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June 7, 2013

Open Thread 184
Posted by Teresa at 09:49 AM *


Myths Over Miami
by Lynda Edwards
Captured on South Beach, Satan later escaped. His demons and the horrible Bloody Mary are now killing people. God has fled. Avenging angels hide out in the Everglades. And other tales from children in Dade’s homeless shelters.
To homeless children sleeping on the street, neon is as comforting as a night-light. Angels love colored light too. After nightfall in downtown Miami, they nibble on the NationsBank building — always drenched in a green, pink, or golden glow. “They eat light so they can fly,” eight-year-old Andre tells the children sitting on the patio of the Salvation Army’s emergency shelter on NW 38th Street. Andre explains that the angels hide in the building while they study battle maps. “There’s a lot of killing going on in Miami,” he says. “You want to fight, want to learn how to live, you got to learn the secret stories.” The small group listens intently to these tales told by homeless children in shelters.

On Christmas night a year ago, God fled Heaven to escape an audacious demon attack — a celestial Tet Offensive. The demons smashed to dust his palace of beautiful blue-moon marble. TV news kept it secret, but homeless children in shelters across the country report being awakened from troubled sleep and alerted by dead relatives. No one knows why God has never reappeared, leaving his stunned angels to defend his earthly estate against assaults from Hell. “Demons found doors to our world,” adds eight-year-old Miguel, who sits before Andre with the other children at the Salvation Army shelter. The demons’ gateways from Hell include abandoned refrigerators, mirrors, Ghost Town (the nickname shelter children have for a cemetery somewhere in Dade County), and Jeep Cherokees with “black windows.” The demons are nourished by dark human emotions: jealousy, hate, fear.

One demon is feared even by Satan. In Miami shelters, children know her by two names: Bloody Mary and La Llorona (the Crying Woman). She weeps blood or black tears from ghoulish empty sockets and feeds on children’s terror. When a child is killed accidentally in gang crossfire or is murdered, she croons with joy. “If you wake at night and see her,” a ten-year-old says softly, “her clothes be blowing back, even in a room where there is no wind. And you know she’s marked you for killing.”

The homeless children’s chief ally is a beautiful angel they have nicknamed the Blue Lady. She has pale blue skin and lives in the ocean, but she is hobbled by a spell. “The demons made it so she only has power if you know her secret name,” says Andre, whose mother has been through three rehabilitation programs for crack addiction. “If you and your friends on a corner on a street when a car comes shooting bullets and only one child yells out her true name, all will be safe. Even if bullets tearing your skin, the Blue Lady makes them fall on the ground. She can talk to us, even without her name. She says: ‘Hold on.’”

According to the Dade Homeless Trust, approximately 1800 homeless children currently find themselves bounced between the county’s various shelters and the streets. For these children, lasting bonds of friendship are impossible; nothing is permanent. A common rule among homeless parents is that everything a child owns must fit into a small plastic bag for fast packing. But during their brief stays in the shelters, children can meet and tell each other stories that get them through the harshest nights.

Folktales are usually an inheritance from family or homeland. But what if you are a child enduring a continual, grueling, dangerous journey? No adult can steel such a child against the outcast’s fate: the endless slurs and snubs, the threats, the fear. What these determined children do is snatch dark and bright fragments of Halloween fables, TV news, and candy-colored Bible-story leaflets from street-corner preachers, and like birds building a nest from scraps, weave their own myths. The “secret stories” are carefully guarded knowledge, never shared with older siblings or parents for fear of being ridiculed — or spanked for blasphemy. But their accounts of an exiled God who cannot or will not respond to human pleas as his angels wage war with Hell is, to shelter children, a plausible explanation for having no safe home, and one that engages them in an epic clash. …

Comments on Open Thread 184:
#2 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2013, 11:24 AM:

I remember when I first read this, and it doesn't stop feeling true. I love the idea of a more dynamic folklore, of industrial myths and personified science.

My own contribution comes from my grandmother: if you go under a moving train on a bridge, you can make a wish and it'll come true.

#3 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2013, 11:44 AM:

There are direct parallels between this and the work of the Opies (The Secret Lore of Childhood, for example). There are tales and jokes that little kids tell that adults just don't get to hear, and there have been for a long time.

The real question is how persistent these stories are going to be. Has anyone done a follow-up to find out if these stories are still being told in Florida, or if they've spread? There's probably a PhD in it for someone who wants to compare stories from Florida, New York, LA, and Chicago....

#4 ::: Nightsky ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2013, 12:03 PM:

I first read this over ten years ago, and it's still as amazing as it was then: human storytelling, as necessary now as it was around the first campfires.

By the way, the story of La Llorona was used by Ursula Vernon in the backstory of her Hugo-winning webcomic "Digger". Young priestess Murai was sent to investigate the stories told amongst children in a nearby coastal city, about the terrible weeping goddess the Black Mother.

#5 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2013, 12:20 PM:

Parts of this story show up in one of the Lackey-Edghill urban fantasies -- "Spirits White as Lightning," IIRC.

Still makes the hair on the back of my neck rise "...and I shiver when the winds blow cold..."

#6 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2013, 12:21 PM:

La Llorona also shows up in Sam and Max: Freelance Police. That makes for a really odd crossover possibility....

#7 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2013, 01:00 PM:

Sam and Dean face La Llorna in Episode 1 Season 1 of Supernatural. Nick Burkhardt meets La Llorna in Episode 9, Season 2 of Grimm.

Weeping women who foretell death are old. Very, very old.

I have no doubt that the story is true.

#8 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2013, 02:39 PM:

The thing that really strikes me to the heart is their theology. Those kids are trying to make sense of a world where the children are facing all-too-real evils, while the few adults who hope to help them seem almost powerless. Where has God fled, indeed?

#9 ::: Malaclypse ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2013, 03:36 PM:

That is simply astonishing.

#10 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2013, 04:34 PM:

La Llorona existed as a piece of Latin American folklore before she was blended with Bloody Mary by the street children of Miami, and that's probably what Supernatural and Grimm drew upon.

Vernon, and Lackey/Edghill, OTOH, drew upon the Miami specific idea. I wish I could articulate why the Vernon version was fine by me, but the fact and timing of the Lackey-Edghill one irked me enough to not buy or read the book. It was very soon after the article came out, and it looked from the blurb like it was taken from the article a bit too verbatim, but I can't really be sure. I just no I went "NO" and stuck to it.

#11 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2013, 05:19 PM:

I think something I wrote earlier was gnomed. Either that or it vanished into the ether....

#12 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2013, 05:19 PM:

And Supernatural blended La Llorona with the Vanishing Hitchhiker, well established long before she turned up in Dickey Lee's pop song "Laurie", whereas they gave Bloody Mary her own episode.

#13 ::: Melissa Mead ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2013, 05:35 PM:

That's heartbreaking.

#14 ::: BSD ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2013, 06:01 PM:

I love this article. It's part of why I want a Motif-Index. (Quick Google:

La llorona (The Wailing Woman)
S12.6. Cruel mother refuses children food.
S142. Person thrown into the water and abandoned.
S131. Murder by drowning.
Q211.4. Murder of children punished.
Q503. Wandering after death as punishment.
E547. The dead wail.

As a matter of taste, I always found working with the Motif-Index more useful and rewarding than the Tale-Type Index.

#15 ::: Tony Zbaraschuk ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2013, 07:52 PM:

And then ther's the experimenter's take on the mythology:

#16 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2013, 09:33 PM:

Carlo Rotella in the Boston Globe on "Jack Vance's Adventure."

I spent a large portion of my high school years reading pulp fiction instead of doing my homework, and chief among my diversions was Vance’s “The Eyes of the Overworld,” which I reread an absurd number of times. Not only did its darkly comic elegance of language give me a strong nudge on my way to what I would end up doing for a living, but I remember giving silent thanks to pulp fictioneers in general and Vance in particular when I took my SATs. The seemingly idle time I’d spent ingesting Vancian words like punctilio and largesse was suddenly, unexpectedly helping me get where I needed to go.

#17 ::: Stephen Frug ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2013, 09:37 PM:

Am I the only one who's starting to get excited about Open Thread #200? Big round number!

#18 ::: Stephen Frug ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2013, 09:59 PM:

Incidentally, re the recently added defraction about How The American University was Killed, in Five Easy Steps, I also recommend the blog's following post (from yesterday, i.e. ten months later) on Inequality, MOOCs and The Predator Elite:

#19 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2013, 10:51 PM:

Stephen Frug @ #17, I read the diffraction, haven't read the follow-up you posted yet, but there's an astonishing story in this week's Sports Illustrated which discusses the enormous expansion of college football coaches' staffs.

According to the Tuscaloosa News, last year Alabama employed 24 noncoaching individuals devoted solely to football (not including graduate assistants) and pays them a combined $1.6 million. Some handle off-field issues such as discipline, while others deal with the minutiae of down-and-distance. As recently as 2009 there was no one on Saban's staff with the title of analyst; last year there were nine.
No wonder the professors don't get paid much, and no wonder the universities rely on adjuncts to teach.

#20 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2013, 03:16 AM:

HLN: Local resident spends about 20min going through his Amazon wishlist, deleting things he honestly is no longer interested in owning, and moving to the 'remember to get from the library' sublist the things that he could see himself reading once and enjoying, but not needing to keep.

945 is pared down to 184: Result!

#21 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2013, 06:31 AM:

Stephen Frug #18: All too believable: Down here at UVA we just had an attempted putsch where the Business School folks tried to "fire" a deeply popular university president, in open violation of the actual rules.

One of their nominal "grievances" was not moving fast enough on MOOCs (Ms. Sullivan had in fact been working on it), but the apparent real reason was her not being submissive enough to the business types. The plotters got slapped down on the actual firing, but few of them faced actual consequences, and those due to the public backlash rather than actual sanctions. The rector who led the attempt got reappointed by the Governor.

#22 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2013, 07:35 AM:

Brought to our attention by Mary Robinette Kowal...
What happens when a symphonic orchestra's flight is stuck on the tarmac?

"Strings on a Plane"

#23 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2013, 07:54 AM:


The sound quality on that really impressed me, considering that they're on a plane.

#24 ::: crazysoph ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2013, 10:44 AM:


And for "homeless children", here I read, "asielzoekers" - refugees, in English, but they find little refuge here...

Crazy(and moved)soph

#25 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2013, 07:33 PM:


I've surrendered
from the Constitution

which you
probably were
to cherish.

Don't worry
we're going to be secure
and safe
any minute now

#26 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2013, 08:08 PM:

I'm buying plane tickets and one of the most economical options gives me a 12 hour layover at JFK during the daytime on June 26 (Wednesday). I've never ridden the bus (or subway, it says here) from JFK and back, so I don't know how practical the idea is of scooting into town for a looksee (just wandering, and museums, maybe: I don't remember the neighborhoods I used to know back in the ice ages, so no point in a sentimental journey, and I don't much shop) and maybe meet someone for lunch (anybody want to?). Any advice?

#27 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2013, 11:29 PM:

This oral tradition might change faster than other oral traditions, if it's in a place where people don't stay long.

(when I was a student, one comment that the faculty would make was that student collective memory was short. That might also be true in that society of children.)

#28 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2013, 11:58 PM:

Erik, #27: The student collective memory may be short, but the legends and lore still get handed down. I heard plenty of stories about memorable pranks and such when I was in college, and some of them went back rather a long time. And is there a single student at MIT even now who doesn't know about the football pigeon trick?

#29 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2013, 01:41 AM:


To go downtown, you'll take the $5.00 "Train to the Plane" (well, the other way around) to Jamaica station, then switch to either the subway or the LIRR.

If things go right, it would take a bit more than 1 hour to get downtown.

If you plan ahead you could take in a couple of museums and a lunch.

Something to consider: I don't know whether the airport still has luggage lockers.

#30 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2013, 03:17 AM:

Stefan @29: Thank you!

I don't think I need luggage lockers, as my carryons are lightweight and the checked bag will go straight through.

Now I'm dithering: for a couple hundred dollars more I can have my all-day layover in Amsterdam instead, and I think I remember my way from Schiphol to the Rijksmuseum . . . have to decide in a few hours though.

#31 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2013, 03:37 AM:

I think it is because I forgot about how the word of gratefulness is also a word of power.

#32 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2013, 04:29 AM:

Lucy @31:

If you decide to go to Old Amsterdam rather than New, what day of the week would you be traveling?

This relates to both (a) how crowded the Rijksmuseum will be, and (b) whether I might be able to buy you coffee.

To get to the Rijksmuseum from Schiphol, either take the train to Amsterdam Centraal station (train station's in the airport) then a tram to the Museumplein (2 or 5) , or take the 197 bus. (Information ganked from the museum's website.) I've taken the train and the tram separately, and they're both very pleasant. I haven't taken the bus, but I've never had an unpleasant bus experience here, so I suspect it's also good.

#33 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2013, 05:53 AM:

Abi @ 32... I still think that 2008's series "New Amsterdam", which starred Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as a New York cop who's been around for *many* years, was never given enough time to succeed.

#34 ::: Martin Wisse ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2013, 05:57 AM:

Lucy@30: come to Amsterdam and let's have a mini meetup if you want to.

The buses from Schiphol are quite good and get you into the heart of the city. They're probably quicker and easier than taking the train and then a tram.

#35 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2013, 08:03 AM:

Linguistic curiosity: My sister's wedding reception reminded me of something that may be a family-word idiosyncracy. One of my cousins, a man over 70 years old, came back into the dining room from the hall with a plate piled high with scrumptiously chocolate things and enthused, "They've got an Irish open bar out there, and nobody knows about it! Go get some."

It was a buffet table with plate upon plate of petits fours, ganache cake, etc. A dessert buffet. But at my family's weddings, it was always called (by the older generation; most of my younger-than-me cousins had never heard it) an Irish open bar, with the implication that the desserts were more enticing than the liquor (or that the liquor was assumed to be always available, I guess?).

That side of my family is very wrapped up in being Irish (specifically, South Side of Chicago Irish, which is basically its own cultural thing), btw, this isn't an othering term, it's an 'our folks' term. :->

Do any of you have similar family code-language? It fascinates me.

#36 ::: James E ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2013, 01:08 PM:

GSV You're in the Wrong Universe for Fair.

I'm off to find a bottle of single malt.

#37 ::: Older ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2013, 01:31 PM:

Erik Nelson (#27) "student collective memory was short -- also true in society of children"

I'm not sure I can remember about student collective memory, but I notice that the same jokes (or obvious variants thereof) circulate amongst today's eight-year-olds as I remember from when I was eight. And, as I may have mentioned, or at least suggested, I was eight a looong time ago. This argues for a very robust transmission of folklore in the same age group.

#38 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2013, 01:48 PM:

Latin scholars:

As the root of "manipulate" is (human) hand, should work done with a mouse be musipulate? Muspulate?

Technically the original term extends to mechanical work, but I'm not content.

Would muspulation have to be restricted to what gets moved around in T-mazes?

#39 ::: Dave Crisp ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2013, 02:04 PM:

James E. @36: I'm having a dram of Dalwhinnie aboard the GCU Life is What Happens While You're Busy Making Other Plans, myself.

Requiescat in Pace.

#40 ::: arwel ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2013, 03:16 PM:

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but the media over here in the UK is full of the news that Iain Banks passed away this morning.

#41 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2013, 04:21 PM:

Impossible to miss that shining blue,
the eye drawn outward to the furthest bound
where sense and vision come together drowned
in the immensity of that deep hue
where worlds and hopes are both slightly askew.
Some better wisdom is what we have found
where other souls in torment run aground;
justice may grant an option to renew.
No mind's enough to catch at all we need
for this long voyage through the middle air
though patience grants a chance to set all right
when each has found some soil to plant a seed
and seen it nurtured given proper care
allowed to shoot its blossom into light.

#42 ::: John M. Burt ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2013, 06:15 PM:

Kip W @25, I note that your plummy poem does not include "Forgive me". I presume that's because even the narrator recognizes that there is no forgiveness for an act like that.
I have to say, the collapse of the Constitution since Bush v. Gore has left me feeling rather as though God had fled Heaven without warning, explanation or a forwarding address.

#43 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2013, 06:36 PM:

John M. Burt @42: In writing the poem, I chose to believe that the narrative voice thought he was doing something good. (The idiot.)

#44 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2013, 07:39 PM:

re 20: Today at lunch my wife reminded me that we actually had a copy of a book on Japanese codes which I had been unsatisfactorily peeking into using Google Books. I suppose I should go to our LibraryThing first but I'm only a third through cataloging everything.

re student lore: Having gone through boarding school, my experience there was that we had a certain set of specialized vocabulary, mostly having to do either with locations or disciplinary infractions. (I was surprised to learn that the "grass dock" only acquired a name when it became the traditional trysting spot after the school went coed.) Lore about what people did generally didn't survive those who were there at the time.

And highly local cuisine: the last of the kohlrabi harvest is in, and the cook is contemplating a gratin in an Italian vein. The Greek-style pie was tasty but made about twelve servings and required inordinate prep work.

#45 ::: John M. Burt ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2013, 08:01 PM:

Older @37, the durability of childhood culture is intriguing, especially the fact that adults only rarely catch a glimpse of the real thing, in life.

I remember my surprise and delight, with an aftertaste of disappointment at the loss of its "purity", when the Batman animated series had the Joker sing the children's song,

Jingle Bells, Batman smells
Robin laid an egg
Batmobile lost a wheel
And the Joker got away

#46 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2013, 08:31 PM:

Stuff like that is passed from one kid to another - adults may remember it, but don't talk about it much.
Glory, glory hallelujah
Teacher hit me with a ruler
I hit her on the bean
with a rotten tangerine...

#47 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2013, 08:44 PM:

John M. Burt @ #45, the version we sang had "Commissioner's eatin' hay" as the last line.

P.J. Evans @ #46, and we sang "met her at the door with a loaded .44, and she ain't my teacher no more."

#48 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2013, 09:05 PM:

This seems like a good place to mention Greasy Grimy Gopher Guts, an academic study of that sort of children's lore. For those lacking a copy, it's highly recommended and guaranteed to be a real blast from the past!

#49 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2013, 09:10 PM:

P J Evans @46: We had a line like that in the chorus of a song whose first verse was:

Mine eyes have see the glory of the burning of the school.
We have tortured all the teachers, we have broken all the rules.
We have played a game of poker and we played a game of pool
In the basement of the burning school!

Glory, glory, what's it to ya?
Teacher hit me with a ruler.
I met her at the door with a loaded .44
And there ain't no school no more.

Another verse we sang (sometimes as an alternate first, sometimes in the middle):

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the Coming of the Lord
He was cruisin' down the alley in a pink and yellow Ford.
One hand was on the throttle, and the other on a bottle
Of Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer!

#50 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2013, 10:07 PM:

Elliott, that first one is OH yeah. (It's been a long time. I wonder what would happen if it came up at my next HS reunion?)

#51 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2013, 11:23 PM:

Here's the book on songs we sung in grade school, Joe's Got a Head Like a Ping-Pong Ball by the Pankakes, who edited the material that was solicited by "A Prairie Home Companion" into one of the best reference books I own.

I don't know, for instance, if it's possible to catalog all the variants of "Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory…", but I saw ones here I'd heard before, and ones I hadn't.

There's also a nice little section of songs you can sing to the tunes of other songs.

#52 ::: Chris ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2013, 11:40 PM:

Elliott Mason @49, P J Evans @46
We also had the loaded .44, followed by "and that teacher don't teach no more".

#53 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2013, 12:03 AM:

We had the loaded .44, "and she ain't gonna teach no more".

I wonder if kids singing the same songs we sang would be arrested for making terrorist threats nowadays?

#54 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2013, 12:52 AM:

Cally, #53: I was thinking along the same lines. First it was, "Just imagine how much trouble a kid would be in for singing something like that now," followed by, "Unfortunately, I'm not as sure as I used to be that it would always be an unwarranted over-reaction."

When children hear from their parents that firearms are not just an acceptable solution for problems with other people, but sometimes a go-to solution, you don't know how much of it they're going to internalize.

#55 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2013, 12:53 AM:

Abi @32, Martin @35: I messed up and when I got down to actually buying the tickets the Amsterdam layor had changed price and was no longer affordable. I snarled and complained for an hour, and even called people up to see if I could do better, before I gave up and bought the tickets with the New York layover.

It's very likely I'll be in Europe again sometime next year, and then I will maybe even have a spot more money so I can be sure of a moment in Amsterdam, so I'll try again then. I remember I truly loved the town when I was there before.

Meanwhile, I certainly will be in Prague from June 26 till August 8, and would be happy to accompany people if they happen to be there too . . . I know my way to some cool things, though I am not an expert on the city (but my daughter-in-law and son might be called that).

#56 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2013, 01:05 AM:

I find myself wondering why it had to be a .44

Rhyme and rhythm mostly, but was there a change when the move Dirty Harry was released?

But then I tracked down the .44-40 Winchester which was the standard round for the '73 Winchester rifle, and also used in revolvers of the time. I'm pretty sure that, in the text stories, Hopalong Cassidy used a revolver chambered in the same calibre as his rifle.

So maybe that's why the teacher was shot with a forty-four.

#57 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2013, 02:00 AM:

The .44 is a canonical folk-song firearm.

Bad Lee Brown shot Little Sadie with a .44. John Hardy (the desperate little man) carried a .44. In some versions Frankie shot Johnnie with a .44. Those aren't necessarily rhyme-words, either: Bad Lee Brown "went back home and I went to bed / Forty-four smokin' beneath my head."

#58 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2013, 02:30 AM:

I'm putting my money on 4-11-44 (by The Blasters). "When your future can't afford your dreams."

#59 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2013, 03:06 AM:

arwel @40: With no TV, and not having put the radio on yesterday, somehow I missed it until this morning. I never got into The Culture, although my husband likes the books, but I met him once at a con (probably Novacon) and he seemed like a nice guy. Spoke very well also.

He will be missed by many people.

#60 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2013, 07:14 AM:

In Australia, we had Far Out, Brussel Sprout!: Australian Children's Chants and Rhymes (and sequels which included All Right, Vegemite! and Unreal, Banana Peel!). They came out around the time I was in primary school, and I suspect I remember more schoolyard rhymes from those books than I do from my actual schoolyard.

(One or other of the books had "Mine eyes have seen the glory of the burning of the school" in it -- a variant with the tangerine rather than the .44 -- and likewise the Batman song.)

#61 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2013, 07:19 AM:

I'm curious as to why the "Double-blind book reviews" particle describes them as "completely pointless". I suspect they'd be more trouble than they're worth, yes, but not inherently more pointless than any other method of generating a review.

(Mind you, I'm assuming that the idea is for the title and author to be re-attached when the review is published; in this I am perhaps assuming more common sense on the part of the project designer than our esteemed particler does.)

#62 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2013, 09:34 AM:

I assume everyone has seen the news the Edward Snowden is the whistle-blower responsible for the news about PRISM? There is a petition to pardon him. I don't have high hopes that he will be pardoned, but I'm hoping that a outpouring of support improves his odds, and improves those of the journalists who worked with him.

#63 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2013, 09:52 AM:

I hate to say it, but I'm reluctant to sign a petition like that because I'm afraid of what the government will do with the information that I have. Which is, of course, their intention.

#64 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2013, 09:59 AM:

I was on a playground with Actual Current Kids on it recently (I have a 4yo), and they wanted to play freeze tag. They all put their feet in, making a star with toes in the middle, and started counting-off:

"The sky is red and you ARE DEAD, you're out ..."

Immediately two boys protested the use of that rhyme on the grounds that "That's devil-worship!" Apparently "The sky is blue and God bless you" is the preferred method, but gray/you are gay gets used a lot as a diss.

They'd never heard of "My mother told me ..." as a counting-out rhyme, so I showed them its infinite customization (the 'grownup-approved' version when I was little ran "My mother told me that you are OUT" but we ran kind of amuck with wording).

I taught them the Miss Mary Mack hand-clapping game, too, and that reminded me of one that became popular in the mid-80s using a jingle from a McDonald's commercial that had a really, really complex hand-game that went with it. I remember the first verse as:

Big Mac, Filet-O-Fish,
Quarter pounder, french fries.
Icy coke, thick shake,
Sundaes, and apple pies.

There was a second verse (that re-used the complex hand-choreography from the first exactly), but I no longer recall it. I vaguely remember the hand-game showing up because -- rewinding. So McDonalds wrote this jingle highlighting their menu items and shot a commercial of people singing it, with the offer that if you made a video of YOU singing it (in the pre-YouTube world, you MAILED A VHS) then You Might Be In A Commercial!!! So some genius innovator (possibly in McDonalds employ; or maybe really grassroots) came up with the hand-clap game choreography, and then THAT commercial blew up all over and the dextrous girls on my playground drove themselves nuts for a week getting it JUST RIGHT ... and then lording it over everyone else while they did it fast and flawless. :->

I still remember the routine, if not the second verse.

#65 ::: Brad Hicks (@jbradhicks) ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2013, 10:09 AM:

When I want to make myself crazy ... which I'm pretty good at, actually ... I ask what those kids can possibly have done to deserve a life where that myth makes sense.

A country as rich as ours that makes any children live like this had better hope against all hope that God really is missing and not coming back, not just the god of Abraham but any god who loves justice. Because if there is any god who loves justice, we will not escape judgment.

#66 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2013, 10:18 AM:

We did 'one potato, two potato' followed with 'my mother told me' (our version of which included 'the very best way').

#67 ::: rat4000 ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2013, 10:27 AM:

Though I don't often post here, this is an open thread, and the question I have is most likely to get answered here of all the places I know, including real life.

I'm interested in... comparative Christian theology, if that's a term. Recently someone told me that apparently not every Christian believes that God is omnipresent; I know that some don't believe that God, Son and Father are one, and some don't believe that there's a Trinity at all. The question is, where do I go to find out who believes what? Mostly I'm interested in Catholic and Orthodox theology and how they compare. Another example: I know that there's some sort of difference on the doctrine of hell (absence of God versus presence of God, the former naturally being torture, the latter being torture for evil souls -- I believe), but I don't really know where to go to find, for instance, the official Catholic teaching.

Canon? Writings by theologians? Official Vatican information? Is there some sort of newsletter? There're just so many things written about religion, and I've no idea where to start; I thought I might save myself some effort by asking here. I guess there are many that could help me.

#68 ::: rat4000, gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2013, 10:28 AM:

For a theological question, possibly because I post so rarely. All I've got is iced tea.

[For the contraction "there're," but that's so rarely used in spam that I'll take it out of the filters. -- Gorxiu Diesat, Duty Gnome]

#69 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2013, 10:34 AM:

Eliott Mason: I can still do that choreography, at least the version we learned at my school.

#70 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2013, 11:03 AM:


I'm sure that is one goal of the very public process of fucking various people over for making the wrong enemies in the security establishment. People were intimidated about sending money to Wikileaks back when that was possible, and were also intimidated about sending money to defense funds for various whistleblowers. This is definitely a feature, not a bug.

#71 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2013, 11:34 AM:

65correction (synapses just clicked):
'my mother told me to choose the very best one and you are not it'.

#72 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2013, 11:46 AM:

Changes over time can be fascinating. Don't know how well "There were ten in the bed" made it across the Atlantic? Anyway the version I (in Manchester, northern UK) and my husband (in south-east London, UK) both learned was: "There were ten in the bed and the little one said 'roll over, roll over', so they all rolled over and one fell out and he bumped his head and gave a shout: "please remember to tie a knot in your pyjamas, single beds are only made for one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine in the bed and the little one said..."

However, in the version that his mother and my stepmother learned, it went straight from "one fell out" to "There were nine in the bed". So sometime in the intervening generation, the extra section got added in. How? By whom? On TV? We both use the same tune for the extra section, so it can't just be from a book. I've just had a look online and found lots of examples of the short version, but also several variations on shouting and tying knots in pygamas (e.g. "and he gave a little scream and he gave a little shout", with or without "Yahoo!" appended to the end of that).


#73 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2013, 12:05 PM:

I learned both "and teacher lives no more" and "and teacher don't teach no more" for "mine eyes have seen the glory of the burning of the school". I preferred the first one for scansion.

For clapping games, there was "Oh Jolly Playmate/Oh Jolly Enemy", with what I think of as the standard Mary Mac crisscross, and one that wasn't local to me at all, but that I learned at overnight camp, which went "Do you know exactly how to eat an Oreo/Well, to do it/You unscrew it/Very fast/'Cause the kid who eats the middle of an Oreo first/Gets to save the chocolate outside for the last!" and the clapping figure involved hands held out placed together as if diving/praying, but horizontally, not vertically, and clapping above and below the midline. I never really mastered that clapping pattern, but I was fascinated because we didn't have anything like it at home.

There were also a couple of variants to "Oh, they built the ship Titanic/to sail the ocean blue", mostly involving whether you added "flush, flush" after "it was sad when the great ship went down" and whether you included the addition "Counselors and campers, little children lost their Pampers" to the final chorus.

Not really kid-lore, but a sign of kid-culture of my era: there were definite bragging rights to knowing the full album version as opposed to the shorter radio edit of "American Pie", as it was a permanent part of the summer camp song repertoire.

#74 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2013, 12:07 PM:

rat4000 #67: My first stop would be the massive Catechism.

For other beliefs, you might search on heresies, e.g. A Short Guide to Ancient Heresies.

#75 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2013, 12:08 PM:

My friend Angela has the best 'Miss Susie' rhyme EVER. However long yours is? Hers is as long or longer. It is *amazing*.

I have never heard 'On Top of Old Smoky' with the actual lyrics. I know it's a real song, but I don't believe it. It's 'On Top of Spaghetti' or

On top of Old Smoky
All covered with blood
I shot my poor teacher
with a forty-four (gun, mud, whatever).

Also a great many Christmas carols with violent lyrics.

I second the recommendation of Greasy Grimy Gopher Guts if only because it concentrates on North Carolina and the lyrics are wrong. I'm Midwestern and we don't have all the same rhymes.

#76 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2013, 12:14 PM:

Speaking of metadata, everyone is aware that the identity of General Petraeus' mistress was discovered through metadata, right?

Here's how it worked:

The two communicated using Gmail, but not by sending each other letters. They had a dummy account, they both knew the username and password, they could thus log in from other locations and read the draft messages that the other had written (nothing was ever sent).

This was all fine, but who was the person with whom the General was communicating? The IPs that the unknown person was logging in from were all public places: e.g. hotels.

So the persons investigating this took the list of times and dates, and the names of the hotels, and compared that list with lists of who had been staying in those hotels on those dates.

Only one name matched. Bingo. Busted.

#77 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2013, 12:25 PM:

Rikibeth (73): I suspect that "Oh Jolly Playmate" is the one my classmates* knew as "Hey Say My Playmate".

*I was something of an outcast in elementary school and only observed, never participated
Diatryma (75): My problem with Greasy Grimy Gopher Guts is that it doesn't include the right ending for the titular song. We always sang "That's what we had† for lunch!"; the book only lists variants of "I'm going to get a spoon!" (My mother hated that song. I think it was the implied aspersion on her cooking.)

†or "...what there is...", if it was still morning

#78 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2013, 12:35 PM:

This is the "Miss Suzie" I learned as a kid:

Miss Suzie had a tugboat
The tugboat had a bell
Miss Suzie went to Heaven
And the tugboat went to
Hello operator,
Give me number 9
And if you cannot get it
I'll hit on your
Behind the 'frigerator
There was a piece of glass
Miss Suzie sat upon it
And broke her little
Ask me no more questions
I'll tell you no more lies
The boys are in the bathroom
Zipping up their
Flies are in the meadow
Birds are in the park
The boys and girls are kissing
In the D-A-R-K D-A-R-K D-A-R-K dark dark dark!

I wonder if Elliot and I know the same version of "Miss Mary Mack (Mack Mack)"?

And in "Ten in the Bed", we went straight from "one fell out" to "There were 9 in the bed". (There was 1 in the bed and the little one said "Good night!")

#79 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2013, 12:35 PM:


Area Woman's church (Episcopal/Anglo-Catholic) sends its usual contingent of clergy and lay-people to march in LA's Pride Parade. Area Woman wonders what the rules are for non-liturgical use of a thurible, and whether the assembled throngs enjoyed getting a lungful of incense.

#80 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2013, 12:39 PM:

Mary Aileen:

I learned it as

Say say say playmate (or Girl Scout)
Come out and play with me
And bring your dollies three
Climb up my apple tree
Shout down my rain barrel
Slide down my cellar door
And we'll be jolly friends

Say say say playmate (or Girl Scout)
I cannot play with you
My dolly's got the flu
Ain't got no rain barrel
Ain't got no cellar door
But we'll be jolly friends

I remember being surprised as a kid to hear people sing it with the cellar door replaced by other things; they'd never heard of a cellar door. But my next door neighbor had one, so I knew about them (and their slide potential, if short).

#81 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2013, 12:39 PM:

Mary Aileen @77: Fascinating! I learned it as ... well, I don't know how to spell it, but it's pronounced See-See. I always assumed it was something to do with Cecelia.

Our (eggcorns may abound?) version (sung during double-dutch jumproping, not with a handgame) was:

See-See my playmate, come out and play with me.
(Something) my dollies three, climb up my apple tree.
Slide down my rainbow, into my cellar door
And we'll be jolly friends, forever more more more more more!

We also did a four-player handgame called Rockin' Robin (whose first verse and chorus were from the hit swing tune except that all the little birds lived on Damen street, not Jaybird street -- actual local street name) whose latter verses went all kinds of "Miss Suzie" not-quite-swearwords territory, and whose traditional second verse was both FULL of eggcorns (in retrospect) and had its own hand choreography sprinkled in to make it harder.

The general pattern involved hands paired for slaps with your partner (simultaneous, not alternating) and then clapping your own and going to the next partner in the pattern. We stood in a square, facing center, and the pattern went Left/Across-up/Across-down/Right (the other pair across started with Right, of course).

The second verse, as we sang it, goes:

Mama's in the kitchen, burnin' that rice (gesture of holding a bowl on one's hip and stirring)
Daddy's on the corner, shootin' them dice (craps-tossing gesture)
Brother's upstairs just raisin' his hair (fingercomb front of hair vertically as if you were picking an afro -- probably an eggcorn for 'raising hell' originally)
Sister's on the corner sellin' fruit cocktail (slap chest, crotch, butt in quick succession -- FAR dirtier in retrospect than ANY of us thought it was when we were 7!)

The 'dirtiest' verse in common use on my playground was SOOOO dirty that we sheltered Catholic-school kids actually sang it WITH BLEEPS IN IT:

Went to the kitchen to get a stick of butter
Saw James Bond sitting in the gutter.
Got a piece of glass, shoved it up his bleep
Never saw a bleeper-bleeper run so fast!

And so on. Some of them were deliberately nonsensical as well as containing random cartoonish ultraviolence or 'swears' or 'I'm going to rhyme towards a swear and not use it'.

My dad's school didn't do Miss Suzie, they did "Cocktail, gingerale" to a different tune but containing a lot of the same rhyme-pair/incidents as my school's Miss Suzie did.

#82 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2013, 12:45 PM:

We also had a tag variant called "Ghost in the Graveyard" that, alas, I don't actually remember the rules for. Except that it was played at night with flashlights. The interesting thing about it, though, was the "It" countdown while everyone was hiding. Not sung, just chanted loudly:

One o'clock, two o'clock three o'clock rock.
Four o'clock, five o'clock six o'clock rock.
Seven o'clock eight o'clock nine o'clock rock.
Ten o'clock eleven o'clock twelve o'clock rock.
Midnight, twilight, hope we see the ghost tonight!

Clearly, this is not an ancient chant, though it could have been quite old in kid generations even before I first heard it in the '70s.

#83 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2013, 12:58 PM:

Cally @78: Fascinatingly, that's exactly the Miss Suzie I know, except we continued from:

The boys and girls are kissing
In the D A R K
Dark is like a movie,
A movie's like a show.
A show is like a TV set and that is all I know know know!

Also it was usually "The boys are in the bathroom, pulling down their flies"

My school's Miss Mary Mack went (the echoes were often chorused by bystanders, if bystanders were available):

Miss Mary Mack (Mack Mack)
all dressed in black (black black)
With silver buttons (buttons buttons)
up and down her back (back back)
She asked her mother (mother mother)
for fifteen cents (cents cents)
To see the elephant (elephant elephant -- crammed in tightly with giggles)
Jump the fence (fence fence)
He jumped so high (high high)
He reached the sky (sky sky)
And he didn't come back (back back)
Till the Fourth of July (lie lie)
He's back! (waving jazz hands from all)

It was generally sung starting gradually and speeding up and up and up until someone flubbed, so actually getting to the end was exhilarating and well worth the WOOOO and celebration.

Cally @80: I remember the boo-hoo-hoo verse of Playmate, now that you mention it!

There were also several games that involved counting to successively higher numbers (+1 per iteration, etc) with a Miss Mary Mack alternating pattern except the counting at the end involved the following quick three-gesture combo: (a) Going straight across to your partner with both hands, touch/slap the BACKS of your hands together (b) Rotate wrists to immediately slap the PALMS of your hands together (c) clap own hands together. Each backs-of-hands was where the counting number was said, with the rest being just gesture. It went Versey Part/count 1/Versey part/do the pattern twice fast, counting 1 2 and so on.

The McDonalds jingle game I knew involved the praying/diving-but-horizontal hand position mentioned above, with slaps above and below and then some more complicated stuff. I wonder if the people who put the jingle to the motions were re-using from a well-known local game pattern? Also, I found a video of the ad, and another on YouTube of two girls reenacting basically the choreography I know, though I'm sure we didn't have "dish ran away with the spoon" involved.

#84 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2013, 01:08 PM:


One interesting twist here--the data is collected and stored, but the claim is that it's only looked at with a court order. (And if that's a lie, there will be no consequences at all, so you can totally trust that it's true.) The effect of this is to make sure that you can always go back in time and find out who was talking to, say, the marathon bombers or the Fort Hood mass-shooter. Alternatively, you could go back in time and find out who was talking to the reporter who just broke a big national security story, and try to find out his sources. Of course, nobody would ever use that to dig up information on that reporter to blackmail him, or to justify prosecuting him for some unrelated crime. Because that would be wrong.

Similarly, suppose that by some really unlikely chain of events, a decade from now, I am nominated to the Supreme Court. (Note: I'm not a lawyer, so this would be really surprising on all kinds of levels.) Just in case anyone should happen to need to do it, why, it will become possible to find out everyone I ever talked to in the past. Escort services? Bondage clubs? Medical marijuana clubs? All right there, ready to bring out to derail the nomination with a sympathetic leak, or to use for blackmail later. (Though a sitting supreme court justice is probably very hard to blackmail, since they are all but un-fire-able.)

#85 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2013, 01:09 PM:

Now I'm YouTube searching for hand game and keywords, and found a group doing Rockin' Robin with the second verse I know, but different eggcorns and some different gestures (the brother upstairs is 'drinking ginger-ale', for example).

There are lots of videos of teens doing various Rockin' Robins, actually (square eyes are now setting in).

This one is the hand choregraphy I know for Miss Suzie, but different words. Interestingly, the girls in the video seem to know different words from each other too (including a 'bees are in the hive' bit that they don't put the topping rhyme on).

Interesting counting-out rhyme Down By the Banks of the Hanky Panky which sounds somewhat familiar but we didn't count-out with it. Here's two girls doing what I think of as the Big Mac hand game with Down By The Banks words -- and LOTS of them. Same video continues into Miss Suzie with different choreography than I knew and a neat ending variant; then they do several more.

#86 ::: albatross gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2013, 01:09 PM:


[The magic words "escort service" did it. -- Borulent C. Quire, Duty Gnome]

#87 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2013, 01:19 PM:

Aha! My counting-game-with-backs-of-hands is also this one: Slide. We had more words, if I recall right. That's the proper choreography, though.

#88 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2013, 01:40 PM:

Cally Soukup @82:

We had a "ghost in the graveyard" game too, and I've never encountered anyone else who played it! Ours was a twilight game, no flashlights. One person (the ghost) hid in the backyard. All the other kids tried to run around the house, starting from the front, and the ghost would try to catch one of them (who would then become the ghost) before they made it back to base. So mostly tag, with a bit of hide-and-seek thrown in. I don't remember the counting, and clearly our games were different (since you mention everyone hiding), but now that you mention it I do remember the "hope to see the ghost tonight" bit. (Early 1980s for me).

#89 ::: cyllan ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2013, 01:54 PM:

Y'all had a much nicer version of See-See. We slid down razor blades in our version.

Also from my memory banks:
Eenie Meenie Pespideeni, ooh-bop-bopsedeeni,
Education, Liberation, I love you.
Down down baby
Down by the rollercoaster
Sweet Sweet honey, no place to go.
Caught you with your boyfriend - Naughty, Naughty,
Stole a piece of candy - Greedy, Greedy
Wouldn't wash the dishes - Lazy Lazy
Jumped out the window - Crazy, Crazy
Eenie Meenie Pespideeni, ooh-bop-bopsedeeni,
Education, Liberation, I love you.

which appears to be Yet Another Variation on hand-clapping games.

#90 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2013, 02:11 PM:

Total change of topic, but hey, it's an Open Thread. I just came acoss this, written in response to Boston, and thought some others might be interested, particularly any other runners:

In defiance of you

[And I also note that the two comments following could act as examples for the "Why ‘Thank you!’ Is A Dirty Word" thread...]

#91 ::: dcb has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2013, 02:12 PM:

For reference to THOSE WORDS.

#92 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2013, 03:01 PM:

Apparently someone was shooting video at my sister's wedding, and has been giving chunks of it to my dad to post on YouTube.

If you wish, you may marvel at the wonder and glory that was the wedding party's arrival at the reception, complete with stormtroopers, a battery-powered R2D2 (inflated by yours truly at the last second), my ADORABLE spawn the flowergirl, and a sword-arch with lightsabers (wielded by actual military officers, who'd neglected to bring their uniforms and Real Swords to the wedding).

I'm in it too, but I am utterly incidental to the affair. Alas, no footage yet of the bride's dress in full-on Wedding Configuration (only Autobot Liz, bustle-transformed to Dance Mode), which was an intentional replica of Padme's wedding dress.

In the words of my cousin, "Best Jewish Star Trek Wedding ever."

And the (hired, awesome) stormtroopers were absolute champs at joking around to keep morale high in the hallway BEFORE we entered, as one thing and another led to stupid piddling delays, compounding. They took a break in the primp room downstairs (where Hair And Makeup had been before the ceremony) and came back up to dance at the reception (my photos) and pose gamely for pictures with lots of my relatives.

#93 ::: Elliott Mason got gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2013, 03:02 PM:

Probably for lots of links. I promise they're legit. I have some wedding-favor bars of dark chocolate to share with the gnomes, for their job is a thankless mire of tedium.

#94 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2013, 03:23 PM:


I can't swear that our Ghost in the Graveyard involved hiding; I don't really remember the rules. Perhaps Cassy will. It definitely involved the "it" chanting, while everyone scattered, though.


That sounds very similar to a call and response chant/song we did:

Flea. (Flea)
Flea fly. (Flea fly)
Flea fly flow. (etc.)
Kumalada kumalada kumalada vista.
Oh, nonono, not the vista.
Eena-meeny essa-meeny, ooh-walla-walla-meeny, exa-meeny, sola-meeny, ooh-walla-wah.
Beep belly oaten-boaten bobo ba-deeten dotten shhhhh.

and its parody:

Flea fly.
Flea fly flow.
Calamine calamine calamine lotion.
Oh, no more calamine lotion.
Itchy itchy scratchy scratchy got one on my backy backy oohy oohy owie owie wish he'd go away.
Quick get the bug spray I think he's going thataway Shhhhhhhhh.

#95 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2013, 03:46 PM:

We sang the calamine lotion one at summer camp, as well as its originator:

Dog cat
Dog cat mouse
Itsy-bitsy-teenie-weenie-little-bitty froggie
Jump, jump, jump little froggie
Eatin' all the flies and all the spiders
Ribbit ribbit ribbit ribbit ribbit ribbit CROAK

But you don't want to get me started on camp songs. I worked there for four YEARS and we sang at every meal, so I can earworm people and not be affected myself. (I generally use opera to derail earworms.) At some point, I'd like to actually transcribe as many of the particular variants as I can to put online (that would be transcribe musically.) Some, like The Cat Came Back, I've heard in quite a few different variants, both upbeat and down. Some—like the Titanic—have extra camp-specific verses. (I wonder if the one I wrote is still there? We... had some issues with boats at that camp, usually with hilarious backstories.)

Heck, I just wrote a mock-heroic ballad about a particular incident that I titled The Might Fridge Warriors of Winton. Camp songs are fun.

#96 ::: Jeremy Leader ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2013, 04:20 PM:

Elliott Mason @92: I love how your flower girl seems to be leading the ring-bearer by the hand into the room, and he looks as if he's unsure whether he really wants to be there.

#97 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2013, 04:23 PM:

One hen; two ducks; three squawking geese; four Limerick oysters; five corpulent porpoises; six pairs of Don Alverzo's tweezers; seven thousand Macedonians in full battle array; eight brass monkeys from the ancient, sacred crypts of Egypt; nine apathetic, sympathetic, diabetic old men on roller skates with a marked propensity toward procrastination and sloth; ten lyrical, spherical, diabolical denizens of the deep who haul stall around the corner of the quo of the quay of the quivery*, all at the same time.

Done from memory. I lived in several different states and two countries during childhood. Sometimes we said "quivey". All at the same time.

#98 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2013, 04:24 PM:

Jeremy Leader @96: Especially funny because he's got about a year and a half on her, agewise (she's 4).

Great footage of her (not so much of anyone else) in the processional-into-the-church here. The back of my husband's head is visible at the extreme left of the front row at around 1:40 (with her in his lap). I'm the bridal attendant in the tux, not that I'm unblurry enough to recognize; my baby sister the was-almost-a-marine is the redheaded second bridesmaid.

#99 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2013, 05:04 PM:

Cally @94,

Darn; you posted Koomaladda Veesta before I could.

And "ghost in the graveyard" was, to my recollection, tag with a flashlight. You had to wait until fairly dark twilight, everyone had a flashlight; all but the ghost would hide while the ghost chanted the counting-song. There was a very rigid limit on how far away you could go; usually the "graveyard" area was two or three house's (contiguous) yards; no crossing streets allowed. The ghost would then go looking for everyone else; you were "tagged" if the ghost's flashlight beam caught you. (For the most part, as a consequence, everyone else kept their lights off until they were tagged.) At that point, we'd reset with the new ghost.

Something like that, anyway.

#100 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2013, 05:14 PM:

Also, regarding counting games (such as for jumping rope), my grandmother taught us a version of "one, two, buckle my shoe" that went to 26 before it turned into straight counting.

1, 2, buckle my shoe
3, 4 shut the door
5, 6 pick up sticks
7, 8 lay them straight
9, 10 a big fat hen
11, 12 books on shelve (yes, I know, but it's "shelve", not "shelves" or "shelf")
13, 14 maids are courting
15, 16 maids are kissing
17, 18 maids are waiting (as an adult, I wonder if they're waiting to find if they're pregnant!)
19, 20 my plate is empty; please mother give me some more
21, 22 if you love me as I love you no knife can cut our love in two. Go north, go south, go east, go west; you are the one that I love best
23, 24 last night or the night before, twentyfour robbers came to my door. I went to the door to let them in; they knocked me down with a rolling pin. I went upstairs to get my gun; you should have seen those twentyfour robbers run. They ran to the north, they ran to the south, they ran to the east, they ran to the west, they ran right over the railroad tracks, and all fell down and broke their backs.
25, 26 Mother, mother, I am sick. Send for the doctor, quick-quick-quick. Doctor, doctor, shall I die? Yes, my darling, but don't cry. How many carriages shall I have? One, two, three, four....

(and here it turns into just straight counting)

I'm moderately sure the part at 23, 24 was bowdlerdized; it was almost certainly not 24 robbers but 24 n-words orignally.

#101 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2013, 05:22 PM:

And that skip-rope-counting-game takes endurance; you've reached at least 126 skips before you start counting funeral carriages. (I say "at least" because sometimes there's a pause to catch the breath between lines, at the skipper's discretion).

#102 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2013, 05:51 PM:

The fact that "Glory Hallelujah" is rhymed with "Teacher hit me with a ruler" (in the version of that I learned) proves that it did not originate where I grew up! (We spoke a strongly rhotic dialect.)

We had a counting rhyme that hasn't been mentioned here:

Bubble gum, bubble gum, in a dish
How many pieces do you wish?
Then we'd count that number. This means the count was controlled by whomever had the best mod math, especially with the flexible/corrupting tag
My mother told me to pick the very best one—and you are not it!
There was also one that ended with "so out goes you" but I can't remember the details.

#103 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2013, 06:00 PM:

Eena-meeny essa-meeny, ooh-walla-walla-meeny, exa-meeny, sola-meeny, ooh-walla-wah.

I wonder if the science-language of my household leaked into this? Because I learned it as "Eeny-meany deci-meany, oo-walla-walla-meany, hexa-meany, salla-meany, oo-walla-wah."

#104 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2013, 06:09 PM:

Cassy, #100: Meg Davis does a bit of that (mixed with other stuff) at the end of "Monster's Lullaby":

Nyaah, nyaah, your mother eats toads; may a crow find a wart on the tip of your nose;
Ding dong, the cat's in the well, so run and fetch another one.
Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, hold the horse till I get on;
Hold him fast and hold him sure till I get across the misty moor.
Last night and the night before, a lemon and a pickle came knocking at my door;
I went down to let them in, and they hit me with a rolling pin.
Roses are red, violets are blue, carnations are sweet and so are you,
And so are they who send you this, and when we meet we'll have a kiss.

#105 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2013, 06:32 PM:

Eeny-meeny, gypsaleeny,
Oo-cha omaleeny,
Hotchy-totchy Liberace,
I love you baby soom-boom-boom.

Saw your boyfriend last night,
What's his name,
John Wayne,
How do you know,
Just so.
Peek through the window, nosy,
Get a piece of candy, stingy,
Wash those dishes, lazy,
Jump out the window like crazy,
So it's
(repeat first verse as fast as possible.)

That was a 5th grade thing. The 6th grade thing was as follows:

Eh-eh, eh eh
Boom boom boom
(Hard hand-smack on the final BOOM.)

#106 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2013, 07:29 PM:

I got it as '11, 12, dig and delve'; we never got past 14 that I remember.

#107 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2013, 08:56 PM:

So Yahoo took away the Messages Displayed Per Page feature, which allowed going through large folders by pages. Now you have to scroll back through the entire folder (downloading the entire list of messages) to get to an earlier point.

I have confirmed that this is a deliberate change.

This and other crock feature changes increasingly lead me to believe that Yahoo wants out of the email business, and is deliberately making the system harder and harder to use so that people will migrate away from Yahoo.

This is stupid. It will cause anger and resentment against the whole company. But stupidity doesn't really argue against it, since corporations do stupid things all the time.

#108 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2013, 08:57 PM:

I have managed over the past fortnight to travel from the eastern Mediterranean to the southeastern Caribbean and find banana trees in front of both the places where I was staying. I am wondering if this is some sort of motif.

#109 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2013, 10:05 PM:

Xopher @ 107 -

I don't use Yahoo mail that much, but I was able to use my page up and page down buttons on the keyboard to scroll the inbox. I agree that their changes were a pain.

#110 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2013, 10:07 PM:

An update on the unsatisfactory carstuff: First Shop asked to see the car when updated, saw the car, was shocked and apologetic, and is refunding me labor costs on the unnecessary repair they did. Well, necessary if the car drove much longer. I am taking steps toward a new car.

I'm very proud of myself for going to the shop not once but twice and sticking to what I wanted both times. It worked! Go me!

#111 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2013, 10:19 PM:

No promises, but there's the possibility of a brief Meteor shower early Tuesday morning.

#112 ::: D. Potter ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2013, 10:31 PM:

I'm recognizing fragments of the various chants of childhood, but yours veer off in different ways.

Well, let's see:

A sailor went to sea, sea, sea,
to see what he could see, see, see.
But all that he could see, see, see
was the bottom of the deep blue sea, sea, sea.

A sailor went to China
to see what he could China
but all that he could China
was the bottom of the deep blue China

A sailor went to see touch knee
to see what he could see touch knee
but all that he could see touch knee
was the bottom of the deep blue see touch knee.

And I think it had hand gestures, but I don't remember them.

Falling across Swee-Touch-Nee tea was strange, let me tell you.

#113 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2013, 10:58 PM:

HLN update: Adorable Kitten, fully recovered from harrowing trip in car bumper, has been adopted by adopters of another white kitten. Yay! Apparently there were several potential adopters.

#114 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2013, 11:03 PM:

The only shower I see upcoming is 3-6 inches of rain.

#115 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2013, 11:53 PM:

Tracie: Yay!

#116 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2013, 01:39 AM:

Elliott Mason @ 92: the world needs more bridesmaids with light sabers.

#117 ::: Mea ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2013, 08:56 AM:

To the folks who introduced me to an archive of our own, have you read this yet? Will make you smile:

#118 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2013, 09:14 AM:

Elliott Mason @ 83: We continued "Miss Suzie" from the "And that is all I know" point as follows:

I know, I know my mother
I know, I know my pa
I know, I know my sister
With the eighty-meter bra!

Throw me in the ocean,
Throw me in the sea,
Flush me down the toilet
And that's the end of me!

#119 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2013, 11:32 AM:

So now Russia declares itself my enemy, and the enemy of every queer person in the world, but especially of LGBT kids in their own country, who are now banned from finding out any information about the LGBT community. This means they're not allowed to talk to each other, either.

Someone on FB pointed out that they're going to have to do a lot of web censorship to accomplish this. Time to start making sure LGBT sites outside Russia are available in Russian.

#120 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2013, 01:37 PM:

HLN: Local woman, after getting on the bus in Minneapolis at 10:30 pm local time night before last, finally arrives home.

Local woman denies kissing the ground because it is not a bus, but admits to spoiling her dogs, who were endearingly glad to see her.

"And all my luggage, including the Special Presents of Awesomeness, arrived safely," she said.

#121 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2013, 02:51 PM:

Lila @120: YAY!

HLN: Local woman is being assiduously compliant with medical advice. Local house still has an excess of baklava. And the teakettle misses you.

#122 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2013, 04:10 PM:


(Local woman still needs more sleep.)

#123 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2013, 05:09 PM:

Diatryma @110: Go you! Seriously well done.

Tracie @113: Nice to know that Adorable Kitten has a new home.

Xopher Halftongue @199: Ugh!

#124 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2013, 07:26 PM:

dcb #123: Commenting on future posts?

#125 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2013, 07:52 PM:

Rat4000, for a website that doesn't refer to non-Catholic faiths as heresies, see the Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance.

#126 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2013, 08:09 PM:

Shifted geminate, Fragano. dcb meant 119.

#127 ::: J. Random Scribbler ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2013, 10:28 PM:

Deck the halls with gasoline,
Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la,
Light it quick before you're seen,
Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la
Watch the school burn down to ashes,
Fa-la-la, la-la-la, la, la, la!
Aren't you glad you played with matches,
Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la.

Elliot Mason @49: We also had that "My eyes have seen the glory" with slightly different words, and infinite variations on the chorus from "hit her in the butt with a rotten coconut" to "met her at the bank with a Sherman army tank". Also a pretty messed-up version of "Hi-ho, hi-ho, it's off to school we go" that ended up with teachers getting shot and other refinements.

Oh, and I just remembered:

This land's not your land,
this land is my land,
'cause I have a shotgun,
and you don't got one,
so you better get off,
or I'll blow your head off,
this land is private property!

As I was walking,
that bombed-out highway,
I saw above me,
that polluted skyway,
I saw below me,
that burned-out valley,
this land was made for you not me!

All these were from an elementary school in western Oregon in the early eighties, in case anybody's keeping track of variations.

#128 ::: Wyman Cooke ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2013, 12:43 AM:

Lee @ 48

I was at a book conference where GGGG was on display as a new book. Also attending was Toni Weisskopf. It was some personal disappointment that I didn't get her to autograph a copy or even photograph her holding one.

#129 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2013, 01:15 AM:

Deck the halls with dirty laundry
Fa la la la la la la la la
'Tis the season to be naughty
Fa la la la la la la la la
Break a window, start a fire
Fa la la la la la la la la
Stick a pin in teacher's tire
Fa la la la la la la la la

#130 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2013, 02:47 AM:

I've been working on my homework,
All the livelong day.
I've been working on my homework
Just to pass the time away.
Can't you hear the teacher shouting,
"Children, do your work!"
Can't you hear the children shouting,
"Teacher, you're a jerk."

Teacher, won't you blow,
Teacher, won't you blow,
Teacher, won't you blow your no-o-o-se?
Teacher, won't you blow,
Teacher, won't you blow,
Teacher, won't you blow your nose?

Someone's in the bathroom with teacher,
Someone's in the bathroom, I know.
Someone's in the bathroom with teacher,
Swimming in the toilet bowl.

And singing, fee, fie fiddly-ei-o
Fee, fie fiddly-ei-o,
Swimming in the toilet bowl.

#131 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2013, 03:02 AM:

We three Kings of Orient are
Trying to smoke a Tampa cigar*
It was loaded
And exploded
We three Kings of Orient were....

* * * * *

Comet! It makes your mouth so green
Comet! It tastes like Listerine
Comet! It makes you vomit
So get some Comet
And vomit

*I went to elementary school in Tampa in the sixties. The glory days of the cigar industry in Ybor City were past, but not forgotten. Authentic cigar boxes for our school supplies weren't uncommon.

#132 ::: J Homes ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2013, 06:14 AM:

Combining the current thread topic with the sidebar on the NZ Parliament bursting into song when the Same-Sex Marriage bill passed.

To the tune of Pokarare Ana.
Pokarare Ana.
I had a squashed banana,
I threw it at the teacher,
She said "Come here."
"Not on your life," I said,

And at that point memory fails me.

J Homes.

#133 ::: Cal Dunn ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2013, 06:48 AM:

We had the twenty-four robbers (in the early 80s, in Australia), but as a skipping rhyme:

Not last night but the night before
Twenty-four robbers came knocking at the door
As I went out, as they went in
And knocked me over with a rolling pin
I asked them what they wanted and this is what they said:
"Spanish lady, turn around
Spanish lady, touch the ground
Spanish lady, do the kicks
Spanish lady, do the splits"

It started off with the rope swinging side to side, and at the word "over" it changed to normal over-the-top skipping. The last four lines refer to particular actions that the skipper has to do (and there were always arguments about whether we'd done the kicks properly, or how many turns we were allowed to do the splits, which meant trapping the rope between your feet).

The other skipping rhyme I remember was a Japanese one that I never managed to learn all the words to (and Google is no help):

ichiban wa karasu ga kaa kaa
niban wa niwatori kokke-kokko
san wa sakana ga oyoideru
shi wa [something] no ojoosan

(First is the crow who goes "kaa-kaa"
Second is the chicken who goes "kokke-kokko"
Third is the fish swimming
Fourth is either a young lady or possibly a princess)

One person runs in at the beginning of each line, then at the end of the rhyme everyone runs out in turn (there are actually words for this part but I never learnt them). The Japanese girls would always make us non-Japanese girls go fourth, and they'd change the rhyme to "ojiisan" (old man / grandfather) thinking we had no idea what they meant.

Then there was the very rude version of Waltzing Matilda...

#134 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2013, 08:18 AM:

I learned We Three Kings with "rubber cigar", and I learned it from my mother; it had no currency among other kids that I knew. (I wasn't popular. I might have missed it.)

Our skipping-rope rhyme wasn't "Spanish lady" but "Teddy bear". There was also "Cinderella, dressed in yella, went downstairs to meet a fella. How many kisses did he give her? One, two, three..." However, traditional skipping rope wasn't a big game. It was much cooler to play Chinese jump rope, and that didn't have rhymes, exactly, just chanted directions. I can't remember them all, but it started with "Front, back, side-to-side."

#135 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2013, 08:27 AM:

Rikibet, 134: Our Cinderella went "...kiss a fella, Made a mistake, Kissed a snake, How many doctors did it take."

I don't remember anything about our Chinese jumprope rules beyond that we had them. I think we didn't have a chant, we just all knew the order, and the last move was *hard.*

#136 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2013, 08:40 AM:

TexAnne @135: for Chinese jumprope (an elastic loop put around the legs of the 'holders' instead of them rotating a single or doubled rope as in ordinary/double dutch jumprope) we had a chant that had to be acted out at each 'level':

Jump in, jump out,
Jump side-to-side
Jump on, jump in,
Jump out.

So the feet went between the strands, outside the strands, a quick alternation of left-inside-right-outside with its converse, feet ATOP the strands (pushing them down to the ground), feet inside, feet outside.

Then we'd advance the difficulty level.

It started (level 0?) around the holders' ankles, with them standing normally, feet somewhere just short of shoulder's-width apart. I no longer remember the full order, but 'narrow' (holders' feet touching at the instep) and 'widesies' (holders standing with feet nearly as far apart as they could and still stand upright), and 'twisty' (ordinary width, but before each jump the jumper must cross the strands to make a diamond in the center, and start from inside that diamond, with the strands pushing in on their legs).

Then it started changing elevation, so you start at ankles and do all the difficulties, then move to calvsies, kneesies, thighsies, and floorsies. I think some of the kids at my school kept wanting to try waistsies, but none of us had a loop stretchy enough to handle 'jump on' at that height without knocking the holders over. :->

#137 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2013, 09:45 AM:

J. Random's "Deck the Halls" and Debbie's "We Three Kings" (with Rikibeth's "rubber cigar") and "Comet" ("it's better than Listerine") were all current in my school days. Our "Cinderella" jumprope rhyme was the same as TexAnne's.

This morning I remembered another variant on "Glory, Glory" in which the outcome is: "Hit her on the bean/With a rotten tangerine/And now my teacher is green."

We also (and by "we" I mean the African-American girls, whose song-plays were WAY better than the white kids' and who kindly taught them to us) had Miss Minnehaha:

[kids stand in a circle, one is chosen to stand in center. Kids in circle clap and chant:]

Hey, Miss Minne-ha ha
Fly way over yonder, ha ha
With a handful of biscuit, ha ha
[beginner skips across circle and picks another child]

Hey, Miss [child's name], ha ha [....]

And Punchinella:

Oh look who's here, Punchinella for your fella,
Look who's here, Punchinella for you!
Oh what can you do, Punchinella for your fella,
What can you do, Punchinella for you?
[child in middle does a dance move]
Oh, we can do it too, Punchinella for your fella,
We can do it too, Punchinella for you
[kids in circle imitate dance move]
Oh, who do you choose, Punchinella for your fella,
Who do you choose, Punchinella for you?
[child in center picks next child, repeat]

The previous two were girls' games only. We also played Red Rover, which was for girls and boys.

#138 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2013, 09:51 AM:

Addendum: my kids and their contemporaries had the Cup Game, the biggest iteration of which I ever saw filled an entire meeting room and extended down the hall, at the Georgia Thespian Convention. Their version, I think, was the same as that shown through about 1:01 in the video; no music, accelerating gradually, and if you make a mistake you're out.

#139 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2013, 10:15 AM:

Our variant of "We Three Kings" had the rubber cigar, but went something like this:

We three kings of Orient are
trying to wear some cheap underwear
it's fantastic
all elastic
Ninety-nine cents a pair.

(and various other verses as people could make them up, ending in:)

We three kings of Orient are
trying to smoke a rubber cigar
It was loaded
It exploded

(a brief, significant pause, before beginning:)

Silent night, holy night...

#140 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2013, 10:54 AM:

Learned on the bus to Vacation Bible School:

There were five, five constipated men
In the Bible, in the Bible,
There were five, five constipated men
In the holy Books of Moses.

The first, first constipated man
He was Cain, he wasn't Abel.
The first, first constipated man
He was Cain, he wasn't Abel.

Moses, he took two tablets
Joshua, he blew the walls down*
Solomon, he sat for forty years
Balaam, he couldn't move his ass

*or Samson, he brought the house down

#141 ::: Steve C ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2013, 10:59 AM:

Coca-Cola came to town
Pepsi-Cola shot him down
Dr. Pepper fixed him up
Now they're drinking 7-UP

#142 ::: David Wald ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2013, 11:05 AM:

I missed the cup game in my childhood, but got introduced to it in song form in the movie Pitch Perfect, at which point my wife gave me the game context. (Here's a version of that same song at full music video length.)

#143 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2013, 12:06 PM:

Tracie @ 140

I've got Cain and Moses (but I've got "took the tablets" instead of "took two tablets) and Joshua, and I can't remember the fourth constipated man, but the fifth we sang was

Now the fifth, fifth, constipated man
Was Noah, was Noah
For forty days and forty nights
He passed only water.

Which I think is a beautifully written verse though (or because of the way?) it breaks the pattern of the previous ones.

#144 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2013, 12:06 PM:

Tracy @140,

The version of 5 Constipated Men I learned was
Cain, he wasn't Abel
Moses, he took the tablets
Joshua, he blew the walls down
*someone else I don't remember, but I don't think it was Balaam or Solomon*
and it ended with,

Now the fifth, fifth, constipated man was Noah,
Was Noah,
For forty days and forty nights he passed only water!

#145 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2013, 12:07 PM:

Cally @ 143; JINX!

#146 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2013, 12:14 PM:

If you want it to be accurate, it might be worth noting that neither Solomon nor Samson is in the books of Moses. Cain, Moses, Joshua, Balaam and Noah would work.

Casey B@100: For me, too, it's 'dig and delve', but also 'maids in waiting' - i.e. waiting on a lady, which I think would rule out the pregnancy interpretation. It might not work so well in a country without a nobility, though.

#147 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2013, 12:46 PM:

Cassy, is this the place to mention our family Jinx/Snap ritual?

We grew up with this. The second speaker is in parens.

Link little fingers

Needles (Pins)
When a man marries his troubles begin (When a man dies his troubles end)
What goes up the chimney (Smoke)
What comes down the chimney (Santa Claus)
What goes up the chimney down but not down the chimney up (an umbrella)
What goes through the chimney (Casper the Friendly Ghost)
[together] BREAK [breaking linked pinkies]
and who ever touches the color blue with their pinkie finger gets to make a wish.

Obviously at least some of those questions are modern additions!

Years later, I heard a Fibber McGee and Molly episode (which I sadly forgot to mark down the year and day for). After Fibber and Gildersleeve said the same thing at the same time, there was a pause long enough to link pinkies (and since pauses were anathema on radio, it had to be deliberate), and then:

Pins (Needles)
Cotton (Thimbles)
What goes up the chimney? (Smoke)
[together] May your wish and my wish never be broke.

And just recently I heard a Cavalcade of America episode originally broadcast on October 15, 1945, called "Children, This is Your Father" about a returning war vet, in which this appeared:

Hey, what comes out of the chimney (Smoke)
[together] Your wish and my wish will never be broke
[the following was not said together, but sequentially]
(Touch green, my wish will be seen)
Touch green, my wish will be seen
(Touch red, my wish will be said)
Touch red, my wish will be said
(Touch blue, my wish will come true)
Touch blue--what the heck, my wish HAS come true!

I'm pretty sure that last bit was an interruption of the formula, though....

#148 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2013, 12:52 PM:

In re the constipated men in the Bible, one I know that hasn't arisen (heh) yet is:

Pharoah, he couldn't let it go

I know someone who learned Pharoah as "His .... heart ... was hardened", sung in a way to imply it was somewhere sub-heart, in fact.

I know I've regularly sung more than 12 different verses, but I can't remember any more just now. I'm sure the internet has some. :->

#149 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2013, 01:32 PM:

Elliott: yes, that's the one I couldn't remember "Pharaoh, he couldn't let go". (No "it" in the version I learned.) Thanks!

#150 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2013, 01:44 PM:

Debbie 131: I think I got this from my cousins in California:

Comet! It makes your teeth turn green!
Comet! It tastes like gasoline!
Comet! It makes you vomit, [rest same as yours]

...but there was a second verse:

Comet! It makes your teeth turn yellow!
Comet! It tastes like moldy Jello!
Comet! It makes etc.

#151 ::: Jeremy Leader ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2013, 02:04 PM:

Xopher @150: I heard the Comet/gasoline first verse the same as yours, in the late 1960s in central NJ. I don't recall ever hearing a second verse.

We also had some version of "Miss Mary Mack", but I can't recall much of it.

And we had a number of verses of "Miss Lucy had a steamboat", similar to Cally Soukup's @78:

Miss Lucy had a steamboat, the steamboat had a bell
Miss Lucy went to heaven, the steamboat went to
Hello, operator, please give me number nine
And if you disconnect me, I'll kick you in your Behind the 'frigerator, there was a piece of glass
Miss Lucy slipped and stepped on it, and it went up her
Ask me no more questions, I'll tell you no more lies
The boys are in the locker room, pulling down their
Flies are in the country, the bees are in the park
The boys and girls are kissing in the D A R K dark!

I also remember something about somebody (Miss Lucy?) "... in the cow pasture, eating chocolate pies", but I can't figure out where it fit in.

My older son, currently in middle school here in Los Angeles, taught me another double-entendre verse like "Miss Lucy". I'll have to get him to refresh my memory so I can post it here. He'd never heard "Miss Lucy".

#152 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2013, 02:06 PM:

Tracie, #140: I remember that one!

This is all reminding me of the "Concert Choir Cheer" that someone invented while I was at Vandy. It went like this:

Ma-hee, ma-hi,
Ma-hee, ma-hi, ma-ho
A roomstick, a broomstick,
A nick-nack-nanny-crack
Sol-fat merang-gee
Hobble-gobble ricka-racka
Hobble-gobble firecracker
Hobble-gobble RAzoo
Fred* blow your KAzoo
Sis boom bah
Vanderbilt Concert Choir
Rah rah rah!

The people who came up with it seemed to think it fit some pattern that everyone would know. To me it was just gibberish... but OTOH, I still remember it 35 years later, so I guess it was effective gibberish!

* Fred Ford, the choir director.

#153 ::: Jeremy Leader sings naughty kids' songs to the gnomes ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2013, 02:07 PM:

All I have to offer them are some cashews.

#154 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2013, 02:24 PM:

Lincoln, Lincoln,
I've been thinkin'
What's that stuff that
You've been drinkin'?
Looks like water,
Tastes like wine--
Oh my gosh it's

Yes, in our local dialect, the "o" in Lincoln is more of a schwa. "Link'n".

#155 ::: dancingcrow ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2013, 02:53 PM:

I learned this in New England in 1967, and it seems to have carried forward:

There's a place somewhere
where the ladies smoke cigars
and every puff they take
is enough to kill a snake.
When the snake dies
they put diamonds in its eyes,
when the diamonds fade,
it is 1968.

If anyone knows anything about origins I'd be delighted to be illuminated!

#156 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2013, 03:10 PM:

dancingcrow @155

I learned it (sometime in the early 1970s) as:

There's a place called Mars
Where the ladies smoke cigars
And the smoke they make
Is enough to kill a snake
When the snake is dead
They put flowers on its head
When the flowers die
They count one-two-three-four-five.

#157 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2013, 03:32 PM:

HLN: A local parent has found great solace in reading profane chants posted on the Internet ever since receiving his daughter's preschool acceptance letter half an hour ago. Apparently the Chicago Public Schools think it is perfectly reasonable to give a small, mandatory application window, send out acceptance letters "In early June" that arrive June 12th, and bludgeon teaching staff that they MUST have ALL their parents enrolled BY JUNE 21st at the UTTER LATEST or else.

Because having a less-than-a-week timeframe to gather documents and apply in person is TOTALLY something every family can do at no notice, especially in a month often filled with family weddings and trips out of town, right?

Like the one we're making, where we fly out of the country this Friday morning and return home the afternoon of the day AFTER the 'last day' of registration?

Luckily, though overworked and intimidated, my kid's future preschool teachers are also sweet and friendly, and we have (hopefully) worked out an alternative time to come in under special dispensation. Now I just need to acquire a copy of her vacc record on no notice before Friday morning, as there will be no time at all to do anything about it after we come back into town.

The more I read into the CPS central system's policies and general methods of operation, the more I sympathize with the parents who run FOR THE HILLS away from it at their very first chance to do so, if they have the means. Alas, we have not the means, so I get to dig in and Get Active and try to help make it functional from the inside out. See grindstone, apply shoulder, etc.

#158 ::: Jennifer Baughman ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2013, 03:48 PM:

Elliot Mason #157: Why, that makes as much sense as Medicaid deciding that the primary care physician to an almost-three-year-old should be a rural internist specializing in colonoscopies, fifty miles from said three-year-old's residence.

#159 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2013, 03:52 PM:


I've finally found a network of blogs from other CPS parents and teachers, and am utterly appalled at the difference between Facts On The Ground as experienced by people actually trying to use the system, and what gets talked about on public radio or mainstream news blogs.

The mainstream news isn't just burying the lede on current CPS flusterclucks, they're completely missing the entire point. While tossing softball sweetheart questions at the people they have up for interview.

#160 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2013, 04:13 PM:

I've heard stories from people dealing with LAUSD's 'magnet school' program, where Parents Who Know Someone find out about application periods before everyone else (and everyone else is trying to get even basic information without a lot of success). Stuff that's intended for gifted/talented/minority students somehow ends up with ordinary students whose parents have Connections.

#161 ::: Toni Weisskopf ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2013, 04:25 PM:

My co-author on GREASY GRIMY GOPHER GUTS, Josepha Sherman, has passed away, but at some point I would like to do a follow-on volume and will start collecting again.

#162 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2013, 05:07 PM:

Followup to my @184: Adding to the fun, I can't find our previous printout of her vaccination record, so I've ordered a replacement from her pediatrician.

It will take 7-10 business days to get it.

I have to have it in my hand on June 24th ... meaning John has to go into the office in the afternoon of the day we fly back into the country and pick it up from the departmental fax machine. And we're lucky we got that 'special extension' from the school, or we wouldn't have it at all in time for their 'mandatory' registration days!

#163 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2013, 05:09 PM:

Argh. There hasn't been an @184 comment yet, of course, but you're all bright people, you'll figure it out. Oh how I'd love to go have a drink in a hot bathtub right about now ....

#164 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2013, 05:13 PM:

Elliott, 157sqq: ARGH, that sounds awful.

HLN: Woman discovers that Icelandic fleece spins itself. Cat hair, however, does not.

#165 ::: Steve C ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2013, 05:40 PM:

From my FB feed this morning by the ever-dependable George Takei -

Why did the cowboy get a dachshund?

Because he wanted to get a long little doggie.

#166 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2013, 07:13 PM:

TexAnne #164: Does local woman know anyone with a Newfie? I've heard their fur is great for spinning.

#167 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2013, 07:23 PM:

There's a place in France
Where the ladies wear no pants...

I can't remember the rest of it, which is just as well.

More biblical exegesis -- New Testament constipated men -- courtesy of the Mudcat Cafe:
Peter (was like a rock; also, heaven and earth could not move him; also, he denied it three times)
Judas Iscariot (he burst asunder, Acts I:18)
Titus (his name speaks for itself)
Jesus (he cleared the temple; he rose after three days)
And of course, GOD (He sits till Judgement Day)

Apparently not constipated:
John the Baptist (he went before)
Martha (she rose up hastily)

This song seems to have become a staple on the renaissance faire circuit.

#168 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2013, 07:26 PM:

Dave, 166: Local woman has heard that too, but is uninterested in a sweater that, when wet, smells like a wet dog.

More seriously, there are some breeds that are supposed to make yarn that doesn't smell like wet dog, but I don't remember what they are and there are SO MANY sheep to try...and then there are the camelids...and then the plants. And the silkworms. I won't be bored any time soon!

#169 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2013, 07:33 PM:

I seem to have gotten the next two lines of that one as
And the men don't care
As they wash their underwear

#170 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2013, 07:58 PM:

A spinner I knew who spun dog fur professionally and in great quantities told me that you needed to spin and knit (or weave) the furry project before you washed it. There would be a doggy odor while you worked on it, but it would wash out later.

On the other hand, this pet fur spinner washes it before and after spinning. I guess it's just personal preference.

Either way, a dog fur sweater need not smell like a wet dog. There are instructions on line for washing fur.

All of my dogs have had spinable coats (Pomeranian, Siberian Husky, and Corgi-Chow) but I've never managed to spin any.

#171 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2013, 08:29 PM:

Ahem! Ahem! My mother's gone off to church
She told me not to play with you because you've been in the dirt
It isn't because you're dirty
It isn't because you're clean
It's because you have the whooping cough and eat margar-ine!

#172 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2013, 08:38 PM:

Ten ways the government will respond to the latest whistleblower with BS and misdirection.

I especially liked the bit where the president said he welcomed a public debate on this kind of program, given that he's had the authority to declassify enough of the program to have that discussion since he took office in 2008. Anyone want to bet he will tell Eric Holder not to prosecute Snowden, since he's just allowing us to have a public debate on these programs?

#173 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2013, 09:10 PM:

Digger omnibus Kickstarter.

They made their initial goal in 12 hours. At this writing they're less than $2,000 away from the level at which Ursula will write and illustrate a new short story in the Digger universe, which will be included in the omnibus.

#174 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2013, 10:25 PM:

@#57: Let me tell you son, it ain't no fun, staring straight down a .44 .

@#154: I heard "Is it water/ is it wine/ Oh my god it's Turpentine!"

#175 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2013, 10:37 PM:

Tracie@ 167:

Followed by:
There's a hole in the wall
Where the men see it all.

#176 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2013, 10:42 PM:

In the fiber thread, a local friend here wants to collect and spin donkey hair into yarn so that he can knit it into hats.

He's sure that there's a market for authentic ass-hats on the Internet.

#177 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2013, 11:00 PM:

It comes back, Eric:

And the boys don't care
'Cause they like to see it bare.

No wonder I (temporarily) wiped it from memory.

From the same school bus, circa 1960:

I want a man, I want a man,
I want a mansion in the sky.
I feel like hell, I feel like hell
I feel like helping some poor guy,
And when the dam, dam, dam, dam, damage is done,
I'm gonna have myself a barrel of fine,
I want a mansion in the sky.

I wanna neck, I wanna neck,
I wanna necklace made of pearls,
I wanna pet, I wanna pet,
I wanna petticoat that swirls,
And when the dam, dam, dam, dam, damage is done
I'll have my child, child, child, child, childish fun,
I want a mansion in the sky.

#178 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2013, 11:02 PM:

they just use grass
to cover up their ass

#179 ::: Magenta Griffith ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2013, 11:17 PM:

Jeremy @151, and others previously

The way I learned the song was

Lulu had a steamboat, the steamboat had a bell
Lulu went to heaven, the steamboat went to

For some reason, as a child, I connected this verse to the Little Lulu comics, especially the very unauthorized ones that went around the schoolyard.

#180 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2013, 11:34 PM:

There is undoubtedly an online market for literal ass-hats on the internet. I'd buy one just for the abominable pun alone.

#181 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2013, 11:42 PM:

My "Miss Lucy" is similar to those posted before, but among my circle of friends, the boys...

are in the bathroom / eating all the
flies are in the kitchen / bees are in the park

& etc. I didn't hear the the zipper innuendo until much later in life. But I did get introduced to a shorter variant which ends

The boys are in the bathroom, making chocolate pies!
(And lemonade...)

The last two words sung much like the "And many more..." that sometimes gets appended to "Happy Birthday".

We used to do the McDonald's hand jive, but I suspect our choreography was much simpler than some of what's being reported here. It consisted of only four moves: the swim-style slapping hands once with right hands above left hands, then again with left hands above right, then a double hi-five, then you just clap. Repeat until out of jingle.

#182 ::: Rainflame ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2013, 12:13 AM:

Cal Dunn@133
The "Spanish Dancer" is almost identical to the jump rope rhyme we did in western Oregon in the late 50s. Somehow that's amazing to me.

Here's another rhyme I remember:
Tra la la boom ti ay
My teacher passed away
We threw her in the bay
Tra la la boom ti ay

And when they fished her out
Mistook her for a trout
They could have won a prize
For her enormous size.

There's a place in France
Where the women do a dance
And the dance they do
Was written by a Jew
Now the Jew couldn't dance
So they kicked in the pants
And the pants he wore
Cost a dollar eighty-four
Plus Tax

#183 ::: Rainflame has aroused the trolls' suspicions ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2013, 12:15 AM:

Yikes, so sorry, no intention to offend

#184 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2013, 12:20 AM:

Gnomes, Rainflame. The gnomes keep us safe from spammish evoll. Trolls come here to make trouble and disturb the civil conversation.

Sometimes a troll appears as a piñata, but gnomes are really quite difficult to mistake for trolls.

#185 ::: Rainflame ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2013, 12:34 AM:

You're so right Xopher. My abject apologies to the hardworking gnomes.

#186 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2013, 01:08 AM:

#127 ::: J. Random Scribbler

The second line in the version I know is "Light a match and see it gleam." Otherwise the same. (New York, 1960s.)

#187 ::: Glenn Hauman ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2013, 01:23 AM:

Re: Sidelights and "Don't savvy me"... it surprises you that so many of us say "And this surprises you?"

#188 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2013, 01:42 AM:

Most of childhood songs I know have already been listed, more or less exactly as I've heard them.

#189 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2013, 01:47 AM:

There were three jolly fishermen,
There were three jolly fishermen.
Fisher, fisher, men-men-men,
Fisher, fisher, men-men-men,
There were three jolly fishermen.

That's the form. Following verses:

The first one's name was Abraham...
The second one's name was Isaac...
The third one's name was Jacob...
They all went down to Amster-SSSH!
I'm gonna say it anyway...
They all went down to AmsterDAM...

There may have been more verses, but that's all I can remember. The whole point of it was to be a giggly way to almost-swear. "Amster-Amster-DAM-DAM-DAM!"

#190 ::: Cal Dunn ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2013, 02:11 AM:

We three kings of Bankstown Square
Selling women's underwear
So fantastic, no elastic
Fifty cents a pair

I have vague memories of a men's choir singing this with lovely vocal harmonies, very solemnly and earnestly, but blowed if I can remember where.

Also, in our version of Jingle Bells, Robin ran away, and Wonder Woman lost her bosom flying TAA (Trans Australian Airlines, which doesn't exist any more)

Rainflame #182, that is amazing (and awesome). Particularly because ours was a very small school and I don't remember any students of US descent - must have been cross-pollination!

#191 ::: John M. Burt ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2013, 03:05 AM:

My six-year-old has voiced some interesting theology of his own, as when he informed me that Redbird (of the Angry Birds) was going to do something which "will be good for his soul -- if he had one. His soul is not in the right place, if you know what I mean." When I admitted I didn't know, he pointed to his belly button and said, "Mine is right in front of the backbone, but Redbird's is closer to his head feathers than his tail feathers."

Compare and contrast with "Binky Brown Meets the Holy Virgin Mary", in which Binky pictures the soul as a two-lobed object, something like a thyroid (although he speaks of it as "lung-shaped"), in the center of the chest.

#192 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2013, 07:52 AM:

Glenn Hauman @187:
Re: Sidelights and "Don't savvy me"... it surprises you that so many of us say "And this surprises you?"

You'll be delighted to know that I am cynically unsurprised that someone made that particular comment.

#193 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2013, 10:14 AM:

Re: "Don't savvy me" -- that's exactly why I found it tough to get past the opening paragraphs of "The Logic of the Surveillance State." I'm glad I kept reading, but seriously, two paragraphs of savvying?

#194 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2013, 10:23 AM:

Lee 189: I heard a couple more verses at Boy Scout camp:

You should not say that naughty word...
I thought I'd say it anyway...

abi 192: I'm sure I speak for everyone here when I say I'm not surprised that you expected that.

#195 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2013, 11:00 AM:

Unrelated to anything else discussed here: Note to small presses—Hire a real copyeditor. Seriously. It will be worth the money. Do NOT rely on global search-and-replace and spell check to make your book correct and coherent. Examples:

  1. Even if you have the grotesquely wrong idea that every slash ("/") should be followed by a space in text (an idea you should discard), you really cannot possibly have wanted the slashes to be spaced in URLs.
  2. Some ellipses ("...") should have spaces after them, while others should not. When the ellipsis is used to indicate trailing off at the end of a sentence, it should be followed by a space; when it indicates an omission or vocal hesitation in the middle of a sentence, it should not. (There are those who believe in spaces before AND after an omission-indicating ellipsis, but spacing only after is just wrong in that case.)
  3. 'Martial' is a perfectly good word. It is not, however, a verb. The verb is 'marshal'. Yes, they're derived from the same root, but they're spelled differently in English.
  4. Copyeditors are also versed in the subtleties of punctuation. The following two sentences do not mean the same thing:
    • I waited for the weekend when I could release my geekiness.
    • I waited for the weekend, when I could release my geekiness.
  5. This writer was referring to his favorite SFF show coming on on the weekend (every weekend), not to eagerly awaiting EasterCon. The second sentence was required; you used the first.

  6. Someday, to my regret, 'miniscule' will be a correct spelling (as all non-calligraphers forget the word 'majuscule'). That day is not yet, however, despite what Microsoft and FireFox (which as I write this has underlined the correct 'majuscule' but not the incorrect 'miniscule') believe. A real copyeditor would have caught that.

  7. Different book, now: 'brusk' is not a word. It's spelled 'brusque'. (Word gets that one right; FireFox accepts both.)

Copyeditors need work. You need what they do. Spring for it, or continue to contribute to the impression that small presses produce inferior books (though to be fair I've seen some serious errors in big-press books too; just not as many, and not as obvious as the ones above).
#196 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2013, 11:25 AM:

"I expect the unexpected."
- Batman

#197 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2013, 11:26 AM:

"Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!"
- Michael Palin

#198 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2013, 11:27 AM:

"Everybody expects the Italian Inquisition!"
- me while watching 'The name of the Rose'

#199 ::: Nightsky ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2013, 11:55 AM:

Lee@173: I came in here to post that Kickstarter. Sniped! :)

My two versions of "Say, Little Playmate":
Say, say, O Playmate
Come on and play with me!
Play with my dollies three
Climb up my apple tree
Slide down my rainbow
Into my cellar door
And we'll be playmates

Say, say, O Enemy
Come on and fight with me!
Play with my monsters three
Climb up my poison tree
Slide down my razor blade
Into my dungeon door
And we'll be enemies

Also, my version of "Greasy Grimy Gopher Guts" ended

..and I forgot my spoon
So I'll just use my straw
(disgusting slurping noises until everyone collapses into a fit of giggles)

I also learned some French camp songs at summer camp in France, but unfortunately don't remember them today.

#200 ::: Steve C ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2013, 01:00 PM:

Serge @ 197 -

The Inquisition What a Show

#201 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2013, 01:04 PM:

I've got a pair of combination underwear
They don't rip, they don't tear
Had them on for six weeks without exaggeration
Can't get them off because I forget the combination!

#202 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2013, 02:42 PM:

Jim @ #76
The two communicated using Gmail, but not by sending each other letters. They had a dummy account, they both knew the username and password, they could thus log in from other locations and read the draft messages that the other had written (nothing was ever sent).
This was all fine, but who was the person with whom the General was communicating? The IPs that the unknown person was logging in from were all public places: e.g. hotels.

I’m missing how they got the General’s side of the correspondence in the first place, or did they have to search his browser history?

#203 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2013, 02:44 PM:

Redbird (of the Angry Birds) was going to do something which "will be good for his soul -- if he had one. His soul is not in the right place, if you know what I mean." When I admitted I didn't know, he pointed to his belly button and said, "Mine is right in front of the backbone, but Redbird's is closer to his head feathers than his tail feathers."

This is fascinating. What can Redbird do to relocalize his soul, and why is it bad that it's presently closer to his head?

#204 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2013, 02:44 PM:

Steve C @ 200... Very silly.

#205 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2013, 03:27 PM:

Jarrett Walker of Human Transit may have coined a new aphorism that relates to 'Don't savvy me':

Cynicism is consent.

#206 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2013, 04:17 PM:

One of my local weeklies is getting silly with their movie listings:

A young journalist confronts his secret extraterrestrial heritage when Earth is invaded by members of his race. (Zna Bs Fgrry)

#207 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2013, 04:29 PM:

John M. Burt #191: I note that your kid has placed his soul in the traditional location of the "center" -- both the body's center of mass, and the location which a lot of meditative techniques orient around. And the red bird could reasonably be considered to be "forward weighted", given how it flies. (BTW, I actually fired up the game on my iPhone to check its behavior, and they seem to have added some sort of slot machine since I checked in last. Odd....)

#208 ::: Jeremy Leader ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2013, 04:33 PM:

Dave Harmon @206: today at lunch, a co-worker was telling me about a Marin newspaper which used to run silly summaries like that. He described one that was something like "A young woman travels to a strange country, kills the first person she meets, then teams up with 3 strangers to kill again" (Gur Jvmneq bs Bm).

#209 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2013, 05:14 PM:

Serge #s 197/198: My father, qepd, insisted that there was an Irish inquisition. I've long wondered what that would consist of: A group of elderly men in soutanes drinking Bushmills and engaging in craic perhaps?

#210 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2013, 05:15 PM:

"Big Mac, Filet-O-Fish,
Quarter pounder, french fries.
Icy coke, thick shake,
Sundaes, and apple pies."

Isn't that a verse from Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start the Fryer"?


"Climb up my apple tree
Shout down my rain barrel
Slide down my cellar door
And we'll be jolly friends

That's a regular song, copyrighted and everything. I used to have it on a little five-inch 78. H. Allen Smith interviewed the songwriter in one of his first couple books — Low Man on the Totem Pole, most likely, but maybe Life in a Putty Knife Factory. Like the Hokey Pokey, there's a possibility the writer simply appropriated an existing work (a kid verse in this case).


"kumalada kumalada vista.
Oh, nonono, not the vista."

This isn't too far from what I sung along with my sisters, and since I was picking it up by ear, it might be even closer to what they were singing (though they tended to scornfully correct me when they had the chance). I sang "Fleesta," for instance.


Fade, I was going to write about the "Silent Night" variant of We Three Kings. You've covered it pretty well, except to the extent that I heard it as a countdown. Three Kings, Two Kings, One King…


Heh. "Comet." I made up a metric butt load of verses to that in junior high. Same for a parody version of the McDonald's song that went to the tune of "Down By the River Side."


Dancing Crow, the tune to that — most canonically "There's a place in France" — is the "Hootchy Kootchy Dance" that Little Egypt canced to at the Chicago World's Columbian Exposition of 1893. Sol Bloom claimed to have written it for the act. Despite other versions I've heard, I retain affection for the one my sister Givhan used to sing when we were in the single digits:

"There's a place in France
Where the women do the dance.
And the dance they do
Costs a dollar fifty-two."

Rainflame, you're the first one I've ever seen with a variant that similar.

#211 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2013, 05:18 PM:

Jeremy, #208: I take issue with that description. The first death was accidental, and I don't believe you can actually say that they "met".

#212 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2013, 05:23 PM:

Jeremy, #208: Yes I (and presumably the listings editor) was thinking of that one, though I thought it was from the Village Voice.

#213 ::: The Occasionally Good ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2013, 05:24 PM:

Serge @ 198:

*peals of laughter*

(I love that book. And the movie. Usually, movies made from books I like suck; that one didn't. :) )

#214 ::: Jeremy Leader ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2013, 05:54 PM:

Lee @211: I'm transcribing my recollection of my co-worker's recollection of a newspaper item he read a couple decades ago, so... maybe "encountered"? And I didn't say the killing was intentional.

Dave Harmon @212: Maybe it was syndicated? A quick Google yields this list of varying levels of quality, humor, and political correctness, which has the WoO summary in the first comment.

#215 ::: James E ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2013, 07:11 PM:

Mostly not my doing, this: "Marooned child travels from frying pan to fire when it is rescued from a barren world only to face death at the hands of a starship full of malevolent mineworkers".

#216 ::: James E ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2013, 07:21 PM:

"Colonel Gadaffi inadvertently creates rock'n'roll in a paean to the Thatcher government's subsidies for the car industry."

#217 ::: James E ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2013, 07:38 PM:

"Scientists rebut existence of god after hands-on experiments in major metropolitan centre."

#218 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2013, 08:26 PM:

A few years ago there was an art show called These Are Their Stories. Each picture was inspired by a DirecTV program guide summary of a Law & Order episode.

#219 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2013, 09:02 PM:

Note -- just looked through the works in the art show again and remembered that while most are funny, a couple mention rape, so you may want to not click on the link.

#220 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2013, 09:10 PM:

Sarah @ 202: I’m missing how they got the General’s side of the correspondence in the first place, or did they have to search his browser history?

Paula Broadwell sent threatening emails to Jill Kelley, using a pseudonym. Kelley complained to an FBI agent about it. When he investigated, he found that whoever was sending the emails seemed to know a lot about the travel plans of generals, and dug into the forensics*, and that took him to Paula Broadwell.

Info on Wikipedia
Article on New Scientist

*It's just metadata.

#221 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2013, 09:38 PM:

From the BBC: A would-be swimmer from Cuba to the US learns: It's not just about the sharks.

#222 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2013, 09:50 PM:

Rather specific to the seventies, I suppose, was this ditty sung on our school bus to the tune of Frere Jacques:

Marijuana, marijuana
L S D, L S D
The C I A makes it
Richard Nixon takes it
Why can't we?
Why can't we?

#223 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2013, 10:27 PM:

#222 ::: John A Arkansawyer

The way I heard it:

Marijuana, marijuana
L S D, L S D
Rockefeller makes it
Mayor Lindsay takes it
Why can't we
Why can't we

Nelson Rockefeller was the Governor of New York, and Lindsay was mayor of New York City. Both left those offices in 1973.

#224 ::: Cygnet ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2013, 11:24 PM:

We used most of the "skipping" rhymes for hopscotch rather than jump rope when I was a kid. I suspect it was too hot in Phoenix much of the year for jump rope. Hopscotch was much more of a "burst of activity until you messed up" whereas jumping rope was sustained activity and therefore a lot less fun in the heat.

We didn't play typical "tag" much either. We played ditch 'em, which was like tag, only it involved hiding and stealth -- and lots more shade and less running than straight up tag. The way it worked was everybody hid (like hide and seek) and then the person who was "it" went hunting. The person who was "it" wore an identifying baseball cap or a bandanna or sweat band (this being the 80's)or something. If they found somebody and successfully tagged them, that person had to wear the hat, became "it" and took up the search while "it" found a shady place to hide for awhile.

#225 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2013, 11:33 PM:

Could 215 through 217 be kind enough to indicate the work described, even in rot13? The first posters did and the list linked to does.

#226 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2013, 12:36 AM:

Yet another version, going around my elementary school in the early 70s:

Marijuana, marijuana
L S D, L S D
Scientists make it
Teachers take it
Why can't we
Why can't we

#227 ::: Bob Webber ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2013, 12:50 AM:

#225 ::: Lenora Rose

Well, #215 is "Nyvra," I believe. I haven't puzzled out the others, yet.

#228 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2013, 01:00 AM:

A British tabloid apologized to aliens for linking them with Scientology when the Scientologists threatened to sue....

#229 ::: John M. Burt ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2013, 01:42 AM:

My father confided to me a couple of his favorite childhood songs, including
I'm a devil, a dirty, dirty devil
I leave a trail of blood wherever i go.
I delight in picking up a fight
And bashing little babies in the head
'Til they're dead!
I'm a smudge on my family's escutcheon
I put poison in my mother's shredded wheat
And I eat [Snort! Snort!] raw meat!

He also recounted
Nobody likes me, everybody hates me
Guess I'll eat some worms
Big fat juicy ones
Little tiny scrawny ones
See how they wiggle and squirm
Bite their heads off, suck the juice out
Throw the skins away
Nobody knows how a man can live
On worms three times a day

The latter song has been (in various versions) illustrated by Gilbert Shelton and used to good advantage by Peni R. Griffin in her YA novel Ghost Sitter.

David Wald @142, thanks for the tip re Pitch Perfect. We now have it on reserve at the local library. Also: I don't suppose it means anything to you, but your name catches my eye because I have a brother named David Wald(en Burt).

Cally Soukup @154, when I heard it, Lincoln had been drinkin' something that was
Kind of white and
Kind of green
Lincoln, dear, that's KEROSENE!

Cassy B @156, what I heard was
There's a place on Mars
Where the women smoke cigars
And the smoke is so thick
That the men are always sick

Albatross @172, yeah, I have already seen most of those used to draw attention away from what Snowden has told us.

Magenta Griffith @179, when you refer to "very unauthorized" comics, do you mean just comics being very much unauthorized at school, or do you mean you saw Tijuana Bibles as a child?

Benajmin Wolfe @180, should an asshat be an asslike hat, or a hat for one's ass? A hat with donkey ears would run a distant third in my preferences.

Sarah @203, I intend to probe the issue of Redbird's soul, cautiously, with an effort to minimize the observer effect.

Elliott Mason @205, by George he's right, cynicism is consent.

Dave Harmon @206: It sounds like a movie summary my wife delivered, "A recovering criminal becomes a crime counselor" (Gur Funqbj). Myself, I would have called it, "Traumatized veteran finds inner peace by studying Eastern mysticism, then returns to his home town".

KipW @210, In the song "Monster in My Pants" [], that much-reworked verse was rendered as
No, they don't wear pants
On the other side of France
But they do wear a sheet
To protect them from the heat

which has the unusual plus of being factually true.

#230 ::: Bob Webber ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2013, 01:52 AM:

#225 ::: Lenora Rose

I've come to the conclusion that #216 is indecipherable because it depends on a false understanding of an aspect of the movie involved, "Onpx gb gur Shgher."

Thatcher had nothing to do with it, as I understand it.

#231 ::: Bob Webber ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2013, 02:01 AM:

#229 ::: Bob Webber

Nope, looks like I'm wrong and PM Thatcher might indeed have had something to do with it.

"Research first, then give opinion," a lesson I seem to frequently forget.

#232 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2013, 02:09 AM:

Cygnet @ #224, my mother would differ with you. She's told me stories about jumping rope when she was growing up on Granada Road and later on Lewis Avenue there. Her big childhood sports thing was roller skates, though.

#233 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2013, 03:26 AM:

"Two emotionally disturbed brothers team up with another traumatized family to go on a killing spree in Mexico." (Sebz Qhfx Gvy Qnja)

"Neglected by his father, a young boy listens to a hallucinatory soldier, resulting in the deaths of an elderly couple and the fiery explosion of a jetliner." (Pybnx naq Qnttre)

"In this odd reimagining of Christian legend, a saintly figure with mysterious healing powers dies, rises from the dead, and, after imparting final wisdom to his disciples, ascends to heaven." (R.G.)

#234 ::: James E ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2013, 04:59 AM:

Lenora Rose, Bob Webber has the first two right. The other is Tubfgohfgref but probably needs a bit of work.

#235 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2013, 05:51 AM:

Fairly Local Weather News: once again, we've been hit by a derecho, and once again, we have big trees down all about us, including two white pines from the neighbors that crushed the fence between us. Our handyman happened to be at the house during the storm, and between him and our daughter we now know how water gets in the basement: through the bomb shelter vent. I'm not sure how we'll deal with that but at least since it's coming in through the pipe instead of around it, we can try intercepting it with a big bucket.

#236 ::: Neil W ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2013, 06:39 AM:

#216 assumes, not unreasonably, that gur QrYberna vf gur ureb bs gur svyzf. This then recasts the gevybtl nf n gentrql. So sad.

#237 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2013, 06:51 AM:

John M. Burt #229: There's also the classic How to Eat Fried Worms.

#238 ::: John M. Burt ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2013, 11:08 AM:

Xopher @233, I haven't seen the first two films you ROTted. The third I recognized without needing to cipher it, and have heard that interpretation before.

Another film with a hard-to-disguise title, so I'll only ROT part of it: "While a group are on a business trip, one member goes insane and kills the others one by one, until the allegedly sane member kills him, and then has a bizarre vision before returning home." (n fcnpr bqlffrl)

#239 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2013, 12:47 PM:

AKICIML: Okay, so I had a quick look at Whatever today and discovered that yesterday there was a load of pledge matching/donating going on to the Carl Brandon Society and the Octavia E Butler Memorial Scholarship fund. For "absolutely no reason whatsoever" - yeah, right. While looking for what the fuss was about (found it eventually, including screen shots* of the original racist misogynistic drivel from a boringly predictable source) I came across this:
Australian Army on institutional sexism

He seems really sincerely angry about this. Bad that it's been happening. Good that the guy at the top is making it really clear what he thinks about such behaviour.

*Which meant I didn't have to go to the actual website, thankfully.

#240 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2013, 12:58 PM:

dcb, #239: Did you catch the sideswipe against hazing in general that he put in there?

#241 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2013, 01:19 PM:

dcb: Wow. Just wow.

#242 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2013, 01:53 PM:

Lee @240: Yes, I did. "Nobody has ever explained to me how the exploitation or degradation of others enhances capability or honours the traditions of the Australian Army"

Lila @241: Yeah, that was my reaction as well. That guy is seriously pissed off - and not afraid of speaking plainly: "if that does not suit you, then get out."

(Oh and the "AKICIML" was 'cos originally I was going to ask for pointers to what had been going on that I'd missed.)

#243 ::: Jeremy Leader ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2013, 04:04 PM:

For an extra layer of surrealism, watch Jim's "Movies for the blind" diffraction, and turn on "automatic captions".

#244 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2013, 04:44 PM:

Regular correspondents will recall that Hugh Daniel passed away on 3 June.

From Hugh's sister, Lesli Daniel, I have learned that there will soon be memorial events for Hugh in Pacifica, California, in the Netherlands, in Ann Arbor, and in outer space.

#245 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2013, 06:36 PM:

More on the latest wiretapping scandal.

One fascinating sideline in all this is the number of establishment journalists and pundits who are pre-emptively dismissive and hostile to Snowden, rather like they were/are to Bradley Manning and Julian Assange. This Reason article and this Daiily Beast article are both quote and link farms for establishment media figures who have jumped in to smear Snowden for daring to let us know what was being done with our information, allegedly in our name. This is very useful for me, as a consumer of media. For example, if guys like David Brooks and Richard Cohen are going to reflexively smear people in personal terms for whistleblowing, that's helpful to know the next time I see them sneering about some protest movement or politician or something. Their team is the establishment, and they will defend their team and attack its enemies, wrong or right. Sort of like John Boehner and Diane Feinstein, who are on the same page about Snowden and his leaks.

#246 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2013, 07:30 PM:


Does anyone have experience with repairing leaking 1930s-era wall mount kitchen faucets? The plumber quoted a price of over $500, which is not chicken feed, but the faucet unquestionably needs to be fixed.

My plumbing skill level is about at "replace shower head, replace faucet aerator, tweak misbehaving toilet ballcocks and flapper valves," but I can follow diagrams. OTOH, I don't have a lot of grip/wrist strength for wrenches.


#247 ::: Jeremy Leader has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2013, 07:40 PM:

Rikibeth: are they leaking out of the spigot (that is, not turning all the way off)? Or leaking out around the handle pivots? Or is the metal so eaten away that they're leaking through the side of the body? Or something else?

The first two are a matter of disassembling the right parts and performing periodic maintenance (replacing a washer, and possibly a valve seat, in the first case, and replacing the packing around the valve shaft in the second). The third probably means you have to replace the whole thing; it would depend on how easy it is to get access to where the fixture attaches to the pipes, how nice you want it to look after you're done, and how much you want to spend on the replacement fixture.

To make clear the limits of my expertise, I've done the first a couple times, I've done the third a few times but never on wall-mount faucets, and the second I only know how to do in theory (but I don't think it's much more complicated than the first).

$500 may or may not be unreasonable for the third case. At the other extreme, I've had a plumber replace washers for free, while he was in the house after finishing a bigger job (replacing a water heater).

#248 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2013, 08:10 PM:

Having helped replace one of those, the biggest potential problem might be the short pipes that are likely to be behind it in the wall. If those break, they're not expensive to replace, but it's something of a pain.
The most expensive part is likely to be the faucet unit itself - they're frequently called laundry faucets, but they're also found as kitchen faucets. If you have to get a new one, make sure you know the center-to-center distance of the pipes it's going to connect with!

#249 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2013, 08:20 PM:

P J Evans: Center-to-center distance, check. I'm small and capable of contorting into under-sink and similar spaces -- ask me sometime about replacing the dashboard light on the Volvo wagon I used to have.

Could you elaborate a little more on the faucet replacement process and what it involves? The innards of faucets are a mystery to me.

#250 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2013, 09:35 PM:

Time-Life Books: The Complete Fix-It Yourself Manual

This gives you everything you need to know in enough detail to decide if you want to tackle it yourself or yell for help.

#251 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2013, 09:36 PM:

Shut off the water to the faucet first, whatever you're going to do with the faucet.

You have to take the handles off to get the old faucet off - take out the screws in the handles to do this. Then you may be able to get the plates (escutcheons) off from against the wall, or at least slide them out - they hide the holes around the pipe.
There are nuts that you have to loosen to get the faucet off (they're probably either 1/2 or 3/4-inch). After those are off, you should be able to take off the faucet.
The pipes sticking out are called nipples, and they're threaded on both ends. (Hope you can use the existing nipples, because it's a pain to replace stuff that's inside the wall and not really accessible.) Put plumber's tape (teflon tape) around the threads on the nipple, and assemble according to the instructions that should come with the new faucet.

#252 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2013, 09:39 PM:

I also like 'Dare to Repair' by Sussman and Glakas-Tenet. It's aimed at women, but is very clear. (They both got into home repairs because their husbands were away a lot.)

#253 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2013, 09:45 PM:

There are a ton of How-To-Replace/Repair-Faucet videos over at YouTube. You can look for something that looks like your rig.

#254 ::: Wyman Cooke ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2013, 12:30 AM:

Hey Ari, I'm swiping your sidebar post by Kameron Hurley for my Facebook wall.

#255 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2013, 01:00 AM:

Another one for the misleading movie summaries:

"A small terrorist cell accompanied by two mercenaries goes on a killing spree in a government installation, eventually succeeding in blowing it up."

(Fgne Jnef)

#256 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2013, 01:31 AM:

The faucet is leaking out of the spigot. There are no visible shutoff valves beneath the sink, or I'd have shut the fool thing down already. I suspect this means shutting down the whole house for the duration of the repair. :( Also, when you turn the taps, turning the cold tap produces a slight increase in water volume, & turning the hot tap does exactly nothing, & doesn't even feel like it's doing anything. I wish I knew a better way to describe it, but the feel of the cold tap says "water should come out" and it's just less than I'd expect, and the feel of the hot tap says "nope."

None of the faucets in the YouTube clips look much like what's in the kitchen. I even looked for laundry sinks. Either I get commercial sinks, or I get modern things that use cartridges.

I don't have the Time-Life book. I've got a couple of other ones. I was busy looking at the bits on the insides of toilet tanks (the toilet in question actually had nothing wrong with it except an extended period of disuse, & behaved itself perfectly after being flushed a few times) and then the plumber showed up before I really investigated the sink.

My dad, who is generally good with plumbing (I have seen him install new toilets, disposals, and dishwashers, as well as fixing ordinary sink-mounted faucets) says it's not one he'd want to do himself. This suggests maybe I shouldn't.

#257 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2013, 02:20 AM:

HLN: Local woman observes that the nearby New York-style deli advertises egg creams made with Fox's U-Bet Chocolate Syrup, and decides to try one. Results: impressive. Would recommend.

#258 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2013, 03:01 AM:

Rikibeth, there are variations, but that sounds like a potential replacement of the faucet. The mechanism is a rubber (plastic) washer pushing down on a metal seat, held by a simple screw-thread system worked by turning the handle.

There's a diagram here, taken from a US Navy manual.

If it's leaking but otherwise working, it is fairly simple. The brass screw which holds the seat washer can be awkward. The valve seat can be re-cut if it is worn: needs the right tool. But the symptom you describe sounds more like the spindle threads, which move the stem up and down, and that means replacement.

I can't really judge what the plumber said about the cost, but it doesn't sound crazy for tap replacement on an old-style system without isolator valves. It's not so much the parts as the time it takes.

#259 ::: Cadbury Moose concurs with Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2013, 05:53 AM:

Having nothing happen when you turn the tap on is bad news, as with an old tap it most likely means the internal thread is stripped and that's a "replace the whole unit" job.

(That assumes the hot water is working elsewhere in the house and it's not something like a header tank running dry. If it;s just the one tap it's time to replace the tap.)

I had to do this a couple of years ago (On Christmas Eve!) when the mixer tap on the kitchen sink failed. With no isolator valves for the tap, it's a tedious process that involves turning off both supplies - in this case the cold feed to the house and draining the cold water header tank that feeds the hot water system.

#260 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2013, 07:58 AM:

Cadbury Moose @259: Hope you put in an isolator valve on the pipe while ypu were at it! My father-in-law has gradually made sure we have them on pretty much all the tap pipes - not sure about the ones to the bath (I'd have to take the panel off to have a look), but I think we have them on all the others by now. And on the pipes to the toilets.

Rickibeth: If it's a "replace the whole thing" than it depends a bit on whether you need it to look like the old one or just to work. If the later, then it may be that removing the old one and putting on a brand spanking new unit would be the easiest and cheapest option - and might be something you -could- do yourself, with the help of a DIY book or two.

But yes, if there are no cut-off valves, you're going to have to drain the system before you can do anything else. I presume you know where your mains water comes in and where to cut it off? If the kitchen (cold) tap is fed from the mains, then you should just be able to turn it off at the mains than let it drain and it shouldn't take too long. [And forgive me if I'm teaching my proverbial grandmother to suck eggs.]

#261 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2013, 09:41 AM:

Dave Bell, Cadbury Moose, dcb: no teaching grandmothers here! I'm very grateful for all the information.

The tap doesn't need to look exactly like the old one. What it needs to be is the most affordable one for the job -- because there is no way the house in question will sell as anything other than a fixer-upper. For the most part, it's structurally sound, and there's a relatively new furnace in place, and it has very good bones -- and if *I* were buying it, the original Art Deco tiling in the bathroom upstairs would be a selling point, though it has to be re-grouted/re-caulked with dispatch. But cosmetically? It's barely been touched since the 1960s, as the gold-speckled Formica in the kitchen and the grasscloth wallpaper all through the first floor can attest. And the money for a full kitchen remodel and whole-house cosmetic updating is NOT there.

So, functional repairs only, done as affordably as possible. Which, in this case, I believe means letting the plumber do it, because if I try it myself and break it in the process, that usually means paying the plumber MORE. Especially since it's one that my dad said he wouldn't try himself.

Must contact plumber & point out we don't need a stylish faucet unit, though.

#262 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2013, 10:09 AM:

Abi: Thank you for putting "The Standard you Walk Past is the Standard You Accept"* up in your Parherlia - much better exposure than my mentioning it in this OT. I also followed to the text of his speech at the UN International Women's Day Conference last month: Check against Delivery

In there he explains how his altruistic and pragmatic considerations go hand in hand.

And yes, we need to think about this wrt other events.

[*Minor point: Abi, in the version of the video which you link to, I think the video is a fraction of a second behind the audio and I found it distracting - the version directly at YouTube ( and the one at BoingBoing which i linked to @239 I found better. No idea why, and it might just be my perception, but I thought I'd mention it.]

#263 ::: dcb has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2013, 10:10 AM:

Possibly the links (I did check them). Or maybe I still had some extra spaces somewhere. I can offer mixed mushrooms in a white sauce; should go well over pasta, rice or quinoa.

#264 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2013, 10:54 AM:

An editing question, which has been bugging me for a while since it came up on a wiki I was editing:

I "grew up" italizicing Latin contractions such as etc. and e.g.. Another editor claims that these days those count as loanwords and shouldn't be italicized. The example he gave was "vice versa", which I would accept as a loanword. What's best practice on this these days?

#265 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2013, 11:07 AM:

But that leaves out the part where he gets paramilitary training from the old man of the mountains

#266 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2013, 11:36 AM:

Dave Harmon @263: In British English, at least, they are no longer italicised. Vice versa is an edge case for me (I would be happy to italicise it) while I would definitely italicise sensu stricto and sensu lato.

At least you probably know the difference between "i.e." and "e.g." - too many people appear not to know it at all, which I find extremely irritating.

#267 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2013, 11:41 AM:

I would agree that etc., at the very least, should not be italicized. More generally:

1) The more commonly used the Latin, the more likely it is to not need italics. I might not italicize "quid pro quo" because it comes up in casual speech; I would almost certainly italicize "sensu stricto", which does not.

2) If publication is involved, there should be an agreed on style guide which will specify, or give more specific guidelines.

3) If all else fails, google and see how reasonably well-edited publications online format it. Or just use the number of results as your rule of thumb for whether or not it's common enough to not need italics anymore.

#268 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2013, 11:42 AM:

OK, I was about to download an app called "Free Ringtones for Android" when I noticed that the fine print says the app has access to do scary things like modify my contacts and write to my call log.

Is this really needed for the app to function, or is it something I should avoid?

#269 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2013, 11:46 AM:

I oppose the use of i.e. and e.g. in business communication, or indeed in any writing intended for non-fannish, non-language-scholarly audiences.

Half of everyone has a reversed understanding of what they mean, so even if you use them correctly half of your audience will misunderstand.

I recommend using 'that is' and 'for example' instead.

#270 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2013, 11:50 AM:

Rikibeth @261

My father never thought of things such as isolator valves. If a tap needed fixing he would look for the stopcock. We used to live in a house that didn't have such modern features. Assuming there are no problems with access, it would be worth fitting isolators as part of the work.

I've seen enough changes in the standard technology of these things that I would want to check the current options. It wouldn't astonish me if pipes sizes and threads were something to watch for.

#271 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2013, 11:56 AM:

Xopher, that would put me off, although I know people who use different ring tones for different callers, which would, I think, need that kind of access.

#272 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2013, 12:09 PM:

I do too, but you can set that in the phone. Why do ringtones need to be a app anyway?

It's also really irritating that none of the ringtones that come with the phone sound anything like a phone ringing (I mean a cellphone, not an old-fashioned bell). The ones that do all cost money. Bastards.

#273 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2013, 12:33 PM:

Dave Bell @ #269

" ...look for the stopcock."

It's under the gas cooker (and this moose has an extended-length T-spanner to operate it without the need to move the cooker). Otherwise, it's the one in the street (which also requires an extension bar to operate it - in an emergency, cutting a slot in the end of a piece of floorboard (width reduced to go down the hole) does the job nicely). A friend has one stopcock in the street feeding four houses, but that house was built just after the European War and still has the pipework for gas lighting in the walls (Disconnected!). (I discovered the cable drum wrappers under the floor from when electric lighting was fitted in 1923 (along with all the plaster rubble and a broken hammer handle) when running telephone and network cabling.)

I tend to fit isolator valves to taps (faucets) when I need to overhaul them. (This does not mean at 1930Z on Christmas Eve!)

#274 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2013, 12:37 PM:

Xopher @ 271

I admit to knowing very little about modern cellphones, especially smartphones, but you might check your manual to see if you can set your ringtone to be an mp3 file that's on your device. If you can, then it's just a matter of finding a no-strings-attached mp3 file of the phonering that you want, and loading it onto your phone simply as a file that you can find.

I say this because my old dumbphone died recently, and had an old-fashioned ring, and my new cheap dumbphone didn't come with an old-fashioned ring, so I looked up the manual, and found that I could set an mp3 file as the ringtone. Not that I've actually DONE it yet, mind you, but I apparently can.

#275 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2013, 12:54 PM:

I am definitely allowing the plumber to sort out the wall-mounted tap. Having seen the above discussion, I've come to the conclusion that I'm likely to fuck it up.

The next issue is re-grouting the tile in the upstairs bathroom. That one, I have every confidence I can manage correctly. The issue there becomes how much a professional will charge vs. the time it will take me. Can't move in until it's done, because the cracked grout due to house settling means the shower leaks; however, moving in is not a thing with a deadline. And I know that I will both love and hate picking out all the old grout -- it's satisfyingly fiddly work, but there's SO MUCH of it. So if, for instance, the parts car in the driveway sells for roughly the cost of a pro job, it'll be worth it.

Augh, home repair.

#276 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2013, 01:12 PM:

We moved into a house that had been empty for six months, after two months of cleanup work on it (using, for example, straight linseed-oil soap on the woodwork).
Some years later, my father rebuilt the heating system - it was steam heat in the SF Bay area (!), and whoever installed it ran the mail lines in the attic, so steam went down and condensate went up. Funny thing: it worked so much better after my father re-located the main lines to the crawl-space (and fixed the one heater line that had a nail through it).

#277 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2013, 01:39 PM:

Dave H., #264: IANAeditor, but FWIW I still italicize i.e. and e.g.*, but would never even think about italicizing etc.

* Except sometimes when I'm feeling especially lazy, or in fora where HTML italics don't work and I have to represent italics via *asterisks*.

#278 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2013, 01:45 PM:

Lee @ 257 -

I've always wanted to try an egg cream. What's the name of the deli? Thanks!

#279 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2013, 03:37 PM:

I enjoyed the photos of not-nude statues here.

#280 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2013, 04:45 PM:

Steve C., #278: Katz's on Westheimer. It's our favorite late-night place to go.

#281 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2013, 04:58 PM:

Thanks, Lee - I remember Katz's but hadn't been there since the 80's....I'll make a point to visit it again.

#282 ::: GlendaP ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2013, 05:01 PM:

Xopher @272: You can also find laptop software to create custom ringtones which you then sideload to your phone. I use Ringtone Maker. It's freeware; I have no idea if it's the best one, but it suffices for me.

#283 ::: GlendaP is visiting the Gnomes ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2013, 05:03 PM:

Not sure why. Only one link and I don't think it's of a suspicious format.

[The /product/ subdirectory in the URL made the test-slugs' eyestalks twitch. -- Maunie Speilfug, Duty Gnome]

#284 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2013, 05:34 PM:

Thanks, GlendaP.

And now, a glimpse into the activities that usually hide behind the internet's facade of crowd-sourcing:

#define meme: "protagonist of my next novel"
Related to: "name of my next band"
Form: "[cool word] [Jones|Smith] is the protagonist of my next novel."
Example: "Derecho Jones is the protagonist of my next novel."

#285 ::: Xopher Halftongue is among the gnomes ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2013, 05:35 PM:

They're friendly, so it's OK. Not surewhy though, unless it was codelike sequences of text.

[It was indeed the code-like sequences, which uncomfortably resembled what spammers send when they've set up their software wrong. -- Borin O'Boris, Duty Gnome]

#286 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2013, 05:55 PM:

dcb #266, Fade Manley #267, Xopher Halftongue #269, Lee #277: Thanks for your responses.

Something that I forgot to mention is that several of the sites I checked at the time drew the line by unfamiliarity, which a couple of your comments square with. Xopher, you (unfortunately) have a point about i.e. and e.g., despite The Oatmeal's best efforts. Though, that very point makes me more inclined to italicize them when I do use them. ;-)

I guess it's time I stopped italicizing "etc.", anyhow.

#287 ::: Dave Harmon is gnomed. ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2013, 06:13 PM:

Possibly muffed the punctuation....

[A munged link. -- Ponchetran Xix, Duty Gnome]

#288 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2013, 06:36 PM:

Re abi's Roman concrete parhelion -- note that the article is written by SF writer Paul Preuss, a good writer and a nice guy (IME).

#289 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2013, 07:11 PM:

And in the home repair department:

The air vent to the bomb shelter has definitely become a water inlet, to the point where when everyone was huddling in the basement when the tornado passed by1, they hear a little waterfall. My thesis is that after fifty years of being buried, the thing has become rotten and is serving as a drain for rainfall along the front of the house. OK, so any ideas about plugging the leak?

117 miles long across Montgomery County, passed less than a quarter mile south of us. We lost a big branch from a silver maple; neighbor's pine trees landed in the middle of our boxwoods.

#290 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2013, 07:23 PM:

Charlie, I'd think a combination of a French drain and waterproofing coatings would do the trick.

Check with a local contractor.

#291 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2013, 07:29 PM:

Lee #277: Why? I.E. and e.g. have been used as abbreviations in English since the nineteenth century, at least. They've long been naturalised into the language.

#292 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2013, 12:49 AM:

Rikibeth @ 275 ...
The next issue is re-grouting the tile in the upstairs bathroom. That one, I have every confidence I can manage correctly. The issue there becomes how much a professional will charge vs. the time it will take me. Can't move in until it's done, because the cracked grout due to house settling means the shower leaks; however, moving in is not a thing with a deadline. And I know that I will both love and hate picking out all the old grout -- it's satisfyingly fiddly work, but there's SO MUCH of it. So if, for instance, the parts car in the driveway sells for roughly the cost of a pro job, it'll be worth it.

Er, well... the last time I said "Huh, I'd better regrout that", the result was stripping the wall down to the bare studs and rebuilding/replacing -- the grout had let the backing plywood behind the tiles get wet, and from wet degrade into mushy and nasty.

One thing I've absolutely learned from living in a moderately old house (not quite 120yrs yet) is that absolutely NOTHING is ever straightforward (or quick!), and the most deadly phrase is something along the lines of "Oh, that should be a quick'n'easy fix".

Hells - finding a drain valve for the tub... said tub having a drain pipe in a size that almost nobody had heard of, never mind actually -carrying-...

At any rate, as far as the shower goes, there's something to be said for plenty of plastic and tape, and dealing with the job in stages, should it turn out to be as featureful as mine was.

#293 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2013, 02:06 AM:

xeger reminds me that a lot of American housing is built very differently to what we expect in Britain. Wood rather than brick and plaster behind the bathroom tiles...

#294 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2013, 06:50 AM:

Xeger@292: my house is only 1970's, but standards have changed fast enough I can have some of the same issues. Sinks, for example, generally have the drain outlets located at back rather than dead center.

Dave Bell@293: recent code changes at least require 6mm concrete board backing the tile. I have had to rebuild nearly every area where water supply plumbing exists in this house for just that reason, though. Now there's double and triple redundant water exclusion, but you have to wonder at the thought process that concluded that grout on wallboard or plywood was good enough.

#295 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2013, 09:32 AM:

xeger @292: If it turns out we can't afford the tile guy's estimate by the time we're ready to move in, it'll have to be plastic and tape. Or three people sharing the downstairs shower...

The house, you see, was built in 1936, and has been continuously occupied since 1969. The woman who was six when she moved in is still there, and my housemate and I are planning to move in with her. But first we have to clear out a proportion of the Stuff that's been there since 1969, so there's room in the bedrooms for our Stuff.

There are two full bathrooms in the house -- the original one upstairs, and the downstairs one that was expanded from a half bath to accommodate the current resident when her disability started interfering with stairs. (Her bedroom is the dining room.) So, in theory, we could all use that one. But it'd be a lot nicer to have a functional full rather than a half bath on the same level as the bedrooms.

At some point, we as a household want to move to another city, so the house has to be in salable condition -- but a lot of that can be done when we're all in residence. I do think that having all basic systems functional will help the house fetch a higher price even as a fixer-upper, because it'll mean the new owners can pick and choose what they want to do first, rather than be forced to do a functional repair when they're dying to make some cosmetic ones.

And, yes, I do consider a full kitchen remodel to be cosmetic when the current kitchen has an undamaged floor, working plumbing, and working appliances, even if by present-day standards it's ugly as sin. I really hope we'll be able to find a similar functional-but-ugly house when we move, as that'll drive down the price. Gold-speckled Formica counters in the kitchen? I grew up with that. 1970s avocado tile in the bathroom? Well, I grew up with tan ones, with wallpaper that had burnt orange and brown ferns on a silver foil backing -- but there's a reason all my towels are white, and a decently maintained avocado-green toilet should flush just as well as a white one. (Better, if they're allowed to keep the original instead of switching it to low-flow.) And any wallpaper that's just too horrible to live with, I can rent a steamer and paint the walls white my own self. Done it before, and I know how to spackle holes and cracks, too. I'm good at that; my uncle, the one with the construction company, taught me how to mud drywall when he was building an extension on his house.

My current housemate doesn't care about aesthetics at ALL -- she uses Rubbermaid dressers instead of wooden ones, because she likes that they're lightweight for moving. That's beyond even my theory of practicality-first - I'm not giving up my Victorian mahogany bedroom set, or my modern solid-oak rolltop with the built-in holes for computer cords. But I can tolerate a great deal in the way of fixtures. And my future housemate is accustomed to wonky aesthetics, and is practical about dealing with a limited income -- our priorities would be grab bars in the bathrooms, and a wheelchair ramp for the entrance. She doesn't use a chair now, but she did at one point before, and there's a high probability she'll need one again some time in the future, and in the meantime, a ramp would add greatly to her comfort, as it's a daily toss-up whether she's using a walker or a cane.

As long as I'm living in a house where the roof doesn't leak, the basement doesn't flood, and the heating, the plumbing, and the electricity all work -- the rest is gravy.

#296 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2013, 09:33 AM:

Henry Troup@ 294 ...
Xeger@292: my house is only 1970's, but standards have changed fast enough I can have some of the same issues. Sinks, for example, generally have the drain outlets located at back rather than dead center.

Tile sizes... ("Oh, I'll just grab some tiles to cope with this re-grouting thing ... plain white, shouldn't be a big deal ..." (@&$@#&($ ).

#297 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2013, 10:09 AM:

xeger: My parents ran into tile sizes on a recently-built condo! Then again, I think that was entirely their fault. I believe the story was that they'd picked up some decorative ones in Italy to use for the backsplash, and they didn't have quite enough, and my dad thought "oh, no problem, I'll just pick up some plain ones to finish it out..." ...only to discover that tiles of that size weren't available ANYWHERE.

Good thing he knows how to use a tile cutter. But I think he went through most of a box to create enough unbroken ones to use!

#298 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2013, 10:23 AM:

Rikibeth @ 297 ...
Good thing he knows how to use a tile cutter. But I think he went through most of a box to create enough unbroken ones to use!

It was a smidge expensive as a one-time buy, but I've yet to regret getting a wet tile saw. There's no way to use the standard 'score-and-snap' tile cutters with anything other than thin tile (well, barring lots and lots of patience, hope, luck and cursing). It's one of those tools that I don't use often, but are absolutely worth the storage and original price when I do need it.

#299 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2013, 11:11 AM:

xeger: For all I know he may have given in and gotten a wet tile saw. I just remember the agita about the score-and-snap kind. My dad is stubborn.

Don't even get me started about the time he replaced the linoleum (well, I think it was one generation newer than true linoleum - vinyl sheeting? Whatever was common in 1961 when the house was built) kitchen floor with vinyl tile in the house I grew up in. Which was navy blue screen-printed with white pindots. And the screen had been just slightly off true.

Did I mention that my dad, although a fairly skilled amateur handyman, worked in software for a company that specialized in computer typesetting? And had developed his perception of printing and margins to a very, very small point size?

He spent HOURS arranging the tiles so that the edges would align to create the straightest possible visual margins between the tiles, rather than giving an effect of thinning and widening along their length.

My mother just wanted a finished floor (funny, that). It drove her CRAZY.

#300 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2013, 11:24 AM:

Our bathroom still has avocado green bath etc. And patterned green tiles. What's the problem? Some friends of ours, their first comment when they saw round the house was "well, of course you'll have to replace the bathroom fixtures." To which we replied "Why? We like green." As far as we're concerned, just because it's not fashionable is no reason to change it. Okay, the palm pattern on the tiles wouldn't have been our first choice, and we wouldn't have put them on over the ones that were there previously, but it's all perfectly functional.

#301 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2013, 11:49 AM:

We had linoleum with a pattern that looked like paint had dripped on it: dots in sizes from about half-inch down. In bright colors. (Never drop a thumbtack on floor in that pattern. You can't see it at all.)
The next house had similar linoleum, and after a few years we pulled it up and had it replaced. (Yes, we did the removal ourselves. I don't recommend it. Messy, messy operation.) We had nice pebble-textured sheet vinyl with urethane-epoxy coating, an early no-wax flooring, put in, and spent a couple of days elsewhere while it cured.

#302 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2013, 12:04 PM:

dcb: I'm with you, even though I don't like avocado green.

My maternal grandparents' house was built in the late 1950s. They never changed the bathrooms from their original robin's-egg-blue with starburst wallpaper and pale yellow with... I'm not sure about the wallpaper in there, but it was original. Likewise, they never did more to the kitchen than paint the cabinets (in an eye-popping yellow) and change the wallpaper every so often. I was sad when they papered over the monarch butterflies of my earliest childhood with mid-70s giant flowers in burnt orange, harvest gold, and avocado green. The coppertone wall oven was separate from the gas cooktop, which I liked even though the oven was smaller than standard. And for the longest time they had a fridge with a curved front and a lever handle.

My paternal grandparents had gorgeous black-and-white Art Deco tile in their bathroom. The house was a good bit older than that, though. It also had a toilet-without-sink just off the kitchen, which I believe had been enclosed from a bit of the back porch, and a toilet in a step-up cubby in the basement. Sometime in the 1950s or '60s, they'd redecorated the main floor with grasscloth wallpaper and a large built-in china cabinet with fold-open doors in part of the dining area. I suspect there had been some knocking out of walls.

I'm wondering if the house had been built without a bathroom and the plumbing was all a retrofit. The size and placement of the upstairs bathroom felt like it might once have been a bedroom, especially as there were only two proper-sized bedrooms upstairs and one tiny one that felt as if it might have been converted from a large linen closet, and (once their children had moved out) was used variously as a study or a dressing room). They moved in in the early 1940s, but I suspect all the plumbing retrofits were done before then.

Old houses are fascinating. If I were to live in a recently-built house, I'd feel like something was missing, despite the advantages of code compliance and all that.

#303 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2013, 12:41 PM:

Rikibeth @ 295: I agree wholeheartedly about not replacing fixtures just for color.
I do disagree about low-flo toilets. My new Toto Drake low-flo is the best toilet I've ever had, and is so much better than the old full-size tank one that was in this house!

#304 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2013, 01:15 PM:

Rikibeth: when I was 13, my family moved to an old farmhouse. That building is presently about 280 years old, I suppose. Only problem is that it really isn't built for tall people, which is no problem for me but does mean that, given my husband's height, there's no way we're ever going to live there. :-(

Our (mine and my husband's) house was built in 1929, so has decent-sized rooms (even with all the book cases and book shelves lining many of the walls). The down side is that the walls are solid brick, so we don't have the option to put insulation inside them. The old farm house also has solid brick walls, but about twice as thick...

#305 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2013, 01:38 PM:

Rikibeth, #295: The house my parents bought when we moved to Nashville had a lot of that ugly aesthetic as well. All the carpets and drapes were... well, I thought of them as "olive-green", but they were probably sold as "avocado". And the bathroom I was expected to use had flocked olive-green wallpaper, which my parents refused to replace (although they replaced the equally-ugly wallpaper in their bathroom). My response was to demand a bright-orange shower curtain, drapes, and towels, to at least mitigate the olive a bit.

And I agree with you that redoing a perfectly functional kitchen just because it's unattractive is a cosmetic issue.

and @299: My partner has that kind of micrometer-calibrated visual acuity -- and no matter how many times I've tried to explain it to him, he still doesn't quite understand that I don't. This has caused Issues now and then.

I might very well have thought that the optical illusion of thinning-and-widening tiles was cool. But then, I tend to like things that mess with people's heads.

and @302: I think our house is of the same vintage as your grandparents'. It definitely has the same coppertone wall oven and separate cooktop, and a lot of real-wood paneling. The bathrooms are, unfortunately, Barbie pink (front) and institutional green (back). My partner has repainted the pink walls in the front one to plain white, which at least tones that down a bit! The shower stall in the back bath is non-functional; the old-style lead pan has rotted out, and because my partner's ex insisted on using the shower anyhow, the walls around it are badly water-damaged, which we don't have the money to have repaired or the time it would take to DIY it. So we use that shower as our fabric-storage closet, and have effectively a bath-and-a-half instead of 2 full baths. This isn't such an issue with only the 2 of us in the house.

#306 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2013, 01:44 PM:

Rikibeth (302): It also had a toilet-without-sink just off the kitchen

My parents' house (built sometime in the 1930s; my family moved in in 1962) has what I call a three-quarter bath just off the kitchen: toilet and small shower but no sink*. My mother says it used to be a pantry; it was the previous owners who converted it. The back porch**, which the bathroom opens off of, has a permanently-locked door leading out into empty space†; the former stairs were removed before my family moved in.

*there's a sink right outside the bathroom door
**more of a sunroom than a porch, since it's completely enclosed but with more window than wall
†it's a one-story house, but the property slopes sharply front to back, so the back of the house is two stories tall, with a finished basement on the lower level under the back half

#307 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2013, 01:50 PM:

janetl@303: totally agreeing about Toto toilets. They make low-flow completely practical. Low-flow showers, on the other hand -- I've never used one I actually liked (though some come close).

#308 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2013, 02:13 PM:

Just realized my post @303 could be read as "replace all your old toilets!" I just meant that if you have a bad one, replacing it with a good low-flow one is possible.

#309 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2013, 02:25 PM:

Guinea pig armor for sale. 100w% off the purchase price to support Metropolitan Guinea Pig Rescue. Quite adorable.

#310 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2013, 02:35 PM:

Mary Aileen (306): I just checked the Zillow listing for my paternal grandparents' house. It says it was built in 1926. It also says it has 4 bedrooms, which I cannot understand at all unless someone finished part of the attic or converted the basement office space to a bedroom.

My former house, built 1897, had a door-leading-nowhere off the stair landing. It had very clearly gone to the kitchen (thus allowing you to bypass the entry hall), but a remodel had created cabinets in front of that door space, so the stairs were gone.

There was also an obvious cover for a stovepipe hole in a disused chimney stack in the kitchen.

I'm starting to feel that, in old houses, the original fixtures should be preserved as much as possible, including repairing rather than replacing them, only doing systems upgrades like wiring and plumbing as needed for safety. As for cosmetic features, it's all right to remove wallpaper that displeases you, and to remove wall-to-wall carpeting, but other than that, decorating changes should be made with furniture and other temporary objects.

Even if the house style is currently out of fashion, it'll probably come back, and original fixtures will seem really cool to some future occupant.

#311 ::: Older ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2013, 04:57 PM:

dcb: Books are said to be very good insulation.

#312 ::: Kevin Reid ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2013, 05:20 PM:

Xopher Halftongue #268:

OK, I was about to download an app called "Free Ringtones for Android" when I noticed that the fine print says the app has access to do scary things like modify my contacts and write to my call log.

I'd just stay away from that sort of app entirely. Offering an entire custom app offering free, trivial things are a common way for spammers and scammers to sneak things in. For example, this app (which I've never heard of and am going only on your description) might well go and advertise itself using your name to your entire address book and recently-called list.

If you want a new ringtone, just, you know, download a sound file. Look up how to set a ringtone on your particular phone model.

#313 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2013, 05:32 PM:

Yeah, I think the Verizon version of Android is selectively crippled to try to make you use more data. It won't let you create a folder on the phone, for example, and doesn't have some key settings for using WiFi by preference.

It's also not a coincidence that all the included ringtones are stupid things that would never cut through music, and they charge for ones that sound like a real phone.

#314 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2013, 06:31 PM:

Rikibeth @ 302 ...
I'm wondering if the house had been built without a bathroom and the plumbing was all a retrofit. The size and placement of the upstairs bathroom felt like it might once have been a bedroom, especially as there were only two proper-sized bedrooms upstairs and one tiny one that felt as if it might have been converted from a large linen closet, and (once their children had moved out) was used variously as a study or a dressing room). They moved in in the early 1940s, but I suspect all the plumbing retrofits were done before then.

I'm absolutely certain that my (currently only functional) bathroom was once a bedroom -- 9'x12' wouldn't have been a vaguely reasonable size for a bathroom in a house of this age and style.

In fact, I strongly suspect that the bedroom closet (one of two total in the house) sits where the bathroom used to be -- but I haven't felt brave enough to rip things up looking for details.

Old houses are fascinating. If I were to live in a recently-built house, I'd feel like something was missing, despite the advantages of code compliance and all that.

Indeedy -- they feel weirdly sterile.

#315 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2013, 07:29 PM:

I had an aunt an uncle with a house built, I think, in the early 20s. It had a largish front bedroom (with two doors, one to the living room, suggesting it might have been intended for something else), a smaller bedroom in the back corner (reasonably sized) a,d a bathroom in between that was something like 8x10 feet - it had a built-in cupboard thing on the side with the window. There was another small bedroom that was a couple of steps down from the central hall, which might originally have been part of the back porch. So, from front to back on the on side of the house, living room, bedroom, bathroom, bedroom, and on the other side, living room, dining room, kitchen, back porch (down a couple of steps). The kitchen and the dining room also had doors to the hall - that was where the furnace was.

#316 ::: P J Evans has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2013, 07:29 PM:

I have ripe bananas, if Their Gnomeships would like.

['Twas a punctuation issue. -- Bormoform Kiat, Duty Gnome]

#317 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2013, 09:01 PM:

OK, I admit I've used the word 'mentee' to mean someone who receives mentoring, but only as a joke. I've now seen it used by someone who...was probably not joking.

Is it really a business-acceptable word now? Because KT, WTWCT, YKGOML, SKIA if so.

#318 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2013, 10:41 PM:

Obviously, the word for someone who is mentored-at would be "mentat".

#319 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2013, 11:02 PM:

So, about Man of Steel....

I wanted to like the movie and there are parts of it that are brilliant. On balance, the good outweighs the bad, and I'll recommend it on that basis.

The Good: It's a fresh take on the Superman mythos in the movies (the comics have visited the themes) and most of the segments on Krypton are moving. Russell Crowe does an excellent job as Jor-El.

They really get into what "strange visitor from another planet" really means. The paranoia and fear comes off right.

Henry Cavill looks great in the role. No complaints there. The Superman costume is very well done -- it's about time they lost the red underpants.

Amy Adams is a perfect Lois Lane.

And Kevin Costner and Diane Lane do a good job as Jonathan and Martha Kent.

The Bad: The endless and pointless action scenes. You could have dumped 80% of those and had a much better movie.

Gurer'f ab jnl gurl pbhyq unir qbar unys gur fghss gurl qvq jvgubhg xvyyvat zvyyvbaf bs crbcyr. Fxlfpencre gbccyvatf, tenivgl ornzf evccvat hc Zrgebcbyvf, fhcreureb naq fhcreivyynva gbffvat rnpu bgure guebhtu frireny'f n tbbq guvat gurer jrera'g nal ynjlref nebhaq. Gurl jbhyq unir znqr zvaprzrng bs Fhcrf.

But there were moments that worked, and worked really well. And I'll probably see it again for those moments.

#320 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2013, 11:15 PM:

Xopher, I've mostly seen 'mentee' seriously, but then, most of the times I've seen 'mentor' it's been 'person assigned to another person to show them the ropes'. Mentor/protege relationships happen more organically than mentor/mentee ones.

#321 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2013, 11:15 PM:

One of the bridge clubs in Houston has two monthly games pairing people with more than 300 masterpoints with people who have fewer. They call them "Mentor-Mentee" games. I feel your pain, Xopher, although I would really like you to expand TLAATEWICMHOTO*.

I find it helps a little to pretend that the word is instead "manatee".

*That long abbreviation at the end which I can't make head or tail of.

#322 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2013, 12:42 AM:

If you break the acronym down into its parts, it's actually moderately googleable. (Kids Today, What's The World Coming To, etc.)

#323 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2013, 02:37 AM:

I've seen people say that the Superman's fundamental characteristic is protecting people, and he was careless about that in the movie.

#324 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2013, 04:07 AM:

Rikibeth, you're probably making the right choice about letting the plumber handle the kitchen sink. Much of US plumbing changed in the 1940s, as I learned by owning a 1931 house. Pipe fittings that are nominally the same size with the same threading? Not really. It's easy to turn a slow drip into a fast drip; it's much harder to turn it back into a slow drip. (It was a bathtub faucet, and my cat liked to sit in the tub and watch the water drip anyway.) The tub drain wasn't threaded, it was soft bendable lead soldered onto the tub's fittings and the pipes, so you had to be careful when snaking out the drain. Things like that.

#325 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2013, 06:58 AM:

Bill Stewart: good to know. This one's already a fast drip - actually a constant trickle, and no shutoff valve beneath the sink. I wouldn't be a bit surprised if the water bill goes down once it's fixed even when two more people are living in the house with the attendant showers and laundry.

#326 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2013, 07:12 AM:

Xopher, I do feel your pain, since I am from a moderately pedantic background myself. But in a situation where (a) everyone knows what you mean when you say 'mentee' in context and (b) a more suitable word is lacking (since "protege/e" has slightly different and not always appropriate connotations), I'm inclined to give 'mentee' a pass. I believe it's analogous to the equally inappropriate, but equally transparent, use of 'cisgender'.

After all, the correct (original) counterpart to "mentor" is "telemachos" and there's not a chance in Hell anyone would get that.

#327 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2013, 10:51 AM:

Even 'mentoree' would be better (since 'mentor' is now being used as a verb).

#328 ::: Andrew Wells ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2013, 12:54 PM:

I'd get "Telemachos" more quickly than either "mentee" or "mentoree". But then, I'm strange.

#329 ::: Steve C ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2013, 01:21 PM:

I think we should just use Padawan.

#330 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2013, 01:46 PM:

Open thready half-advertisement:

Clarion and Clarion West are doing Write-a-thons to encourage people to write while the workshops are going on, and to raise money. If you'd like encouragement to write, consider signing up. You don't have to actually raise any money for them -- but if you sign up for the Clarion West one, there are 4 donors who have pledged to donate $600 if at least 300 people sign up. They're all donating $1 per person who signs up if under 300 people do.

Deadlines for signup are this Friday. Here are the websites:

Clarion West Write-a-thon
Clarion Write-a-thon

Full disclosure: my partner Karen Anderson is the current Chair of the Clarion West board, an unpaid position. I volunteer to do massage on the participants.

#331 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2013, 02:05 PM:

David 321: As Tom said, it's Kids Today, What's The World Coming To, You Kids Get Off My Lawn, Shakes Kane In Air.

Yeah, Kane. Dunno why I did that. Should be SCIA.

#332 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2013, 02:28 PM:

Tough Question Time:

Ardala's gradually lost the use of all but one limb. She stopped squeaking her toys back in December, and even the wheelchair is too difficult for her. She has lost fecal and now urinary continence. Physical Therapy has improved the last year of her life, but after this last UTI issue (and her second to last leg), we have made the heart-breaking decision to let her go. Is there a way to ask a vet on the phone for a referral for a vet who can do home-euthanasia? I don't want to come in as I have neither the time or the money at this point... Is it unethical for a vet to provide that info without an office visit?

(reading this I sound like a monster, keeping a dog alive like this. Rest assured, the last few awful things have happened pretty quickly.)

#333 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2013, 02:35 PM:

nerdycellist: I sound like a monster

No, you don't.
Everything you've posted about Ardala shows the love, concern, and informed care you've been providing.

re: vet referral
Why not just ask your vet if they provide that service (even if you're sure they don't)? If not, ask for the referral.

#334 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2013, 02:35 PM:

nerdycellist, no advice, but I'm so sorry to hear it. ((hugs))

#335 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2013, 02:37 PM:

Or your doggy physical therapy team. You have plenty of contacts you can phone.

#336 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2013, 02:56 PM:

Nerdycellist, you're not a monster. Ask your vet (who, after all knows the sitation and knows you're not a monster) if they'd consider doing it. If they say they cannot, ask them for a referral.

And <hugs>

#337 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2013, 02:58 PM:

nerdycellist @332:

You don't sound like a monster. You've been making the choices you've made out of love for her. No one here knows the situation the way you do, so no one's in a place to judge.

I'm sorry it's come to this. But I'm glad she'll die as she lived: loved.

#338 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2013, 03:05 PM:

nerdycellist: hugs if you want 'em. I hope Ardala gets acquainted with my old boy Linus; recent arrivals should stick together, and he was always a gallant fan of Da Ladies.

#339 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2013, 03:55 PM:

Thanks all for your support. Ardala will definitely look forward to meeting Linus - and she loves boys too.

I have emailed our physical therapist, but she has yet to email back. I know I should have called, but despite the fact that I think this is the best decision, I really can't actually talk about it without bursting into tears. Highly annoying. I also know that our PT grieves almost as much for clients' dogs as she does her own. Part of me is afraid she's angry with us for not doing more - but that's just my own judginess I think.

Ardala's vet has only been seeing her since November and has never known her as an active dog. We haven't had time to build up the kind of rapport that we had with the first vet (and none of the ones in between). We just stopped in on Thursday for the UTI from hell, but as it was a last-minute visit, I didn't get any face-time with her. I can't imagine that even though she only saw her for the UTI and did not do an orthopedic exam that she would be unaware of everything; we were just in last month with fecal incontinence and pain-management concerns. Maybe I'll call the office. I'm just in dread that it's going to be a "come in so we can discuss", which will make me feel guilty if I don't.

Anyway, Ardala's getting the Best Week Ever. Last night and this morning she got some of my Filet Mignon. Tonight she gets her very own chicken breast. Every night we take her around the block in the Little Red Wagon we got for her TPLO recovery, and she gets to feel the wind in her ears and smell the neighborhood smells again. On friday, we have a massage (no swimming; she hates the water) scheduled with her favorite massage therapist. And pending vet availability, we will say goodbye on Saturday. After which there will be drinking. And laundry. But probably mostly drinking.

#340 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2013, 04:26 PM:

nerdycellist, I bet if you call your vet's office, the tech or office staff will give you the name & number of a local "euthanasia vet," no questions asked. (This is, after all, your decision, not theirs, to make.) In some areas, this has turned into a bit of a specialty. Where I am, there is one vet who works part time at a local animal hospital, and the rest of the time providing in-home end-of-life care. Over the last six years I've engaged her services twice for cats and have been extremely grateful.

Hugs. Sorry you have to do this.

#341 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2013, 05:36 PM:

nerdycellist, #339: I know I should have called, but despite the fact that I think this is the best decision, I really can't actually talk about it without bursting into tears.

Hardly an unusual reaction, and nothing to be ashamed of.

Have you tried searching on Google for a home-euthanasia service in your area?

My sympathies and condolences. This is never easy, and the way it's happening to you and Ardala is even harder.

#342 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2013, 05:51 PM:

nerdycellist #339: My sympathies and condolences. It sounds like you've done the best you could have for Ardala, but "for all things there is a season"....

#343 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2013, 06:13 PM:

nerdycellist, we'll be facing the euthanasia problem around our cat Mabel very soon. But we've got an incredible rapport with her cancer vet, and we'll know when it's time: just as you did. I send you as much of a virtual hug as you wish to accept.

And I bet your canine PT is really used to people bursting into tears around similar decisions, and I'll bet she'd feel -right?- -comradely?- about joining in with tears herself. And yes, most vet offices have had to deal with this problem before, and have ready referrals via the front desk (not even going through the doctor). Lizzy speaks truth (as she so very frequently does).

#344 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2013, 06:56 PM:

nerdycellist @332: There's no shame in tears. It's never an easy decision; you've done all you can for Ardala, and given her all the time possible, and now you're trying to give her the last gift which you can give. Phone and ask; if they won't come out and do it then yes, they should refer you to someone who will. {{{{hug}}}}

#345 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2013, 07:00 PM:


We could always use "mento".

The plural, of course, would be Mentos...


#346 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2013, 08:09 PM:

nerdycellist @ 332... No monster, no. You did what you could.

#347 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2013, 08:11 PM:

I never appreciated isolation valves so much until I didn't have them. We tried to do a cosmetic bathroom faucet upgrade in the house we were renting. The only way to turn off water to the bathroom sink meant there was no water available anywhere in the house except cold water to the kitchen sink. After installing the new faucet and turning the water back on—disaster! water spurting everywhere! Put back the old known good fixture and we got the same results. Until we could get the landlord in, we had to carry a bucket of water from the kitchen to flush the toilet. I started to grumble at the way we had inconvenienced ourselves until I realized that it was much much much better than not being able to flush at all.

#348 ::: Edmund Schweppe ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2013, 08:46 PM:

Xopher @331: SCIA - the Society for Creativity In Acronymism?

#349 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2013, 10:14 PM:

Nerdycellist, you're not a monster, and Ardala knows that. I'm sending hugs for you and skritches for Miss A. Miss Bella will meet her on the other side.

#350 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2013, 10:26 PM:

nerdycellist @ 332 ...
My profound empathies.

FWIW, many vets these days will actually do housecalls for euthanasia, even though they'll do them for nothing else.

For myself, I was 'happier' to have a vet I didn't expect to see again anytime soon coming to the house -- it was hard enough without dealing with somebody who might expect more than my being a curt and upset watering pot.

#351 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2013, 11:01 PM:

Supreme Court to Arizona: No, you don't get to unilaterally amend / repeal the Voting Rights Act.

By 7-2 (Thomas and Alito dissenting), the Supreme Court has ruled that Arizona's "papers, please" voter registration law is illegal because it conflicts with Federal law. With any luck, this will be seen as precedent for voiding similar laws (or attempts to enact them) in a number of other states.

#352 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2013, 11:05 PM:

What they told Arizona is that it can't change the 'Motor Voter' registration form unilaterally, by requiring proof of citizenship. Arizona is, as you would expect, trying to find a way around the ruling, because [snark] there are so many non-citizens wanting to vote. [/snark]

#353 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2013, 12:04 AM:

When my sister's boyfriend's giant newfie's time had come, the vet made a housecall. Dragging the poor beast into the car and into the office would have been torture.

#354 ::: Wyman Cooke ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2013, 12:06 AM:

Nerdycellist, My thoughts and prayers are with you. I'm reminded of the time I had to put my cat Sylvester to sleep. He had been maimed by another animal; I never found out what.* It was very quick. I buried him in a favorite spot in the back yard.


*It, I would have happily killed. With my bare hands, if possible.

#355 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2013, 12:19 AM:

Nerdycellist, a suggestion: When my dog had been given the first shot—the sedative that puts them (just) to sleep before the euthanasia shot—she had some time as she was settling down. The veterinary technician went to get her a treat, and came back with a chocolate bar. Her last aware moments were the perfect bliss of eating chocolate. She looked so astounded and delighted! Chocolate is, of course, dangerous for dogs but at that point, why not?

#356 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2013, 12:21 AM:

nerdycellist, adding my voice: You don't sound like a monster, but like a caring pet owner. May you have the strength to do what must be done, and may you find healing afterwards, an it be your own will.

#357 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2013, 12:36 AM:

nerdycellist, you are a caring and compassionate human. I grieve with thee.

#358 ::: Andrew Wells ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2013, 02:24 AM:

nerdycellist, our thoughts are with you and Ardala.

#359 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2013, 05:07 AM:

There's never a good time fore such things, but it has taken me a few days to get around to this.

My father, Joseph Bell, died in hospital, on the night of the 13th/14th June. It was around midnight, and the 14th is the formal date on the paperwork, but, in essence, the nurse found him dead when she came with his medication.

He was weak, though showing slight signs of recovery from the illness which had put him in hospital. He was old, less than a fortnight short of his 93rd Birthday. My brother and I had seen him that afternoon. It was unexpected enough that the hospital didn't make one of those "come at once" telephone calls.

It's going to be a big change for me, after so many years of caring first for my mother and then for him.

I know the mettle of this blog's readers. I don't have a date set for the funeral yet, but prayers, good thoughts, or whatever else your faith prefers, might be best timed for the 24th June, his birthday.

We talk of the baby-boomers. He was part of an even bigger boom, after the First World War, which is still a record for the UK.

#360 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2013, 05:18 AM:

Lee @351

I read the article and noticed the two justices who disagreed on what seemed to be a very clear piece of law. I avoided the comment thread which followed; it seemed full of the usual lunacy. It used to be, in the days of printed news and on-paper letters, that the responses you saw were selected. The editors and publishers were allowing letter-writers to use a limited resource. Today, the first comment I saw was a promotion for one of those work-from-home scams.

Maybe if a few more people were checking facts, and blocking the spammers, we wouldn't have an unemployment problem. And how much money in the budgets of the new media vanishes into the deep pockets of the powerful?

#361 ::: Neil W ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2013, 07:08 AM:

Condolences, Dave Bell. My sympathies nerdycellist.

Lila @326 I used telemachos some years ago when my mentor tried to call me a mentee. It didn't work out as well as I hoped.

Steve C @329 A lawyer friend of mine does actually refer to his trainees as padawan. Everyone seems to be happy with that.

#362 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2013, 08:23 AM:

I'm putting in a good word for Three Parts Dead, a recent fantasy novel which has a fair amount about mentor/mentee|protege relationships. I like it quite a bit-- it's a good strange invented world with something close to golden age pacing. And a courtroom drama.

People are calling it steampunk, but it isn't Victorian at all.

#363 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2013, 08:24 AM:

Would the gnomes care for some home made beef vegetable soup?

#364 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2013, 08:29 AM:

Dave Bell, my condolences.

#365 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2013, 08:39 AM:

Dave Bell, my condolences. Even when you know the end of that road is coming quickly. it's a shock. Good luck with moving into the next part of your life.

nerycellist, I'm sorry. You and Ardala have been through so much, and she has always sounded like an excellent, if highly opinionated dog. What you are having to plan is awful and heart-breaking, but it is not callous and cruel. That would have been abandoning her at the first sign of a problem that wasn't easily fixed, and I know you never considered that.

#366 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2013, 08:41 AM:

Dave Bell @359, my sincere condolences.

#367 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2013, 09:02 AM:

Dave Bell, add my condolences to the others'.

#368 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2013, 09:06 AM:

Dave Bell @ 359: My condolences. I don't think there's ever a good time, but I hope you can find some comfort in rememberance of a long life, well lived.

Thinking of you.

#369 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2013, 09:58 AM:

Dave Bell, sending sympathy to you and your brother.

#370 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2013, 10:18 AM:

Dave Bell #359: My condolences.

#371 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2013, 10:18 AM:

Dave Bell #359: My condolences.

#372 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2013, 10:41 AM:

Dave Bell #359: My condolences.

#373 ::: GlendaP ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2013, 10:43 AM:

Dave Bell @359: My condolences.

#374 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2013, 11:14 AM:

Dave Bell @359:

I'm sorry for your loss. He had a good innings, and he clearly left the world at least one interesting and worthwhile person richer than he found it. But I know that's probably scant comfort right now.

I'll keep him, and everyone who misses him (but you especially) in my prayers.

#375 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2013, 11:46 AM:

Nerdycellist, you did the best you could with the cards you and Ardala were dealt. I sorrow with you.
(I'm still missing singing Tao home each evening.)

Dave Bell, my condolences...good thoughts and prayers headed your way.

#376 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2013, 12:01 PM:

Dave Bell, my condolences.

nerdycellist, my sympathies.

Thinking good thoughts for all concerned in both cases.

#377 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2013, 12:15 PM:

Dave 359: I'm sorry for your loss, Dave.

#378 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2013, 12:18 PM:

My condolences, Dave.

#379 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2013, 12:18 PM:

Condolences from here too, Dave Bell.

#380 ::: Andrew Wells ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2013, 12:19 PM:

Dave, I am very sorry to hear of your loss.

#381 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2013, 12:39 PM:

Sorry to hear the news Dave.

#382 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2013, 12:46 PM:

Dave Bell: My condolences and sympathies. May his memory be a blessing.

#383 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2013, 12:50 PM:

I'm sorry for your loss, Dave, and your impending loss, nerdycellist.

May you find comfort.

#384 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2013, 01:28 PM:

I'm sorry for your loss, Dave. I'll keep you and yours in my prayers.

#385 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2013, 01:33 PM:

Dave B., #359: My condolences on your loss. May he be remembered well.

and @360: Your last sentence has caught the crux of the problem. We don't just have regulatory capture here, we have media capture as well. Hiring someone even to delete/block the obvious spam (let alone a decent moderator) cuts into profits and therefore is a "waste of money".

Nancy, #362: Interesting. We may be seeing the development of a new genre here. Based on the cover art and the description, that book definitely evokes the steampunk feel, but it's pure fantasy rather than alternate-history.

#386 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2013, 02:01 PM:

Dave and nerdycellist: My condolences.

#387 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2013, 02:08 PM:

Wyman @ #354 – I don’t know how I would have dealt with the rage in your cat’s situation. When I was growing up, my family’s last kitty, Spot, went missing for a couple of days – or so we thought. He was actually hiding underneath the sustain pedal on the piano; he had foolishly wandered into a neighbor’s yard and was mauled by their Irish Setter. Despite the fact that we were pretty poor, and Spot was an “unwanted” stray that my parents up until then had begrudgingly tolerated, they took him to the vet and managed to save him. He was terribly timid for his next 19 years. I hope Ardala doesn’t harass him too much when she meets him – she is a great lover of cats.

Lizzy L @#330 (and others) – thanks for the encouragement. I called the vet’s office and it was exactly as you had said. The receptionist had two choices at the ready, and was happy to provide them. She asked after Ardala, and sympathized, and did not make me feel lousy or get the vet on the phone. It helped I think that she had Ardala’s chart in front of her. We have made an appointment for 8am on Saturday, after a nice breakfast and a long wagon ride.

A little more info on our decision is here.

#388 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2013, 02:18 PM:

nerdycellist: It's always so hard to let them go, even when you know it's right. Ardala is surely loved, and loves you back.

Dave B: I'm sorry for your lost.

#389 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2013, 02:30 PM:

@362 Nancy Lebovitz

I'd buy it just for the cover, which has an actual female, standing properly, fully dressed, and who is not white!

#390 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2013, 03:32 PM:

I picked up the Kindle sample for Three Parts Dead a while back, liked it quite well, and distracted by something, I imagine, because I should've gone ahead and bought the book. I have now done so, and that's something for me to read on the flight tomorrow while I'm off to Fourth Street Fantasy. Thanks for the reminder!

#391 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2013, 05:32 PM:

I think it was here that I saw the rec for the Avengers fanfic about Captain America being arrested for painting "graffiti" -- a badly-needed crosswalk at a dangerous intersection.

Life imitating art, to our diminishment. The city fined the guy $15,000, sent him to prison, and removed the crosswalk.

#392 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2013, 06:19 PM:

Lee, I have a question. What the hell is wrong with those people?!?

#393 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2013, 06:22 PM:

I suspect I know, now that I've thought for a few minutes. Vallejo is more concerned about not delaying traffic than about the safety of pedestrians.

#394 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2013, 07:05 PM:

Xopher, the crosswalk was illegal in various ways. There's another one on the other side of the intersection, properly marked. Going out with a bucket of white paint from the hardware store and doing it yourself is a really bad idea. There's paint made specially for marking pavement, and standards for how to do the marking. (There are also signal-controlled intersections, with crosswalks, two blocks north and south of that location.)

#395 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2013, 07:27 PM:

My condolences to Dave B. and nerdycellist.

#396 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2013, 07:51 PM:

Yeah, so you have to walk two blocks to cross the street. People weren't doing that.

#397 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2013, 07:52 PM:

If the nearest safe place to cross the street is two blocks away, the city needs to fix the unsafe intersection, perhaps putting in a light. But they don't care about pedestrians.

#398 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2013, 08:53 PM:

Xopher, there are three crosswalks at that intersection, two across the minor street and one across the major street. The fourth side is the one the guy painted - it's a legal crossing, but it isn't a marked crosswalk. (In California, you can cross at any intersection where it isn't marked 'no pedestrian crossing'.) They may decide to put another one at that intersection, but that's for the traffic engineers to decide.

This year, incidentally, the City of Los Angeles has begun restriping their crosswalks as zebra crossings, instead of the two-lines-across-traffic crosswalks. They're certainly easier to see.

#399 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2013, 09:22 PM:

P J Evans, #394: All of that makes sense, until you get to the OMGWTFBBQ!!!11!1!!11!!11! over-reaction by the city. $15,000 and prison time? That's just over the top.

I did notice that the guy has a Latino name. I wonder what the city's reaction would have been if a guy named Rick Smith had done the same thing.

#400 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2013, 11:31 PM:

*sigh* Well, Vallejo is named for a (Spanish/Mexican) man who was dispossessed of everything he owned in the wake of the Gold Rush. By the accounts I've read, he was gracious about it, as he was in the rest of his life.

It's the sad irony of California that those of Hispanic/Latino descent are treated as the newcomers. Not to mention the natives. Yup, we still have native tribes, something that comes as a big surprise to a lot of people in spite of the fact that we have Indian casinos all over the place. Head, meet sand.

#401 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2013, 12:48 AM:

Oooh! Somebody's taken a bunch of lovely maps and overlaid the original meanings of the place names! The Atlas of True Names. I particularly like St. Famous Warrior the Overseer in the Land of the Successor. Land of People with Tall Caps is also pretty good. As is Unfordable River Town. Though they did let "Land of the Stangers" slip through without its R, as evidenced by a later map.

#402 ::: B. Durbin is gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2013, 12:51 AM:

Possibly for overenthusiastic goopiness about a map link. Rainier cherries for the duty gnomes.

#403 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2013, 01:00 AM:

I hadn't heard of their penalty u8ntil Xopher mentioned it - it looks like they're charging him for all of the cleanup work. (It may help to know that Vallejo nearly went bankrupt a few years back, and is still in bad shape.)

#404 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2013, 01:25 AM:

Xopher Halftongue: Jailtime and hefty fines are nuts. I completely agree with you there.

I do understand why the city might oppose a crosswalk. We have a lot of debate about this in Portland. There are several streets outside of the city core that have multiple lanes of fast traffic, and infrequent traffic lights for pedestrians to cross safely. Of course, you're reluctant to walk two blocks to an intersection with a light, especially when you see a bus heading to the stop across the street. People naturally ask for marked crosswalks. Unfortunately, there's some evidence that they cause more injuries because the pedestrians are less paranoid. We assume that the traffic will stop, and all it takes is one oblivious driver not recognizing that the cross walk requires them to stop, and a 35 mph car is hitting a person.

#405 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2013, 02:17 AM:

Dave B and nerdycellist, my thoughts and condolences to each of you.

#406 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2013, 06:38 AM:

Next month, the last telegram in the world will be sent when India's state-owned telecom company shuts its telegraph service.

The US Navy is also, as older equipment is retired, ending the use of all-upper-case in its official messages. It started over a century ago with the first teleprinters.


#407 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2013, 08:48 AM:

B. Durbin @401, I can't zoom in far enough to see if my hometown is called "Stinky Onion" or not...

#408 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2013, 09:17 AM:

Cassy B @407--Will Stink Onions do? There's a close-up farther down of that area.

#409 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2013, 09:21 AM:

Fidelio @408, yes, "Stink Onions" does nicely; thanks. Didn't see the closeup.

#410 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2013, 11:23 AM:

P J Evans@398 : In California, you can cross at any intersection where it isn't marked 'no pedestrian crossing'.

It's years ago now, but when I first heard that not only was there such a thing as "jaywalking" in the US but that it was actually, genuinely, prosecutably illegal (in some states, I guess?), I was incredulous. It just seems so contrary to the whole freedom and independence thing that's supposed to characterise the nation.

#411 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2013, 11:36 AM:

Hyperlocal news... Local fan's wife Susan Krinard was told yesterday about an outfit that wants to do an audio version of her fantasy novel "Mist". The book itself is coming out on July 16 from Tor.

#412 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2013, 12:35 PM:

Serge, congrats to Sue!

#413 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2013, 12:39 PM:

HLN: Area woman, after several false starts, has set her ringtone to the original Doctor Who theme music and the text alert to the TARDIS noise, to coordinate with the decorative TARDIS case the phone now wears. "A pain in the neck, but worth it," she reports.

Sources confirm that the device has been named "Idris".

#414 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2013, 12:59 PM:

Rikibeth @ 413... From Elba?

#415 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2013, 03:28 PM:

HLN: Area man has just spent week in Netherlands, which are still flat, well-organised, and full of bicycles and cheese.

Exposure to the Dutch language has produced a suggested motto for a Discworld guild of reference librarians: "Zie ook"

#416 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2013, 04:03 PM:

Tracie @309: Guinea pig armor for sale.

That is deeply and profoundly silly. They need to do an actually-guinea-pig-head-shaped helmet, though.

#417 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2013, 06:46 PM:

Serge: Nope. She stole a Doctor and ran away.

#418 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker To Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2013, 07:44 PM:

Dave Bell: I'm deeply sorry for your loss.

nerdycellist: one of the responsibilities we take on for our animal companions is making sure of the quality of their lives. Our older dog, Jemma, is almost 16 now. She's partially deaf, and has been blind for a couple of years. Now her hind legs are starting to fail, possibly due to a tumor pushing on her spinal cord. And she's becoming senile, though slowly. It's not yet time to put her down, because she is still happy about mealtimes, and wants to cuddle and be petted some of the time. But we know that she hasn't much time left, so we talked to the vet about what we can expect to see over the next few months. The vet asked us what factors we would use in making a decision, and said she approved of our criteria for the decision, then volunteered to come to our house when the time comes. It helps when the people you need for the information to make decisions like this are on yours and your dog's side.

#419 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2013, 02:52 AM:

Action alert for those who think wolves should be allowed to thrive in the United States. Our illustrious Federal Government has proposed taking gray wolves off the Endangered Species list, letting state fish and wildlife agencies "care" for them. Here's how that's done:

For instance, most of the nearly 1,700 wolves surviving in the West lived in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming at the end of 2012. Those states now have recreational hunting and trapping seasons, and in the past two years, nearly 1,200 wolves have been killed. Nearly 400 more were killed for attacking livestock.
There are about 83 days left for public comment at the Federal Register where you can leave your thoughts about this policy.

I do not understand Obama's environmental policies at all. He claims to be green and then extends more leases to oil companies. Indications are he's about to approve the Keystone pipeline, which won't do Americans any good and may do the Ogallala Aquifer under Nebraska great harm. He's done good things for alternative energy, but he's not raised his voice against fracking or mountaintop removal.

It's a puzzle.

#420 ::: Linkmeister is captive of gnomes ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2013, 02:53 AM:

Yo, ladies and germs, want some macadamia nuts?

#421 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2013, 03:36 AM:

janetl @404: "all it takes is one oblivious driver not recognizing that the cross walk requires them to stop, and a 35 mph car is hitting a person." So, driver education plus put some serious penalties (prison time for manslaughter) on drivers who knock down and kill pedestrians on cross walks, until drivers do treat them seriously.

#422 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2013, 08:25 AM:

dcb: Education and enforcement have a serious lead time, and "punish them harder" has rapidly declining returns.

General: Fans of the Foglios' webstrip Girl Genius may note that they appear to be picking up Chekhov's time machine, or at least poking at it.

#423 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2013, 10:35 AM:

Kurt Busiek's "AstroCity" is back.

#424 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2013, 11:07 AM:

"Ex-Gay" group Exodus International has decided to shut down, and issued an apology for their wrongdoing.

What I like about this is that the apology is a real apology. He acknowledges harm done, accepts the blame, and publicly resolves to change his ways. I believe that in Christian terms this is called "true repentance." I applaud it, without excusing the wrong done in the past.

In fact, the only thing missing here is any statement of intention to make amends to those already harmed. Maybe that's in the full text of the apology, which is too slashdotted to read right now.

#425 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2013, 11:28 AM:

The actual text of the apology doesn't speak of making amends, but it goes into a lot more detail about exactly what he's apologizing for.

#426 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2013, 12:27 PM:

We only use drones for domestic surveillance occasionally. So really, there is nothing to worry about. And as always, if he is lying, there will be no consequences whatsoever, so you can take his assurances to the bank.

#427 ::: Victoria ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2013, 01:11 PM:

Linkmeister @ 419

I do not understand Obama's environmental policies at all. He's done good things for alternative energy, but he's not raised his voice against fracking or mountaintop removal.

It's a puzzle.

Not if you look at Environmental Policy as separate from Energy Policy. Most people tend to lump them together. When it comes to Energy Sans Environmental, success is dependent on widespread infrastructure and inexpensive delivery of services.

In my recollection of the past, alternate energy was promoted when fossil fuel prices got expensive for the end users. Environmentalists jumped on the band wagon for Cheap Energy is Good, and added Green Energy is Good, Too because it was a two birds with one stone scenario. People could feel good about being frugal and ecologically aware at the same time.

However, young technology is not cheap, so they slowly dropped the cheap in favor of Green Energy is Good Energy. So the perception was an either/or option. Either renewable energy or gas/petroleum/coal based energy.

The real reason that cheap, clean alternate energies failed is that were no widespread, ubiquitous infrastructure elements to deliver the energy to the consumers. (And going "off the grid" had a lot of negative connotations.) So consumers were faced with Cheap/easy or Green/clean/expensive/hard to find.

By encouraging alternate fuels while allowing the expansion of more "traditional" fuels, Obama is trying to replace the either/or option with the both/and option. As in "energy is both cheap and easy and clean and green if that's what you want."

Over time, renewable and alternate energies will continue to develop infrastructure due to grass roots demands from the public consumers. So by the time "green" energy is a fully mature, ubiquitous option, "non-green" (i.e. non-renewable) energy will either be exhausted or out of social and political favor. Due to the law of supply and demand, clean/green energy will probably be cheaper in the not-too-distant future as the oil fields, coal beds and other resource providers get used up.

In short, Obama is not trying to stop the short sighted from running over the edge of the energy cliff. He is giving quiet and meaningful support to those who are very long range thinkers. (I saw an article today where the headline asked "if oil reserves are up, why aren't gas prices going down?" I didn't bother to read the article.)

Something else you might want to consider. The US military is dedicated to replacing around 50% of their fossil fuel dependent operations with clean, renewable fuels in the next decade. It's a goal they're pushing really hard to attain. The military is not doing this to be Environmentally Aware, they are doing it out of necessity for logistics and supply during times of combat and peace. But mostly during combat.

#428 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2013, 01:22 PM:

Dave Harmon @422: I know, I know. I just get fed up of the laughable penalties given out to drivers who kill pedestrians or cyclists. I don't step out onto a zebra crossing without checking that the drivers are indeed stopping, even though it's a legal requirement for them to stop if I've put my foot on the crossing. I've also noticed, as a runner, that drivers are less likely to stop for me on a zebra crossing than they are when I'm walking along in ordinary clothes - as if the fact I'm a runner makes me less of a real person deserving of consideration, for some reason. And I'm fed up of traffic lights which are designed to maximise traffic flow with zero consiedration for how difficult they make it for pedestrians to cross the road. And that's all in the UK, where there's less of a "cars are king" mentality than in the USA...

#429 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2013, 01:57 PM:

albatross #426

I am the leader of the FBI!

And a very good leader too!

You are law-abiding folk
And you know it is a joke
To assume I'd spy on you.

We are law-abiding folk
And we know it is a joke
To assume he'd spying do.

Though I have some UAVs
Bought before the spending freeze
That I fly from Ankara to Rome
Manned aircraft is the way
I habitually play
And I never use those drones at home.

What never?

No never!

What never?

Well hardly ever!

Hardly ever launches drones at home!
So give three cheers for that stand-up guy
The virtuous leader of the FBI!
So give three cheers for that stand-up guy
The leader of the FBI!

#430 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2013, 03:08 PM:

The F.B.I. Deemed Agents Faultless in 150 Shootings

Including the one where they shot the wrong guy in the head and paid $1.3 million to settle a lawsuit.

#431 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2013, 03:34 PM:


I'm convinced at this point that the only way we get green energy is if it's economically a win. Otherwise, the collective action problem among countries is so brutal, and the incentives for any government to defect so strong, that I think we will in practice stick with the cheap energy that continues changing the climate. My intuition is that the best change of having this happen involves funding research into alternative energy, subsdizing adoption, investing in companies--the whole bit, but all focused on giving them a chance to get the price/convenience/erc to the point where they're competitive with fossil fuels. I wonder if the Obama administration's policy is driven by that same idea, combined with a desire to boost the economy short term. If you think that fossil fuels will win unless non-fossil-fuels get cheaper and better, there is no point in pushing back on fossil fuels till the alternatives get better--the next administration will just reverse you, and even if they don't, most of the rest of the world will go with the cheap fuel.

As an aside, we won't run out of coal anytime in the next couple centuries, and coal is the worst of the fossil fuels for CO2 emissions, so we can't assume that running out of supply will drive us to non-CO2-emitting energy sources. Not remotely in time. If we burn coal for the next couple centuries, and then shift to cleaner fuels, we will have long since done massive stuff to the climate and ocean pH, with God knows what results,

#432 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2013, 03:38 PM:

HLN: Local author is finally granted glimpse of the cover mock-up for her first novel. Continuous squeeing[1] has commenced.

[1] Actually, I think that's just the tinnitus, which tends to get worse when I'm putting in 15-hour days at work under stressful deadlines.

#433 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2013, 03:46 PM:

Heather Rose Jones: Congrats! Out of curiosity... how close is your first glimpse to your scheduled release date? I haven't seen my cover art yet, and I'm getting predictably antsy.

#434 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2013, 03:59 PM:

Dave Bell @ #406

Oh Noes! Does this mean I have to hang up my heliograph?

#435 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2013, 06:09 PM:

Serge Broom @423: While I strongly share your "Yay" I find myself curious why you're celebrating two weeks late.

From what I hear, they've built up a year's worth of lead time, so it should remain monthly for a while even if Kurt's health takes another turn for the worse. (And now I need an atheist version of "God forbid". Any suggestions? "Touch wood" doesn't really work for me.)

(Oh, and "Astro City", two words.)

#436 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2013, 06:46 PM:

Heather Rose Jones @ 432... Squee!

#437 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2013, 06:46 PM:

Steve Broom @423 and David Goldfarb @435,

What is Astro City?


#438 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2013, 06:50 PM:

David Goldfarb # 435... Number One has been out for two weeks? Glad to hear because it means I'll have to wait for only two weeks for Number Two of "Astro City"! And I hope Busiek stays healthy, for his own sake.

#439 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2013, 06:57 PM:

Balls of Tungsten Steel Award for Courageous Photography goes to the motorcyclist who turned around to take photos of the timber wolf chasing him on a B.C. highway:

#440 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2013, 07:12 PM:

David, how about "may it not be so!"?

#441 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2013, 07:21 PM:

I'm impressed. Maybe the wolf thought it would be a nice toy....

#442 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2013, 08:56 PM:

Several years ago there was a survey of what fictional protagonist you'd want on your side in case of emergency. The final voting was MacGyver, Indiana Jones; John McClane; James Bond and Jason Bourne (tie); and Lara Croft and Jack Bauer of 24 (tie). I remember that Bond and Bauer's presence kicked off a discussion online of who you wouldn't want, not because they were incompetent but because your odds of survival would go into the dumpster. (Croft was an edge case: lots of dead NPC's, but nothing like the Bond/Bauer death toll.) I can't find that discussion so I thought I'd solicit opinions here.

Mind you, this has nothing to do with the character competence in solving the mystery/adventure/what have you. This has to do with your chances to walk out of it intact at the end.

I'd argue that Number 1 would be Master Li, assuming his body count each case has remained steady since age 20 or so. There are reasons that Number 10 Ox is telling the stories, namely who else could take the pounding and live? Associates of the old man tend to die at an alarming rate: the good news is that what Simon Templer called "the Ungodly" tend to die even faster.

Number 2 would be a team since they don't work separately: the Lovely Angels. (This is a plot point in one of the movies. The head of the group hiring them says, approximately "If we do nothing everyone on the planet will die. If we hire the Dirty Pair, some may survive by accident.") Both are competent and they do solve their cases, but they are the poster girls for Collateral Damage.

Number 3 would be Nero Wolfe. I used to think The Continental Op should be in this position but while the body count is high in his stories, when it comes to deaths by association the Op has nothing on Wolfe. (At this point someone is going to bring up Red Harvest. I say Thppppth at you.)

(And while you're at it, let's skip the George RR Martin, Joss Wheadon, and Scott Lynch character jokes. Thank you.)

Number 4 would be Lovejoy from the books: the knowledge that whoever kills me in the process of getting the McGuffin will be killed by "accident" and much hand-wringing is not as much comfort as not being killed at all.

Number 5 would be Richard Wentworth, AKA The Spider. The Shadow (too many identities to list) is damn careful about those on his side, as is Richard Henry Benson (The Avenger) and Doc Savage, but The Spider is kill-crazy, and unless you're his servant or his girlfriend or the police chief that wants to put him away he's perfectly willing to ventilate anything and anybody in the pursuit of whatever dieselpunk mad scientist is at work. This is the pulp character that needed a human head to beat a villain and went looking for a jaywalker to contribute one.

Number 6 would either be Ripley or Ash. They're opposite ends of the same spectrum: both are willing to improvise as necessary, but one is smart and the other is dumb as a box of rocks. (Mr. Ripley is a different kettle of fish. Involving him is like involving 4Chan, and for similar reasons.)

Any other suggestions?

#443 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2013, 09:11 PM:

Cassy B. @437: Astro City is my favorite superhero comic book of the last two decades. You can try out the first couple of issues at (In digital format, natch.)

Bruce Durocher: The Doctor should probably be on that list, particularly his fourth incarnation.

#444 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2013, 09:11 PM:

Xopher Halftongue @440: That's not bad; Ursula Le Guin's "Avert!" has also come to mind.

#445 ::: Heather Rose Jonse ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2013, 09:24 PM:

Rikibeth @ 433

Heather Rose Jones: Congrats! Out of curiosity... how close is your first glimpse to your scheduled release date? I haven't seen my cover art yet, and I'm getting predictably antsy.

My publication date is next February. I don't know what that means in the grand scheme of things. I imagine that publishers vary considerably in how things get scheduled between contract and appearance. Especially the smaller publishers.

I love the cover design (and have made it the wallpaper on my iPhone). It's a trifle more on the "romance" side of the equation than what I pictured in my head but that's probably entirely appropriate since it will be marketed much more as a romance than as a fantasy/adventure. And they took my idea of designing a concept that can carry over across the several planned books in the series with changes in focal image and color scheme. When it's more finalized I presume I'll be able to get permission to plaster it all over my social media.

#446 ::: Roy G. Ovrebo ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2013, 09:51 PM:

Bruce Durocher @ 442: Harry Flashman tops the list for me. He'd sacrifice _anyone_ (except possibly his darling wife) to get out of whatever bind his author had put him in. And he was the sole survivor of many a battle...

#447 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2013, 10:07 PM:

David @444

My family has an "Avert!" gesture ritual: touch the end of your right thumb to your tongue, press the thumb into the palm of your left hand, and then "stamp" that palm with the side of your right fist. I suspect that it originally involved spitting into the palm, rather than transferring a small amount of saliva via the thumb. I believe my mother learned it from her father, who was born in the 1890s, and grew up, as an orphan, largely raised by his own grandparents, so it may be a 19th century thing, possibly Welsh in origin. Or not.

#448 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2013, 10:13 PM:

#442 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II

I'd put Modesty Blaise and Jack Reacher (who might make an interesting team) on the list of people I do want.

And as for the people I might not want, #430 ::: Jim Macdonald, are there historical examples of out-of-control law enforcement organizations being made into something safe for the general public?

#449 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2013, 11:07 PM:

There are definitely variations between publishers! My book is supposed to come out in August and I haven't seen it yet. This is making me nervous because I'm supposed to be able to ask for a revision if I hate it, I think...

It might make a difference that this is a digital-first publisher.

I'm antsy because the cover artist's usual style is very suited to paranormal and BDSM romance themes, but I don't know how well it will carry over into a historical whose nontraditional aspects aren't visible in the characters' costumes (how well are they going to DO the clothing?) and the only real cue should be the three happy people on the cover instead of two.

#450 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2013, 12:03 AM:

Cassie B... "Astro City" is a comic-book that takes a different approach. It doesn't go for realism. It doesn't follow the cliches unthinkingly. It embraces the conventions and situations of the genre, but it turns them on their heads. For example, it had one tale about the "Lois Lane hounds Superman to prove he's Clark Kent" with a bittersweet ending.

#451 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2013, 12:49 AM:

I'm feeling vaguely bummed.

The local, not-terribly-good paper, The Oregonian, is firing dozens of people and cutting back on home delivery to three days a week. (But they're including the Saturday edition with the Sunday paper.)

Not having a paper to start reading in the morning, with comics and light news sections left for the evening, seems terribly wrong. I've been reading daily papers for most of the last 35 years, starting with Newsday and then the New York Times and the SF Chronicle.

There will be an online daily Oregonian, but . . . ah, fiddlesticks.

Sigh. Grump. Fssssht.

#452 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2013, 01:08 AM:

Bruce Durocher at 442: Miles Vorkosigan, Buffy Summers, and a gentleman from Scotland named Francis Crawford.

#453 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2013, 01:09 AM:

Stefan Jones @ 451: I'm sad about The Oregonian, too. Can't claim that they've been one of the top papers, but they've had some fine moments. Do you remember when they brought down the vicious immigration manager at the airport? He was throwing foreign travelers into jail for no good reason. When the con artist Sizemore ran for governor, it was the paper that turned over all the rocks about his past business dealings. I loved them when they put an editorial on the front page to oppose the "Oregon Citizen Alliance" ballot initiative that attacked gay rights. They won the Pulitzer as recently as 2007. We need the resources of journalism to give the bloggers something to link to!

It's gotten thinner, and thinner, but at least once a week I've learned something about my town from the paper that I didn't hear on Oregon Public Broadcasting radio, or see online.
Maybe it will survive in this 3-days-a-week and online mode, but I think our community has been diminished.

One of the things I've missed from local new sources is reviews of the theater. It used to be that I'd look for information about a play, and find well-written reviews in the Oregonian and in Willamette Week. Not so much now.

#454 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2013, 01:34 AM:

Lizzy L @ 452: I was thinking that Miles did well by his team, too.

#455 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2013, 02:36 AM:

Bruce Durocher @ #442, Wolfe? Really? Goodwin, Panzer, Cather and Durkin lived through the last one of Stout's novels.

A few victims knew he was on their side before their death, but he didn't lose too many clients to murder.

#456 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2013, 09:58 AM:

A really thoughtful and interesting piece on surveillance and consensus reality at Interfluidity.

This is one of the more thoughtful articles I've read on ongoing surveillance policies, which ties into a lot of bigger questions about how we decide what consensus reality is and who is a nut unworthy of further attention. It strikes me that we almost always evaluate whether someone is sensible or not based on whether what they're saying agrees with consensus reality as received from respectable media and politicians and schools and such, at the time they say their piece, rather than going back later and checking to see whether they were right.

Thus, the boosters of the Iraq invasion got a big boost in respectability during the runup to the war--they were repeating the consensus picture of reality, unlike those un-American shrill moonbats who said there were no WMDs. And later, when it turned out that there really weren't any WMDs to speak of (excepting a few rusting chemical weapons shells), the Iraq war boosters didn't lose any respectability, and the antiwar moonbats didn't gain any.

#457 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2013, 10:10 AM:

David 444: Either way, of course, you're acting as if words have power. Which is often a polite fiction, like saying "bless you" when someone sneezes (even though we no longer believe people's souls come out when they sneeze). Otherwise you'd just say "Oh, I hope not!"

Cally 447: Huh, I've seen that as divinatory: you put a substantial amount of saliva in the left palm, and pound it with the right fist; then by which way the spit flies out, you pick your direction (literal or metaphorical).

Gross, I know. And I can not remember where I've seen that. A movie? A TV show? Read it in a book and pictured it in my mind? Pretty sure I've never seen anyone do it in meat space.

Lizzy 452:Similar to what I was thinking, except I didn't think of the guy from Lymond.

#458 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2013, 11:01 AM:

David Goldfarb @443: The Doctor should probably be on that list, particularly his fourth incarnation.

Everybody dies! (except the Doctor and his companion)

The Horror of Fang Rock and Pyramids of Mars were a couple of 'good' examples of this.

It strikes me you could make a case for this being a 'Law of Time' (in some storyline other than Doctor Who, because there are too many counter-examples): Time protects itself from time travelers by killing all the witnesses.

Put in the vernacular of the 11th Doctor: "I'm the Doctor ... Run!"

Of course, it would be easier to kill all the time travelers.

#459 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2013, 11:54 AM:

For the Annals Of How To Make An Apology: Kickstarter on the "seduction guide".

#460 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2013, 12:07 PM:

Impressive example of how to apologize. The only better action Kickstarter could take at this point would require a TARDIS.

#461 ::: John M. Burt ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2013, 01:14 PM:

Agreed. A sincere and unqualified apology is a rare and beautiful thing.

Here is another, even more impressive and surprising one:

#462 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2013, 01:19 PM:

More surprising, but not IMO more impressive. There's no intent to mitigate the harm already caused in that one. He's not donating the money Exodus made to a fund that provides therapy for people damaged by "reparative therapy," for example.

#463 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2013, 01:28 PM:

Of course, it would be easier to kill all the time travelers.

Except insofar as they tend to be difficult to kill. Though that may be a function of the fact that they're generally Protagonists.

#464 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2013, 03:31 PM:

LInkmeister@455: and indeed, those people were probably a lot younger at the end of the series than they would have been if they had not met Wolfe.

On the other hand, V sbhaq lbhe ynathntr pbashfvat ng svefg, orpnhfr abg nyy gubfr punenpgref yvir guebhtu gur ynfg obbx va gur Oevgvfu frafr bs 'guebhtu'.

#465 ::: Steven Halter ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2013, 04:08 PM:

The xkcd time thread (movie?) is still going at 2248 frames so far. The site I usually use to look at it is here. Pretty neat.

#466 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2013, 04:13 PM:

Andrew M @ #464, I struggled with terminology there trying to avoid a huge spoiler. I remember now that Johnny Keems was a private op working for Wolfe who DID die on the job.

#467 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2013, 05:47 PM:

I've been using to follow it. They just had an exciting encounter with a wildcat!

#468 ::: Elliott Mason has returned from vacation ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2013, 09:14 PM:

... and managed to get through the remaining Open Threadiness in one long push without getting TOO out of puff. The other threads can wait until I've time and energy.

My child is asleep, and has been for over an hour DAYENU. It is notable that the taxi driver's chosen route from MDW to our house took significantly longer to drive THAN THE PLANE FLIGHT TO MDW FROM YTZ. I would've been significantly miffed if I weren't exhausted. I actually napped some in the cab.

Pluses: I saw several of Toronto's touristy joys that I've missed on previous trips (how, in the OVER 15 YEARS I've been periodically visiting, have I never managed to get to the amusements and trails on The Island before?!?); some conversation time with in-laws I enjoy spending time with; no Uncomfortableness in a familial sense.

Minuses: if organization and get-stuff-done-itude were gunpowder the entire group of 12 couldn't BLOW THEIR COLLECTIVE NOSE WITH IT. Not aided by the 5 members of the party younger than 13. Or the fact that our two-night trip to the Big Indoor Water Park involved severe gastroenteritis by most adults (not my family in any form) the night before the drive and some kind of fever-based illness for two of the kids DURING. So John and I got to be Heroes of the Revolution and take the not-our-kids who were well enough to be rarin' for waterslides, down waterslides, while their parents and grandparents variously cared for the ill, were ill themselves, or slept a lot. And that part I was actually glad to do, other than worrying about coordination and Familial Rules unknown to me whose thwarting I might inadvertently aid.

So it was, as usual for any trip involving my MiL, seven days of fun that may well require more than seven days to recover from.

At least I'm not immediately catapulting into weeks of pre-commitment, unlike all the rest of this month ... I just have a family bat mitzvah to attend tomorrow and some Undelayable Very Important Errands sprinkled through next week. Which should not be missed, esp. not on account of 'falling over recovering from my vacation'.

Sprog had fun, though she was also continually over-tired enough to be right shirty with everyone.

I keep thinking I had things to say about the Old Houses subthread (own one, grew up in one, love 'em), the Astro City adoration (Cassy B.: I own I-think-all the TPBs, which can be loaned to you for the Low Low Rental of ... helping me figure out what box they're in), and Xopher's phone woes (thankfully, many of my Android annoyances are now straightened out, due to a weekend in the company of my BiL), but I can't remember what exactly and I'm still in no way firing on all cylinders.

I'm trying to decide whether I should just go upstairs and try to fall asleep at 8:15PM, or perhaps watch a movie while waiting for post-trip laundry to cycle through the machines?

AKICIML: I did google the question "How do I tell if the cherries on my tree are ripe?", because the mature tree in our yard (which we've never seen fruit before) has bright-red nodules scattered about it. I have no idea if they're meant to mature into DARK-red nodules. They don't currently come off the tree to a judicious tug, and they're kind of squishy-soft-feeling to the touch, not firm-but-yielding-at-the-skin as has led me to believe is desired. Comments welcomed, though I'm probably just going to keep waiting and tugging on them once in a while ...

#469 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2013, 09:20 PM:

David Goldfarb: The Doctor should probably be on that list, particularly his fourth incarnation.

I'll take your word on it: I've only seen six or so episodes before the reboot, and those had sets and effects that made Red Dwarf seem lavish. I admit to some curiosity about the Companion who beat a Dalek to death with a ball bat...

Roy G. Ovrebo: Harry Flashman tops the list for me. He'd sacrifice _anyone_ (except possibly his darling wife) to get out of whatever bind his author had put him in. And he was the sole survivor of many a battle...

A strong contender. The major difference being that, from the few Flashman books I've read, Flashman is looking for folks to screw over. I'd left him out because he's a predator. (Well, Master Li is as well, but not towards *everyone*.)

Nancy Lebovitz: I'd put Modesty Blaise and Jack Reacher (who might make an interesting team) on the list of people I do want.

Reacher is probably the only character in adventure fiction (outside of Simon Delicata) that might give Willie a problem. He's smarter that Delicata, however, so Willie's answer for that problem wouldn't really apply. Blaise is an interesting pairing: nobody (at least in Willie's estimation) can match her in defense, and I don't know if even she could match Reacher in offense. None of them are quite in the "doorperson to Hell" category, however.

Lizzy L: Miles Vorkosigan, Buffy Summers, and a gentleman from Scotland named Francis Crawford.

I thought Miles had a pretty low body count for the folks that had hired or employed him. Buffy I don't know about: I've seen about eight episodes total. I thought her group of classmates/assistants/what-have-you weren't snuffed out. Did she wipe out the Watchers or something? Francis Crawford sounds interesting from the Wikipedia entry: is he in the "Oh my god, is *he* helping us? Which way is the door?" category?

Linkmeister: Wolfe? Really? Goodwin, Panzer, Cather and Durkin lived through the last one of Stout's novels. A few victims knew he was on their side before their death, but he didn't lose too many clients to murder.

I don't want to get spoilery, (PLEASE SKIP THIS PARAGRAPH TO AVOID NERO WOLFE SPOILERS) but if you count what happened to his real and false relatives, the person Fritz made cookies for, the woman that came to the house for the orchid viewing that sounded Archie out, the woman Archie left in the office to see if Wolfe was available, the man who liked Jordan Almonds, the woman who moved the dictaphone cylinders, the woman Archie removed the hat and coat for...he's hell on the survival of clients and the close relatives of clients. (Wolfe may have bellowed "I will not have my office converted into an anteroom for the morgue!" but it happens enough to make one wonder if he has a timeshare in Cabot Cove.) Keems was a Wolfe employee at the time of his difficulties, but Orrie was not at the time of the last book.

#470 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II has been Gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2013, 09:22 PM:

I can't cook like Nero Wolfe, but I used to have a copy of The Nero Wolfe Cookbook that I had to sell to get busfare home...

#471 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2013, 09:25 PM:

Elliott Mason, glad you're back in one piece, and that you didn't come down with The Ick!

Follow-up to Old Houses: my dad's opinion is that the shower needs no more than a new bead of caulk around the tub, and possibly repair of some hairline cracks in the grout, but the electrical system, unfortunately, is pre-Romex, and not amenable to any amateur improvement. At least there's a breaker box.

I shudder to think of what an electrician will charge. It's definitely not happening yet.

#472 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2013, 10:24 PM:

Elliott Mason, glad to hear the vacation was mostly good, though tiring.

We've never had a cherry tree, but my impression of such things is that they're ripe about the time the birds eat all of them.

#473 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2013, 10:32 PM:


In anticipation of a board games night at a pie-making friend's place (which got rescheduled due to some family stuff on their part), I've picked a pint or two of cherries off my sour cherry tree. Want them? Note: I don't have a pitter; I've just stuck them in a covered bowl in the fridge.

I don't know what breed it is, but on my sour cherry tree if I pluck the lipstick-red cherries firmly, they release from their stems. If the stem comes with, it's not ripe yet.

Anyway, if you want, I can pluck some more cherries tomorrow. I've got nothing else scheduled for Sat. You'll have to tell me how to treat them and what to do with them, though.

#474 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2013, 10:34 PM:

There really is such a thing as time travel, but only in one direction.

#475 ::: B. Durbin is gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2013, 11:51 PM:

Erik Nelson: There's a classic Spider Robinson story called "The Time Traveller" in which the titular character has been imprisoned in a South American jail (for reasons basically amounting to "he pissed someone off.") When he gets out, it's been decades, so he has all of the classic disorientation symptoms of time travel without anything technical about it.

#476 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2013, 12:01 AM:

B. Durbin --

I don't see anything in the mod queue or the spam bucket.

Whatever it was is lost.

Sorry about that.

#477 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2013, 12:07 AM:

Birds seem to prefer sweet cherries, in my experience.
(My father planted two different varieties of sour cherry, both genetic dwarfs - meaning the trees only got about eight or ten feet high, so you could actually get to the fruit without needing a cherry-picker.)

#478 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2013, 01:42 AM:

So, apropos of nothing much: I happened to go to the website of a lighting store here, in Montreal, Au Courant. As is usual here, the index page is in French, with a link for English. When I click on that, I get the following text:
Pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus et netus et malesuada fames ac turpis egestas. Vivamus tincidunt feugiat neque eu convallis. Nam ac purus orci. Nulla semper dui justo. Nulla erat metus, aliquam a interdum id, feugiat vel est. Praesent varius venenatis lacus.
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit.

So... someone hacked their English page and replaced it with Latin?

Google translates it as mostly spam-type gibberish. I wish I could read enough Latin to know if it actually says anything fun. Under Nouvelles, it says their site is under construction, but that's still really weird.

So odd.

#479 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2013, 03:21 AM:

Cheryl @478 -- that "Lorem ipsum" is indeed gibberish. It's often used as a placeholder to show what $text would look like: to show how a font looks, to see how a page layout with text would look (either on paper or on a website). It sounds like the English part of the lighting site is still under construction.

#480 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2013, 11:09 AM:

B. Durbin #475, J. MacDonald #476:

B. Durbin should probably clean out their fill-in name field, because it's been saying they've been gnomed on several threads, each post *not* mentioning offerings to the gnomes.

#481 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2013, 01:30 PM:

@479 Debbie

I didn't know that (although the phrase "lorem ipsum" sounds familiar now; maybe I forgot it?); thanks.

#482 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2013, 01:43 PM:

Oddly enough, 'lorem ipsum' does derive from a genuine piece of Latin, in Cicero's De Finibus, though it has become garbled over the years. The strangest thing is that it begins, not just in the middle of a sentence, but in the middle of a word - the original read 'neque quisquam est qui dolorem ipsum quia dolor sit amet' ('nor is there anyone who loves pain itself because it is pain').

#483 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2013, 02:14 PM:

I've discovered that "Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet" can be sung to "Dona nobis pacem."

#484 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2013, 05:55 PM:

Xopher, 483: That has improved my day to an inexpressible degree. It will also improve the days of several of my friends and relatives.

#485 ::: David Wald ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2013, 08:53 PM:

Xopher@483: Echoing TexAnne, that's an oddly cheering thing to know. Thank you.

#486 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2013, 09:54 PM:

Ardala took her final journey this morning at about 8:30 am - I like to believe that trip across the bridge was a tail-windmilling full-tilt run. The last thing she remembers was being surrounded by friends old and new, and being fed chicken as she fell gently asleep. Thank all of you for your kind words and support.

So far we've laundered all of the toys and bedding in preparation for a donation to a rescue tomorrow, vacuumed the living room with impunity, rearranged the living room furniture so my brain doesn't keep looking for Ardala in her Ardala space, cleaned the kitchen, done our own laundry, had food brought to us by another kindly single pet-owner and had some wine. I am at a complete loss as to what to do with myself. If I had any money, I'd just drive somewhere. There are no movies out I want to see right now, and I have a great book that I think I will enjoy, but I just don't want to read. Crabby.

#487 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2013, 10:09 PM:

Hugs and prayers for you, nerdycellist. I expect Bella will be introducing Ardala around. There will be running and leaping and tail wagging. Take care of yourself, and know that this hard thing was the right thing to do.

#488 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2013, 11:53 PM:

Nercycellist, my sympathies to you. That the journey is necessary doesn't make it any easier.

#489 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2013, 11:58 PM:

Another year, another Supermoon. Or as I've been calling it this year, the Moon of Steel.

The closest approach of the Moon corresponding with a full moon happens about a once a year, and I hadn't planned to take any pictures this time (I've done it a couple of times before) but the evening was clear, so I grabbed camera and tripod and sallied forth.

Supermoon 2013

#490 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2013, 12:50 AM:

Sympathy, nerdycellist. You did the right thing.

#491 ::: GlendaP ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2013, 03:03 AM:

{{{{Hugs}}}}, nerdycellist

#492 ::: Dave Crisp ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2013, 07:05 AM:

Combining the regular theme here of "Know your exit" with the global theme of anti-homophobia: Remembering the Upstairs Lounge firebombing (WARNING: link contains gruesome images)

(Wikipedia on the event, for a bit more background)

#493 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2013, 09:59 AM:

nerdycellist, my condolences.

On movies for distraction: Joss Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing is now in wide release. Is it playing anywhere near you?

IMHO, it's not quite as good as the David Tennant/Catherine Tate version, but it's still highly enjoyable.

#494 ::: Stephen Sample ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2013, 10:32 AM:

Xopher @483: definitely improved the day.

I couldn't make "lorem ipsum dolor sit amet" scan to the two slow verses, though. Am I missing a neat bit of phrasing there?

It does work if you replace "lorem ipsum" with "lipsum", and that is a sufficiently standard abbreviation that I didn't feel like I was cheating.

#495 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2013, 10:41 AM:

I saw Much Ado when it opened here a couple of weeks ago. I agree that it would have made a most excellent distraction.

What actually helped last night was getting the hell out of the house. We were faced with two problems: the increasingly oppressive, boredom inducing apartment, and the inoperative kitchen plumbing. Since we didn't want to make even more of a mess that couldn't be cleaned up until Monday than we had to, and because this came at the WORST time financially and we are both massively short of funds, it was decided that we would get in the car, drive nearly an hour, and partake in the comfort food of our mid-western youth; a few years ago they opened a Portillo's in Buena Park and we stop in a couple of times a year to enjoy. You know what? It helped. About $12 of food apiece and maybe $6 in gas.

Now on to church and then dropping all the good stuff off at the rescue, maybe the week's ninja budget food shopping later. That we no longer have to order our days in five hour increments is I suspect only the first of many minor culture shocks that will unravel in the next few weeks, along with being able to be in different rooms with no barky consequences. On our drive to dinner, both of us expressed concern that the dog made us more extroverted and interesting. Dealing with that aftermath is going to be tougher.

#496 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2013, 10:59 AM:

I went to the Albuquerque Comic Con yesterday. I mention it because I finally met Brian Clevinger and Scott Wegener, creators of "Atomic Robo", and they were quite amused when I said that I always buy an extra copy of their comic-book for Abi's son, as I thought that a kid who boobytraps his tooth to prove the non-existence of the Tooth Fairy was bound to be interested in Robo.

#497 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2013, 11:44 AM:

HLN: Local woman's account of marathon bus trip accepted for publication in local alternative weekly paper. Local woman wishes, not for the first time, that she'd gotten more and better pictures. "My camera is useless at night," she explains, "and that's when most of the bus stops and transfers were."

#498 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2013, 12:08 PM:

"lorem ipsum": ironically, inserting this piece of Latin is known in the trade as "greeking".

There's a jazz club in Montreal called "Upstairs". I doubt any close connection. (The club is actually in a basement, amusing me.) Anyone know of a relationship?

#499 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2013, 12:28 PM:

I saw "Much Ado" yesterday. There were six others in the auditorium; most were what I guess you'd call fannish types.

I quite enjoyed it. Most of the humor comes from the lines of the play, of course, but some visual humor was thrown in.

#500 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2013, 12:46 PM:

Thoughts on Ardala, Bella, Monroe (other side for a long time) et. al. -

They're patiently waiting for us, as they did far too often when we got in the car (in the car!) and trucked off for unconscionable periods of time.

Someone did a paneled cartoon of a dog staring at the door, thoughts running from "he's going without me? will he be safe?" through "it's been hours! what if something's happened to him!" to "that's his step! oh, joy! oh rapture!" (G&S not in original). Then the guy leans in far enough to reach the table and explains, "forgot my keys".

You've been handling Ardala's transitions gracefully. Rearranging common pathways/hangouts is smart. A puddle of dark sweater on the floor used to almost stop my heart.

Reading about your road trip made me happy, as does the concept of them all frolicking together.

Continued warm thoughts for all who're dealing with bereavement, mentioned here or not.

#501 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2013, 01:02 PM:

@498 Henry Troup

There's a jazz club in Montreal called "Upstairs". I doubt any close connection. (The club is actually in a basement, amusing me.) Anyone know of a relationship?

To the Upstairs Lounge in New Orleans? Not as far as I know, and it's not mentioned on their website.

Although the basement location makes me love their logo: the word "Upstairs", upside-down.

#502 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2013, 01:05 PM:

nerdycellist, hugs and sympathy.

#503 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2013, 02:19 PM:

I finally did it.

I have had the same Hotmail account since the days when they were spelling it "HoTMaiL" to remind everybody that they had the cool and froody new HTML capability.

I have been on Gmail for a while, although somebody else claimed my handle before I could get around to it. But I couldn't let my Hotmail account go, and shucking off Outlook would require deleting my Hotmail identity.

Just did.

I know it's silly, but part of me feels like I just threw my old Teddy bear in the trash.

#504 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2013, 02:54 PM:

You're in my thoughts, nerdycellist. I'm sorry for your loss.

Stephen 494: On the slow parts I divide the words. Let's use the music displayed here for reference. We're talking about parts 2 and 3.

So for a dotted half on 'Do' (measures 9 and 17) I use a half on 'Lo' with a quarter on 'rem' (and similarly with 'na' to 'ip' and 'sum' in 10 and 18). This not only uses up the necessary count of syllables, it adds motion and contributes to the waltzlike feeling of the whole (nothing is moving on that beat in the original, so in some ways it's an improvement—contrasts nicely with the quarter-half rhythm in 13 and 21, too).

I can't tell you how chuffed I am that others see the happiness in singing this version of the round!

Jenny 503: I'm getting ready to ditch Yahoo Mail (mostly because they're deliberately sucking more and more to drive away email customers). I know the feeling.

#505 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2013, 04:22 PM:

Jenny Islander @ #503, congratulations. I'm still hanging on to my original Prodigy account because so many of my correspondents know that one and no other, and requiring them to change my e-address to a new one means some number of them will miss the message and then wonder why my mail's bouncing.

It's costing me $24 a month to keep it, too. I'm an idiot.

#506 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2013, 06:46 PM:

P.J. Evans,

You mentioned in Open Thread 182 that you missed your copy of Dante's Inferno with Dore's engravings. I found my copy, and would be delighted to send it to you. It needs a good home, but not with me.

Please send your address to:
erqebfr3125@whab.pbz (rot13 for antispam)

#507 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2013, 11:13 PM:

Elliott, #468: I'm guessing that you don't have any idea what kind of cherry tree your tree is; it might be worthwhile to Google for information about varieties of cherry that will thrive in your area, and then for images of those, to see if you can ID it. Not all cherries turn the dark red of Bings, and I don't think that coming off the tree easily is necessary for ripeness (especially since most of the cherries I buy at the grocery have stems that require some tugging to remove).

Xopher, #483: *snerk*

nerdycellist, #486: rearranged the living room furniture so my brain doesn't keep looking for Ardala in her Ardala space

That was a smart idea. When my Genevieve died, it wasn't feasible to rearrange the bedroom, and it took months before I stopped expecting to see her on her pad at the foot of the bed. (She had been very arthritic for the last couple of years of her life, and only moved from the pad to eat, drink, and visit the litterbox.)

Also, Portillo's! I've been there a few times when visiting Chicago. It's a nice chain.

Steve C., #489: Nice! We were too busy with ApolloCon to take note of this, so I'm glad you did. Tangentially related: what do you think of the Shiny!New!Flickr site reorganization? I'm underwhelmed -- the old design felt much cleaner and more useful to me.

#508 ::: Lee, be-gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2013, 11:15 PM:

Sorry, post-con fuzziness caused me to forget that certain types of fannishly-common punctuation draw the attention of Their Lownesses.

#509 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2013, 12:09 AM:


#510 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2013, 02:38 AM:

Ping Teresa: Hamster T-shirt spotted at ApolloCon.

#511 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2013, 08:47 AM:

Lee @ #507 - Thanks.

The new design at Flickr takes some getting used to, but I do like the 1 terabyte limit on free accounts. I won't have to renew my pro account.

#512 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2013, 11:48 AM:

Re flickr:

I sort of feel like I want a pro-rated refund on my last renewal of my pro account, since I no longer gain anything from that status. (In principle I don't like being downgraded from "unlimited" to "one terabyte", but in practice I'm sure I'm not going to run up against that limit.) I don't like the new design at all - I can't easily see which of my photos have comments, and it looks cluttered to my eye - but I expect I'll get used to that.

#513 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2013, 02:13 PM:

This is partly a test-- for some reason, my comments haven't been going through from my home computers, and partly a couple of random questions.

If you had kangaroo sausage with figs and garam masala, what would you cook with it?

Is anything known about the transition from spines that mostly bend side to side (fish, reptiles) to spines that mostly bend forwards and backwards (mammals, though cats, dogs, and ferrets, at least, have a good bit of side bend-- on the other hand, I don't think they use it much for locomotion)?

I've gotten far enough to find out that cynodonts are the transition between reptiles and mammals, but it may be optimistic to expect much is known about their gait.

#514 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2013, 02:13 PM:

This is partly a test-- for some reason, my comments haven't been going through from my home computers, and partly a couple of random questions.

If you had kangaroo sausage with figs and garam masala, what would you cook with it?

Is anything known about the transition from spines that mostly bend side to side (fish, reptiles) to spines that mostly bend forwards and backwards (mammals, though cats, dogs, and ferrets, at least, have a good bit of side bend-- on the other hand, I don't think they use it much for locomotion)?

I've gotten far enough to find out that cynodonts are the transition between reptiles and mammals, but it may be optimistic to expect much is known about their gait.

#515 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2013, 03:10 PM:

Oddity forwarded to me. Disclamer; I know nothing about the website this is posted on; for all I know, it's another Onion....

The Mystery of the Spinning Statue

#516 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2013, 03:21 PM:

Nancy Lebovitz: Here is one short article. "Sprawling locomotion" and "cursorial locomotion" might be useful search terms.

#517 ::: Lila got gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2013, 03:22 PM:

trying to give a partial answer to Nancy @ # 514. Suspect link?

#518 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2013, 04:04 PM:

I saw it reported also at a legitimate news site. The video at your link looks reliable - it's in a museum display case, and the museum management was curious enough to set up a time-lapse video camera to watch it (slowly) move.

#519 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2013, 04:26 PM:

PJ Evans @518,

Seems like it would be easy to test hypotheses, then. Vibrate the case; does the statue spin? Is it in some way magnetized? A continuous (rather than time-lapse) camera should be able to verify it's not a practical joker opening the case (although doesn't account for, say, a practical joker with a near-invisible nylon thread or some such to spin it...

They should get a professional magician on the case. (Pun intended.)

#520 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2013, 04:39 PM:

The spinning statue reminds me of this.

#521 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2013, 05:32 PM:

I have an AKICIML question that's been frustrating me off and on for some time now.

There's a panel from an underground comic which I don't think I've ever seen in context. It's Crumb by the look of it, showing a man in a suit and tie, saying something along the lines of, "I must stay completely rigid or else all hope is lost!"

I really, really need that panel. Can anyone help identify it?

#522 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2013, 05:47 PM:

Cherry update: Today, the cherries come off the tree reasonably easily (and some of them are quite squishy). I think they're either ripe or over-. Bright luminous red, translucent in sunlight. I've picked a small handful of the lowest-hanging (leaving ones with obvious holes or flaws on the tree for the birds), and a taste report available tonight after I feed some to my husband.

#523 ::: Jennifer Baughman ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2013, 05:51 PM:

Richard Matheson has died. I can't even begin to count how many of his stories I've loved, in print and on the screen.

#524 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2013, 06:03 PM:

The video has a timestamp on it: it looks like a frame per minute. They don't think it's vibration - that's why they went to the camera; a physicist thinks it's 'differential friction', whatever that means.

#525 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2013, 06:57 PM:

Those sound like sour Montmorency cherries, Elliott (@522). If so, pit them immediately and turn them into pies or jam. They're wonderful, but don't last long while they still have pits in them. Sometimes they'll just pull off the tree leaving the pit behind, if they're really ripe.

#526 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2013, 07:10 PM:

Tom Whitmore: If so, a bonus: that's not one of the varieties we planted saplings of, so when they mature it should have a nice pollen buddy for what years are left to it. The arborist said it looked kind of elderly-ish to him, as well as neglected (which we knew) and borderline ill. He estimated 5-8 years left in it, which of course might be way off. The optimist in me of course hopes we have decades with it, as its presence in our yard had made me glad to imagine my daughter growing up with a climbable tall tree in our yard; but if not, we'll manage, since by the time it kicks off the saplings we planted this spring should be fruiting nicely.

One of our apples, the Niedzwetzkyana, is making a bold and valiant effort to fruit THIS year, its first year in our soil. It fertilized 8 flowers, which swelled up, and all but one have now fallen off in storms or windy days. That one remaining is the size of a smallish supermarket plum and quite firmly attached to its stem -- it's determined, by gum.

#527 ::: Elliott Mason got gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2013, 07:12 PM:

... while talking about tree reproductive products. And linking.

#528 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2013, 07:17 PM:

P J Evans @ #524: I suspect "differential friction" refers to a surface that is more resistant to motion in one direction than in the opposite direction. I have a scarf that does that; it has a rather bristly one-way nap, which results in its gradually crawling off my neck in one direction, although I start with it centered.

#529 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2013, 07:32 PM:

The fact that the statue goes only so far and then stops spinning makes me want to get a really sensitive level and check that shelf. I suspect that it's not quite level, and the statue bottom has low enough friction on the shelf that vibration from passersby is enough to slowly, slowly encourage it to move to a lower-energy position. Add friction below the statue, and/or make sure the shelf is dead level, and I bet it stops spinning.

#530 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2013, 08:54 PM:

Please tell me why, for the love of Mike, the superintendent of schools in a town with a sizable Jewish minority would think it was a good idea to base her graduation address around the life story of Victor Frankl, with repeated references to Nazi Germany and assorted persecutions?

I am very, very glad that my ex thought to pull up the Oysterband on his phone and offer it to me so I could plug in earbuds and drown her out.

I gather that the moral was supposed to be something about loyalty to family and treating people with kindness. I don't really know. I caught maybe two sentences in her last paragraph in a gap between songs.


#531 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2013, 09:12 PM:

Cally Soukup @ #529 -

The fact that the statue goes only so far and then stops spinning makes me want to get a really sensitive level and check that shelf.

Statue of limitations?

#532 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2013, 09:37 PM:

lorax, #512: "Cluttered" is exactly the right description. "Visual noise" would be another one. What it looks like to me is that they're trying to imitate the appearance of a raw Tumblr feed, which is equally cluttered and difficult to parse. And putting all the photo information on mouse-overs is just dumb.

#533 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2013, 10:25 PM:

Steve C @ 531


#534 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2013, 11:51 PM:

@427, 419 [somewhat late]: I agree that Obama's priority is keeping energy as affordable as possible. There are a lot of reasons to want that, some nobler than others: expensive energy is effectively a very regressive tax, expensive energy causes restive voters (possibly revolutions too), and if harvesting energy gets too inefficient (energy return on investment too low) at least one author thinks that will be the end of civilization. Fortunately the breakeven to keep civilized is an EROI of 3 or greater, and solar EROI is over 18 and still going up, so I think we're going to make it.

I think the goal of Obama and the DOE was to try to shift sustainable energy from a boutique toy that rich people used to show off, to something that utilities would build because it could make them money.

And that's working. I have more monologue available if desired, but basically there are three challenges in my mind- sustainable electricity, efficient large-scale storage, and transportation - and the first one is now just a matter of implementation.

#535 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2013, 11:59 PM:

Sorry about the fake gnome thing; I have a tendency to open up all the threads at once and since my brain is only semi-functional by the end of the day, I miss little glaringly obvious things. Like clearing the gnome bit.

#536 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2013, 02:33 AM:

The spinning statue reminds me immediately of the "rattleback", a toy which prefers to spin clockwise rather than counterclockwise. (And also tends to convert rocking motion to rotational motion.) There are youtube videos, I'm sure. It works because of an asymmetrical base. "Differential friction" may mean the same thing.

That sort of thing could be influenced by very small variations in the angle of the surface it's standing on. (As Cally noted.)

If I were museum staff, I'd go lay an offering of sexual favors -- to wit, an active vibrator -- at the statue's feet. See if that gets it, as it were, cranking.

Also perhaps relevant: the "wandering rocks" of Death Valley.

#537 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2013, 07:45 AM:

On new flickr:


work pretty well as bookmarks, dodging the horrible new homepage, like this:

#538 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2013, 10:12 AM:

PNH's Sidelight on "Lorem Gibson" serves, in a way, as a response to The Inchoate Reviews of Google Books, in which I wrote:

There ought to be a way to make a game, or a poem-like object, or something, out of them. Any suggestions?

#539 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2013, 10:14 AM:

Niall, that's welcome information, but apparently I need to tweak some settings for that to work.

I either get the old series of numbers that gives the new splash page, or (by using your formula with my id) Page Not Found.

#540 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2013, 10:42 AM:

Hey, Carol, I don't know why that wouldn't work with your id...

Maybe try going to your photostream (the new one) and then paste ?details=1 at the end of the address in the address bar (assuming it ends in a /)

#541 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2013, 11:03 AM:

Carol Kimball @539, is 'caroljkimball' your Flickr ID? I ask because even removing the "?details=1" parameter I get a "Page not found" error. Doing a Flickr user search I find a "Carol Kimball" at

If that's you, try adding the detail parameter there:

If not, I have no idea what's going on.

#542 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2013, 11:07 AM:

Niall and Lorax -
Yes, adding the /?details=1 makes it work.

#543 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2013, 12:46 PM:

Sandy B.@534:...try to shift sustainable energy from a boutique toy that rich people used to show off, to something that utilities would build because it could make them money.

Several decades ago now, I spent a summer answering mail for the (now defunct) National Solar Heating and Cooling Information Center; most of the letters I sent back said words to the effect of "Yes, you can retrofit your home for solar energy. However, it will be very expensive."

These days, I'm seeing occasional solar panels in yards and on roofs even up here in low-average-income northern New Hampshire, and LaPerle's IGA is getting 10 percent of its power from a whole big bank of panels out behind the store. That's getting pretty darn close to mainstream.

(When the day comes that Joe or Jane Six-Pack can buy a Solar Energy Retrofit Kit from Home Depot for less than a month's wages, we'll see solar panels popping up everywhere like mushrooms.)

#544 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2013, 02:16 PM:

There is some weird architecture in London. An artist has set up a DIY Spider-Man operation in London. The BBC report uses a video to show the effect, and what struck me was how simple the trick is, and how difficult to do it would once have been.

#545 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2013, 02:22 PM:

Debra Doyle @543: I was amazed and amused to see this review of small, affordable solar panels on a parenting blog I frequent. The company in question sells a solar phone-recharger that folds up to about the size of a hardback book, but they have larger installations as well, suggested for uses like camping or even leaving them up in your backyard to augment your home power needs, especially in areas (like the reviewer's northern New England) where winter power outages are frequent.

Affordable is relative, of course, but if you have an amenable climate, you can never plug your smartphone/tablet/etc into a wall again for about $120. Reasonably carbon-neutral, too. No idea how long they last, but the reviewer was impressed with the durability (the salesman dropped it to a concrete floor from shoulder height then stepped on it and ground it around with his foot, and it showed no damage).

#546 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2013, 03:05 PM:

I love the thought of going to Home Depot and purchasing a kit to install solar panels on one's home. I recently had a solar energy company sales person come to my home in Northern CA. He was good; he actually had me agreeing to set up an appointment for someone to come to the house and talk to me about solar panels. But then, after he left, I sat down and looked at my electrical bills. With my low-income discount, I average between $12 -- $14 per month for my electricity usage. That includes a 25 year old electric dryer doing 3 loads a week. (Without the discount we're looking at $18 -- $20 per month for electricity.) I love the idea of solar panels, getting off the grid, etc. but I cannot imagine that a solar system can be installed even on my tiny 940 square foot house for what I expect to pay for electricity over the next 20 years. Also, before any solar panels could go up on my roof, I'd probably have to replace the roof, since it's nearly 20 years old and only has about 5 good years on it.

However, there's no excuse for every household in Arizona or New Mexico not having solar panels. They get sun all the time, and their electrical bills are enormous. I wonder how many years it will take for that to happen.

#547 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2013, 03:20 PM:

Having enough solar panels on my house to keep the fridge running, charge a cell phone, and keep a 100 watts of LED lights lit is a tempting notion.

There is enough room in the attic for some batteries. Hmmm.

#548 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2013, 03:24 PM:

Lizzy L @ 546... there's no excuse for every household in Arizona or New Mexico not having solar panels

Lack of funds for the upfront investment is a reasonably good reason.

#549 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2013, 03:27 PM:

Yeah. "You'll make it back in twenty years but it'll cost you $15K right now," is going to stop a lot of people.

#550 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2013, 03:30 PM:

HLN: Local woman buys new car, accepting a bright green one because it cost $1000 less than waiting for the royal blue she really wanted. Local woman prefers eye-catching car colors but isn't terribly fond of green. Local woman likes the car very much but hopes she doesn't come to regret the color choice.

P.S. Bright green car is BRIGHT GREEN!!1!

#551 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2013, 03:30 PM:

That being said, I didn't mean to sound snooty.

#552 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2013, 03:55 PM:

Lizzy, #546: Our electric bills during the summer run in the neighborhood of $300/month -- and that's after we installed a much more efficient a/c unit when the old one gave up the ghost; prior to that it had been closer to $500/month. Of course, we also have significantly higher usage than the average suburban family would because of the T-shirt printing shop in the garage. But if we could install solar panels for $2,000, they'd probably pay for themselves in a single summer, between the off-grid power and the lessening of heat getting into the house. For $15,000... not so much.

#553 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2013, 03:58 PM:

Jim Macdonald @549: Or even, "You can use it to get around on all year but it'll cost you $75 up front," which is the price of Chicago's new bike-share service (the membership gets you unlimited trips on their bikes of less than 30min between check-out and check-back-in to some other dock). There are an awful lot of low-income Chicagoans for whom that kind of upfront outlay is just not reasonable.

Thankfully, in our case, there is a lot of partnership and discussion going on between the city and a bunch of social organizations (churches, community centers, etc) and workplaces to figure out a way to upfront the cost and still share the responsibility throughout the aggregated userbase.

#554 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2013, 04:08 PM:

Lee @552: Knowing that makes me feel less uncomfortable about the $200/month electric bills in the summer. I keep feeling like I ought to be able to just Cope and set the AC much higher, rather than chilling things down to 78 degrees, but the fact of the matter is that higher temperatures make me miserable and unproductive and surly. On a day-by-day basis, it's at least worth as much as coffee for keeping me moving.

#555 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2013, 04:51 PM:

Jim Macdonald #549: Yeah. "You'll make it back in twenty years but it'll cost you $15K right now," is going to stop a lot of people.

Especially when it's not at all clear that they'll be in the same house for 20 years, or even 5.

#556 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2013, 05:07 PM:

Fade Manley @554: I discovered through empirical experimentation, a few summers ago, that even with lots of fans and such, my brain TOTALLY SHUTS OFF for rational purposes and ability to converse, be productive, etc, right around 84degF ambient. If I'm in direct sunlight it can be much cooler and still short-circuit me; for some reason, even with breeze, in sunlight I thermoregulate very badly.

#557 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2013, 05:51 PM:

Elliott Mason: I have a very similar reaction, both in the temperature cut-off and the sunlight force multiplier. I've chosen to approach temperature regulation as being akin to good nutrition; yes, I could totally save a lot of money by eating nothing but ramen and pop-tarts, but it wouldn't make me happier, more effective, or more useful in the long run.

#558 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2013, 06:12 PM:

Re energy, the local hardware store had a PSE sponsored sale on dimmable 60w equivalent led bulbs this week: $10 for a pack of 4. We grabbed 5 sets and went about replacing the bulbs in multiple bulb fixtures that tend to get left on for long times. 13 incandescents (60w ->11w) and 7 CFs replaced (~20w -> 11w). This will likely save us... 30 or 40 cents per day. I'm not sure how apparent it will actually be in the bill, since I don't really think that lighting was a big part of the bill to begin with. (in order, I'm thinking Hot Water, Oven, and Clothes Dryer)

But I'm impressed that leds, in some form, are getting cheap enough to shovel out in bulk. These aren't perfect -- the color is more like a florescent than incandescent. I detect a little green that isn't really natural. But they turn on quickly, and they're bright, and they dim on ordinary dimmers. (but in a very different response curve than incandescent, and with very little color temperature shift)

#559 ::: eric is doing the gnomie ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2013, 06:12 PM:

I have chocolate.

#560 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2013, 06:32 PM:

Fade, #554: I have the same problem, only for me it's anything over 76°. If we could run the house at 80 it would help a lot, but I'm non-functional at that temperature.

Part of the problem for us is that this is an older house, built in the 1950s when things like good insulation weren't even on the radar, and we don't have enough money to retrofit. We've changed all the light bulbs to CFLs, which helps (especially since the house has a 4' overhang all around and is dark, and we have to run the lights effectively all day long). Our oven and hot water heater are gas, which helps. We're going to experiment with white roof paint when we can afford to buy some. We have functional roof vents, which at least allow some of the heat in the attic to escape. But basically, we live in a hot climate in a house not well-adapted to it.

#561 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2013, 06:53 PM:

I'm finding that this year, even my dog seems intimidated by the heat. I'm pretty sure that last year she didn't start heading home right after doing her business until August.

#562 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2013, 07:01 PM:

Meanwhile, my dog--entirely black coat! in Texas!--has been demonstrating that she has far better heat tolerance than I do. She'll walk entirely around the golf course (partly shaded, but not very) during the day with the roomie, or go bound around in the sunny back yard hoping for a game of fetch, while I huddle inside and wear a hat for a round-the-block morning walk. She doesn't understand what I have against sunlight, and has been suggesting I try more panting. It seems to work for her.

#563 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2013, 07:23 PM:

Serge, I understand about the upfront investment, but the state, the utility companies, and the solar companies could find a way to pare that initial cost for the homeowner down to damn near zero, and they should. Okay, not everyone can afford it. But go to Phoenix, and check out the number of solar panels you see on the rooftops of large expensive single family homes. Lots of heavy duty AC units, of course: no solar panels.

Not only that: my brother, who lives in Phoenix, tells me that it is against the local ordinance in his housing development area to have an outside line for laundry. You must have a clothes dryer. In Phoenix!!?? Where clothes on an outside line will dry in 10 minutes in summer and fall, and 20 minutes any other season of the year! Insane.

#564 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2013, 07:27 PM:

Texas filibuster in process right now against the abortion-banning bill, by a courageous Democratic woman state Senator. Not that it will have a huge effect, perhaps, but I still want to applaud her.

#565 ::: Tom Whitmore visits the gnomes ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2013, 07:28 PM:

for mentioning a filibuster in the Austin State House in Texas. I can offer an anecdote about Molly Ivins, if you'd like.

#566 ::: ErrolC ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2013, 07:34 PM:

Regarding Flickr Pro, it does give you access to stats - not sure if you can see this link if you aren't logged in as me:

However this seems to be the only benefit of Pro to me.
One aspect of the new setup that I find annoying is the pre-generated BBCode (which I use to embed photos in historic aviation fora) now always links to the photo in the context of your photostream, rather than the set that you have selected. I'm tending to manually add the /in/set- bit.
Compare the actual link below with what you get when you click on the share icon and 'Grab the HTML/BBCode'.

#567 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2013, 07:36 PM:

Lizzy L @ 563... I'd love solar power. Here in Albuquerque, we're one mile above sea-level and sunlight is not a rarity. Maybe one day, when it doesn't feel like we're only a few paychecks away from bankruptcy... Who knows? Maybe her fantasy novel will do extremely well. :-)

#569 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2013, 08:36 PM:

Senator Wendy Davis is continuing her filibuster in the Texas state house. Hope she can keep going until midnight!

#570 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2013, 09:03 PM:

Tom, 564: Molly Ivins is always on topic.

#571 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2013, 09:46 PM:

Grrrrrr. A round of post-acquisition layoffs at work. No one I work with or know, but scarifying. I feel too old for a career change.

I hope the competing product the company bought sucks.

#572 ::: Patrick Connors ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2013, 10:21 PM:

Jim #549: Slowed us down, but we have upgraded the doors and windows. It's a start.

#573 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2013, 11:18 PM:

ErrolC, #566: What's currently bugging me is their nagging insistence that I upload a larger icon picture, even though they are displaying (greyed-out under the teeny version) a perfectly cromulent full-icon-size version of that same picture. And when I tried to re-load the same icon, then it would only allow me part of it for the miniature version. Fuck that, says I -- I want my whole damn icon to display, large version or small, and they can go whistle for another one.

I've had a Pro account pretty much since I started using Flickr; it worked better with the way I wanted to organize my pictures. And since apparently they're grandfathering in those who want to keep their Pro accounts at the old, reasonable yearly fee rather than the extortionate new one, I don't plan to change.

#574 ::: ErrolC ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2013, 12:37 AM:

Lee, #573
I hadn't got around to addressing the icon, I'm not surprised that they have stuffed it up. I'd love an option to never crop photos when displaying in montages, just letterbox with white/black if required. Many people may fail to crop their photos before loading, but mine are fine as is, and taking the middle 80% is likely to chop off faces/propellers.
And just a list of sets would be good, I've got lots of sets with similar contents (aircraft, re-enactors), the set name is what I'm looking for, the first 3-5 photos in the set is near-useless for me to browse. If I want my photos of e.g. Spitfires I'll search by tag.

#575 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2013, 02:19 AM:


There are two trees on my street in flower right now, and they smell fantastic. It's a lot like lilac scent, though the season for lilacs is over now.

The one in front of my apartment is two stories tall; the other one is taller, maybe 3.5 stories? The flower is white. It's too big to be a Japanese Tree Lilac. It's deciduous. My Google-Fu is failing me. Does anyone have any idea?

#576 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2013, 02:30 AM:

ErrolC, #574: That's odd. If I got to my Sets page, it displays the name of each set in white text over the thumbnail image for that set (only at small-photo size rather than thumbnail size). Since most of my set names include the year they were taken, I can scan back thru them pretty quickly to find the one I want. Maybe this is one of the differences between Pro and Free accounts?

It took me a while to figure out photo editing. I still upload the raw pictures and then go back and do whatever cropping or other editing is needed.

#577 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2013, 04:33 AM:


This has been bugging me for years, on and off. I remember reading a fragment of a story and wonder if anyone here can identify it?

Postapocalyptic world, cities evacuated; somehow the reason for this is that the survivors were left with a hypersensitive sense of smell. A man (community leader?) is murdered in such a way as to make it indisputable that he was one of those (scientists?) who caused the destruction in the first place: strongly scented gas is used, which he did not detect as he was secretly anosmic.

I may have some details wrong (this was a fragment, long ago, but stuck with me). Ring any bells for anybody? Or did I dream it?

#578 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2013, 04:38 AM:

Spider Robinson, "By Any Other Name". He expanded it into his first novel, Telempath.

#579 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2013, 04:40 AM:

Cheryl@575: Possibly crape myrtles? They're in bloom about now, although I wouldn't say they're strongly scented.

#580 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2013, 05:55 AM:

David Goldfarb@578

Wow - that was quick; thanks!

I now realize that as well as spoiling the ending(?) for myself with my fragmentary recollection, the request at 577 is a massive spoiler for anyone who may pick up the book. Could a moderator please rot13 the offending bit?

#581 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2013, 06:46 AM:

David Goldfarb @ 580: That's a darn good book.

So yesterday I took a shot at making something go viral on the Book O'Face and failed. Folks here might find it of interest:


Friends, I have something difficult to ask of you:

Today, the Supreme Court cut the heart out of the Voting Rights Act. This is only the latest in a string of terrible decisions this year. Sexual harassment is now harder to prove. Native Americans will have a harder time keeping their children from being taken from them. It's been a hard summer.

The only major case left is one we're optimistic about. And yet...

Tomorrow, or the day after, when the Supreme Court overturns DOMA (probably) and upholds Prop. 8 (almost certainly), restrain, or at least rethink, your celebrations. I believe the ordering of the release of these decisions was politically motivated in order to sow dissension and distrust among us.

It has become clear that the policy of the radical right is to subvert democracy by suppressing the vote wherever possible, especially in the south but also in the north. The judicial theft of the 2000 election was the start and the hard right's gerrymandering in the post-2010 redistricting is the middle.

The end? I have some hunches where it's going and I don't know how it will end.

But consider this: It took less than a decade for Reconstruction to be betrayed.

Now consider this: What will be the result of wild celebration the day after the Voting Rights Act has been gutted? Was this calculated by the bigots in control of the court in order to make relations between Blackw people and Queer people more fraught?

I don't know. I can't read their minds, only their actions. Regardless, letting that happen would be wrong, deeply wrong, terribly wrong.

I've heard too much of this already over the years. In Atlanta, my polling place was picketed by a Black person opposing the rights of Queer people. In Little Rock, I've had a Queer person tell me there was no reason to support the rights of Black people since they voted against Prop. 8 in California. And so it goes.

And it has to stop.

Now is the time to begin.

On the day Hardwick v. Bowers was decided, I was the lead organizer for a major demonstration taking place less than a week away, riding in a taxi to a downtown Manhattan copy shop for urgent work, when the streets were blocked by thousands of angry Queer people of all genders.

It is one of the great regrets of my life that I was grouchy about not getting my work done and did not join that righteous throng in their public rage and glory.

Not this time. Never again.

Tomorrow, I will join whatever celebration I can and I will carry a sign decrying the gutting of the Voting Rights Act. I'm not sure how to phrase it, but I'll find a way to express my joy and my anger at the same time, as one cry of justice. I must. We must. We all must. It's a time for unity.

I ask you to consider doing the same, and to share this message widely.

P.S. I know a few of my valued friends and relatives who read this will disagree with me. I love you all no matter what. But I will delete any comment which argues or quibbles or takes away from what matters most now. This is a time for action, not argument. And I will still love you all. That's why I'm doing this.

#582 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2013, 08:00 AM:

@548 et al:

It is true that you may have to redo a 5-year roof before putting on 25-year[1] solar panels, and that's an expense nobody's helping out with. But there are a bunch of people setting up mortgages, or loans, or leases to solve (and/or profit from) the "don't have the money now" problem.

Three companies with financing/lease programs are Real Goods Solar, Sungevity, and Solar City (from the guy who brought you the Tesla, Elon Musk) - they're not the only ones, and I don't know if they're offering good deals or just slightly-better-than-utility deals. [2]

@547: Solar panels are not necessarily expensive: batteries, on the other hand, still are. If you have a fairly reliable grid and net metering [3], I would suggest using the grid for your storage needs.

[1] As someone pointed out to me once, a 25-year warranty is not so useful if it comes from a company that's got a 20% chance of surviving the next 5 years.

[2] Apparently depending on who you get quotes from, prices can vary by a factor of three.

[3] "net metering" means they charge you for what you use minus what you give back. So if you generate 1000 kWh in a month, 700 of which you can't use at the time so you send it out over the wires, and you use 1100 kWh in a month, 300 of which you have generated yourself and 800 of which you brought in at night, your "net metering" is 100 kWh even though 1500 kWh went through the wires. It's still a good deal for the utilities, at the moment, because it saves them buying more power plants that only run on hot days. If solar becomes omnipresent they will have to change their pricing structure.

#583 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2013, 08:49 AM:

Sandy B. @582: None of those are helpful in Illinois, as apparently they're going for the lowest-hanging, sun-always-on, high-AC-bills markets first. Just a datapoint.

#584 ::: Laura Runkle ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2013, 09:41 AM:

Local woman receives news that human beings haven't changed in the past year. The local disaster response network in which she participates has requested that their members publicize, yet again(!), that no disaster area needs uncoordinated volunteers or unsolicited donations of lots of stuff.

#585 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2013, 10:15 AM:

Dave Bell @ #544:

That's awesome. I actualfacts applauded when I realised what was going on.

#586 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2013, 10:42 AM:

John 581: Someone just posted this on FB: "One last time: Privilege means never having to wonder if your Constitutional rights are about to change in the next 30 minutes" -- Wyeth Ruthven (@wyethwire)

#587 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2013, 10:57 AM:

So... DOMA is gone?

#588 ::: Dave Crisp ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2013, 11:08 AM:

@Serge: DOMA is dead, dead, dead. And there was much rejoicing.

Prop8 was dismissed for lack of standing, which I think means Judge Walker's district court ruling holds - so SSM becomes legal again in CA, but nowhere else.

#589 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2013, 11:16 AM:

From Amy Howe at the SCOTUSblog liveblogging on the DOMA ruling:
"Here's a Plain English take on United States v. Windsor, the DOMA case: The federal Defense of Marriage Act defines "marriage," for purposes of over a thousand federal laws and programs, as a union between a man and a woman only. Today the Court ruled, by a vote of five to four, in an opinion by Justice Kennedy, that the law is unconstitutional. The Court explained that the states have long had the responsibility of regulating and defining marriage, and some states have opted to allow same-sex couples to marry to give them the protection and dignity associated with marriage. By denying recognition to same-sex couples who are legally married, federal law discriminates against them to express disapproval of state-sanctioned same-sex marriage. This decision means that same-sex couples who are legally married must now be treated the same under federal law as married opposite-sex couples."

There are other posts, including information on the Proposition 8 ruling (short version: the people appealing do not have the standing to do so, so shut up already; the state court's ruling stands, as I understand it). Just in case you've never visited that site during the announcement of a SCOTUS ruling, SCOTUSblog's instructions on their liveblog are clear: do not hit REFRESH, as it will update automatically.

In general, the situation is fluid with respect to all the implications, so waiting and seeing how it all plays out is advised.

#590 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2013, 11:49 AM:

Dave Crisp @ 587... SSM becomes legal again in CA

Oh no! Not the Gay Apocalypse that the Guvernator warned us against when Mayor Newsom allowed SSM!!!

#591 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2013, 11:56 AM:

I'm eager to know whether the court will now be enforcing the Full Faith and Credit clause when it comes to states recognizing the validity of marriages performed in other states, even of they don't permit same-sex marriage themselves.

#592 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2013, 12:01 PM:

the state court's ruling stands, as I understand it

Federal District Court, but otherwise correct. It's probably the best outcome available, but the idea that a law designed to constrain the politicians can be over-ruled because the politicians refuse to defend it doesn't make me happy about the future of the rule of law.

#593 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2013, 12:13 PM:

587, 588:

Specifically Section 3 of DOMA, the portion prohibiting federal recognition of same-sex marriages, is dead. The portions allowing states to refuse to recognize legal marriages from other states was not at issue.

(So as a woman legally married to another woman and living in Maryland, which has marriage equality, my marriage must now be recognized by the federal government, but it doesn't have to be by, say, the state of Virginia. The federal situation for couples legally married in one state and living in a state that does not recognize it is murky.)

Rikibeth @591, full faith and credit actually refers only to judicial proceedings of other states, and there has never been a case applying it to marriages. It would require a separate Supreme Court case challenging Section 2 of DOMA for that to happen, and I don't see the Roberts court issuing a favorable ruling on that, especially given the very narrowly construed ruling on Perry.

#594 ::: lorax has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2013, 12:14 PM:

Probably for punctuation. May I offer the gnomes some honey-roasted almonds? They're all I have at my desk.

#595 ::: Anne Sheller ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2013, 12:18 PM:

Cheryl @ 575 - Not sure about the scent of either, but both catalpa and sourwood should be blooming around now. Can you describe the leaves a/o flowers - shape, size. Oh, and black locust may still be blooming too, flowers described as white and fragrant.

#596 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2013, 12:19 PM:

Xopher @ 586: That's exactly why I wrote it.

#597 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2013, 01:10 PM:

The politicians refused to defend it because they believed it was unconstitutional.

#598 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2013, 01:27 PM:

SamChevre, they can't just declare a law null and void; there has to be a challenge to it. In most cases, there will either be no challenge or someone will defend the law. Not defending it is a no-confidence vote.

#599 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2013, 01:29 PM:

SamChevre, a) Surely that's a matter for California to legislate, right? They can make a law demanding that their representation defend laws in court. Then the discretion of that group becomes a matter for the courts, and that law becomes a court case, and so on. NOTE: Under the law they have discretion about what cases they'll fight. Taking that away might risk things you'd rather not.

b) The California referendum system is an abomination, and throws away the benefits of representative government.

#600 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2013, 02:26 PM:

@579 David Goldfarb

Based on the photos I've Googled, I don't think it's crape myrtle.

@594 Anne Sheller

Maybe catalpa? Not sourwood, I think.

I snagged a small piece on my way out and took a photo and uploaded it to Flickr (may I take a moment to jump on the 'hate the new interface' bandwagon?); you can find it here: (that piece is about 20cm long).

I should have said I'm in Montreal (zone 5). Oh, and the smell is much stronger at night.

Thanks for everyone's help!

#601 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2013, 02:37 PM:

Laura @ #584, as I suggested, only half jokingly, at one of our courses: you could put the self-deploying volunteers to work sorting the unsolicited donated stuff.

#602 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2013, 02:47 PM:

Cheryl @599: Not catalpa, then, as catalpa's petals are each nearly bigger than that entire sprig. :-> ENORMO-FLOWERS. Also huge leaves. And 'vanilla-bean' type long pods hanging off the tree for most of the year it's not flowering. Amazing tree.

#603 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2013, 02:59 PM:

re 599: It's little-leaf linden, the European version of the American basswood tree. That bract that bends off from the flower stalk is characteristic, and the leaves are too small for the American species. It makes fabulous honey.

#604 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2013, 03:20 PM:

@603 C. Wingate

That's it! Thanks so much! I was trying to use the Arbor Day site to ID it, but obviously I was answering the questions incorrectly.

I wonder if I could (or should) plant one in my mum's yard? More research - which I can do, now that I have the name. Thanks again!

#605 ::: Cheryl has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2013, 03:23 PM:

I thanked someone with enthusiasm. I forgot that I must only thank people in a calm and measured tone.

I'm about to try making horchata for the first time ever. Any gnome is welcome to a glass when it's done.

#606 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2013, 03:47 PM:

Cheryl, 600: Yes, it's definitely linden...aka tilleul, which is what Proust dunked his madeleines in.

#607 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2013, 04:13 PM:

Catalpa is in the trumpet-vine family with jacaranda: bell-shaped flowers, frequently fragrant.
We also have chilopsis (desert willow) and chitalpa, which are in the same family. (Chitalpa is a hybrid of chilopsis and catalpa.) They like summer.
Crape myrtle is pretty conspicuous when it's blooming: white to purple flowers, covering the tree. (The bark is distinctive and attractive all year round.)

#608 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2013, 04:17 PM:

Cheryl @600 -- yes, linden! There are several varieties that smell wonderful and bloom at different times. I've heard this type called "Sommerlinden", and just got a lovely whiff coming home from choir practice.

#609 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2013, 04:26 PM:

Lindens have the most amazing scent and I wish they didn't set off my allergies so fiercely. Puffy, watering eyes and vicious congestion... no fun.

Lilacs do the same thing. Why, Nature, why? Why do you hate me so much?

#610 ::: ErrolC ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2013, 04:39 PM:

Lee #576
Maybe they have changed it, because a quick look doesn't find a page of the layout I was remembering. I'd still prefer larger, clearer Set names on those small photos (white letters with thick black borders?)

I haven't yet found a way to easily view (rather than edit) Collections, they don't seem to think people want to use them?
Actually, looking at my photostream, they seem to have improved it somewhat, with little cropping obvious to me - I hadn't looked at it for a little while.

#611 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2013, 05:39 PM:

@606 TexAnne

Wow, I haven't read that since school! And I didn't associate the name until you reminded me.

I shall have to try dipping my petite madeleines in tisane au tilleul sometime. I don't drink it very often.

@609 Rikibeth
I'm lucky I don't seem to have any pollen based allergies, though I do have some to perfume (also to some makeup/lotion ingredients, and to some food, which is a lot easier to avoid).

#612 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2013, 06:16 PM:

Further to PNH's Sidelight, "What actually happened in Texas last night": Rick Perry Calls Second Special Session To Pass Abortion Restrictions.

#613 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2013, 06:45 PM:

#612: Of course he is. Those guys don't go down easy.

I hope the anger and energy generated by last night's power play results in more than a try for another filibuster. Progressives need a plan for sustainable power. Crowds and cameras are just the beginning.

Although, for the record: Don't you think Rick Perry is looking kind of tired?

#614 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2013, 06:50 PM:

Oh, this is wonderful:

Scalia, Thomas, Roberts, Alito Suddenly Realize They Will Be Villains In Oscar-Winning Movie One Day

WASHINGTON—Shortly after turning in dissenting opinions in landmark federal rulings today that struck down the Defense of Marriage Act and conferred full federal benefits to married same-sex couples, Supreme Court justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, John G. Roberts, and Samuel Alito reportedly realized today that they would someday be portrayed as villains in an Oscar-winning film about the fight for marriage equality.

I'm still hoping there will someday be a tragi-comic satire about the rush to war in Iraq, with Frankie Muniz as George W. Bush.

#615 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2013, 07:59 PM:

Cheryl, $612: The restrictions they put on Wendy Davis would have qualified as torture if we used them on a prisoner of war. She had to stand, unsupported, for 13 hours straight; she was not allowed food, water, or bathroom breaks during that time.

And then they kept restricting the things she was allowed to talk about, while still requiring that she "stay on topic". I thought you could talk about anything during a filibuster. Certainly Republicans have done so.

#616 ::: Carrie S ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2013, 09:04 PM:

Lee: In a Federal filibuster, you can talk about anything you like, down to literally reading the phone book. The Texas rules are different.

#617 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2013, 09:04 PM:

The second special session of the Texas Senate was a done deal before the filibuster started: the other two issues were put after the abortion one in the hopes that it would pressure the Senate to vote on them.

The actual closing of debate was fascinating to watch if one is a Roberts geek. Several things happened which were really terrible form; if everything else had been done properly, I think the Texas Senate would have gotten away with recording the vote (since a roll call vote to call the [unspecified, which is a serious problem!] was started well before the midnight deadline, and they could have claimed that the voting was finished and just initially recorded after the deadline, which explains the disparity in dates). That kind of machination frequently gets by. But the whole procedure was done very badly according to the rules they agreed to do things by, and that's hard to support when it's done in (very) public.

#618 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2013, 09:20 PM:

It was ruling that talking about sonograms isn't 'germane' to a bill that includes requiring them - that's obviously cheating. And the whole timestamp thing. There are a whole lot of people in the Texas legislature who deserve Texas messing with them.

#619 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2013, 09:49 PM:

P J Evans @618: AIUI this bill did not require sonograms: they are already required by other laws. They are, however, part of the abortion package and I agree that they are germane to the discussion. Like the budget of Planned Parenthood, which this bill also affects (and was another point of contention over the germane question).

#620 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2013, 10:40 PM:

So has anyone else watched the first episode of Under the Dome? I missed all but the last ten minutes Monday night, so I watched it online tonight. (An exasperating experience with my Comcrap connection going down twice).

Anyway, I was impressed. Scary and gripping. I'm hoping it holds up.

#621 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2013, 10:55 PM:

What are the odds of the Texas legislature (and possibly others) getting some method of electronic voting so they can't be shouted down by crowds?

#622 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2013, 11:16 PM:

So as not to interrupt the flow: A Wrinkle in Time started with "It was a dark and stormy night."

#623 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2013, 11:48 PM:

So did Sir Edward Bulwer-Lytton (apparently in the novel Paul Clifford in 1830 -- anyone read it?). He was a genuine best-seller, too.

#624 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2013, 01:08 AM:

People considering solar: We went with a partial system, five panels, that was offered to us as a "starter system." Most of the companies we talked with did not even offer that as a concept, let alone a full proposal. So—make sure that the company actually wants your business, and is willing to work with the fact that you don't have the money to go all-out. Also, "microinverters." One panel being shaded shouldn't take out the whole system.

#625 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2013, 01:10 AM:

Westercon 66 is starting next week. Is anyone here going? (I've spied KayTei's name on the list.) I should like to see you if you will be there.

#626 ::: B. Durbin is gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2013, 01:12 AM:

Banana bread for the suspicious link to a convention that's taking place! With raisins. (You like raisins.)

#627 ::: Claire ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2013, 11:39 AM:

Please forgive this if it's considered spammy, but I just found out about something being offered by my local university in the fall, that I thought that the community here would be interested in. I mean, continuing ed, and DINOSAURS!!! *g*

Paleobiology course (Dino 101) offered at the university for credit, but also to the general public over the internet completely for free.

To quote the promotional material: "The University of Alberta is offering Dino 101, a high quality and rigorous massive open online course (MOOC) that teaches learners the scientific method through the universal appeal of dinosaurs. It is targeted for release in September 2013."

It's going to be taught by Dr. Phil Currie. This makes me really excited because I saw his application talk before he got hired, and he's not only a really engaging teacher, but really good at adjusting his talk to his audience. (in that case, not just specialists in his field, but people from the entire university)

I'd never even heard of MOOCs before I saw this. Does anyone have any experience with them?

#628 ::: Jeremy Leader ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2013, 12:40 PM:

B. Durbin @626: Now I have mental images of gnomes on bmx bikes shouting "I want my 2 dollars!"

Claire @627: MOOCs are both cool and worrisome. Cool in that they make much more widely available knowledge that was previously much harder to come by. Worrisome in that some academics fear their use as a weapon to complete the destruction of American academia. I took a couple last year, both loosely connected to Stanford (Coursera's Machine Learning class, taught by Andrew Ng, and Udacity's AI class, taught by Peter Norvig and Sebastian Thrun). It was a valuable experience, I learned quite a bit, but there are definitely things you gain by sitting together in a classroom with an instructor and other students that you don't get from a MOOC.

In my view, MOOCs fall somewhere between a real class and watching one of those "great courses" DVDs.

#629 ::: Anne Sheller ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2013, 12:45 PM:

Cheryl et al - Oh, yes, linden/basswood flowers smell wonderful. Some species can get quite large; they might not be a good choice for a small yard. I think possibly some may stay fairly small. They will attract bees, of course.

They also produce useful inner bark fiber and really great wood for carving. After a major storm brought down some big limbs from a stand of basswood on the Iowa state campus, I spent a couple of happy hours stripping bark and making some really crude rope. I'm still wishing I'd been around when several were cut for expansion of our local library; I'd happily have paid the cutting crews for some chunks to play with. Not that any of that is relevant to whether or not you'd want one in your mother's yard.

#630 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2013, 12:49 PM:

In my mind unbidden as I take my midday meal:

At noon the yellow mustard's spread upon the Wonder(tm) bread;
At noon you think of Coke(tm) but take a Seven-Up(tm) instead;

At noon, slice some baloney and some cheddar cheese, a bunch:
At noon a young man's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of lunch.

#631 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2013, 12:50 PM:

(Well just the last line was unbidden I guess)

#632 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2013, 01:35 PM:


I've taken a couple: Andrew Ng's, the first time it was offered before Coursera, and one on the Scala programming language. For technical-type courses, to a large extent you get out what you're willing to put in. The schedule of lectures being released on a weekly schedule and of assignments with due dates (for both of these, coding problems that got a "grade" penalty after the deadline) helped me to actually complete the courses which I hadn't done for any of the Youtube lecture series. The discussion fora were also helpful. I'd like to do more, and had signed up for a couple before life suddenly intervened and I had way less free time than I'd expected. If you view them as a structured way to teach yourself something, rather than as something that actually should be viewed as academic credit, they're quite useful.

#633 ::: Victoria ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2013, 04:58 PM:

So my friend, Sue, introduced me to a show on Animal Planet called "Treehouse Masters." One segment of the show has Pete, the tree house designer/architect, meeting with an insurance company about what kind of maintenance you need to do to get a lower insurance rate. It is also the most stiff, staged bit of infodumping I have seen. I commented to Sue that the "As You Know, Bob" segments were the least entertaining.

Then I had to explain what an "As You Know, Bob" was.

Later on, she agreed that the "By The Way, Bob," bits were pretty lame.

I recommend the series. Pete is very much a mad scientist architect who is just in love with trees. Up to and including hugging them. Literally.

#634 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2013, 07:27 PM:

AKICIML: My Google-fu is failing me, and I don't want to extrapolate from Age of Sail British Navy to WWII Army Air Corps. Can anyone tell me how the CO of a bomber squadron would address his junior officers? Last name only, Mr. Lastname, or Lieutenant Lastname? And would it change based on whether he's annoyed with them?

I'm hoping to convey a certain level of snark in the address.

#635 ::: Jon Baker ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2013, 07:31 PM:

Cally @ 447: Here's a "Jewish" "avert!" gesture which seems somewhat similar:

According to the Talmud (Ber. 55b), whoever is afraid of the evil eye should stick his right thumb in his left hand and his left thumb in his right hand, proclaiming: "I, so and so, son of so and so, am of the seed of Joseph, whom the evil eye may not affect."

The gesture (a "fig") – universally used to avert the evil eye by putting it to shame (this original meaning was probably unknown to sages who prescribed it) – took on a Jewish character by the pronouncement of the aggadic sentence that the descendants of Joseph are immune from the evil eye (Ber. 20a).

Interesting that it also involves the thumb in the palm of the opposite hand (in this case, both thumbs in both palms).

Source: Jewish Virtual Library

#636 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2013, 07:59 PM:

Unintended Consequences: If it had not been for the existence of Seanan McGuire's Kindle serial "Indexing" (which is as fabulous as I expected; I knew from the start I had to have it), I would not have installed a Kindle app on my tablet. Also, Amazon would not have recommended to me another Kindle serial from the same publisher (47North), to wit "Gooseberry Bluff Community College of Magic: The Thirteenth Rib" by David J. Schwartz, and I would have SERIOUSLY missed out. Gooseberry Bluff is an amazing piece of worldbuilding, WITH a female PoC protagonist, AND a genderqueer fairly-visible character, AND lots of queer characters sprinkled all around in about the amounts you'd see them in a community-college faculty in our world (though it is emphatically not set in our world, but an alternate universe several over from ours). Note: the book is not 'about' being queer, it is a book with a perfectly good plot that has people-who-are-queer in it.

If you do business with Amazon (and there are many good reasons not to), you'd only be gambling $1.99 on my bare word that THIS BOOK IS AMAZING. And very Fluorospherian.

Definitional note: a 'Kindle serial' is a work of fiction that comes out in 'episodes' at regular intervals (both those above are aiming for 2 weeks). You pay for it once; you end up with all the content when all the content is available, automatically updated to your device. I don't know if these works will count as novels or something else when they're done.

#637 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2013, 08:04 PM:

Elliott Mason @636 -- there's a long history of serial novels being counted as novels when they're finished (back well before Dickens, who's one of the poster children for it). And if you're concerned about Hugo eligibility, the final length is what determines a novel, and the date of the last installment being published determines the year of eligibility.

Don't know how the proto-Hugos would have treated The Mystery of Edwin Drood, though.

#638 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2013, 09:01 PM:

Tom Whitmore: And 47North has at least a few titles that were originally serial-released that they've later done a paperback or hardcover edition of.

#639 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2013, 09:11 PM:

If the book edition is substantially different, it can be nominated when it's published in book form. Though the definition of "substantially different" is up in the air....

#640 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2013, 09:13 PM:

Elliott, 636: You're the second person who's raved about Gooseberry Bluff in my general Internet direction. Does anyone know if there will be a non-Kindle version soon? It's almost enough to make me a "criminal."

#641 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2013, 09:18 PM:

TexAnne, could you email me at (un-rot13 this address): 2ryyf2grrf@tznvy.pbz ?

#642 ::: Elliott Mason got gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2013, 09:19 PM:

... for speaking in Shoggoth, perhaps.

#643 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2013, 11:04 PM:

In a byway to a mostly-unrelated WikiSafari, my husband ran across a reference to Ladislaus the Posthumous having done something in a given year of his reign. We were both struck funny by the name, but apparently he didn't get it by REIGNING posthumously, he was born a posthumous heir to his father (4 months after his father's death). Apparently this is also the original use of the term.

It seemed cromulent to the interests of those present. :-> His life was reasonably colorful in other ways, too.

#644 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2013, 09:59 AM:

Tom Whitmore @ #637:

The proto-Hugos would probably just have disclaimed any interest in the problem, since as far as the published text is concerned Edwin Drood is not a work of SF.

(It would of course have been a different matter if Dickens had got around to writing the chapter wherein it is revealed that young Edwin fell victim to blue glowing alien invaders.)

#645 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2013, 10:51 AM:

B. Durbin @ 625

Yes, we'll be there. The Rockstar Toddler will also be a bit about.

#646 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2013, 08:16 PM:

I'm hoping to have my kids mostly in the hands of my mom; they're old enough to be a problem and young enough to not enjoy anything. It's still a bit nebulous since I don't know what Evil Rob's schedule will look like during the con (it's pretty much a given that I'll be there more.)

#647 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2013, 01:54 AM:

Elliot Mason @643 -

Ah, Central European cognomens. I've been reading up on Polish history and am particularly fond of Wladyslaw the Elbow-High and Boleslaw Wry-Mouth. While they're all dutifully recorded in respectable typesetting in history books, I have to wonder if anyone ever called them that to their faces.

#648 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2013, 07:23 AM:

@647: Vsevolod Big-Nest.

#649 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2013, 11:02 AM:

Elliott @ 643

Re: "Posthumous" as an epithet

I'm fairly certain that "posthumous" was used multiple times as a cognomen in imperial Rome, which would significantly predate Ladislaus. But as I'm at the coffee shop rather than at home, I can't check this in my onomastics library.

#650 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2013, 11:46 AM:

'Posthumus' or 'Postumus' would be good places to start.

#651 ::: Claire ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2013, 12:15 PM:

Jeremy @628, lorax @632

What you say makes sense. (especially the "you get out what you put in" - that does tend to apply to any learning experience!)

I really don't think these should replace real, in-class experience. It is different. (bleeping cost-cutting politicians!)

But yeah, as a way to learn something independently that you wouldn't normally have access to, cool. :)

#652 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2013, 01:06 PM:

Postumus is an ancient Latin praenomen, and originally meant the youngest child. Since a man could remarry after the death of his wife, this name tended to be used by children born after their father's death, and that meaning was understood by Romans of the 1st Century BC, though Marcus Terentius Varro classed the name as already archaic.

The Romans didn't seem to have that many personal names, so it keeps popping up in Imperial Roamn history.

#653 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2013, 08:22 PM:

The painting of Ladislaus at the linked Wikipedia page is absolutely gorgeous. I am wanting it to have been used as a concert flyer in 1971 or so. I am wanting to use it as a Facebook avatar except I am too happy currently with the Portuguese statue I found last week.

#654 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2013, 09:32 PM:

A friend elsewhere remarks that the monarch reminds him of a young David St. Hubbins.

#655 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2013, 03:09 AM:

B. Durbin @ 625: See you there — I'm publishing the at-con news zine.

#656 ::: Dave Crisp ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2013, 04:57 AM:

Dave Bell @652: The best known example being Agrippa Postumus, the last son of the famous Agrippa, who was a major character in I, Claudius.

#657 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2013, 05:33 PM:

New Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality chapters are up!

#658 ::: Nancy C. Mittens politely requests the gnomes non-spam help, please ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2013, 09:30 PM:

My dearest gnomish friends,

Carol Kimball is having trouble loading Making Light for several days now, and would like some help.

Her IP address is:

She has, "Cleared my cache, removed the Nielson Hayden cookies, rebooted - nada. "

I am passing this on from Ravelry, which is working for her, and she's probably reachable here:

Thank you, O most excellent gnomes, for whatever help might be forthcoming.

#659 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2013, 10:18 PM: is not on the banned-IP list.

What error message, if any, does she get?

-- JDM

#660 ::: Naomi Parkhurst ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2013, 10:38 PM:

In the Ravelry thread she said it "times out trying to load".

#661 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2013, 10:45 PM:

The Seattle Parks Department is planning a new park, and has a survey up for what to name it. The initial round is done, and the finalists include "Octavia Butler Park". You may recall that Ms. Butler lived in Seattle at the end of her life. The survey does ask for your name and email address.

Vote here

#662 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2013, 11:04 PM:

My connection has been a bit slow the last few days, and it's timed out a couple of times today (although not here).

#663 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2013, 11:08 PM:

I have begun painting my new bedroom. The room and to a lesser extent the rest of the house reek of Kilz. I am loopy as hell still and hoping to wake up with more oxygen in me than oil paint.

All the rest of the painting will be latex rather than oil. I am so glad.

#664 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2013, 11:19 PM:

Nancy C Mittens @658, we’ve had that happen to at least two other people over the past few weeks. I don’t think we’ve figured out what’s causing it, but the good news is it seems to clear up by itself after a few hours.

#665 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2013, 06:55 AM:

Avram, I think Ms. Kimball's problem is that it hasn't cleared up in a few hours; she's been having this problem for days.

#666 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2013, 08:59 AM:

Jim Macdonald @ 658 ...
> is not on the banned-IP list.
> What error message, if any, does she get?

It is, however, in Comcast space, so it's not it's not even vaguely surprising that they might be having routing weirdness.

#667 ::: I do try not to post to ML from work ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2013, 10:14 AM:

This from Carol Kimball:

Sent at 9:06 AM Today

Still getting:
Problem loading page.
The connection has timed out.
The server at is taking too long to respond.

My cache has again been cleared, and there are no nielsonhayden (or ML) cookies in Firefox. Reboots before fresh attempts.

The last day I remember being able to visit was June 25. The site loaded slowly for several days and then wouldn’t connect. When this has happened previously, it was usually ML having deluges of spam, and things cleared up in a day or two at most.

I’ve tried on both my PC with Windows7/Firefox and my iPad with Safari, using two different internet access companies.

I’m not having this problem with any other site.

I miss Making Light! I am so grateful for our Ravelry group!


#668 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2013, 11:11 AM:

In the spirit of checking the under the lamppost first: "" is a typo. That's not what she's putting into the browser, is it?

(I've never had connection problems, and I'm connecting from Comcast's network too. But I understand that Comcast's network is really a slew of local affiliates, so there's no reason for my experience to generalize to anyone who isn't a near neighbor.)

#669 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2013, 11:40 AM:

#664 ::: Avram

I had a problem with posting comments that went on for days.

I contacted abi, and the problem cleared up, but she wasn't sure whether one of other mods took care of it or it cleared up on its own.

#670 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2013, 11:42 AM:

Perhaps Ms. Kimball could try getting here through Google?

Googling on making light teresa should return this place as the top hit.

#671 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2013, 11:59 AM:

Nancy, the problem must have cleared up on its own -- I certainly didn't do anything (nor were you or your IP on any banned list).

We have several layers of protection here: One is Moveable Type itself, which maintains its own blacklist (and I'm not sure where that comes from). I don't know what, if anything, you see on your screen when hitting that. Beyond that, we have the Gnomes with their key-word filters; you'll get the "gnome" notice about the glass-and-steel tower if for some reason you feel the need to talk about payday loans, accident attorneys, or fruit carving. Those posts get released as soon as a mod finds them; generally within minutes-to-hours. A lot of us spend a lot of time here.

We also have a list of banned IPNs; to get on that you have to send spam. One strike and you're out. Send a spam, never even get to the moderation queue again.

I sometimes worry that I'm falsely banning some real person and potential-future active commenter who, for reasons that seem good to them, is making their first-ever post to a thread that last saw activity in 2004 with the message "Hey buddy could i distribute several paragraph of your respective report on my personal small weblog"*; a person whose family name is "Home" and whose parents (desiring to avoid gender-marking their child) named them "Work From."

Then I stop worrying and press the button anyway.

* Actual filtered post from 21 minutes ago.

#672 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2013, 12:04 PM:

I've been reading through An Archive Of Our Own in various directions, and some Highlander fic (well, some Methos fic, really) gave me an urge to go rewatch some of the original source material. I saw most of it straight off the TV, first-airing (or reruns shortly thereafter), and missed a few eps here and there, but I would mostly say I saw 'all' of the Highlander TV series. Greatly enjoyed it, too.

It's definitely the kind of show that inspires fic; not only are there emotional through-lines to explore (especially some the writers left deliberately unresolved in the original), but the world itself is so lush and full. It ranges over all of human history, and if you don't like any of the Immortals shown or name-dropped in the show, go ahead and make one up and have them encounter a canonical one!

I wanted to refresh my memory of Methos and some of the rest of it, so I've jumped in starting 2 eps from the end of season 1 (I've watched and rewatched Season 1 so often I couldn't stomach it again).

This was a foundational fandom, for me -- one of the first really big, really popular shows that I watched from the start and loved all along. And watching it again with a decade or two of breathing space makes it clear that the writers were doing a bang-up job of putting some neat story and character beats into the middle of the piece of formulaic "we have to have at least x martial-arts sequences of at least y length each" dreck that the producers thought they were paying for. :->

Plus, wow, the clothes -- dated. At least to a style-junkie like myself. The women's hair is worse. But I still OWN some of my clothes from 1992, how in the world does it look so antique to me now? The answer, of course, lies in styling and how you wear them; many of the same pieces can still be worn stylishly today, just in different combination etc.

I'm kind of enjoying it as a period drama in the 'now' parts as well as his flashbacks. :-> And trying to spot the flashback-period by the clothes and props is also cool. The entire way it's shot, background music, and some of the acting/directing choices definitely feel to me now like watching original Buck Rogers or Bewitched or I Dream of Jeannie did to me when I was younger -- there must be fashions in show-making as there are in clothes, and I can spot the differences even if I can't characterise them exactly the way I can with hair and apparel.

ObFicRecc, there's a piece of Joe Dawson-meets-Stargate-SG1 fic I ran across that amazes me (prelude to same, not necessary if you like jumping in in medias res) I think it's reasonably readable even to people who know neither fandom, though obviously there's a bigger payoff if you do. Also, what were the Immortals doing during the climactic battle of The Avengers? Assuming they were in the same world? Here's one answer. In the same pair of universes, five times Methos ended up dead around Black Widow (and, eventually, around Natasha Romanov).

#673 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2013, 12:21 PM:

Jim, here's the error message I was getting:

Gateway Time-out

The gateway did not receive a timely response from the upstream server or application.

Additionally, a 404 Not Found error was encountered while trying to use an ErrorDocument to handle the request.

As I recall, I could get a preview but I couldn't get the comment to go to the site.

#674 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2013, 12:30 PM:

Dunno, Nancy. Something was slow somewhere on the pipe is all I can figure, and those are mostly transitory.

#675 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2013, 12:50 PM:

HLN: After days of silence, formerly-local woman resurfaces somewhere else. "I've now driven through 4 of the 5 boroughs, three of them in rush hour. I have no plans to go back and collect the fifth," she reported. She has a second interview with an exciting place in a large city this afternoon, and would like everyone with some spare luck to send it to her temporary address near Philadelphia.

#676 ::: Jeremy Leader ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2013, 01:02 PM:

Jim Macdonald @671: "We also have a list of banned IPNs; to get on that you have to send spam. One strike and you're out. Send a spam, never even get to the moderation queue again."

I don't know if you're aware that many IP addresses are only temporarily assigned. They're allocated to ISPs in large blocks, hundreds to tens of millions of addresses per block, and the ISPs can assign them temporarily or permanently to their customers' computers. So you might want to remove IP addresses from your blacklist after some period of time.

Someone could suggest to Carol that she look up "what is my ip address" on Google (via her various devices), which will display the answer above the search results. Then you could check whether those addresses are in MakingLight's blacklist.

#677 ::: Jeremy Leader got gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2013, 01:03 PM:

... for discussing ML's anti-spam precautions, and possible unintended side-effects thereof.

#678 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2013, 01:17 PM:

TexAnne @ 676... My spare luck should be showing up as an attachment soon, along a best-wishes attachment.

#679 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2013, 01:54 PM:

So you might want to remove IP addresses from your blacklist after some period of time.

I'll consider it if someone sends me a note with their IP address.

Maybe it was an IPN that once was used by a spammer; maybe it's an innocent person who's in a botnet. I really don't care ... I do know that I've been doing the one-strike banning since last October and it's cut down the spam-load remarkably. At that point I was spending up to eight hours a day reading spam and individually approving-or-disapproving each. Now I'm not even seeing them ... and don't consider that I'm missing much.

#680 ::: It's my break, honest, I'm not ignoring my job!! ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2013, 02:48 PM:

Further from Carol Kimball, after I copied over the computer bits from here:

Clicking on Google ‘s top hit is what I’ve been doing after purging the cookies. is the address that top hit gives (yes, I’d made a typo transcribing it here, thanks Andrew). Still is timing out.

Working down the Google queue for variations (other threads), same deal.

#681 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2013, 05:00 PM: is the address that top hit gives

Should be

#682 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2013, 08:06 PM:

Jim, well, yes, and she did say that she was googling making light teresa and clicking on the top link and still having problems.

This from Ms. Kimball:

re: Let ML know I'm blocked?
Sent at 5:18 PM Today

Please post to list:

Note from Carol:
Will someone who will not be jeopardizing their job by running this interference please take over from Nancy for us?

rot-13 pneby.xvzonyy@rneguyvax.arg

Jeremy: I sent my IP address along with the early distress messages, along with noting having done the standard housekeeping (cache, history, cookies, reboot, google site to reconnect).

Jim confirmed that this isn’t in their blocked list.

My apartment deal includes free wi-fi. When there are waves of internet upset, its security is often over-tightened (Ravelry gets knocked out early). My neighbors have kindly given me their private access to use when waiting for readjustment. Though many sites loaded slowly about a week ago, ML is the only one that I wasn’t able to get through to even using their service.

If I’m part of a group that’s been taken out, how would you know?

I am very grateful for the attention. I MISS you guys.

#683 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2013, 08:12 PM:

I should say that my job's not at risk; I just really like to keep the professional and social lives separate, and posting from work could make it easier to join them.

#684 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2013, 09:46 PM:

HLN: Semi-local woman has received word that she GOT HIRED IN BOSTON. Other local residents will be invited to a housewarming party when she has a house to warm. Speaking of which, how does one find an apartment in Boston on a private school teacher's salary?

#685 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2013, 10:04 PM:

TexAnne: Apartment Finders in Chicago are a very helpful and economical service; a friend of mine gave them a very specific list of requirements and desires out of an apartment and their rep took her around to a carefully-curated list of properties that met them in every particular the following weekend.

There may be a similar organization in Boston; Google's not turning one up, but I'm not local to know. Trulia covers the area, though, and their searcher allows input of several variables.

#686 ::: Elliott Mason got gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2013, 10:06 PM:

I linked to a real estate site. It's a fair cop.

#687 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2013, 10:12 PM:

Addendum to my last: this real-estate search site seems to have a goodly collection of clicky-boxes to narrow by things like 'near transit' and suchlike higher-order aspects.

#688 ::: Jeremy Leader ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2013, 11:40 PM:

Ugh, I apologize for completely missing the facts that Carol gave her ip address, and Jim confirmed that it wasn't blocked by ML, at the very start of this sub-thread.

#689 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2013, 12:29 AM:

What is it with Boston? I have a friend moving there in August, a friend moving back from there in August, and now TexAnne moving there. Boston's seeing all the action right now.

#690 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2013, 12:49 AM:

TexAnne, Banshee lives in Boston. If you've lost track of her contact info, drop me a line.

Is anybody else going to be at the North American Discworld Convention this weekend? If so, drop by and say hi to my partner and me in the dealer room.

#691 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2013, 03:11 AM:

B. Durbin @ 646

Yes, but my husband just set up a really hysterical cosplay for the Rockstar Toddler (in her favorite fandom, naeless, and amusingly apropos). It would be really too bad to make her miss out...

#692 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2013, 06:07 AM:

TexAnne @ 684... Glad to hear!

#693 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2013, 07:30 AM:

TexAnne, heartiest congratulations!

#694 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2013, 08:52 AM:

TexAnne @684--W00t!

I have a niece living in Brighton and one (equipped with husband + two terrifically cute children) out in Uxbridge, as well as a cousin who sails.

The presence of so many many many college students in the Boston area means that apartment prices run fairly high, based on family reports. There are also a lot of people who keep upstairs apartments in their houses. Good hunting!

#695 ::: Carol ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2013, 10:33 AM:

TexAnne @ #684: Congratulations from this mostly-lurker! I should be moving there myself sometime next year, because my husband got a job there a couple of months ago. We're doing the long-distance relationship thing (again) in the meantime because I have my MA to finish in the fall. I expect to visit a few times before then, including attending a conference in October.

As for finding a place to live, my husband is simply renting a room in a house for the time being. He used the list of Craig in association with the MBTA site. He had to live farther out in order to find something affordable, but he looked for places that were near convenient transit stops, so the house is a very short walk to the station and is only one line to his workplace.

A friend who's doing a post-doc at Harvard suggested Jamaica Plain and Somerville as good areas to look in, but they may not be convenient locations for you.

Good luck!

#696 ::: Carol Witt ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2013, 10:35 AM:

Oops, I forgot to include my last name in #695.

#697 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2013, 11:02 AM:

TexAnne, I forgot to mention in our conversation last night that there's a Davis Square comm on lj. A number of my friends are active, and it may give a line on apartments coming up for rent ahead of real estate sites. Davis Square in Somerville is very convenient, transit-wise -- you remember, it's where I dropped you off in March after we went to Sound Bites!

#698 ::: Laura Runkle ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2013, 11:38 AM:

HLN: Local woman watched (yet again) The Avengers with her family as celebration for acing two courses. While watching, woman's son asked "Has anyone ever talked about ICS and The Avengers? That cop may have very good reasons not to take orders from what he thinks is a freelance crew."
On the list now of Things I Would Like To See - ICS as discussed through the lens of The Avengers.

#699 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2013, 12:26 PM:

TexAnne, welcome to the Boston area (prospectively).

I have nothing to add to the comments above, except (a) unsurprisingly rents are higher the closer you get to a T stop. And (b) I suspect the cost of living is due to the high concentration of Google/Microsoft/etc engineers, not so much the students. (Not that this matters.)

I'm in Medford, which is next out from Somerville (in one direction) and slightly cheaper, while still being reasonably close to the T. In a few years, the T will extend out this way, and then my current apartment will become unaffordable, I expect.(*)

(* Actually I can't afford it now, but that's a long and tangential story.)

#700 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2013, 02:22 PM:

Congratulations, TexAnne!

#701 ::: Andrew Wells ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2013, 04:12 PM:

Um, seven-hundred-and-first? ;-)

#702 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2013, 04:12 PM:

Andrew Plotkin (#699): I'm sure there's some of that effect, but this isn't the Bay Area. Rents were expensive enough when I moved out of the dorms, back when most of the tech jobs were around 128 at Digital, Wang, etc; Microsoft hadn't moved into Cambridge, and Google/Akamai didn't even exist yet....

#703 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2013, 07:10 PM:

I'm reading (trying to read) an e-book I just acquired through Kindle, and oh my Bob am I glad it's a RE-read of a book I've read many times, because I've just hit the eighth time an entire page is replaced by a duplicate page from several pages ago -- and the missing page is just skipped over, the text nowhere to be found.

This is not a newly-released book; it has been available in e-book format for at least 5 years and probably a lot more than that.

How do I go about notifying the publisher of Unreadable Crapness in their product?

#704 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2013, 07:32 PM:

Elliot Mason @703, what's the book? (I've actually been known to borrow books from the library and copy-edit my e-book to match. What? OCD? Moi?)

#705 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2013, 07:42 PM:

I'm getting my bearings again, after a year of providing pretty involved care for my dog, I hadn't realized how much of my life I fit around her. Now that I don't need to do that I find myself at a bit of a loss. Managed to pay my rent with $3 leftover until next Thursday, which I count as a win, but doesn't help me during this long weekend.

I also had the week and a half from hell at work - straight out of an old Dilbert comic. My former manager went on vacation and it turns out the director who was supposed to cover his job never actually knew what he was supposed to be covering. All of a sudden I became the expert. I belong to a Union of pink-collar workers, and my position is classified as "unskilled". He happened to find the one portion of the system I never learned and continued asking me how to use it, ignoring my pleas of ignorance, and extremely helpful pointings in the direction of the two people who could help him. Highly frustrating. Oh, yes, and being called into a meeting of managers and above as the only person who had the info they needed. I suppose I have a good case to agitate for a promotion, but I'd hate to lose my union benefits.

I felt pretty put-upon and unappreciated anyway, so I wanted to post this. Here's me, singing (and not telling you how much I screwed it up and where, because I guess you're not supposed to do that) and then getting applause for a job competently done. It made me happy, and makes me want to do it again, as opposed to my job, which does pay me, but on a minor delay. Operant conditioning works best when the reward is immediate.

#706 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2013, 07:47 PM:

Cassy B. @704: On Basilisk Station, by David Weber. Which I know for a fact has been available in various ebook formats for yonks, because I got it on a CD with an earlier hardcover purchase of another book in the series. I would've thought it was converted and copyedited repeatedly so long ago that it would have lost all its errors by now ...

I probably have that CD sitting about somewhere, but the chance to get it on Kindle and read it again right away was tempting. I probably should've passed and gone looking for my archived copy, this thing is terrible. Now up to 10 skipped/duplicated pages, and I'm only 82% of the way through the book ...

#707 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2013, 08:08 PM:

I hope they make The Curse of Chalion into a movie soon so that Maggie Smith can play the Dowager Provincara.

#708 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2013, 08:11 PM:

Elliot Masion @706,

I have a copy of "On Basilisk Station" from a Baen Free CD. I don't know if it has the errors you mention, because I'd already read it in dead-tree form when I got the CD, but I'm happy to shoot you a copy. (And Baen said explicitly that it was ok to copy the content of the CD and share it, so I'm not violating copyrights....) Do you have Calibre or do you need me to translate it to MOBI format for you? (I have an epub, and I don't want to try to find the CD again.)

And shoot me your email; I'm not sure I have it. Mine is (rot13) pnffl@obbxjlezr.pbz

#709 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2013, 08:11 PM:

Elliott Mason @ 706: Those CDs are freely downloadable online with Baen's blessing - and they're generally really good about having good ebooks. A quick check of the ISOs there says that they've got MOBI as part of the package. That said, I'd bet Baen would really like to know that something went bad with an ebook of theirs, especially now that they're much more broadly available.

#710 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2013, 08:12 PM:

Allan Beatty: You just made me flash on an image of Caz as played by Alan Rickman, in all his saturnine, sardonic glory. :-> I think he could do an amazing job of the "riding across half the country with a necrotic tumor/demon in his guts to save his land" bits. Especially the silly hat.

#711 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2013, 08:46 PM:

Drat, TexAnne's moving away from Lon Guy Land just as my first-born is about to move there. Congrats, TexAnne!

#712 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2013, 09:38 PM:

Elliott Mason #703: Sounds like you got fooled by a pirate/spam E-book.

#713 ::: Carrie S ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2013, 10:13 PM:

Elliott Mason: I think Rickman might be a little too old for Caz--he's explicitly said to be...40, I think? Then again, fun can be had with makeup.

Jennifer Lawrence as Iselle, maybe? And who could manage Ista?

#714 ::: Carrie S has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2013, 10:14 PM:

I must've hit a bad set of punctuation, or a Word of Power I didn't know about.

#715 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2013, 11:21 PM:

@583, Elliot, Illinois solar power:

Sorry none of the solar-companies-I-know-by-name are operating there. At least you have solid incentives. 25% rebate from Illinois (minimum size 1 kW, maximum rebate $10,000), although they've spent the budget for this year already. Also the 30% Federal rebate.

So if you do get (say) a mortgage-type loan for home improvements from your local bank or credit union, and you don't mind waiting till September to apply, you're buying with 45-cent dollars. And you keep your SRECs (which may not be really sellable, currently.)

Near Springfield, IL it looks like you get about 20% capacity factor on a clean panel at a 40-degree angle; that is, a 1 kW panel, over an 8760 hour year, will generate about 1810 kW-hrs.

(sources: ,

#716 ::: Sandy B., gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2013, 11:24 PM:

Perhaps my URLs were clumsy and random. May I offer some Black Blood of the Earth?

#717 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2013, 03:11 AM:

On Basilisk Station is available for free from the Baen Free Library and all those Baen promotional CDs (and in other formats than Kindle). So there are alternatives to Amazon.

If the official Kindle version has problems, it's worth reporting. There's Baen, but Amazon themselves have a system for reporting formatting problems for Kindle books, a link at the bottom of the book's page on their website.

#718 ::: Jen Birren ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2013, 07:10 AM:

Dave Harmon @712: A malformatted ebook isn't necessarily a pirate copy- I bought and downloaded Shannon Hales' Book of a Thousand Days straight from Amazon, and it has chunks dropped out from the middle and stuck on at the end. (I didn't realise it at first, because it's a diary format, so I just thought "Huh, what an interesting choice to skip over [event] and go straight to the aftermath," and then "Huh, it seems like the plot's winding up. I wonder what the 20% of the book that's still left is going to be... oh, it's [event]. Oops."
Good book. I must get round to deleting and redownloading it to see if it's been fixed, and contact them if not...)

#719 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2013, 07:12 AM:

Oh, TexAnne, YAY! Such good news!

#720 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2013, 08:33 AM:

Happy Fourth, all of you!
I'll now go watch the Muppet's rendition of "Stars & Stripes Forever".

#721 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2013, 09:03 AM:


U.S.P.S. photographs the outside of every piece of mail sent in the U.S. and stores that info for some unspecified amount of time in case law enforcement asks for it. No warrant required. (So they not only know what mail you're getting, but where and approximately what time it was mailed.)

Happy No Reasonable Expectation of Privacy Day.

#722 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2013, 09:10 AM:

Serge: I just realized that the placement of that last comment might look like a slap at you and your celebration. It isn't. It's a howl of despair that the nation of my birth and your choosing is fast gnawing away at the reasons many of us love it and want to be part of it.

#723 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2013, 11:13 AM:

I'm thinking about having a rubber stamp made up for my postal mail:


#724 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2013, 01:33 PM:

Apropos of nothing. Or anything. Or everything.

I have painted myself into a corner I need to solve my way out of. I feel compelled to write a story idea in which the main character is a girl in a boarding school, but I am realizing that although I know something about boarding schools I don't know what it's like to be a girl in one. What's a guy to do? How to get into the headspace of a character who is other? How to research it?

#725 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2013, 01:41 PM:

Erik @724, perhaps there are memoirs written by women who attended boarding school as girls that might be helpful to you. Is your story set in the present day, or in the past, or perhaps near-future? Different eras would of course make a difference.

#726 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2013, 03:06 PM:

Erik @724 -- I doubt the girls of St. Trinians will be of much help, but there might be some references at the Wikipedia article that would help.

#727 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2013, 03:17 PM:

Erik Nelson @724: Has it escaped your notice that Hogwarts IS a boarding school? And that it has many female inhabitants?

(Admittedly none are viewpoint characters, and St. Trinian's indeed may be more apt to your purpose.)

#728 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2013, 03:42 PM:

Erik, just as there were stories about boys in boarding schools, there were stories about girls. St. Trinians is the parody. These days, instead of horses there would probably be unicorns or sparkly vampires, or something.

Start with "School Story" on Wikipedia

I went to an English Grammar School which still had boarders, boys and girls, in the 1970s. By an accident of sexist bias--a boys-only school in the next town--we boys were in the minority. It wasn't really fun.

#729 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2013, 03:55 PM:

I went to a high school (6 years, 1964-70) which was mixed day students and boarders for high school -- all boys. It made me a different person than I otherwise might have been.

#730 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2013, 04:02 PM:

Not played for laughs as at St. Trinian's: The Prime of Miss Jean Brody.

#731 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2013, 04:06 PM:

Are you ready for tonight? I am!

But srsly, I hope those with noise-sensitive pets find a way to get away from the din. I stick with the Emits Showers of Sparks stuff myself.

#732 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2013, 04:09 PM:

The sky is getting dark (*at four in the afternoon in high summer!*), light rain falling, thunderstorms forecast.

I fear for tonight's fireworks.

#733 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2013, 04:15 PM:

I believe Miss Jean Brodie is set in a day school.

And in addition to the various works mentioned in the Wikipedia article that Dave Bell linked, one should surely (here, of all places) mention Among Others, by Jo Walton. (This has the advantage of dealing with a somewhat later epoch than most of the classic school stories.)

#734 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2013, 05:59 PM:

Tom Whitmore: I doubt the girls of St. Trinians will be of much help

It depends on if you interest them, and which class you interest. Remember that when it came to the atomic bomb that destroyed the school it was the sixth form that seduced the technical info out but it was the fourth form that built it. I'd bet on the fourth form as both frighteningly effective and least likely to turn on you as long as they see you as a reliable source of booze and drugs.

Oh, you meant of help with references on boarding schools for girls! Different matter entirely!

I remember Enid Blyton was the most popular author of books set in female boarding schools in the U.K. for years, but I have no idea what would give the current atmosphere. I know a woman who went through "high school" in Ireland a number of years ago and who swore that the Nigel Molesworth books were the best guide available...

#735 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2013, 07:24 PM:

Well, actually, I am making the setting very much like the school I went to, so the worldbuilding is mimimal, but the hard part is trying to see it from a girl character's point of view. The dialog clinks, clanks and clunks because I don't talk like a girl myself. Likewise the motivation.

#736 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2013, 08:37 PM:

Some of the neighbors were shooting off unsafe and insane pyrotechnics last night. Couldn't tell you what kind they were using (I'd guess cherry bomb or M80), but it was setting off car alarms half a block away. On the farther side from me.

#737 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2013, 08:38 PM:

Erik Nelson: Aha. In that case you don't so much need sources for "girls' boarding school" as much as you need sources for "teenage girl dialogue/POV of appropriate era." Again, what era? You want novels/movies with female protagonists of the right age. Paula Danziger's books would be very good for the late 1970s, for instance. Present-day? Check out YA books in modern settings. I also think the TV show "Parenthood" is very well-done.

#738 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2013, 09:10 PM:

Erik Nelson: It might also be worth your while to seek out one or more female beta readers familiar with the time/place of your setting to look over your rough draft. "You don't know what you don't know," and it's easy to commit a howler that throws your readers out of the story.

#739 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2013, 10:16 PM:

I was a day boy in a boarding school set up on the model of an English public school (it was, technically, an English public school just not located in England). My mother was for a while the Spanish mistress at the sister girls' boarding school.

#740 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2013, 10:18 PM:

Despite my earlier fears, the rain stopped and the fireworks went off on time.

#741 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2013, 02:41 AM:

Erik @ 735

Could the language be awkward because you're treating girls as foreign difficult-to-understand creatures, instead of as complex human beings with basically the same drives and confusions as their male peers? Or are there specific gaps that you're aware of and trying to address?

I find most girls in YA books a bit... oversimplified. It makes me mistrust them as a way to gain insight into teenage girls, except maybe by specific author. You might get more out of finding some teenage blogs and following them for a while. Or mentoring or making friends with some teenage girls. Talking to a young niece or acquaintance about things that annoy her about girls in books. That sort of thing.

#742 ::: Jeremy Leader ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2013, 03:31 AM:

Has anyone else played with It's a lot of fun, challenging, and slightly educational. It exposes you to a quasi-random sample of the world (or at least a random sample of the areas Google Street View has covered). They drop you into street view, you can wander around, without the ability to zoom out to a map view, and you have to place a marker on a map to indicate where you were dropped. A game consists of 5 rounds, each in a new location.

Reading about it online, people have adopted two different styles of play which almost make two different games. One style is to stay where you're dropped, examine your surroundings, and guess where you are, sometimes just based on vegetation and topography. The other is to travel around until you find street signs or other clues, and use Google and other on-line clues to pinpoint where you are. Being a slightly compulsive nerd, I played the second way, and found that there appear to be a lot of barren empty stretches of road in the world! So far, I've travelled several kilometers searching for a road sign in South Australia, Botswana, Russia, Brazil, Death Valley, and Finland. I've also been dropped into or near a city in Russia, Michigan, Quebec, and Florida. In Finland, I never did find a sign, and I ended up guessing somewhere in Sweden, based on the sub-arctic pine trees and sparse settlement; in retrospect, the boggy terrain should have made me think of Finland. In Brazil, the first clue was a sign advertising a truck stop. Hoping it was the name of a town, I entered it into Google Translate, only to learn that it was in Portugeuse, and said "Truck stop. Clean restrooms!" The language, combined with driving on the right side of the road, narrowed it down to a handful of countries; then I googled the manufacturer's name on a truck body, and found it was Brazillian. Eventually, I found a sign giving the distance to a town, and was able to use Google Maps to find the exact spot.

It really rubs your nose in the fact that Google's photographed several million miles of roads!

If you enjoy geographic trivia, and either want to play the more restrained style, or have lots of time to spend clicking through the countryside searching for clues, it's a lot of fun!

#743 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2013, 04:42 AM:

Jim Macdonald @732: I fear for tonight's fireworks.

At least you don't have to worry about wildfires...?

Boulder actually had fireworks tonight. Didn't see them, but heard them. Including the five-minute-solid final volley.

Fun with Google Maps: I was tasked with setting up the "Map & Directions" for our new satellite office the other day. Plugged in the coordinates, and was richly puzzled when the placenames on the resulting map were all in Chinese. Turns out that if you drop a minus sign, the lat-long lands you spang in the middle of the Gobi Desert.

#744 ::: Jacque, gnomed again ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2013, 04:44 AM:

Coffee Häagen-Dazs, anyone?

#745 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2013, 04:46 AM:

Argh. Mr. Mac supplied the "again" on the gnome gnotice. Bad Mac! No biscuit.

#746 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2013, 07:35 AM:

I was going to recommend reading Jo Walton's Among Others but I see I've been beaten to it. The boarding school books I remember best are the Chalet School books (Elinor Brent-Dyer). I think that boarding schools are probably fine places to be if you're naturally gregarious and good at team sports and so on, and hell if you're someone for whom privacy and time to yourself are important.

As for dialogue, that's really going to be highly dependent on not only the age of the girls involved, but the era, where they come from, social stratum etc. I've read some of the Meg Cabot (Jenny Carroll) "The Mediator" series but I got fed up with how shallow the characters were - that is, the main character and her compatriots being so obsessed with clothes and make up and shoes and what kind of car people have etc. etc. For me, including as a teenage girl, those were not important. I followed pop music for a few years to avoid standing out quite so much, but in the group of people (all girls, because it was an all-girls school - a day school, not a boarding school) I hung out with, clothes and makeup etc. were not the main topics of conversation. Nor were boys - after all, any boys we knew would have been from outside school and our fellow pupils probably wouldn't know them (we mostly didn't live that close together).

#747 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2013, 08:34 AM:

Jeremy Leader @742, we've been enjoying Geoguessr around our household. Our style is a mix of the two you describe. We do move around some, but not huge distances. As you say, there are a great many lonely roads in the world. Being on the wrong continent is always a little embarrassing. Brazil has given me the most instances of "I didn't know they had anything that looked like that in Brazil," but so far my favorite couldn't-be-more-wrong-without-leaving-the-planet was the one I guessed was on the south island of New Zealand, when it was actually on Svalbard Island. Ah well.

#748 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2013, 09:26 PM:

I invented a new word today: 'Sandyfied', meaning 'to have been damaged/destroyed by Hurricane Sandy'. Sample sentence: "Our copies of that book were Sandyfied; they were on the bottom shelf when the library flooded."

#749 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2013, 10:58 AM:

Mary Aileen: I was surprised to hear a day or two ago that the Statue of Liberty has just now reopened!

HLN: local woman, tired of days and days of rainy weather, discovers that the yellow-orange mushrooms that have appeared in her yard are chanterelles. Culinary experimentation to follow.

#750 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2013, 11:41 AM:

I've found a wi-fi connection that allows ML, so (as you've been telling me) it's been a security issue on this end.

I'll ask my apartment management to cut you a dispensation and hope to re-lurk soon.

Thanks for the suggestions and support from Nancy and other Ravelers, in particular.

#751 ::: Carol Kimball finally got back and was immediately gnomes ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2013, 11:45 AM:

I'm not home so have no gnomic refreshment to offer. Would they like the spare leash I carry for helping lost dogs?

#752 ::: Carol Kimball again gnomes ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2013, 11:49 AM:

But I like you guys! I want back!

#753 ::: Carol Kimball again gnomes ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2013, 11:49 AM:

But I like you guys! I want back!

#754 ::: Carol Kimball again gnomes ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2013, 11:49 AM:

But I like you guys! I want back!

#755 ::: Carol Kimball again gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2013, 11:50 AM:

But I like you guys! I want back!

#756 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2013, 11:55 AM:

Not much impressed with this wi-fi connection - three ”didn't go through"?

Re: Statue of Liberty
Will the foxes still be able to get birth control devices there?

#757 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2013, 12:23 PM:

Carol Kimball @ 750-754 -- yes, your posts went through. For some reason, however, you didn't see them.

Re: Statue of Liberty; I'm pleased it's re-opened; I went up to the crown pre-911 (the arm was closed for safety reasons) and I've been rather sad that nobody else might be able to do that. Just from an engineering point of view, the inside is fascinating...

#758 ::: Cassy B. has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2013, 12:24 PM:

I have leftover teriyaki chicken from last night....

#759 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2013, 01:17 PM:

Carol Kimball @several:

Your first two comments didn't go through because your URL started "Www". No doubt an auto-formatting issue, but it's in the filters.

(This comment will now be gnomed, but I know some guys in the glass-and-steel tower and I'm sure they'll fish it out as soon as I bring out the cookies.)

#760 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2013, 01:38 PM:

I wonder: Do the gnomes commute from Zurich?

#761 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2013, 09:01 PM:

If so, they can afford it. My dad was an expert on gold: the only person I've ever heard of that managed to make a profit from penny gold stocks. I am most definitely NOT an expert on gold, although I can do a fair imitation of him if necessary.

#762 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2013, 11:14 PM:

I'm impressed with the huge selection of Hobbit fanfic and fanart online; what a contrast to the old days, when I found one book of authorized short stories and art in about 12 years of looking!

But. Bilbo developing an actual crush on Thorin, yeah, I can see it. Thorin, at least movie!Thorin, returning his esteem sometime after the flight from Goblin Town, okay. Bilbo, that middle-aged podgy-ish sensible bachelor, drawn as a tiny wide-eyed trembling childlike creature in Thorin's smirking embrace?


Just wanted to share the eeeeeeuwwwwwwww.

#763 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2013, 11:33 AM:

#684 TexAnne

Have you been hired in Boston itself, or in the area? Will you have a car? Those things mkae large differences. I have a cousin who refused to learn to drive; she live in Cambridge. Having a car in Cambridge is a negative. I have friends who live in Malden or Medford--that's where e.g. people who got squeezed out of Somerville (people squeezed out of Cambridge moved to Somerville once upon a time...) went to.

Lots of people share apartments--which however does not always work out well.

Housing in Boston and going radially out along transportation routes is expensive because the area was settled and built-up long ago... there are no large "undeveloped" areas to inexpensively convert into new buildings, lots sizes used to be small, and 1940s/1950/1960s economy housing got replaced with expensive McMansions by profit-minded developers. Lots sizes got enlarged, reducing the number of housing units per square area and restricting the addition of new housing. The mss transit system is quirky--it's worse than useless where I live--there is just enough to commute to Boston/Cambridge or Lowell for business hours on weekdays and maybe Saturday to. Beyond that requires a car.

The MBTA system runs buses from around 5 or 6 AM to 11 PM or so on some of its lines, out to places which include Burlington and Woburn and Watertown and Belmont and places south of Boston. On "the South Shore" the Red Line subway go clear out to Braintree on route 128. There's commuter rail out beyond route 128.. Everything goes radially to Boston/Cambridge. If you want or need to go from e.g Burlington to Waltham or Lexington which are adjoining you basically lose--you have to go into Boston/Cambridge to get an "outbound" bus.

Massachusetts localities are viciously protective of their independence... even when the town/city line sign's not obvious, often one can tell a change in jurisdiction by an abrupt change in the street condition, or a sudden change from houses to commercial district or vice versa. The particularly noxious habit is the office building in one locality, and the parking lot/traffic on the other side of the locality line....

The locality chauvinism also extends to housing quirks, where one locality may be full of apartment houses, multifamily houses, townhouses and condos and such, and a neighboring locality, be almost completely single family stand-alone houses.

#689 B.
Boston lost somethng like a quarter of its population in the mid-late 1900s, and has been gettng some of it back....

#764 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2013, 12:36 PM:

Andy Murray has just won at Wimbledon, beating Novak Djokovic in straight sets. And Chris Froome is still wearing the Yellow Jersey in the Tour de France.

The last time a Briton won the Men's Singles title at Wimbledon was 77 years ago.

We can now go back to our normal geekiness.

#765 ::: Andrew Wells ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2013, 12:39 PM:

Dave @763, don't forget the British and Irish Lions beating Australia yesterday, for their first series win in sixteen years.

And Andy Murray is the first British man to have won the Wimbledon singles final while wearing shorts.

#766 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2013, 05:03 PM:

Being reminded of this thread is a good enough reason to mention Cheesemonger: A Life on the Wedge, a account of going from punk rock political activist to running the cheese department at the Rainbow Cooperative and becoming a cheese expert. Lots about good cheese and the making thereof, the challenges of supporting high quality while not engaging in pointless snobbery, the economics of cheese, life with customers and suppliers, and so on.

#767 ::: Aquila1nz ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2013, 07:29 PM:

Jenny Islander @762

What impresses me the most about Hobbit fandom at the moment is how much femslash it's producing.

#768 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2013, 01:19 AM:

Today's Google Doodle is a Roswell-themed Adventure. It's very silly.

#771 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2013, 02:32 PM:

As a resident of Atlanta I feel constrained to point out that to me "Roswell" means, first of all, a suburban city in north Fulton County. It's about twenty miles corvid flight from where I'm currently situate.

#772 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2013, 05:32 PM:

We saw Lone Ranger today, and it was fun. It could have used a little better pacing, but both the leads DO work.

This is the romp "Man of Steel" should have been.

#773 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2013, 07:39 PM:

Baking question!

I recently started using my Kitchenaid stand mixer.

I've noticed something odd. My from-mix cakes have started turning out crumbly.

I'm wondering if, as a result of the more efficient mixology of the powerful blender, I am somehow over-blending.

I generally blend (but don't beat to a foam) the wet ingredients -- eggs, oil, water -- until they are a fairly uniform fluid.

Then I add the cake mix. Beat for a minute and medium-low. Turn off blender. Scrape the sides. Beat for another minute of so at medium low.

#774 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2013, 09:10 PM:

Stefan, is that minute a timed minute, or is it a colloquial minute?

I think I usually use the colloquial minute, or "until combined", no more. It's been a while, though.

#775 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2013, 09:41 PM:

A timed minute. I have always used the digital timer on my microwave.

The dry / crumbly thing never happened when I used a hand blender. Then: Mix wet ingredients at low (1/5) for 30 seconds. Add mix. Beat at medium low (2/5) for 1 minute; scrape; beat at medium-low for another minute.

If anything, I am not beating at as high a speed with the stand mixer. The stand mixer has maybe 10 speed settings; I don't think I've gone above 3. (NB, I am using a new oven; I'm in a new neighborhood, but I believe the water is from the same source.)

#776 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2013, 12:48 AM:

Stefan Jones @ 775: I dump all the ingredients (wet and the cake mix) in my KitchenAid and start out on the lowest setting. When they look like they're just combined (usually 30sec or so), I scrape it down, then mix at the next speed up until I don't see (many) lumps. That could be a minute.

When I make a cake from a cake mix, I'm always using one of the Cake Mix Doctor (Anne Byrn) recipes. She always has one put in all the ingredients at once, except for something like chocolate chips that you fold in last. Her Darn Good Chocolate Cake is a glorious thing.

#777 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2013, 12:52 AM:

It could be the new oven. (Two new things can make a lot of difference.)

#778 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2013, 12:52 AM:

TheRealDeAnne has recorded 'Nerdy Love Song with Added Kitten Bonus', and it is a glorious thing.

I feel compelled to mention that I learned of this charming creation from a tweet by Jay Smooth that said "After this goes viral remember I tweeted it first".

#779 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2013, 01:56 AM:

Stefan Jones @ 775: I think P J Evans has it right - I don't trust any oven to do what it says it's doing; if you don't have one, a $5-10 oven thermometer is a worthwhile investment. I've had ovens run hot or cold by up to 50F (incidentally, I can now tell oven temp relatively accurately when I open it to insert or remove a baking project, but that's a nice side effect of always having a thermometer in there).

#780 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2013, 07:34 AM:

HLN: Area woman's latest short story has been accepted for a charity anthology benefiting OutServe, an organization that supports GLBT people serving in the US military.

"I didn't even learn about the call for submissions until five days before the deadline," she says. "I'm glad it made it in."

#781 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2013, 07:43 AM:

Congratulations to Area Woman!

#782 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2013, 08:15 AM:

Where A Civil Campaign is dedicated to Jane, Charlotte, Georgette, and Dorothy, would that be Dorothy Sayers?

#783 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2013, 08:43 AM:

Allan, I don't have it from Bujold's mouth, but given that a very important theme in A Civil Campaign echoes one in Sayers' Gaudy Night, I'm betting yes.

#784 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2013, 09:11 AM:

Stefan Jones @775: I agree that the new oven is likely to be the culprit, and that your cake may be slightly overbaked. Oven temperatures are notoriously poorly calibrated. I second Benjamin Wolfe's suggestion in 779 that you get a cheap oven thermometer. (And even if the new oven is correctly calibrated, it may be that your old one wasn't, and that the baking time was right for the wrong temperature.)

#785 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2013, 10:43 AM:

Since this is an open thread and nothing can be irrelevant, has anyone in these parts seen Petr Weigl's Winterreise? It's an old film, not a recent release.

#786 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2013, 10:46 AM:

Allan Beatty #782, Rikibeth #783

Extra support for this comes from Ekaterin's maiden name.

#787 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2013, 11:06 AM:


Received the contributor's copy of Oxford English 2, Knowledge and Skills (Australian Curriculum), by Paul Grover.

Yes, that Oxford.

They used portions of one of our short stories ("No One Has To Know") for the examples in Unit 8, "Actively Adverbs -- Positive, Comparative and Superlative Adverbs."

Other authors whose works are used as examples in this volume include J. R. R. Tolkien and Ray Bradbury, so we are well pleased.

978-0-19-552247-1 if your life isn't complete without it. Or the story itself is in Vampires, edited by Jane Yolen, (HarperCollins, 1991, multiple reprints over the years). Also available as part of our collections, Witch Garden and Other Stories, and Vampires and Shapeshifters, multiple electronic formats.

#788 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2013, 11:36 AM:

Jim, congratulations! Being held up as an example like that - and in such company - is pretty damn awesome.

#789 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2013, 12:08 PM:

Rikibeth @780: Congratulations!

Allan Beatty @782: Yes, I think that's as obvious as the others.

Jim Macdonald @ 787: likewise, congratulations.

#790 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2013, 12:56 PM:

Cool beans, Jim!

#791 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2013, 02:17 PM:

Congratulations, Rikibeth and Jim!

#792 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2013, 02:43 PM:

Rikibeth (#780), and Jim (#787) -- very cool!

joann #786: Wow, I'm so impressed that you spotted the maiden name thing. With your clue, I hunted it down, and found that Ekaterin's maiden name was Vorvayne, as in Harriet Vane. I really need to re-read the Dorothy Sayers novels. And the Vorkosigan saga. So many books, so little time!

#793 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2013, 03:01 PM:

Good job, Rikibeth! Was it a story you had in inventory looking for a home, or one you wrote special for the purpose?

#794 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2013, 03:50 PM:

Jim, kinda both.

I got the initial plotbunny when a friend of mine and I were talking about "The Steadfast Tin Soldier". That plotbunny started out as space opera, but when I went looking around for possible anthology calls it might suit, I found a WWII one, and saw the potential to adapt the idea from "damaged spaceship" to "Pacific atoll".

I knocked that idea around for a while and developed the characters, but what with one thing and another, the required wordcount and the deadline combined to make me decide to shelve the concept until later. Then I saw someone posting the Torquere short anthology calls for the rest of the year - and September's theme was "In Uniform" to go with the designated charity.

There were all of five days left until the deadline, but the minimum wordcount was only 3K, and I thought "fine, this is an idea that compresses well, and I know I can knock out 3K that quickly."

It changed from "Pacific atoll" to "life raft after B-24 crash", and I cut out all the slow buildup of the romance (and incidentally a lot of detail I'd have had to research) to get right to the core declaration. They do not get eaten by the sharks at this time. It came in at 6500 words, and I sent it in at 4PM on the day of the deadline (July 1).

I heard back this morning. Yay!

The characters are pressuring me to do a mystery series for them once they get home.

I just do what the voices in my head tell me...

#795 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2013, 04:12 PM:

Aquila1nz @#767: Yes. There is also a lot of good genderflip fic and art. Here's one of my favorites:

Description: After the Battle of Five Armies, Female!Bilbo yells at WoundedbutAmbulatory!Thorin for making her worry.

Here's another:

Description: Female!Bilbo and Female!Thorin early in their working relationship, when Thorin still thinks she's too fussy and dainty to be out in the Wild.

Searching on "Female Bilbo" or what have you will turn up an awful lot of pretty young girls who look like Bilbo about as much as I do, but the good stuff is really good.

#796 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2013, 04:52 PM:

Cutting out the detail the author carefully researched improves many stories.

#797 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2013, 05:00 PM:

I save it forever in what I call a Bob file.

#798 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2013, 05:03 PM:

janetl #792:

I can't claim brilliance; it was pointed out to me in some context I can no longer remember, perhaps even here.

#799 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2013, 05:24 PM:

Jim: I call my research process "six hours for half a sentence." What stays in the story is the merest tip of the iceberg.

I would still have needed more research for the 10-20K wordcount because I would have started it chronologically farther back, and I'd have had to have known more things about life on the base and about what battles happened in the time frame.

#800 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2013, 06:00 PM:

Thanks for various cake insights.

I do have an oven thermometer, but assumed that my lovely new oven with digital controls would be accurate. I'll dig the instrument out and see how closely reality meets display.

Also, FWIW, this was a "bundt" pan, one of those fluted toroidal things. The directions indicated a whopping 44 minutes for a "12 cup" bundt pan . . . is that double recipe? In any case, the cake passed the toothpick test at 35 minutes.

#801 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2013, 06:53 PM:

If you want to write in a genre that lets you show your readers all the Cool! Stuff! You! Researched! and really take them into a subject field, cozy mystery is definitely it.

It's a major reason I read them ... when I can find an author who avoids what I call the Book 4 Problem with series mystery/procedurals -- usually by sometime around Book 4 they've 'developed their characters' enough that the protag's personal life rises up and eats the entire plot and all the reasons I WAS READING THE BOOK, so I lose the series as a source of entertainment. Dana Stabenow impressed the crud out of me by staving off the Book 4 problem until more than ten books in; similarly, Susan Conant's dog mysteries (starting with A New Leash on Death) mainly avoided it right on up until I quit having access to new ones. I should see how many she's up to, then go back and figure out what's the last one I remember well -- the summer camp one, I think. :->

Drives me UP A WALL when a series I was reading because the writing was entertaining and I got a good whack of plot (and subject-matter, if it's that kind of series) every single book suddenly divebombs into chapters on end of ANGSTY DRAAAAAMA, 90% of which could be resolved if ANYONE TALKED TO ANYONE ELSE. See also Anita Blake, who in my opinion was a great readable series up through Blue Moon, after which they all start getting Book-4'ed to death and forget they were procedurals ...

I should note, rereading through my comment, that I am not categorically against well-developed characters who have internal lives and etc etc. What I object to is books that forget the series was not ABOUT those. Miles Vorkosigan, for example, is NOT a character who fails to develop from book to book ... but for the most part, every novel in the series has an enjoyable plot with a beginning, middle, and end (and hooks that tie forward and backwards through the series arc, yes), and is entertaining to read on its own. The Vorkosiverse is not Book-4'ed. Similarly, the Aubrey/Maturin books let the protags' personal lives INFORM the plot fairly regularly as you get deep into the series, but other things ALSO happen, so they don't turn me off. Also, mains'l-bracing and debauched sloths.

A separate flaw of some series is the Monty Haul problem, where in order to beat each level-boss you have to give your protag so darn much power that eventually you're engaging in fisticuffs with gods. Anita Blake also fell foul of this, IMHO, but it's a different problem than Book-4'ing.

#802 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2013, 07:14 PM:

Stefan Jones @ 799: There are both 10-cup and 12-cup Bundt pans, which can confuse matters. I virtually always bake cakes at 325F. I haven't checked my oven against a thermometer.

I keep a pizza stone in it and let it continue heating for a full 10 minutes after the pre-heat light goes off. The theory is that this makes the temperature more consistent.

The Darn Good Chocolate Cake batter is a full 12 cups. In the Bundt pan at 325F it takes 65 to 70 minutes. As two 9-inch layers, about 50 minutes. As cupcakes, one pan at a time, 20-25 minutes. My Bundt pan is a heavy one, from Nordic Ware. A lightweight one may behave differently.

#803 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2013, 07:33 PM:

Elliot, the mysteries I'm thinking of for these boys will likely shade a bit more noir than cozy, because of the setting of midcentury New York City, and all of the stuff will tie in to their personal lives, because they're not police or PIs, they'll just be doing favors for friends - but one of the reasons the boys were telling me I needed to write them a mystery series was that they didn't want Relationship! Drama! in every damn book.

My beta was suggesting having the B-plot in each book be more closely tied to their personal interests than the A-plot, and I can see that working. But whatever happens, I'm going to keep the 'IF THEY JUST FREAKIN' TALKED TO EACH OTHER' trope out of there. I hate that one myself.

Alas, I cannot offer mains'l-bracing or debauched sloths. Would you settle for Jewish delicatessens?

#804 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2013, 07:38 PM:

Elliott Mason #800

... that eventually you're engaging in fisticuffs with gods.

Uh-oh. In the upcoming Peter Crossman mystery (The Gates of Time, forthcoming in 2014) Peter quite literally engages in fisticuffs with a god.

And it's only book two in the series....

#805 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2013, 08:29 PM:

Elliott and Rikibeth, I know what you mean. And yet I'm hugely enjoying A Civil Campaign, where one of the main plot drivers is Miles being too much of an idiot to talk to Ekaterin.

#806 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2013, 08:51 PM:

Allan: true! But in that particular case, it's a huge, huge piece of characterization for Miles that he isn't talking to Ekaterin, and the other characters keep pointing out that it's a problem.

In the things where that trope irritates me, nobody ever seems to notice that the characters ought to talk to each other, and the not-talking becomes a way of making a character carry the Idiot Ball.

#807 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2013, 11:08 PM:

Stefan Jones @799
My new stove with digital display has exactly the same actual thermostat as the previous generation. As far as I can tell, though, the big difference is that the new oven is much more airtight, and that makes it effectively 25 F hotter. YMMV, of course.

#808 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2013, 03:09 AM:

Allan Beatty @ #782, There is a downloadable Reader's Companion to A Civil Campaign which was "compiled and presented to Lois McMaster Bujold by members of the official Lois-Bujold Mailing List to celebrate the Silver Anniversary of Shards of Honor (1986-2011)."

#809 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2013, 06:40 AM:

Jim Macdonald @ #804:

"A" god? There's more than one in Peter Crossman's universe?

#810 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2013, 07:05 AM:

Rikibeth @806: Because of the first book (that I WANTED to love until THIS garbage interfered) I encountered the trope in full-blown, to me, this is "a Mammoth Hunters problem". Kind of like how the first time I seriously encountered "the main character is ACTING LIKE A PUTZ and I want to SLAP zir until they GROW OUT OF IT!!" was in a Taltos novel, but I can never remember what plot of those happened in which title, so I call it an Order of the Phoenix problem. :-> One of the best pieces of writing of Rowling's, IMHO, is how realistically fifteen-year-old-idiot Harry is in that novel. I just don't enjoy being put in his head, so I can't reread it.

#811 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2013, 08:06 AM:

Oh, QFT and to highlight some great writing: Elizabeth Bear has knocked it out of the park (well, knocked it out of the park in 1995; reposted recently) describing what it's like to be me. Well, my generation. People too young to be "Generation X" but too old to be Millenials. So if you were born before, say, 1968 or after about 1985, this is what it's like to be us.

If you're about my age I still recommend it; it's a sort of wistfully homey read. Or it was for me.

#812 ::: iamnothing ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2013, 10:00 AM:

AKICIML: Does anyone know how I can find a roommate for LoneStarCon3? Some venues that I know of are not feasible for technical reasons and previous roommates aren't available.

#813 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2013, 10:47 AM:

HLN: with soil completely saturated and rivers near flood stage, local woman's rain gauge shows 4.5 inches of rain last night. More rain forecast thru tomorrow night. Tropical Storm Chantal expected to put in an appearance Monday night. This could get ugly.

#814 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2013, 10:54 AM:


Oh dear; I hope you're at or near local high ground!

#815 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2013, 11:29 AM:

Jenny, #762 and Aquila1nz, #767: If you haven't read the Burglarising series by cherrytart, you should. It's the ultimate realization of the fem!bilbo genre IMO; that first fanart link @795 could almost be an illustration from it.

Elliott, #801: I enjoyed the first 7 or 8 of the Conant mysteries. What eventually pushed me away from them was the protagonist's slow descent into what I call "Walking Quirk" territory, wherein quirkiness takes the place of actual characterization. The breaking point (for me) was the protagonist describing someone else's perfectly reasonable and mildly-phrased statement that not everyone is suited to be a dog owner as "ignorant anti-dog drivel". (This also crosses over into "protagonist is into woo-woo", which is another turnoff for me.)

The canonical definition of Walking Quirk territory is the Cat Who books, in which all of the characters seem to be nothing but quirks attached to cardboard cutouts. I read 3 of those (not the first 3, and no, I don't remember which ones) that a friend loaned to me and gave up.

Congratulations to Rikibeth and Jim!

#816 ::: cajunfj40 ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2013, 11:31 AM:

Elliott Mason @#811:

Elizabeth Bear's (article? post? essay?) at that link is quite good. Much resonates, even though I've got it better than most. Not sure what to call the particular flavor of "survivor guilt" that comes with that "having it better", though - I don't have much better a lever to help change the world than most of the rest of our cohort. Having a family that depends on me as sole provider also shortens that lever/reduces the number of places I can use it without potentially devastating consequences. That and the price of spoons is relative (or probably not for sale anyway), and one has to level up quite a bit more than where I am to get to the point where one can afford to hire folks to use their spoons in one's stead.

Maybe I'll do a DFD post in that vein sometime, but I don't have the spoons for it today.

#817 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2013, 11:37 AM:

Cally: I am, fortunately, but others aren't so lucky. For my own family, the main worry is that the oak trees that surround our house, many of which were weakened by a recent multi-year drought, will fall over due to high winds and saturated soil. We had a similar situation with a heavy wet snow after a long period of rain a couple years ago.

#818 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2013, 12:16 PM:

Jim Macdonald #787: For one second I misread that as Vampires and Shoplifters and had a vision of the ultimate urban fantasy mashup novel.

#819 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2013, 12:36 PM:

Elliot Mason @801: I used to love the Anita Blake books, but...

On September 11, 2001 I was trying to read "Narcissus in Chains" -- for weeks afterward I would pick up the book, open it, and then close it and chuck it back on the "to be read" pile.

I haven't read any of the books since...and you're right, the series went south after "Blue Moon." (It doesn't help that I prefer Richard to Jean Claude.)

#820 ::: oliviacw ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2013, 01:02 PM:

Elliot Mason @811 - Child of 1968 here, and that piece does resonate with me. I still know where my towel is and have a soft spot in my heart for Matt Groening, despite the Simpsons and all that (Life in Hell FTW, though Lynda Barry is still the best). I liked the her discussion about backpacks - I still carry mine! - and I'm contemplating that as a metaphor right now, maybe I need to flesh it out some.

#821 ::: oliviacw ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2013, 01:05 PM:

Elliot Mason @811 - Child of 1968 here, and that piece does resonate with me. I still know where my towel is and have a soft spot in my heart for Matt Groening, despite the Simpsons and all that (Life in Hell FTW, though Lynda Barry is still the best). I liked the her discussion about backpacks - I still carry mine! - and I'm contemplating that as a metaphor right now, maybe I need to flesh it out some.

#822 ::: oliviacw apologizes for the duplicate post ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2013, 01:15 PM:

Not sure how that happened! I only clicked on post once!

Anyway, apropos the Book-4 problem identified by Elliot Mason @801, I also get tired of series where with every book the protagonist faces increased danger and violence, whether from a single Big Bad or differing ones. Patricia Cornwell, I'm looking at you in particular. I also stopped reading Diane Mott Davidson's catering mysteries (to speak of the cozy genre) for a similar reason.

#823 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2013, 01:55 PM:

oliviacw @822: I also get tired of series where with every book the protagonist faces increased danger and violence, whether from a single Big Bad or differing ones.

This is an ongoing proglem with TV sf. This week, we save our tribe! This week, we save our state! This week, we save our country! Our world! Our star system! Our...

When they've gotten all the way up to The Universe (which is what they did last week, and the week before), I begin to think the writers have maybe kinda missed the whole point of sf.

#824 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2013, 03:18 PM:

Elliott Mason (#811): that essay is all too true; there's a bit of added ironic resonance to having it reposted on my birthday. :-)

(And yes, my backpack is right here.)

#825 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2013, 05:01 PM:

Nancy Lebovitz @362

I've had a note to myself to buy a copy of Three Parts Dead since you wrote this note, but I've been working my way through the Hugo Packet and have put off all book purchases until I've read at least the main categories. Imagine my delight when I found Three Parts Dead in the Campbell Nominees....

#826 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2013, 05:27 PM:

For people with a moderate interest in Hollywood, you may be aware of something called "The Black List", which comes out every year. It's a list of the best screenplays that haven't yet been optioned. Several Oscar winners and nominees have come from those screenplays, optioned after some clever person saw them on that list. More info can be found here

It looks like something that started as a possibly frustrated labor of love is becoming a money-making machine. That LA Weekly article shows something that looks like about 67 different flavors of scammy to me. (TL;DR - hey aspiring screenwriters! Send us money and someone will read your screenplay and tell you if it's any good!) So gross!

#827 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2013, 07:29 PM:

Lee and Elliott, have either of y'all read Carol Lea Benjamin's mysteries? Her protagonist, Rachel Alexander, is a dog trainer (as is Benjamin). The early ones are sort of by-the-numbers, but Fall Guy was excellent.

On the Book Four problem in general: part of the problem for me is that, whereas D&D characters get more and more powerful (if they don't die), real-life trajectories are more complicated. Yes, you may become more skilled at your chosen work; but you also accumulate injuries, traumas and failures, and you age. Plot arcs that resemble D&D campaigns get dull once you get to the always-hits, instant-kill stage.

#828 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2013, 07:52 PM:

Elliott Mason @811: Another 1968 kid here, and while obviously not all of that essay is me...quite a lot of it is. (fnord)

And yeah, I carry a backpack too. Somehow I never realized that was a generational thing.

(Although, shouldn't that be "born after 1968 and before 1985" rather than the other way around?)

Oh, and happy birthday CKD!

#829 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2013, 08:08 PM:

David 828: (Although, shouldn't that be "born after 1968 and before 1985" rather than the other way around?)

No, the idea is that the article is explaining to people NOT born between those years what it's like to be someone who is. So it's addressed to those of us born OUTSIDE that span, that is: born before 1968 (like me) or after 1985 (like my friends' kids).

#830 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2013, 08:31 PM:

Linkmeister, (this has to be said...) thanks for the link!

#831 ::: Ellen ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2013, 08:56 PM:

elliot mason @811: Yet another 1968 baby here. Backpack (and towel) - check; Tim Curry - check!!!; evil in the microwave - check. Though I think "We are not impressed. We are amused" is what really captures it.

And now I've got to learn more about Tumblr, which I've been fairly conscientiously avoiding until now.

#832 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2013, 09:28 PM:

Xopher: Ah, that makes sense. Thanks.

#833 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2013, 09:36 PM:

Hmmm. I was born well before 1968, and got most of the references. Don't carry a backpack, though I generally wear a belt pouch.

#834 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2013, 09:36 PM:

Fragano Legister @818

My eye once slipped in the TV listings between "Sookie" and "Snookie" and I was subjected a short-lived mental True Blood/Jersey Shore mashup.

#835 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2013, 11:01 PM:

Lila @813: Me too. While I live close to the top of our municipal hill, my house has a lot of 50 year old pines, nearing the end of their lives, and old oaks. The main intersection of downtown has been closed for flooding repeatedly over the last few weeks. I don't remember that happening for years. The low spot in front of the sheriff's department has flooded out a couple of times, too. After 12 years of drought, this is disconcerting. (For those not from around here, I live in a little town just outside Lila's bigger town.)

There was some awesome rolling thunder and lightning this morning.

#836 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2013, 11:44 PM:

Apropos of the kiss-in subthread on the Rabid Weasels discussion, but I think it belongs here on the open thread:

That story I mentioned above? Right after I finished it, I sent a quick little thank-you note to the guy who'd made a really useful webpage about the B-24, telling him that I'd liked the page and it had helped me research background for a story. I figure, people like to hear nice things about the work they've done.

He sent back a polite acknowledgement, which included "I'd love to read the story sometime."

Immediate gut-twisting response in my head? "No. No you don't." Because, you know, m/m romance with sex scene, where the guy reading it, from his top-level page, lives in a red state and has a Wholesome Middle-American Life.

But when the story got accepted, I screwed up my courage, and wrote back "proud to say it's been accepted for this anthology, it's supporting this charity, I could attach it if you don't want to wait for September" -- like that.

I had some trepidation about the response.

But he wrote back saying "congratulations and nice to hear that it's going to a good military cause," and asked for a link once it was published if the file was too big for email.

So I said I'd send him a pre-order link once I had one, but here, I've attached the story, it's short but it does have a mild sex scene in it.

I did figure that since I couldn't have written it without his useful diagrams of the crew positions and the crash stations, he deserved an advance look... if he wanted to open it at all with that note out front.

I just got mail back. HE LIKED THE STORY. He said a couple of nice things about my writing, AND HE HOPED THINGS TURNED OUT WELL FOR THE MAIN CHARACTERS.

Knock me over with a feather.

But I'll be smiling when you do.

#837 ::: Rikibeth has been gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2013, 11:45 PM:

I'll share my mint Oreos with the gnomes, if they'd care for any.

#838 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2013, 12:07 AM:

#805 Allan, #806 Rikibeth

I'm in the minority about A Civil Campaign. I got to the Dinner Party from Hell scene and bounced, after being less than enthralled generally with the story to that point. I had as much of Miles and Ekaterin angsting/mooning over/about one another in the previous book as I could deal with. What was worthwhile reading to me in ACC were the other characters and their actions, in the second half of the book--when I finally pushed through in determination on something of a challenge.

Hmm, Elliott in #810 pinpointed some of the reason I am so anti-enthused about the focal story of ACC: is how realistically fifteen-year-old-idiot Harry is in that novel. I just don't enjoy being put in his head, so I can't reread it. I massively disliked being put into Miles' and Ekaterin's heads in trainwreck angst idiocy (Miles) and angst with collateral effects from Miles-stupidity (Ekaterin). UGH! Neither of them had a sense of humor about the situation to cut the angst annoyance--as opposed to Miles in The Warrior's Apprentice thinking things like What rhymes with bleeding ulcer?"

#839 ::: Jen Birren ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2013, 08:21 AM:

Jaque @823: This is an ongoing proglem with TV sf. This week, we save our tribe! This week, we save our state! This week, we save our country! Our world! Our star system! Our...

When they've gotten all the way up to The Universe (which is what they did last week, and the week before), I begin to think the writers have maybe kinda missed the whole point of sf.

It takes away suspense, I find, rather than adding it. "Can the characters save... the whole of time itself?!?" Yeah, they can, because the series has already been renewed. What's on the other channel? (cough*nuWho*cough)
Whereas "Can the characters save... all five people in this small base?!?" - eek, must keep watching.

#840 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2013, 08:30 AM:

Elliott Mason #811: Born 1966, and I'm getting at least 60%-80% overlap, including the backpack. And much of the "misses" for me are TV shows that aired after I fell out of the habit.

#841 ::: iamnothing ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2013, 10:27 AM:

Anyways, I wonder how many Fluorospherians will be attending LoneStarCon3? I suspect a lot fewer than last year.

#842 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2013, 10:35 AM:

Awesomeness elsenet:

Steve Randy Waldman (Interfluidity) on regulation. He gets my experience spot-on.

But it’s important to note, both among bankers and spies, we do not end up with an absence of regulation. Instead we end up with a festival of regulation undermined by a few strategic lacunae. And that festival of regulation is a critical part of the problem we’ve circuitously set out to address....

Regulation and compliance serves a straightforward human function. It substitutes for and absolves participants of the duty they would feel, as human beings, to exercise independent judgment about the nature of the work they are doing.

Well worth reading the whole thing.

#843 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2013, 10:41 AM:

Born 1970. I remember reading Elizabeth Bear's essay in 1997, not long after she wrote it. I still feel it today, but when I was 27 and working as a temp, it was even more immediate and gut-punching.

Especially the bit about the sun reflectors and whiskey at the Pratt & Whitney parking lot and "we never expected to live this long." I really, really hadn't. Not since the 1980 election.

I still haven't quite figured out what to do with myself.

Elliot Mason: I think you and I are considered the start point for Generation X, rather than outside it. Dave Harmon may pre-date it by a little, given that the Baby Boom's generally accepted end date is 1964-65, but he's probably like my parents, born 1941 and 1943: they were a little old for some of the well-remarked shenanigans at the center of the Baby Boom, but most of the generational observations still apply.

Oh, and the backpack: I don't carry one any more, but the purse I do carry is large enough to hold my 13" Macbook in the center compartment, with room for the other necessities in the remaining ones, so it might as well be a backpack. It's just camouflaged, so I can fake being a grown-up.

#844 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2013, 10:56 AM:

Rikibeth #843 Fair 'nuff summary of my situation. It certainly applied with respect to the "hacker generation" I was tagging along the end of. More generally, I've often noted that I was born either too late (for the 60s) or too early (for understanding of autism, among other things). In a lot of respects I might have done better in the hippie era. (Of course, in the 50's I wouldn't have survived more than a few days past birth, but that's the trouble with those "what-if stories".) And my life would have been very different if I'd had knowledge and appropriate interventions for the spectrum in the early grades.

#845 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2013, 11:24 AM:

I was born in '72, which is solidly GenX, but I E. Bear's essay resonated HARD with me. Maybe it's because I was the first-born of my parents and didn't have other X siblings to show me the way.

Like others on this thread, the backpacks which now inform my purse style (getting a car has helped a bit, but I wonder my attraction to the turtle-like hatchback is a holdover from my backpack days) but especially the image of the young adults co-opting the playgrounds built for our younger siblings. I can't count how many evenings with my friends ended up at one of the pocket parks not meant for us. When we stopped going, they were renovated to be "safe", and all fun, dangerous things removed in favor of plastic and softness. There were no spaces for grown-up bodies anymore. I seem to remember we stopped going before that happened, and not that they made the parks crappier just to keep us out.

The "we didn't expect to be around this long"- my first reactions to 9/11 were complicated; I had spent my life expecting to go out all at once in a nuclear attack that the media had promised was Mutually Assured. Beyond the horror which I felt for my friends back in NYC, and strangers, and the city, I was upset that it didn't fit the narrative. The nuclear annihilation I had anticipated removed the specter of aftermath, of empathy. I was not prepared for an interstitial disaster.

#846 ::: SummerStorms ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2013, 12:39 PM:

Late Baby-Boomer here (born in 1964) but much of Bear's essay had me nodding too. Especially the bit about backpacks and
I've done a TON of temping (not necessarily by choice) and can completely relate.

On weather: Yesterday marked sixteen consecutive days of rain in Cleveland, something that hadn't happened since 1900. Flooding all over the place, tree limbs down, wires down, etc. It's sunny today, but parts of northern Ohio look like war zones.

I'm going over to the home of one of my best friends later to see how it fared, and I'm almost afraid to look. This same house suffered damage when the remnants of Hurricane Sandy blew through Cleveland back in October and an enormous tree rooted in the city-owned lot next door crashed onto the roof. It took the city until late January to come out and remove the tree, and after my friend got multiple contractors' estimates to repair the roof and presented them to the city, there has still been nothing done to repair it. He'd just spent the last of his savings the previous summer to have the roof redone, and wasn't carrying homeowner's insurance due to his work hours having been cut (our local economy and job market are abysmal). The city is supposed to deal with the damage since it was their tree, but at this point I almost expect Hades will get an NHL expansion team before Cleveland ponies up to fix his roof.

Meanwhile, whenever it rains, water leaks into the exposed gap at the top of the wall structure and also the space above the attic ceiling. I don't even want to think about how much damage it's doing in there, and I worry that if this goes on long enough like he could wind up with a mold problem and possibly even have the house become toxic and uninhabitable.

*sigh* At this point, I've resorted to crowdfunding to try to help him get it fixed... because I can't do much else for him myself *except* PR, given that the crappy economy here is why I need to relocate myself. Guy buys a HUD-foreclosed home in gutted condition, moves in determined to turn it into a comfortable retro-styled abode in which to live out his days (he's an artistic person who's been refinishing floors by hand and painting in historical colors, even furnishing with retro secondhand furniture for a coherent look) and then something like this happens.

#847 ::: SummerStorms ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2013, 12:40 PM:

Late Baby-Boomer here (born in 1964) but much of Bear's essay had me nodding too. Especially the bit about backpacks and not leaving things behind lest you not get back to retrieve them.
I've done a TON of temping (not necessarily by choice) and can completely relate.

On weather: Yesterday marked sixteen consecutive days of rain in Cleveland, something that hadn't happened since 1900. Flooding all over the place, tree limbs down, wires down, etc. It's sunny today, but parts of northern Ohio look like war zones.

I'm going over to the home of one of my best friends later to see how it fared, and I'm almost afraid to look. This same house suffered damage when the remnants of Hurricane Sandy blew through Cleveland back in October and an enormous tree rooted in the city-owned lot next door crashed onto the roof. It took the city until late January to come out and remove the tree, and after my friend got multiple contractors' estimates to repair the roof and presented them to the city, there has still been nothing done to repair it. He'd just spent the last of his savings the previous summer to have the roof redone, and wasn't carrying homeowner's insurance due to his work hours having been cut (our local economy and job market are abysmal). The city is supposed to deal with the damage since it was their tree, but at this point I almost expect Hades will get an NHL expansion team before Cleveland ponies up to fix his roof.

Meanwhile, whenever it rains, water leaks into the exposed gap at the top of the wall structure and also the space above the attic ceiling. I don't even want to think about how much damage it's doing in there, and I worry that if this goes on long enough like he could wind up with a mold problem and possibly even have the house become toxic and uninhabitable.

*sigh* At this point, I've resorted to crowdfunding to try to help him get it fixed... because I can't do much else for him myself *except* PR, given that the crappy economy here is why I need to relocate myself. Guy buys a HUD-foreclosed home in gutted condition, moves in determined to turn it into a comfortable retro-styled abode in which to live out his days (he's an artistic person who's been refinishing floors by hand and painting in historical colors, even furnishing with retro secondhand furniture for a coherent look) and then something like this happens.

#848 ::: SummerStorms ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2013, 12:42 PM:

Well crud; that was weird. Didn't mean for that to go twice.

#849 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2013, 12:44 PM:

Lila @827 On the Book Four problem: part of the problem for me is that, whereas D&D characters get more and more powerful (if they don't die), real-life trajectories are more complicated. Yes, you may become more skilled at your chosen work; but you also accumulate injuries, traumas and failures, and you age. Plot arcs that resemble D&D campaigns get dull once you get to the always-hits, instant-kill stage.

Yes. One author who awed me by how good he was at handling this basic Monty Haul issue was Jim Butcher in the Dresden Files: by the time Harry's dealing with the kings and queens of Faerie and so on, he DOESN'T really have terribly much more raw magical power than he did in book 1. He's learned sneakier ways to employ it, and he has some allies he can (sometimes) rely on as force multipliers, but he's handling POLITICAL dangers instead of just bigger and bigger magical Uzis. (Note: I've only read through, um, 5-6 books of the series; it may have changed after that). One of the many shows I wish had gotten more seasons than it did was the Dresden Files tv adaptation; I think it got the feel of the books exactly right, though it didn't faithfully adapt the plots of the books directly to the screen -- which I also think was a good way to go, btw. Alternate universe, as it were.

Rikibeth @843 and others on the Generational Thing and eBear's article: I think you and I are considered the start point for Generation X, rather than outside it. Dave Harmon may pre-date it by a little, given that the Baby Boom's generally accepted end date is 1964-65, but he's probably like my parents, born 1941 and 1943: they were a little old for some of the well-remarked shenanigans at the center of the Baby Boom, but most of the generational observations still apply.

The thing is, most descriptors of "what GenX are like" totally miss on me; I was born in 1976, if that helps people place me. My mother (born in 1956 as a late surprise child to her firmly-Greatest-Generation parents) is kind of a mashup between classic GenX stereotypes and a big smear of the hippie/countercultural end of Boomers. She's a lot more GenX than I am, anyhow; she attends Burning Man every year and so on. Until eBear's essay, I didn't really feel me-ness coming out of any of the classic generational definition stuff. I've heard some people put a GenY between X and the Millenials, but that's a matter of whose margins you use.

I am definitely a child of the very start of the Endless September (first email address acquired September 1993); I and my close cohort are some of the last people to remember the Last October, or that a cyclical rhythm of newbies entering the Internet and getting socialized even used to exist at all. Because of this, I can type 'anonymous' correctly on spinal reflex alone without needing to see the letters come up on the screen. :-> I am also of the generation that grew up knowing, bone-deep, that AIDS was about eighty times scarier than cancer. Ryan White was about my age, though I am now far older than he ever got to be. I am of the sub-cohort of kids who were planning out our academic careers so we could work on the Moon and Mars bases (my plan: air-plant hydroponics specialist at Luna Base) only to have our entire future explode in a question-mark of smoke with Challenger. My class were pen pals with Christa McAuliffe's students.

I guess if Challenger is your big formative where-were-you-when moment, you're definitely with me, as opposed to people for whom those events are either the Kennedy assassination or 9/11. But I was never really into grunge or goth (or any social life whatsoever), so I miss out on a lot of the cultural touchstones that other people 'like me' grew up owning in their souls.

My sisters were born in 1989 and 1993; they're definitely Millenials. My daughter, born 2009, is definitely whatever the next thing on from my sisters is: they do not remember a world without Pentiums, cable TV, or cellphones; she will never remember a time when haptic interfaces weren't completely normal, or a time when devices didn't just assume you ALWAYS had mobile broadband available at all times.

A friend of mine pointed out recently that the kids growing up now (say sub-10yo; born in the early 2000s) aren't seeing their parents read books nearly as often, because many heavy readers have switched to Kindles and tablets and whatnot for e-reading. From the outside (or the back), reading a book on a tablet is not distinguishable from web-browsing or playing a touchscreen game, really, and it may not end up feeling like anything different to them. In their generation, having parents who wall their entire living rooms with books may end up feeling as old-fashioned as parents with enormous vinyl record collections felt in the mid-90s. I know because I've met them that there are people my age who've never actually put a needle on a vinyl record to play it. I have, but then I've also used an 8-track machine (my grandparents', in their basement, as a sort of curiosity). I grew up with vinyl Gilbert & Sullivan or Cosby records to play in my 'secret nest' behind the sofa, and I have strong memories of receiving my first cassette-tape player/recorder on my 10th birthday. Now THERE's a format that's been and gone all well within my lifetime! Well, and floppy disks. To quote one of Orson Scott Card's very best lines, "You can't FILL 64K with meaningful code!"

#850 ::: Jeremy Leader ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2013, 01:03 PM:

Jacque @823, Jen @839: That's a portion of what I call that the "Lensman" pattern, where in book N, Our Heroes battle Evil Villain N, finally triumph, and Evil Villain N submits to Our Heroes' innate superior goodness and agrees to an alliance with them. In book N+1, Our Heroes, now more powerful and reinforced by their ally Evil Villain N, encounter and battle Evil Villain N+1, who is likewise far more powerful. Repeat until bored. Often, there's also the invention of a new, more powerful super-weapon N, to defeat the new Evil Villain who has figured out a counter to super-weapon N-1.

As a child of 1961 who was slow to mature and watched lots of kids' TV in the 90s, I'm still trying to figure out how I feel about Elizabeth Bear's essay (and the comic she linked to). I like to remind people that various ancient Greek writers complained about how inferior "kids these days" are.

#851 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2013, 01:26 PM:

Elliott Mason, I just finished Dresden Files Book 8 and I agree with you. Harry's not much more powerful, but he's far more skilled; he has more allies, but also more enemies; and his points of vulnerability have also multiplied. There are far more ways to hurt him now, and he is bound about and restricted by multiple allegiances and obligations. He's also older and tireder (not so much physically as in the "AGAIN with the fucking monsters??" sense) and has accumulated at least one disability--even though it's established that wizards heal better and live longer than other people.

I've seen a few eps of the show, and yeah, it's sort of like Dresden Files fanfic. My main problem with it is I don't particularly like the guy who plays Harry. Also TV-Bob is kind of bland.

#852 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2013, 01:28 PM:

Forgot to add that IMO Butcher makes good use of "uh-oh, these two allies of mine are deadly enemies of each other" and "is this person really my ally or is s/he planning to backstab me and/or manipulate me into doing something Really Bad?"

#853 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2013, 01:32 PM:

Lila @852: Not to mention the enormous purple poo-flinging ape-monster.

#854 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2013, 01:36 PM:

DUDE! That is my favorite opening of any book in the series. AND PUPPIES.

#855 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2013, 01:41 PM:

"We didn't think we'd live this long/still be alive."

I was born in 1955, growing up I was firmly convinced that I would not see age 21, and that I was going to see a mushroom cloud before I died. (Unless they attacked while I was sleeping.)

Pat Frank's "Alas Babylon" was my guide to "where not to be" and the list of contaminated zones within its pages my map on where not to go if I survived the attack.

I can remember sitting around with friends from the college SF club talking about what to do if nuclear war did break out...

#856 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2013, 02:40 PM:

Need a little bit of Job/Career advice from anyone who might know.

I am currently working in a pink-collar union job within the entertainment industry. The advantages of being in the union are – good insurance that costs me nothing (seriously, I contribute nothing to my plan), a corporate-proof pension, protection from being fired for BS reasons, OT pay for OT work, a guaranteed annual raise and the opportunity to put myself on a massive waiting list for a highly desirable retirement home.

The drawbacks are fewer, but big: There is no room for advancement. I’m not in the Teamsters – working in this Union for decades will not enable me to buy a new Mercedes every couple of years. The annual raise usually comes out at about cost-of-living, essentially covering the rent increase for my (rent-controlled) apartment. While it’s more than non-Union people often get, it leaves me kind of stuck.

I don’t have a college degree or a particular profession. I am pretty smart (if I do say so myself) and over the course of my 21 years of gainful employment have learned many, many systems and databases. In my current position, which I have held for seven years, I have led training classes and developed training manuals used by my whole team. When my former manager was out for two weeks last month, everyone from my new manager to my director came to me for instructions several times a day. Twice I was in a meeting as the only non-management person – and was considered the person with the answer. There is one system that my former manager has told the Big Boss that I am the person in the company with the most knowledge. In fact, my original manager from way-back-when, who now works elsewhere in the company emailed me for info on that particular system. And I am classified as “unskilled” and do not make enough money to live without a roommate. Without a college degree – and with the systems I currently hold an expertise in being highly specialized and nearly proprietary, my ability to find a new job outside the division, let alone the industry, will be difficult.

So – a position has been created, reporting to my former manager, that I could probably do in my sleep. I have spoken with FM about it, and ascertained that it would likely be a lateral-ish move for me. The Bad: It is not Union, and it’s “exempt”, but The Good: there is room for advancement. Should Former Manager ever get the job he SHOULD have (have I mentioned the director’s a bit of a pointy-haired boss?) I would be in a good position to move into his job, which would give me more generalized knowledge should I need to change jobs or industries. I chatted with FM this morning and he indicated that they had only received one resume and it was an unlikely fit. He also said that if it sounded like a job I might want, that I should totally apply. Due to our friendly relationship, I take the subtle encouragement as “please, please apply for this job so I can hire you”, otherwise he’d discourage me in subtle ways as he has with other jobs within the department. I was going to go home and crunch the numbers to translate my wages to salary, and then add the amount that insurance would cost (my roommate is an exempt employee of the same company, so I can discover that right away) to determine how much they’d have to offer me to make it worth my while. Since I’m really unfamiliar with HR and Hiring politics, I need some advice.

Is it OK to ask my FM how much the pay is BEFORE I submit the application?
If that’s not OK, if I interview and they can’t match my salary requirements so I turn the job down, what is the potential fall-out?
If they decide they’d prefer to keep me in my current position (some of the tasks of the new position directly conflict with my current tasks, so I could not do both) what is the fall-out?

#857 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2013, 03:24 PM:

nerdycellist -

Since you have a friendly relationship with FM, I'd be inclined to tell him directly that you're considering the financial tradeoffs before you apply and ask if he can tell you how much the position pays.

Potential fall-out for turning the job down or for being kept in your current position ... too organization dependent for me to hazard a guess. Is your current manager likely to get bent out of shape that you applied elsewhere within the company?

Also, would the advancement from the new position be likely to be blocked by the absence of a college degree?

#858 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2013, 04:04 PM:

iamnothing, #841: My partner and I will be there, in the dealer room. I'm wondering if anyone is thinking about organizing a Gathering of Light? (I would happily volunteer, except that my obligations in the dealer room leave me with little time to work on anything else.)

SamChevre, #842: Your link no longer leads to the article you describe. Is there a permanent one?

nerdycellist, #856: A rather tangential question -- how feasible would it be for you to get a college degree at this point? Is there a local institution that specializes in "retreads", where you might be able to test out of the most basic requirements and pick up the others via night classes? Also, would it have to be a degree in your field, or do you just need the piece of paper (in which case, "majoring in 4.0" becomes a possibility)?

#859 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2013, 04:27 PM:

Otter B @#857 -

That's a good question - would I need a college degree for advancement. In this industry, it's a little nebulous, but I know people going for Directorships often wind up getting a Masters in Business Something while they wait for their promotion. When I got this job, the job description also listed a Bachelors Degree as a requirement (and in fact anytime our department has an opening, it's still there) but as I had been temping for current Director for two years at the time, I was told that was a formality. Whether they would continue to consider experience and knowledge to be a degree-equivalent, I couldn't tell you.

As far as current managers and offending them, our structure's a little wonky. I now report to a SME (Subject Matter Expert), and both she and FM report to the Director. FM was promoted from SME to Manager about 5 months ago, and I was moved over to Current SME last month. We all talk to each other, share knowledge and get along. What they actually need to do is promote me to SME because by golly at this point I am the Expert of my particular Subject Matter, but they don't seem terribly keen on making new positions.

Lee @ #858 -

What I got the degree in would most likely be immaterial. I looked into continuing my education about a year ago and got mightily discouraged. I went to community college back in the early 90's and didn't even come out with an associates degree. I think I only completed one math class and had no science (at some point, I just stopped taking classes that were out of my skill-set). I have no idea if any of what I took will be transferable. I cannot find anywhere around here that will help a grown-up with a 9-5 (7:30-4:30) job actually get a bachelors degree from the ground up.

#860 ::: iamnothing ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2013, 04:30 PM:

Lee 858:
I could try to organize something, although being disorganized, I'm hardly the best candidate. Either way, there's still plenty of time to come up with something.

#861 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2013, 04:55 PM:

iamnothing @841: I'll be there as well (living in Houston, I could hardly not go when it's in San Antonio!)

#862 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2013, 04:58 PM:

Lee @ 858, SamChevre @ 842

I'm sorry; that was a cut-and-paste error, not linkrot.

The correct link for Steve Randy Waldman's article on regulation is this one.

#863 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2013, 05:02 PM:

iamnothing @841 - I'm planning to be at LoneStarCon, and mostly hanging around the SF Outreach booth and helping my partner with the dances. Hope to see you there!

#864 ::: Jeremy Leader ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2013, 05:31 PM:

nerdycellist: yours is a situation where a GOOD inexpensive on-line college offering might be useful. I'm told there are such things, but all I've run across so far are the vaguely to very scammy for-profit versions, so recommending you look for one might be hlepy.

#865 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2013, 05:45 PM:

HLN: Local resident very pleased to find out how to put freely-acquired, DRM-free ebooks into his Google Play Books 'app' thing reader doohickey. Thanks to a helpful link acquired via the Humble Bundle people, he found it fairly painless to upload .epub and .pdf documents via Google Play's Upload-to-your-Library page. All was not hitch-free; some particularly large documents glitched on the page with no real indication of why, but everything under 90MB worked as advertised.

#866 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2013, 05:50 PM:

Addendum to my last: it turns out there are websites that painlessly convert .prc files (like the old ebooks I've owned copies of since, um, a year with a 1 in the thousands column) to .epub files. What I haven't found yet is a fairly straightforward way to take the 12 'chapter' size pdf files I have archiving an amazeballs Doctor Who fancomic and make them one .pdf, so I can read them like an ebook instead of opening them all separately in order. The sticking point is that all the free pdf-merging sites/utilities I can find have a total-document-size limit somewhere around 30-50MB, and this is bigger than that.

It's creative-commons licensed, so I can provide a copy of the files for personal enjoyment to anyone willing to run them through an owned program of theirs ...

#867 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2013, 06:00 PM:

Signal-boosting: A Kickstarter for a new female-centered, accurate-science, set-in-space children's rhyming picture book has launched. And for the $1 support level, you get a PDF of the book, which strikes me as amazingly reasonable (obviously, other thank-yous as it goes up the scale). I could wish the 'you get a hardcover copy' support level were lower, but horses for courses.

#868 ::: Ambar ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2013, 06:42 PM:

nerdycellist @ 859:
"I cannot find anywhere around here that will help a grown-up with a 9-5 (7:30-4:30) job actually get a bachelors degree from the ground up."

I did it, and thus my recommendation is to make an appointment with one of the counselors at the nearest community college, who will help you through the morass. (Good prep for this appointment: get a copy of all your transcripts from HS onward.)

good luck!

#869 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2013, 06:45 PM:


I'm also going to be at Worldcon.

#870 ::: SummerStorms ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2013, 07:09 PM:

Elliott Mason @866: Oh yes, I absolutely LOVED that comic too! :-D

#871 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2013, 07:40 PM:

It's probably more a matter of the scheduling of classes: many colleges don't schedule for people who work full-time. Or for people who use public transportation.

#872 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2013, 07:41 PM:

And me as well. On his site the artist (Rich Morris) has mentioned something for the upcoming November 23rd called "The 23 Doctors". It'll be interesting to see what that is -- my guess, he's projecting 50 more years into the future, and extrapolating from the current 11 to 23 then. On the other hand, there might be a connection between the number and the date.

#873 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2013, 07:55 PM:

David Goldfarb @872: I expect it to be amazing. I also expect it to take 2-3 years to be released, one page at a time ... which is why I love having the pdf around to plow through at full speed on rereads. :-> He does good work, and I totally understand the constraints of kids at home and paying gigs, but he ALSO has about 5 completely separate stories going at once, with only maybe 1 page going up per week, so it takes a while.

Fun fact: his wife was my sister-in-law's best buddy through high school, a connection I didn't know about until after I'd been reading his comics for years.

#874 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2013, 08:02 PM:

Paula at # 838: I haven't read Komarr yet, so this is my first exposure to Ekaterin.

My exercise to test my memory today is to recite the dinner party guest list in full, without ending with "and a bunch of Koudelkas".

#875 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2013, 08:30 PM:

Because of Allan Beatty @874's, but not exactly TO him ... contains potential spoilers for Komarr, though you've probably gotten all the salient bits from later books containing Ekaterin if you've read some. (Note: to translate Shoggoth to English, apply rot13):

V jnf cevivyrtrq gb urne n ernqvat bs 'gur svefg puncgre' bs gur abiry gung jbhyq orpbzr Xbznee ng n pbairagvba ... naq vg bcrarq jvgu gur fbyrggn vairfgvtngvba, jvgu Zvyrf naq Cebsrffbe Ibegulf. Jura V svanyyl obhtug gur obbx naq ortna gb qribhe vg, naq sbhaq zlfrys vafgnagyl va gur urnq bs fbzrbar va n IREL haunccl zneevntr, V fhqqrayl ernyvmrq guvf jnf Gur Shgher Ynql Ibexbfvtna va na hanibvqnoyr, onfronyy-ung-gb-fxhyy xvaq bs jnl. V qba'g guvax V jbhyq unir gjvttrq fb snfg vs V unqa'g urneq jung jnf TBVAT gb or gur svefg puncgre orsber (V vzntvar) Rxngreva fubjrq hc va Zf. Ohwbyq'f urnq naq vafvfgrq ba orvat va gur abiry.

#876 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2013, 09:36 PM:

So I checked out the full job listing and noticed a few things:

1. They just listed another peon position (my job) last week. Interesting. I didn't know we had an opening. It's listed as Entry Level, with a Bachelor's Degree under "Desired", but not under "Required.

2. The way the job description I'm looking at is written, it's clear they want an internal candidate. There are several phrases that show up favorably on my non-binding review every year. It describes pretty much everything I do that is not already described in my current official job description above. A Bachelor's Degree is once again listed under "Desired" rather than required. The position level is listed as "Experienced".

My roommate told me that there were strict rules preventing her from attempting to "recruit" a union member (back when she had a Union admin) and she thinks the bosses are pretty much prevented from doing anything other than heavy nodding when discussing the job. So, I will be updating my resume (conveniently cutting and pasting from current and desired job descriptions) this weekend.

I have also looked a bit at a local community college that the roommate's employee went to as an adult for her AA, and am bookmarking their site. If I don't get (or want) this job, I'll definitely check with my Union rep about tuition remittance and then talk to a counselor. If I do get this job - I'll talk to my HR rep about tuition remittance and talk to a counselor.

#877 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2013, 09:58 PM:

Elliott @ 866,

re, merging pdfs....

Assuming they're words, not graphics:

1) Download and install Calibre. (ebook management software; can change ebooks from format to format... like pdf to epub. Also will handle your antique prc files.

2) Convert files to ebup format.

3) Download and instal Sigil (epub editor)

4) Open two instances of Sigil, with the first half in one and the second in the other

5) Copy-paste the second book onto the end of the first book in Sigil. (You may need to do this segment by segment; depending on the length Calibre will chop the book into separate conjoined files so it won't choke your ereader.)

There's probably a more elegant way to do this, but this is all freeware.

Email me if you need additional help...

#878 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2013, 10:02 PM:

It occurs to me that Serge and perhaps others might want to know that Astro City #2 came out this week.

#879 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2013, 10:04 PM:

Cassy B: Alas, they are comic panels (with some text as well).

#880 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2013, 10:07 PM:

PJ Evans @ # 868: many community colleges have programs aimed specifically at people who are working full-time. The one I graduated from offers evening classes, weekend classes and online classes. It also offers certificate programs in addition to associate's degrees.

#881 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2013, 10:49 PM:

Lila, I live in Los Angeles, and the junior colleges here have cut way back on classes. You may be able to get what you want, but it may only be offered once a year.

#882 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2013, 12:04 AM:

Elliott Mason -- there's a command line PDF concatenator built into OSX, called PDFconcat. If you've got access to an osx machine, it's pretty easy to use, if not, I'd be willing to smush them together for you. (Say, by sharing a Dropbox folder or the
like). I use it to combine multiple scans into one big email able document.

Allan Beaty@ 874: Ah, The Dinner Party. Miles, Ekaterine, Simon, Alys, Ivan, Dono, Mark, Kareen, Martya, Dr. Borgos, Kou, Drou, Duv, Delia, Rene, Tanya, Olivia, Professor and Professora Vorthrys. One of the things that I love about that book is how Miles is making the same class of romantic mistakes as Duv did in Memory, but in his own, anything worth doing is worth overdoing sort of way.

#883 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2013, 12:10 AM:

I'd add "I think" to that list. I haven't checked it.

#884 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2013, 01:09 AM:

Elliott Mason—I'm just a year younger than you, and I basically feel as though I'm "GenX without getting the jokes." (The cutoff date is variously given as 1978 or 1980; either way, we're at the end.) My parents were also war babies rather than being Boomers, which is why it amuses me to see people referring to the Boomer wave of hitting 70 as already hitting, as my mother isn't 70 yet.

At least my kids see us reading books. In fact, my three-year-old tells me to put my book down, usually while holding one of her own that I must read to her right this minute. (The five-year-old reads on his own. I am so happy about that.)

#885 ::: GlendaP ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2013, 01:35 AM:

iamnothing @841: I've never done cons before, and I'm dreadfully shy of crowds, but with it local to me, I think I'm going to give it a try.

#886 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2013, 03:46 AM:

Cassy B. @877

An epub file is a container for HTML files. There are structural elements involved, but I've been able to rename an epub as a .zip, and get at the components that way.

(I just checked one anthology I have, and each story seems to be one distinct HTML file)

So, while an epub editor helps with the structural side, you may not need to use cut and paste of the actual words.

#887 ::: E. Liddell ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2013, 10:31 AM:

Elliott Mason @ 866: Ghostscript (cf. ) should be able to merge PDFs together if you have a little patience with command lines— has some directions. Despite that URL, Ghostscript is multiplatform and should work on Windows, if that's what you're using.

#888 ::: iamnothing ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2013, 03:11 PM:

GlendaP @885: Worldcon does tend to have crowds, unlike small cons (mainly for the Masquerade and the Hugo awards). I hope you go, though.

BTW, would you happen to know anything about restaurants near the convention hotels?

#889 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2013, 03:19 PM:

iamnothing... I'll be at the worldcon, on stage for a friend's masquerade presentation, and probably as an usher for the Hugos.

#890 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2013, 04:21 PM:

This is an early heads up for a potential mini-gathering of light in DC on Sunday, Sept 23 for some portion of the National Book Festival.

Last year Ginger (plus FG and son), albatross, Michael, and I met to hear Lois McMaster Bujold, and it was fun. This year I particularly want to hear Elizabeth Moon, who is on Sunday afternoon at a not-yet-known-time. Other Sunday speakers of interest to the genre community include Tamora Pierce and Susan Cooper (both under the "teens" category) and probably others I don't recognize. Paolo Bacigalupi is speaking Saturday.

We can make actual plans when we get closer to time, but I wanted to put it on people's radar.

#891 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2013, 04:22 PM:

Movie title: Branded

Netflix description: "What if your favorite burger joint, clothing store and cell phone maker were more than just brands, but all part of a vast thought-control conspiracy?"

What? You mean they're not?

#892 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2013, 05:27 PM:

For those of you interested, my daughter has made her first organized foray into fiction. Such as it is. I give you "The Missing Butterfly."

#893 ::: GlendaP ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2013, 09:02 PM:

iamnothing @888: I don't get downtown much, but there are numerous restaurants on the River Walk. I'll have to do some checking around.

#894 ::: GlendaP ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2013, 09:02 PM:

iamnothing @888: I don't get downtown much, but there are numerous restaurants on the River Walk. I'll have to do some checking around.

#895 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2013, 11:04 PM:

I have mentioned before my project to re-read all the novels and stories of the Liaden Universe. I have now finished the advanced planning, and set a start date: Thursday, July 18.

Anybody who's interested in joining in the re-read is most welcome.

Here is an announcement post, with a list of what stories are included in Phase 1 of the re-read, and pointers to where you can find them if you want to read along.

#896 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2013, 02:12 AM:

Well, I just had my excitement for the year: there was just a car fire on my street.

At about 1h15, I noticed a sustained car horn - not intermittently, like an alarm, just one long note. I went to my window, and Holy Shit! (which is exactly what came out of my mouth) there was a car on fire a few houses down!

At 1h16 I called 911. Three trucks were here by 1h18 (I live about 1km from the station, and I'm sure I wasn't the only person to call). By 1h26 the fire was out and two trucks had left; the last truck is still here as of 1h32, prying open the trunk and doors and spraying everything down with foam? I guess?

The flames got up to about 1.5 stories, and there was something weird about the position of the car. It was not parallel to the sidewalk, as it would be for street parking, nor was it all the way in the driveway. The front half of the car was in the drive, the back half in the street. And there was a car actually parked in the driveway, so there's no way it could have fit in behind it.

While there were a couple of really loud pops, accompanied by momentarily larger flames, there was no Hollywood style explosion. Nevertheless, people in my neighbourhood are not that bright: several approached the burning car to within a couple of meters, apparently to take photos. Nitwits.

Anyway, much thanks to my neighbourhood fire department for their speedy arrival and fire extinguishing!

As of 1h45 two police cars were here, and the last truck is sticking around. I think police respond to all fire calls, so not necessarily an arson investigation.

Just checked: 2h05, all fire trucks have gone, one police car is still here, and the flatbed has come to take the remains away.

So... now I'm kind of creeped out. Is someone setting car fires? Is this some new thing I have to think about? I already have insomnia, now I have to worry that someone's going to leave a flaming car on the lawn?

#898 ::: Anne Sheller ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2013, 04:19 AM:

Cheryl @896 - Cars will occasionally torch themselves while being driven. From the odd parking position you noticed, I suspect that someone may have pulled it over in haste and exited after seeing smoke coming out from under the hood. I've personally seen a Jeep start to go up; I was stopped at a red light, the Jeep was on the other side of the intersection, and I saw smoke starting to come out. It took a bit longer for the occupants to notice, and I could see flames by the time they bailed out. Can't have taken too long, since the light hadn't changed yet, but it was frightening to see. I was very relieved when they got out.

#899 ::: Roy G. Ovrebo ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2013, 04:58 AM:

Cheryl @896:
What Anne Sheller says is right. Cars can set themselves on fire - in fact there are models notorious for it, including some recent Ferraris and Lamborghinis. Older cars will, unless meticulously maintained, have deteriorating fuel and brake hoses and electrical systems and these may also constitute a fire hazard if they get bad enough.

I once had the fuel pump bracket fall off my aging BMW. It wrapped itself around the halfshaft which then gnawed off the fuel hose. (The pump assembly is located just in front of the left rear wheel well on many cars.) The car didn't catch fire, but it's not difficult to imagine a scenario where that could have happened...

#900 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2013, 07:56 AM:

Hyperlocal news... The Jean Cocteau Theater of Santa Fé, now owned by George RR Martin will have its premiere re-opening on August 9, with the showing of "Forbidden Planet".

#901 ::: iamnothing ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2013, 10:53 AM:

GlendaP @893: good; I don't know anything about the restaurants except the following (from the hotels page):

Rivercenter hotel: Sazo's, a Spanish restaurant, which is available for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Riverwalk hotel: Cactus Flower Restaurant - a Tex-Mex restaurant open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

#902 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2013, 11:21 AM:

San Antonio eating:

Schilo's, 424 Commerce (three or so blocks from convention center): old-style German/deli, tile floors, cheesecake to die for. The only time we're not there for lunch when visiting downtown S.A. is if it's Sunday (closed then).

#903 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2013, 11:35 AM:

Yes, I've been in a car that caught on fire as we were driving. It was a blue Celica from the late 1970s or early 1980s; he called it the TARDIS. Smoke began to billow from beneath the hood as we pulled into his mother's driveway, and by the time we parked and he popped the hood, there were neat little tongues of orange flame. He later pulled out a cylindrical thing about the size of a box of oatmeal and said that that was where the fire had started. Anyway, farewell, TARDIS.

#904 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2013, 12:47 PM:

I want to be added to the list for a Fluorospherian gathering at LoneStarCon 3. I am walking again, not stuck in a wheelchair, and feeling pretty good about it.

I'm starting to switch over my email links to my Yahoo address because a) my address has become a quagmire for shit and spam, and we are going to switch carrier some time in the next six months or so. paulahmurray @ yahoo . com

#905 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2013, 01:03 PM:

@898, 899 & 903

Spontaneous car combustion, OK. Didn't know about that one. If that's what happened, I hope the driver panicked rather than tried to park in the driveway.

This is because on my street, driveways are on the basement level, and a parked car will effectively be half under the balcony of the apartment above. So purposely putting a burning car there would be a Bad Plan.

I don't see anything in the news today; of course, it's not a slow news day, everything still being full of the Lac Megantic derailment.

Thanks for responding.

#906 ::: Older ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2013, 02:59 PM:

We have had a car catch fire, another one almost catch fire, and my son and I saw a brand-new car on fire as we were driving to a soccer game.

The almost-fire was first. As I was driving, I heard something sound wrong under the hood, and the engine died. I opened the hood ad saw that the gas feed had come loose and had been spewing gas over the engine. I reconnected it, waited for the gas to evaporate, and went on my way again.

When I told my mechanic I had never heard of this happening, he said it was fairly common, pointing out that everything necessary for a fire -- fuel, air, and heat -- was right there.

After our other car actually did catch fire, we heard a lot of stories from people who had had similar experiences.

#907 ::: SummerStorms ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2013, 03:12 PM:

The first car I ever bought (an '85 Ford Escort, purchased used) caught fire after I'd had it perhaps a year or so. It was a late-summer/early autumn day and was driving downtown on my way to work in a major Midwestern city (my employer). Pulling up to a stop light, I noticed smoke curling out of the air-conditioning vents in the dash, and a moment later saw the (pale-colored) paint on the hood begin to turn brown in the center.

You can bet I bailed fast, making up brand-new curse words on the spot as I did so. Leaving the car in the intersection, I reached the sidewalk where someone ducked inside a building to call the fire department. I shook as I watched burning bits drop from under the engine compartment as smoke billowed out from around the hood.

The fire department arrived a couple of minutes later and doused the flames. I had the car towed to a repair shop, where it was determined that the valve-cover gasket had developed a leak and allowed oil to leak onto the hot exhaust manifold where it caught fire. The insurance company pronounced the vehicle a total loss and cut me a check, which wound up being just enough to put as a down-payment on an '84 Taurus.

The first thing I did with that Taurus was replace the valve-cover gasket myself, with the help of a couple of friends, so I could be certain to avoid a repeat performance.

#908 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2013, 03:22 PM:

Paula Helm Murray @904: I saw what information you slipped in there - congratulations on the return to ambulation!

Paul A @895: Thanks for that. Can't start until August (work deadline end July), but I may very well join you then.

#909 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2013, 03:51 PM:

I parked in a mall lot once, went in to get my cigarettes and beer, came back out and found a couple of mall security guards looking at my fire-damaged Triumph Spitfire. One of them then asked what I consider the oddest question I've ever been asked: "Did you know it was on fire?"

I was tempted to say "Sure. I didn't think it was a big deal, and I needed to get my shopping done."

I don't remember what caused it, but it was contained within the engine compartment. I think it cost me about $600 to get everything repaired, and the only visible damage down the road was the inability of the body shop to match the British Racing Green paint for the hood. That color was still good on the sides and trunk.

#910 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2013, 03:58 PM:

Many years ago, my then-boyfriend and I and a group of our friends went to a pizzaria. We were horsing around and joking with the waitress, and when she said, "hey, your car's on fire!" we thought she was joking. We were, after all, the only customers in the place.

She wasn't joking. And the restaurant offered us water to put the fire out, but refused the use of their fire extinguisher. (Water? On a gas fire? Really?)

Totaled my boyfriend's car.

#911 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2013, 04:22 PM:

Cheryl @ 905: You no longer have to worry that someone is setting fire to cars in your neighborhood. Instead, you now know that cars spontaneously combust. Pleasant dreams!

#912 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2013, 05:34 PM:

Cassy, #909: I also had a restaurant -- well, a fast-food joint -- refuse the use of their fire extinguisher when my friend's car had an under-hood fire in their drive-thru lane. There must be some obscure legal reason for this, but it seems rather short-sighted to me. I certainly never went back there again.

#913 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2013, 05:45 PM:

@910 janetl
You no longer have to worry that someone is setting fire to cars in your neighborhood. Instead, you now know that cars spontaneously combust. Pleasant dreams!

Um. Thanks?

#914 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2013, 06:13 PM:

I was told during Driver's Ed that putting out a car fire yourself is a bad idea, particularly if it involves opening the hood and using a fire extinguisher. The rationale was that you don't want to be close to it, opening the hood means oxygen all over the place, and your extinguisher won't be large enough anyway. I can understand a restaurant not wanting to give someone inadequate help.

#915 ::: iamnothing ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2013, 07:03 PM:

Paula Helm Murray @904: I just started making the list since you mentioned it. So far only a couple people have specifically mentioned the gathering of light.

Also, congratulations on walking again.

#916 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2013, 08:05 PM:

OtterB @ 890

I hope to be able to make it to the Gathering of Light in DC; I won't be attending Festival of the Book, but would like to meet fellow commenters.

#917 ::: o ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2013, 11:12 PM:

I want to assure Diatryma, and others who may be concerned, that if there had actually been any fire, or even smoke, when I opened the hood, I would not have tried to deal with it myself. I would have Run Away! as fast as possible. Even in my youth, when I was, as my daughter always says "young and studly", I was not that much of a fool.

Yes, she and I were pretty studly as young persons; it's the effect of being raised by people who didn't recognize their duty to impart gender standards. So we just grew up wild. Or I did, and passed it on. My daughter thanks me every couple of months for various aspects of her upbringing. One of the joys of old age!

#918 ::: Older ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2013, 11:14 PM:

Darn, that should be "Older" -- it's me.

#919 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2013, 01:20 AM:

Y'know, it only occurred to me in retrospect that the time our car died A Horrible Smoky Death (in which we pulled off the freeway only a couple of exits early and managed to get through an intersection and into a parking lot before it died), we're really lucky that it didn't actually catch on fire. I mean, I saw the smoke in the rear view mirror, asked for confirmation from Evil Rob, then found the exit etc., and it was probably a good several minutes of drive time. Then we sat in the car for three hours waiting for a tow that never came, but that's another story.

#920 ::: Jeremy Leader ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2013, 03:55 AM:

Twice in the last 30 years of driving I've stopped to offer assistance at a car fire. One time, a guy had the hood of his Mustang open, he was trying to use a rag to beat out small flames around the air filter (probably not smart). My little 10ABC extinguisher was able to put it out easily before the highway patrol arrived (this was before cell phones). The 2nd time, the car became fully engulfed as I pulled up, and no one was foolish enough to approach it at that point. I learned that the heat of a fire can burst tires, with a loud popping noise. I've also since learned that the chemical in an "ABC" type extinguisher is somewhat corrosive, while the "AB" type are usually CO2, which is non-corrosive. So I may have caused additional damage to the 1st car by spraying it with the extinguisher, but keeping the fire from spreading was probably a net win.

More recently, about 4 years ago, my wife parked her SUV in our driveway and went into the house. Ten or fifteen minutes later, a neighbor rang the doorbell, and told her "your car's on fire!". Only the engine compartment burned up, thanks to another neighbor running over with a big fire extinguisher. The insurance company wrote it off as a total loss, even though the rest of the car was unharmed. The insurace investigator said it looked like a rag had gotten into the engine compartment, near the radiator fan, and the fire had started there. The investigator said it was likely that the rag was either accidentally left behind by a mechanic (the car had had an oil change a couple days before), or it had gotten sucked up off the road while driving. Fortunately, my wife had parked the car in the driveway, instead of putting it in the garage, which is under the house, where the fire wouldn't have been seen as soon, and would likely have spread the house! The only damage beyond the car was a small heap of charred molten plastic in the driveway, from various engine components.

#921 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2013, 08:57 AM:

I've called in a few car fires -- and had the 'fun' of trying to get a motorcyclist whose bike was on fire[0] to pull over.

[0] Fortunately at the track, so he got treated to all of the corner workers waving flags at him like a maniac, and finally pulled over after 6-or-so corners[1]
[1] It's surprisingly hard to notice that your motorcycle is on fire on a hot day when you're leaning forward... once stopped, the rider suddenly understood why we'd all been waving at him like mad.

#922 ::: SummerStorms ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2013, 10:26 AM:

Hmmm... I posted my car fire story yesterday, and for some strange reason it seems to be stuck in moderation.

I wonder what we'll all be talking about when it finally pops out?

#923 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2013, 10:32 AM:

I was on a train once, where something wrapped itself around an axle of the car I was in - at the end I was in - and caught fire. The conductor held the train up at least twice at stations, while using extinguishers on the resulting fire (and moving people out of the car). At the third one, he called the fire department.

It didn't spread to the car at any point, but it could have.

#924 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2013, 10:44 AM:

I'm in Boston right now, immensely frustrated that I'm not at Readercon. If anybody wants to get coffee in the next few days, that'd be nifty. I'm going to need extra help to get past the WHAT THE HELL involved in the Boston apartment market.

#925 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2013, 11:01 AM:

Vocabulary help needed: when animals have coloration that helps them hide--tiger and zebra stripes, tan lizards in the desert, etc.--what's the term for that? Is it 'camouflage' or is there something more specific to animals?

#926 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2013, 11:01 AM:

In about half an hour, the telegram service in India closes down, and the last telegram will have been sent.

#927 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2013, 11:10 AM:

I once had an MF1200 tractor burst into flames. The layout was a little unconventional, with a gap between the engine and the clutch. And the shaft which bridged the gap has the drive pulleys for two hydraulic pumps. One of the hydraulic pipes failed, started spraying a fine mist of hot oil, which ignited, and melted the alloy diesel pump.

The tractor was a write-off.

#928 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2013, 11:46 AM:

TexAnne @ 923... My best wishes with the Bostonian apartment search.

#929 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2013, 11:53 AM:

Mary Aileen @ # 924, try "cryptic coloration".

#930 ::: SummerStorms ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2013, 12:44 PM:

Let's try this again...

The first car I ever bought (an '85 Ford Escort, purchased used) caught fire after I'd had it perhaps a year or so. It was a late-summer/early autumn day and was driving downtown on my way to work in a major Midwestern city (my employer). Pulling up to a stop light, I noticed smoke curling out of the air-conditioning vents in the dash, and a moment later saw the (pale-colored) paint on the hood begin to turn brown in the center.

You can bet I bailed fast, making up brand-new curse words on the spot as I did so. Leaving the car in the intersection, I reached the sidewalk where someone ducked inside a building to call the fire department. I shook as I watched burning bits drop from under the engine compartment as smoke billowed out from around the hood.

The fire department arrived a couple of minutes later and doused the flames. I had the car towed to a repair shop, where it was determined that the valve-cover gasket had developed a leak and allowed oil to leak onto the hot exhaust manifold where it caught fire. The insurance company pronounced the vehicle a total loss and cut me a check, which wound up being just enough to put as a down-payment on an '84 Taurus.

The first thing I did with that Taurus was replace the valve-cover gasket *myself*, with the help of a couple of friends, so I could be certain to avoid a repeat performance.

#931 ::: SummerStorms ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2013, 12:47 PM:

I'd love to know why the Gnomes don't like hearing about the car fire I had back in the Eighties. Do I need to sacrifice the live chicken this time?

#932 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2013, 01:28 PM:

Cross your fingers, everyone--I have an appointment to look at a place at 3:30. It looks v good on Craigslist, no telling what it'll be like in person...

#933 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2013, 01:37 PM:

Mary Aileen, #924: Protective coloration?

#934 ::: janetl sees that SummerStorms was gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2013, 01:45 PM:

First mention is at 921

#935 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2013, 02:02 PM:

Closest I've ever come to a flaming car was... one lane over. It was a section of I-95 on an overpass (near NYC somewhere), so there was no side of the road to pull off. Just a flaming hulk in the right lane. Bit of a traffic jam behind it.

The more interesting case was when I passed a big trailer truck that was tootling along with a thin stream of smoke coming from one rear wheel. Then I noticed that the hub of the wheel was glowing a medium-dull red. Then I pulled ahead. Never found out what happened next, and I prefer not to apply my imagination.

#936 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2013, 02:31 PM:

Lila (929)/Lee (932): Thanks. I was hoping for something a bit pithier, but those will do.

Context: I want to make a green* plush cow--protective coloration for blending in with the grass--and wondered if there were a better descriptor than 'camouflage cow'. Although now that I've thought of spelling it 'cow-moo-flage', I may not look any further. ;)

*light green with darker green blotches

#937 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2013, 02:32 PM:

TexAnne (931): ::fingers crossed::

#938 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2013, 02:45 PM:

OK, I've unearthed Summer Storms' comment from the actual spam bin. But because Summer Storms did not put an "aak, I've been gnomed!" post immediately afterward for a mod to delete, everything from 907 to here may have the wrong numeric references.

And I'm packing for a trip and really do not have time to fix things.

#939 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2013, 02:55 PM:

Me (935): Hmmmm. I do like 'cryptic cow'. Except that it might be a bit, um, cryptic. I'll have to think about it.

#940 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2013, 03:39 PM:

I don't want to derail the Zimmerman thread by posting this over there, but is anyone else having trouble with that page? Every time I click through from the Recent Comments list, it drops me off around comment #38 instead of going to the one I clicked on. I'm guessing it has something to do with the multiple images in the OP. (Firefox 13.0.1 on Windows 7)

#941 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2013, 05:04 PM:

Likewise having trouble getting dropped several posts up in the Zimmerman thread. Reboots don't help.

#942 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2013, 05:14 PM:

Mary Eileen @(the new)925 -- also try "mimicry", which is usually used about trying to look like another animal but is also used for mimicking plants. So, "cow mimic" is a possible term for you.

#943 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2013, 05:39 PM:

Tom Whitmore (941): 'Cow mimic' sounds to me more like something else (maybe a plant) pretending to be a cow. And while cow-shaped triffids are an intriguing idea, that's not what I'm after in this case. But thanks for the word.

#944 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2013, 05:54 PM:

(Oops, sorry for misspelling your name! My bad for not checking.)

#945 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2013, 06:52 PM:

I'm at the Alpha Young Writers Workshop at the moment, having a fun time with twenty young and energetic writers. As part of Alpha, we do bookstore readings. This year, it's running as a book fair-- you can buy things at any Barnes and Noble or online and tell them that you're part of the book fair and then Alpha gets a bit of the proceeds. Here is a link to more information.

Because you buy books, and you may as well help a really excellent workshop.

#946 ::: Jeremy Leader ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2013, 08:42 PM:

Mary Aileen @939 & Carol Kimball @940: I'm getting the same odd offset in that thread, I assumed it was a problem with my browser (Firefox 22.0 on Windows XP Pro). The behavior I sometimes see (particularly when I've been to the page recently, so it's probably still cached) is that the page loads scrolled to the correct position and then jumps up a ways. I think I saw similar behavior at work the other day (different website, different computer and OS, but also a recent version of Firefox). I didn't think much of it at the time, because the site in question is an internal corporate "wiki" that uses annoyingly quirky and unpredictable not-really-a-wiki software, so I have low expectations for consistent or usable behavior on that site.

I discovered that if I highlight the URL in the URL bar and hit enter, the browser scrolls to the correct position; this also works if you've intentionally scrolled away and want to get back to the comment you'd originally jumped to.

My first intuition is that it's a browser problem and not a site problem, because the URL looks correctly formatted (with the comment ID after a "#" character), and because hitting enter scrolls to the correct position.

#947 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2013, 09:33 PM:

@801 etc. : I am excited that someone else noticed what I noticed. I put the "Book 4" problem down to "The author is comfortable with the cast[1] and nobody is going to get badly hurt except redshirts." I've noticed it repeatedly and thought it might be a flaw in myself.

The "Monty Haul" problem is what I thought of as "20th level character" syndrome: When a character got to level 20, back in the auld days of first edition D&D , they usually had a LOT of adventures and had a lot of semi-useful detritus.[2] Laurell K. Hamilton has also discovered the 20th level problem. Among others.

@876: I got a masters from UMD and I only went on campus twice - once being graduation. They have some remote Bachelors' programs. Worth ten minutes of your time, anyway.

[1] Or "finally making money" or something.
[2] Remember that 3" penlightsaber from last August? Oh crap. Eight hours of carving later, there goes the ten ton stone that was supposed to force them into the next part of the dungeon...

#948 ::: Sandy B., gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2013, 09:34 PM:

Perhaps for eccentric spacing. I offer small but delicious ice cream bars.

#949 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2013, 10:36 PM:

Jeremy et al: I've been having the same problem for some weeks on my iPad. Hmmmm.

#950 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2013, 10:52 PM:

When I go to the last comment on that thread, I end up at about the fourth-from-last comment. Only on that thread. (The most recent version of Firefox.)

#951 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2013, 11:03 PM:

There's now an Open Thread 185.

This thread will be used for cooking lutefisk. Beware!

#952 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2013, 11:21 PM:

Better that than hákarl!

#953 ::: SummerStorms ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2013, 12:38 AM:

Abi and janetl, thank you for getting me out of spamspace. Abi, I got a call right after making the post that was gnomed, and by the time I got back to the internet groove, I was Distracted By Stuff. Sorry!

See everyone on the new thread. *takes an order of lutefisk to go*

#954 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2013, 03:13 AM:

And... link to OT185 (just 'cos I've never been the one to do that before).

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