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October 10, 2018

Open thread 221
Posted by Avram Grumer at 08:01 PM * 700 comments

I’ve been asked to start up a new open thread. I don’t have anything funny or interesting queued up to start off with, so here’s a photo from Montréal’s Juliette & Chocolat, of a chocolate dessert called “Le gâteau forêt noire en pot” (“Black forest cake in a jar”). It was tasty.

Photo of a black forest cake in a jar, a chocolate dessert from Juliette & Chocolat in Montréal.

Comments on Open thread 221:
#1 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2018, 08:19 PM:

and the backtrack to OT220:

Avram, that cake looks delicious!

#3 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2018, 08:20 PM:

P J! Are you me? XD

Avram: Starting a thread with chocolate is not a bad thing! Thank you!

#4 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2018, 08:47 PM:

[checks self]
I don't think so. I just saw it a little sooner. And first spent five minutes or so looking for "black forest cake in a jar" recipes. (There are at least three out there. One doesn't use cherry pie filling.)

#5 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2018, 09:09 PM:

I am also not you. As are thousands of others.

#6 ::: Singing Wren ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2018, 09:49 PM:

I am not any of you, but will happily join in consumption of Black Forest cake, with or without the jar.

#7 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2018, 10:09 PM:

Mmmmmm, cake!

Also, hooray new open thread!

#8 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2018, 10:27 PM:

As Making Light's acting Hobden¹, I have to say that I have seen a lot of people pushing fluffy urban veganism as an answer to the world's ills, and it's missing some critical elements.

1: There are huge areas of the landscape that cannot grow human-edible crops. Maybe irrigation can make it possible in some places, but is that water supply sustainable? The movie-style Wild West shows a form of livestock production that can work.

2: Most of the meat we get comes from factory farming, which depends on arable land to feed the livestock. The livestock keeping is abusive, and the numbers on the food per acre are horrible. Effectively the number of livestock per acre is pretty high, 50 times what the number can be for those arid areas, but some of the propaganda will use the total area in a way that counts 2-hectares-per-sheep uplands with 25-sheep-per-hectare fertilised grassland. They're not interchangeable.

3: Arable farming can be very productive, but how sustainable is it? One possibility is that arable farming may be more sustainable with grass in the rotation, which means there still has to be livestock farming.1

4: The headlines, and the newspaper stories, are looking full of ignorance, even if the original research they report on is a bit less silly. Historically, meat-free diets have been limited to the hard-working poor in well-watered parts of the world.

The factory farming is closely related to the sociopathic attitudes of the rich to people like us. "I'm all right, Jack" is the polite version of the rule they follow. Human or animal, we are expendable, which starts feeling a bit scary when you consider how overpopulated the planet is.

¹: "Hobden" from "The Land" by Rudyard Kipling, taken up by some UK farmers on Usenet in thee closing years of the last century.

#9 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2018, 10:56 PM:

Dave Bell #8: You speak earnestly of the planet's problems, but let's not ignore the elephant in the room: Americans in particular eat far more meat than even most rich nations, and we fetishize beef, which is particularly resource-hungry.

There's also buzz about ongoing progress in cultured meat and substitutes, but I wouldn't hold my breath on those; even when they're ready for prime time, it will take a while for the prices to come down.

#10 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2018, 11:15 PM:

I actually get the feeling that the biggest problems facing us in the next couple of centuries would be due to a reduction of human population. The world's economy is driven in good part by demand, and that demand is fueled in part by population increase.

UN projections show an increase to 9 billion by 2070 and then a slow decline. That is something we've never encountered before.

#11 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2018, 11:56 PM:

I got the opportunity last week to take some Milky Way pictures from Leakey, TX. For the technically inclined, it was a Canon 7D with a Rokinon 16mm lens, operating at f/2.

#12 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2018, 05:53 AM:

Nice pics Steve. My best guess is that the orbiting thingie is this Delta 2 rocket body which launched Norwegian Comsat Thor 3 in June 1998.

#13 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2018, 07:09 AM:

Re Infusions, The Cooking Issues people have a technique for doing alcohol infusions in the nitro pressurized whipped cream containers. Total time is in the range of minutes, and it allows for botanical infusions of things when they are fresh. (I remember this maybe 5 years back when I was doing berry and ginger infusions). Gin could be done almost instantly, and they were experimenting with things like fresh basil.

Their theory is that the pressurization and sudden release does interesting/destructive things to the cell walls, and that there's some contribution by the solubility of the NOx in the liquid.

#14 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2018, 08:14 AM:

Well, now I have more ways to do Bad Idea Booze, though I'm really unlikely to do them because pepper supplies are limited (just brought the plant in in expectation of tonight's frost; it'll overwinter, but not happily.)

Jacque: you do have the right idea about alcohols, oils, and water. I hadn't thought of the type of alcohol making a difference, but once it's explained (thanks Joel Polowin!) of course it makes sense.

A couple years ago, I got a cookbook of mug cakes. I like it because it has lots of 'just go with it' notes-- recipes make two cakes because that's as many as one egg makes, if you don't want to pre-mix your flour whatever, it'll still be okay, don't stress about measurements too much because let's be honest it's a mug and a microwave and we can all chill. I am not a mug cake person, though, so I donated it to my job. The students (I work in an independence and job-skills program for disabled young adults) get cake, measuring practice, practice following directions (we get to collect data!), things like that. Very nice.

#15 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2018, 08:26 AM:

Re: Chocolate

Yesterday I learned that German chocolate cake should always treat the first adjective as a proper noun and capitalize accordingly.

But not because it's from Germany.

Because it was invented by Mr. German, and so like Caesar salad and peach Melba, has a person's name in it.

#16 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2018, 08:54 AM:

Elliott Mason #15 Thanks for making me slightly more well-informed this morning.

#17 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2018, 09:08 AM:

Elliott Mason (15): Neat! Thank you. I did not know that.

Other food items with people's names in them: Graham crackers, General Tso's chicken. What else?

#18 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2018, 09:10 AM:

Also, should you want a piece of interesting nonfiction that intersects with history, geography, politics, and food, I highly recommend _Chocolate Wars: The 150-Year Rivalry Between the World's Greatest Chocolate Makers_ by Deborah Cadbury (of those Cadburys, yes).

#19 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2018, 09:23 AM:

But there are plenty of things with people's names in them where the name isn't capitalized: tar macadam (frequently abbreviated to tarmac), almost all plant names ending in -ia, just for examples. Many of those latter include food items (macadamia nuts, e.g.).

For a positive example, bananas Foster is a good one. But a brandy alexander is, I think, uncapitalized (though Wikipedia seems to capitalize both Brandy and Alexander in it -- which strikes me as Very Wrong). Should the drinkable manhattan be capitalized? We don't capitalize martinis, at least not consistently.

#20 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2018, 10:11 AM:

chicken Tetrazzini - for Luisa Tetrazzini, the soprano.

#21 ::: Em ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2018, 10:23 AM:

Oh man. I'm moving back to Montreal on Saturday, and I had forgotten that meant renewed access to J&C. Bliss.

#22 ::: Angiportus Librarysaver ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2018, 10:30 AM:

When presented with macadamia nuts, the youthful Angiportus was known to take on a thoughtful look and say, "I always wondered what macadam roads were made of."

Rocky Road ice cream was not welcome, however, as marshmallows were texturally unpleasant for this palate.

Mug cakes might be investigated one of these days.

#23 ::: Doug ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2018, 10:37 AM:

*looks around, admires new Open Thread digs*

*settles in for good conversation*

#24 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2018, 10:56 AM:

Angiportus: I was mildly dismayed* to discover that I have extremely conservative taste in sweets.

  • Tollhouse chocolate chip cookies, only, thank you. NO NUTS, dammit.
  • Vanilla chocolate chip Haägen Dazs. Not mint. Coffee chip will do in a pinch.
  • Coffee Haägen Dazs.
  • No marshmallows in my cocoa, thank you. Whipped cream? Sure!
  • Chocolate malted milkshake. But with basic chocolate ice cream, not Belgian chocolate.**

And, sadly, it seems that (aside from cookies), I'm more of a milk chocolate fan. In principle, I subscribe to the thesis that Dark Is Better. But in practice, I find milk to be better just-eatin' chocolate.

This is not to say that I'll turn down other stuff if offered, but this is my personal dessert profile.

* Because it conflicts with my self-identification as being Open and Flexible.

** Did that once by mistake; I thought sure my arteries were going to solidify on the spot. Which surprised me, because I would have classed chocolate as definitely being in the category of "if some is good, more is better."

#25 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2018, 11:09 AM:

Okay, I won't make you any chocolate chip cookies. (The standard recipe in my family includes nuts and oatmeal.)
(I like mint-chocolate chip ice cream, too. But it's off my diet now.)

#26 ::: oldster ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2018, 11:12 AM:

May I just point out that the following is an excellent pentameter line?

Le gâteau forêt noire was served "en pot"

Now if someone else would simply supply 13 more like it, satisfying a few requirements of form and one or two of sense, we'd have a proper sonnet.

I wish I had the time, but a lot of tedious things are in my way right now.

Still, this suggests itself as second:

the wellingtonic beef was served "en croute"

#27 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2018, 11:38 AM:

Niall McAuley @#12 -

Thanks! That could very well be the satellite. I never even thought of checking Heaven's Above afterwards

#28 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2018, 11:40 AM:

I don't know if it's been reported already, but the View All By link is returning a 500 error.

#29 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2018, 11:48 AM:

I made waffle brownies (or were they brownie waffles?) the other day.

Terribly hard to peel out of the iron, which was non-stick and well oiled. Ended up really crisp. Tasted fine, but hard and crumbly.

#30 ::: Theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2018, 11:53 AM:

Hass avocados.

#31 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2018, 12:08 PM:

I was consistently unable to spell “fuchsia” correctly until realizing the flower must’ve been eponymed for a Herr/Frau(lein) Fuchs.

Hood makes a delicious coffee Oreo ice cream, but its supply is fearfully inconsistent in the nearest stores I can get to. Which reminds me— since moving to New England, I have not seen frozen cranberry cocktail concentrate anywhere. Is this just a regional cranberry drought? (which seems odd, considering how many cranberries are grown around here) Or has the product weirdly disappeared from the market, like the unrefrigerated analogue that used to be in the bottled juice aisles?

#32 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2018, 12:12 PM:

@Dave Bell no. 8: And don't forget that the non-food side of veganism often pushes the use of petroleum products. Fake fur and fake leather are made from plastic. Going faux doesn't necessarily mean reducing human impact on the planet.

In the temperate zone, old-fashioned mixed farming combined with new knowledge about soil health and such may be the least impactful way to get food. Animals (mammals and birds, with a fishpond somewhere on the property) graze in multi-species groups; the land is never left bare, but rotated through crops that variously produce food and manure the soil. I also note from a recent reread of Lost Country Life by Dorothy Hartley that there was very little garbage because there was a process in place for repurposing everything. Old-fashioned country cottages had animal hair mixed into the plaster because the tanneries sold the hair and associated gunk for that purpose, and the hair-plaster mixture was especially durable. Every useless byproduct of industrial processes--ears left from tanning rabbit hides, sand moved in order to get at useful deposits underneath, etc.--was used to fertilize or lighten soil. There's no modern way to get some of our useful waste to where it can become something other than, well, waste.

#33 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2018, 12:38 PM:

Julie L. @31: Cranberry cocktail is readily available here in Ottawa, as both the bottled unrefrigerated stuff and the frozen concentrate. Perhaps it's a regional issue?

#34 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2018, 12:47 PM:

Leonhart Fuchs, actually. His botanical plates are worth looking at: you can recognize most of the plants without problems.

#35 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2018, 01:47 PM:

Joel @33: Ready-to-drink cranberry cocktail is still available here, in an ever-increasing range of flavor blends (pomegranate, pineapple, mango etc.). Unrefrigerated concentrate used to be shelved beside them in containers similar to drink boxes ~20 years ago iirc.

I really miss not being able to make a pitcher of iced tea with a can of frozen cran-raspberry concentrate— it’s possible to replicate by replacing 1/4 of the volume of iced tea with unsweetened cranberry juice and some sugar, but then the sugar needs to dissolve. Also, no raspberry flavor that way. I prolly just need to prep some simple syrup with raspberry extract from the baking aisle.

#36 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2018, 02:05 PM:

Fusion cuisine: Tesco's tandoori spice is basically pork rub. Paprika, salt, garlic, onion, ginger, etc, with a little bit of coriander and fenugreek. Turns out that it's good on reheated leftover bratwurst as well.

Also Chaat Masala is really good for quick refried beans. Main flavors are cumin, pepper, and sour.

#37 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2018, 02:27 PM:

Julie L. @35: Rather than worrying about getting the sugar to dissolve in the tea, make simple syrup and keep it on hand in the fridge: it's 1:1 sugar and water, heat on stove until sugar is completely dissolved, store. This is much cheaper than syrups in stores, And if you want to play with flavoring it, it's relatively easy: add flavoring while boiling (grated ginger is excellent for this), keep warm for half-an-hour, then decant through a strainer. We use one of those plastic restaurant syrup containers to keep it in the fridge: easily holds a 1-pint-each recipe, which makes about 1.3 pints of syrup.

#38 ::: Doug ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2018, 03:08 PM:

Eric @36: "Turns out that it's good on reheated leftover bratwurst as well."

So very close to a Berlin currywurst!

#39 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2018, 03:13 PM:

eric, #36: Garam masala is also really good for sauteing sweet potato fries. Depending on the brand, you might need to add a little extra cinnamon.

#40 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2018, 05:56 PM:

Mug brownies/cakes are often incredibly difficult to scrub out of the mug.


#41 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2018, 05:58 PM:

I used to long for the Mocha Espresso shakes from Avogadro's Number back home. I recently found (now that I have to make milkshakes a rare treat) a nearby substitute. The Pittsford Dairy's chocolate shake, with an Espresso shot (or two) added tastes darn close. I think if the chocolate in the shake was darker, it would be even closer.

#42 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2018, 06:14 PM:

Today is National Coming Out Day.

Pursuant to that, and because not all of you have known me Forever®, hi.

If you didn't think you knew any transgender people, but you know me, you know a trans person, because I r wun.

Specifically, I am a transgender man (I was assigned female at birth). I am, more than that, a gay transgender man, because I am partnered with a cisgender (!trans) man.

Because I am also an extroverted nerd and an activist and educator, I am also willing to answer any sincere question, from basic to advanced, about the transgender experience and LFBTQIA+ issues more generally.

Email me via gmail, to the username 2ells2tees -- it would probably derail here too much. Though I suppose a thread could be started for Talking About Coming Out Day Stuff if there's enough general interest.

#43 ::: Chris Clarke ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2018, 06:51 PM:

I would be perfectly content to capitalize "Sandwich" and "Nachos" from here on out. And "Pasteurized milk."

#44 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2018, 07:23 PM:

Elliott Mason @40 -- I've made mug cakes a number of times, and haven't had any trouble cleaning the mugs. It's just been a matter of leaving them soaking with warm water for an hour or two, then using a gentle scrubbing pad on the softened residue.

#45 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2018, 07:48 PM:

When I make one, it will be in a roundish-bottomed mug. Because it's the corners that are a pain to clean. (I'd even consider getting a couple of mugs for nothing else.)

#46 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2018, 09:03 PM:

Tomorrow I make round two of a layered spice cake, made from scratch, with home-made cream cheese frosting. It's going to be an auction item at a political fundraiser. SUCH PRESSURE!

The practice round, distributed at a committee meeting, went over well. I used "cake bands," made from a cotton wipe-up towel, around the pans to reduce crowning. Surprised how well that worked! Also sifted the flour, and used special cake flour.

I'm hoping to use a more powerful blender for the final beating of the batter; my stand mixer can go very fast but at high speeds the stuff being mixes tops the sides.

I hope to heck the cake makes at least $20; I spent that much on ingredients. (Of course I'll still have the spices I laid out for . . .)

Wish me luck.

#47 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2018, 09:20 PM:

Best of luck, Stefan!

I haven't contributed baked goods to a charity auction, but I have been the auctioneer: at the one I'm thinking of, we had 4 pies from the same cook. First one went for around $30; the last went for well over $100. as people got into the bidding. So I'll just say a lot depends on the auctioneer, and where you are in the bidding cycle -- I was completely shameless about working the audience.

#48 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2018, 09:36 PM:

I've had things like my cheesecake brownies and chocolate-chip peanut pie go at auction for fan funds such as Interfilk, and do quite nicely.

#49 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2018, 10:19 PM:

I have been forbidden (by myself) to consume butter, or any other fat that is solid at room temperature, ever again, on pain of gallbladder pain. For some reason, I'm reading cookbooks full of things I cannot eat.

The latest one (Cookie Love by Mindy Segal) contains an awesome idea for brownies. Make your brownies in a pan with some parchment tabs hanging out. Cool COMPLETELY. Then get yourself some cocoa-flavored puffed rice cereal, such as Cocoa Krispies, and mix it with some melted chocolate. Spread this over the top of the brownies, cool again, lift out by the tabs, and cut. You do have to eat up the brownies within a couple of days or the crispy part will have gone soft, so they'd be great for a fundraiser.

#50 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2018, 10:21 PM:

In re chocolate: my local supermarket carries a frou-frou gourmet brand of ice cream called Coolhaus. I tried their "Chocolate Molten Cake" when it was on sale for a dollar off, and have become addicted to it. I am mostly able to exercise reasonable portion control, so its being on the expensive side isn't too budget-breaking.

I cannot recommend Juliette et Chocolat highly enough, to anyone here who might find themself in Montreal.

Elliott@15: I did not know that about German chocolate cake! Nifty.

I have known you long enough to know that you're trans. (I in fact know someone else via Dreamwidth whose circumstances are not unlike yours, namely Yoon Ha Lee.) But National Coming Out Day is cool, and I hadn't heard of it. So in its honor I'll note that I consider myself bisexual – although as someone monogamously married to a woman, I am straight for most practical purposes.

Theophylact@30: You have reminded me of Bartlett pears and Meyer lemons.

Using Google may be cheating, but it turned up an article in Mental Floss that lists in addition to what we've already mentioned: Chicken à la King; Salisbury steak; Cobb salad; beef Stroganoff; fettucine Alfredo; and pizza Margherita.

#51 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2018, 10:45 PM:

David G @50 -- leaving out the officially "married" part -- completely with you on the coming uut meme.

#52 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2018, 11:02 PM:

I tell people:
Reading cookbooks is fun. You're only in trouble if you actually eat the food in them.

(I prefer dead-tree editions, but I do have some as e-books. The NY Times cookbook by Amanda Hesser is fun - it has recipes going back into the 19th century, including one for green tea ice cream, from the 1870s (IIRC). Newer cookbooks tend to be heavy on the pretty pictures and light on the recipes: more coffee-table books than working books.)

#53 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2018, 06:13 AM:

Elliott Mason @42: it would probably derail here too much.

Dude. It's an Open Thread. Still in its double-digits. What's to derail?

And besides which, with that comment number?? ;)

#54 ::: Sarah E. ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2018, 08:58 AM:

Elliott @ #40:
If you have a somewhat shallow, microwave-safe soup/cereal/pasta bowl, I find you can substitute it for the mug. Also, you can then turn out the cake and cut it into small slices.

#55 ::: oldster ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2018, 09:24 AM:


It took me a while to figure out the common thread in all of this, but I think I've got it now:

This is all about coming out, and the sticky bits that are left behind in the pan when you do.

I guess it's related to the problem of breaking the mold? Or does this all sound half-baked?

If I'm still missing the point here, then I know you'll help me out. You are all smart cookies.

#56 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2018, 09:36 AM:

Hey, is Wikipedia down or is my computer doing a thing again?

#57 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2018, 09:42 AM:

Try one of the Pyrex storage dishes - I use the 2-cup size for making hot cereal.

#58 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2018, 10:04 AM:

@55, <snork>

#59 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2018, 10:12 AM:

#55 takes the cake.

#60 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2018, 11:58 AM:

Well, damn.

The guy behind the fantasy game-world Glorantha, home to the Runequest RPG and two old school board games ("White Bear, Red Moon" and "Nomad Gods") has died.

#61 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2018, 12:39 PM:

Jenny Islander (56): I can get to Wikipedia just fine right now. If you still can't, then the problem is probably on your end.

#62 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2018, 02:56 PM:

AKICIML: My RF wireless headphones are physically falling apart.

I am poor. The cheap wireless headphones are Bluetooth. My TV is not Bluetooth-enabled.

Preliminary research suggests the thing I need is called a Bluetooth dongle, and that I can plug it into the headphone jack on my TV and achieve wireless bliss.

Is that correct? Are there significant range limitations? I live in a tiny apartment, but sometimes go into the other room during commercials. Will this still work?

With the RF ones I could not only hear from anywhere in the apartment, I could go a full flight down the stairs before they began to be spotty. I don't expect that kind of performance from Bluetooth, but I don't know what I should expect.

#63 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2018, 05:27 PM:

The bottle of allspice I bought the other day turned out to be . . . kernels, or seeds, or whatever the natural form is.

Bought a coffee grinder, ground some seeds.

Oh, lord, what an amazing scent!

#64 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2018, 05:33 PM:

@Stefan Jones no. 63: Berries! Unripe ones, to be precise.

Can you imagine just...having an allspice tree in your backyard. Wow.

#65 ::: Adrian ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2018, 05:47 PM:

I make no general claim that butter alternatives are more virtuous than butter. I, personally, cannot digest butter. Thus, I believe margarine or oil or banana is better for my own health, and labeling ingredients on what one brings to a potluck demonstrates the virtue of hospitality.

I discovered baking parchment after I had been baking for decades. Amazing stuff. I wonder if it would work for mug cakes? It probably would make it less fun to eat.

For those who like the chocolate-cherry combination, but not the dairy, here is a cookie recipe:
Mix in the order given, in large bowl.
0.5 cup cherry preserves
1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup bland vegetable oil (ie, canola)
2 teaspoons flavoring extract of your choice (vanilla, orange, kirsch, almond...a person might use kirsch if it did not give them migraines.)

Mix 2/3 cup cocoa powder with 1.5 cup self-rising flour. Add dry to wet in 3 parts to make soft dough. Teaspoon of dough, roll ball, flatten on cookie sheet so it looks like a cookie. They won't spread out much in cooking. Bake 10-14 minutes at 350 F. Test w/ toothpick.

#66 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2018, 09:10 PM:

On the advice of various luminarians on Twitter, my spice cakes now have cardamom in addition to the recommended spices.

I tasted some of the crumbs and flakes. Ohhhh, my!

Oregon's governor is going to be at that fundraiser; NO PRESSURE!

#67 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2018, 09:18 PM:

My mother put allspice (ground) in shortcakes and the dough for cobblers.
(I have allspice berries on my shelf.)

#68 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2018, 10:11 PM:

Elliott Mason @ 42:

Completely unknowingly, the day that I emailed my father to tell him that I was dating a guy was national coming out day. I was amused when he pointed it out.

oldster @ 55:


Xopher Halftongue @ 62:

I can't speak to any of the various Bluetooth adapters, but you should get a minimum of 35 feet indoors out of them, unless your walls are lined with lead. Searching for a Bluetooth TV adapter will get you a bunch of hits. You will want to check reviews before you buy a particular one, because some introduce noticeable audio lag.

Qualified, "dongle" is a term for a thingy that you plug into a thingy to give it the specified extra functionality. Unqualified, in the computer field at least, it's a device you plug into your computer that's paired with a specific piece of expensive software, and that software will only run with the dongle present.

#69 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2018, 11:19 PM:

Adrian @65: I, personally, cannot digest butter.

Does this include clarified butter (ghee)? Does the absence of milk solids makes enough of a difference to work for you? No agenda; just curious. (And I totally get that the answer might be "disinclined to chance it.")

labeling ingredients on what one brings to a potluck demonstrates the virtue of hospitality.

See also: the office snack pool. I've gotten nailed twice now by occult flax. Second one unconfirmed, because it was apparently a mix, and the box had been disposed of before  contamination  content could be verified. :-\

#70 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2018, 01:37 AM:

Stefan Jones @66: one of my secrets to making an amazing pecan pie is adding a dusting of allspice once it's cooked. (The other secrets are toasting the pecans, about half-again as many as the recipe calls for; and having my partner Karen make the crust.)

#71 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2018, 01:02 PM:

Stefan Jones #66: I like cardamom, I put it in my coffee. Also chocolate-chip cookies, which are a hit at parties.

#72 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2018, 02:15 PM:

There's a recipe in SFGate for chocolate sables - it's celebrating Guittard's 150th year.

#73 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2018, 10:40 PM:

Xopher Halftongue @62:

Similar story — the problem I banged my head against was latency.

This was a few months ago, so I'm can't recall if my TV or player had bluetooth built in or if I needed a transmitter. I did pick up some cheap headphones.

Watching TV, there was a slight lag between the display and the sound, which made everything look like a badly lip-synced movie. Apparently standard bluetooth has a lag — which is hardly a problem if you're listening to a music player, but is annoying if you're watching video.

I picked up another transmitter and another set of headphones which were supposed to have minimal latency — but the sound was prone to weird drops and there was a background ponging sound like someone was playing racket ball in the next room. Both the transmitter and the headphones were made by the same company, and in their instructions they cautioned that wi-fi might cause interference.

The next step would have been to test the headphones with another bluetooth device to see if the problems were in the headphones or in the transmitter. I had enough other things to do that I never got back to it (and no compelling reason to do so).

The headband on my old RF headphones were the part that was coming apart — I think the speakers might still work. I may someday try to cobble something together if I find an old pair of headphones in a thrift store that look like they might be compatible with the speakers I have.

#74 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2018, 09:36 AM:

I know some software has a setting to delay picture relative to the sound, and there's a "latency offset" available in the sound driver settings on my Linux box, but I can't find anything on my TV that does the same.

Since picture and sound in digital recording are both compressed and interleaved in the stream of data, there's buffering involved for both, so a TV or digtalTV box could have a setting, but does the manufacturer think it's worth the bother of letting the user change it?

#75 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2018, 12:05 PM:

Rob Rusick #73: I picked up another transmitter and another set of headphones which were supposed to have minimal latency — but the sound was prone to weird drops and there was a background ponging sound like someone was playing racket ball in the next room. Both the transmitter and the headphones were made by the same company, and in their instructions they cautioned that wi-fi might cause interference.

Yeah, well if the data isn't there yet but the front end is insisting "now!", something's gotta give... Following on Dave Bell, SMPlayer (which is cross-platform) has latency settings (in fact they're prominent enough to hit them accidentally. ;) ). Dunno about TVs.

#76 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2018, 05:04 PM:

#8 Dave

"2: Most of the meat we get comes from factory farming, which depends on arable land to feed the livestock. The livestock keeping is abusive, and the numbers on the food per acre are horrible. Effectively the number of livestock per acre is pretty high, 50 times what the number can be for those arid areas, but some of the propaganda will use the total area in a way that counts 2-hectares-per-sheep uplands with 25-sheep-per-hectare fertilised grassland. They're not interchangeable."

The Nunes "family farm" in -IOWA- [they quietly moved from California... Devin Nunes doesn't want the public noticing... ] is a dairy farm with 2000 cows on fewer than 50 acres of land, and the employees seem to be undocumented Hispaniphones from south of the US border. A reporter writing an article found himself tailed be vehicles which turned out to be owned and operated by members of the extended Nunes family, and there were lots of thinly veiled threats and hostility aimed in his direction researching the article....

#77 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2018, 05:27 PM:

#17 Mary

Beef Wellington
Sara Lee cakes
Aunt Jemima pancakes/waffles

Similar but not quite the same thing
Parker House rolls
Boston cream pie
Baker's Chocolate
Ghiradelli Chocolate
Cape Cod Potato Chips

#78 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2018, 05:32 PM:


Thank you, Avram, for opening a new open thread!

#79 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2018, 05:46 PM:

Rob 73: Thanks so much for this! I hadn't thought about latency. I'll make it a keyword in my searches going forward.

The headband is the part of my RFs that went, as well. Currently I'm wearing them with a folded cloth between the headband and my head; this looks silly, which doesn't matter much since I live alone, but also tends to fall off when I bend down, which is annoying as hell.

#80 ::: Theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2018, 06:15 PM:

There's a wonderful-sounding chocolate cake recipe in today's New York Times Magazine: "Bittersweet Chocolate-Almond Cake With Amaretti Cookie Crumbs". (This is one Dorie Greenspan made for Julia Child.)

#81 ::: Theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2018, 06:29 PM:

Note: This is a gluten-free recipe; amaretti are made without flour, as is the cake. Of course, if you're allergic to nuts, dairy, eggs, or chocolate, fuhgeddaboudit.

#82 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2018, 07:22 PM:

Ghirardelli is/was a real family in San Francisco; Ghirardelli Square is their old factory, turned into shopping.

#83 ::: Venus ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2018, 07:32 PM:

Regarding 8/9/76: My take is that we need, as a species, to understand how to get a big portion of calories off non-arable land, because arable land will no longer be arable PDQ. The most hopeful solution I've seen means using grazing meat animals in ultra-traditional ways (think Africa, South America).

I live in the heartland, where calorie crops (wheat, corn, soy) are grown.

Weather pattern shifts are destroying the naturally occurring irrigation. Most calorie crops depend on an inch of water per week, *every* week, to survive, and temperatures that go from low to medium to low again, in a specific range/time.

Both of these are breaking, and they are breaking hard. (See the Chinese climate change report, if curious.)

My area of the country was in a D3 (extreme) level drought for most of the growing season, with most crops at 'poor' level. Recently several enormous storms dumped 3-4 inches in a week, so that 'mitigated' the drought level, but crops just don't work that way--they can't use that water, it just destroys the soil.

These shifts are becoming more vigorous. We're getting cold snaps at strange times, heat waves that burn, water that doesn't soak in, rain that pounds the ground.

All of these destroy the pattern of weather necessary for our main calorie crops. (It also destroys cash crops like tomatoes, but we can live w/out tomatoes.) Right now, we're compensating for some of this w/ petroleum based fixes, but that isn't sustainable. Even good farming practices (crop rotations, soil management, etc) can't compensate for these extremes. Agriculture is going to break.

Anyway, the good news is that there *are* plants that can handle these bizarre weather patterns. Weeds, basically. While humans can't eat the weeds, some meat animals can (goats, eg).

What many ag people are excited about is that there's a solution *at all*. Yes, it will take a lot more actual acreage to feed humans using meat goats eating weeds, 100% absolutely. But it can be done, even if the world's weather crashes. That's hopeful, even if it will be really, really hard.

Personally, I don't believe social-pressure based food choice is going to matter much on this issue. Be vegan, eat local meat, both lack enough direct impact. The majority of the change that needs to happen is at a government/international agribusiness level, and that's not dictated by the decision of a single person to eat buffalo burger vs bean burger. It needs to be tariffs, extension offices, farm subsidies, Paris accords.

#84 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2018, 09:06 PM:

Venus @83: some "weeds" are quite edible, and even tasty. I'm reminded of my favorite definition of a weed: a plant which is growing where you don't want it. Fennel, blackberries, thistles like artichoke, bamboo -- all weeds.

Agreed that growing them is not usually a good way to have a cash crop.

#85 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2018, 09:35 PM:

I remember a quote: a weed is a plant without guile.

#86 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2018, 10:51 PM:

Among others, Oscar Romero, murdered archbishop of San Salvador, was today canonized by the Roman Catholic Church.

#87 ::: Quill ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2018, 10:03 AM:

Swapping out half the chocolate chips for cinnamon chips in chocolate-chip cookies can elevate them to the near-sublime...if you like cinnamon with your chocolate.

#88 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2018, 10:09 AM:

Re weeds: There is a plant called "Polish millet," "millet" in the sense that it doesn't produce much, but doesn't need much either, so you grow it when bread grains fail. It doesn't come ripe all at once, and it grows in tussocks, so it's not amenable to the field cultivation we apply to wheat--but if you can only gather a little at a time and you can't plow at all, it could save your life.

If you live in the temperate zone, you have probably seen it and you may have spent quite a bit of money trying to get rid of it. It is also known as Digitaria sanguinalis: crab grass.

#89 ::: cajunfj40 ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2018, 10:14 AM:

Xopher@62 and following:

On RF headphones that are falling apart, with the failure being in the head-straddling support structure:

I can think of a couple methods of salvaging the assembly by basically splinting it, that will work for most similar types of head-mounted ear-gear.

1.) find a plastic hair-band - of the sort that fits over the top of the head, rather than elastic - that fits well enough not to hurt. Glue or duct-tape busted heaphone supports to it, using it as an endoskeleton. Most have some sort of "nubs" on the bottom to hold hair, those may need to be taped over or covered in thin foam or similar.

2.) like 1 but substitute "alien antenna" headband or similar novelty product for endoskeleton. Missing the part that's novelty makes it cheaper/free as raw material.

3.) as Rob Rusick @73 mentions, stripping a pair of thrift-store headphones down to the support structure can be used instead of a hair-band. Might be able to mount speakers "like the factory did it", otherwise tape/glue/etc. like 1 and 2.

4.) an elastic-type headband/sweatband of the sort that covers the ears may be used to hold the dismounted speakers to the ears, if it isn't too tight. Probably need to finish removing the broken over-the-head support structure and poke the "hinges" or whatever that mount the speakers to it through the headband.

5.) similar to 3 but use a stocking cap.

6.) chunk of metal coathanger as splint - cut to length, bend to shape over head, duct-tape or glue broken headphone bits to it. Pad as needed. I use coathanger splints for a *lot* of make-it-work repairs, like reinforcing a busted laundry basket handle.

7.) if the speakers are loud enough when not pressed against the ears, and sound quality doesn't suffer too much, dangle them from a hat. Will take a bit of work with the attachment method (glue/tape/wire/string/other) to keep them from flopping around too much, but the idea is to make them like ear-flaps on a hunting cap or similar.

Note that most of these suggestions are semi-permanent, so you need to adjust the repaired assembly until it fits OK before you finish gluing/taping/other it down all the way. Unlikely to be adjustable after splinting.

Don't have any better BT suggestions than anyone else, and I hadn't heard about the latency issue either.

#90 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2018, 01:26 PM:

Rob Rusick @73: latency

Once during kindergarten, a coworker's son's class did a project where each student was to become the "class expert" on some topic. Coworker's son chose as his topic brachiosaurs.* So after he'd given his presentation, the class was asked if they had questions. One classmate held up his hand, and wanted to know, "So, how long does it take them to swallow."

Which, you know, is actually a brilliant question.

* Quiet, you. This is a "family friendly" comment.

Venus @83: The most hopeful solution I've seen means using grazing meat animals in ultra-traditional ways (think Africa, South America)

The tricky part there is that a lot of times grazing leads to deforestation, and the trick to reforestation can often require keeping domestic ruminants off of the land you're trying to keep in forest.

Tom Whitmore @84: Agreed that growing them is not usually a good way to have a cash crop.

It's my understanding that companion-planting can actually substantially increase productivity. The trick of course is that this does not admit of current mechanized harvesting tech. I've heard it said (I think it was here on ML, actually) that the indigenous peoples of the Americas were masters at domesticating landscapes such that hunting and gathering was far more efficient than what we generally think of today. I doubt that, even at their heights, they were dealing with anything like the population densities we're coping with now, however.

cajunfj40 @89 metal coathanger

Coathangers are one of the basic structural elements of the Universe. I'm constantly on the lookout. I don't do dry-cleaning, so I don't have an automatic supply, but I use them a lot, both for art and for practical things.

reinforcing a busted laundry basket handle

I've started repairing a lot of plastic items, instead of buying new. Not only does that preserve loyal-and-true old items that really work for me, but ecology! I've taken to saving various color plastic lids off things, so I have a palette to work from. (I just repaired the battery door on my little digital camera!) Also with the wire reinforcing! (So it'll break in a different place, next time.)

#91 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2018, 02:52 PM:

ISTR reading someweb (but can’t find it right now) that the 19th-century introduction of sweet potatoes to coastal China provided a huge launchpad for the Chinese diaspora, because they could produce an enormous nutritional yield without requiring the construction/maintenance of rice paddy terraces in monsoon-prone mountainous terrain. So fewer people dying of starvation -> population boom -> not enough land to share out, so go forth overseas? If so, an interesting reverse-reflection of the Irish Potato Famine.

With apologies to Jacque, guinea pigs are apparently very good household livestock; possibly quieter than chickens, but no egg production so you just have to eat them. Dunno whether escaped ferals could get invasive like rabbits, though.

#92 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2018, 04:13 PM:

Julie L.: My current boss lived in Peru as a kid, reported seeing tunnels in the houses behind the hearth, where the pigs lived. The ones you find in pet stores are very thoroughly domesticated. I deduce this by the fact that California (being really paranoid about their agriculture) hasn't, so far as I know, banned them outright. (Pet owners will not uncommonly release them into the "wild," which doesn't tend to end well for the pig. Breaks my heart just thinking about it.)

Based on the behavior of my crew, they are strongly genetically selected to upcycle maize by-products. My kids will grudgingly eat the kernals when all the "good stuff" (i.e., the husks and the silk) is gone.

I think this domestication also speaks to their very sweet nature. Obnoxious cuis tended to get "invited" to dinner.

There is a wild counterpart (which I've heard is actually extinct in the wild), which I would expect are very much more wily and skittish around prospective predators.

I gather also that cui tends to be a special-occasion kind of dish. Though guinea pigs are actually kinda hard not to breed, if they're free-roaming in the house.

#93 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2018, 04:25 PM:

Friend ate cui when he went through South America on his way home (IIRC) from the Galapagos. He said it was like rabbit. (His mother had raised rabbits for food, so his is an informed opinion.)

#94 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2018, 05:10 PM:

@Jacque no. 92: I've also seen a photo, from perhaps a milder part of Peru, of a cui barn. The owner had built an itsy bitsy drystone barn using itsy bitsy flat-sided rocks, everything neatly squared away, all walls flush. I still wonder how much of that was The Aesthetic(TM). Or somebody fired up about local architectural history.

#95 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2018, 07:41 PM:

On a subject (formerly?) dear to our hosts' hearts: With Europe's Hamsters At Risk, Better Call The 'Hamster Commish'.

Named foods:
plants: Vidalia onions. Rome (Ohio) apples, McIntosh apples, Fuji apples -- there are probably lots of these; ISTM that the name loses its capital when it's submerged, as in fuchsia (noted above), boysenberry, etc. There are an incredible number of varieties of hops, almost all named for something -- some a location (Hallertau, Tettnang) and some for the grower who recognized them (Goldings, Fuggles) -- although the burbanked monstrosities developed recently seem more inclined to brand names (Centennial, Citra).
Prepped foods: Delmonico potatoes (a prep) and steak (a cut), steak Diane, crepes Suzette (to go with bananas Foster), and less modern ones such as Yorkshire pudding, Welsh rarebit, Scotch egg, Eccles cake (I miss the local place that made good ones -- the factory imports just don't cut it) -- there's probably hundreds of these.

#96 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2018, 07:52 PM:

A lot of old place names have lost their capitals: champagne, cognac, armagnac, calvados (is there a theme here? is the connection not hooch but the name being the thing rather than labeling something else?), but Wikipedia says it's properly Gouda cheese; Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese is a stretch, as it's the adjectival form of the name.

#97 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2018, 08:20 PM:

CHip @96: i suspect that some of those are still protected regional appellations within the EU.

Bing cherries were developed by and named for a Chinese migrant worker in Oregon.

wrt cui barns (which now I have to find pix of), there’s an entire category of dovetcote architecture, such as the columbarium. City pigeons are pretty successful feral livestock.

#98 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2018, 08:27 PM:

CHip @96:

The English language does have the concept of "proper adjectives", which are adjectival forms of the proper noun. It's standard form for proper adjectives to be capitalized like the noun they are based on. This leads to capitalized proper adjectives based on places, like "English", are most common, but I've seen others.

So I see nothing wrong, in English, with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. I can also see a distinction being made between muenster cheese (a mild style of cheese made in the US) and Muenster cheese (a rind-washed cheese made in Muenster).

#99 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2018, 12:09 AM:

Foods named after people -- has anyone yet mentioned Peach Melba and Melba toast?

Julie, #97: Squab was a popular dish during the Great Depression (when most people still knew how to butcher and clean animals) because pigeon fledglings reach nearly their full growth before they can actually fly, which makes harvesting them relatively easy.

#100 ::: Anne Sheller ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2018, 03:12 AM:

Rome apples are named for Rome township in Lawrence County, not for the village of Rome in Adams County nor for Rome township in Ashtabula County. Rome, Ohio is not a unique name.

So down south maybe they should graze goats on kudzu, then dig up the roots for the edible starch?

#101 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2018, 10:40 PM:

cajunfj40 89: These are all good suggestions. I don't have hair on top of my head, so the nubbly plastic hair bands won't work, but most of the other suggestions are well worth investigating. Thank you!

#102 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2018, 02:26 AM:


We got a cat because we live close enough to a harbor that otherwise we would have rats. He had been surrendered to the shelter by a family that loved him because the new baby turned out to have an awful allergy to pet dander from birth, and you can't give antihistamines to a neonate. He has lived most of his life with us.

He was all business for a while. "Feed me, water me, change my litterbox, and leave me alone" was his style. But the older he gets, the more he bustles around minding our business. Lately he has decided that if anybody besides Salmon Man (my husband) is out of the house, he will wait for them outside, not inside, even if it's uncomfy. When the car pulls up, he will escort whoever gets out of it to the door. Because we live on a hillside, you sort of have to park the car in two stages, first to let people out, then to park in the sheltered area jammed between the house and the neighbor's embankment, where there's only room for the driver to get in. So he escorts the passengers, then returns to his post to await the driver. If you take too long putting away your key or whatever, he gets Quite Miffed.

Tonight it was blustery and I was taking Lappy (my middle child) to a school thing. Kitty was outside, wanting in, until he noticed that Lappy and Cooking Lady (that's me) were going out, at which point he did a little dance of frustration while Salmon Man laughed at him. Finally he zipped up the steps to the driveway ahead of us. He had a job to do and he was gonna do it, darn it, weather or no weather!

#103 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2018, 06:04 AM:

Steve C. @ 10:
UN projections show an increase to 9 billion by 2070 and then a slow decline. That is something we've never encountered before.

Current (well, 2017) UN projections[*] suggest an increase to about 11 billion by 2100, at which point the population is still (very slowly) increasing.

[*] You may need to select "WORLD" from the pop-up menu, since it tends to default to the projections for just Afghanistan.

#104 ::: Quill ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2018, 10:01 AM:

CHip @96: When I've seen calvados, it's been capitalized still. Maybe it's in transition?

#105 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2018, 11:49 AM:

Jenny Islander: "Damn these humans take a lot of lookin'-after."

#106 ::: Theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2018, 01:04 PM:

Wines (and liquors) are often place-names Chianti, Champagne, Burgundy, Cognac, Bourbon, Sherry [Jerez], Port [Oporto], Madeira.

Dishes are often named for celebrities or celebrated events: Chicken [Luisa] Tetrazzini, Lobster Thermidor (in honor of a play of that name), chicken Marengo (a place-name, but a Napoleonic victory)

#107 ::: oldster ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2018, 04:51 PM:


one etymology of "mayonnaise", not universally accepted, traces it back to Richelieu's victory over the British at Port Mahon in 1756.

#108 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2018, 07:57 PM:

Xopher@62, Bluetooth dongles are available extremely cheaply from AliExpress or DealExtreme, if you can wait a few weeks for shipping from China and maybe pay 25% extra for Trump Trade War Tax.

There are two main flavors
- Transmitter (plug the audio jack into a sound source, send BT to BT headphones/etc.) You need this if you're using BT headphones, or a BT receiver with regular headphones/speakers. Mine cost ~$4-5.
- Receiver (plug speaker or headphones into the audio jack, receive BT from a PC or other BTtransmitter.) You either need this + regular headphones, or else BT headphones and not this. I've seen them for $2-3.

Both of them need some kind of power supply; transmitters typically have a USB plug for power and a built-in rechargeable battery and an on-off-reset button. (I bought one because it turns out that my laptop, through whatever combination of Dell, Windows, and $DAYJOB IT dept settings, is very good at talking to BT mice and keyboards but incompetent at talking to BT headsets, especially if they ever get powered down for recharging.) Mine seems to be really picky about whether the USB power comes from the PC (with 60-cycle hum and other noise) or a generic USB wall-wart charger (nice and quiet.) I don't know if more expensive ones are really any better or not.

#109 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2018, 12:16 AM:

So the Southern Poverty Law Center reports that alt-right folks have taken to chanting Harry Potter is not real -- how much of 20th C kidlit do you have to repudiate to make this work? Nesbit through Gaiman, there's more multiculturalism in kid's books than I could possibly list. Nicky Drayden's Temper> for a really current example, is completely outside this idea. For locals: think about Jane Yolen, just to list one semi-regular poster.

Trying to hide from multiculturalism is about as wise as hiding from automobiles in the 1950s. That battle was lost a few decades ago.

#110 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2018, 12:53 AM:

@Jacque no. 105: And all he asks for in return is a few simple little things. Like being let in and out and in and out in the wee hours of a worknight. We are contemplating returning the house to the old double-safety-cat-door system: one hole cut into the wall giving access to the basement stairs, and another cut into the fabric of the house on the other side of the basement. The floors would be a lot colder, but we would get more sleep!

Today Salmon Man did not eat a can of salmon for lunch. He had soup instead. Kitty was Extremely Put Out. No salmon juice for him? What is this world coming to!

#111 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2018, 01:42 AM:

Karen just passed on to me that apparently Pat Lupoff has died. She was the first woman to receive a Hugo (shared with her husband Dick for the fanzine XERO -- she was also one of the nicest and most gracious people in greater Bay Area fandom. She worked for Dark Carnival for quite a while; and she remained friends with Us at Other Change of Hobbit. I thought it appropriate to mention her here.

#112 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2018, 08:08 AM:

Jenny Islander @110: I've known people who've had some success building a sort of cat foyer bump on the side of the house, with flappy insulated dog/cat doors on both ends of it (and space for 1.5-2 cat lengths between the doors). It works as an airlock, and keeps a good bit of the heat in the house.

Especially if it was on the outside of your stair hole ...

#113 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2018, 09:59 AM:

My parents had something like that, in their house in Texas. Locking (either or both directions) cat door between house and garage, and regular cat door mounted in car garage door. (The one to the house opened onto the bottom shelf of a cupboard, about halfway between garage floor and house floor, and there was a hole in the cupboard floor.) The inside door was exit-only at night, but the garage was insulated enough that the cats had a relatively comfortable area, with water, to nap in.) It also allowed for frisking the cat, in that season - because they'd dry to come in with field mice they'd caught, or larger critters.

#114 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2018, 11:11 AM:

I wonder if the heat-loss could be mitigated by making the lock bi-level: outer door lower than the inner door, so the thermocline threshhold is below the lower edge of the inner door, but above the upper edge of the outer door...? Some sort of ramp or stairs between?

Jenny Islander @110: Kitty was Extremely Put Out. No salmon juice for him? What is this world coming to!

The Ladies have only very recently come to terms with me not dishing out wheatgrass and dandilions (organic, from Whole Foods) when I come home from work. I'd gotten in the habit in Donkey's last year, for maximum little-old-man spoiling. It's been several months.

I still have to top off their hay and pellets, or believe me I hear about it. (I may hear about it anyway; I got a talking-to last night, an hour after I'd given them their dinner.)

#115 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2018, 11:41 AM:

P J Evans @113 - Via the Wayback Machine, here's an article on a system that uses facial recognition with a cat-door "airlock" to block the inner door from opening if the cat is carrying a critter, or if the would-be visitor isn't a cat.

#116 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2018, 12:33 PM:

They had two cats, most of the time.
One time cat was duly frisked and allowed in, went over to check food dish, then went to cat door, stuck its head through, and pulled it back in with a bird (deceased). Sometimes the cat is a lot smarter than you think....

#117 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2018, 02:13 PM:

Tom Whitmore @109 - The intended meaning of "Harry Potter isn't real!" isn't obvious to me just from the phrase. Yes, the Potterverse seems to show racial equality among the humans. But the servile roles of the goblins and house elves are generally accepted by almost everyone. Voldemort has followers among the non-human races because he's promised to give them more equality. The Death Eaters have a role that's analogous to that of the alt-righers. Especially in Fantastic Beasts, there's very strong segregation between wizards and non-wizards, with the goblins and house elves filling the roles that in the human world were taken by non-whites.

And at any rate, the messages of equality are far from the most striking themes and plots. "Harry Potter isn't real!" What, there isn't really magic? Witches should be burned? It seems to me that almost nobody would get "racial harmony is bad" from that slogan without having it "explained".

#118 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2018, 03:21 PM:

I think there are cat doors that will only open for a special keytag on the collar. This is not useful if the cat won’t wear collats, though. Wonder if anyone has worked out something that would work with the little ID tags embedded into many cats these days.

Also, enjoying the phrase “frisking the cat”. And envisioning some sord of hard-boiked crime noir (chat noir?) narrative to go with it.

#119 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2018, 05:45 PM:

Julie L, I have a cat feeder that will only open for the RFID chip in my cat's neck (long story; tried to adopt another cat who cheerfully ate all of his food; adoption failed, alas.)

So I'm sure there are catflaps that only open to the RFID chip, as well.

#120 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2018, 09:25 PM:

Joel Polowin #117: "The intended meaning of "Harry Potter isn't real!" isn't obvious to me just from the phrase."

The linked article (#109) talks about "multiculturalism". But just from the phrase, I'd say it's aiming at Voldemort's insistence that only "pureblood" wizards were worth anything and "mudbloods" were despised mongrels. The underlying arc of the Wizarding War was the bad guys saying this, and then getting their asses kicked by a gang of heroic kids who didn't care who anyone's parents were. The Death Eaters were portrayed as more or less literally Nazism (no "neo").

Rowling wasn't subtle about this (Rowling doesn't do subtle). She also didn't think about it nearly hard enough -- as you say, there's plenty of weakly interrogated racism in the series, from the house-elves and goblins to Slytherin house. But I'm pretty sure that the Nazi comparison is what gets alt-righters in a twist, because they are neo-Nazis.

#121 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2018, 08:04 AM:

Joel Polowin @115: They also make doors with a transponder you put on the cat's collar so it only opens for the cat with the "key". To work with the no-prey camera. :->

#122 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2018, 12:49 PM:

Elliott Mason @121: that doesn't always work the way the owner wants, if there are two cats (or more) in the household. Karen had a similar system, with a magnet. Her husband brought home a deaf white cat (Sheba) who insisted on going out, which K didn't want because they lived on a busy street. So she didn't give Sheba a magnet. Sheba took to biting the other cats viciously on the hindquarters. Other cat rushes to the cat door, which opens -- and Sheba bounds out before it closes.

They moved to a quiet street.

#123 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2018, 04:27 AM:

Trailer-level Doctor Who spoiler

I have been reminded that Sunday's Doctor Who episode is called "Rosa" (BBC trailer and slightly spoilery) and is set in Montgomery, Alabama. I suppose they will get some things wrong, just as any foreign TV production will.

It's going back to the old days of Doctor Who, both the Hartnell-era historicals and the idea of meddling time travellers. Give some people a time machine and they will go off and kill Hitler. And you just know what some other people will be trying to do.

(I think I can now tell B5 fans that Za'ha'dum is an episode title.)

#124 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2018, 11:24 AM:

"I suppose they will get some things wrong" (Next Dr Who episode)

I'm not worried about historical inaccuracy. I'm worried that they'll be politically tin-eared.

#125 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2018, 11:54 AM:

I don't have much patience for the "person whose personal strengths led them to be historically significant wouldn't have made their historical contribution if it hadn't been for the Doctor" stories.

#126 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2018, 02:12 PM:

Joel Polowin @125: there's a difference to me when the story is about how the Doctor prevents someone from stopping a strong person, and where the Doctor actually facilitates the person: think the difference between the van Gogh story and the Agatha Christie story. The Doctor helps van Gogh; the Doctor keeps aliens from changing Christie, mostly. I prefer the latter; this looks as if it might be much more in that vein.

#127 ::: Adrian ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2018, 03:36 PM:

I hear something different in the alt-right chant of "Harry Potter isn't real!" (#109, #117) Of course Voldemort is real. There is evil in the world--it comes back after it seems dead. Delores Umbridge is real. The schools are full of smarmy collaborators. Duh.

What they're saying isn't real is Harry Potter. The Order of the Phoenix. Dumbledore's Army. Everyone who gathers together to fight evil and eventually triumphs. What was it about fairy tales teaching us that monsters could be defeated?

#128 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2018, 06:07 PM:

Tom Whitmore @126 - I didn't mind that the Doctor helped protect Agatha Christie, though the story had some terrible flaws. ("Bzzz," really? The guy says "Bzzz"?!) The Doctor and Martha dropping bons mots for Shakespeare? "Expelliarmus!"? Gaahh!

#129 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2018, 09:02 PM:

Helping history? Any bets the next Doctor is a highly educated hound, and his companion is a kid named Sherman?

#130 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2018, 11:35 PM:

PJ Evans, Stefan Jones,

My fruit bread/hot cross bun recipe uses cardamom, allspice, and mace as the spices. And lots of candied peel.

#131 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2018, 02:19 AM:

I couldn't agree more on the Shakespeare one, Joel P. @128. Not a shining hour.

#132 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2018, 01:24 PM:

Kip 129:

"Come, Sherman. I'm setting the Wayback Machine for Judea in the year 4 BC."

"Jesus Christ, Mr. Peabody!"

"Precisely, Sherman."

#133 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2018, 01:30 PM:

Just imagining:

Ryan: "Even in our time, fings aren't perfic. But the United States' last president was a Black man. That's partly fanks to you."

Yaz: "Mostly, Black people are treated like anyone else. Look at me, I'm a cop."

Graham: "I married a Black woman -- Ryan's mum -- and no one batted an eye."

Doctor: "I wouldn't have minded coming back as Black. Maybe next time I will."

... I hope not.

#134 ::: Dave Howell ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2018, 01:50 PM:

I'm always late to the party, but not *too* late this time. Look! Lots of chatter about food! Perfect.

It's not often a personal web page can consistently show up as one of the first ten hits on a Google search. However, last time I checked, my two LiveJournal essays about making casaba melon jelly were the ONLY pages on the internet about "casaba jelly."

Annoyingly, Google appears to no longer index LiveJournal. Or something. Because now Google gives me about 30 hits, none of which are about casaba jelly at all.

Therefore, I have replicated the entry that contains the actual recipe on my own web site. I don't know how many years ago the "please index this page/site" box disappeared from Google, so I don't know how long until they re-spider my site and find it, but y'all can see it immediately, if you're inclined to read about how to make jelly at home. :)

#135 ::: Dave Howell ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2018, 02:10 PM:

BTW, another Secret Food Trick I highly recommend is one I learned from Teresa. I recently read a back issue of Cook's Illustrated where they were making Lemon [something or other], and wanted more lemon-y-ness. Lemon zest is the most lemon-y part of a lemon; that's where most (all?) of the lemon oil is. But they ended up bagging, boiling, then extracting the zest because they didnt like gritty bits of lemon peel in the final result.

That's a dumb way to do it. Lemon tincture is *waay* easier and more useful. Use a microplane grater to take all the zest off a lemon (or orange or lime or grapefruit). Put zest in a jar. Add just enough ethanol to cover. Screw on lid, leave someplace dark for a few days, maybe a week. Open. Strain. The peel is now almost white, the liquid is deep yellow, and the smell is amazing.

The ethanol extracts the lemon oil from the zest. Ordinary vodka will do (40% ethanol, 60% water), but I don't see any reason to putsy around with such a weak mixture, so I use Everclear (90% ethanol).

If you didn't know, a tincture is the technical term for extraction by letting something soak in alcohol. If you use vinegar as your solvent, it's an acetract, and using glycerine makes a glycerite. With water, it's called an infusion, although most people call it "tea."

#136 ::: oldster ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2018, 02:27 PM:

I see that my aunt must have been a stickler for technical terms.

That would explain why she always referred to my uncle as a "tincture".

#137 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2018, 03:16 PM:

Last week, after making a couple more spice cakes (to use up the excess cream cheese frosting) I emptied out a nutmeg container.

After a thorough washing, I put the several-spoonsful of ground allspice I had leftover in it. Put on a label and all.

This morning, the bottle tumbled out of my cabinet while I was neatening up. Broke, sending a spray of allspice over the counter.

No way I could reuse it, with splinters of broken glass mixed in.

It smelled wonderful as I cleaned it up.

#138 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2018, 03:58 PM:

Dave 135: Ordinary vodka will do (40% ethanol, 60% water), but I don't see any reason to putsy around with such a weak mixture, so I use Everclear (90% ethanol).

Probably for a tincture which will be an ingredient in other things, this is fine, but if you're doing an extract on the way to a liqueur, Everclear has a lot of nasty harsh-tasting and hangover-causing long alcohols in it. The vodka is nearly as good at extracting and tastes much better.

Like I said, probably doesn't matter for a flavoring extract...though that may depend on how much you put in whatever you're making!

#139 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2018, 04:14 PM:

Dave Howell #135: I’ve also heard the word "‘tisane ".

#140 ::: Devin ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2018, 04:54 PM:

My understanding is that a "tisane" generally means something closer to "tea-like beverage which does not contain camellia sinensis." "Infusion" can cover things which are not at all tea-like, nor meant as beverages.

#141 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2018, 05:52 PM:

I am still skeptical about lemon zest. Maybe because my microplane zester doesn't make anything that looks like what other people describe, maybe because using it to make this site's high-octane limeade turned out so terribly wrong. Maybe I'm using the former wrong, leading to the latter situation.

#142 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2018, 08:44 PM:

Quill@104: all of my capitalizations are from Wikipedia; I don't know how many are consensus of editors and how many are "I'm the expert, dammit!" (and whether any are some sort of supereditorial ruling -- I am so not involved with Wikipedia). I have no trouble believing that there at least instances of Normandy applejack being spelled with a capital C. I also find a capital in a specific variety, "Calvados Pays d'Auge"; you may have seen a similar instance.

Tom Whitmore @ 109: Augh! teh stoopid! it burns! Meanwhile, I'm reminded of reading that genre authors were envious of a colleague (Moorcock? Spinrad??) who was denounced in Parliament, because they wished they were visible enough to be denounced; somehow I suspect most current genre authors are just as happy not to be so well mis-known here.

Tom Whitmore @ 111: Elinor Busby got a piece of a fanzine Hugo 3 years earlier (and was shortlisted the year before). Don't know where that glitch started, but it showed up in File:770, which posted a separate story correcting.

David Bell @ 123: so is the alt-right now going to start denouncing Who as well? Or are they even paying attention now that it has "stamped on [their] childhood[s]" by having a female Doctor?

Tom Whitmore @ 126: a plausible distinction (from someone who hasn't kept up with TV for a long time); the short bits suggest the team having to block someone's The Guns of the South scenario rather than prod Parks. Tonight we'll find out.

Dave Howell @ 135: does "tincture" require extraction? I remember having "tincture of iodine" put on cuts (augh!); the alcohol was (IIRC) simply to get solid iodine to dissolve at all. For what it's worth, Wikipedia backs me up on the more-general definition.

David Harmon @ 139: I have also seen "tisane" insisted on by people who feel that "tea" must involve Camellia sinensis.

#143 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2018, 09:20 PM:

I can get google to turn up some search results for my livejournal by including the name of the journal in my search.

#144 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2018, 10:18 PM:

CHip #142: "so is the alt-right now going to start denouncing Who as well?"

They (some elements of them) started shouting the moment Whittaker was announced. Whether that shouting is deafening or a distant mumble depends on what corners of the fandom you sit near.

I doubt an episode about Rosa Parks is going to change much on that front. I'm sure it's the latest bit of evidence in their "SJWs are ruining everything" tirade, but they'd be tirading without it.

(I have not gone looking to see the state of the tirade.)

#145 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2018, 10:44 PM:

I was nervous enough about this episode to go looking for spoilers. As it happens: gur Onqqvr bs gur Jrrx vf na hapunevfzngvp ovtbg jub qbrfa'g trg n qenzngvp onpxfgbel, naq Grnz Jub ernyvmr gung gb uryc Ebfn Cnexf, gurl arrq gb trg bhg bs ure jnl. Guvf gheaf bhg gb vaibyir svefg qrsrngvat fnvq onqqvr fb gung ur'yy trg bhg bs ure jnl, gura fvyragyl cnpxvat gur frngf ba gur ohf jurer fur fgntrf ure cebgrfg.

So. Not bad. Not not-good, and definitely not bad.

#146 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2018, 04:11 AM:

Doctor Who: a big factor is that it's a team effort. All the companions know things that the Doctor doesn't, and they're all involved in doing things that spoil the meddler's cunning plan.

It's not a threat that is fixed by the Doctor waving her sonic screwdriver while the companions look on in awe.

#147 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2018, 10:03 AM:

Devin #140: My understanding is that a "tisane" generally means something closer to "tea-like beverage which does not contain camellia sinensis."

I would have thought that "tea" would simply be an instance of tisane, rather than being excluded.

#148 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2018, 12:59 PM:

So, speaking of Dr Who, I've been keeping (such is the option) by way of Netflix DVDs. (I just discovered that there were a couple of Tennant-era Special Episodes that I don't think I've seen. Yay!)

"Twice Upon a Time" has not yet shown up on the Netflix DVD menu, as far as I can tell. (They often put those special eps out as discrete DVDs, except when they roll them into the season. :-/)

Anybody have any clue if/when TUaT will drop to DVD? (Or how to find out?)

My Google-fu is failing me.

#149 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2018, 01:42 PM:

This weekend I finished a kind-of steampunky diy project I've been working on since July; I designed and built a cello, but with a galvanized steel washtub as resonating chamber, in place of the wooden body. 4 months to get from the germ of an idea to a finished, playable instrument! (A little fine-tuning is still in order.)

Lots of notes in my blog, starting here; lots of pictures at Flickr; a short recording of the sound (though note I am no cellist, some of the notes ended up pretty sour) here.

I am shocked and pleased at how well it came out.

#150 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2018, 01:43 PM:

(I made an appointment next Monday for my first cello lesson!)

#151 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2018, 02:01 PM:

Modesto Kid, go, you! (I always wanted to learn the cello; it's my favorite bowed instrument.)

#152 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2018, 02:02 PM:

Jacque @148: "Twice upon a Time" is not Tennant-era -- it's the most recent Christmas special, with Capaldi and David Bradley playing the First Doctor. It's a fairly good example of Moffatt's writing skills, with some of his editing problems. It's out on DVD -- I got it at my local library, and later watched it with Karen via Amazon.

#153 ::: Sarah E. ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2018, 03:09 PM:

Tom Whitmore @ #131: I couldn't agree more on the Shakespeare one, Joel P. @128. Not a shining hour.

A thing that annoyed me with the Shakespeare one was that to demonstrate to the audience that Shakespeare was a genius – the episode shows him perceiving the psychic paper as blank. I would have preferred a demonstration that showed its work, rather than just going "genius=magic" (I tried my hand once at a fanfic about times the psychic paper failed and one of them was Sor Juanita Del La Cruz using, y'know, logic to work out that the Doctor and party can't be from the Spanish court, regardless of what the letter he waves in front of her says.)

I liked that Van Gogh, at least, was implied to be capable of seeing past perception filters because he was an artist and used to looking closely at things, rather than some handwavy metal-illness=visionary nonsense.

#154 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2018, 05:34 PM:

Tom Whitmore @152: "Twice upon a Time" is not Tennant-era

Right. It was other special eps I'd discovered that (I think) I haven't seen.

Question about TUAT's Netflix's DVD availability remains.

#155 ::: Devin ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2018, 01:49 AM:

Dave Harmon @147

Well, tea is certainly an infusion, that being the full-scope umbrella term. I think the term "tisane" specifically excludes actual tea-leaf teas, just as "near-beer" excludes alcoholic beers. But if you want to call tea "a tea tisane," I'll try not to look at it too crosseyed.

#156 ::: oldster ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2018, 10:41 AM:

Tisane from ptisane (still common in French) from ancient greek ptisanê, meaning a slurry of peeled barley in water (from the verb ptissô, to winnow or de-hull).

From the original barley-water, it spreads through the medical literature into a variety of herbal concoctions and decoctions employing a variety of grains, herbs, spices.

Of course, the ancient Greeks had no access to proper black tea leaves, and so no need to distinguish that kind of infused plant matter from other kinds of infused plant-matter.

Etymology does not settle questions of usage, but it can be helpful around the edges. In this case, I'd say it inclines me to think that anyone who uses "tisane" of an infusion of camellia sinensis is at least using it in a way consistent with its origins, if not with the majority of current usage.

#157 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2018, 01:22 PM:

On the "Rosa" episode of Dr Who (rot13):

(I am writing this to pin my thought before I jump into the pool of fan reaction, which I am sure will be contentious even among the thoughtful commenters who I respect.)

Vg jnfa'g onq. Vg qvqa'g snyy vagb zbfg bs gur cbyvgvpny gencf gung V srnerq (r.t., vg qvqa'g erzbir Ebfn Cnexf' ntrapl). Vg gevrq gb vyyhfgengr shyy-oybja Nzrevpna enpvfz va n 45-zvahgr rcvfbqr juvyr yrnivat ebbz sbe onagre naq gvzr uvwvaxf; guvf varivgnoyl fvzcyvsvrq naq cng-vsvrq gur vffhr, ohg vg jnf nf tbbq n gel nf V ubcrq sbe.

Qe Jub unf n ybat uvfgbel bs ercerfragvat pheerag fbpvny vffhrf va grezf bs nyvraf, sne-shgher fbpvrgvrf, cnfg-vf-nabgure-pbhagel fbpvgvrf, rgp, rgp. (Fb, bs pbhefr, qbrf Fgne Gerx.) V guvax vg'f tbbq gung gurl'ir oebxra fgevqr gb ercerfrag pheerag fbpvny vffhrf va grezf bs gur vffhrf gurzfryirf. (Zvahf svsgl lrnef ba gur gvzryvar, ohg pyrneyl gur fnzr enpvfz gung jvyy crefvfg guebhtu gb gur cerfrag.)

Gur npghny fgbel pbafgehpgvba sryg cerggl pyhzfl, juvpu zngpurf gur ynfg gjb rcvfbqrf. Gur Qbpgbe unq gb ercrng urefrys n ybg gb frg hc gur svany qenzngvp zbzrag, naq gura Tenunz unq na ragveryl hajneenagrq zbzrag bs urfvgngvba. (Frr: gur Qbpgbe'f ragveryl hajneenagrq zbzrag bs qrfcnve ng gur raq bs Tubfg Zbahzrag.) Bar srryf gung Puvoanyy, nf jevgre/fubj yrnq, whfg vfa'g chfuvat sbe gung ynfg ebhaq bs fpevcg erivfvba.

Xenfxb, gur onqqvr, vf n qnatyvat cybg guernq. V pna'g vzntvar vg jba'g erznva hachyyrq sberire. Fnzr tbrf (gurzngvpnyyl) sbe Elna'f graqrapl gb fbyir ceboyrzf jvgu n mnc-tha.

Pbapyhfvba: guvf frnfba vf funcvat hc gb or n gbc-abgpu Qbpgbe jvgu zrqvhz-jrnx fpevcgf.

#158 ::: Robert Glaub ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2018, 05:43 PM:

Update on what's happened to mw. Had to declare bankruptcy due to $35K in medical bills that insurance refused to cover. The medical expenses come from wounds suffered in the line of duty over twenty years ago.

#159 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2018, 03:14 AM:

A note on Everclear - many states, including California, don't permit sale of the full 190-proof version, so the Everclear there is 151-proof; sometimes that affects how well things dissolve or extract in it.

#160 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2018, 10:36 AM:

#158: Cripes, Robert.

I am glad you were able to pull off bankruptcy to get relief . . . I'd be a lot happier if we had a health insurance system that didn't make it necessary.

#161 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2018, 10:57 AM:

@158 & 160: ...and no fresh insight here, but WTF, US???

#162 ::: The Girl From Ankyra ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2018, 05:06 PM:

This week seems to be bad for escaping tasty-sounding recipes, and that includes coming to lurk back here.
I was trying to convince a friend the other day to add garam masala to their pumpkin cake. I had an instinct it would be good, and I think I managed to convince them, but then they forgot when the actual baking was happening. Or maybe they just didn't want to, and fair enough, it's their cake, and it was delicious. I'm tempted to try and riff off the recipe they were using with a few more spices in it though...

#163 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2018, 06:11 PM:

An interesting day fixing the very old garage door. I could get the parts, and the process was simple enough, but I am not so good at standing on a ladder. Essentially, I was dealing with a failed spring which balances the weight of the door. It looks as though the springs were original, close to forty years old.

OK, I'm a farmer, a former Hobden, and used to fixing things myself. But I am feeling terribly old now. I am now waiting for the parts to fix an SSD to my computer. I can reap and sow, and plough and mow, and plug in a SATA drive. Why do people so compartmentalise things?

#164 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2018, 06:27 PM:

Dave Bell: Dude, it's simple: $$$

#165 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2018, 08:07 AM:

I can do about half the things on the 'specialization is for insects' list, though some of them I haven't had a chance to try yet.

But can do isn't the same as must do. I could knit my own thigh-high wool stockings; I find it much more efficient to let a machine do it...

#166 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2018, 10:54 AM:

OK, I know why batteries about to expire choose 4 am on a chilly morning to let us know about it, but *why can't they tell us which of about 8 devices in the same general area is the one in pain?*

They've all got some sort of rudimentary computer capacity, why can't they be programmed to say, "I'm smoke alarm #2 and my battery's checking out", or in this case, "I'm your weather radio and I need fresh batteries"?

We spent half an hour, amid intermittent beepings, trying to figure out who the offending/offended party was.

#167 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2018, 01:36 PM:

joann @ 166 ...
We spent half an hour, amid intermittent beepings, trying to figure out who the offending/offended party was.

I feel your pain, having spent several hours doing the same thing, including getting to the point of counting seconds between beeps, and consulting the docs, to try and figure out which device it might be.

#168 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2018, 03:12 PM:

Harold Stein passed away yesterday, from cancer. He was heavily involved in filk as a recording engineer and organizer, one of fandom's Hufflepuffs and a really nice guy. I'll miss him.

#169 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2018, 04:39 PM:

joann #166, xeger #167:

Likewise. And then there were the times it turned out to be a cricket that had snuck into the house... ;-)

#170 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2018, 06:54 PM:

Dave Harmon (169): The first time I heard a low-battery chirp, I thought it was a cricket. For days, if not weeks.


#171 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2018, 07:35 PM:

One particular problem with the chirps is that they're effectively non-directional, and intermittent enough to be really hard to trace.

Given the low power-draw of LEDs, how difficult would it be to have the LED light (which also blinks when the chirp happens) just turn on AND STAY ON until the battery gets changed? This strikes me as a really simple, elegant solution to the "which one is it?" problem.

#172 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2018, 01:23 AM:

It would not be that hard to have the LED light stay on, or blink fast, etc. until the battery gets fixed, or be a different color for working and not.

Back when I lived in NJ we'd have summer cricket infestations, occasionally leading to some getting into the house and entertaining the cat. But I started hearing them at _work_, which was extremely annoying until I found that it was a coworker's Mac, which had sound, and was running the After Dark screensaver. Arrgh.

#173 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2018, 11:14 AM:

Bill Stewart #172: re: crickets entertaining the cat

Guess how I found out that crickets can still move after they've had their little heads bitten off? Previous cat Mona took one apart, swallowed half, and then began to howl--she couldn't stand the tummy tickling.

#174 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2018, 11:16 AM:

Tom Whitmore #171:

Yes, great idea and considerably more elegant than what I proposed. How do we get that going?

#175 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2018, 12:00 PM:

Suggest to a number of manufacturers that it would be a really strong selling point?

#176 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2018, 01:03 PM:

Could there be a device for locating the chirping?

Just because people can't do it directing doesn't mean it's impossible.

#177 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2018, 01:15 PM:

Could there be a device for locating the chirping?

Just because people can't do it directing doesn't mean it's impossible.

#178 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2018, 07:49 PM:

Out in the open, some kind of binaural device could narrow down the possible directions, and using it several times would triangulate the chirper. But it would be easily confused in an environment with multiple objects and/or walls. I don't know how effective such a thing would be in general, unless it was sophisticated enough to map its environment thoroughly.

#179 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2018, 08:00 PM:

The human ear (and brain), in general, does a very good job of all that, Joel. And with those particular beeps, it fails: so I would expect that it's a more difficult problem in this particular instance.

#180 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2018, 11:14 PM:

Tom, I'm not so sure about that. Part of the problem for a human trying to get the direction is that the chirps are very short, and at long enough intervals that it's very difficult to be ready to listen carefully -- there's a reaction-time issue. An electronic device wouldn't have that limitation.

#181 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2018, 12:30 AM:

I'm not sure either. But making the light stay on would probably be easier than designing the type of detector you want!

#182 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2018, 12:36 AM:

NPR reports Snohomish County is responding to the opioid crisis as if it were a life-threatening natural disaster, such as a landslide. It reminded me of the excellent emergency-response posts that Jim Macdonald wrote on this site.

#183 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2018, 10:56 AM:

Tom Whitmore @ 171:

Smoke detector user interface design is terrible, no question, but leaving the light on would run the battery down considerably more quickly — even with modern LEDs.

Assuming a fresh 9 V battery and a 20 mA LED, and ignoring the rest of the circuit (and the rest of the smoke detector for that matter), you'll only get about 20 hours of continuous light. Since the battery is dying at this point, you'll get considerably less. Great for immediate resolution, but less ideal for the case of coming home after a few days away, unfortunately. There are things you can do to stretch this out more, but then we're back to being less obvious.

Nancy Lebovitz @ 176:

It's probably possible to develop a device to localize intermittent smoke detector chirps. I can actually think of a fairly simple design with a circle of microphones that might work, but it has drawbacks that I'd have to work through.

Some modern vehicle reverse alarms actually use white noise or other frequency mixtures instead of a single beep, which are immediately locatable. Including something like this in a smoke detector would cost more than the tenth of a cent (or whatever it is) that the little piezo buzzer costs, though, and being able to localize the sound doesn't particularly matter for an actual alarm.

I think it's the Nest smoke detectors that actually want to talk to you, which makes the feedback easy and obvious. I suppose if you wanted to spend $120 on a smoke detector, it had better do something more than beep.

Fun story. We were woken up by a low-battery beep a couple months ago. Groggy and sleep deprived is always a fun way to play "hunt the intermittent beep". I thought it was the smoke detector, pulled it down and deactivated it. And then *beep*. It was the carbon monoxide detector around the corner.

Bill Stewart @ 172:

One summer in the college dorm, a cricket managed to somehow get inside the window frame. It was very happy there, and serenaded me with its chirping song at odd hours of the day or night. I, lacking the capacity to appreciate its elegant calls, was less than pleased, especially at night when I was trying to sleep.

#184 ::: estelendur ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2018, 12:28 PM:

TomB @182: I am heartwarmed, and also annoyed that it took this long for someone in American government to do this. But mostly heartwarmed.

#185 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2018, 01:18 PM:

joann @166: [Smoke alarm] batteries: I believe I have ranted at some length about this before, here. Oh yeah! My startlingly glorious discovery that putting a pillow over my head will, for a miracle, actually block that out. Astonishing.

Yeah: the pitch seems designed to be non-localizable, and the interval is just long enough to let your attention wander before the next one happens. I'm impressed that it took as little as a half an hour to find yours. I live in a condo complex; our site manager has gotten to know me well. :-\

There was one night when some sort of alarm went off, and I wound up calling 911, because it sounded like it might actually be alaruming about something. "Beep Beep Beep. Beeeep Beeeep Beeeep. Beep Beep Beep." Turned out it was some water pressure thing or something. (Not, as I'd feared, somebody's oxygen tank failing or something.) Fire Dept was a little puzzled as to why I'd called 911. Turns out they're not familiar with the Morse code for "SOS." o.0

As regards batteries in general, solar-power and hand-crank widgets are becoming more available. I've bought a little solar-power emergency radio that lives in a clear box on my window sill. It also has a crank. (I've actually got several little crankable led key-fob-sized flashlights.)

Joel Polowin @168: Harold Stein

Didn't know him at all, but I do recall him being a fixture at conventions, Back In The Day.

@171 & 172: I'm betting the current design is a legacy from back when LEDs were not so thrifty with the power draw. It's my understanding that LED power consumption has come down by (some several) order(s) of magnitude in the last twenty-thirty years.

joann @173: Sushi! See also: ewww!

Joel Polowin @180: reaction-time issue

Ya gotta wonder what the designers were thinking. It's like they came up with the most annoying, least useful option possible. Especially when you get them into dense housing circumstances. I mean, did these people ever actually test their design?

TomB @182: OMG, a blinding attack of good sense! I'll bet the casualty rates are not-incomparable.

#186 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2018, 07:12 PM:

KeithS @183 -- I'm seeing descriptions of LEDs that run at much less than 20mA, by searching for "low current LED".

It seems to me that a good compromise between "keeps complaining for a long time" and "being able to find the damn thing at 3 a.m." could be achieved by varying the chirp pattern. For, say, 48 hours, have it do 3 chirps at 1-second intervals, wait 28 seconds, repeat. After that, increase the delay times and decrease the number of chirps.

#187 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2018, 08:17 PM:

Tom Whitmore #171, #179: Yep. Having grown up with a hearing impairment, I am quite good at localizing sounds (by way of compensation and self-defense). But those dang beeps consistently foil me. Aside from the brevity, I'm not sure there isn't some oddity to their waveform that interferes with stereolocation.

#188 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2018, 03:33 AM:

If the battery's got enough oomph to make the annoying beep, it's got enough to keep an LED lit full time (or half-time on a fast blink.)

Friends of mine were hearing a faint beep occasionally. Eventually they looked in the attack, in a box with random other stuff, and found the smoke detector they'd taken out when they'd gotten a wired system installed.
Their 20-something kid was out late the night they found it, so the mom decided to be a Bad Mom and stuck it under his bed.

#189 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2018, 10:01 AM:

I wonder if you could make a smoke detector pop a little mechanical switch when it first began a low battery warning. I'm visualizing something like the indicator when a turkey is done, although it would have to be something that could be easily reset when you replaced the battery. But then you could get a visual cue to which device without an ongoing power draw.

#190 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2018, 10:09 AM:

Years ago when we were in a rental house, the smoke detector low-battery went off, as they do, at 3 AM. We took it down and removed the battery. I was holding it while my wife went in search of the replacement batteries (since the time between replacements is always just long enough to forget where we put them) when it emitted a full-volume, ear-piercing shriek. Damn thing had a capacitor. I nearly threw it out the window.

We now have much politer talking smoke detector / CO detector combos (not a Nest, I don't want to have my smoke detectors be hackable) that instead of a confusing and non-localizable beep will inform us of "LOW BATTERY". Still at 3 AM, but easier to track down.

#191 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2018, 10:14 AM:

Bill Stewart #188:

A few years ago one of the smoke alarms decided to go nuts, was replaced, and the offending old one was removed to the garage, sans battery. Imagine my disgust/alarm the next day when beeping was heard from ... the garage. Turned out that my dear spouse, nicknamed "Mr Infrastructure", had put the battery back in to prove (but only to himself) a point about something or the other, and had then neglected to re-disassemble it. Since I couldn't seem to get the battery back out again (perhaps because noise) I consigned it to the furthest end of the back garden, where I'm sure it entertained everyone on the alley for the entire afternoon.

#192 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2018, 10:15 AM:

OtterB #189:

I like it.

#193 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2018, 12:52 PM:

OtterB: Problem is, moving parts take much more energy than electronic bits. I like the idea of an LED that turns on and stays on. I'd happily trade reduced power margin for certainty and findability any day.

lorax @190: Damn thing had a capacitor.

I've run into that. One of our hallway smoke detectors would not shut the F up. I finally took it down the office and let them deal with it. (After trying to throw it in the trash; I could still hear it, through the dumpster, across the parking lot, and through my walls.)

joann: Right? Right?? #CrushItWithARock

#194 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2018, 04:37 PM:

Jacque @193 - The flag thing could be done with a spring-loaded flag in a slot, locked in place by a pin that can be withdrawn by a quick current pulse. Kind of like a jack-in-the-box. It wouldn't take much energy for that, as long as the detector "budgets" for that amount as it runs out of power.

#195 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2018, 10:58 PM:

My smoke detectors (all of them; my apartment is small) used to go off every time I cooked onions. Taking the batteries out didn't stop them, either. So I put them in the freezer (the most soundproof place I could find.

After going through this bullshit several times, I just never put them back up. If there's a fire in my apartment, I will die.

#196 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2018, 12:06 AM:

@195, unless the fire is in your freezer... <grin>

#197 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2018, 12:13 AM:

Hi, everybody. It's been maybe ten years. Did I miss anything?

#198 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2018, 12:32 AM:

Nothing important, Michael. Oh -- Donald Trump is President.

#199 ::: oldster ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2018, 07:11 AM:

Xopher @195--

I've heard of people putting onions in the freezer, but I have never heard of people taking the batteries out of their onions before they chop them.

This modern era is just a constant mystery to me. The world-wide web. The Internet of things. Battery-operated onions. Remote-controlled dentures. Pop-tarts equipped with digital calculators, so that they can be fruit-filled and multiply.

I just can't keep up with the pace of innovation.

#200 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2018, 07:36 AM:

Sadly, Tom, I haven't been able to miss that.

#201 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2018, 08:19 AM:

Oldster, <snork!>

Michael Roberts, Welcome back! I don't think I was posting here ten years ago, so, Hello! Do you write poetry, by any chance....? <grin>

#202 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2018, 10:59 AM:

@195: It me. Only with broiling steak instead of onions.

Oldster: You win! Please accept this internet.

#203 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2018, 11:00 AM:

Jacque #193:

I *was* sorely tempted to throw the thing into the alley and hope somebody would drive over it. (Better yet, place it on the alley corner, where the next garbage truck to come along would be guaranteed to smush it; they all have poor driving skills.)

#204 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2018, 11:43 AM:

Oh, is this the Micheal that was renovating an incredibly cool old house?

Has it been that long?

#205 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2018, 12:38 PM:

Yeah! The Big Old House! We moved into that in 2009, so you're right, it hasn't been ten years yet. Just (gulp) nine - plus I'm not sure when I drifted away from ML towards Facebook.

Oy, was that place a mistake (the house, not Facebook, although Facebook too). I loved, loved, loved the house, but its situation within urban blight (in a city of just 22,000) was daunting. Eventually I realized that I would have to renovate not only the house but the town to have a reasonable life there, and my wife wanted nothing of that project.

So we moved to Budapest in 2012 (my wife being Hungarian) and got stuck there for nearly four years. Our daughter went to college there, our son got into a good high school and a very good music school - but my wife hated it, possibly even worse than Richmond.

So in 2016 we came back to Puerto Rico, with the objective of looking into automation in the coffee growing industry. In May of 2017 we bought a farm with two houses on it - and in September of 2017 Maria took both roofs off. (Fortunately we were still renting down in Ponce on the coast.)

The year since then has been one of retrenchment. Built a new roof on the farm and we'll be moving in up there at the end of the year (we need to repurpose the rent money now that our son is off to Iowa State).

Those Fluorospherians I've hooked up with on Facebook have followed the roof saga with some interest! But you know, Facebook is sucking more and more, and I ran across an old project idea that linked back here to 2008 (which is why I thought it had been ten years), and I thought, man, I should really get out of the walled garden and back into the old-skool blogosphere.

So here I am!

#206 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2018, 12:40 PM:

Cassie B @ 201: no, I'm sadly apoetical. The proud product of the Indiana public school system, although I've improved some in the intervening years.

#207 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2018, 07:26 PM:

@Micheal: Sorry the big house's neighborhood doomed big house residency. It looked like an amazing place.

One of my college buddies & family recently relocated to San Juan. So many questions about "why?" he got!

#208 ::: Sockpuppet ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2018, 12:01 PM:

TW; rape, sexual harrassment

I'm sure everyone has heard about Arisia's shameful handling of the rapists and harassers on its concom; File770 is rounding up responses day by day. Oct 31 roundup on File770

One of the latest is an apology from Cody Lazri, who has been on staff at Arisia. Lazri's Dreamwidth post

Cody has several links to people speaking up about people associated with Arisia who have harmed them. One of them is a post from Commodorified, who reports being raped by Terry Karney in 2009. Commodorified's post, which says it is OK to link.
(Note: Commodorified does not use the word rape; the situation described is one where there was consent to have sex with a condom, and Terry nonconsensually did not use a condom. I have used the word rape as it is my understanding that this falls within the definition of rape by deception, but if I am wrong, please note that that is my mistake, not Commodorified's.)

I thought posters here who know Terry should be aware of this.

I will be taking a break from reading ML for a while so I will not see any replies to this post.

#210 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2018, 10:21 PM:

Without commenting on the merits of the original claim, I find it hard to believe in the good intentions of someone who uses the nym Sockpuppet and who drops a grenade and runs.

#211 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2018, 08:07 AM:

It can be scary to post something like that in a community that matters to you. I wouldn't have used 'Sockpuppet', but I definitely would have used an anonymous name.

#212 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2018, 07:02 PM:

For what it's worth, and without my taking any position on this matter, Terry disputes the events described.

#213 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2018, 08:30 PM:

What a sordid little tale.

#214 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2018, 09:48 PM:

Ohhhh, sigh.

Well. I try to practice "See Something, Say Something." And to claim neutrality is to claim a side, only in a cowardly way. So, with the recognition that this may come back to haunt me:

Until I learn something that gives me to doubt the character I've seen Terry display here, I stand with Terry.

I'm so very very sorry this is happening.

#215 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2018, 10:22 PM:

...and I should clarify that what I mean by "haunt:" I have observed that there have been times when I've expressed support for friends who are being attacked, only to find myself also the target of attack.

#216 ::: Tykewriter ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2018, 04:38 PM:

A few weeks after I moved into my partner's basement flat in Bristol we noticed a Beep. It was a very faint Beep, and seemed to come from the telephone connection box behind the bed. We decided it was a Beep Creature, and that it was benevolent.

Then I discovered the smoke alarm which I hadn’t fitted because there was an ALARM SYSTEM!! in the building, which went off on all floors whenever anyone anywhere in the building burned their toast. It was telling us that its battery was dying.

I wish that Apple would include an audible alarm telling me that my macBook's battery was about to expire. I never seem to be looking at the right (top right in fact) part of the screen at the right time.

#217 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2018, 05:59 PM:

This is a terribly sad situation. When a relationship ends badly, one of the things lost is the feeling that the other person is someone good that you wanted to be with. Was it true that they were as wonderful as they seemed to be? Probably not. Is it true now that they are as evil as they seem to be? When people screw up badly, consensus reality fractures along with the relationships. It is a lot easier to rationalize and deny than to admit guilt, even to one's self. And it is a lot easier to fall into suspicion and fear than to continue to extend trust. It's all too understandable.

All conventions should have a code of conduct. Ideally the code prevents bad behavior in the first place. If there is a convention incident response team and it can handle a violation satisfactorily, good. But when an incident is escalated to the internet, it doesn't seem to go well. Without much information, it is easier to fall into denial, on one side, or fear, on the other. Consensus reality fractures some more.

It seems inevitable that grievances from failed fannish relationships would end up being aired on the internet as convention code of conduct violations. I feel sorry for all the people involved. I don't have much hope it will work out well.

#218 ::: Allan Beatty invokes the gnomes ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2018, 07:00 PM:

I know the mods are all very busy with life, but I am hoping we might be able to have the traditional Armistice Day thread on November 11, which is after all the 100th anniversary of the original armistice.

#219 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2018, 09:25 PM:

OtterB @ #189

Rather than a mechanical flag, two or three colour LED and a bit of logic (which costs less than buggerall these days) to declare the battery state.

Green: Detector is fine, battery state OK.
Yellow: Detector is fine, battery voltage is low, change it soon.
Red; Detector is fine but you need to change the battery ASAP.

Add chirp when the battery is really low.

Red plus chirp: change the battery NOW, dammit. There's not enough juice left to reliably run the alarm for the required time.

Red + alarm: GET OUT NOW.

Cadbury Moose (Who puts a fresh battery in whenever the clock changes (GMT/BST), with a sticky label carrying the date, and uses the old battery for something rather less critical until it expires.)

#220 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2018, 11:50 PM:

TomB, it doesn't seem inevitable to me, nor do most of the accounts I've read seem to be, "Welp, relationship ended, time to ruin lives, let's cause drama with the best available tool, convention codes of conduct!" It's rather like the, "she's just doing it for attention," rape accusation defense, easily debunked by seeing if you remember the names of the accusers rather than the accused and how much harassment occurs afterward.

Yeah, it sucks to be living in this environment, and boy do I wish we didn't. But it's worse for everyone to be living in the environment we had before, where there were few to no protections or codes of conduct and the best one could expect was basically what we're getting now with no chance for better. So it sucks to deal with reports and conflicting information and deciding things and working on both a personal and a professional (and institutional) level. We're supposed to be better. We can deal.

#221 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2018, 01:16 AM:

Diatryma: I completely agree the codes of conduct are making things better. I guess what I would say is they are vitally necessary but not sufficient.

I don't think anyone causes drama intentionally. From their point of view, someone was wronged, the system is failing, and something must be done. They might be right about that. They should be taken seriously.

#222 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2018, 10:44 AM:

Hey, my husband pointed something out recently. When my family (two adults one of whom does not do gore or torture, a tween, a teen, and a primary student) settles down to watch TV together, it's either PBS science documentaries or classic series. They will gather for Avatar, Teen Titans, Justice League, Justice League Unlimited, and Star Trek. He's having a hard time finding anything more recent that can be watched by ages 8 through 48 without 8 having bad dreams or 48 wincing at the tweeness or stupid bathroom humor. And even if the adult stuff isn't gory, raunchy, or rapey, it's depressing or cynical!

I'm hoping that somebody out there has a recommendation we haven't tried--? (Babylon 5, unfortunately, didn't engage their interest, although Husband and I enjoyed it all over again.)

#223 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2018, 10:47 AM:

Oh, and we have also rewatched the Batman and Superman cartoons in the JL/U continuity.

#224 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2018, 11:16 AM:

Adventure Time, Steven Universe?

#225 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2018, 11:55 AM:

Back! with a new computer! (Offline for most of the past week - it's been *annoying*. Especially because it took most of two days to get the mew machine to recognize it's connected to the internet. Win10 - what can you say?)

#226 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2018, 11:58 AM:

On chirping alarms:
Light would be better than trying to do it directionally by sound. (It's almost impossible to locate a cricket as a noise source, indoors or out, not helped by them going silent when you get close.)
It was bad enough when it was one smoke alarm in a small house!

#227 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2018, 12:02 PM:

I was wondering, a month or so back, how you were doing, remembering that you'd moved to Budapest.

#228 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2018, 12:05 PM:

The alarm in my apt has multicolored LEDs - but it's (a) hardwired and (b) smoke and carbon monoxide (they needed the CO alarms in a couple of units, so they installed them in all of the units).

#229 ::: SunflowerP ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2018, 12:47 AM:

Jacque @214: 'Until I learn something that gives me to doubt the character I've seen Terry display here, I stand with Terry.'

As do I.

#230 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2018, 01:01 PM:

Jenny Islander @222: I'm a big fan of Blake's 7, which I found on YouTube not too long ago. (Well, the first two seasons. The third is...not as good.)

Also, there's seventeen seasons of Stargate out there, not counting the original movies and a few from the series'.

I'm finding it depressingly difficult to come up with other recommendations that fill your specs. :-(

#231 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2018, 04:51 PM:

Why some people hate Jews and Asian-Americans

In the click-through to the Times article:

Our research has consistently found that people stereotype most groups not as singularly good or bad; instead, they classify them along two dimensions, which we call “warmth” and “competence.” Insofar as a group is seen as good-natured, sincere and trustworthy, it is considered warm; insofar as it is seen as lacking those qualities, it is considered cold. Likewise, if a group is seen as ambitious, intelligent and skillful, it is considered competent; if it is seen as lacking those qualities, it is considered incompetent.

This would explain a lot about the extra misogyny aimed at competent women, too. "More businesslike = "less warm." Since women are "supposed" to be "warm." Double-whammy, like.

#232 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2018, 05:22 PM:

Jenny Islander @ 222:

I'm not much of a TV watcher, however I'll try to give it a shot with things I've enjoyed over the last few years.

The recent Star Wars kids' shows (The Clone Wars, Rebels) have been good, and remarkably watchable for adults, too. I haven't seen any episodes of the very newest show yet, but I've heard good things. The Clone Wars is available on Netflix (for now), and both on DVD/Blu-Ray.

I'm very fond of Mythbusters and The White Rabbit Project. Mythbusters isn't necessarily as readily available as I'd like for watching on your own schedule (although I've managed this for me); the White Rabbit Project is on Netflix.

If it weren't for the youngest, I'd recommend Death in Paradise. Cozy murder mystery show set on a fictional Caribbean island. Extremely formulaic, but fun and lighthearted despite the murder that kicks off every episode. Available on Netflix and DVD/Blu-Ray. Also on the BBC, and maybe BBC America or your local PBS station.

There's also a short BBC documentary series called Round Planet. The narration might fall a little too much on the silly side for the more adult members of your family, but my husband and I enjoyed it. Available on Netflix.

#233 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2018, 05:30 PM:

On alarms: My wife's old phone would beep, rather loudly, when she had a missed call - but only once every minute or so, making it very difficult even to discover what room the beeping was coming from, let alone why in the world it was happening.

We did figure it out eventually.

Jenny Islander @222 Star versus the Forces of Evil - seriously. It starts out Disney, then blows your mind, then just keeps right on blowing your mind. I binged it straight through this summer on my daughter's recommendation, and I nearly lost a client to it. It was that good. They keep doing these little throwaway jokes - but then they don't throw them away. They just follow the logic through, mercilessly. It is a fantastic show for all ages.

KeithS @232 My wife dotes on Death in Paradise. Since we live on a non-fictional Caribbean island, she likes it even more.

P J Evans @ 227 Yeah, we bugged out from Urban Blight Central and into a really nice rental house in the Budapest suburbs, which I loved. The boy got into a good music school, then a good high school; the girl got into her mother's alma mater in theoretical physics; I didn't have to drive anybody anywhere - and my wife's family turned out to be bigger jerks than any of us had ever anticipated, and she fell into a deep clinical depression.

So that was kind of crappy.

It's been a whole lot better since we came back to Puerto Rico, hurricane and all.

#234 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2018, 07:02 PM:

If your family can cope with subtitled anime, “Cells at Work” is delightful. There is a certain gore factor, but it’s in the context of anthropomorphized intracellular mayhem— the characters are personifications of various blood/immune cells dealing with the vagaries of everyday life. (Frex, influenza is represented as zombie-possession hats.) I have two kids who can’t understand the spoken dialogue or keep up with the subtitles, and they’re still obsessed with it.

#235 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2018, 08:18 PM:

If "Sockpuppet" is actually the original complainant, I'm sorry I gave you a tone argument.

#236 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2018, 08:20 PM:

None of these dying battery suggestions would have helped us when we had totally forgotten that we put a smoke detector in the garage.

#237 ::: Bodhisvaha ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2018, 09:31 PM:

Jacque @214:

I happen to know Commodorified, since I’ve been friends with her husband since high school. I was not close enough at the time to hear exactly what was going on — just that there was a very bad breakup — but it was bad enough that I noticed something was wrong and asked what. Not common for me. I did not ask any further questions; they did not further illuminate the subject. I read the posts from both, but I don’t know Terry aside from a brief intro at a party before said breakup. I haven’t seen Commodorified recently (if I could nerve myself up to ask about this), so that’s all the data I have.

There are some things that I do feel confident saying, though. One is that Commodorified wouldn’t lie about something like this. (I do not eliminate the chance of a misunderstanding or mistake on one or both sides.) Two, when there are distressing events, we might not process them for some time, or label behaviours as what we eventually call them. Third, people behave differently in their closest relationships and in the bedroom than they do outside.

#238 ::: Bodhisvaha ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2018, 09:53 PM:

Jacque @214: I hit post slightly too soon. You said that in your experience Terry is good people. What I wanted to say was that in mine, so is Commodorified. Relationships are hard, people make mistakes, and sometimes we hurt the people we love more than we know until much later.

#239 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2018, 11:12 PM:

Bodhisvaha: As I learned too well from my mother, it's not impossible for both to be true—at least until somebody comes up with some sort of "objective" data.

#240 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2018, 12:22 AM:

Bodhisvaha -- With respect, I don't think "we had agreed to have sex only with condoms, but he did it without a condom anyway despite my wishes" and "she demanded that we have sex (way more frequently than I was comfortable with) without condoms, even though I would have preferred otherwise, because she desperately wanted to become pregnant" can be attributed to a mistake or misunderstanding.

#241 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2018, 10:31 AM:

#222, #232: "Star Wars Resistance" has been good so far. I don't like it as much as "Star Wars Rebels," if only because the lead character comes across as a real doofus, and the supporting characters aren't as diverse or interesting as in "Rebels."

But I'll stick with it.

#242 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2018, 11:52 AM:

Continuing on the subtitled anime theme: there's a lot of good stuff on Crunchyroll (and some real crap). MY HERO ACADEMIA has, for me, the same feel as early-60s Marvel comics: the storytelling moves quickly, and there are enough logical twists to keep me interested. It really is an "all-ages" show.

#243 ::: Doug ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2018, 12:46 PM:

242: I haven't watched the anime but Kid Two pressed the manga for My Hero Academia into my hands, and it was clear the whole way through that the writer/artist was just having So! Much! Fun! that it wound up being contagious, and now I'm looking forward to the next one.

#244 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2018, 03:00 PM:

Second (or third) the recommendation for My Hero Academia - also, it's been dubbed. Another anime that's pretty fantastic is Haikyuu - but it's pretty talky for an 8-year-old maybe. Depends on the 8-year-old really.

#245 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2018, 08:56 PM:

Joel Polowin @240: I don't think [position A vs position B] can be attributed to a mistake or misunderstanding.

No, but it might well be down to a difference in each person's experience of the incident. (I lost track of the number of times I clashed over this with my mother.)

This says nothing, however, of which position is closer to what actually happened. (Which is why documentation is so important.)

#246 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2018, 12:57 AM:

Understanding is a three-edged sword.
The three edges: your side, my side, and the truth in between. -- JMS

#247 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2018, 01:02 AM:

Jacque @245, Terry and Merav describe ongoing pressure over an entire month, to have daily-or-more-frequent sex without condoms. Marna describes a single event of sex without a condom, without her consent. I don't think the two descriptions can be plausibly attributed to the same set of events. Different experiences of events, different interpretations, are of course possible, but these are just too different for that. At least one must be false to fact.

#248 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2018, 01:15 AM:

Or both events occurred at different times, which is quite possible: and each is pointing to the one s/he thinks is relevant.

#249 ::: Bodhisvaha ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2018, 01:51 AM:

Joel Polowin @240:

My imagination suggested a scenario where messy negotiations about condoms/pregnancy are ongoing, and then (1) Terry suddenly decides not to use a condom because that’s what Commodorified has been asking for, and (2) Commodorified thinks they’ll be using a condom because Terry has been resisting having unprotected sex, and (3) they don’t actually check in with each other in time.

While I can’t speak further to the details of this situation, I have far too much experience of how events that cause complicated, murky emotions at the time, seem to have bright lines between right and wrong drawn on them when I look back. At least more so than when I was in the middle of them.

#250 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2018, 02:41 AM:

I should give some context. Merav and I have been friends for many years. Marna is local to me, and we have been acquaintances for quite a while; she and I share a number of social contacts of varying degrees of closeness. I'm fairly sure of the facts of the case, given other information that I have, but I'm still trying to figure out what to do. If I take any public stand, I'm going to get bitten... and I've already got quite a lot on my plate.

I'm not poly. I don't get poly. Many of my friends are poly, and I try to accept it. I go to some poly-community social events, in part to get used to that social environment. In general, what people do -- Poly Stuff -- is none of my business. But this particular case, where people whom I know have harmed other people whom I know, is my business.

#251 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2018, 10:37 AM:

Well, one thing's for damn sure, we're not going to solve the truth of it here.

My @214 is mostly because I'd seen mention somewhere that, in that moment, people seemed to be backing away from Terry and I didn't want to be one of those.

I've tried poly. I like the idea in principle. But my experience and observation leads me to think that the human race has considerable evolving to do before it really becomes a viable option.

#253 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2018, 11:51 AM:

I am having trouble envisioning a scenario in which the sex is consensual but the lack on condom is not, in terms of “Let’s do it, put on a condom” -> “Don’t wanna condom” -> “Well drat, let’s do it anyway” (grudging consent?) or “Then stop” (clear non-consent)?

Or second step “OK, condom on” and then surreptitious removal before entry? Or condom failure partway through which she doesn’t notice but he notices and doesn’t rectify? Would the difference be immediately obvious, or is that question too variable wrt relative sizes, amount of lube/libido etc.?

I’m posing this as a relatively abstract question rather than wrt the particular individuals in this case.

#254 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2018, 04:12 PM:

Julie L. @253 - A completely abstract suggestion for your completely abstract question: Partners had previously agreed to have sex, but one was not awake / not sober / not aware enough to give active consent to the deviation from the previously-agreed-upon terms when the other initiated the activity. I recall having read about such an instance of "a lovely way to be woken up" going sour, a few years ago -- a first-person fiction piece, I think.

#255 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2018, 07:19 PM:

Jacque #251: My understanding is that poly is basically the 300-level course in Love. Not everybody can hack it -- for myself, while I don't have any moral objections to the idea, I'm pretty sure that my temperament and social limits would rule out anything too fancy.

As far as the social situation with Terry... It's a nasty situation, and this sort of thing can often force communities to split.

For my own position, I've never met Terry IRL, but I do think I've gotten some sense of him from his posts. The accuser here is claiming a single incident from nearly 10 years ago, presented in isolation... and that incident sharply contradicts what I have heard and seen of Terry's character, not to mention raising additional questions.

Meanwhile, Terry and his wife are talking about a much lengthier and messier course of events with a lot more context, and I find their account much more plausible. There's also their claim to have chat logs supporting their account. I'm well aware that I'm not directly involved in the conflict (thank Ghu), but my own inclination is to believe Terry and especially his wife's account.

#256 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2018, 08:54 PM:

Dave: Yes, exactly. I haven't had the spoons to deconstruct my thinking in any detail, but yours parallels mine very closely.

#257 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2018, 09:09 PM:

I've been mulling over whether or what to write about all this, and here Dave has come along and I can just say "This". Thanks, Dave.

#258 ::: SunflowerP ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2018, 04:48 AM:

Dave Harmon @255: Yes, that's pretty much my thinking as well.

#259 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2018, 11:42 AM:

I am also with Dave.

#260 ::: Lori ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2018, 02:44 PM:

I've been puzzling over this for days -- Dave, thank you for clarifying, it chimes with my perception of Terry from his writings here.

I'm sorry for everyone involved in this, and wish for them a solution that gives all of them peace.

#261 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2018, 03:52 PM:

It clashes with *my* sense of Terry IRL, from first meeting him when he was a teenager.

#262 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2018, 07:44 PM:

I'm trying to be conscientious about not automatically believing the party who presents their case in a more articulate way.

#263 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2018, 09:27 AM:

Jenny Islander @222: I highly recommend The Flash! The relationship dynamics among anyone associated with the main cast are really healthy, conflicts are handled in fairly emotionally intelligent ways, the plots are decent, violence and fights are ungory, and they actually don't go laughably bad on time travel. Male-male familial and family bonds are allowed to be emotional and vulnerable, which keeps shocking me. I wish it didn't. I wish other shows did it all the time.

My 9-year-old really likes it, and she's not into gory or scary.

Also Supergirl, which has some crossover; Arrow is MUCH DARKER and very adult, don't go there. Legends of Tomorrow spins off of all of them (and uses a lot of Flash-generated characters), and is a bit darker than Flash but still not gory.

#264 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2018, 09:34 AM:

Friend and familial. Dang it.

#265 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2018, 04:33 PM:

Elliott Mason: 9-year-old

9 years old? Wait—I thought she was a toddler! ("Well yes, she was. Six years ago." o.0)

#266 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2018, 06:40 PM:

David Mantel, a Baltimore/DC fan died of unknown causes yesterday.


David Mantel was someone I've known for a long time-- he did a tremendous amount to get my stuff organized when I moved to Philadelphia.

He was consistently good-hearted and interested in the world.


Eulogy by Sue Cochran, quoted with permission:

It is with a very saddened heart that I write these words, to let you know that we have lost another fannish friend this day. David Mantel was found in his house this afternoon by his girlfriend. Irene Teodoro She called me to tell me the terrible news, and when I asked what I could do to help, she asked me to help her get the word out to the fannish community.

Dave and I had been friends for over 20 years. He was always happy to hear from me and to spend time together. He was so generous with his love, his time, his knowledge, and his money for friends in need of those things.

It is such a shock, because although he had suffered for years from Lyme Disease, he seemed to otherwise be in fair health, and the last time I spoke with him, just a few days ago, he was getting over the effects of some gasoline poisoning from laying on the ground to, of course, fix a car, not realizing that he was absorbing a previous gas spill into his body through his skin. He told me he was feeling much better, and that he planned to at least possibly attend Chessiecon in Baltimore on Thanksgiving weekend.

Dave helped me so much over the years with setting up phone and computer systems, when I was confined to a wheelchair for about half of 2017 while living at friends' home in West Springfield, VA, he built me a ramp so I could continue to work making jewelry in their slightly sunken living room, and he saved me thousands of dollars and a lot of anxiety by diagnosing what was wrong with my car after Merchant's Tire presented me with an estimated $3,000.00 bill for "necessary repairs". He came down to my home, spent many hours inspecting the car, explaining to me as he went what he was doing and what was bogus about Mercgat's estimate - just about all of it. The next day he took me to his trusted mechanic, and loaned me the $500.00 or so of actual repairs ny car needed.

I am still in shock. Irene said that an autopsy will be performed, although I don't know under whose auspices it will be done. The only living relative of Dave's is his sister. I don't know her contact information but I imagine that Irene does. More as I learn it. Rest in peace, Dave.

#267 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2018, 01:36 AM:

Elliott Mason@263: I've been watching Flash since the beginning and love it, but I am compelled to respond to your "not laughably bad on time travel" with the phrase "time remnant". I mean, come on – I don't care how fast you can run, traveling through time just has no way to generate a causally-disconnected copy of yourself. Doesn't work.

#268 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2018, 08:26 AM:

David Goldfarb #267: Haven't watched the show, but my understanding is that timelines are in play throughout the Marvel Universe (multiverse). I could imagine a timebending speedster pulling a close alternate into their wake.

#269 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2018, 10:09 AM:

Nancy Lebovitz @ 266 ...
David Mantel, a Baltimore/DC fan died of unknown causes yesterday.

Nancy -- I didn't know David, but it sounds like he was an amazing person.

#270 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2018, 12:47 PM:

Dave Harmon @268: Flash is DC, not Marvel.

#271 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2018, 07:00 PM:

I just found out this mess was dropped here.

There isn’t any practical light I can shed here; if for no other reason than addressing it, in media res is problematic in the extreme, and just saying, “I didn’t do what is described” isn’t really helpful either.

I have made a detailed response at my Dreamwidth, since I seem unable to make the HTML work from my iPad, I have to use the raw link.

#272 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2018, 09:07 PM:

Terry: Well I, for one, was glad to get a heads-up about the mess.

I hope you & your wife are doing okay.

#273 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2018, 09:15 PM:

And, in delicious open threadiness:

Bringing Back What's Stolen

Very interesting discussion of women in film and Fury Road in particular.

#274 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2018, 09:17 PM:

It was a hard week. We had a friend die, there was the synagogue shooting (and my wife has friends who are attenders at congregations which meet there).

I have thoughts, but the meta issues are now difficult to talk about, because the personal aspects contaminate it.

The worst part was the time between someone telling us it was out there (because we cut all ties about eight years ago right now) and getting our statements written.

Having said my piece I can go back to saying what I feel like, without second guessing how it reads.

#275 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2018, 06:22 AM:

It's just past 11:11 in my timezone, so I'l leave this here:

The Great War, ninety years on

#276 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2018, 11:43 AM:


I just love their enthusiasm and persistence here. Also, it's surprisingly hard to hit a 3m trampoline from 165m up -- there's clearly a fair bit of turbulence near the dam face.

#277 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2018, 12:53 PM:

On this hundredth anniversary of the armistice, I recall Dave Luckett's poem about the true veteran's memorial, posted here in 2006.

#278 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2018, 01:06 PM:

My grandfather, John W. Beatty, served. A few days later he wrote in his diary: "We were located just outside of Audenarde and Oycke, Belgium. We received orders to cease all hostilities. We could scarcely believe the war was over."

#279 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2018, 02:13 PM:

by Siegfried Sassoon

EVERYONE suddenly burst out singing;
And I was filled with such delight
As prisoned birds must find in freedom,
Winging wildly across the white
Orchards and dark-green fields; on—on—and out of sight.

Everyone’s voice was suddenly lifted;
And beauty came like the setting sun:
My heart was shaken with tears; and horror
Drifted away ... O, but Everyone
Was a bird; and the song was wordless; the singing will never be done.

#280 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2018, 04:23 PM:

In Flanders Fields
John McCrae

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

#281 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2018, 09:24 PM:

In the spirit of the day and these other posts, I'll post this bit I wrote on LiveJournal 13 years ago.

The War is Over, We Live, Let Us Celebrate and Fight No More.

#282 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2018, 10:31 PM:

My great-grandfather, William Kent, gave a speech in Congress on April 27, 1914, about Peace in Mexico. A few paragraphs:

"It is simple to talk about war as something short and determinate; but when the longer we fight the less we are going to be understood and the more inherent hostility we are going to incur, in view of this irreconcilable situation, it is time to see whether in God's name we can not be led out of this hell. [Applause.]
"I am utterly sick at heart when I think of the petty futility that would sacrifice thousands of lives on the ground of preserving the national self-respect. Does any gentleman of to-day feel it incumbent upon him to kill every underbred, drunken bully that accosts him? When shall nations reach an equal sanity?"

And we're still wondering, over a century later. But we don't hear that sort of voice very often these days.

#283 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2018, 10:38 PM:

Thank you, Tom.

#284 ::: Theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2018, 12:25 PM:

Me @ #80: I made that cake on Friday as a test run for Thanksgiving. It's definitely a keeper. For the holiday I may use crush the amaretti for the glaze somewhat more coarsely than I did, to add a bit more crunch, but otherwise it worked perfectly.

#285 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2018, 01:36 PM:

#269 ::: xeger

We're now past what I consider to be a three day limit on what may be said about the dead. (I may make an exception for certain political figures.)

Everything in the eulogies is true, but...

David Mantel was also a very wearing person-- he talked compulsively and it was hard to say anything to him. He'd repeat himself, too.

Unfortunately, I'd figured out a conversational protocol which would have helped (I checked and he said he didn't mind being interrupted) but I didn't get around to talking with him again before he died.

And still, I was just reminded of Harbor Freight, which was a source of decent cheap tools-- he convinced me to get one of their presses, and it was very useful for me. And I found out about New Egg from him, a good source of discounted computers.

As a general thing, I wish we could have a better balance between what we hear at eulogies (the good points about people don't get mentioned nearly enough), but to listen to eulogies, you'd think difficult people never die.

#286 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2018, 02:48 PM:

Stan Lee has died, at 95. You can pick your favorite obit -- there will be thousands. I just want to say that he had an amazing life, and ended it doing very much what he wanted to do: entertaining people and laughing about it all. He had a huge ego, and sometimes used it to others' detriment: still and all, he gave people a good time over and over again. I'll miss his cameos in the Marvel films.

#287 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2018, 03:50 PM:

I just linked Terry’s raw URL @271. Just telling everyone so you don’t all think ML’s back end does that automatically or something.

#288 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2018, 05:38 PM:

Avram: We offer up fine comestibles to the gnomes for a reason. :-)

#289 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2018, 08:26 AM:

Nancy Lebovitz @ 285 ...
We're now past what I consider to be a three day limit on what may be said about the dead. (I may make an exception for certain political figures.)

Heh. (I suspect you're not the only one)

Everything in the eulogies is true, but...

I'm reminded of Friends, Romans, Countrymen

David Mantel was also a very wearing person-- he talked compulsively and it was hard to say anything to him. He'd repeat himself, too. Unfortunately, I'd figured out a conversational protocol which would have helped (I checked and he said he didn't mind being interrupted) but I didn't get around to talking with him again before he died.

What would that be? It'd be something useful to add to my collection of "ways to deal with trying people".

And still, I was just reminded of Harbor Freight, which was a source of decent cheap tools-- he convinced me to get one of their presses, and it was very useful for me. And I found out about New Egg from him, a good source of discounted computers.

I've bought from both as well -- re: Newegg, however -- they recently exposed customer credit card info between Aug. 14 and Sept. 18, 2018, so you might want to double-check if you bought from them during that time.

As a general thing, I wish we could have a better balance between what we hear at eulogies (the good points about people don't get mentioned nearly enough), but to listen to eulogies, you'd think difficult people never die.

The phrase "Live on in our memories" always sounds trite to me -- but the idea of telling stories (good and bad -- but as you said, balanced) about people that have died as a way of recognizing/remembering them is one that I'm definitely in favour of.

#290 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2018, 11:38 AM:

My one personal interaction with Stan Lee was "off stage," and was very funny.

I was tasked with driving him and his old friend Julie Schwartz from a campus convention site to their hotel.

They were chatting and laughing outside of the lecture hall as I approached. Old friends catching up; kind of sweet to see.

"Mr. Lee? Mr. Schwartz? I'm Stefan, I'll be taking you to the hotel."

"HAH-Hah-hah!" says Stan, "'Mr. Lee' he calls me! When did we get this old?" (Or maybe "Do I really look that old?" . . . it's been 25 years!)

I don't remember much about the ride; it was just two old buddies reminiscing fondly.

#291 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2018, 12:00 PM:

At the Harlan Ellison memorial panel this year, I set a ground rule that people should only tell Harlan stories that they were actually there for. There were a mix of positive and problematic stories, but at least they were non-apocryphal. For some people, there are more stories about them than could actually happen in a lifetime.

#292 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2018, 07:03 PM:

#289 ::: xeger

The conversational protocol was establishing that he didn't mind being interrupted. This meant I didn't need to wait for a pause that might never happen.

#293 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2018, 10:36 PM:

Time for some pure jazz dancing joy.

Jazz Roots

#294 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2018, 12:22 AM:

Sad news to pass along: Janet Grouchy, one of the stalwarts of modern 4th Street Fantasy, has died after getting heart surgery. I have no more details than that at this point.

#295 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2018, 12:15 PM:

I was sorry to learn of the death of my fellow Apatooner, Fred Patten.

On the other hand, because he's been sick for a while, he was able to witness himself the outpouring of affection from a lot of people in the fandom(s) he touched, and that does warm this heart a bit. It's good to honor deserving people who are alive.

His obit in File 770 has more, and there are links in the comments to still more, including tributes from his fellow furries.

#296 ::: Older ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2018, 02:42 PM:

I've been reading about the -- misunderstanding -- above, with considerable interest. I don't know any of the people involved.

But I have recently been back in touch with a long-time off-and-on lover. And it's been quite an eye-opener.

We both seem to have learned some new communication skills since the last time we broke up, and we've been talking about a lot of things ...

We have a lot of things to talk about as we are both about 80 years old, and have been together (and apart) since we were 30. We have a child together, now in his 50s, who is currently not speaking to me, and in the recent past was not speaking to his father.

But the real news and the real learning is that, first, situations that I thought were serious, he didn't even notice and doesn't remember, and vice versa; and things that were misunderstood at the time were never straightened out back then, despite the wishes, and efforts, of both of us.

There's a lot of "why didn't we" and "didn't you realize what I would think?" and so on.

Meanwhile, I am married for over 30 years to a man with whom I underwent the most through and strenuous relationship-building work about midway in our time together. I could wish that my long-time lover and I had done the same, but where would that leave us, all three of us, now?

It is what it is, and we must make the best of it, and so must the two people who remember the current problematic situation differently. I urge you all to try to see that a) we cannot always agree on "what happened", and b) we should not lose a friend over it, if at all possible.

#297 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2018, 04:30 PM:

For the interest of any voting geeks: the state of Maine used a preferential ballot for federal offices in the voting last week. (State offices weren't subject to this because the state constitution explicitly allows election-by-plurality for those offices; inference is that it doesn't mention federal offices, so the move to a preferential ballot could be done by last June's referendum rather than a constitutional amendment.) The Republican candidate got 46.3% of the vote to 45.6% for the Democrat and is now (big surprise) suing to prevent the preferential vote from being calculated. (The Boston Globe story sounded like Maine was not really prepared for this.) The story has dropped off the Globe's front page (and their archives have been broken by being handed over to a 3rd party); NPR covers most of it.

#298 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2018, 05:24 PM:

So, this is pretty cool: I just took a call from a guy who turned out to be closely related to the Admiral Halsey of Abbey Road fame.

#299 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2018, 06:54 PM:

Jacque, was he notifying you of something?

#300 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2018, 09:50 AM:

Kip: He was requesting some dull-and-boring information.

#301 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2018, 05:06 PM:

Jenny Islander #64:

I had literally hundreds of allspice (pimento) trees in my backyard. For values of backyard that equal a 200+ acre farm. They made my summers tedious. Only at the end, when the berries ripened (they’re dark purple when ripe) was it enjoyable. Then, we could eat the berries and my father made liqueur from them. The liqueur I can take, but the scent of dried allspice brings back complicated memories and sick headaches.

#302 ::: oldster ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2018, 09:53 PM:

Fragano @301

That is the essence of exotic, to this boring American. If you told me that you made sand-castles on a beach of rubies, and trained a tame phoenix to eat from your hand, it would not be much more fantastical.

I must say that my own feelings about allspice are a bit complicated, too--anything more than the tiniest amounts is an unwelcome, cloying, heaviness. But my memories of it involve snowy days and holiday cookies, not green leaves and dark purple berries.

What a rich world we live in. I hope its richness will survive for a few more centuries.

#303 ::: Theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2018, 09:38 AM:

Corned beef! You want allspice in the pickling brine!

#304 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2018, 10:59 AM:

Corned beef, man. Now I'm remembering the corned beef Aunt Mary pressure cooked all day until it was so tender you could just mention that you had a fork and it would fall apart. That was close to a half century ago, and I still perk up at the words "corned beef."

#305 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2018, 03:36 PM:

Open thready stuff:

Sorry to hear of all the various losses and difficulties.

We went on vacation (a cruise through the Greek isles, followed by three overwhelming days in Rome) and came back to a dead furnace (cracked heat exchanger, 24 year old model; apparently one doesn't fix that) and an upcoming snowstorm. Three days later and the furnace guys are just finishing up.

In case someone needs to know this fact, if you've heroically heated the bedroom from 53 degrees to 63, and you dive under the pile of nice insulating blankets, IT'S STILL 53 UNDER THERE.

Open Thready question: A guy who was on the cruise (I've known him a while) is a 70-year-old engineer who is fixated on climate change being wrong. He's not just trolling, he's self-published a couple books on the topic. I finally, when I was at a computer, tried to engage and he sent me a bunch of relevant chapters.

I spot checked a few things and they were really bad. Like one of his points is "Carbon dioxide was at 6000 PPM once, how 'bout that?" And that was 550 million years ago, which he mentioned, but before multicellular animals evolved, which he didn't. Or one of his "well-known authorities on sea level rise" is also a well-known proponent of dowsing AND is arguing with the people who make and operate satellites that they, the satellites, are not correctly calibrated by them, the people who made the satellites. Or "scientists are just agreeing with climate change because they want sweet free grant money, and apparently getting paid by Saudi Aramco and others of the largest corporations in the world has not occurred to them."

I'm not sure what I'm asking here. Is it "How do I give up on the argument?" Is it "Is there any way he's going to see reason?" Is it "Why is does it feel like it's always engineers who go off the rails like this?"

So ... grant me the serenity to accept him, or a bigger hammer. Suggestions appreciated.

#306 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2018, 06:53 PM:

He won't see reason, and yeah, engineers are prone to thinking that they can fix anything, even if it's way the hell outside their field of knowledge. (My father was an engineer. Fortunately he died before he got to that stage, and before Fox was around to eat his brain.)

#307 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2018, 07:15 PM:

Sandy B. #305: No hope, I'm afraid. For pure wrongheadedness, it's hard to beat an engineer who's trying to be "the smart one" outside their field.

#308 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2018, 07:19 PM:

Sandy B. @305: In case someone needs to know this fact, if you've heroically heated the bedroom from 53 degrees to 63, and you dive under the pile of nice insulating blankets, IT'S STILL 53 UNDER THERE.

LOL. Yes, it was quite a revelation to me when I came to understand that insulation works both ways. (Which, incidentally, is why you don't shave your double-coated dog in the summer to keep her cool. That fur looks really hot, but it actually makes it possible for the dog, as long as she's hydrated, to keep her core temperature below ambient, when necessary. (This presumes shade; direct sunlight...changes the equation.))

70-year-old engineer who is fixated on climate change being wrong

I file climate change deniers in the same mental slot as anti-evolutionists. Basically, I try once to talk sense to them. After that, Do Not Engage. If he's got enough going on to do research, than he can do the research himself. I wouldn't expend energy beyond "—'K." and a good long side-eye. So, yeah. Bigger hammer.

(Oh, and the latest nonsense I ran across the other day? Torus-Earth. They have some...interesting rationales for things like orbital motion.)

#309 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2018, 07:20 PM:

Addendum: to be fair, the engineers are maybe actually not be wrong that this is a fixable problem (given time, will, and resources). But the first step to the fix? Correctly identifying the problem.

#310 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2018, 07:47 PM:

As far as warming up the bed under the blankets - I've used a heating pad for that, with some success.

#311 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2018, 07:49 PM:

Jacque @308: Oh, and the latest nonsense I ran across the other day? Torus-Earth.

<*eye roll*> As Pratchett and Gaiman pointed out in Good Omens, the Earth's a Libra.

#312 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2018, 08:03 PM:

I learned to turn down the covers when warming up my bedroom. Helps some.

Mostly, though, I like to get under the covers and shiver until I get warm, which tends to put me to sleep.

#313 ::: Jeremy Leader ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2018, 09:10 PM:

We have something we call a "body warmer", it's a flannel bag smaller than a throw pillow, filled with buckwheat hulls or similar (I once helped my son make a home-made one filled with rice). You put it in the microwave for a couple minutes, long enough that it's quite warm to the touch, but not so long it starts smoking. Ours were originally intended for soothing sore muscles, but they also help with cold beds. With a new one, we heat it 30 seconds or so at a time, to ensure we stop before the smoking point. Once we know the needed heating time, we typically heat it half that amount on one side, and then turn it over and microwave it on the other side, to get it evenly warm.

#314 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2018, 11:36 PM:

I appreciate all the suggestions for warming a bed.

As our bedroom is now room temperature, hopefully we won't need them for a long time.

#315 ::: Anne Sheller ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2018, 11:39 PM:

I have some pieces of marble, sections of what was intended as a threshold, in the oven right now, with it set a bit over 200 F. In a little while they'll go into the bed, then get shifted around several times before I shove them over to the far side and climb in. While that's going on, my PJ's will be in a shoebox in the oven; it'll be off by then, but still warm. When I'm ready to turn in, I'll put on warm PJ's and lie down in a warm bed. Then Michelle will pounce on my feet, Nevada will start licking my face, and Gandalf will start growling at Michelle, so I still won't be able to sleep, but at least I'll be comfortable while waiting for them to settle down.

#316 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2018, 05:52 PM:

FWIW, a brick, heated in the oven[0] for ~30m at 300F gives off a nice amount of heat for some time.

[0] Not the microwave. If the brick is at all damp, it could go boom [1]

#317 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2018, 08:35 PM:

My sister-in-law gave us an electric mattress pad, years ago. Best cold-weather gift* I've ever gotten. Assuming we have power, and assuming we remember a half hour before we go to bed... the BED IS ALWAYS WARM.

*The best gift I've ever gotten with no qualifiers is my copy of the OED....

#318 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2018, 02:23 AM:

This is actually Russ Ault at the keyboard. Lee's condition has been worsening of late, and the short version is that the resurgence of the cancer is the reason that she has gone silent online. While I would like to pretend that there is still some hope for a recovery, the prospects seem so dim at this point that it's getting hard for me to keep the "don't give up" face on for her. The pain is now bad enough that we've resorted to Fentanyl patches, she's not maintaining enough fluid intake to prevent dehydration, and her cognition has suffered accordingly.

Lee is not aware that I am posting this. I want to keep the illusion of hope alive as long as I can.

#319 ::: Anne Sheller ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2018, 02:54 AM:

Russ @318 - I'm so sorry to hear that. Please keep us posted when you can.

#320 ::: SunflowerP ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2018, 02:54 AM:

Russ not-Lee @318: I am so sorry to hear that. Supportive hugs to both of you.

#321 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2018, 03:49 AM:


Thank you for coming and posting this. A painful decision to make, a painful thing to do, right when everything probably hurts so very much.

I'm finding it hard to even contemplate a world that might not have Lee in it for a long time yet, and we aren't at all close. I'm so sorry you're dealing with this.

Much love to your entire household.

#322 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2018, 06:36 AM:

Lee!Russ #318: Dammit. Thank you for telling us, but it's hard to see another light going out of the world.

In a similar vein: William Goldman dead at 87. He was known for a lot of screenplays, but around here he might be best known for his novel and screenplay, The Princess Bride.

Abi: I'm finding it hard to even contemplate a world that might not have Lee in it for a long time yet, and we aren't at all close.

Inconceivable... :-(

#323 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2018, 10:17 AM:

I was hoping she'd get the good results I did.

#324 ::: Singing Wren ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2018, 01:32 PM:

318: What everyone else said, and also this - the world is a better place for having Lee in it. I always did look forward to her posts here.

#325 ::: estelendur ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2018, 02:49 PM:

@318: I am sad to hear that. :( I wish for both of you as much comfort and support as you can find.

#326 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2018, 03:49 PM:

@318, thank you for telling us, Russ. That can't have been easy to write. <hugs> if welcome.

#327 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2018, 03:51 PM:

::raises glass::

Nothing better to say.

#328 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2018, 03:55 PM:

I'm glad that I met Lee, however in passing, in Kansas City.

#329 ::: Tom Whtimore ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2018, 04:58 PM:

Very sorry to hear of Lee's difficulties, and keeping good thoughts for her.

I'm traveling (Tokyo) and will be posting very little for a couple of weeks.

#330 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2018, 04:59 PM:

Russ @ 318 - thank you for taking the time to let us know, amongst everything else going on. Good thoughts and wishes to both of you.

#331 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2018, 05:52 PM:

I'm so very sorry, Russ. Lee is a good person with so many intelligent things to say. The world is a better place for having her in it, and will be much diminished by her passing.

Good wishes for her for a miraculous recovery if possible, or an easy transition if not, an it be her own will; good wishes for strength and healing for you in either event, an it be yours.

#332 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2018, 06:24 PM:

Very sorry to hear about this, Russ. Lee is a good person. My thoughts to you both.

#333 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2018, 06:58 PM:

Russ, I'm sorry. Thanks for updating us, sad as it is.

#334 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2018, 07:15 AM:

Russ @318 I'm another who always looked forward to Lee's posts. Thank you for letting us know.

#335 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2018, 10:47 AM:

Sandy B @ 305: every now and then there's a justification for the purblind--technical-type stereotype that so irritates those of us who [used to be] in such a profession. It's especially irritating because most of us understand the boundaries of our deep knowledge (unlike, e.g., Shockley (of transistor fame) and his racist claims). I mostly just walk away as the odds of there being a way to get them to accept input contradictory to their beliefs are about as good as the young Bronson's were in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest; I admire people who keep trying, but I have nothing positive to offer.

Joel Polowin @ 311: and double <*eye roll*> to you for the pun -- which I'll have to remember in case the stream of religious cranks and electricity sellers on my doorstep ever gets leavened with that particular nutjobbery.

!Lee@318: that hurts; it sounded some months ago like she was doing better, but cancer is unpredictable (as I expect many other people here know). Don't forget to take care of yourself while dealing with this; keeping a good face takes energy.

#336 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2018, 09:37 AM:

Sandy B @ 305:

Engineers can have a distressing tendency toward crankery. Speaking as an engineer, I suspect it's a combination of having a technical education, having a problem-solving nature, the often small-c conservative nature of the field (e.g. past experience and safety margins), the often large-C Conservative associations of some of the engineer-employing industries, and the focus on practical, applied history and knowledge over research and experimentation. At least in my experience, the filtering of scientific and engineering knowledge has already happened by the time it makes it to engineers, so engineers never have to deal with sorting out good knowledge from bad.

Relatedly, I thought someone had linked to an article in the sidebar about how engineers tended to skew politically conservative, but I can't seem to find it just now.

And now I'm thinking of one of the engineers who mentored me for many years. I learned a lot from him. He was a very intelligent guy, and very knowledgeable in his field, but also didn't believe in anthropogenic global warming, believed Atlantis was plausible, and his favorite book was Atlas Shrugged. I'll give him a pass on the last one, since he grew up in Communist Hungary and eventually managed to escape from behind the Iron Curtain, but still.

That said, I was also heartened a few months ago. During a break at an oil refinery safety orientation class, the topic got on to the subject of the abnormal weather and how the seasons weren't what they once were. The entire room of about 30 engineers and craftspeople, including a couple who I had pegged as definitely Republicans, started to talk about global warming being responsible. No one tried to address the topic of what caused it, but no one tried to deny it wasn't happening either.

#337 ::: oldster ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2018, 09:46 AM:

"Engineers of Jihad"
Diego Gambetta Steffen Hertog

Abstract. We find that graduates from subjects such as science, engineering, and medicine are strongly overrepresented among Islamist movements in the Muslim world, though not among the extremist Islamic groups which have emerged in Western countries more recently. We also find that engineers alone are strongly over-represented among graduates in violent groups in both realms. This is all the more puzzling for engineers are virtually absent from left-wing violent extremists and only present rather than over-represented among right-wing extremists. We consider four hypotheses that could explain this pattern.

#338 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2018, 09:57 AM:

oldster @ 337: Thanks!

#339 ::: oldster ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2018, 10:10 AM:

KeithS @338 -- my pleasure.

Gambetta & Hertog later worked that paper up into a 2016 book:

#340 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2018, 06:05 PM:

Elliott Mason, you wrote in #263, recommending The Flash:

My 9-year-old really likes it, and she's not into gory or scary.

I understood you had a toddler. Where did you get the 9-year-old?

#341 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2018, 02:04 AM:

1AM CST Wednesday, November 21 update about Lee: It's mostly bad news. The combined debilitating effects of the cancer itself, the pain meds, and the dehydration have left Lee almost entirely unresponsive at this point. I fear that the medical oncologist's evaluation placing her expectation in days or at most a couple of weeks is probably going to be right. I'll be sleeping in the other recliner tonight to keep an ear open for noises.

#342 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2018, 03:35 AM:


Good thoughts of every kind, for both you and Lee.

#343 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2018, 08:02 AM:

Russ (341): Strength to you, and good thoughts for both you and Lee.

#344 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2018, 09:38 AM:

Thank you for keeping us updated, Russ, and especially being there for Lee.

#345 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2018, 12:22 PM:

Russ, I'm very sorry to hear about Lee, and about what you're going through. Please try to take care of yourself.

#346 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2018, 10:05 PM:

Russ #341: My sympathies and condolences. May things go as well as they can, and may her memory be a blessing.

#348 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2018, 08:29 PM:

"...This is the first half??" Hee hee hee.

Dude, they call it Epic Fantasy for a reason.

#349 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2018, 08:54 PM:

In case anyone is wondering what appalling behavior the rest of the western world is up to, these from the BBC:

Marks&Spencer refuse to drop a grossly sexist window display (~"He needs power suits, she needs lingerie")

French mayor cheers woman-on-train-tracks poster

#350 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2018, 01:11 PM:

Via book of Face: "Lee Billings, 9 May 1956 - 22 November 2018
Survived by her seven cats and her domestic partner of 20 years, Russ Ault (posting this).
There will be a memorial service of some sort at a later date. There will be no funeral. Lee requested that her remains be cremated. I will be collecting remembrances to sort through for the memorial. They can be emailed to rault42 at gmail dot com."

#351 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2018, 01:12 PM:

P.S. Fuck cancer.

#352 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2018, 01:25 PM:

Lee had a deep reservoir of good cheer and good sense. I will miss her.

#353 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2018, 01:51 PM:

Trash cancer. Then fill the dumpster with quick-set concrete and dump it in the Marianas Trench.

#354 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2018, 02:43 PM:

Making Light has been, in many ways, a place of the heart for me over the past 16 years (approximately). The friendship here has sustained me at critical moments of my recent past, and I can only hope that I have made some small commitment to the health of the community.

One of the first reminders of the nature of this community, and its basis in friendship, was my first encounter with a Fluorospherian, Lee Billings, who shocked me by calling me by my name at a con in Birmingham, Alabama (she'd seen my photograph on LiveJournal). Lee was a good friend to Gail, my wife, and myself. We'd see her each year at GaFilk, and at other cons around the country. It is hard to believe that the old crab has taken her. All I keep doing is flashing back to the unexpected moment of hearing a voice cry out "Fragano!" at the one and only OmegaCon, and missing Lee.

I can only wish the best for Russ.

#355 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2018, 02:58 PM:

Oldster #302: No processes are seen as the same when viewed from different ends. I'm glad you find moderate amounts of allspice enjoyable. I have known lots of farmers who would have gladly downed a Red Stripe to your health.

#356 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2018, 03:32 PM:

Fuck cancer. No, SPAY cancer, castrate it, render it sterile and impotent and dead, bury it in cursed ground with a stake through its heart, and spit when saying its name.

#357 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2018, 03:46 PM:

I'll miss Lee.

#359 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2018, 07:22 PM:

I as well. I never met her except online, but I enjoyed her posts and presence. The world is a little smaller and less rich.

#360 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2018, 11:05 PM:

Since I knew Lee through science fiction fandom, I like to imagine her departure like this. (via)

#361 ::: SunflowerP ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2018, 12:49 AM:

A thousand of bread
A thousand of beer
A thousand of every good thing
May Lee ascend, and may her loved ones be comforted.

#362 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2018, 09:22 AM:

I think all of us will miss Lee! But sic transit gloria mundii....

Thanksgiving at my place was lovely as usual. Between my nephew's girlfriend and my non-local sister bringing her dog¹ along, we were up to six teenagers and three dogs, and needed to set up a "kid's table" for IIRC the first time at Mom's place. Everybody got along, and all the dogs got and gave lots of smoochies.

Friday I went back to work at the bookstore, and we had a solid Black Friday with lots of business, as well as getting almost all our incoming-books-on-hand marked and shelved.

¹ Amusingly, on Wednesday I met a local woman with a dog of the same breed and name (an unusual one) as Abby's. Different color though.

#363 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2018, 01:17 PM:

<hugs> to Ross, and to all of Lee's friends, virtual and in person, who are missing her today.

#364 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2018, 02:57 PM:

So, anybody else here ever watch Sapphire & Steel? It had been on my list for ages, because David McCallum.

I had vaguely expected it to be some sort of Cold War spy thing but it's—not?

I just finished over the weekend and it never got any...clearer. And that last episode? Wha—?

#365 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2018, 02:58 PM:

Insight has landed!

#366 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2018, 03:12 PM:

The new Mars probe has reminded me of a long-standing puzzlement about a Golden Age story, “The Holes Around Mars” by Jerome Bixby ( I will probably smack my head and roll around howling at a retrospectively obvious explanation, but how/why is that last line a pun instead of just dog-Latin/Greek?

#367 ::: estelendur ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2018, 03:54 PM:

Julie L @366: Perhaps a reference to Randolph soiling himself...? Otherwise I got nothin'.

#368 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2018, 04:27 PM:

Jacque (364): I watched it, but that was more than thirty years ago and I've forgotten all of the details.

So I'm no help. Sorry.

#369 ::: Sten ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2018, 06:35 PM:

Julie #366: All I can think of is that It was the bottom-most moon? (As well as having to end in -os, of course.)

#370 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2018, 07:02 PM:


I'm pretty sure that Sten@369 has it right. Basically he named the moon "Bottom-most", since its orbit was below the other two moon's orbit.

#371 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2018, 07:05 PM:

Hmm. I guess I’m stuck on trying to figure out any mythological/linguistic links to Phobos and Deimos. Continued search-flailing brings up Bottomos/Botomus as an occasional typo for Botumos, the species name for rushes (zoom!), but idk if the original audience would’ve been expected to pick that up if that’s even intentional. And how would rush plants relate to warfare anyway?

#372 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2018, 07:55 PM:

Jacque @ #364: Wha—?

Sapphire and Steel was a show that ran on atmosphere much more than literal plot mechanics; there's not much use asking questions like "Who are Sapphire and Steel, exactly?" because the answers are not to be found in the show. People who have tried asking the showrunner questions like that usually get the answer that he doesn't know either.

It's probably one of those "journey not destination" things that either works for you or it doesn't. I quite like it, myself, but then I had some idea what to expect going in.

#373 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2018, 07:58 PM:

...and now I'm going to have to go away and think about the idea of Sapphire and Steel as a "sort of Cold War spy thing". It had never occurred to me before, but now that the idea's sitting there, I'm seeing quite a few parallels.

#374 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2018, 07:52 AM:

Julie L. @ 371: I doubt there was any connection to mythology as that would have been too arcane for the readers; I think it was just the descriptor respelled to look like it matched the other two.

#375 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2018, 11:15 AM:

Paul A @372: a show that ran on atmosphere much more than literal plot mechanics

A little ways into the second episode, that was pretty much the conclusion I came to. I got the sense that (their excuse anyway was that) it was pitched as "avante garde" and "experimental." (And not for nothing: extremely cheap to produce.) "Evocative" is what I think they were going for. "Disembodied" is more how it felt to me. But then, I am of neither the time nor the place of its origin, so ::shrug::?

I did find it haunting, and it stuck with me enough that I did watch it all the way through the...12 hours or so? I imagine it was more effective when you only got twenty minutes or so a week. It does not stand up to bingeing well, where the plot holes (like, the hole where the plot would be?) become glaringly obvious.

But I can't say that I found it all that "successful," for whatever value of "success" one would apply beyond getting funding and getting the thing made and aired. OTOH, here I am spending how many words looking for someone to chew it over with? So it clearly made an impression.

...And that ending—dude, seriously?? (A cliffhanger that never got picked up in Series 7?)

Anyway. An "interesting" experience, and no more frustrating than a lot of the current crop of Netflix's stuff.

CHip: I dunno about the "too arcane." My sense of the readership of classic SF is that they were generally pretty well-read, and the mythology around Mars and "the dogs of war" doesn't seem all that obscure. As to the tag-line—maybe it was just a joke that didn't quite work?

#376 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2018, 11:23 AM:

Some thoughts for the day.

99 years ago, today, my father was born. He died 17 years ago, on 16 November, 2001, a day I remember not only because of the repeated phone calls of the night before, and that morning. My mother and my aunt Aida sought not to alarm me unduly as my father was struck by apoplexy and his light went out. My mind has run on this because my mother died on 14 May this year, at 88.

There is a certain chronological unfairness, the old man will never be 82 because the scissors cut him off eleven days short. Mummy will be perpetually 88 now; 88 complete years. This was the final slap of a life that had been a series of nothing but slaps and blows; he could not be the fullness of the age that he had actually lived, because he missed it by less than a fortnight. The life as a colonial subject, in Jamaica, dealing with the condensed and disguised racism of the years between the wars. The life as a colonial subject during the War. The life as a black immigrant to the United States in the midst of the War. The life as part of the Windrush Generation of migrants to the United Kingdom in the 1950s. A life so abstemious that he kept his ration books for more than fifteen years after rationing ended. The life as someone who returned to his native land somewhere above the station he’d left it, and gave his children lives that were closed to him.

My mother’s life had a longer arc, and, in some respects, a more painful one. Life in the Spain of the 1940s was no one’s idea of a picnic, either in terms of material life or of ideological life if you were more than one step to the left of Attila the Hun. Europe’s last fascist dictatorship was not a pleasant place when she left it for London in 1954.

That my parents met, at a palais de danse, that they stayed together for 45 years, until my father died, these things seem matters of miracle to me. Especially since I haven’t been able to match the latter one. I know what upset me about them. I know what angered me about them. I knew what I loved. I never knew that part of them, the part that belonged to each other, the part where they had room for love, not only for each other, but for us, the children.

There is nothing now between me and the big silence, except time and chance. I am less sure now than I was four decades ago of what is true gold and what’s painted aluminum. I look back at my parents and the certainties of their generation(s), those born between the great wars of the twentieth century, and the growing lack of certainty my own generation, born in the aftermath of those wars, possesses. I wish I had that certainty. I wish I had the Victorian values my father believed in, or the Catholic virtues my mother was force-fed. It has been a century since the Great War ended. I see its winds and its clouds everywhere. Even in the way that I think and feel about the world.
I wonder, as I go about my normal day, what my father would make of it. What would he make of the smart-phones and smart speakers that I can command, or the fact that I can go down to the dispensary and come home with ganja for my ills (on this last, I can almost hear him crying out “papishow!”)? How would he respond to my moving 700 miles from his birthplace, as opposed to two (as the crow flies)?

I am preoccupied with these questions because, face to face with the deaths of both my parents, and consequently of my own mortality and fragility, I am struck by the fact that two of the four generations of family I have known fit neatly into the post-Great War century. That the arc of our family history has been that of the worldwide middle class, upwards from the peasantry or yeomanry within the past century. It is not measured by miles (kilometres) travelled. Otherwise, it would look as if my father’s journey, which ended in Spain, was a lot longer than my mother’s, since she lies, next to my father, just a few kilometres from her birthplace. She crisscrossed the Atlantic to end up home. His ashes lie above my aunt Tina’s. That’s fitting. She didn’t have much time for black people.

I realise, now they’re both gone, that I have questions to which they alone had answers. Too late to ask them. I believe that happens to everyone. I also have answers to questions I never thought to ask. I wonder if I am any wiser for having learnt them?

#377 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2018, 02:06 PM:


The character who named the moon was someone who really LOVED puns (to the point that the rest of the crew tended to dread the indication of an upcoming pun). As characterized, he wouldn't have considered a mythological reference all necessary. What mattered to him is that he could get one of his puns permanently enshrined in the name of a moon.

#378 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2018, 05:21 PM:

Jacque @ #375: ...And that ending—dude, seriously?? (A cliffhanger that never got picked up in Series 7?)

Yes, as I understand it the final episode was written as a season finale cliffhanger, and then the show got cancelled. One thing the showrunner has admitted to knowing is how he had planned to get them out of it if the show had been renewed.

#379 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2018, 10:37 AM:

Anyone remember "Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future"? It wasn't a great show, but the ad campaign was pretty clever, with fake ads that would be broken into by staticky distress calls from the future. Phil Proctor was in one of those "ads"!

The series was an integral commercial for a line of toys, and was borderline 'interactive' in that at certain times, a fit-inducing video noise would fill the screen, and the viewer at home knew it was time to fire his toy weapon at the screen. A few moments later, there'd be an all-clear, and they'd let the kid at home know that he'd helped save the day again!

The last episode ended in a cliffhanger. They didn't know it was the last when they made it. A regular character had just died, and the rest of the good guys were in a tough spot, and with that, the show ended.

And in some living room, a plastic ray gun slips unnoticed from nerveless fingers and plops gently upon the carpet. A tear wells in the eye of the child who stares openmouthed at the screen. I've failed. I've let them down!

Sorry, kid. It's a tough universe.

#380 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2018, 01:45 PM:

Kip W @ 379:

I never watched Captain Power, but I am familiar with it because J Michael Straczynski was involved with it. He tried to make it a show that wasn't just another toy tie-in, and apparently left when the pressure to do just that became too great. He also used it as a trial run for storytelling techniques that he later used on Babylon 5.

#381 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2018, 11:41 PM:

Jacque @ 375: My sense of the readership of classic SF is that they were generally pretty well-read That's not my sense, but I'd be hard-pressed to say why; intellectually I know that good public libraries were generations old at that point, but there's a difference between having access to a library and having books at home. Some of the writers were certainly well-read, but that's a different set of people.

Fragano Ledgister @ 376: I realise, now they’re both gone, that I have questions to which they alone had answers. Too late to ask them. I believe that happens to everyone. I have no trouble believing that; I think there are questions we don't even know to ask until after our parents are gone -- sometimes from our own growing perspective as we age, and sometimes from what parents tell us too late for us to digest well enough to find the questions that follow.

#382 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2018, 12:57 AM:

So, I have more than once waxed rhapsodic about Boulder's premier hardware store. I was in there tonight, picking up kit to make another charcoal retort (because the manufacturing error in the first one I bought is becoming a real irritant, and also its capacity just isn't really sufficient).

They've got their (really, truly excessive, because McGuckin's) holiday merch out, and after passing it a few times, the bear doll finally penetrated my awareness. Quite credible little quarter(ish)-scale brown(?) bear, standing up on his hind legs. It's a little too sculpturey to qualify as a plush. More like a "lifelike statue"? (I'm pretty sure it would give a real bear a turn, at least at a distance.) I'm more than slightly tempted to buy it. Because of course I need a quarter-scale bear.

What really struck me (again), though, is how far the state of the art in fake fur has come since I was a kid. Looking at this thing, the fur is visually almost indistinguishable from the seal fur teddy bear my aunt sent me from Alaska back in the '60s. Much softer, of course, but astonishingly similar. Down to the undercoat coloring.

#383 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2018, 07:44 AM:

Jacque #382: Are you sure the fur was fake? ;-)

#384 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2018, 08:01 AM:

I'm not sure that 'well-read' is accurate either, or at least not without mentioning the idea of a canon and that being what makes one well-read. I've probably read more than many Original Classic Science Fiction Readers, but I haven't read more in a way that makes it easy to catch references-- there's a wider range of what to read, perhaps. Or maybe this is me imagining what the past was like and assuming there must have been less of what I like.

#385 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2018, 11:29 AM:

Diatryma #384: Yeah, but which canon? E.g., how many of the great Chinese novels have you read? And did you get the puns? ;-) And then there's background knowledge from umpty fields of science, sections and regimes of history, arts, "celebrity culture", various fandoms....

It's probably been at least a century since any one person could claim to be learned in "every field of human knowledge", (the "Renaissance Man"), and even then, the claim was pretty Western-centric.

#386 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2018, 12:38 PM:

CHip @381 -- From time to time, Heinlein was assuming that his juvenile readers would be familiar with things like some Dickens. One of his characters made a comment about being a "Barkis is willing" type, for example, and it wasn't possible to get a good idea of what that meant from the context.

#387 ::: Robert Glaub ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2018, 02:13 PM:

Moving today. From Laurel to Silver Spring. 120 boxes of books.

#388 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2018, 02:47 PM:

Robert Glaub #387: Best of luck, and try not to throw your back out!

#389 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2018, 11:50 PM:

Okay, Colorado's Governor-elect just posted this to Twitter.

This makes me quite unreasonably happy.

#390 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2018, 01:18 AM:

George H. W. Bush has died. I think that's all I want to say on the subject.

#391 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2018, 09:16 AM:

Ah, that's the one that just showed up at Science News. (Their front page pic has baby spiders "nursing".)

#392 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2018, 10:08 AM:

CHip #381:

Exactly so.

Tom Whitmore #390:

At least there is sincere mourning at his death. Nixon didn't earn it. There are others who certainly won't.

#393 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2018, 10:53 AM:

Dave Harmon, that's what I meant, to some extent, but didn't manage to say. It's less 'I have read everything and can be called well-read' than 'people have agreed that these books are okay to make references to and so I get the jokes'. We still do that, but with different things and I try to be more aware of what goes along with it.

(there's more to say, but I am having trouble pinning down words to say it properly.)

#394 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2018, 01:38 PM:

NYT Obituary for George H.W. Bush

Dubya made him look good by comparison, But Bush Sr. was definitely part of the decay running from Nixon through Reagan and on to Dubya and Trump. The article highlights several times in his campaigns where he apologized for ugly tactics, after the real damage was done: Crossing threads a bit, he had helped to normalize the "anything to win" mentality of the Republican cabal.

#395 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2018, 05:27 PM:

Like the 'best' of our current crop of Republicans, he only said and did things that strike me as principled after he was out of any position to do much more than talk about it. Was resigning from the NRA the best thing he ever did, or did he do something in office that we can point to with some sort of pride? All I remember is him disappointing my already low expectations for him.

#396 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2018, 08:43 PM:

Dave Harmon @383: Are you sure the fur was fake? ;-)

Modern genetic technology notwithstanding, real fur doesn't traditionally come on double-knit skin.

They also have a life-size stag. I was a little disappointed that it was an eastern white-tail, not the mulies we have around here. But I suppose they're supply-limited.

Additonally, I made the acquaintance of Bill McDuckin, one of their entries in Boulder's Rubber Duck Race. He* is about 3x the standard rubber duck size. And has his/her/their own green vest. And a name-tag. And the requisite pen, tucked into its pocket.

McGuckins is very silly and I love it quite insensibly.

* Or she, I suppose. Or they.**
** I still can't make my brain work the singular the in the required fashion.

#397 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2018, 09:13 PM:

Jacque #396: Modern genetic technology notwithstanding, real fur doesn't traditionally come on double-knit skin.

Yep, that's a tip-off, all right! Also perhaps a story seed....

I've noted that the deer down here in Virginia are distinctly different from those of the Northeast, but I'm not sure of the subspecies. The ones here are smaller and look slightly melted by comparison to what I grew up seeing.

#398 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2018, 09:22 PM:

..."melted"? Dare one ask?

#399 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2018, 09:45 PM:

There's a house not far from the Busway here that has a nearly-lifesize plywood moose in its front yard. (They sell them ready to put up, as "Christmas" decorations, but you can find patterns online for this and smaller mooses.)

#400 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2018, 01:42 AM:

Jacque @389 - That sure puts a new spin on the history of Ungoliant and Shelob.

Now, can they get transgenic spiders to express goat proteins?

Will the furry artists start drawing spiders with enormous hooters?

#401 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2018, 02:21 AM:

It occurs to me that a really useful browser add-on would be one that provided "trigger warnings" for websites. Give it a list of words; if a site contains any of them, before you get to see the site, you get a warning: "This site contains one or more of your trigger words. Are you sure you want to continue to it?" With options for censoring the problem words and blocking any pictures on the page. This would save arachnophobes from nasty surprises caused by clicking on links, for example. I know a couple of people who are so arachnophobic that even the 's'-word is offensive to them; they refer instead to "marshmallows". No joke.

#402 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2018, 10:24 AM:

Joel Polowin (401): I want that for my Twitter feed. I can handle words like 'spiders', 'insects', snakes' just fine, but I'd really rather not see pictures of the things themselves unawares. (Snakes I might actually click on and look at--but I want the warning!)

#403 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2018, 11:04 AM:

Jacque #398: ..."melted"? Dare one ask?

I don't have pictures online handy, but: The northern (NY, CT, MA) deer I remember had the classic look seen in "Bambi": Muscular bodies with fairly straight backs, sharp faces, dark brown with white markings. Dignified, regal bearing.

The deer down here in VA are like the couch-potato version: Smaller overall, rounded and sloping back, thinner neck (which they tend to hold lower), face still basically pointed but curvier with a more rounded muzzle. They're also lighter in color, more tan (sometimes reddish-tan) than a proper brown.

"Melted" was my initial impression the first time I saw them after coming down here.

#404 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2018, 12:31 PM:

Me @400, re: Will the furry artists start drawing spiders with enormous hooters?

Ah yes, I thought I remembered one. Kind of. Lactating, even. That strip is far from Philip M. Jackson's best work, IMO, but I'm not a big fan of the surreal.

#405 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2018, 01:17 PM:

Joel Polowin @ 386: The only place I remember "Barkis is willing" is The Puppet Masters; it's a rather racy line for a 1950's juvenile. And it's still an element in a conventional Western literary canon; I would consider the fine details of Greek mythology to be much more obscure. I admit RAH was sometime more obscure, e.g. naming the Space Cadet's first ship the Aes Triplex (from a Roman's ?poem? about the triply ?brass?-bound heart of the first mariner -- I'm pretty sure RAH was referring to that and not the RLStevenson essay that fills the Google hits).

Kip W. @ 395: Was resigning from the NRA the best thing he ever did, or did he do something in office that we can point to with some sort of pride? Breaking the Norquist pledge and raising taxes when it was needed. Clinton did more, but Bush undercut Norquist's whole strangle-government-in-the-bathtub scenario.

Jacque @ 396: They also have a life-size stag. I was a little disappointed that it was an eastern white-tail, not the mulies we have around here. But I suppose they're supply-limited. I don't know about the environmental status of mule deer (Wikipedia says nothing), but I can attest that white-tails are ... plentiful.

Dave Harmon @ 397: The deer that bounded across the GW Parkway in front of me (upstream from the Spout Run fork, New Year's eve 1995) certainly did not look "melted", but I admit to not getting that good a look at it. I wonder whether the difference you saw is due to New England's harsher winters, cf the resident geese being (I've read) larger than migrants.

P J Evans @ 399: every now and then my partner will fake-nag at me for not allowing them to buy a "lawn moose" on our 2000 Alaska trip -- it was only about half-size, but it was a flat cutout from 1/4"? 1/2" sheet steel, enameled black.

#406 ::: Angiportus Librarysaver ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2018, 01:32 PM:

I spent a summer in Anchorage when young and we would at times find our driveways and so on adorned with *real* moose. So we didn't have to buy any--but we did have to be careful.
I've never seen a melted one though--maybe a chocolate moose?

#407 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2018, 02:24 PM:

CHip #405: I wonder whether the difference you saw is due to New England's harsher winters

Maybe. The environment also may be responsible for the color change. The Virginia forests are somewhat differently colored; a different mix of trees, cloaked in rampant creepers and vines (IIRC those are mostly recent invasives), but especially the dirt is different: With all the Virginia clay, even the humus runs to a lighter brown, and the clay itself ranges from tan to reddish-brown.

#408 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2018, 02:34 PM:

Tweet I saw yesterday (paraphrased): "RIP Osama bin Laden. I didn't agree with everything he did, of course, but he DID help kick the Soviets out of Afghanistan."

Matches my reaction to all the de mortuis nil nisi bonum bullshit about GHWB.

#409 ::: oldster ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2018, 02:49 PM:

Xopher @408

Agreed. As with invocations of "civility," this attitude of deferential praise is an affront to something more fundamental than civility: justice.

When you are one of the people who make the policies but don't live by the policies and are never hurt by the policies,
then it's easy to think that the most important thing in politics is whether you were witty over drinks afterwards.

But bad policies kill people. And there is nothing civil about that.

Systems that never hold people accountable for their bad policies also kill people.

People in power must be held accountable. During their lives, and especially at the times of their death. Justice demands it.

And justice is more important than civility.

#410 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2018, 04:27 PM:

Chip #405: Breaking the Norquist pledge and raising taxes when it was needed.

Which, per the NYT obit, he considered the greatest mistake of his career.

#411 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2018, 09:01 PM:

oldster 409: Thank you.

#412 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2018, 11:01 PM:

Dave Harmon @403: Are you referring to sika deer? Yeah, they do kind of have a "shaggy college roommate" air about them. "Dissipated" is the word I would have used. :o)

CHip @405: I don't know about the environmental status of mule deer ..., but I can attest that white-tails are ... plentiful.

Well, judging by the herd that hangs out in my condo complex (including the one I caught napping in my carport)...and the pair that roams back and forth across my route to work,* and the other group I've seen closer to our current office...and the one I've seen on my way to our usual location.... Not only plentiful, but urban. It's kind of a shame that urban wolves are probably a no-go. I suspect everyone would benefit. (Well, except for the specific individuals selected for, um, selection.)

* It's a startling experience to be be muzzily walking home after work, and have one rush past you on the sidewalk. Remarkably quiet, for their size (they're maybe half a head shorter than I am at the top of the head, shoulder level just above my elbow). But up close, they're big, especially when you're not expecting it.

#413 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2018, 11:56 PM:

Jacque #412: Are you referring to sika deer?

Hmm, I don't think so. The first picture for Chesapeake Bay has almost the right coloring, but the discussion on the site behind it says they turn much darker in winter, which I don't think ours do. (They certainly don't turn black like some of those pictures!) I'll note that Google turned up some interesting pictures, including what was discreetly described as a liaison between a Sika deer and a Japanese snow monkey.

#414 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2018, 07:03 AM:

Addendum: The Chesapeake Bay site is here, they also give an (introduced) range that doesn't reach down to Charlottesville. Looking back there... wait, 2.5 feet at the rump? Nope, my local deer are not that small!

#415 ::: Quill ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2018, 09:43 AM:

Joel Polowin @400: Running an image search for "spider queen" will give you all the mammary-laden arachnids you desire.

#416 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2018, 11:19 AM:

Quill: Humans are very weird.

#417 ::: Robert Glaub ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2018, 11:42 AM:

I'm being sodomized by the Feds again. They claim was overpaid and went into my bank account and emptied it. So now I have no money for food or insulin until the end of the month.

#418 ::: Sarah E. ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2018, 11:42 AM:

Lee Billings, whom I knew as stardreamer on DW for the past few months, has passed (I received permission from Russ Ault to post the link):

#419 ::: estelendur ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2018, 10:14 AM:

Oh no. :( I believe Lee was either the first or second person from Making Light who I met, when she and Russ were passing through southeast MI a few years ago. I did not know her well, but I will miss her. May her memory be a blessing and may she rest in peace.

#420 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2018, 01:19 PM:

Robert Glaub #417: This may warrant a call to your local Legal Aid Society.

#421 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2018, 04:23 PM:

Quill @415 -- Rather more than I desire, really. That phrase would not have occurred to me as one to give such results. It's clear that I'm hanging around in the wrong areas of fandom.

#422 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2018, 10:30 AM:

Hey, first snowfall! (Charlottesville, VA) Doesn't look like much will stick.

#423 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2018, 06:17 PM:

Jacque @ 412: It's kind of a shame that urban wolves are probably a no-go. I suspect everyone would benefit. I guess I misread your comment about short supply. I wonder whether coyotes would be more welcome than wolves in ~urban areas? They could probably run a deer to exhaustion without being as threatening as wolves. (There have been reports of coyotes near my house, ~5 miles west of downtown Boston, but some may have been nervousness rather than positive identification; there's also some question of whether we have real coyotes or some genetically-messy hybrids.)

Dave Harmon @ 407 (re soil and colors): that wouldn't surprise me; I grew up outside DC, on former failed-farm land (reportedly called "Claggett's Folly") and vividly remember the orange clay. One of these years I'll found out whether it's the source of the Grey Poupon-colored brick that is used almost solely on the back faces of DC buildings.

#424 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2018, 06:30 PM:

CHip: I think we have coyotes (I never see them, but I think I've heard them—though we've recently had construction where I think they used to hang out so, ::shrug::?); I don't think they're much help culling the deer. I think there'd have to be a bunch of 'em to make any dent at all.

#425 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2018, 09:00 PM:

We definitely have coyotes in Ballard (part of Seattle) -- and they kill cats. Not to eat, apparently: they kill them because they see them as competitive predators. A lot of our neighbors have reported them (though I have not seen them personally). We keep our cats in at night because of them.

So no, they're not more acceptable than wolves, at least to me.

We also have 'possums and raccoons (seen regularly, have pictures), but no deer that I've seen.

#426 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2018, 02:02 AM:

My understanding is that many if not all American cities have coyotes. You don't see them much because they are very good at not being seen when they don't want to be (and in a city, that's "usually"). The next largest "urban wildlife" critter* is probably raccoons, which can also be quite stealthy.

* Excepting stray dogs, but AIUI those don't generally form self-replacing populations, especially if there are coyotes or raccoons about. It turns out that domesticated dogs are not very good at protecting their young without human help.

#427 ::: Quill ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2018, 09:41 AM:

Jacque @416, Joel Polowin @421: It's all R.A. Salvatore's fault, really...

#428 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2018, 10:27 AM:

R.A. Salvatore is responsible for the human race?* Wow, that is quite an achievement. Oh no wait, you meant....

* If so, he's got some 'splainin' to do....

#429 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2018, 11:04 AM:

My suburb of Portland, OR has both mule deer and coyotes.

The deer commute from points unknown along the Rock Creek corridor, which is left un-channeled and undeveloped, so there's at least a hundred feet or so of overgrown land to range through. (They do have to prance across a couple of major boulevards.) The deer graze in a park just down the road, which is half disc-golf course and half wetland. I don't think they are particularly over-populated.

The coyotes (small enough to be cute, but they're too pointy and lean to be adorable) live in overgrown spots and use the creek beds and recharge basins (overgrown low spots) to get around. I generally only see them when they cross the road, but I've spotted them "mousing" in large open fields.

There are a LOT of missing cat posters, but I haven't seen a lot of cat bodies or rumors of same. So maybe our coyotes are eating them.?

My German shepherd has learned the word "coyote" and gets alert and angry when I say it. She carefully pees on any piles of coyote crap she finds. Strong canine rivalry there!

#430 ::: oldster ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2018, 11:57 AM:

My suburb in Upstate New York features deer, coyotes, and foxes. We are a few miles in one direction from a city, a few miles in the other from vast open state lands.

I do not think that the coyotes help to regulate the deer population, but I could be wrong. The coyotes are plenty big enough to bring down fawns or yearlings, even if not full-grown deer.

To judge by the sides of roads, the main regulator of deer populations is automotive traffic.

Coyotes are impressive. Some are almost as small as foxes. But I saw one in a park here a few years ago that was the size of a large golden retriever. It did not want to be seen, and when it looked at me its affect was so clearly that of a wild animal that it actually unnerved me a little. Had I glanced around and seen two or three more like it, I would have been positively afraid.

Coyotes will prey on household pets, and the stories of their luring dogs to their doom by pretending to want to play with them are very disturbing to me. I expect more solidarity among the canids, more of a pact that we don't eat our own kind. But that's a mistaken extrapolation from my experience with canis domesticus. Dogs may see coyotes as friends, but -- unless raised among them -- coyotes see dogs as food.

It's a coyote-eat-dog world out there.

#431 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2018, 12:13 PM:

Packs of domestic dogs are no joke, though. Back in '74, the grade-school age son of one of my teachers was set upon by a pack of dogs, up in one of the canyons. His mom got to him in time, and chased the dogs off, so he survived. But I saw his scars when he got out of the hospital a few months later. Chilling. The really scary part? One of the dogs in the pack belonged to his family.

#432 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2018, 12:56 PM:

They're a real problem in rural areas, more than coyotes. They'll take down livestock, kill pets, and generally make themselves targets for farmers and ranchers. Many are former pets who were dumped because "farmer will adopt it". (No, they'll shoot it.)

#433 ::: oldster ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2018, 02:15 PM:

Certainly it's an index of their resemblance to humankind, that a good dog is one of the best things in the world, and a genuinely bad dog one of the worst.

You cannot say that about a shark, a giraffe, or an aspidistra.
They don't have the requisite plasticity of behavior, the ability to learn, to pick up habits good or bad.
Nor do they have the psychological aptitudes that will allow them to die for a loved one or kill for the pack.

There are probably other animals that can go to these extremes, but I cannot think of them right now.

#435 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2018, 06:39 AM:

I've discovered a trick for making Twitter a more congenial experience. Go find accounts from folks you know and love, scroll down to the last of their tweets you remember reading, then read on forward. Great fun in the comment threads, too.

#436 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2018, 08:54 AM:

The other thing to do is to figure out who's retweeting things into your timeline that you don't want to spend time with and turning off their RTs.

#437 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2018, 09:58 AM:

abi (436): Yes, absolutely! Unfortunately, I find that some people retweet both stuff I don't want to spend time with *and* stuff that I find very interesting. It's a dilemma.

#438 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2018, 02:00 PM:

I'd say that the Eight Deadly Words surely apply to Twitter threads!

#439 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2018, 09:07 PM:

Mary Aileen 437: I suspect I'm one of those. I apologize for the inconvenience.

#440 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2018, 09:48 PM:

abi @436: You can do that? I had no idea.

"Twitter—where "I am only an egg" means more than you know!"

#441 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2018, 09:57 PM:

And speaking of SiaSL references, last night I heard Rachel Maddow use "grok"—correctly, and with apparent full expectation that her audience would get it and understand what she meant. (To be fair, my family had been using it for years by the time I finally got around to reading SiaSL, so even I hadn't known that it was a Literary Reference. and this was *gulp* forty+ years ago.)

#442 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2018, 06:03 AM:

435: Jacque, I might try this with your account, if I knew who you were on Twitter.

Me? @MrBeamJockey. (Was late coming to Twitter; someone else had already grabbled @BeamJockey.)

#443 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2018, 06:54 AM:

Bill: I just tweeted at you. I keep the connection between here and my social media somewhat oblique.

#444 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2018, 06:57 AM:

Jacque: Ten-four, ma'am.

#445 ::: Naomi Parkhurst ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2018, 12:36 PM:

Another thing you can do to cut down on unpleasant topics on twitter is to mute words or phrases, either temporarily or permanently.

#446 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2018, 06:24 PM:

Xopher (439): Don't worry, I never even considered turning off your retweets.

#447 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2018, 07:36 PM:

Charlottesville: First real snowfall. Coming down thick and fluffy, maybe 4 inches so far. Went out shopping, and came back covered in the stuff.

#448 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2018, 08:51 PM:

Mary Aileen 446: Thank you, that's good to know.

#449 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2018, 08:40 PM:

@Matthew Johnson: even if Glendower was a wizard, it all happened offstage and was unreported; nothing in the script requires the fantastic (unlike Macbeth and Hamlet, even if the fantasy in those is an initiater rather than woven into the plot).

Joel Polowin @ 434: Your neighbor is a sick puppy. Do his deer light up at night (he said hopefully)?

I note a more specific difficulty with eastern deer: they harbor ticks that carry Lyme disease. A classmate has a pacemaker on account of Lyme, and a friend is permanently down several constitution points (his ability to read has come back, but he still doesn't have the focus to continue working as a SWE).

Dave Harmon @ 447: from what we've been hearing up in the clear-and-cold north (mid-30's days, low 20's nights) that snowfall turned into something dire -- at least further south; hoping you're still OK.

#450 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2018, 12:13 AM:

CHiP @449: They do light up, but the format is little lights on a framework. There aren't enough lights for it to be at all easy to figure out what the shape is at night.

#451 ::: Singing Wren ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2018, 06:35 AM:

CHiP @ #449:

My brother had the unfortunate distinction of being one of fewer than a handful of cases in Nevada diagnosed with Lyme disease a few years ago. He most likely contracted it while visiting our parents in Ohio, but didn’t show symptoms until he was back home.

He also had to request testing for Lyme disease himself, as doctors that far west don’t see it very often. (The wife of a family friend is also down several constitution points due to Lyme disease. The friend recognized the symptom profile when Dad was talking to him, and recommended my brother ask about Lyme disease.)

I sometimes wonder if some of the health issues my brother has developed since then are related in some way, either to the infection itself or to his immune system's response to it.

#452 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2018, 08:10 PM:

CHip #449: Nothing too dire here: We have been getting overnight freezes, but I haven't encountered much black ice. On the other hand, if we keep getting snow I'll need to beware my usual yearly fall on the ice; last year it didn't happen because we didn't get enough ice (or snow). ;-)

#453 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2018, 12:00 PM:

@452, here we have what I call the "Chicago Shuffle" -- if there's any chance of ice on the ground, we take small steps, flat-footed, with the knees always slightly bent. When the weather conditions are right, something like 70% of the people I see walking are doing it.

It's remarkably effective (although not foolproof) at preventing slips on black ice.

#454 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2018, 12:02 PM:

@453 ... and I just realized that I was probably being hlepy. Sorry 'bout that.

#455 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2018, 02:40 PM:

Cassy B (473): I do that, or something very similar, in icy conditions here in New York. I've seen it described as "walking like a penguin". The trick is to keep your center of balance over both feet at all times--hence the very small steps.

#456 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2018, 03:00 PM:

...and also avoid non-vertical vectors on the interface between your feet and the surface.

#457 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2018, 06:08 PM:

Jacque @456 -- So, walk normally?

#458 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2018, 10:50 PM:

Joel: ??

#459 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2018, 11:26 PM:

Joel @457, I think Jacque means that it's important put your feet absolutely straight down on the ground; no forward component at all... which is not the way one usually walks. (Otherwise the soles of shoes would last a whole lot longer than they actually do... <grin>) But speaking as someone who has had her feet shoot out from under her on black ice with no warning, it's really a vital part of the Chicago Shuffle.

#460 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2018, 12:18 AM:

Sorry, weak math joke. As in "normal to the plane", perpendicular.

"Normal" means "at right angles to everything else of its type". More or less.

#461 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2018, 12:31 AM:

Cassy B. ...or sideways. Or backwards. Yes, exactly.

Like for example, that time I stepped onto a curb from the street, during one of our blessedly rare ice storms—and my foot, having contacted the curb ahead of me, just kept going. And going. Until I was spread out flat on the ground.

First (and please god let it be the last) time I've ever done the splits.

And the really tricky part is that you don't get any non-vertical vectors for either foot. Either the moving one or the supporting one. Because you may loose traction with either one—and you can never predict which. And you don't even dare turn around to check a noise behind you—because that imparts tortional force to your contact with the ground.

One. Vector. At. A. Time. ONE.

And the bent knees are important, because if you do loose traction, it's important to be able to drop your weight (straight down!) on the remaining (still stationary) (please god) foot. (And the hell of it is that often you can't even roll martial-artist-style when you go down, because that involves pushing on the ground laterally which, oops! No traction!)

(Can you tell I have some trauma around this topic?)

#462 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2018, 01:23 AM:

Joel: ::facepalm::


#463 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2018, 02:32 AM:

Shortly after I moved to the NYCMA from Michigan, there was an ice storm in NYC. Conditions were very slippery in Manhattan, and I was accordingly doing the Chicago Shuffle. A woman laughed at me for doing it (I can't remember if she actually pointed, but it was clear she was laughing at me) and promptly slipped and fell.

I wish I could say that I graciously helped her to her feet, but I'm afraid I walked away laughing.

#464 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2018, 09:02 PM:

Cassy B.#453L Yeah, I'm actually pretty good at walking on slippery or potentially-slippery surfaces (and have very good balance), but generally about once a year, I... slip up. ;-) I'm just glad my ankle is almost healed. Even now, I'm being very careful because it's still a bit weak.

Contrary to intuition, I'm pretty sure the cane I was using (until last Friday, yay) would just be a liability on ice, especially since I don't trust its rubber foot not to slip on (maybe-wet) ice.

#465 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2018, 12:30 AM:

Dave: Ya need one with a spike :)

#466 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2018, 12:47 AM:

AKICIML: At a certain time of the month, I get raving cravings for fat, specifically saturated fat. Eggs, butter, fatty beef, even the palm oil in some brands of peanut's a deep, deep craving that distracts me from everything else.


I have been diagnosed with active gallstones. And one of the most effective ways to keep the things from growing any bigger, or exciting my gallbladder into jiggling the existing stones around and putting me in the hospital again, is always to keep my saturated fat intake at a level well below the amount I need to stop this stupid craving!

Has anybody else had a similar issue in the past? Have you found anything besides saturated fat that might stop a craving for saturated fat? Am I low on a particular vitamin, or something?

#467 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2018, 04:02 PM:

This beautiful image of Comet 46P is very Christmasy.

#468 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2018, 09:11 PM:

Just got back from Ralph Breaks The Internet. I'm still grinning. It started slow, but then picked up pace (and spectacle), building to a multi-genre (and troperiffic) spectacle. (Protip: Wait through the credits for the second bonus scene. ;-) )

#469 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2018, 10:46 AM:

Possibly but not definitely, my dog might have osteosarcoma in a foreleg.

A scan and biopsy to confirm it now would cost $1,500, but as the vet said, there's no use doing that unless I want to start immediate treatment . . . and as best as I can tell, those would give Ivory maybe an extra year at tremendous expense and indignity (amputation or repeated radiation) with the awful possibility of a broken leg, or metastasis invading her chest.

So, x-rays in two months; if things look bad, up her pain meds and wait for her to show signs of irremediable pain and disability, then a steak dinner and off for a final ride.

SIGH. My last dog made things so easy by becoming utterly unmistakably ready to go. Having to make a judgement call like this is going to be awful.

#470 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2018, 01:36 PM:

Many sympathies, Stefan.

#471 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2018, 03:49 PM:

Oh, I'm so sorry, Stefan!

I'm another soul who has decided that I won't put one of my creatures through cancer treatment,* and I condole with you over your choice.

If it were a very young pet, I might change my mind, but so far that has not been the case.


#472 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2018, 05:27 PM:

We had one cat that responded incredibly well to cancer chemo, and one that didn't respond at all (large cell lymphoma in both cases -- relatively cheap test). Animals are very different in their responses, and it's up to us to make what feels like the best choice in a given circumstance. But it's hard in any case, and I send commiserations, Stefan.

And you won't know whether this one is going to be as easy as the previous until the actual moment arrives. Your compassion is the best guide around.

#473 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2018, 05:59 PM:

Stefan Jones @469: I'm so sorry!

Having to make a judgement call like this is going to be awful.

Yeah, it sucks. Having a sense of the likely path will be some help, but it still sucks massively.

OTOH, there's a lot to be said for being able and prepared to offer a Really Good Last Day.

a steak dinner and off for a final ride.

Also, if you haven't already considered it, I've found that vets who are willing to make housecalls for That Last Visit are worth their weight in gold. It makes it SO much easier for the pet.

#474 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2018, 06:26 PM:

Thanks, all.

#473: I've been thinking through all of the shitty scenarios and yes, if ghu forbid Ivory breaks that tumor-weakened leg, I would try to arrange a house call. Jamming a 74 lb. German shepherd with a broken limb into a car would not be easy.

OTOH, this dog loves cars and visiting people, so if she possibly can she's getting a ride.


#475 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2018, 11:08 PM:

Stefan: Oh, well, if the car ride is a treat, that's entirely different!

(We had a boxer like that. We'd get a call from the pound about once a month, because he'd get out whenever possible, and immediately go looking for the dog catcher, 'cause he knew that guy'd give him a car ride!)

#476 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2018, 08:09 AM:

An interesting rumor about Trump, from a Celebrity Apprentice staffer by way of Field Negro:

During a recent set at Gotham Comedy Club in New York, comedian Noel Casler, who worked six seasons on Celebrity Apprentice in talent logistics, claimed, among other things, that Donald Trump is a “speed freak” who has a special love for Adderall.
Given his overall behavior and affect (including those early-morning tweets), I find this disturbingly plausible. And while I'm no drug puritan, I also find this particular scenario to be plain disturbing.

#477 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2018, 12:59 PM:

Stefan Jones #469

That is a weight of sorrow. My condolences.

#478 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2018, 05:11 PM:

Sincere sympathies, Stefan. I've lost two cats to cancer, and it's really awful to have to make that judgment call.

#479 ::: SunflowerP ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2018, 07:45 PM:

Stefan @469: That's rough. My sympathies, hugs for you if you accept 'nethugs, and virtual doggyskritches for Ivory.

Dave @476: Oh, so that's what's behind the upswing I noticed in anti-ADHD-meds BS on Twitter. Sigh.

#480 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2018, 09:26 PM:

Right now, with anti-inflammatories, Ivory is back to her normal "Oh, God, you walked six miles today and you STILL want to go out?" self.

Hoping the x-rays in 2-3 months show nothing remarkable, but my head is of course exploring the worst case scenarios.

Greatly relieved that there is a 24/7 emergency vet a few blocks over.

#481 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2018, 09:44 PM:

I'm glad it's going better right now, Stefan.

In other news, apparently Alice Walker has become a disciple of anti-Semitic nutbar David Icke. One of her book recommendations on being interviewed:

And the Truth Shall Set You Free,” by David Icke. In Icke’s books there is the whole of existence, on this planet and several others, to think about. A curious person’s dream come true.
David Icke, for those who don't remember, is the one who not only thinks Jews are horrible cannibals who secretly run the world, but also that interdimensional reptilian aliens are running it with them.

Lest you think Walker's book recommendation was a joke, that article quotes an anti-Semitic rant of Walker's own that would have fit right in at a Nuremberg rally.

#482 ::: Mea ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2018, 10:06 PM:

@466 Jenny Islander: I have nothing but empathy to offer. Well and hopes for your good health.

I hope someone else does have a good idea because my experience is that cravings for fat are a bear. In some ways, crunching on carrot or celery that is full of fiber and not at all a fat is better than the “well this is almost the same thing” of closer substitutes. It at least is being honest with one’s body.

All ears if someone has a good idea.

#483 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2018, 09:21 PM:

AKICIML, Cooks' Edition

This is a paraphrase of a recipe from Simpson's Complete System of Cookery (1816). He calls it coulis, but I think that modernly the correct word is "gravy." Opinions?

Moisten the bottom of a pot with "best stock," then layer ham fat, ham, veal, and "an old fowl" in it. Add "a faggot of sweet herbs," bay leaves, mace, celery, and onions. Simmer until the liquid in the pan is "a glaze," then put in half a British pint more stock and simmer that down to a glaze as well. After this, fill the pot right up with stock, bring to a boil, simmer for an hour, and strain.

In a fresh pot saute mushrooms, shallots, and lean ham in plenty of butter. Add a few spoonfuls of the stock you made, and some bay leaves, and boil until "the stock is boiled away and the butter begins to fry." Make a roux, then add the rest of the stock little by little, stirring constantly. Boil about five minutes, strain, and use, either as a sauce for e.g. mushrooms or as a component of another sauce.

#484 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2018, 09:54 AM:

Jenny Islander @ 483:

Make a roux from meat drippings and then add broth or stock and maybe some other stuff is a classic gravy, so, yes, I'd call the result of that recipe a gravy. A very time-consuming and rich one, by the looks of it, but a gravy nonetheless.

Some research suggests that while a modern coulis is a pureed fruit or vegetable sauce, the word started out its life meaning meat juices from cooked meats, then pureed meat soups, and only more recently took on its fruity meaning. Culinary Lore's entry for coulis also says that it also once was used to refer to gravy in America.

I find food words to be both fascinating and terribly frustrating, because they can be so regional in terms of place and time.

#485 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2018, 07:33 PM:

Galt Macdermot, the straight-arrow-looking composer of the music in Hair, died Monday, a day before his 90th birthday. Jefferson Airplane's music hit me more personally, but I remember how much of an impact Hair had with people across the spectrum. The breadth of the music is shown in (among others) the variety of performers who had high-charting singles out of the score -- 5th Dimension, Oliver, Three Dog Night, The Cowsills. I saw a revival tour recently; the script made me cringe in places, but the music still moved. Other obits with interesting info:
The New York Times
The Guardian

#486 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2018, 08:48 PM:

Merry and happy, all y'all!

#487 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2018, 11:10 PM:

Happy celebration-of-choice to all!

#488 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: December 25, 2018, 02:51 AM:

I don't do religion much. I struggle with the old problem of how this world can be the creation of a Good God.

But it's worth mentioning this from fifty years ago.

#489 ::: oldster ::: (view all by) ::: December 25, 2018, 09:10 AM:

Merry Christmas, and happy mid-winter celebrations to all.

#490 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 25, 2018, 09:33 AM:

I'm lucky enough to have a family I'm glad to hang with, but I like John Kovalick's Dork Tower strip today:

#491 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: December 25, 2018, 11:32 PM:

Late, but perhaps useful for some: a link to the 2016 Texts entry, which includes links to earlier years. As T said: family photo album.

#492 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2018, 10:11 AM:

Tom (491): Thank you. As I opened ML just now, I was thinking that I should link to that--and you beat me to it!

#493 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2018, 02:03 PM:

My Boxing Day gift was logging into my bank account and spotting $1,803 in fraudulent ATM withdrawls.

ATM card cancelled and damage control underway.

#494 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2018, 02:15 PM:

Stefan (493): Argh! I'm so sorry you have to deal with that. I hope you get it sorted out okay.

#495 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2018, 04:29 PM:

#494 thanks! My accounts are safe from further withdrawls, and I have enough to cover my mortgage payment and automatic bills, but it will be a week or more until I get a "provisional" credit for the lost money.

The credit union people were really helpful. But still, this is not the kind of thing you want to deal with during a visit with family.

I find myself wishing the fraudsters get a batch of tainted meth that rots their dinguses off.

#496 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2018, 05:06 PM:

Stefan -- you prompted me to check my own accounts. Nothing suspicious there, thank you! And I do thank you for getting me to look.

#497 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2018, 05:24 PM:

when some idjit removed the registration sticker from my car - and they took the paint off the plate in doing so - I wished that their car would drop its tranny in the middle of a major intersection, so that cops would show up and check the registration. (Replacement didn't cost much, as it was more than three months till it expired.)

#498 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2018, 06:24 PM:

I had never heard of registration sticker theft! What a petty thing to do.
* * *
The credit union rep suggested setting up alerts for ATM withdrawls over a certain amount. If I had had a $150 limit in place I would have known about this mess before I left on vacation.

#499 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2018, 08:33 PM:

It's California. Some people find it easier to steal a sticker than to pay the fees (especially if they don't have insurance or can't get the car to pass a smog test).

#500 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2018, 09:14 PM:

We've had sticker theft here in WA as well, which has lower fees and easier emissions tests. Hasn't happened to me, but to acquaintances.

#501 ::: J Homes ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2018, 10:16 PM:

@0497 etc,

Here in Aotearoa, the rego card goes into a pocket attached to the inside of the windshield, so except on open tops, a thief would have to break into the car to get the card. Anyone who goes that far is unlikely to be just after the rego.

J Homes.

#502 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2018, 01:47 PM:

In New York, the registration sticker is stuck to the inside of the windshield. You're not supposed to use tape, but some years the glue is ineffective and they won't stay on without the extra help.

#503 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2018, 05:56 PM:

My latest variant of that was that some joker first stole the connecty-bit that hooks my bike trailer onto my bike. I come out a week later, and the tow-arm is now gone off the trailer, as are the quick-release axles from the wheels.

(I'm confident they would have taken the whole thing, had it not been cabled up.) (A neighbor actually saw somebody skulking around in my carport that week.)

Not a monumental expense, but I'm now faced with conjuring up replacements (time, money) or just getting a new trailer (actual money). And in the meantime, I don't have the capacity to do any hauling. :-\

#504 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2018, 06:04 PM:

Here in WA (the one down near Aotearoa, not the one up near Oregon), we used to have rego stickers that went on the inside of the windscreen. These days we don't have stickers at all; electronic databases and portable telecommunications have become sufficiently ubiquitous that anybody who needs to know if a particular car is registered is equipped with a doodad that will tell them in not much more time than it would take to read the sticker.

It saves a lot of fiddling around with stickers, for us with cars and for those who would have to manufacture and distribute them. On the other hand, it's been pointed out that there are probably more people absent-mindedly drifting into overdue fee territory now that they don't have the renewal date in front of them every time they get in the car.

#505 ::: estelendur ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2018, 06:20 PM:

I actually managed to lose my reg sticker off the kitchen counter and now I need a new one by, oh, Jan 1.

I think I am going to be spending some time at the DMV tomorrow, starting before they open...

#506 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2018, 06:26 PM:

My experience in Iowa is that the sticker is a quick-check and police can run the license plate if the sticker's out of date. That's what's happened to me, anyway; I was pulled over because I was something like eight months overdue, and the cop said he'd doublechecked.

#507 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2018, 07:40 PM:

I had to do a form, but it's downloadable. And they didn't need me to show up in person. (I think I've been inside a DMV office exactly twice in the last 20-some years - both times for licensing, as they need to take a photo.)

Texas had a sticker that went on the inside of the windshield. They said that it's much harder to steal, and I pointed out that the adhesive on CA's license-plate stickers is such that they'd have to take paint to get it off - and they did have to take paint to get that one.

#508 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2018, 07:41 PM:

Jacque #503: Back in my high-school years, I remember hearing about people getting their bicycle's brakes, seats, etc. stolen. Basically, some thieves would take any part they could get loose from the bike.

#509 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2018, 07:49 PM:

P.J. Evans: Texas still does have an inside-the-windshield sticker.

#510 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2018, 08:31 PM:

I don't see too many Texas-registered vehicles in L.A. - at least, not where I can check stickers.

#511 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2018, 10:02 PM:

WRT stickers, Texas did do something right. It combined the registration windshield sticker with the vehicle inspection. You have to have a valid inspection within 90 days before you get your registration sticker. No more having two stickers on the windshield

I actually remember back to the old days when Texas residents had to get a new license plate every year by the first of April. Grocery stores would carry the metal plates, and people lined up at the end of March to get them.

Eventually we'll get to the point that an RFID tag or something like that will serve.

#512 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: December 28, 2018, 12:04 AM:

If you're talking about state licensing stickers (which came in when they stopped issuing new plates every year), Illinois puts them on the rear license plates, and they pretty much reliably fragment if you try to peel them off. They have very strong glue and are deeply scored. They also have the plate number printed on them, if memory serves. (Not gonna go out in the rain to check.)

City stickers go on the windshield.

#513 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 28, 2018, 02:29 AM:

Dave Harmon @508: I not-infrequently see bikes around town that have been stripped down to the frame. (And those most-recommended U-locks? Most commonly orphaned on the bike racks.) Usually they're the ones that have quick-releases on everything. (QR seat!? I gather racers want to adjust in mid-flight—?) But not always; cf handlebars & fork.

I do my best to keep my bike looking crappy as possible, and have a cable long enough that I can catch both wheels as well as the frame.

The trailer thing is particularly offensive, though, because I've kept it in my carport for several years with no problem. It's the...pettiness of the thefts that's particularly galling. And when the thief took the initial bit, he (I assume) cut the safety strap to do it. (And then later stole the piece the strap was attached to. I mean, sheesh.) I've still got the trailer (though I broke it down and stuffed it into my storage locker). But it's unusable until I can replace the attach-y bits.

And then I have to deal with storage between uses. Which sucks, because I had a huge fight with the HOA over keeping my trailer in my carport. (I have no car, so I mean, really?) (Thankfully, I won.)

My bike is currently living in my dining area.

#514 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 28, 2018, 02:31 AM:

I want a Twitter app that takes a thread, plus all the comments and replies, and yanks it out into a Making Light style thing in chronological order.

And a pony. (Actually, the pony I could probably get, if I was sufficiently motivated.)

#515 ::: Doug ::: (view all by) ::: December 28, 2018, 06:32 AM:

504: That's probably the first time I have heard West Australia described as near to Middle Earth.

#516 ::: Singing Wren ::: (view all by) ::: December 28, 2018, 09:22 AM:

Our boy cat's kidneys are failing. We've known this for a few months. He's 13 years old, and his mother (my SIL's cat) has the same issue, so it’s not really surprising. But the past few days, he hasn’t been particularly interested in his food, and this is a cat who can normally put a golden retriever to shame with how food driven he is. About half his breakfast is still in his bowl - he never leaves food in his bowl. So today, instead of enjoying a lazy vacation day, we've got a vet appointment scheduled.

Prayers and positive thoughts always welcome.

#517 ::: estelendur ::: (view all by) ::: December 28, 2018, 11:06 AM:

P J Evans @507: Ah, I lost the sticker too, and didn't have time for the mail to get to me (and didn't feel like starting my new year by getting pulled over). Also when I checked online two weeks ago it'd said I wasn't eligible to get a replacement via the site. Once I got to the front of the line at the physical location it was 5 minutes and 5 dollars (waiting in line took an hour, of course).

Our stickers do have the plate number printed on them; no idea how easy they are to peel off.

Steve C @511: I'm definitely not looking forward to radio-frequency identification of vehicles and people as the norm. I know it's a bit like worrying about the drapes being on fire when behind me the furnace is on fire, but I do worry about the consequences of the inevitable disappearance of privacy.

My rabbi went on a bit of a rant last week about the positive effects of constant surveillance when I mentioned that someone had drawn a swastika on the whiteboard at my hackerspace (fortunately the board took it very seriously!). I'm not so convinced.

Jacque @ bike trailer bits theft: sheesh, that's awful. I hope you can work something out in good time. And that is absolutely ridiculous about your HOA and the carport.

Singing Wren @516: good wishes for your boy kitty and comfort wishes for your family :(

#518 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: December 28, 2018, 12:27 PM:

Singing Wren @516: very best wishes. That's young for kidney failure. I hope it's just a blockage!

We had an elderly cat that developed severe bladder problems (bladder cancer, actually) which was not particularly painful but resulted in bloody urine in a lot of places. We got cheap linoleum and laid it over our (hardwood) floors for the couple of months it took him to finish, so we souldn't have to worry about cleanup. When he died, we rolled up and discarded the linoleum.

#519 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: December 29, 2018, 09:16 AM:

Singing Wren@516 ... positive thoughts and best wishes heading in your (collective) direction.

It's (almost) completely unrelated, but may provide a brief but amusing diversion, if you find that such things help.

#520 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: December 29, 2018, 10:07 AM:

xeger, I was just going to post that.

In addition to the real world slapstick, there's mention of thread reader, which is a way of collecting a twitter series into one thread.

From deep in the comments:

my name is cricke
and wen its nyte
i chirp and syng
from out of syte
under the stov
is were i liv
out of reech
with noyse to giv
my many leggs
do craul and creepe
'cross your face
wile you are asleep
do not be vexed
youre safe and snug
the cats are there
to lik the bugs

More comments.

#521 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: December 29, 2018, 10:29 AM:

Maryland doesn't do repeat inspections (the licensing inspection is notoriously fussy however), and we don't do window stickers either. The whole MVA system is increasingly revolving around being swamped, so that the last time my license was supposed to be renewed, they just took my money and left we with the old one-- which is a bit of a problem, because the bar code on the back that expedites getting DL info into various systems isn't readable anymore. The other MD thing is that you must, must, MUST return your plates when you dispose of a car. Failure to do so is very expensive. On gathers that there was some issue with stolen plates or something years back.

#522 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 29, 2018, 11:59 AM:

When you total a car in CA, you have to return the plates (or at least the one with the sticker) to the DMV, or it isn't officially dead. (They also do certificates of non-operability, when the car won't be driven but needs to be registered anyway.)

#523 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 29, 2018, 02:48 PM:

I posted a long and rambling contemplation over on Twitter. I'm reposting here because I'd be curious to hear your-all's thoughts, too:
Finally got the latest round of compost wrangled! (Only took four days. I've GOT to find a faster way to deal with this.) House now smells like hair and wet hay. Yum!

Okay, somebody 'splain this to me: how do 3 guinea pigs, totaling ~10lbs, can generate 100lbs of compost in 3 months. (Okay, TBF, most of that's uneaten hay. But still!)

I've been reading @AnaMardoll's thread on the LIW's Little House & seq & commentary books.

Which lead me to her blog, where she reports on her first round with these books

As interesting as this is, what I've found really striking are comprehensive comments detailing homesteader and pioneer-era household economics by one UrsulaL. One example particularly struck me.

In it she details homesteader use (and more importantly, reuse) of cloth. Which, in light of my frustrations with my own—not hoarder behavior, exactly (because I do get the concept of "enough" and "more than enough").

But I'm kind of obsessive about keeping stuff out of the landfill. Take, for example, the litter out of the guinea pig cage. Good news: it's all compostable. Bad news: it's really WAY too much for a little balcony operation like mine.

I could take it to the municipal recycling stop to add to their compost. But here's another obsession I have: I don't drive. Something something carbon something. (This is a decision I made in 1970.) So I have to bike it. It's a 4.5 mile trip. Towing >100lbs.

I'm old, and not that healthy. I can do it, but I'd REALLY rather not. (Additional obstacle: see prev re bike trailer parts theft.)

My condo complex actually does have a compost bin. Problem: 3/4 of the times I go to put stuff in it, it's half filled with landfill trash. Which means any compost I put in likely goes into the landfill. I put a LOT of work into this stuff; not gonna happen.

So that means: I process it myself. Which means I spend a week of days every three months (in practical terms, three weekends) dealing with this. It's frustrating, because while I love it, it's not like I don't have OTHER stuff to do.

But the UrsulaL comment referenced above reminded me of a kind of subliminal reason why I do this: It's about this petroleum-driven throw-away culture we live in. "Seduced by the Convenient Side of the Force," I like to think of it.

I guess part of the point for me is that it DOES take so much time to reclaim those resources that I've used—for this one little tiny aspect of my life. (Kitchen compost also gets rolled into this, but that's a small fraction of the total.)

And this doesn't even BEGIN to address the resources involved in, for example, causing the hay to be in my house. Growing the hay. Harvesting and packing the hay. Shipping the hay. & yet, I can magically conjur a 50lb box of the stuff for the low low price (really!) of about $60.

Which equates to about three hours of work on my part (translated into cash).

Which is another thing UrsulaL's comments on @AnaMardoll's blog emphasize is the magnitude of the "rugged individualist" fantasy that is the founding delusion of our nation.

The Problem With The World Today is that, I think, we've come to a crisis point in the tension between communal interdependence, and rugged individualism. US culture so prizes the latter that we're completely blind to the former. (This is not news.)

And it's the former that makes us humans able to do what we do.

Good and bad.

Ironically, it's the latter that often both provides both the nucleus for game-changing adaption—and also the capacity for massive, industrial-scale harm.

I think what we're struggling with right now as a species, is renegotiating that tension between those two drives, in a flexible and adaptive way. The organ vs the organism, maybe. This is happening in the environmental, political, AND economic spheres.

For me personally, I think the thing life is pushing me to look at is—what? The energy-cost of any given "thing" in my life, maybe? I don't have good words for this question right now.

Several threads have gone by in recent weeks about the thorough...let's say -inadequacy- of the field of economics. People suggest, not wrongly, that ecology looks like a useful way to approach the discipline. (I have one book on that exact premise; it's...disappointing.)


#524 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 29, 2018, 02:58 PM:

[Okay, then. Looks like I've found the upper limit on ML's comment length. =:o) ]


What I want to see is a thermodynamic study of economics. I suspect that modeling how mass and energy move through the system might provide a clearer picture of its functioning. I suspect it would also be easier to spot blockages.

And I'll bet these blockages are the source of many of our capital-I Issues these days. Well also—throughout time, I'll betcha. (Be fascinating to see The Guilded Age, and pre-revolution-France run through this model.)

Thermodynamics not Zathras skill, so I'm not going to be the one to tackle this. But I'd be really curious if anybody out there is, because if they are, I haven't heard about it.

(Though I learned a long time ago that, if I can think it up, somebody somewhere out there is probably doing it.)

#525 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: December 29, 2018, 03:09 PM:

Jacque @ #523:

Do you have a Whole Foods close to you? Many of the stores have a compost drop-off bin outside one of the store exits.

#526 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 29, 2018, 04:13 PM:

Lori: My goodness, I never thought of that. I do have one, but I'm betting...not? Even if they do, I'd bet money they wouldn't take what I/we produce (mass quantities of hay and peed-on newspaper). But it's certainly worth looking into. Thanks!

#527 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: December 29, 2018, 05:55 PM:

P J Evans @ 497: when some idjit removed the registration sticker from my car - and they took the paint off the plate in doing so - I wished that their car would drop its tranny in the middle of a major intersection, so that cops would show up and check the registration. When my partner was working in auto insurance, she dealt with a case where someone who was sideswiped went to the police to complain; when asked "Did you get the license plate?" the answer was more literal than expected -- the victim produced the offender's bumper, with plate attached. I understand the police had fun calling the offender and explaining they had them cold.

Dave Harmon @ 508: when I was bicycling-for-transport regularly and reading about it, one of the advices was to take the seat with you when you left the bike, on the grounds that anyone who broke the lock and took the bike would have a hard time of it. IIRC this was before the ultra-strong U-shaped locks were available.

Tom Whitmore @ 518: That's young for kidney failure but not unheard-of; ours starting failing at 7 1/2.

I got curious and checked, since visual memory failed. MA doesn't have the plate number on license-plate-renewing stickers -- not even a checkable serial number (which I think they once had) -- but they are very sticky. (However, I do lightly wash the previous sticker before putting on the new one, just because I'm paranoid.) Plates in MA transfer with the owner when a car is replaced (contra C. Wingate @ 521, maybe?); I was annoyed 40+ years ago when I was made to swap plates for no obvious reason (the old ones made a high straight with an extra 7), but I used the replacements ~35 years -- until an annual-inspector said he wouldn't even give me a failed-but-fixing sticker (MA procedure, because the first step at inspection is usually to scrape off the old sticker) because he could see my plates were too worn/unreflective to pass.

#528 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: December 29, 2018, 06:12 PM:

@Jacque (the staircase strikes!): Boston collects and composts "yard waste" (for which Home Depot sells huge paper bags cheaply, because plastic bags are barred). There's a limit on the thickness of branches they'll take (although I think they took some of my last deadlimbing that were a bit thick). This happens on trash pickup days, at varying intervals for ~2/3 of the year. If you had the time and energy (right!) you could lobby (or maybe ask your friends to lobby) for something similar in your trash-collection district. (I'm guessing you've found that they don't do this now.) But that is a long-term project; if your WF will take the waste, that sounds a lot easier for now.

#529 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: December 29, 2018, 06:17 PM:

I used to fake-lock my bike for convenience. It looked locked, but wasn't. After being lucky for years, I decided to go ahead and really lock the thing.

I'm still pleased, though, with my general strategy of always trying to park near a better-looking machine.

#530 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 29, 2018, 06:57 PM:

CHip: As I say, our complex does (in theory) have compost pick-up. Sadly, people don't bother to use it correctly, so it's useless, and basically equivalent to sending stuff to the landfill. :-(

I could police it, but I've already got way too much to do, just to keep up. (And then there was the time somebody put f--king tires in the compost dumpster. As dedicated as I might be, I'm not strong enough to get those out.)

#531 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: December 29, 2018, 09:23 PM:

Jacque @ 530 ...
It might be worth seeing if there's a community garden or equivalent in your area that would be interested enough to (regularly) retrieve said from you (although it's likely that they would drive, so not sure how that'd balance out for you).

#532 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 30, 2018, 05:50 AM:

Jacques: Don't give up hope on Whole Foods before you've actually talked to whoever's locally handling the compost program. I recall that rabbit waste is highly prized for composting, I suspect that cavy waste will be good too.

#533 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: December 30, 2018, 10:12 AM:

Our city composting program specifically bans animal waste, though that might be effectively waived if the stuff is sufficiently pre-composted to be unidentifiable as such. (Also, our local program is technically only air-quotes “composting”, since it really all goes to a methane digester plant.)

#534 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 30, 2018, 04:53 PM:

Julie L.: I had that conversation with our service; in their case, they were mostly thinking carnivore waste. Herbivore waste was deemed safe.

#535 ::: oldster ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2018, 09:35 PM:

Happy New Year to all at Making Light!

2019 is going to be better than 2018.

#536 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: January 01, 2019, 12:37 AM:

It's early to wish a Happy New Year here, but I may not be up that much longer. Good health wishes to all here, by your own definitions; and may you find something interesting as often as you like.

#537 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: January 01, 2019, 01:05 AM:

Happy New Year!

I saw local fireworks-- big bursts from a block away and got rained on. How was your new year?

#538 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: January 01, 2019, 02:41 AM:

I was woken up by local fireworks, which were much more prolonged than in recent years.

On the positive side, the sour-cherry walnut rye bread I had made earlier in the evening had cooled down to room temperature and was ready to eat by then. So 2019 was already looking promising.

#539 ::: SunflowerP ::: (view all by) ::: January 01, 2019, 03:58 AM:

Happy new year, fellow Fluorospherians!

#540 ::: Singing Wren ::: (view all by) ::: January 01, 2019, 08:10 AM:

Happy New Year, and many thanks for the good wishes for Boy Cat!

For those interested in an update, his kidney function continues to decline, but he's not in full kidney failure yet. That said, the vet told us that reflux is not uncommon in his condition. A couple of days on anti nausea and anti reflux medication and his interest in food is back to his previous high level. (Thank goodness he will eat anything in a pill pocket.) Now it’s just a matter of keeping him happy and comfortable, to which end I must now go hide Little Brown Mousie for him to hunt.

#541 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 01, 2019, 11:07 AM:

Happy New Year!

I'm back from a visit Back East. I pick the dog up from the kennel at 11 am. I'm wondering if I should take a video; she gets so rediculously overwrought when greeting me after an absence.

If her health news turns up bad in a couple month, it might be nice to have.

#542 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: January 01, 2019, 02:39 PM:

Happy New Year, Making Light!

If you're used to seeing me on Facebook, I'm currently banned for saying that a member of Trump's administration should be tried, convicted and punished for treason. Apparently, this is a violation of "community standards" not that I've seen Facebook manifest any.

#543 ::: crazysoph ::: (view all by) ::: January 01, 2019, 02:41 PM:

I just learned one of those "they have a WORD for that!?!" words, in Japanese.

ne-shōgatsu (寝正月)- combining the word for sleep and New Year's day.

It's pretty much what you'd expect it to mean: the first day of the year, doing nothing, at home, taking it super easy (maybe even being a bit ill) - one dictionary in my electronic collection says it's a good omen for setting up the year right, welcoming God/the gods (Japanese being grammatically incapable of making this distinction, thereby giving anyone plausible deniability...), receiving new life from them as you honor them with your non-busy ways...

Crazy(and thankful there's a place to where I can come and share this, after I've relied too hard on dear hubby's patience)Soph

PS it gets better - there are haiku on this very topic! Kobayashi Issa had a particularly nice one, which I can only render very badly in English:

A hazy day when
sweet sleep of New Year's day fills
a mountain of homes.

#544 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: January 01, 2019, 03:39 PM:

My favorite sushi restaurant sent out a New Year's greeting with a slightly different message:

In Japan, New Year's Day is such an important holiday.
New Year's celebrations are joyous, and the traditions are numerous.
It is recognized that you made it through the previous year, despite challenges.
The most common New Year's greeting "Akemashite omedetou gozaimasu"
translates to "It is now a new beginning. Congratulations!"

I like that, too....

#545 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: January 01, 2019, 03:45 PM:

Happy 2019 to all. We made an early night of it last night. I didn't hear any fireworks, probably because it was raining here. I'm working on being slightly more organized, not so much because I want to be More Productive as because I want to be Less Overwhelmed. As a result, I have actually done a few things, compared to yesterday when I never got out of my pajamas.

#546 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 01, 2019, 04:06 PM:

My New Year started with being woken by the sound of pyrotechnics - fortunately not many, and not next door! And then I managed to sleep until 8am....

(Also, rent increases next month. As much as my SS increased, unfortunately.)

#547 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 01, 2019, 07:18 PM:

Aaaannnnd 2019 can official get bent; learned a college friend's wife is way decidedly not in remission any more. Fuck cancer.

If I'd known about this a few days back I would have tried to pay a (likely final) visit while I was still in NY.

#548 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: January 01, 2019, 10:17 PM:

OtterB, thank you- my new goal for 2019- be less overwhelmed!

And a Happy New Year to everyone here!

#549 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2019, 01:50 AM:

crazysoph @543: sleep and New Year's day

Good to know I'm Doing It Rite (having gotten up at 10:30pm)! I think I'll make this an Official Tradition.

#550 ::: estelendur ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2019, 10:31 AM:

My tradition is to go to a friend's NYE party which celebrates every New Year from London to Hawai'i, this being 7 pm to 5 am my time. Then we sleep a few hours, get up for breakfast, and head home, whereupon we slept 6 more hours. It was sorely needed! I would have liked to do more stuff but, y'know, it'll be ok. Trying to be less overwhelmed too. :)

#551 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2019, 07:04 PM:

Thanks for the haiku, crazysoph.

And Lori, which member of the Trump administration? Since there are so many possibilities.

#552 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2019, 08:44 PM:

A belated Happy New Year to all. I regret TNH was not at the same New Year's Day quietness I was at; it was enlivened by a Cooper's hawk disassembling lunch (a small bird) in the tiny back yard. (This was a big 114-year-old house with a monster window on the main landing, so a lot of us got to watch.) I hadn't realized they could maneuver well enough to hunt through all those buildings and trees.

oldster @ 535: 2019 is going to be better than 2018. I suppose we can hope.

#553 ::: crazysoph ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2019, 02:06 AM:

Tom Whitmore @ 544

Oh yes! and the rest of the formula opening the New Year: Ko-toshi mo, yoroshiu o-negai shimasu. "This year as well, I ask for your good regard."

(Students of Japanese will recognize the second half as something you say as part of introducing yourself to new people, and it's also said at the beginning of any major project one undertakes with other people - I've even seen it appearing in a medical drama, just before the surgeon started working.)

Our teachers "warned" us that these are so formulaic that most people in Japan will utter them as a kind of automatism, but on the other hand, I think when Japanese have talked to an adult learner like myself, they receive the "this is so cool!" wide-eyed wonder of their conversation partner and return it with a more conscious feeling for what they've really said.

(Ah, no, please Inner-Grinch, do not tell me this is simply projection on my part... *wan grin*)

There's a lot of Japanese where one encounters less "translation" and more "equivalents". It makes a fun study all on its own.

Crazy(and that's before I get into all the fun reference works detailing customs that are also on my electronic dictionary...)Soph

#554 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2019, 01:29 PM:

crazysoph@553: that is indeed cool, and thank you!

#555 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2019, 04:28 PM:

Alan Beatty @551:

Kirstjen Neilsen, the Blond Nazi-Bimbo head of Homeland Security.

I expressed the opinion that she be tried, convicted and shot after another child died on the southern border.

#556 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2019, 12:28 AM:

crazysoph @ 553 ...
Our teachers "warned" us that these are so formulaic that most people in Japan will utter them as a kind of automatism, but on the other hand, I think when Japanese have talked to an adult learner like myself, they receive the "this is so cool!" wide-eyed wonder of their conversation partner and return it with a more conscious feeling for what they've really said.

(Ah, no, please Inner-Grinch, do not tell me this is simply projection on my part... *wan grin*)

I'd chalk it up to "Wow! The bear! It's dancing!" myself, but you can label this as Outer-Grinch if you'd like.

#557 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2019, 12:58 AM:

Shouldn't that be "yoroshiku" rather than "yoroshiu"?

#558 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2019, 09:02 AM:

"The Abandoned Brain" by Robyn Hitchcock, played on washtub cello: (and check the tincancello tag for more) -- I'm picking up this cello sound pretty quickly!

#559 ::: estelendur ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2019, 09:32 AM:

The Modesto Kid: that's really cool! Does one build or buy a washtub cello?

#560 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2019, 09:42 AM:

One (at least this one) builds it. Check out my notes and pictures, starting here:

#561 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2019, 09:43 AM:

(I mean I guess if one were interested in buying a washtub cello, one could get in touch with this one about it)

#562 ::: crazysoph ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2019, 11:02 AM:

David Goldfarb @ 557

Oh *shoot* - you're entirely right.

Crazy(a missing "k" is a new one on me, so my story is my attempt to proof read fell over it not being one of my more expected typos)Soph

#563 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2019, 03:27 PM:

In today's episode of "i've been procrastinating forever on THAT?" I finally called Verizon to drop TV while keeping internet and phone on my FIOS. I anticipated much runaround and sales pressure, thus the procrastination. After a brief wait on hold, a cheerful and competent customer service representative took care of it. Huh.

#564 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2019, 08:20 PM:

OtterB @ #563:

"EMMETT'S LAW: The dread of doing a task uses up more time and energy than doing the task itself." -- Rita Emmett

#565 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2019, 01:47 AM:

OtterB@563 - Fortunately SOME things have gotten better over the last 20 years, since the days of the "Get a cable modem, go to jail" episode.

CrazySoph@543 - On the "Language X has words for unusual or extremely detailed things" front, somebody on Twitter pointed out that English has a word for tricking somebody into watching one specific music video performed by Rick Astley.

#566 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2019, 06:28 AM:

CrazySoph #543, Bill Stewart #565: In both your cases, the words aren't automatically generated by the language, they're assigned to represent a "found thing" -- in this case, a context-rich behavior.¹ Perhaps another example would be "dead-dog party", which might not be in the dictionary yet, but there's no reason it couldn't get there eventually.

¹ For the Japanese example, would native Japanese recognize similar constructions like "Christmas-Day-sleep" as parallel? or would they consider those a coinage/reference to "New Year's-sleep"? The latter would be as if someone started linking people to Sting's "Don't Stand So Close To Me", and called that "stingrolling".

#567 ::: crazysoph ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2019, 07:53 AM:

Dave Harmon @ 566

In your footnote: I think that kind of link wouldn't be so straightforward for the Japanese. They may be Christmas-lights crazy, but the day itself is still definitely a work day. On the other hand, they would recognize the holiday-sleep thing if seen in the context of the family celebrating Christmas or Thanksgiving.

Generated vs assigned. Yes, of course, but how fun that the motivation to assign it seems to reach critical mass only within certain spaces in human culture.

Crazy(like "schadenfreude", too?)Soph

#568 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2019, 04:19 PM:

Paul A @564. Emmett's Law. Yeah, this.

#569 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2019, 10:38 AM:

So I just endured the latest Windows push-update, and suddenly I can't see any Tumblr pages--? Access to a "risky" site was, apparently, blocked for me.

It isn't all sites that the software marks as "Not secure." Just Tumblr, so far.

#570 ::: estelendur ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2019, 10:53 AM:

I wonder if that's an 'adult content' thing or a security cert thing... (Or something else entirely.) Tumblr seems to be using a DigiCert security certificate, which is not one of the ones I know is losing major browser support. Hmm, interesting.

#571 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2019, 12:03 PM:

I'm not having that problem. Yet. (I could see Tumblr fine earlier today.)

#572 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2019, 01:04 AM:

New wrinkle: I can see Tumblr results pages just fine (example: search on Tumblr [name of person whose blog I want to see]), but if I click on any of the results thumbnails I get the warning page again.

#573 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2019, 10:48 AM:

Okay, here's a first: got a direct marking call (recorded on voicemail, because I don't answer my phone anymore) in (I think) Chinese.

#574 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2019, 10:52 AM:

Jacque @573:

Are you an immigrant from China who might have concerns (valid or not) about the state of their immigration status and/or visas? If not, then this scam is not for you.

#575 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2019, 11:26 AM:

Jacque, there's another thing it could be. There's a scam going around where someone calls (in Manderin) telling you that your family in China will be arrested by the government unless you send lots of money to them. The local NPR station talked about it a few months ago; apparently there are enough Chinese immigrants and residents in the US that it makes it worthwhile to the scammers. Some people have sent their life savings.

It's sort of like the scam that says that the IRS is sending police to arrest you RIGHT NOW unless you send them money. But scarier and more believable if you're a Chinese national.

#576 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2019, 02:52 PM:

Buddha Buck & Cassy B.: Huh! Shows how out of the loop I am; I did not know about this new wrinkle. Sounds like an entirely plausible explanation.

#577 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2019, 03:18 PM:

I get spam calls on my cell phone in Chinese all the freaking time. It may help that my phone has a 510 area code – east San Francisco Bay Area – a region with a large Chinese population.

#578 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2019, 04:23 PM:

I get such spam calls frequently, too -- 408 area code, similar to David G (Silicon Valley).

#579 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2019, 08:21 PM:

I too get such spam calls frequently -- two today alone -- and I live in the 607 area code, upstate New York around Binghamton/Ithaca.

#580 ::: Steven desJardins ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2019, 08:38 PM:

I've also been getting Chinese phone mail spam frequently for the last few months, all spoofed to match my area code. I live in Washington DC a couple of blocks from Chinatown.

#581 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2019, 10:25 PM:

Interesting. All of the Chinese language spam calls (which unlike many others leave voice mail!) are from the 415 area code.

#582 ::: oldster ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2019, 01:40 PM:

All I know is, I get tons of Chinese spam, and an hour later my voice-mail feels empty again.

#583 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2019, 07:52 PM:

Mandarin Spamium Glutamate gives me a headache. Best avoided.

#584 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2019, 04:18 PM:

I wondered about that, since I got a Chinese call in late summer.

#585 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2019, 05:34 AM:

A nifty little life hack I've invented: calcium / lime / rust remover (CLR and its ilk) can be thickened with instant pudding powder, for application to tough stains on non-horizontal surfaces. Vanilla is probably best, to minimize potential staining by the food colouring in the pudding. It doesn't "set" as well as it does when milk is used, so use about 1/4 less liquid. I used the "diet" version so there wouldn't be molecules of sugar getting in the way of the molecules of cleaner moving around.

I think it's likely that other starch-based thickeners such as "Thicken Up" would work as well, without any food colour at all, but I haven't had the chance to try it.

Part of the point is to avoid having to heat the liquid, as that can create some nasty fumes. I recently found a video about thickening bleach with cornstarch, by cooking the starch with water to make a very thick paste and then diluting with bleach. It works so-so and loses its viscosity quickly; the bleach seems to react with the starch. I don't know if it's because of the oxidation or the alkalinity, or even possibly just because of the chlorine -- starch reacts strongly with iodine to make a dark blue chemical complex. Bleach and instant pudding are another experiment for the near future.

Obviously, the "pudding" that results should be labelled to make sure that nobody tries to eat it, stored in a safe location, and so forth.

#586 ::: oldster ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2019, 04:38 PM:

Joel @585

That's a great idea!

I have tried something similar using a base of cream cheese and vanilla extract in place of the vanilla pudding. Then in place of the rust-remover, I use confectioner's sugar.

I have not tried using it to remove scale or lime build-up, but it works really well on cakes. Just spread it evenly over the surface of the cake, leave for about 24 hours, and the cake disappears. Works every time!

#587 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2019, 08:05 PM:

Joel: Do you mean lime as in citrus juice, or lime as in calcium-containing inorganic mineral? I'm assuming the latter? The variant I've used with some success is a paste of vinegar/vitamin-C powder/toilet paper. Let sit overnight.

And last weekend, I discovered that shampoo is actually not a bad bath-tub cleaner. Who knew?

#588 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2019, 09:42 PM:

Jacque - the mineral / hard-water residue. Exposure to lime juice (acidic) would slowly dissolve lime the residue (calcium / magnesium carbonate).

#589 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2019, 09:43 AM:

Joel Polowin @ 585:

Corn starch and bleach together to make a thick bleach paste are not a good idea. They react exothermically to produce a type of oxidized starch with reduced viscosity, and, while I can't find the exact reaction that happens, the heat definitely encourages the sodium hypochlorite to go up your nose and get into your eyes.

So, yeah, don't do that. Your trick sounds like it works much better.

This type of modified starch is, apparently, used in various industries, including food and paper, but they produce it intentionally and safely.

That was an exciting (and nose-hair curling) afternoon.

#590 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2019, 07:07 PM:

A friend just sent me a cassette tape of some music I composed on a computer in 1994-95. At the time it was easy for me to make cassettes of my music, so I'd given her a sampler.

Of course, that computer died, taking all my music files with it, not that any software currently available (or available even ten years after I wrote it) could read the files anyway. Electronic storage requires continual maintenance.

Net result: These are the only extant copies of six of my best pieces. I expect I can probably get them converted to CD, but what I really want to do is get them transcribed into conventional music notation so that live players can play them. THAT sounds expensive in the extreme, prohibitively so.

#591 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2019, 08:57 PM:

KeithS - Making the paste with water, cooling, then mixing with bleach about 1:1 didn't create heat or fumes that I noticed. But runaway reactions depend a lot on circumstances: concentrations, total amounts, initial temperatures, degree of mixing, and so on. I admit that I was a bit wary/skeptical about mixing the strong oxidizer with a carbohydrate, but the results didn't seem to be bad, just not very useful.

#592 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2019, 12:25 AM:

Xopher @590: Googling "music transcription software" turns up quite a few cheap and free programs for transcribing music -- one or another of them might make the project pretty easy.

#593 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2019, 10:30 AM:

If you have them in audio (and not MIDI, which would be convertible to notation via software), maybe find a music department and bribe a student in a theory program to set it down for you. Transcribing from audio was an assignment in my aural skills class on more than one occasion.

#594 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2019, 02:20 PM:

Tom, Kip, those are terrific ideas. For now I'm going to concentrate on converting from tape to digital (and burning to a CD) so the music won't be lost forever if someone walks by with a big magnet.

It is indeed audio and not MIDI. I have a MIDI-compatible synth keyboard, so if I had MIDI files I'd be sitting PRIDI! Given my current financial situation, I'm not sure I can afford a reasonable price for the highly-skilled labor of human transcription, but it's worth looking into.

I don't think anyone could transcribe "Sparkles on the Water," which is a huge, dense piece of process music. Also really long, so I couldn't afford it. The "Rondo for Oboe, Harp, and Viola"* has possibilities though. And maybe "Lianna Flying," though I'd better get a student with a minimalist bent for that one!

*It's not actually a rondo in the strict sense, because each repetition of the "rondo" theme is a different variation rather than the exact music repeated. But that's its title.

#595 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2019, 02:30 PM:

First steps first, indeed, Xopher!

#596 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2019, 07:52 PM:

Xopher, you are putting the correct foot forward. Preservation before anything else!

#597 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2019, 08:43 PM:

More dinosaur sex stuff

#598 ::: Devin ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2019, 03:46 AM:

If you have a tape player with a headphone jack (line-level output would be even better, but I've done it with a headphone jack and it worked fine) and a computer with line-in, cassette->digital conversion is trivial. Fiddly to figure out your first time, as the steps aren't all that intuitive, but there are simple guides out there and the process isn't difficult.

#599 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2019, 12:39 AM:

Xopher @590: Audio to USB adapters are pretty cheap on eBay, but the cheapest are mono microphone and stereo headset. They worked well enough for speakers when the built-in output on my old machine failed. There are more flexible devices in the $10 to $20 range, even with stereo line-in.

Since I use Linux, I can't say much useful about relevant software for recording, but the actual adaptor I had was auto-detected, no problem.

Cassette audio conversion seems to be one of those rather commonplace things. The quick check I did suggested most hardware handles 44.1kHz sampling, but getting the audio signal at a useful level is where things could be tricky.

#600 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2019, 02:13 AM:

Audacity is a good open-source tool for recording and editing / processing / manipulating sound. It's available for Windows, Mac, and Linux systems.

#601 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2019, 03:02 PM:

Xopher @ 594: A traditional rondo typically at least truncates the theme on repetition; variations might be in bounds. A harder issue might be keeping the usual variations-in-style between/among the theme and the B/C/D sections, if the theme is also varying.

Jenny Islander (belatedly): a recent BBC story observed that one effect of the shutdown was the expiration of various security certificates; is it possible there's a dead one somewhere in the chain between you and Tumblr? Obviously not Tumblr itself or others would see your problem -- and I'm not sure that the certificates of intermediate parties (if any) are checked.

#602 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2019, 09:12 PM:

I have used Audacity for LP disc / cassette tape digitization chores.

I've used two pieces of hardware. One is a really cheap cassette tape player with a built in USB interface. I bought it via a Boing Boing offer.

The better, older unit is a solid piece of audio hardware; a A to D converter with an amp and various inputs and a USB output.

#603 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2019, 10:49 PM:

I've used Audacity to record voice stuff for LibriVox and also to do some sound editing of voice recordings – I used it to create my Tam Lin play production, if anyone here remembers it. It's a powerful program with a fairly steep learning curve.

#604 ::: MinaW ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2019, 03:32 AM:

Just a note about random cleaners: split pea soup is an excellent copper cleaner. (I had a hand-made ladle from a friend; the bottom half would be very clean. Oh yum, copper.)

#605 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2019, 10:28 AM:

David Goldfarb: That was fun. You should do more.

#606 ::: Angiportus Librarysaver ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2019, 11:59 AM:

Xopher, etc: I've got a 20-year-old Sony Minidisc deck and some discs whose contents I did not get to labeling all of, so I don't have the lookup info on some tracks I want to duplicate and whose sources have disappeared. I tried the line out to computer's line in thing and it didn't work, despite the computer [Compaq] faithfully recording all the CD's I put into it. I got that computer in late 2011 and now use a laptop.
The minidisc deck came with a cord that on each end had something I've never seen a fit for on any computer.
My ears are still reasonably good (cutoff at 12.5 K) and I don't want degraded sound. Anyone got some ideas?

#607 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2019, 03:50 PM:

Angiportus Librarysaver @606 - One step might be to try to find out if the "line in" is failing at the computer end, or the output from the minidisc, or the cable you were using.

Instead of using your computer's "line in", you may be able to use its microphone input, with the output device's volume turned way down. Sound quality may be anywhere from good to terrible.

You might look for an adapter from the minidisc cord that you have, with its odd-looking connectors, to an input that you do have working.

#608 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2019, 11:54 PM:

Making Light question:

Is "Top Trump official resigns" the new "Top Al Qaeda leader killed"?

#609 ::: estelendur ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2019, 12:56 AM:

Tom Whitemore @608: I asked my poli-sci housemate and he facepalmed, which I think means "yes" and also "why?!" :)

(The Trump officials resigning is at least occasionally voluntary, but it is doing the same news cycle thing...)

#610 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2019, 09:28 AM:

Tom Whitmore #608: Might be; I still remember the Post's "Survivor" cover page for the Trump administration -- how many of the original cast are left at this point?

I also note that at this point, he's also facing a dwindling talent pool for replacing those folks, with at least one candidate turning him down flat. By any traditional corporate standard, TrumpCo is circling the drain, the question is how much damage they can do on the way out.

#611 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2019, 11:59 AM:

CHip 601: The episodes are pretty radically divergent. In one I imitated Philip Glass' style with my own theme; another tried to sound like someone else, etc.

I don't actually think it's a very good piece of music, by any objective standard that may or may not exist for music. It's just that it's mine and I want to keep it.

#612 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2019, 12:53 PM:

Xopher @611, that's the only standard that really matters.

#613 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2019, 08:13 AM:

OT: How to Inoculate Against Anti-Vaxxers.

As I've commented before: Modern medicine has taught us how to do battle against one of the #(*&)$ Riders of the Apocalypse. But even in a fight on behalf of all humanity, still there are traitors. :-(

#614 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2019, 10:52 AM:

There's a measles outbreak in Vancouver, WA; the local paper is publishing lists of places the 19 infected people have been. They include a *sports stadium* in Portland, a lounge in Portland's airport, and a costco.

The virus wouldn't have gotten a foothold if it weren't for the anti-vaxxers. Selfish, stubborn idiots.

I'm calling Kaiser P's advice line to see if I should get a booster shot. It's been at least 23 years since I *might* have gotten an MMR.

#615 ::: Singing Wren ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2019, 09:22 AM:

I have just returned from my little brother's wedding. The bride and groom are wonderful individuals, the ceremony was beautiful, the food was excellent, and the party was rockin’.

Of most interest to this community, I think, is my observation that every wedding reception should have at least one top hat present. My brother bought one on a whim last week to wear with his tail coat in photos. It was routinely stolen and passed around once the dancing began.

#616 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2019, 09:30 AM:

Angiportus Librarysaver @ 606:

If it was a nice Minidisc deck, the cable you can't identify might be an optical cable for digital transfer between the deck and a suitably-equipped receiver.

I'll second Joel Polowin's suggestion to see which end the line connection is failing on, because minidisc line out to computer line in would be the first thing I'd try. Otherwise, I can dig out my minidisc player and see if it still works.

On a completely different topic:

I've been thinking about the board game Monopoly for a little while and what it says about us as a society that it's one of the best-selling games of all time, that the official rules are dedicated to ruthless capitalism, and yet so many people have developed house rules that poorly attempt to make it more fair. Which then reminds me of the Phil Dick short story "War Game".

Does anyone know if Dick actually knew about Monopoly's history as The Landlord's Game — that it was developed as a teaching tool with a second set of anti-monopolistic rules to go along with the first — or was the twist ending to "War Game" independently created? I don't expect that there'll be an answer, but I'll be interested to find out if there is.

#617 ::: Angiportus Librarysaver ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2019, 12:18 PM:

Joel, Keith: It's a reasonably good deck; Magnolia Hi-Fi was pretty trustworthy back then. I am not sure how to test the line out, as my days of electronic study, and my multimeter, are deeply buried.
I will take the odd cable around to some experts and see if there is a USB convertor or something. But it won't be right away; I've got other projects happening. Thanks, though.

#618 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2019, 12:59 PM:

The Lunar Eclipse last night was a good show. Anyone else have a look?

#619 ::: Angiportus Librarysaver ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2019, 01:48 PM:

It was past my bedtime. But I recall one from a few years back that happened right at moonrise and it really was red. Gave me quite a start when I looked out the window.
The cable mentioned is optical, all right. Maybe if I dig out that manual again...

#620 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2019, 02:59 PM:

I went out to look at the moon during the totality, and as it was starting to come out. It was a good lunar eclipse from Seattle.

#621 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2019, 04:43 PM:

We had a good view of the eclipse from Victoria, BC: not too late in the evening, and unusually clear skies. We were in the pub district, and there were lots of people standing around outside on a relatively chilly evening, commenting and cheering.

#622 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2019, 05:59 PM:

Steve C. @ 618:

Went outside to look a few times last night from where I am in southern California. Toward totality, the moon was partially obscured by clouds, but before that it was a wonderful dark red.

Angiportus Librarysaver @ 617:

Use a different cable, use a different device to play back to the computer, use a different device to listen to the minidisc player should give you a good shot at figuring out which (if any or all) are at fault without having to dust off the multimeter. Good luck with the project once you have time.

#623 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2019, 11:45 PM:

I have a question: I'm all for calling my senators to get federal workers paid and get gov't opened again. But I work during the day, and I don't have a cell phone. I can't use my work phone to call. Is calling after work house a legit thing?

#624 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2019, 12:59 AM:

Jacque @623: I believe they have voice mail boxes at the offices for people with your problem.

You're also two hours earlier than DC where you live: so calling just before you go to work will probably reach someone during office hours.

#625 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2019, 01:17 AM:

Steve C.: I of course had much the same viewing conditions you did. It was too cold for me to stay out for long, but I went out and saw the moon partially eclipsed, and then came back out during totality.

Very nice photos! I do have to quibble with your title: I feel that "Wolf" is part of this moon's name and as such can't be separated from the moon – it is the "Wolf Moon". Therefore it must be "Super blood Wolf Moon" rather than "Super wolf blood moon".

#626 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2019, 12:11 PM:

Thanks, David.

When I was naming the album I wavered between that and other combos. The whole thing of naming moons (and calling lunar eclipses "blood" moons) is a fairly recent phenomenon. I think it came about as clickbait - why just say the full moon is at perigee when you can breathlessly intone SUPERMOON!

#627 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2019, 03:48 PM:

Steve C. @618: Despite being online all evening, it didn't actually penetrate my consciousness that it was happening until about four hours too late.

For some reason, my brain seems to file "Whee! Eclipse!" excitement as "advertising", and deletes it from my awareness. :-\

#628 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2019, 03:58 PM:

Tom Whitmore @624: calling just before you go to work

Oh! You're right! That didn't even cross my mind! (I always forget about timezones.) Yes, that's quite a perfect solution, thank you! (Though I love that I can call Bennet's local office, and get an actual human, which I gather is the optimal result short of actually showing up at their office.)

(I can never get through to a human at Gardner's office anyway, local or DC, so voicemail is six-a-one, in any event. The chief difference seems to be the length of the wait and voicemail box capacity.)

(That one will talk to you and the other...won't— This seems...diagnostic.)

#629 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2019, 09:09 PM:

In #608 Tom Whitmore writes:

Is "Top Trump official resigns" the new "Top Al Qaeda leader killed"?

Google News says "About 3,130 results." So yes, you may be on to something.

#630 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2019, 11:09 PM:

the embroidered computer is interesting!

#631 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2019, 10:01 PM:

Remember when that neo-Nazi group fell apart because the leader slept with the spokesman's wife?

Emily Gorcenski on Twitter just referred to the event as "the Night of the Wrong Wives."

#632 ::: crazysoph ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2019, 09:58 AM:

SOMEbody *sends a mock-glare to Xopher @631* owes me a new keyboard.

Crazy(seriously, though - that's brilliant and thanks for sharing it here)Soph

#633 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2019, 04:51 PM:

So... I happened to note this comment from a prior time when the View-All-By had died; I wonder if it might be relevant to dealing with its current and ongoing breakage?

#634 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2019, 03:48 PM:

San Francisco Bay Area was mostly cloudy or heavy rain the night of the eclipse. I went outside during a gap in the rain and caught the last bright wedge disappearing, but clouds blocked it by the time it would have turned red.

Steve C. - I've seen references to October's moon as The Hunter's Moon and similar names for other moons for at least 50 years, and "blue moon" has been around a while. But all the recent Big Bad Wolf Moon or whatever feels newer.

#635 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2019, 06:43 PM:

Dave: Tweeted a query to Sumana Harihareswara, who'd indicated a possibility of investigation, should time come available.

#636 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2019, 06:45 PM:


Read everything. Reread everything.

Want more Bujold.



#637 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2019, 07:33 PM:

Jacque #635: Thanks, and cool!

#638 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2019, 09:31 PM:

Hey, anybody out there who likes to hear a good basso profundo: Go look up Kimber's Men on Youtube and listen to John Bromley. He's been compared to a well-tuned personified foghorn, and also to Poseidon. (Kimber's Men specializes in sea chanteys and adjacent music.)

#639 ::: Quill ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2019, 09:20 AM:

Jacque @636: Have you seen the new Sharing Knife that came out last week?

#640 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2019, 10:49 AM:



I have now!


(You have no idea.)

#641 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2019, 10:49 AM:

Quill @ 639 ...
Jacque @636: Have you seen the new Sharing Knife that came out last week?

??? No link? No pointer? No name?

#642 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2019, 11:21 AM:

From Bujold's Goodreads blog:

So, “Knife Children”. What would be the back cover blurb, if ebooks had back covers, goes,

“Lakewalker Barr Foxbrush returns from two years of patrolling the bitter wilds of Luthlia against the enigmatic, destructive entities called malices, only to find that the secret daughter he’d left behind in the hinterland of Oleana has disappeared from her home after a terrible accusation. The search for her will call on more of Barr’s mind and heart than just his mage powers, as he tries to balance his mistakes of the past and his most personal duties to the future.

A stand-alone story set in the world of The Sharing Knife.”

I've bought it, but think I will reread The Sharing Knife series first. Which will take a while. I have it in huge honking hardbacks but am checking the e-books out of the library for reread.

#643 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2019, 01:52 PM:

So, woke up this morning with cramps and chills. I effing hate being sick before my morning coffee, and this morning I threw that up. I wound up calling my sister for a reality check and possible ER trip; fortunately the former negated the later.

A bit of ibuprofen and rest later, I'm feeling somewhat better, but still a bit weak. That said, I'll note that my bout with appendicitis (must be a couple or three years ago by now) set a rather high bar for those particular symptoms, so this was mostly irritating rather than truly miserable.

It did mean calling out sick for work, which is a shame; there's so much stuff that needs doing at the shop....

#644 ::: Quill ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2019, 02:59 PM:

Jacque @640: You're welcome! :D Your mention of Bujold reminded me that I'd heard one was coming out round about now.

xeger @641: I hate to link to Amazon these days, but I should have included a title. Sorry about that.

#645 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2019, 03:40 PM:

Quill and OtterB: Thank you! I had read that Bujold had a Sharing Knife novella due out in late January, but not that it was out.

#646 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2019, 11:02 PM:

Annotated Thermometer: How Cold Is It?.

For comparison, XKCD's take.

Hoping everyone north of me is staying safe in the insane cold and snow.

Seriously, my town is just barely south of the Vortex area. The weather sites were showing the Vortex brushing the top of Virginia, so Charlottesville (smack in the middle of the state) is expecting a low of 10°F tonight with no snow.

#647 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2019, 09:46 AM:

More srsly: it gets to the low +20s (F) in L.A. occasionally (and more frequently in the Bay Area, where my father occasionally had to thaw pipes in the garage). The official record low in CA is something like -55, near Donner Pass. (I turn the heat on when it gets below 63F. My fingers have strong objections to cold. I've met people who whine when it gets below 70F, and wonder how they survive at all.)

#648 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2019, 12:25 PM:

I mostly find it striking just how abrupt the transition is -- the Vortex area gets apocalyptic stuff, but right outside it, the weather's barely unusual even for this area. (And I'm from NYC-area by way of Boston-area.)

#649 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2019, 10:33 AM:

Thanks for the info about Bujold's new “Knife Children” novella! Enjoying it now.

#650 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2019, 02:09 PM:

@Dave Harmon: my gut reaction was that 10F seemed quite low for Charlottesville, and Wikipedia says that winter lows ~"occasionally dip into the teens (<-7C)"; are they underestimating? (I used to feel hard-done-by if the temperature was 26F when I got up for my further-suburban-DC paper route, but that's somewhat lower and closer to the ocean.) It may be that the vortex threw its worst at the midwest; the stories talk of record temperatures around Chicago, but Boston bottomed at 5F (versus -16 that I saw 3 years ago) and didn't set a new record for lowest high of the day (as it did about a week ago, before the vortex was felt anywhere).

#651 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2019, 02:45 PM:

“Knife Children” is wonderful. I’ve read the main series before, but skipped a (p)re-read before diving into the novella, which is perfectly coherent on its own terms.

Now that I’m re-starting _Beguilement_, I’m struck by the antiparallel plot threads connecting it to KC. Without much more spoilers than the respective promo blurbs, there are blond illegitimate fathers with very different attitudes toward their children, a runaway situation from the viewpoint of the runaway herself or her frazzled parent(s), and the priming/deployment of sharing knives.

#652 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2019, 11:13 PM:

Hmm, maybe my NYC-trained presumptions are clouding my memory, but I didn't get a sense of "colder than it's been since I got here". In any case, it's certainly not nearly as bad here as further into the vortex, especially with essentially no snow. (We got a faint sprinkle today, someone coming into the shop had to tell us about it.)

#653 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2019, 01:12 AM:

Quill: Just poked Subterranean Press. They do plan to put it out in hardback. (Nice news for those of us who prefer paper.) I probably will break down and read the ebook, though I'm loathe to give Bezos any more of my money than I can manage. (Googles: Oh! B&N has a version, too. Yay.)

#654 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2019, 01:22 PM:

*peers around doorframe*

Hi y'all. Been a while. Missed this place.

#655 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2019, 01:49 PM:

::waves:: Hi, Lila!

It's been pretty quiet lately, but there are a bunch of us still here.

#656 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2019, 08:43 PM:

A few days ago it was -23°F and today it was nearly 49°F. It's a little disorienting...

#657 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2019, 10:30 PM:

I've called that kind of change being "whipsawed by the weather".

#658 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: February 04, 2019, 08:35 AM:

Hi, Lila. As Mary Aileen says, tending toward quiet here with occasional bursts of conversation.

Roller coaster weather, yeah. Not as low as -23 here, but cold enough, and forecast to be up to nearly 60 for a few days this week.

#659 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: February 04, 2019, 08:54 AM:

Talent Watch: I just found an impressive work of Fantasy lurking around the Internet:
The Practical Guide To Evil.

This is a serialized fantasy novel, currently advancing through Book V. The guy ought to take editing more seriously (especially since his commentators are helping), but that's not so bad as to be really distracting. At this point, I've read through Book I, and the story is really good.

Brief summary: In this world, Good and Evil are largely essentialist, backed by a wager among the gods. Certain people have Names which grant them various powers, making them Heroes and Villains.

Twenty years ago, the Good Realm of Callowan was conquered by The Dread Empire of Praes and its Legions of Terror, led by the Black Knight. It was a very thorough conquest, destroying the royal line and all of the Good institutions. Today, Catherine Foundling gathers money in the fighting pits... she's saved nearly enough to enroll in the College of War, which will let her join the Legion and rise in its ranks. She has dreams of gaining power and reforming the Empire from within. Then, in a dark alley, she is rescued by the Black Knight himself. He offers her a shortcut -- a way to gain power and position within the Empire within just a few years, instead of a lifetime of struggle. And he turns out to have some interesting ideas about the practice of Evil...

“The key to the Empire maintaining control over the lands it conquered isn’t fear, my dear, it’s apathy. As long as the common people can go about their business and live their lives mostly untroubled, what do they care who their taxes go to? The Governor is making people care about who rules them again, and that is a very dangerous thing.”
(Obviously, that doesn't end well for the Governor.)

Catherine will become the Squire....

#660 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: February 04, 2019, 09:16 AM:

A series about the conflict between Good and Evil? Aren't both sides the same anyway?


#661 ::: Quill ::: (view all by) ::: February 04, 2019, 04:40 PM:

Jacque @653: I'd love to have a paper copy someday, but I was waiting for iTunes (hardly less objectionable, but at least I can save my own copy of the file).

It finally turned up this morning and I have devoured it with great pleasure.

#662 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: February 04, 2019, 05:30 PM:

Quill: I did not know about this; this is good information!

Meanwhile, I have verified they SubT also plans to print Flowers of Vashnoi. 'Case you're interested. XD

#663 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: February 04, 2019, 06:43 PM:

TomB #660: The author's doing an impressive job of showing moral conflicts in an essentialist universe. Affable Evil and Obnoxious Good characters are prominent....

#664 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2019, 12:42 AM:

I'm hoping it eventually shows up on Kobo, but fear the timeline's going to be months, rather than weeks, or days.

#665 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2019, 06:00 AM:

There's something up with Bujold and Kobo. Kobo has audio books of all her things (including "The Flowers of Vashnoi" although not yet "Knife Children"), but has never had book books. As somebody who likes Bujold and Kobo but not audio books, I consider this state of affairs sub-optimal.

#666 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2019, 09:20 AM:

Paul A. @ 665:

Bujold has commented over at Goodreads (which is the only public place she announces the new novellas as far as I know) that her novellas aren't released on Kobo because of something to do with foreign markets and taxes. No, I don't understand it either, and I also find the lack of Kobo availability sub-optimal.

Remember that her novellas are published by her agent, not a big publishing house. In an age where anyone can go through Smashwords and be made available on all the e-publishing platforms, I think there's something odd going on here, but it's a decision I can't change.

#668 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2019, 11:08 AM:

664 et seq: I read once that she didn't think Kobo would last. Which doesn't make any more sense to me.

#669 ::: Quill ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2019, 12:08 PM:

Jacque @662: Thanks!! I have a long list of ebooks I would like to duplicate in hard copy, because while I love having a library in my pocket, paper books don't require electricity. But I am firmly in the "both, both is good" camp.

#670 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2019, 12:30 PM:

Bujold also announces publications on her mailing list. It's a fannish place with both insightful discussion and more-or-less-relevant chatter. We're currently doing a re-read of the Sharing Knife series.

The six Penric novellas are scheduled for print publication, in two volumes. Inge "reads" her books in audio form, which I find very suboptimal, particularly because I end up hearing some parts repeatedly and missing other parts entirely.

#671 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2019, 02:00 PM:

Though I must admit that Neil Gaiman's reading of Neverwhere is very compelling.

#672 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2019, 05:12 PM:

P J Evans @ 668 ...
664 et seq: I read once that she didn't think Kobo would last. Which doesn't make any more sense to me.

She wasn't entirely wrong there -- Kobo did get acquired by Rakuten, after all.

#673 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2019, 05:12 PM:

P J Evans @ 668 ...
664 et seq: I read once that she didn't think Kobo would last. Which doesn't make any more sense to me.

She wasn't entirely wrong there -- Kobo did get acquired by Rakuten, after all.

#674 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2019, 07:17 PM:

It's still around, though - I buy e-books from them.

#675 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2019, 11:01 AM:

Kobo is very much still there! I've been buying virtually all of my books from Kobo for some years now. Well, and some from

It's very uncommon for me to find that I can only get a book on Kindle, unless the author is self-publishing. The norm is for a title to be available on Kobo as well. When a book is discounted on Amazon, it will be discounted the same way on Kobo.

At this point, I own more than 400 books through Kobo. I'm assuming that if they don't make enough money to survive, that someone will want their customers, and pick us up.

#676 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2019, 06:00 PM:

@674, @675 ...
Kobo's definitely still there, but they're now wholely owned by Rakuten, rather than being independent (which it only was briefly):

It originated as Shortcovers, a cloud e-reading service launched by the Canadian bookstore chain Indigo Books and Music in February 2009.[5] In December 2009, Indigo renamed the service Kobo and spun it off into an independent company. Indigo remained the majority owner, with investors including Borders Group, Cheung Kong Holdings, and REDgroup Retail taking minority stakes.[3] As of March 2010, Indigo Books & Music owned 58% of Kobo Inc.[6] Rakuten acquired the company from these owners in January 2012.[7][8][9] On May 23, 2016, Waterstones announced it had sold its ebook business to Rakuten Kobo Inc., and as of June 14, 2016, users were required to access their ebooks via Kobo's ebook site. []

#677 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2019, 07:11 PM:

There's a reason I download all of my books, no matter where I buy the ebook. I had a Sony reader, back when Sony made ereaders.

Sony going out of the reader business engendered a DEEP distrust that ANY corporation will find value in holding my books for me.

#678 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2019, 08:09 PM:

I jailbreak them so I can read them with Calibre (and back them up also).

#679 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2019, 02:53 PM:

So there's this weird thing with my Comcast connection: contrary to Comcast's usual reputation, knock on wood, my service is generally pretty reliable.

Every once in a while (not really frequent, but frequent enough to be a pattern, and frequent enough to really be annoying). my internet goes out. Here's the weird thing: the vast majority of the time, it happens in the evening, and, to the degree I've watched it, it happens right around the time I get home in the evening. Usually Thursday (and sometimes Friday) evenings.

(What's really annoying is that this always happens outside of business hours, and when I call [India], the best they can offer is "reset the modem," and then set up a service call. For two days away.)

I get up the next morning, and it's back on. (Which argues that local tech gets in, sees the ticket, and flips whatever switch is blown.)

A few times ago, I did manage to poke User Support in a way that elicited the datum that "bad code" had somehow "gotten into my account." (Which of course leads my wild imagination to think "Russian hackers.")

I haven't actually tracked the the timing (though I'm now going to start—maybe it'll at least serve as a banishing spell? Or would that be a summoning spell?), because it's taken me this long (a half-dozen times over the last "few" years?) to firmly conclude that There's A Pattern Here.

Anyone else experience this? Anyone have suggestions on how to light a fire under Comcast to a) make it not happen (because it always seems to be on their end) and/or b) what daemon to invoke to get some useful real-time response from User Support?

#680 ::: Devin ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2019, 03:40 PM:

My old place, we had a Comcast problem that was pretty clearly sunlight-related. Not sure if it was the box on the pole or the junction on the side of the house, but SOMETHING flaked out when it got hot in the sun. (As in, never in the winter, often on sunny summer days, occasionally if we got a warm sunny spring/fall day.) We even tried hosing off the visible gear, which didn't 100% fix the problem but did seem to help.

Comcast was entirely unwilling or unable to grasp this concept. Their mental horizon, as an organization, extends only as far as "does it work right now yes/no" and isn't capable of grasping "does it fail consistently as a result of predictable events and could we prevent that."

Maybe your local joint will have more farsighted service or more empowered techs.

#681 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2019, 12:37 AM:

Traditionally, such a thing would be attributed to an evening janitor who unplugs some equipment so s/he can plug in a vacuum cleaner, or something like that. Someone comes along in the morning and plugs it back in. Either nobody is able to figure out how the equipment keeps getting unplugged, or nobody really cares, or it's impossible to get the janitor to stop doing it, for whatever reason.

#682 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2019, 12:11 PM:

Re: cable connection - the cable from the pole to my house runs through a group of trees along the property border. It seems every few years I have to get the cable company to come out and test the line (which requires me being home for them). They always conclude the line in the house is good, and when they check the external line they find it has been chewed up by squirrels and they run a new line from the pole to the house.

You would think they could start by testing the external line, and if they determined that was good they could request a follow up home appointment.

When it was failing, I would try to watch a streaming service on Friday night and it would get constant buffering or a failure to connect at all. It would be good the next day — until it wasn't and then might not work again until Monday. Then Tuesday it would go out and I might not be able to connect again until Thursday.

#683 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2019, 04:04 PM:

You would think they'd keep records of which lines get chewed up by squirrels, so they'd know to check that first.

#684 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2019, 06:09 PM:

@683, that would require them to actually care about customer service.

What was the old line from Saturday Night Live in the 1980s? "We're the phone company; we're a monopoly, so we don't have to care" or something like that. Now it's cable companies.

#685 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2019, 07:18 PM:

That was a Jane Wagner/Lily Tomlin line, from her telephone operator performances. "We don't care: we don't have to. We're the Phone Company."

Not to be confused with TPC, in The President's Analyst.

#686 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2019, 09:16 PM:

You'd think they'd care about the cost of having to frequently fix squirrel-chewed cable.

#687 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2019, 11:36 PM:

Tom: With Grateful Dead! XD

Cable guy came this morning. Wound up taking several hours (mostly re-convincing my Mac to connect because...well, technology).

Against my predictions, I did actually have service last night. Got an upgraded modem. So, who knows?

Meanwhile, the kid that did the service call was an absolute delight, and oh ghods have I turned into an Old Phart. He was very indulgent.

#688 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2019, 12:38 AM:

OMG, from the Department of Were We Ever Really That Young:

Harlan Ellison interview 1976. This is around the time that he first crossed my path (first in '74 and then in '78).

Wow. He seems so callow. Which, um—Harlan? Callow? Wut?

#689 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2019, 04:31 AM:

> Harlan Ellison interview 1976. This is around the time that he first crossed my path (first in '74 and then in '78).

Oh my God. The sunglasses. The PIPE!

I've been thinking Roger Zelazny was the first favourite author from my youth that I grew out of, but maybe Harlan Ellison got there first.

#690 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2019, 12:04 AM:

Which, you know, is astonishingly exactly how I remember him. How old would he have been in that vid. 40-ish? (Googles) 42. Wow. You know you're getting old when— He looks like a teenager.

But, yeah. The whole smoking indoors...! Ghods. And I can remember not being unbearably bothered by that. (Well, not that I had any choice.) Nowadays, if my coworker leans over my cube wall just after going out for a smoke, I can't decide whether to cough or puke.

#691 ::: Quill ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2019, 01:50 PM:

Opportunity 2004-2019

We sent a vision to the god
Of war, but in the name of peace.
Glass and metal, gears and rods
A hope that long outlived its lease.

We saw a planet through its eye
No foot has trod; and yet, we walked
Along its tracks on dust and rock
To wonder at an alien sky.

Science without heart is null
And so we loved this far-sent bot
Our hopes packed into its hull
Our dreams the thing for which it sought.

Fifteen years. And now the spark
That lit the path has sputtered out.
But what it learned and brought about
Will build us wings to cross the dark.

We're on our way. Someday we'll see
Once more - our Opportunity.

#692 ::: estelendur ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2019, 02:01 PM:

Quill @691: *applause*

#693 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2019, 04:44 PM:

Quill: ❤️❤️❤️

I never expected that the loveliest poem I would read on Valentine's day would be about our affection for a robot on another world, but so it is. Thank you.

#694 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2019, 08:16 PM:

Thank you, Quill.

#695 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2019, 10:50 AM:

Quill @691, lovely.

#696 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2019, 12:51 PM:

Thanks, Quill! I liked the second verse especially.

#697 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2019, 01:03 PM:

Beautiful, Quill!

Did anyone else catch Brian Williams on The 11th Hour promising Opportunity that we would come and find him, and bring him home?

#698 ::: Quill ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2019, 03:06 PM:

Thanks, I'm glad you all liked it!

#699 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2019, 04:14 PM:

Joining the chorus, Quill!

#700 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2019, 07:24 PM:

This struck me as an interesting thing to find randomly online while searching for something else: the FBI file on MAD publisher William M. Gaines. The page it opens to spells MAD wrong ("'Man' comic"). Later on, the file goes clear off the tracks, holding Gaines responsible for Harvey Kurtzman's Playboy comic, Little Annie Fanny. Along the way, they take umbrage with the EC war comics, which many feel are among the greatest literary achievement of the medium.

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