of the house with a smartphone, as I didn't have to stay at the computer and plot out every move and study all the turns, etc. This is probably the major driving factor in my willingness to shell out the monthly fee for the service plan. I WANT to explore, but "just winging it" freaks me out.)

#810 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2013, 12:37 PM:

Lucy, a phone camera may be better than you think, The phone's display might be limiting factor.

It's also true that you don't need huge pixel counts to get decent printed images. The 6x4 snapshot print is barely 2 megapixels at very high-quality printing, the sort of level used for insanely expensive art books.

Don't dismiss sub-megapixel images as a record. The cheap film cameras of the past, 35mm or 110 film, aren't automatically better.

I forgot to mention it, but the other option is Bluetooth. Needs an adaptor on the computer, some laptops and tablets have then built-in, but if your phone is a camera it is a way to get the images off.

So, up to you, but a cheap phone with a camera, when your current phone breaks, might be good enough as a camera.

#811 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2013, 04:06 PM:

Linkmeister #806: better yet: Try "Total Eclipse of the Heart". Without Nikki French's saving throw.

#812 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2013, 04:44 PM:

Dave Bell: and the iPhone 4 `retina' display is sub-megapixel.

I was under the impression that 35mm film had somewhat higher dynamic range than standard digital, though.

#813 ::: thomas was gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2013, 04:45 PM:

Jasmine tea for Their Lownesses?

#814 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2013, 05:16 PM:

FWIW, I like my iPhone for limited reading, and my iPad 3 for reading longer things. (The iPad 2 I had before worked for me, too.) It's basically a computer screen, so if reading on a computer screen is going to bug you, it's the wrong choice. But for me, it's perfect.

The big advantage of using a tablet as your reading device comes if you travel a lot. I used to bring my laptop, several books, a notebook, and a few papers I'd been meaning to read when I traveled. Now, I bring my iPad, and if I'm really feeling ambitious, my Bluetooth keyboard. For short emails and general web browsing, the external keyboard isn't needed, but if you're going to write something longer than a page, it's pretty much necessary. This has made it workable for me to pack for week long trips without checking any bags, which never worked for me before.

A secondary advantage is the ability to read in the dark. That means I can read in bed next to my wife without keeping her awake, or can turn off all the lights in a hotel room when I'm traveling alone, and read until I'm ready to sleep. It means I can read on a plane even when the person next to me is asleep and the lights are out, without waking them up.

#815 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2013, 05:25 PM:

Paula Helm Murray @747: But it gave us lots and lots of chunky apple sauce and nice tart pies.

We have a lot of apple trees around here, both cultivated and volunteer. (Lore has it that some up in the state park are Johnnie Appleseed trees, though I tend to doubt it.)

Buddy of mine did one run from those little microminisucal crab apples that are about a half an inch across. The jelly was ruby red, and the sauce was a deep rich color, both sour enough to curl your hair, and glorious.

Elliott Mason 748: I run hot and cold with Le Guin. I loved Lathe of Heaven and Left Hand of Darkness. I really loved Very Far Away from Everywhere Else, which was a little novela that I ran across in a very very skinny little mass paperback. Loved the original Earthsea trilogy, but the later-written sequels didn't really do anything for me.

I Don't Get The Dispossessed. I find the story bland and unevocative, and whatever Deep Sociological Insight it contains just sails right over my head.

Vinge generally does okay for me. The second chapter of Fire Upon the Deep is the single best mind-fuck I've ever read.

janetl @749: Can you articulate what you particularly liked about The Dispossessed?

Lila @755: carve valleys in time.

My eye caught this last phrase in your comment before I read the whole thing, and I'm enjoying the stfnal imagery it evoked.

Thena @757: I've never owned or used a cell phone (yes, I am the last person in North America to not have a phone in their pocket)

No you're not. I'm waiting until cellphones are finished. (Also, to win the lottery.)

(Actually, technically speaking, I do own a cellphone—it's the old pay-as-you-go Tracfone I bought for Denvention in '08. But it is currently inactive; I find them to be enough trouble, and I generally get so few calls, that it's just not worth the trouble to maintain it unless I'm traveling.)

Stefan Jones @774: My first TracFone was a bar-of-soap Motorola that was prone to butt-dialing.

I actually built mine a little cardboard scabbard. Don't know that it was butt-dialing, but it had a tendancy to turn itself on and run the battery down.

#816 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2013, 05:35 PM:

Jacque @ #814, completely unintentional, but now that you've pointed it out, I like it too! Serendipity Я Us!

My father used to make jelly from crabapples we grew. Lovely golden-rose color, unmatched flavor. I miss it.

#817 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2013, 08:11 PM:

Dave Bell @ 810: the particular camera on my particular phone is particularly lousy. It was okay until the first time I dropped the phone, though it was only good in broad daylight for things that were about six feet away, not much closer or farther. After the first time I dropped it, the picture was a uniform smudge every time.

Not worth worrying about for a fifteen dollar phone, I think. I have a camera.

#818 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2013, 09:06 PM:

Thena #757, Jacque #815: My new hiking buddy not only doesn't have a cell phone, he doesn't even have voice mail on his landline. (And he works late.) Getting in touch with him is not so easy....

#819 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2013, 10:04 PM:

@815 Jacque

Even without service, any cellphone can call 911 (as long as it's within range of a network). There might be occasions where it's worth having it charged and with you just for that.

Just sayin'.

#820 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2013, 10:11 PM:

Gangnam Steampunk Style!

Surprisingly well done.

#821 ::: estelendur ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2013, 10:28 PM:

Contributing to the cellphone/electronics subthread: my computer ate two hard drives in four months, so in frustration I bought a Nexus 7. I had been considering a smartphone, since I'm eligible for an upgrade (on family plan contract, and use a lot of texting), but I decided that I could not afford the monthly data plan, and only having access to my email when there's wi-fi around was already a problem I knew how to deal with.

The Nexus 7 is a great size for my mediumish female hands - I can type with my thumbs if I feel like it, and I'm patient enough to at least add little bits to papers throughout the day. I can also do most of my reading on it. The most frustrating part is the way I can't manage the documents easily - I might be able to deal with this if I plugged it into the computer, though. But I am young, and good at reading on LCD screens.

All this talk of apples is making me want to get out of the dorms so I can try things like making my own apple butter/sauce. :D Does anyone know of particularly good apples that might be available in Rochester (NY)?

#822 ::: David Wald ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2013, 11:54 PM:

estelendur@821: My wife chimes in again here: in general you're in awesome apple country. Here's an (undoubtedly very incomplete) orchard map for New York. Northern Spy is a nice apple that's popular in your area, as is Cortland (which is originally from New York), and I think either would make good sauce.

If you're looking for a really good eating apple (not so much for sauce) we'd both recommend Newtown Pippins; they're a less common (but hardly unknown) variety, also originally from New York.

#823 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2013, 12:33 AM:

David Wald @822: I have a Newtown Pippin in my (california) back yard, and I have to attest that it is in fact a cooking apple, though it is good eating if you like your apples crisp and tart. It makes lovely, complex-flavored pies and applesauce. The applesauce tends to have more color than most, slightly greenish even if you let the skins turn golden (which they will eventually if you leave them on the tree: they get sweeter and softer and more floral tasting if you do).

Still, definitely a cooking apple.

#824 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2013, 11:37 AM:

They grow Newtown Pippins out here on the left coast. Last fall we went by a farm and I got a half bushel. That made a lot of pies and galettes and some applesauce. I also froze some of them, and just finished them off for pi(e) day. That was fun. I should do it again, but I think I will go with Gravensteins. My grandmother used to go to Sebastopol every year and pick a carload. I got to help with making the applesauce. The smell of her kitchen after a day of cooking apples was heavenly. And then there was the pie.

#825 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2013, 12:46 PM:

Jacque@815: I can't speak for anyone else, but the things I really liked about The Dispossessed were one, its portrayal of the tensions in the relationship between a creative individual and the larger society, and two, the fact that it depicts the only fictional utopian society in which I'm actually able to believe. I wouldn't live there even if you paid me, mind you, but I can believe that such a society might really exist.

And I'm afraid The Left Hand of Darkness was never the mind-expanding experience for me that it seems to have been for so many people at the time.

I'm right with you, though, on the original three Earthsea novels versus the later-written sequels.

#826 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2013, 01:53 PM:

New word for today: "curtilage."

And in other news on The War on Some Drugs: UN: Legal recreational marijuana use in Colorado, Washington violates international drug treaties. "The International Narcotics Control Board urged the Obama administration to challenge the legalization measures."

Yeah. Thanks. We'll get right on that.

#827 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2013, 02:04 PM:

What I love about The Dispossessed is shown in the subtitle of the original edition, which has mostly been lost: "An Ambiguous Utopia." Which society is the utopia is part of the ambiguity -- each one is marvelous for certain people and terrible for others. I think her publishers have done the book a disservice by removing that (yes, it was part of the blurb on the back of the Avon paperback, but that's very different from having it as a subtitle on the title page as in the Harper and Row edition). The tension between the societies, and the people who move from one to the other, are fascinating to me.

#828 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2013, 02:32 PM:

Dave Harmon @818: My new hiking buddy not only doesn't have a cell phone, he doesn't even have voice mail on his landline.

I've encountered one or two people like that. Hey, I'm all about the Ludditism (Luddism?), but when your anti-tech bigotry starts cutting into my time, I get cranky about it.

Cheryl @819: Even without service, any cellphone can call 911 (as long as it's within range of a network). There might be occasions where it's worth having it charged and with you just for that. Just sayin'.

Good point. This does, however, presume you've got it configured correctly to get 911 (if memory serves, this is not always straightforward. (And also presumes one has one's act together sufficiently to keep the damn thing charged.)

Debra Doyle @825: I didn't find Left Hand to be especially "mind-expanding" either. My vintage and experience are such that gender indeterminacy is an interesting notion, but hardly revolutionary. But I did very much enjoy the story and the characters, although it would have worked better for me if (rot13ed for potential spoilers) Rfgenira unq tbar znyr-vfu qhevat xrzzre. But that's my personal thing.

#829 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2013, 03:05 PM:

I'll be an oddball here and say that my favorite thing about The Dispossessed is that it's one of the few SFnal depictions of a believable and solid marriage.

(LeGuin, in fact, was once asked what the underlying theme of all her works was, and her answer was "marriage".)

Not that I think marriage should be privileged above other states; rather, that it's a state I inhabit, and that the genre I spend the most time reading doesn't often focus on.

#830 ::: crazysoph ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2013, 03:14 PM:

HLN *and* AKICIML (do I have a bingo yet?) - I have a situation in which I need to discover if a certain technique used in a LARP event was a) a proper law enforcement immobilization technique or b) an immobilization technique more in line with BDSM practice.

I have to deal with a complaint that someone was being less concerned about verisimilitude and more about being kick-ass that he could make someone else undergo the experience of the immobilization. There is some major Not Cool that can come out of the answer to my question, especially if I can get the info backed up with good reference sources.

I'm not sure I want to have this conversation in public, but abi has a working e-mail for me.

Thanks in advance

Crazy(and yeah, I can't believe I'm having to ask this *either*)Soph

#831 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2013, 04:02 PM:

HLN: Local feline is content with the return of Her Sunbeam.

There is one door in the house with a full length window that gets the sun when it rises above the trees in the back yard. This is her sleeping spot in the spring and fall, at least around noonish.

#832 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2013, 04:36 PM:

Jacque: The Constitution gives international treaties force equivalent to the Constitution itself. That means that if SCOTUS agrees that legal marijuana at the state level violates those treaties, the treaties supersede the legalization.

But since federal law still outlaws marijuana within those states, it's probably moot.

And as for The Dispossessed, I noted there's absolutely no discussion of cases where kemmering partners both become the same sex. You'd think that would happen sometimes.

#833 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2013, 04:37 PM:

crazysoph @830: Call your local police and ask them...? In a "hypothetically speaking, of course" kind of way.

#834 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2013, 04:41 PM:

...follow-up thought: seems to me that, if the restrainer was not, in fact, Real Life Law Enforcement restraining restrainee in the process of serving the law, and restrainee found restraint technique to be objectionable, my guess is that's probably grounds for legal unpleasantness, modulo legal estimation of "consent."

#835 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2013, 04:42 PM:

The US first abrogated a treaty in 1798. There's lots of precedent.

#836 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2013, 04:50 PM:

I'm not crazy about The Dispossessed, and I'm not sure why. It may have been that there wasn't enough visual content-- that can make it hard for me to connect with a book unless the voice is very strong.[1]

For what it's worth, Joanna Russ did a detailed analysis of the gender relations in The Dispossessed and found them to be all too conventional in practice. I have no idea if that was any part of what was bothering me.

Can anyone remember who did an analysis which concluded that the poverty level on Anarres didn't really make sense?

Xopher, I'm reasonably sure that in The Left Hand of Darkness there's a mention that as soon as one person goes into kemmer, there's a biological reaction which makes the other person in the pair go into the other gender.

[1]That's my theory about why I like Heinlein, a mostly non-visual writer.

#837 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2013, 04:57 PM:

Re: the drug treaties
It's my (probably incorrect) understanding that they were written with US law in mind, at a time when the US government was even more anti-drug than it is now.

#838 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2013, 05:12 PM:

Nancy Lebovitz @836: I'm not crazy about The Dispossessed, and I'm not sure why. It may have been that there wasn't enough visual content

Both times I read it, I was struck at how gray, bland, and featureless the environment it evoked in my mind was.

Xopher Halftongue @832: Yeah, I have two responses to this.

1. I am surprised at how strongly I feel about the legalization of marijuana, despite the fact that I have less then no interest in partaking myself, and am in fact quite negatively affected by environmental exposure. (But existing regulations of cigarette smoke (should) take care of this.)

2. Much as I support the idea of international law, given how dysfunctional the whole drug-law landscape is, domestically and internationally, my impulse is to flick my chin at the UN.

"No, we're not wrong. You are."

#839 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2013, 06:12 PM:

Nancy 836: Xopher, I'm reasonably sure that in The Left Hand of Darkness there's a mention that as soon as one person goes into kemmer, there's a biological reaction which makes the other person in the pair go into the other gender.

Yeah, because of course nature utterly recoils from homosexual sex, right? Well, no, it doesn't. I remember that part; I'm just saying that sometimes that process wouldn't come out as expected. Things like that happen in biology all the time.

#840 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2013, 06:19 PM:

Applied to a job at a publishing company in Hoboken (please don't name it here). It's a Business Analyst job. Here was my cover letter (entered on the application website):

I have extensive experience communicating with both programmers and end-users, and in the kind of shuttle diplomacy that a BA must often perform between them. I also understand that business writing must be concise, cogent, and complete; at the same time, I understand the details of English writing (as presumably one must, at a company like [COMPANY]), and will never confuse affect/effect, continuous/continual, or its/it's.
In addition, I live in Hoboken. Among other advantages, I will never have to run out of a late-work session to catch the last train.
Thank you for considering my application.
[My Legal Name]

#841 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2013, 06:20 PM:

I'm pretty sure they were a designed variant of humanity, but what's designed doesn't always work reliably either.

#842 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2013, 06:26 PM:

Xopher: even LeGuin thinks you're right about that, at least nowadays.

#843 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2013, 06:32 PM:

Xopher Halftongue @840: I'm sold! :-)

#844 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2013, 06:33 PM:

Xopher: Have you read "Coming of Age in Karhide"? It's a short story set on Gethen, in which the narrator talks about going into kemmer for the first time. At the door of the kemmerhouse a man induces her to kemmer as female, but it's explicitly stated that she has sex with another woman.

#845 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2013, 06:41 PM:

Nancy 841: Yeah, another Hainish experiment, probably. But yeah, still wouldn't work as expected. A designed biological system is still a biological system.

Lila 842: Oh, I'm sure UKL is on the right side on all that stuff now. It was just a flaw in the book at the time.

Jacque 843: Thanks! If only the HR people at the company feel that way.

Carrie 844: No, I haven't! That's terrific.

#846 ::: Xopher Halftongue is among the gnomes ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2013, 06:46 PM:

Probably for an expression of gratitude followed by an ancient shorthand for the Latin word 'IO' meaning "hey!"

Would the gnomes like some wheat-free brownies?

#847 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2013, 06:50 PM:

Xopher, that sounds like exactly what I'd look for if I was hiring a business analyst.

#848 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2013, 06:58 PM:

Allan, let's hope the people who actually are think so too.

#849 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2013, 07:09 PM:

Yeah, another Hainish experiment, probably. But yeah, still wouldn't work as expected. A designed biological system is still a biological system.

We know there's at least one failure mode, in that some people are in permanent kemmer* one way or the other. One gets the idea it's rare, but it happens (and I wonder if those people are fertile). It seems likely the Hainish would have designed for that to be a more common failure mode than "incorrectly" matching a potential partner's sex, but that doesn't mean the latter never happens.

*: i.e. are what the rest of the Ekumen would call "normal".

#850 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2013, 07:16 PM:

Carrie, the novel explicitly states that "perverts" are sterile.

#851 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2013, 07:36 PM:

Oh, does it? It's been a long time since I read the book. Then from the designers' viewpoint permanent kemmer is just as bad.

#852 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2013, 09:23 PM:

Jacque, #838: While I am wholeheartedly in favor of decriminalizing marijuana, I do worry about one possible side effect: I don't suddenly want to find myself unable to attend most of my friends' parties because people are toking. While I've managed to collect a group of friends who are by and large non-smokers, I'm not sure the same conditions would apply to marijuana -- and I find the smoke from it equally intolerable at close range. OTOH, I don't suppose it would matter all that much if my low-key social life becomes collateral damage for the greater good, and I can always make a no-weed rule for my parties.

#853 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2013, 10:19 PM:

Lee @ 852 -

If pot is legalized (or effectively decriminalized) I don't know how the social situations at parties will shake out for sure, but I suspect that customs would develop that could minimize secondhand smoke. Or not. But I think that if your choice of parties includes relatively polite people, imbibers would would do so politely. Or so I would hope.

(Do I equivocate much?)

The other day I was waiting for the bus outside my office building downtown, and someone fired up a doobie. I hadn't had a good whiff of that in twenty-five years or so, but since smells are incredibly evocative, I was instantly transported back to 70's, the last time I partook on a semi-regular basis. It was a deliciously forbidden smell. It smelled like youth and the Moody Blues and a munchies attack that could only be sated by a visit to IHOP.

#854 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2013, 10:46 PM:

E-joints, the next frontier!

#855 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2013, 10:55 PM:

Xopher @840, count me another one who would be happy to bring you in for an interview on the strength of that cover letter as long as the rest of your qualifications were reasonably close to my requirements. Good luck with it.

#856 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2013, 11:36 PM:

Thank you, OtterB.

#857 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2013, 12:24 AM:

Knowing that Le Guin feels there are flaws in The Left Hand of Darkness is what made it accessible to me-- I'd read two others of hers, including The Dispossessed, and was left completely cold. In order to engage with her work (and that of many other writers) I have to find something to talk with. A flaw in the gender/sex politics meant I had a conversation with the book rather than a lecture from it.

#858 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2013, 08:42 AM:

I get the feeling that, while newspaper headlines always scream about the worst weather forecast they can find, the weather forecasts I see for the UK are good for perhaps five days, before they start drifting towards the seasonal average.

The temperature predictions for Friday have been stable. Those for Saturday and Sunday have dropped. Next week is still looking relatively pleasant, hardly any different to what was being forecast on Monday.

#859 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2013, 08:44 AM:

eric @ 831 ...
HLN: Local feline is content with the return of Her Sunbeam.

There's a 'golden hour' (plus or minus) for my house, in the late afternoon/evening of the spring and fall, where the sun comes in perfectly, and the cats (and I) jockey for position on the floor/stairs.

#860 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2013, 08:49 AM:

xeger @ #859

Presumably if you get there first the cats simply sit on top of you? They're in charge, after all.

#861 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2013, 10:36 AM:

Jacque @ 815 asked me Can you articulate what you particularly liked about The Dispossessed?

Frankly, not very well. I think I read it for the second time in about 2004. I recall loving it, but the details are fuzzy. I liked the flawed utopia on Anarres. (Perfect utopias are boring.) There were aspects of it that I thought were lovely, and others that would drive me mad. The character Shevek stands out in my mind for his courage, but he seemed drawn as a human, not a Hero.

#862 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2013, 11:21 AM:

On The Naming of Gnomes
In which I am probably thinking too hard about this

The appearances of Their Lownesses on threads of late having piqued my curiosity, I began a study of the names of gnomes. My method was simple: I did a search on Making Light for the phrase "duty gnome". My observations follow.

* The gnomes as a whole have a Romanesque, or possibly Italian, flavor to their names.
* There are a few exceptions--a gnome surnamed O'Leary, another called McCorquodale; Blisstein, Novakoski, Steincabin, Bonecrunker.
* Only three gnomes have appeared in comment headers on their own initative: Raul Flugens, Fluvious Proroman, and Idumea A(r)bacoochee Cowper, upon whom more later.
* It mostly appears to be female gnomes, or at least gnomes with names that strike me (a native English speaker) as female, who have three names, though not all the female-sounding gnomes have three names.
* Of the female-looking names, 10 out of 14 have three names. None of the male-looking names do, though one has a middle initial (Flauor M Ronis).
* In general there are more male-looking than female-looking names, assuming that the gnomes use personal name-family name rather than the reverse.
* There are some names of ambiguous gender (to me): Mournie, Ashteeh, Mori, Drivi, Ireeo, Rion, Carionn, Teroi, Perverin.
* "Mor-" is a very popular name-starter, and there's also a "Mour-".
* The king of the gnomes is called Roquat Rufus.
* The gnomes who have appeared more than once are Idumea A(r)bacoochee Cowper, Raul Flugens, Idumea Cowper, Auricella Meretricula, and Regulata Oberwinningly.

I begin to wonder if Idumea is a title, rather than a name. There's Idumea A(r)bacoochee Cowper, and also Idumea Abacoochee Cooper; Idumea Cowper O'Leary; Idumea Cowper; Idumea Novakoski Irwinton; Idumea Clamanda Cowper; Idumea Mear Cobb. If Idumea is a title, we have even fewer gnomes with female-looking names.

It might be that the gnomes, like medieval Europeans, are more flexible in their spelling than modern Americans, so that Cooper and Cowper are the same name.

#863 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2013, 11:33 AM:

Did anyone else feel that Le Guin might have been unfair to Urras? It seemed like the place was simply bad, rather than being an ambiguous dystopia.

#864 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2013, 11:48 AM:

Carrie S

What an interesting overview of gnomenclature. I wonder if Their Lownesses themselves will grace us with any more information.

#865 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2013, 12:41 PM:

Carrie S @862 -- Perhaps Idumea has merely gotten married frequently, and changed her name each time. (The Cowper/Cooper distinction looks like a typo to me.) Her biography would be fascinating!

#866 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2013, 12:54 PM:

Or perhaps Their Lownesses decline their names (No! I don't want that one! </Serge>), err, I mean their names take declension in a way that changes some of the internal letters, with a gnomish grammar unfathomable to mere human intellects?

#867 ::: Cally Soukup is begnomed ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2013, 12:56 PM:

I see I'm off to investigate gnomenclature in person. Care for a grilled very sharp cheddar cheese sandwich?

#868 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2013, 01:30 PM:

Lee @852: While I am wholeheartedly in favor of decriminalizing marijuana, I do worry about one possible side effect: I don't suddenly want to find myself unable to attend most of my friends' parties because people are toking.

Likewise. I actually was thwarted from patronizing a nearby store because of the toxic cloud boiling outwith its front door. ("Guys! Are you aware you are actively repelling paying customers?") I've also had the experience of having to hold my breath while biking past one particular house. Fortunately, cigarette smoke regulation has been around long enough that I think the relevant laws/customs can be applied with a minimum of fuss. The folks I know who don't like cigarette smoke substantially overlap those that don't like pot smoke.

Yeah, there are logistics to work out: enforcing age constraints on purchase, DUI detection and relevant legal guidelines, smoking restrictions, and so on. I anticipate it will take some time for that stuff to shake out (purely aside from the federal and international compounding factors).

In fact, I think I saw a letter to the editor a while back from some state legislator whining because there was all this extra work that had to be done to get the laws up to speed. My nose bleeds for him. ("Dude. It's what we pay you for. Srsly.")

Carrie S. @862: ::falls over laughing:: Um. Yes. Um. In which I am probably thinking too hard about this Yes. See also: me too. I'm valiantly resisting the urge to illustrate a children's book featuring Their Lownesses.

#869 ::: Jacque, gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2013, 01:31 PM:

Okay, now this is just outright extortion. My oatmeal? Really?

#870 ::: David Wald ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2013, 02:25 PM:

Cally Soukup@867: How do you sharpen a cheddar cheese sandwich, and would you do it differently for a gnome?

#871 ::: David Wald ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2013, 02:44 PM:

Lucy Kemnitzer@823: I have a Newtown Pippin in my (california) back yard, and I have to attest that it is in fact a cooking apple

Fair enough. I should add some qualifications, the biggest of which is "ignore me if your preferences differ, or if your climate gives you very different results from New England". Beyond that, our experience is mostly with those longer-on-the-tree Newtown Pippins (our own tree isn't bearing fruit yet), so we think of them in that "sweeter and softer and more floral tasting" stage, at which point we'd much rather eat them than cook with them. They're fine for cooking -- they're not one of the ones that will turn to flavorless mush -- but there are other varieties we'd rather use. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I'd personally go for an Ashmead's Kernel as my first choice for an eating-and-cooking apple (among those I've tried so far -- always happy to find a new favorite).

#872 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2013, 02:51 PM:

Carrie @ @862--It is also possible that Idumea is a family name, shared by several among the gnomes in memory of an honored ancestress.

#873 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2013, 03:15 PM:

One of the problems with Newtown Pippins as eating apples is that sometimes they're not ripe, as in really not ripe. You can't tell by looking, either; the color change isn't quite enough between 'too green to eat' and 'ready to eat'. (My innards certainly let me know about it.)

#874 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2013, 03:35 PM:

fidelio: Or, possibly, the gnomish equivalent of Jennifer for people my age.

#875 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2013, 04:18 PM:

Jacque @ 869: I shall replace your oatmeal with a shiny internet, redeemable (if you choose) for additional breakfast cereals.

I have not laughed so hard in quite some time.

#876 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2013, 04:33 PM:

Ginger: Aw! My first Internet! ::hugs it close and names it George::

#878 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2013, 04:46 PM:

Idumea is a well known shape note song, And Am I Born to Die?. There are many videos available, of both the shape note version (melody in the next to lowest line) and of the hymn version with melody on top or leading. I leave it to you to search them out, to lessen the workload of Their Lownesses, who are already familiar with them.

It is my understanding that Idumea is a Greek variant of Edom, a region of Judea. It is described in several non-scholarly baby name resources as a male or female name, but I've only found it used, aside from gnomes, by 19th century women. It is supposed to mean red, or bloody. Perhaps there are many red-headed gnomes.

#879 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2013, 04:59 PM:

A perfectly reasonable choice, with a noble tradition. And suitable for yelling out the back door at suppertime.

#880 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2013, 05:02 PM:

Tracie @878: It is supposed to mean red, or bloody. Perhaps there are many red-headed gnomes.

Or perhaps it refers to the more unsavory aspects of their work culling errable comments.

#881 ::: Idumea Arbacoochee Cowper ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2013, 05:25 PM:

Unsavory? (licks sharp, sharp teeth).

I beg to differ.

#882 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2013, 05:31 PM:

Eep! Um. Er. Well. Okay then! (It's nice to know that all those abused bytes don't go to waste.)

#883 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2013, 05:36 PM:

And my March will go out on a low note --

Our oldest Siamese, DC, died in his sleep last night. He was twenty years old -- he now holds the family record as the cat who lived the longest, dethroning Merlin (who was eighteen when she passed).

#884 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2013, 05:45 PM:

Oh, dear. Boy, there must be quite a gathering of folks, up there over the Rainbow Bridge. Well, I hope DC is suitably welcomed.

#885 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2013, 06:10 PM:

Sorry to hear the news, Lori.

20 is quite a grand age for a cat, and . . . well, at the risk of sounding hlepy, there is something, well, conscientious about a pet quietly going in his or her sleep. I can only hope that for my aging dog . . .

#886 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2013, 06:23 PM:

The naming of gnomes is a difficult matter,
It isn't just one of your open thread games;
You may think at first it's just all idle patter
when I tell you a gnome must have Romanesque names.
First of all there's the title commenters see daily,
the "duty gnome" labels that their roles proclaim,
Then the scarlet Idumea is added quite gaily
when one of Their Lownesses has hair aflame.
There are fancier names if you think they sound sweeter,
Some for the gentlemen, some for the dames:
Such as Mournie, Clamanda, Ireeo and Cowper--
All of them suited for good gnomish names.

#887 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2013, 06:23 PM:

My condolences, Lori.

#888 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2013, 06:26 PM:

I'm sorry to hear it, Lori. I hope the fact that it was a peaceful passing is some comfort.

#889 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2013, 06:27 PM:

Posted before seeing Lori's message. My condolences, Lori.
And good thoughts to all in the Fluorosphere.

#890 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2013, 06:27 PM:

Lori: my condolences for your loss, as well as my compliments to your skill at promoting longevity in your pets!

Stefan: hear, hear. (I currently have 2 geriatric miniature dachshunds, estimated ages 17 and 19, so there is a certain suspense every morning when we come downstairs. The older of the two is deaf and doesn't wake up until touched.)

#891 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2013, 06:28 PM:

Condolences from here, too, Lori.

#892 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2013, 06:42 PM:

Lori, I'm sorry for your loss.

#893 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2013, 06:44 PM:

Lori: Condolences. As has been said, dying in his sleep at a good age is about as good as it can be - but there's still a specific cat-shaped hole in your life, which is never easy.

Carrie S. @862, Jacque, Pendrift et al. thank you - some lovely chortles there.

#894 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2013, 06:50 PM:

Lori, #883: My condolences on your loss.

Pendrift, #886: Bravo!

#895 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2013, 07:20 PM:

Lori #883: I'm sorry for your loss.

Pendrift #886: Magnificent!

#896 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2013, 07:23 PM:

Clamanda and Cowper are shape note songs as well. I can readily imagine Their Lownesses enjoying this style of singing.

#897 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2013, 07:49 PM:

For that matter, so are Arbacoochee, O'Leary (a young gnome, as this setting is only about 20 years old), Irwinton, Novakoski (also a young gnome), Mear (not quite as young) and Cobb. The widely used collection the B.F. White Sacred Harp, Revised Cooper Edition, 1992 is commonly referred to as the Cooper Book. Yes, I can definitely hear some gnomish singing.

#898 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2013, 09:07 PM:

Lori, I was sorry to hear of your loss.

#899 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2013, 09:08 PM:

Part of why I reread The Left Hand of Darkness is for things that haven't been discussed here, like the winter journey over the ice, and some of the descriptions in that: "The ice says there is nothing but ice, but that young volcano over there has a word it thinks of saying."

#900 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2013, 09:53 PM:

I just had a lot of fun reading about shape-note singing, thanks to you.

#901 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2013, 10:11 PM:


I'm sorry to hear. There's no easy way.

#902 ::: estelendur ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2013, 10:21 PM:

David Wald @822, thanks for the names. I'll be on the lookout next fall for sure. :)

Carrie S, oh that is wonderful.

Lori, my condolences. :(

#903 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2013, 02:38 AM:

Lori, my condolences on the loss of your DC (we owned a Siamese with that name in the 60s; I blame Disney and the Hayley Mills movie "That Darn Cat").

#904 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2013, 07:30 AM:

Lori, my condolences and sympathies.

#905 ::: Antonia T. Tiger ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2013, 09:00 AM:

Peccavi: I have just dropped into a serious comment thread, elsenet, a reference to the upcoming Quentin Tarentino's Pride and Prejudice, suggesting a scene involving Jamie Foxx (Darcy) and Samuel L. Jackson (Mr. Gardiner) confronting Wickham over his relationship with Lydia Bennet.

If I am really out of luck, I shall get the blame for him making the movie.

#906 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2013, 09:32 AM:

Lori, my condolences on your loss. Even at the advanced age of 20, and passing in his sleep -- I still note the absence of Cinder, because after twenty years, she'd become such an integral part of my life. I hope that your memories of his younger years can be a comfort to you.

Pendrift: that was awesome.

Oh, an update on Marilee's cats who are ensconced in my son's bedroom: Loki has been gradually getting bolder, and is now waiting out in the open for each meal. Junie made her first reappearance the other night, although she was surprised to see me in the doorway; this morning, she finally crept out from under the bed to eat her breakfast next to her brother. They are both showing signs of settling in; the sparkly balls are being chased out of the bedroom, under the door. I find them on the landing as I come up the stairs, and kick them back inside. The alligator -- which took a detour into the main part of the house as my other cats were very interested in it -- has now been sent to the bedroom for proper playtime.

#907 ::: Naomi Parkhurst ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2013, 10:04 AM:

I don't remember if anyone's mentioned this, but Roquat the Red was the Nome King in the Oz books.

#908 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2013, 10:22 AM:

I'm sorry, Lori. They're so small, and yet they manage to take up such big places in our hearts.

#909 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2013, 11:07 AM:

re 905: Having discussed the possibilities of a Tarentino Magic Flute, my son brought up a Tarentino Parsifal. I then pointed out to him that we had at least already seen the second act, given that in the recent Met production it was played from beginning to end in a pool of blood.

#910 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2013, 12:10 PM:

Thanks everyone -- it wasn't unexpected, and we'd begun the "should we take him for his last trip to the vet" discussion when he spared us that duty.

He was getting frail, and his sight and hearing were definitely failing, but he still enjoyed his food, in fact he ate a hearty luncheon before drifting off into that final sleep.

We anticipated this ever since he turned 18, and often we'd stand watching him sleep, trying to determine if he was still with us.

Some day, we'll honor his memory by acquiring another Siamese, but we also know cats are like snowflakes -- no two are ever alike.

#911 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2013, 12:33 PM:

Lori Coulson @910: cats are like snowflakes -- no two are ever alike.

See also: guinea pigs. You wouldn't think that a tiny little two-pound body could contain so much personality, but they certainly do.

Case in point: Gustav's two sons, JJ & Donkey* are as different as night and day. JJ is mellow, and placid, and charming.

Donkey is loud and brash and demanding.

The counterexample (as, of course, there must be) is that JJ is a truly eerie reincarnation of his father, Junior***, down to his coloring and markings. (When my current population finally ages off, JJ is probably the strongest candidate to continue the line. He's got arthritic hips, and had a double-mastectomy in his first year, so he's not the best breeding prospect from a physical standpoint, but he's got his daddy's charisma.

* Whose last name I recently learned** must be "Hoatey."

** Compliments of the proprietor in the Donkey Rescue shop in an episode of Rosemary & Thyme.

*** Peanut, Jr.**** His coloring evidently matched the chihuahua belonging to the family he came from, whose name was Peanut.

**** So, of course, JJ is "Junior, Jr."

#912 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2013, 12:37 PM:

Discussion continues in Open Thread 182

#913 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2013, 01:21 PM:

We're going to be spraying in here, and putting out traps for the spammers.

So don't eat any produce from here without spraying thoroughly, and watch where you step.

#914 ::: Stefan Jones suspects spam ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2013, 07:56 PM:

Spraying obviously didn't keep out the spammers.

#915 ::: PJ Evans agrees it's spam ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2013, 08:37 PM:

I think it takes more than spray, any more.

Smaller type (our default)
Larger type
Even larger type, with serifs

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