Back to previous post: I was naive

Go to Making Light's front page.

Forward to next post: Two, or possibly three, sermons

Subscribe (via RSS) to this post's comment thread. (What does this mean? Here's a quick introduction.)

October 10, 2018

Open thread 221
Posted by Avram Grumer at 08:01 PM * 1087 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.

#701 ::: Tony Zbaraschuk ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2019, 11:03 AM:

Thank you, Quill!

#702 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2019, 03:58 PM:

Quill: ::wipes tears::

#703 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2019, 10:10 PM:

Jacque @ 679: I've read of a sun-related computer failure, possibly in The Hacker's Dictionary; I was never sure whether to believe the story, as it dated back to when most computers were in windowless rooms. I did have a piece of lab equipment that wouldn't work in hot weather, but that was an extreme case: we were on a mezzanine under a tar-on-steel roof with no drop ceiling to protect us, so the inside temp routinely went up 20F over a summer work day. The equipment issue was solved by moving it to the animal facility on the far end of the mezzanine -- yes, they literally treated us worse than animals.

Tom Whitmore @ 685: my partner reports that that happened in real life: when New York Cash Exchange started to become available, banks all over Philadelphia were saying "We're NYCE" -- until one thought-he-was-a-genius type put up "We're not NYCE -- we don't have to be. We're Citibank."

Quill @ 691: belated praise. I can imagine Mike Ford doing something like that.

I think "callow" is inaccurately harsh; certainly he's younger than I remember seeing him (the voice especially is a lot smoother) -- I guess memory has bled, because I first saw him two years before -- but he's articulate and surprisingly reasonable, which I've read was typical when someone was talking with him reasonably instead of trying to start a gunfight.

#704 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2019, 10:01 AM:

Anent the beeping discussion, a maintenance call at work I made, since no one else had: "One of the urinals has been beeping for the last week. Please have someone change the battery."

On ebooks: I'm another happy Kobo user, but I still make sure to break the DRM on all my ebooks for backup purposes. I haven't quite figured out the pattern I use for choosing what to buy as an ebook and what to buy physically, or even if there is one beyond wanting to keep series in one format or the other.

#705 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2019, 10:35 AM:

Regarding ebooks,

What would be involved in finding who has the rights to an out-of-print book and petitioning for it to be re-released as an ebook?

I'm at the point where my eyes like ebooks better than paper (undiagnosed presbyopia nearly made me stop reading for a while). Twice now I've recommended books for my local SF book club that turned out to be unavailable in ebook form and out of print -- despite being Hugo-award winners.

I want these books, and others like them, to be available. But I don't know how to make that happen. Both authors are long dead. How does one find their literary executors?

#706 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2019, 12:33 PM:

Buddha Buck @705: FWIW, NESFA Press's mandate is to get such books back into print.

#707 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2019, 01:18 PM:

Joel @706:

Thank you for that pointer. They didn't have the books I was looking for, but they do have a book I didn't know I wanted.

#708 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2019, 10:25 PM:

Buddha Buck @705: Which books are you thinking of? Perhaps a clamor can be started.

#709 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2019, 01:55 PM:

Peter Tork has died.

#710 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2019, 02:30 PM:

TomB @708:

The two specific books I were looking for were Heinlein's "The Past Through Tomorrow" and Walter Miller's "A Canticle for Leibowitz".

I did find two sub-$5 editions of the latter on Kobe, but looking at them closely it seems sketchy, like perhaps someone "self-published" them via Kobe, violating the copyright. Goodreads lists a few different ebook editions, but the most recent edition looks to combine both "Kindle" and "Hachette", which might explain why Amazon does not currently have it.

#711 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2019, 03:30 PM:

Buddha Buck: Yes those books should be in print.

The Spectrum Literary Agency appears to be responsible for Heinlein's literary estate. The page they have for Heinlein is kind of nice.

According to this rather amazing story by Terry Bisson, Walter M. Miller's agent was Don Congdon. I haven't looked further than that.

#712 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2019, 08:01 PM:

Aw, I was always a fan of Peter Tork. Then again, I was a fan of all of 'em, but he wrote some of their good originals, and played piano, so I sigh with regret. What a life he had, eh?

#713 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2019, 11:04 AM:

So. Adventure Time.

All I knew about it was that it had a self-consciously rudimentary art style, sort of a hybrid of chibi and Matt Groening, and that the characters looked like somebody had dumped out their cute sticker collection. But we've been sick for days here, so I checked out the first two seasons from the library at my son's request and he binge-watched them.

So. Um. Adventure Time.

So this show takes place in...a neighborhood built in a post-apocalyptic hellscape? Full of foulness and dead men's bones? In which there is, for some reason not revealed, only one human and he's a child? And his best friend is a talking dog with Mister Fantastic's stretch powers and a personality that veers between Hobbes the Tiger and Blue the Worst Imaginary Friend Ever? And there are undead, and sentient mall court food items, and walking talking geometric shapes, and wizards? And everybody operates on either dream logic or ha-ha-ain't-we-funny smirking about how dumbed down things "have to be" in a show for kids? And there's actually quite a lot of violence and body horror disguised by the cuteness?

I don't. What? Does this get better?

#714 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2019, 03:16 PM:

#713: Adventure Time gets a lot less "teen boy's idea of paradise" as time goes by.

Finn learns a lot of hard lessons. The Ice King's heart-breaking back story gets revealed, as does Marceline's. Finn learns about his parents, and the fate of humanity, which introduces another layer of pathos.

#715 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2019, 03:45 PM:

Joel Polowin @ 706: that's NESFA's aim -- but it doesn't cover the question of rights, which have turned out to be sticky; I never found out who owned Wyndham, and that was 30 years ago (only ~20 years after his death). Maybe today it would be easier. Also, some estates have novel ideas about how much money there is in reprints. I'm surprised Baen hasn't brought all the RAH in sight back into print; it would seem a natural for them (unless they thought the stories had to be mutilated for modern readers, as I hear they did to another author), and I hear they are heavily into ebooks.

Buddha Buck @ 707: they do have a book I didn't know I wanted. My favorite NESFA Press story sight was of the local fan who discovered the table in the early oughts and got on the phone to their ?father? "Do you want this? What about this?" -- IIRC they left with a large box of books to ship.

#716 ::: Devin ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2019, 06:23 PM:

"The Past Through Tomorrow" seems like it could have some rights problems due to overlap, too, which would make it a bit tricky for NESFA (or whoever) if somebody else has "If This Goes On" or "Methuselah's Children" or "Man Who Sold The Moon" rights. And those rights might be worth more independent of the rest of the package, which might make a complete edition tricky.

Heinlein might also be in a zone where the rights are legitimately worth more than NESFA can pay or than Baen would want to shell out just for archival ebook editions, but aren't lucrative enough for the deeper cuts to stay in print. One would hope Heinlein's literary estate was in the kind of hands that would understand and appreciate those distinctions, but who knows?

I remain saddened by my continual need to explain the existence and message of "Logic of Empire" to people who somehow believe that Starship Troopers and/or Moon is a Harsh Mistress represented Heinlein's complete and unvarnished political thought (somehow, in spite of the contradictions between the two, let alone the rest of his work...) And obviously we could use a dose of If This Goes On... in these sad times. So I'm hopeful.

#717 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2019, 01:07 AM:

For those who haven't yet heard, there's a CaringBridge site up for Vonda McIntyre. There's more info there than I want to try to digest for folks. It should be the best place to get current information. It's not happy information, though she's doing well enough right now.

#718 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2019, 02:34 AM:

Tom: Aw crap. :`(

#719 ::: alisea ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2019, 03:44 AM:

PSA for all Fluorospherians who are coming to Dublin in August for Worldcon and are interested in playing with fiber and thread:

After my success with the Hyperbolic Crochet Community project in Helsinki I'm doing another project for Dublin, which is a bit more ambitious and needs significant prep beforehand. We're going to build a textile model of a part of the colony tree from Martha Wells' Books of the Raksura.

I've started a blog, and there's a Ravelry group as well. Feel free to share with anybody who's coming to Dublin and might be interested.

#720 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2019, 10:21 PM:

CHip @715 -- I helped with some of the work on From These Ashes, the anthology of Fredric Brown's short stories. (I still think it should have been titled Paradox Regained.) When it was about to be released, I told some of the local SF folks about it, and circulated copies of the NESFA Press catalogue -- I expected that we could put together a large enough order to qualify for discounts and free shipping. Yup. I got home from work one day and was approached by one of my across-the-street neighbors. There had been a postal delivery while I was out, and she'd accepted on my behalf: three full mailbags, IIRC.

#721 ::: Angiportus Librarysaver ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2019, 07:39 PM:

HLN: Area retiree shuts the door for the last time on a building and a city that had been home for 32 years.
From Renton, southeast of Seattle, to Mt Vernon, in Skagit County, about 2 hours north. A better apt., and closer to Mom. It's been a stressful month, and it isn't done yet. But progress is being made, lots of it.
After x number of trips carrying stuff, retiree was heard to say "If I ever want to move again, just shoot me."
Hopes were expressed about libraries in Whatcom, Skagit and Snohomish counties, and bookstores yet unseen. Becoming familiar with a different and much bigger river is also anticipated.

#722 ::: crazysoph ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2019, 03:02 AM:

AKICIML - I'm looking for a poem written here, with an ending about how one corner of the internet would forever be "Making Light"

I've completely blanked on who wrote it, or even what form it was (a sonnet? Maybe??) but it was lovely and about the passage of time, entropy and loss.

I'm hoping! Thanks in advance,

Crazy(and tried the site:website thing already - apparently I can't remember enough that's identifiable to snag the poem)Soph

#723 ::: crazysoph ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2019, 03:13 AM:

Ah! Ah!! I don't need help after all - turns out I'd already written it in my poetry book!

Crazy(and is mighty relieved)Soph

PS I've been trying to get a search engine to cough up the relevant link, alas no such luck. It was posted by Dave Bell, written 2017 November 04

PPS OOH I'd even been so thorough (not always a given!) to have noted the link:

#724 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2019, 07:01 AM:

A couple of online resources on rights to work by various deceased authors:

SFWA has an Estate Project that has information on how to contact estates of various deceased SF authors regarding rights. (In some cases, the Project itself will act as a go-between). Here's the URL for the project:

The WATCH database, run by the University of Texas and the University of Reading, has rights contacts information on many authors, both living and dead, in various genres. Their database can be searched at

I use both resources in the copyright renewal knowledge base I maintain at Penn, which among other things includes some of the SF magazines that were publishing before 1964. (Copyrights from 1964 onward renewed automatically.) For instance, here's my summary of renewals for Galaxy magazine, which for most of the listed authors includes a link to their rights contact information either at WATCH or at the SFWA Estate Project:

#725 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2019, 10:26 AM:

#721: Best of luck with the remainder of the move, and the new digs & environs.

#726 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2019, 05:06 PM:

#716 ::: Devin

Farah Mendlesohn's The Pleasant Profession of Robert Heinlein just came out. It's a detailed look at Heinlein, with a lot of attention to his various takes on politics.

#727 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2019, 07:33 PM:

I am still here. That sonnet had slipped my mind. Thanks for the reminder.

#728 ::: Devin ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2019, 03:56 AM:

Nancy Lebovitz @726

Thanks! I'm less "acutely interested in Heinlein's actual politics" than I am "strongly irritated by idiotic claims that he OBVIOUSLY must have been a right-libertarian and militaristic authoritarian (at the same time, somehow)." But I am curious, so I'll keep an eye out (looks like it's not quite out, but soon!)

#729 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2019, 10:26 AM:


The kindle version is available in the US.

Book and kindle are available from amazon uk

Sorry if I wasn't clear-- the book is a look at Heinlein's various takes on politics, mostly as expressed in his fiction.

#730 ::: crazysoph ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2019, 01:32 AM:

Dave Bell at #727

I'm so glad - thank you for such a beautiful piece! Although my art-activities these days don't stretch to poetry, I am grateful to be able to "borrow" by reading other's. And this one was especially nice, because of both its "local" focus and the wider theme combined.

Crazy(and now really glad she posted her first cry for help)Soph

#731 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2019, 02:12 AM:

Devin @728, what you don’t know anyone who claims to be a libertarian but also tends towards militaristic authoritarianism? I know at least one person who tends strongly that way, and a few more who tend weakly. They generally try to square the circle by arguing that military and policing powers are a legitimate function of minarchist government.

#732 ::: SunflowerP ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2019, 09:34 AM:

Oh, thank you, Nancy @726/729! That sounds enough up my alley that I might pony up for the hardcover (and transAtlantic shipping). It never ceases to amaze (and exasperate) me how many people claim to be Heinlein fans yet appear to have only read at most three of his stories - and usually the reason it's evident is their lack of knowledge about the range of political structures to be found in his oeuvre (very like Devin @716's experiences, sounds like).

#733 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2019, 12:15 PM:

I've only read the beginning of Mendelshon's book, but she says that a reason it exists is that in 1988, she wrote about how six writers-- Le Guin, Bradley, Tiptree, Delany, Harrison, and Heinlein-- wrote about women over a 20 year period.... and Heinlein was the only one who changed.

Also, Heinlein wrote favorably about more sorts of government than anyone I can think of. Any other writers who varied so much? Le Guin might be in the neighborhood (or at least for different sorts of society rather than different governments) and possibly Bujold.

#734 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2019, 02:04 PM:

It seems to me that when Le Guin returned to Earthsea, it was with a feminist perspective very different from before.

Bujold has written "favourably" about a number of kinds of government, in the sense that she has shown their good and bad sides. "Democrats adjust well to autocracy as long as they get to be among the autocrats", or whatever the phrase is. Barrayar is enjoying something of a renaissance under Gregor, but has a long bloody history of bad rulers. At first glance, Beta appears to be a techno-paradise, but there's a lot of intrusive government/societal control. Kibou-daini has its warts and its underclass. And so on.

#735 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2019, 03:36 PM:

Also, my sense of Heinlein is that he had more consciousness of women (as a class, and maybe as people) than did a lot of the other (male) writers, and was more conscious about advocating on their behalf. I don't get the sense that he was necessarily tuned into feminist thought, particularly, but he certainly gave the sense of feeling that women generally got a raw deal, on the whole.

#736 ::: Devin ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2019, 05:29 PM:

Avram @731
Heh, fair enough. But "Heinlein's obvious true belief was the single unitary system he showed in Starship Troopers and Moon Is A Harsh Mistress" is still absurd.

Joel Polowin @734

Yes, and that's certainly something one would have to reckon with after the 1990 publication of Tehanu. But in 1988, not so much.

#737 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2019, 10:30 AM:

Nancy, I think in #729 your US "Kindle version" link does not lead us where you thought it would lead us.

Allow me to offer an alternative: The Pleasant Profession of Robert A. Heinlein

I've read only the first few chapters of Farah Mendlesohn's book, but so far, it bids fair to be all I had hoped it would be.

#738 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2019, 06:46 PM:

Another commment for my old Usenet packet-pal Nancy Lebovitz. In #733, Nancy writes:

Also, Heinlein wrote favorably about more sorts of government than anyone I can think of. Any other writers who varied so much? Le Guin might be in the neighborhood (or at least for different sorts of society rather than different governments) and possibly Bujold.

Elseweb, I myself have written on this topic.

My general opinion about Heinlein, politics, and fiction[…]

Heinlein enjoyed figuring out what he could do if he had a fission-powered rocket that heated liquid zinc, or a torchship that directly converted matter to m-c-squared and could swallow any working fluid, or a family space yacht that ran on “single-H.” He covered butcher paper with calculations working out orbits, launch windows, Oberth maneuvers, and so forth. He had the necessary mental tools to speculate about spaceflight, and he loved doing so.

Same with governments.

He played around with variations and erected fictional governments in considerable detail. Beyond This Horizon. Starship Troopers. Double Star. They weren’t consistent with one another. They weren’t necessarily systems Heinlein wanted to live under. He was exploring them. And he wanted to get the reader to explore them too.

This culminates in the celebrated passage in The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress where Prof tosses out half a dozen wacky ideas for a fresh Loonie government. They may not be practical, but they certainly bear thinking about.

To Heinlein, governments were toys. Rather like starships.

#739 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2019, 07:33 AM:

I have a notion that Heinlein frequently started with an idea for a story, and then built a government to fit it, but I don't know whether there's any evidence for this.

For example, the excellent scene with the king in Double Star required a monarchy. Starship Troopers could have started with the question of what sort of government/military was best suited for an aimless young man to find a purpose in life by being a soldier.

This doesn't seem as true for Glory Road, but we do have a government which leads to a situation with a sufficiently important quest.

#740 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2019, 01:11 AM:

AKICIML: I find that I am needing to buy a Bluetooth audio transmitter, something that could be connected to a sound system's analog output to allow one to listen to it via headphones from elsewhere in the house. Do any of you have recommendations, positive or negative? Thanks!

#741 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2019, 02:37 AM:

Ok, this is completely random.

As background, New Zealand is known for two things: sheep and rugby. As more and more businesses recognise the true value of traditional suits (ie, not a lot), there has been surplus high-quality merino wool. Someone discovered that by winding fine merino around nylon you could make soft, warm, washable fabric that breathes well, and charge eye-watering prices to extreme hikers, frequent flyers and other people who can afford to pay for quality.

I’ve just met a wool named merino
And suddenly that name
Will never be the same
To me

I’m wearing a shirt of merino
And suddenly I see
How comfortable a tee
Can be...

You can wash it; it won't start fraying
It as soft as, but warmer than, rayon

I’ll never stop wearing merino

#742 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2019, 10:25 AM:

thomas, the Irish group I play with on Mondays has an item called "The Marino Waltz" in its repertoire. Every time it comes up, I try not to make a sheep joke.

#743 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2019, 12:39 PM:

Meanwhile, I today I just learned of an acquaintance of my boss who owns a farm whose chief product is "fiber." Apparently, among their products is "buffalo* wool."

And, as you might expect, one does not shear a buffalo.

So apparently there is, in fact, an (one or more) actual real person whose job description includes "wool-gathering."

* Technically, American Bison, but around here, they are irretrievably "buffalo."

#744 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2019, 04:18 PM:

Jacque, one of the things I missed from Fort Collins was seeing the buffalo herd (continuing with the popular usage) around Lindenmeier Lake up north of town.

Imagine my surprise, then, to find a small herd on private land here in western NY. I'm not sure I'd even call it a herd… more like there's a fellow who intends to breed them and he's just starting out.

I guess I shouldn't be entirely surprised, though, what with living an hour or so away from an entire city named for the shaggy beasts.

#745 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2019, 04:43 PM:

Jacque @743 So apparently there is, in fact, an (one or more) actual real person whose job description includes "wool-gathering."

Probably more strenuous than it sounds.

And, I would expect, seasonal. My guess is that a winter undercoat gets shed in the spring, perhaps by rubbing up against trees.

It seems reasonable that shearing a beast that size is probably best left out of the plan.

#746 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2019, 06:25 PM:

I understand that that's how they get qiviut (musk-ox down), also. And there was a story I read about a pet bear where the people who took care of it would comb the down out and make yarn from it - special friends got bear's-down mittens.

#747 ::: Victoria L'Ecuyer ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2019, 08:11 PM:

OtterB @ 745

It's not about the size of the buffalo/bison, it's about the average temperament of the species. I once knew a guy who was a ranch manager and had run both cattle and bison throughout his career. He much preferred cattle because they never tried to gore him unexpectedly at random times while he was herding them from one pasture to the next.

Cattle were bred over thousands of years to be domestic animals. Bison never were.

#748 ::: Victoria L'Ecuyer ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2019, 08:11 PM:

OtterB @ 745

It's not about the size of the buffalo/bison, it's about the average temperament of the species. I once knew a guy who was a ranch manager and had run both cattle and bison throughout his career. He much preferred cattle because they never tried to gore him unexpectedly at random times while he was herding them from one pasture to the next.

Cattle were bred over thousands of years to be domestic animals. Bison never were.

#749 ::: J Homes ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2019, 09:23 PM:

@744 et seq,

There are some old breeds of sheep (but not Merino) that are not shorn, although I understand that the wool is removed by a process (called IIRC "rooing") like unto combing, rather than waiting for the animal to get rid of it.

Not sure were they come from, but Shetland Islands comes into my head.

J Homes.

#750 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2019, 10:08 PM:

One of our cats has fur that felts -- we brush him, and a brushing yields a golf-ball-sized ball that bounces on the floor when we throw it....

None of the other cats do the same.

#751 ::: Quill ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2019, 08:30 AM:

It's been many years since I took that class, but I remember brushing Angora rabbits for their fur, to be spun later.

#752 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2019, 08:48 AM:

Victoria L'Ecuyer @748, makes sense.
Some years ago, the only time I've ever ridden a snowmobile, I met a buffalo walking down a road in Yellowstone. He was walking down what would have been the center line of a snow-covered two-lane road. I pulled as far to the right as I could (there was a drop-off into a ditch), stopped, and prepared to abandon the machine to him if he wanted it. He paid no attention to me as he continued his promenade. I wish I had a picture, but my camera was in my backpack and I'm not sure I could have pried my fingers off the handlebars to use it anyway.

#753 ::: eliddell ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2019, 11:12 AM:

J Homes @ 749: I think you're thinking of the Soay Sheep of St. Kilda.

#754 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2019, 12:21 AM:

I remember something in one of Farley Mowat's books about the spring migration route of the Arctic caribou herds being blanketed by a thick mat of hair shed from their winter coats... hundreds of miles of it.

#755 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2019, 04:52 PM:

Buddha Buck: "A Canticle for Leibowitz" IS available as an ebook: /

Quill: belated thanks for your poem - lovely.

Sheep that shed their wool naturally: Soay sheep, yes - we used to have some. Except one didn't shed and had to be caught and sort of plucked each year . She wasn't the easiest sheep to catch, either. And don't ask a sheep dog to herd Soays unless you want to give the poor dog a mental breakdown - becase they don't flock, they scatter!

#756 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2019, 01:25 PM:

they've figured out what happens when you nuke grapes:

#757 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2019, 08:07 PM:

Kip W @ 744: there was a bison farm in central Massachusetts in 2005; it was well-established enough to sell an assortment of products, although I don't recall seeing anything from fiber. I didn't keep the info and have no idea whether they're still in business; judging by the Big E (six-state fair), llamas (or smaller cousins?) are the In Thing to raise in the more rural areas.

Tom Whitmore @ 750: bounces?!? We used to have a rescued feral that showed many signs of being half Maine coon; one sign was the quantity of hair scattered around the house until I got in the habit of combing him whenever he demanded a lap, but the result never bounced (possibly too fluffy). Any idea what breeds are in yours?

In case anyone is not sufficiently outraged by The Great Trumpkin (local columnist epithet) already:

#758 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2019, 09:30 PM:

P J Evans @756: Grape balls of fire!

#759 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2019, 02:02 PM:

Folks, I'm not one for cooking gadgets, because I have a tiny kitchen and limited time and energy for cleaning fiddly bits, but somebody sent me an Instant Pot for Christmas and last night I fell in love with it.

Picture this: You're tired, you're ill. You put raw chicken breasts--frozen, even--no need to cut them up--into your pot, add broth, put in rice and seasonings, then cut up your vegetables directly into the pot with a paring knife (peel first if desired). Then you program it to pressure cook your food and go sit down. When it's done, you wait 10 minutes, then vent the steam, take the lid off, cut up the chicken with a butter knife or shred it with forks, stir in a little oil and vinegar if desired, and eat. You can even do all this sitting down by putting the Instant Pot on a low table near a window you can open. No cutting board, no handling raw meat (frozen!!!), no impact on your joints from chopping things (make sure your paring knife is sharp), and no heating up the stove.

I am keeping this thing. Cooking doesn't feel like so much of a chore anymore.

#760 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2019, 02:16 PM:

Jenny Islander (759): That sounds like heaven. Does it radiate much heat? I don't use the oven or crock pot in the summer because they heat up the kitchen too much. I've been assuming that an Instant Pot would be comparable to a crock pot in that regard--is it?

#761 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2019, 01:29 AM:

@Mary Aileen no. 760: Surprisingly little compared to a slow cooker, although you are warned not to touch the lid. The heating element is very rugged and thickly insulated compared to the heating element of a slow cooker. Note, however, that you have to worry about safely letting the steam out of the valve on the top. I turn the valve with a wooden spoon.

#762 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2019, 09:51 AM:

Further notes on Instant Pots:

— the steam comes straight out the top of the vent, not from under the side, so a wooden sppon isn’t strictly necessary. However, try not to fent it directly under a cabinet; we ended up indirectly disinegrating a drinking glass, presumably because the one at the bottom of the upside-down stack underwent thermal expansion and the one over/around it didn’t. Luckily, it was tempered glass, so the result was a pile of clear gravel that was relatively easy to clean up.

— speaking of cleanup, I recommend getting multiple heatproof bowls that can fit inside the main cooking insert. That way, you don’t have to pull out the latter for washing every time, plus you can stack bowls with steamer racks to cook more than one thing at a time. Pyrex 7-cup cylinders & Corelle 28-oz bowls are great for this (or at least for my Instant Pot size), and both have airtight lids available for storage.

— one box dry pasta + one jar tomato sauce + one jar water + optional frozen meatballs + 3-4 minutes “steam” setiing -> another minimum-effort meal prep. Add any dairy ingredients and/or frozen veggies at the end after venting steam.

— also, yogurt production. And possibly bread proofing. And fast “boiled” eggs (steam in a colander for “0 minutes”, which shuts off max heat immediately after coming to pressure). And, and, and.....

#763 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2019, 10:16 AM:

Thanks, Jenny and Julie. An Instant Pot just moved up my potentially-buy-sometime list a few spaces.

#764 ::: Clark E Myers ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2019, 11:24 PM:

Also, Heinlein wrote favorably about more sorts of government than anyone I can think of. Any other writers who varied so much?

For my money favorably is a strong condition, else folks with enough range would count.

Blish's Cities in Flight touches on a wide range of more or less in story historical remnants. It's a big universe combined with sensa wunda has allowed a few pick your planet pick your polity after the manner of an extended multi-volume And Then There Were None.

For favorable to a variety I'd put forward Poul Anderson whose personal views and so his writing changed over time - as did Mr. Heinlein's views whether due to Ginny's influence or not.

Taking everything from High Crusade to The Pugilist there are comments and perspective both favorable and unfavorable. There's a seldom collected early story from Galaxy April 1951 with the secret police overlords existing to inspire the opposition that will eventually birth good government. "Obviously, no conqueror wants his subjects to revolt against his rule. Obviously? This one would go to any lengths to start a rebellion!"
Poul Anderson. Inside Earth (Kindle Location 11).

No Truce with Kings is a good compare and contrast with in-story characters picking each side as the moral superior.

#765 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2019, 10:36 AM:

CHip, now you've got me missing the Big E. We lived in West Springfield, and every time we parked in the boonies of Agawam and walked in, we declared that we should have just saved ten bucks by walking the six miles or so from our house.

#766 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2019, 11:06 PM:

re: Instant Pot: How does it align with or differ from a Multi-Cooker? We have the Lux Fagor Multi-Cooker, and it has the pressure cook, yoghurt function, slow cook (crock pot style), rice cook (brown and white; no clue what it means for wild, probably do that on pressure cook), as well as sautee and brown. It sounds like Instant Pot recipes could translate to Multi-Cooker without much hassle, as the two maybe have the same functions, but I've never interacted with an Instant Pot before.

#767 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2019, 09:31 AM:

Nicole @766 it sounds to me like an Instant Pot is equivalent to a Multi-Cooker and recipes could probably be translated without much hassle. The question would be what adjustment, if any, you should make to timing. But a check of similar receipes for your Multi-Cooker would probably give you an idea.

I like my Instant Pot but don't use it as often as I intend to. I got it a couple of years ago when the slow cooker I'd had for almost 40 years was rusting out at the bottom, and I thought I'd get the multiple functions rather than just a new slow cooker.

#768 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2019, 10:54 AM:

I bought an Instant Pot knock-off (cook essentials) from a thrift store a few years back. Fewer buttons, few special modes (yogurt!?!) but fine for cooking stews and rice and such.

I found a much fancier knock-off in a dumpster in back of a Bed Bath & Beyond. Several, in fact. The manager dumped them in there and sprayed them with red paint.

I fetched out one of each part, cleaned them off thoroughly, and tried it. Worked fine. Maybe an returned item they couldn't restock because it wasn't in a box? I gifted it to my mom, but I suspect it might be too complex for her. She liked the stew I made to demonstrate it though!

#769 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2019, 11:00 AM:

I just bought a new slow cooker couple of years ago; I may wait until it needs replacing before I get an Instant Pot (or equivalent). But I probably won't buy another standalone slow cooker.

#770 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2019, 11:33 PM:

Awesome. I may just have to expand my recipe searches.

We got our Multi-Cooker when I went to the store thinking to replace our 4-quart crock pot with a 6-quart one, and got distracted by "ooooh, fancy!" Haven't regretted it once. The way its brown and sautee functions makes stews like this one (well, it already is, but I don't have a Dutch oven, and the potatoes came out just fine after the slow-cook function, thank you) and, with a little adjustment, this one into a single pot meal is fantastic.

Though as I've said I've never used the yogurt function, I have used the low slow-cook function to curdle milk for paneer. Clean-up was a heck of a lot easier than when I do it on the stove, and as long as I leave the lid off I'm not in danger of the whole thing suddenly boiling over.

#771 ::: SunflowerP ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2019, 04:45 AM:

Nicole @770: '... and the potatoes came out just fine after the slow-cook function, thank you....'

My thought when I read that part of the recipe was, that's not about the slow cooker being 'too moist' for potatoes, that's about what kind of potato one uses. The cultivars classed as 'starchy' (i.e, the ones that make lovely fluffy baked potatoes) will go mushy; those classed as 'waxy' (a.k.a 'boiling potatoes', unsurprisingly) will hold together for long cooking in liquid.

#772 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2019, 10:57 AM:

I'm both my slow cooker and instant-pot (knock off) these next two days.

Slow cooker, today: A "cook in the bag" rump roast. An odd thing, bought on special. A sealed bag full of a chunk of meat and sauce. You lay it flat in the cooker and let it rip for six hours.

I'm putting in some carrots, onions, and peppers in two hours early. Hopefully they won't interfere with the meat cooking.

Tomorrow: The Oregonian's "Foodies" email newsletter had a recipe for Instant Pot corned beef and cabbage. Meat and onions first, then vegetables.

I'll have a lot of leftovers to freeze as quick meals!

#773 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2019, 11:07 AM:

Due to Health Things I can only eat very lean meat anymore, so we eat steak smothered in mushrooms whenever the steak is cheap enough. (Sear pepper-seasoned steaks on both sides in cast-iron pan with a bit of added olive oil, then dump in canned mushrooms with their liquid, piling mushrooms on top of steaks to act as a "lid," and simmer until tender and delicious.) I'm going to see whether there's a way to do that in the Instant Pot by combining the saute function with something else. Precisely timed cooking that doesn't require me to hover in the kitchen checking the meat? Great! No cast-iron pan to clean? Bonus. :)

#774 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2019, 02:54 PM:

Okay, can I just make a little shout-out here for salt? Put some salt in the baked-goods. Not a lot. Just a little. Really. It's better.

(From someone who finds saltless cookies & pie to be ... disappointing.)

#775 ::: estelendur ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2019, 04:28 PM:

HLN: Local human is going to work for a Large University Library building data respository/archive/search software! Woooo!

Local human is very excited. It's kind of like working in academia, but with money and without "publish or perish."

#776 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2019, 05:19 PM:

estelendur: Congratulations on the new position!


HLN: After 3 years, local human's contract at Large University Library building data respository/archive software is coming to an end.

Local human is disappointed. It was kind of like working in academia, but with money and without "publish or perish.".

#777 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2019, 01:03 AM:

Jenny Islander: #773 - What you do with the mushrooms is kind of like a braise. I would cut up the steak in chunks, add the mushrooms and some white wine so there is no risk of it going dry, toss in a sprig of rosemary, and cook until tender.

#778 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2019, 01:47 AM:

SunflowerP @ 771 - I either used those round red ones like get used in seafood boils, or else Yukon Golds. For whatever that's worth. I was skeptical myself of the recipe writer's caution because, hell, dutch oven or slow-cooker, the environment is still one of swimming in broth.

I've made that recipe suitable for a gluten-free friend by subbing a half/half mix of Trader Joe's gluten free flour mix and garbanzo flour for the roux, and Green's Endeavor Dubbel Ale for the Guinness. (Can't swear I've ever actually made it with Guinness though--not a fan, and other dark beers come so much more readily to hand.) It went over very well as an accompaniment for Steven Universe binging.

Jenny Islander @773 - that sounds amazing and I want to try it now!

#779 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2019, 08:55 AM:

Congrats to estelendur and condulences to Buddha Buck on jobstuff.

AKICIML. I am some years behind the technology curve. I want to download a few movies to my daughter's iPad that she can watch without wifi while on a long plane flight. Right now she only uses the iPad for a communication app; she also has an iPhone which she uses for texting and for watching stuff on YouTube, and a portable CD player that she uses for watching movies but which we won't be taking with us. I've never watched a movie on a tablet. Do I just buy a few things through iTunes and download them? I don't have any Netflix etc. accounts. I do have Amazon prime but haven't used it for video.

I did get her some fairly good headphones and a battery pack (which I still need to charge) since I wouldn't expect the iPad charge to last that long.

Advice on preferred apps and procedure?

I'd also welcome suggestions for iPad games for someone who functions at about a 3rd grade level (although she is in her 20s). She likes animals, geography and travel, find-the-whatever (she's very observant), and swashbucklers.

#780 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2019, 09:25 AM:

OtterB @779:

I have no experience with it on iPad, but I would highly recommend looking into VLC for Mobile. It is an iOS port of the open source VLC media player.

VLC (desktop version) will play damn near anything you throw at it. VLC (iOS version) claims to do file synchronization with Drop Box, Google Drive, iTunes, web streaming apps, SMB (Windows file share), iCloud, etc, etc, etc.

#781 ::: estelendur ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2019, 09:48 AM:

Buddha Buck: my condolences :( the position I've gotten is explicitly term-limited to three years, so I may be in your position in three years' time. I hope you are able to move on to something else that is also interesting and enjoyable.

#782 ::: Quill ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2019, 09:57 AM:

OtterB @779:

If she likes collection games, Pocket Frogs is fun and will last a long time--I've been playing it for years. Other games by that company can also be fun; I like Pocket Planes too. 2048 can put one almost into a meditative state once one gets going.

To get movies onto my iPad (I have a Mac) I put them in iTunes and sync the iPad, checking the box to sync all videos. Movies I've purchased via the Apple store go into the Movie section; movies I've ripped from DVDs and put in iTunes end up in Home Videos (though I think you can manually change the classification in iTunes).

#783 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2019, 11:52 AM:

@777: Unfortunately the fella I cook for only believes in steak. If you cut the steak into pieces before you serve it on a platter, it's not steak anymore. This makes him sad.

#784 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2019, 06:53 AM:

OtterB @779:

> I'd also welcome suggestions for iPad games for someone who functions at about a 3rd grade level (although she is in her 20s). She likes animals, geography and travel, find-the-whatever (she's very observant), and swashbucklers.

You might like to have a look at "Hidden Folks" - simple but lovely outline drawings of very busy scenes with a tiny bit of animation, and lots of things to find. Worth looking it up on YouTube to see if it's the right sort of thing.

#785 ::: SunflowerP ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2019, 08:18 AM:

Nicole @778: Both quite suitable for moist cooking methods - reds are waxy; Yukon Golds are in between waxy and starchy but known for versatility. I think russets (starchy bakers) could be used in Irish Coddle, but one would have to take a lot more care that they don't overcook - if I'm making stew and russets are what I have on hand, they don't go into the pot until the the last hour, max, of cooking; I learned the hard way that if I treat them as if they were reds and add them much sooner, I get a very thick gravy but no evident potatoes.

Buddha Buck @780: That looks like a handy bit of software; thank you!

#786 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2019, 12:07 PM:

Just a bookkeeping note: I tried the Betty Ballantine, 1919-2019 link under PNH's Sidelights and got Page No Longer Available - This news-agency article is no longer available on

#787 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2019, 12:39 PM:

OtterB @ 779:

For watching movies on an iPad, it really is as simple as buying movies in iTunes, downloading them, and syncing them up with the iPad. You will have to make sure that syncing movies is enabled for the iPad. I think it is by default, but best to double check.

Also, if you have a Movies Anywhere account (used to be Disney Movies Anywhere) from having bought DVDs or Blu-Rays and using the code in them for digital copies, you can link that to your Apple account and not have to buy them again. You should also be able to add your own videos, which will show up in the Home Videos section in iTunes, because there couldn't possibly be any source of DRM-free movies other than home videos.

Completely unrelated:

I wasn't aware that Publishers Clearing House was still around, but they are. I got one of their sweepstakes letters in the mail the other day.

Their estimated odds of winning their one million dollar prize are 1 in 3.1 billion, and for the "up to $7000 a week for life" ($1 is "up to" $7000, right?) is one in 6.2 billion. Since the population of the US is a bit north of 300 million, and the entire world population is about 7.5 billion, these don't strike me as the best of chances. Sure, you can enter the drawing multiple times, but how many people are going to physically mail a few billion entry forms?

#788 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2019, 10:59 PM:

@KeithS no. 787: My husband and I both play PCH; he does the online games and I do the mail-ins. Heck, it only costs a stamp. I buy stuff from PCH that's hard to find locally (I live in a small, isolated community) and also hard to spot in the gargantuan swampland of online shopping. I especially like their nifty little plastic bins with hinged lids, which fit 4- and 5-pound bags of flour, rice, sugar, etc. My food storage space consists of a few very deep, dark cupboards that were NOT set up to support the weight of the food they have room for. Replacing my metal canisters with these plastic bins reduces both the weight and the space requirements of my staples, while still preventing spills.

But you have to accept that everything they sell is...kinda cheap? I tried their stick-to-the-wall configurable spice rack, which looked like it would clear out some cupboard space by enabling me to use an odd bit of wall that was no good for anything else, but it crashed to the floor within a day. It's only strong enough to hold up spices in little plastic jars. I buy stuff that only comes in glass, such as savory and saffron, so.

Oh, and we've each won $10 from the sweepstakes. Yes, real checks, that the bank accepted for deposit.

#789 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2019, 11:04 AM:

Publisher's Clearing House has ignored me for years. I didn't know that sold stuff besides magazines.

I once won a $1.00 prize!

* * *

Instant Pot corned beef and cabbage was excellent. Leftovers tonight.

#790 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2019, 12:42 PM:

Corned beef being on sale means lots of Reuben sandwiches for leftovers. Such a hardship.

#791 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2019, 09:55 PM:

I won $10 from Publisher's Clearinghouse when I was in high school! :-)

#792 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2019, 10:43 AM:

OtterB @779: My kids have loved playing Monument Valley since preschool. They were also obsessed with Neko Atsume for a while; one of them still has occasional binges of Merge Dragons (though that game got aggressively monetizish about a year ago).

#793 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2019, 12:48 PM:

Monument Valley is wonderful, but short. Not good for long-term (though it is fun to replay). Neko Atsume is also fun, IME. I'm seconding both recommendations.

#794 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2019, 05:46 PM:

CHip@703, Jacque@679 Re: sun-related failures.
The Bell Labs BLIT terminals were a graphics-oriented computer for connecting to Unix machines back in the 80s. The Bell Labs Murray Hill complex had older building designs with central corridors and labs/offices off them that had windows.

Somebody there had put their BLIT on their desk, with its back facing the windows, and taken the back off so it wouldn't overheat, which the early models had problems with. The boot programming was on a UV-erasable EPROM, which was common technology in its day. And after a couple weeks of this, with the sun shining in the window, the EPROM had enough UV to erase its memory and forget how to boot.

#795 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2019, 09:51 PM:

I remember hearing from a friend who worked there that Bell Labs had created an Intelligent Terminal called the BLIT, but denied that BLIT stood for Bell Labs Intelligent Terminal.

#796 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2019, 10:42 PM:

Hoppy birdies to you, Teresa!

#797 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2019, 11:53 PM:

Happy birthday, Teresa!

#798 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2019, 12:56 AM:


#799 ::: Anne Sheller ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2019, 02:47 AM:

Happy Day-after-birthday, Teresa!

#800 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2019, 09:17 AM:

Happy Birthday, Teresa!

#801 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2019, 11:08 AM:

A belated happy birthday to you!

#802 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2019, 05:13 PM:

Bill Stewart @ 794: That's even stranger than just overheating -- and I suppose the knowledge of the EEPROM was limited enough that the person couldn't even be blamed.

Belated HB to TNH -- somehow I didn't realize until yesterday's F:770 that she was equinoctial.

#803 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2019, 05:51 PM:

Happy birthday, T!

#804 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2019, 06:04 PM:


#805 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2019, 12:35 AM:

The Williams Birthday Song:
(tto: "Happy Anniversary" aka "William Tell") Oh…
Happy birthday yesterday!
Happy birthday yesterday!
Happy birthday yesterday!
HAP-py birthday yesterday!

Happy Happy Happy Happy
Happy birthday yesterday!

Happy Happy Happy Happy…

(geez, nobody's ever listened this long before.)

#806 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2019, 02:50 AM:

Happy belated birthday, Teresa!

#807 ::: Angiportus Librarysaver ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2019, 01:32 PM:

HLN: Area retiree is settling in nicely in new Skagit home. A pocket-marsh loud with millions of frogs, a forest strip with a spring, a new river, unfamiliar birdsongs, a new volcano to keep an eye on, new libraries and thrift-stores to get lost in, and proximity to Bellingham [childhood roots].
Xopher Halftone I mean Halftongue #795: The term BLIT made me think of the David Langford story "Different Kinds of Darkness", I believe the title was. A devastation that worked more quickly than sunlight. As one who is allergic to certain shapes, I found it rather relevant.

#808 ::: Tykewriter ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2019, 01:37 PM:

Though I am very far away
And had forgotten your birthdáy,
In offering you this doggerél
I wish you well.
There's little more that I can say;
However bad may be your day,
Be glad you're not in any way
Theresa May.

#809 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2019, 04:51 PM:

AKICIML: For reasons I do not want to go into here, I cannot ask this question in meatspace. I'm hoping that somebody here can point me to some kind of dummies or newbies site or something.

I need to:

* Replace the metal roofing on this house with something that is at least as durable in high winds and salty weather

* Determine whether zero, one, or two garrets can be added to an room (the cutoff is: will I have to do something to the foundation in order to make it possible?)

* Convert that same room, which is an attic room with an outside-only entry (the house is on a hillside) and no sheetrock or anything, to a properly finished bedroom with an interior staircase and some kind of toilet and/or shower facilities depending on how much garret space I can jam in

* Find, or have somebody build, some kind of storage unit or shed to put stuff in that is currently in the damn attic room because there is zero room in this house for any of it and certain persons keep jamming more stuff in here BUT ANYWAY

I have:


* A part-time job that will enable me to make the payments on the HELOC if I don't get silly

* Joint damage and chronic pain in my legs

* No experience, none zilch zip nada, beyond fetching nails and planks and things for other people

* This summer

So I know that I need to do the things required by local government, and find a contractor, and choose roofing and all that, but I don't know where to START. And I just found out, literally an hour ago, that this is all on me now. And I can't go ask local people how to do it, for reasons.

Does anybody know where I can find a checklist? Preferably with a glossary? I need not to make irrevocable expensive mistakes. It would be a bonus if I could sound knowledgeable enough that the contractor and so forth wouldn't be asking me, "Well, why didn't you ask [name] about this?"

#810 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2019, 07:45 PM:

Jenny Islander: Is there a good space on your property to build a shed? That seems like it has to happen first. Even if you get a prefab shed, you probably want it on a pad and it should have a light which means electricity that is up to code. That means getting at least one contractor and dealing with local government. But it is smaller and lower risk than the attic renovation. You could use it to evaluate contractors and build relations with the local government folks.

When my parents needed to fix up their home, the key turned out to be a really great electrical contractor who knew lots of other good contractors.

#811 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2019, 07:46 PM:

Walking it back: False alarm, whew! I thought this was going to be like all the other times in the past years that [name] hasn't felt up to doing something he defines as Manly but can't bring himself to let somebody else do it, so that "I don't feel like it today" actually meant "I'm gonna drop this down the memory hole for another few weeks or months or just sit around stewing about how I Should Be Half My Age and Vigorous and Have Loads of Free Time." BUT. He just took me upstairs, walked me through the questions to ask the building inspector, and asked me to make the appointment.


Also, they're dormers, not garrets. So much I don't know...

#812 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2019, 09:33 PM:

Dormers shouldn't require reinforcing the lower structure - or at least not like you'd need for adding an attic to the room. They're a fairly common thing to do, anyway. (The only big thing we ever did to a house was adding a door and putting a removable wall across the open side of the patio - the house was built with a covered space between the house and the garage, walls on three side and a continuous roof. AFAIK it didn't require a permit...but I wasn't there for that part, just for the door installation.)

#813 ::: Quill ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2019, 09:44 AM:

Jenny Islander @809:

If you're in the U.S., you may need a permit to put in the shed, even without electricity, but it depends on your location (and how much attention your local municipality pays). Might be something to research as well.

#814 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2019, 11:48 AM:

Jenny Islander @809: Does Angie's List reach up where you are? Tom Whitmore, of this parish, recommended that resource back when I was contemplating (never completed) window replacement in my condo. I think it spans a number of different kinds of contractor, and has various ratings to judge them by.

I never actually used any of the references, because my finances of the time precluded even contemplating a multi-$K project. It does cost a nominal sum for a membership/subscription (like, <$5/mo), but seems like it might be worth it. And you can terminate the membership when you're done with them. Googling renovation for dummies produces a number of publications which may speak to your need.

That search also spits up this site, which may be a place to start to at least start figuring out what questions you need to be asking.

#815 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2019, 02:21 AM:

Angiportus @ 807: Congratulations on the frog marsh. Some friends decades ago retired to rural Maine, where they attempted to establish a frog pond because they liked the sounds; unfortunately, a heron decided this was a new buffet. If you've moved next to a pre-existing marsh it probably has some established balance -- not to mention places for frogs to hide when herons come calling. (The abovementioned was in open pasture; if they'd had more years they might have been able to get the growth needed for hidey-holes.) Here's hoping the volcano and the marsh maintain their peaceful coexistence.

#816 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2019, 10:19 AM:

Pretty little house in downtown Boulder on my walk home from work had a nice little koi pond in the front yard. Stocked with goldfish (hey, it was little)—until a heron stopped by. Was sitting there, right on the rock, helping hirself to the fish while passers-by took photos. Owner comes home to find an empty pond, grumbles at neighbors: "Why didn't you shoo it off?" "It was so pretty!"

Fortunately (?), there's a pond/reservoir out on city open space that somebody had released their unwanted goldfish into, so she was able to easily restock.

(Turns out there are pelicans in Colorado. Who knew? Also, goldfish are easy to spot from the air,* so that feral population has at least some checks on it.)

* Well, the not-brown ones, at least.

#817 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2019, 06:08 PM:

Thinking back on an old discussion of MRIs, their field strength, and the benefits of advances in that technology... Benjamin Wolfe, if you're still around these parts, how are things looking for being able to map the axons and their connections within a brain? That data would, perhaps, permit modelling that brain's consciousness.

#818 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2019, 09:54 PM:

I don't really "do" T-shirts anymore, but this one offered by the Funny Times shop tempts me to start again:

#819 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2019, 10:23 AM:

I'm around very rarely, but happened to see your question, Joel.

The quick answer is that, while it's fairly easy to map axonal tracts in the brain with MRI techniques, that's on a much coarser scale than what you're asking about. It's one thing to map overall structures and how they connect, but, to my knowledge, there's no way to do what you're describing at a synaptic level in a living brain. There is work with animal models (usually mice, I think) where researchers are trying to map all of the connections between cells in the brain, but that's postmortem high-resolution imaging of brain slices. It's hugely informative for understanding how everything is connected, but it doesn't tell you what it's doing when the brain is alive. Think of it as analogous to taking a CPU, and examining it at the level of individual transistors - you can understand a lot about how it's put together, but it won't tell you what it did, or how it did it when it was on (or the brain was alive).

#820 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2019, 12:50 PM:

I'm glad I caught you, Benjamin. How about if said brain was chucked into liquid helium, flash-frozen and pretty much static even at the molecular level? At this point it seems to be implausible to warm the brain up again without turning it into mush, but that wouldn't be such a terrible thing if it could be "replicated".

This is coming from a couple a interviews I've heard in the last few days on CBC Radio. One was with a researcher on cryoprotectants; the other with a life-extension... "enthusiast" would be a polite term. Got me thinking about the frozen heads.

#821 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2019, 02:18 PM:

Thinking about the problem a bit more, it's not just the physical connections but the chemical interactions at each of them. Still, having the physical connections would be a start. Do a perfect simulation of an unconscious brain and you get an unconscious simulation; you still need to feed it stimuli and have it respond to them.

#822 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2019, 03:23 PM:

Xopher, #795:

I knew that BLIT was a term of art in computer graphics. Not sure whether it's connecte to the name of that Bell Labs machine, but it's a fair bet.

#823 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2019, 10:42 AM:

HLN: Area woman discovers, after walking past a display of pants [trousers] for months because she has enough already, that these have actually functional pockets. "I bought two pairs in different sizes to see if one would fit and they are so comfy I could sleep in them. They've been marked down to a dollar, so I'd better move fast," she remarked.


#824 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2019, 11:00 AM:

It's the chemical interactions that really get you. Yes, you can theoretically map out a human brain the same way you can a mouse brain, it's just a lot more cells and connections (and a lot more brain!). Much of the evidence we have says that encoding isn't static, it's the outcome of dynamic processes within the brain, so I'm very skeptical that you'd get anything more than a map without the territory.

#825 ::: Quill ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2019, 12:30 PM:

Jenny Islander @823:

Oooooh. That's like the trifecta of perfection.

FWIW, Lane Bryant's pants and jeans vary in comfort, but they generally have decent pockets. Though I still don't see the point of buying a pair of denims that's already ripped.

#826 ::: Quill ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2019, 12:53 PM:

Jenny Islander @823:

Oooooh. That's like the trifecta of perfection.

FWIW, Lane Bryant's pants and jeans vary in comfort, but they generally have decent pockets. Though I still don't see the point of buying a pair of denims that's already ripped.

#827 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2019, 03:55 PM:

The Blit I remember was a computer game on the Mac at the place I worked at from 1990 on. I've tried to find a recent version of it (emulation, knockoff, whatever), but without success. Hard to believe I'd be the only one nostalgic for something like that.

It was like a jigsaw puzzle, only the pieces were all rectangles, and the picture was a moving object, like a ball bouncing around in the overall rectangle. The motion of the ball was itself the basic clue as to what went where.

This place describes it, but it's ancient, and the file it presents doesn't do anything but make duplicates of itself each time I double-click it. No doubt it became obsolete with an OS changeover years ago.

#828 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2019, 08:05 PM:

Paleontologists are excavating at a place in one of the Dakotas where they've found fossil fish with glass spheres in their gills, more glass spheres in fossil amber, and tektites that made funnels in silt that indicate the water was moving upstream (as in a seiche caused by a quake with a magnitude in the range of 10 or 11) while the rocks were falling.

#829 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2019, 12:02 AM:

@Quill no. 825: I now own six pairs, one of which I am wearing. It's like a blankie and a cat at the same time except also I have my keys, my other keys, AND MY PHONE in my POCKETS. I have gone for two years with pockets only in my work clothes. Now I have soft, comfy sweats for all of my time off, with pockets.


(And now I'm kicking myself because they were selling them in storm blue as well as in black, and I am a sucker for storm blue, but the storm blue ones in my size are sold out.)

#830 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2019, 12:15 AM:

Kip @827: "...the file it presents doesn't do anything but make duplicates of itself each time I double-click it."

You can get an emulator for classic Macs (MacOS 6 or 7), which can be used to run ancient .hqx files like this. I have used this one:

I'm afraid I haven't used it *recently*, and I don't remember the machinations needed to get software installed and running. It wasn't trivial.

#831 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2019, 03:17 PM:

Thanks, Andrew. I suspect I lack the chops and patience to make it work.

#832 ::: Chris ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2019, 09:05 PM:

Andrew @830, Kip @827:
The .hqx file is a BinHex archive (binary-to-ASCII format to allow old-style Mac files to transfer on non-Mac systems and protocols), so the first step is to get something that can unarchive it. "The Unarchiver", available free on the App Store, will do the job. *Then* you'll need the emulator to run the resulting application.

#833 ::: HelenS ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2019, 09:17 PM:

Angie's List is free now, I believe.

#834 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2019, 01:07 AM:

Cat, while I'm cooking a tired person's dinner: "Pweeze, may I have an itsy, bitsy piece, pweeze pweeze pweeeeeeze? I am just the sweetest and the nicest and I have never bitten anybody, EVER. Also, as you can see via my directional glaring, the spot where you put my plates of treats is shamefully empty and I have a peeve about that. But anyway, pweeeeze, with my sweetest voice and face, pwetty pwetty pweeze?"

Cat, while people are serving themselves dinner: "Oh please PLEASE let that plate be for me. I have NEVER been FED in my LIFE."

Cat, when he finally gets a little bit of our dinner: "...this is egg. Ew. Whose awful idea was this anyway?"

#835 ::: Singing Wren ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2019, 08:10 AM:

Jenny Islander @ 834:

Cat logic is not like our Earh logic.

#836 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2019, 11:18 AM:

The April 8th "New Yorker" has a story on that formation with the fossils. The site has probably 50 years worth of excavation still - and the fossils are really fragile and really fantastic. Has photos....

#837 ::: Angiportus Librarysaver ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2019, 12:39 PM:

The New Yorker article can be reached via Arts and Letters Daily. I found it quite interesting. I'm always tickled at how much can be found out from examination of the ground we walk on. I have one peeve, with the subheader--the most important event in the history of the earth [so far] was not that--the most important even is all that is going on now, and how this will turn out, who knows...

#838 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2019, 01:16 PM:

So, tomorrow is April Fool's Day, and on a Monday yet so even the impromptu jokers will have had a weekend to work on it. I assume there will be some kind of foolery among my usual webcomics, and I look forward to seeing what Randall Munroe comes up with this year.

#839 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2019, 04:17 PM:

Some DJs in our area of Virginia got in trouble more than once with "funny" reports of stuff ("Mount Trashmore has exploded!"). I thought their best shot was to just apologize all morning long for things they hadn't actually done. "We're sorry we tied up traffic by reporting an alien invasion…"

#840 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2019, 09:32 PM:

Anybody here a fan of both Captain Awkward and Criminal Minds? I did a wee fan art, and I need a beta reader before I let it out into the world....

#841 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2019, 12:41 AM:

Vonda N. McIntyre died this evening at about 6:30 Pacific time. Watch for obituaries.

#842 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2019, 01:32 AM:

One by one the storytellers go
Beyond the firelight, voice and footstep gone,
And leave us by the embers burning low.

The wine they poured, the logs they sat upon,
Sit waiting, but for whom we do not know.
They left so much untold, so much undone.

(I may be quoting somebody--anybody who recognizes this please let me know.)

#843 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2019, 02:26 PM:

Joel Polowin @820: Speaking of frozen heads, has this thing been flagged here yet?

Tom 841@: Yeah, I saw the announcement of Vonda's passing on Twitter. :'(

#844 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2019, 03:39 PM:

Jenny Islander @842: would you mind if I read that at Vonda's memorial service? And if anyone here can find an attribution I can use when I do so, that would be really wonderful.

It's remarkably beautiful, and incredibly appropriate.

#845 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2019, 04:32 PM:

@Tom Whitmore no. 844: Yes, you certainly may.

I am 50 percent sure that I wrote it last night, and 50 percent afraid that I am in the position of the man whose heartfelt love song to his wife was an unwitting note-for-note recreation of "Yesterday."

#846 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2019, 05:26 PM:

I like that, Jenny. Sorry you had to write it, of course.

#847 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2019, 03:40 PM:

Jenny Islander @ 845, a cursory search for the text of three different lines returns no full matches, and most of the partial matches showing up are for the more "common" portion of the line (e.g., "beyond the firelight" seems to be used frequently, but not in conjunction with "voice and footstep gone")

When I was doing freelance proofreading I came across a site that could search large sections of text for identification of plagiarized material, but I don't remember what it was. For what it may be worth, I just found a similar site and copied in your full first stanza--"no plagiarism detected". I should have checked the whole thing, because a second search would require setting up an account.

Also, greetings to the Fluoroshpere! ***waves to everyone***

#848 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2019, 06:26 PM:

@Syd no. 847: Thank you! That's a relief.

#849 ::: SunflowerP ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2019, 05:39 AM:

Jacque @840: I have been both of those in the past, but I'm not at all up-to-date on either one, so I might not be the beta reader you're looking for - but I'm intrigued, and would like to read it at some point.

#850 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2019, 09:11 AM:

Jenny Islander @842, very evocative

Syd @847 Hi! Nice to see your nym. How are things?

#851 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2019, 03:26 PM:

OtterB @ 850, Hi hi! I still check in here every day, but I never feel like I have anything useful to contribute to the conversation...which is what kept me from posting for ages after I first stumbled through the door. :)

So, general update: still working at the job that got me out of the homeless shelter (6-1/2 years!) and my last performance review was up a little from last year's, so that was nice; still living in the same place (6-1/4 years, about); this will be my sixth year at Burning Man; I had to put Garbo down in late April last year (10-year-old, highly skittish hated-to-be-restrained kitteh developed a mass behind one kidney... :`( ), but Houdini, Minerva and Poppet are still perkin' along; working with a life coach and finding it extremely helpful; still haven't figured out how to afford a vehicle, but the turquoise teakettle and violently purple toaster continue to make me happy.

As does visiting Making Light. :)

#852 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2019, 04:09 PM:

Jenny Islander re:842: Jeanne Gomoll is putting together a book of reminiscences about Vonda -- and that poem would fit well there. Her address is in a recent CaringBridge post on Vonda's site there; you should send her a copy with the name you want attached to it attached. I bet she would want to print it.

#853 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2019, 08:14 PM:

Syd: Good to hear from you! Wow, six years and change—! Sorry to hear about Garbo. Happy the other kittehs are motoring along, though. :'(

I'll be interested to hear anything you care to share about the life coaching; I've decided it's time for me to start looking at that stuff again, and will be interested to hear your experience.

The turquoise teakettle and violently purple toaster sound totally rockin'!

#854 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2019, 08:29 PM:

@852: Done.

#855 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2019, 02:48 AM:

Jacque @ 853, so far coaching is difficult and awesome. It might be helping that my coach is a long-time friend--one of the first indie musicians I ever met--and I'd done some mini sessions with him while he was going through coach training, so we already had some of the groundwork laid, and a deep trust. But I've had a couple of major epiphanies that explain a lot of things I hadn't felt able to deal with. Slowly but surely. :) If you want a more in-depth convo, let me know and we can swap emails.

Oh, and Jenny Islander, what I didn't say is how lovely your poem is, and how very fitting considering how many storytellers we've lost in the last couple of years. Thank you for sharing it.

#856 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2019, 04:27 PM:

Random weirdness:

I was walking my dog through a local park a couple of hours ago. It was raining, so the place was pretty much empty.

At one point the paved trail descends a hillside, and turns into a boardwalk over a bit of wetlands preserve.

As I started down this hill I heard a horrifying SCREAM! Distress, alarm, fear.

I started running, trying to get my earbuds stowed.

Started down the boardwalk, shouting "I'M COMING! HANG ON!", pausing a moment to redirect the dog, who had noticed a couple of panicked mule deer.

Turned a corner in the boardwalk and . . . one woman, walking calmly along toward e.

"What's going on?" I asked, glancing around, including in the wetlands on either side.

She walked right past, looking distraught but seemingly in no mood to talk.

She didn't seem overtly crazy, or homeless.

I kept looking for . . . bodies, a disappointed suitor, I don't know.

My best guess is she was indulging in primal scream therapy in what she thought was a deserted park.

#857 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2019, 12:15 PM:

I'm slightly distressed by how much of Patrick's Sidelights is obituaries (and particularly obituaries of women) -- here's another, though, for Vonda N. McIntyre, from the NYTimes. Like most Times obituaries, it's very well done.

#858 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2019, 02:00 AM:

Tom: Well, you know, we are reaching That Age. :(

#859 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2019, 11:20 AM:

Syd @855 I also am considering coaching. Go you for taking it on.

#860 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2019, 10:07 PM:

Syd @855: I am interested in deeper convo, but in contradiction of my @853, I realize not right now. I'm going through my own Stuff, and I'm limiting my commitments outside of my primary focus. I am, however, going to make myself a reminder for a month from now, at which point I may have more bandwidth to bring to bear.

#861 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2019, 03:36 PM:

OtterB @ 859, I could even have started sooner--he's been coaching for a few years now--but apparently I wasn't ready until now. My brain is weird and sometimes slow to recognize useful opportunities...

Jacque @ 860, when you're ready, let me know. :)

#862 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2019, 03:31 PM:

Syd: I sent you an email at the address I had for you back in—omg, 2013??? Did you get it? If not, the address at the bottom of my linked web page still works. Let me know?

#863 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2019, 12:32 AM:

Jacque @ 862, sorry for the delay--I got your email and replied. (In case you see this before you check your email...)

#864 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2019, 04:50 PM:

Syd! Great to hear from you. Glad things are still going reasonably. Sympathies re. Garbo.

#865 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2019, 12:23 PM:

Gene Wolfe has died.

#866 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2019, 01:56 PM:

Oh shit: Notre-Dame de Paris is burning. At least one spire is gone already. They've evacuated the Ile.

#867 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2019, 03:04 PM:

P J Evans: And crowds are watching silently as it goes.

Today is a bad news day.

#868 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2019, 07:50 PM:

This tweet suggests that the stone ceiling shielded the interior from the worst of it. Still really bad! But very far from a worst case scenario.

#869 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2019, 07:59 PM:

I understand that all three of the rose windows are gone. (The heat probably melted the leading. But the glass may not be recoverable.)

#870 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2019, 07:48 AM:

Note Dame: Definitely an unhappy day. But sic transit gloria mundii... they'll surely rebuild, but there will be that much less of the past.

Reminds me of visiting the Spanish Royal Palace. As they told us, their first Royal Palace burned; the new one is made of stone rather than wood, but they've still got fire extinguishers in every gallery. ;-)

#871 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2019, 10:47 PM:

The Notre Dame we knew was largely put together in the 19th century from what was becoming derelict. Another major cathedral in Europe was left in ruins after WW1 and looks untouched today. The Great Wall I walked on seems to be an ongoing construction and preservation project (and the nearby parts of it that aren't getting continual treatment are overgrown with trees and are disintegrating).

With the importance of Notre Dame in history, and the sentiment around its, I think it will be put right. Yes, we've lost some history and some beautiful things.

I find it a bit annoying that they rushed to save the two-bit relics—wouldn't want to waste the efforts of some medieval tinhorn forger!

A report I saw on TV says that the Cavaile-Coll [sic? from memory] organ is safe, and that's a big relief to me. I have some recordings of it. It's a great instrument.

#872 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2019, 12:29 AM:

Apparently much of the glass did survive, including all three of the great rose windows. They may have sustained some damage, but they are not destroyed. How wonderful!

#873 ::: Angiportus Librarysaver ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2019, 10:16 AM:

David, #872: Whew!

#874 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2019, 10:33 AM:

And in other news, many Denver metro schools are closed today while law enforcement searches for a Columbine-fetishist. :-\

#875 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2019, 11:07 AM:

I was reading a bit from someone who'd worked on restoring the windows in York Minster: apparently heat does things to the glass that aren't always visible.

#876 ::: Jeanne Gomoll ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2019, 12:09 PM:

Jenny Islander - I fear that I may have lost your email in spam. Do I have permission to use your proem on Vonda's passing in the Vonda tribute book?

#877 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2019, 05:58 PM:

@Jeanne Gomoll no. 876: Yes, absolutely.

#878 ::: dotless ı ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2019, 10:52 AM:

For tonight:

I know an old lady who swallowed the angel of death.
It took all her breath to swallow the angel of death.
She swallowed the angel to catch the butcher.
She swallowed the butcher to catch the ox.
She swallowed the ox to catch the water.
She swallowed the water to catch the fire.
She swallowed the fire to catch the stick.
She swallowed the stick to catch the dog. (Huh?)
She swallowed the dog to catch the cat.
She swallowed the cat to catch the kid
That father bought for two zuzim.
She swallowed the kid to catch the spider
That wriggled and jiggled and tickled inside her.
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly.
I don't know why she swallowed the fly.

Now can she still die?

[Sorry I've been away so long.]

#879 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2019, 01:02 PM:

Yay, dotless!

#880 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2019, 01:42 PM:

dotless, that's excellent!

#881 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2019, 05:32 AM:

#878 ::: dotless ı

Weirdly enough, I was just at a seder where there's a tradition of singing the original version of the song.

Some years ago, a stranger was invited to the seder, and he brought a guitar and sang.

"The Old Lady that Swallowed a Fly" was the song that stuck.

#882 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2019, 08:35 AM:

Kip @ 871: latest from NPR is that the pipes look mostly OK but the wind chest and electric system got wet -- and the apparatus to take apart the organ hung from the now-missing roof, so repairs may take a while.

#883 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2019, 10:18 AM:

Wow. Today is the 49th anniversary of the day I resolved I would never own a car. (I find it a little boggling that it's 49 years since I did anything.)

Happy Earth Day!

#884 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2019, 01:56 AM:

For anybody who's playing Minecraft and contemplating whether it's worth updating to the full Village & Pillage version that dropped on Tuesday, here are a few observations.

BACKGROUND: I play the Java Edition in Creative mode on the Peaceful setting. I like interacting with villagers and improving their lives, so I want as many villages as possible; on the other hand, I find the process of installing mods annoying, so I play vanilla. I have found that as of 1.13 (Aquatic Update), the best way to get tons of villages is to choose the Buffet style when creating a world and pick Desert. You'll get villages in all directions, few more than a day's walk apart, some within sight of one another.

I used the seed for my favorite all-desert world to compare the Aquatic Update with Village & Pillage. Although the textures are different (and gorgeous), the shape of the land was the same: a low dune just on my left hand as I spawned, the bonus chest I had specified on my right, and villages to the west and south, very close together. The caves between the two villages were in the same places, and almost the same block for block.

However, the villages themselves were starkly different. Anybody who's been reading the advance buzz knows about the colorfully dressed villagers whose styles change with the biome, the new and more numerous styles of buildings (also suited to the biome), the new workstations and decorative blocks, etc. Following are some notes that I didn't find in the advance buzz.

The bonus chest, if you choose to have one, doesn't generate on the ground with torches on all sides; it generates in the air, with no torches.

Breeding pairs of animals (including some not previously found in some village biomes, such as desert) are fairly common, each securely penned in an enclosure that is surfaced either with grass blocks (also new in the desert!) or with bare dirt. They won't despawn as they would if they were wandering around--but they will act a bit odd. One of the horses I saw kept spinning, pausing to look at the horizon, spinning some more, etc. If this game were more realistic, I would say it had been confined too long.

The long-standing issue of houses generating without doors has been fixed--finally!

Every village I visited in this and a randomly generated desert-buffet world had an iron golem.

The buildings are all nicely furnished (for example, desert buildings feature terracotta inlays, wool carpet, and/or potted plants) and the houses all have beds. There are outdoor decorations too, including lots of torches on stone pillars. There are no more makeshift decorations such as torches stuck into blocks of black wool on top of fence posts or tables made of an annoyingly noisy wooden pressure plate on top of a section of fence.

The villagers act like they're doing stuff, not aimlessly staring or standing with nose in a corner, but the issue of their sometimes standing partly inside a wall or ceiling(!) still exists. The activity cycles they now follow do indeed include going to bed (most of them anyway) after nightfall. But they sleep with their eyes open!

There is still an issue of villages being at least slightly broken: paths diving down cliffs, caves or pits in the middle of a village, etc. But they're less broken, if you follow me. For example, South Village in 1.13 has a street that ends in a lava pond, but there's no lava near South Village in 1.14.

#885 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2019, 09:51 AM:

Jenny Islander #884: Hmm. I saw some of that in AntVenom's videos, but I've been hanging out in Mod-land back at 1.12.2 for a while. Forge only recently got to 1.13.2, but I'm not sure how stable it is, and a lot of mods went for Rift/Fabric while Forge has been struggling.

It might be time to try out vanilla again....

#886 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2019, 02:29 AM:

Further observations:

If your computer isn't optimized for games, it will load your world slowly when you are moving quickly. The more different textures and/or changes in elevation there are in your route, the more slowly it will load. You'll be flying over a void or a void with pieces of the underground visible in it.

I created random buffet-style worlds in each of the biomes that may contain villages in Java, then flew over each one in Creative for 12 Minecraft hours. The guaranteed village generators--plains, savanna, taiga, desert--all had similar density of villages, about 5. (My super-duper-village-desert seed is an outlier; it has 9.) Surprisingly, one of the maybe-village biomes, snowy tundra, had the same density of villages as the regular ones. The other, snowy taiga, had none. I ran out of time to make another snowy taiga world.

The hovering-bonus-chest thing is not consistent across all biomes I tested.

Sometimes a village is still really most sincerely broken; I ran across one that had a neighborhood partly merged with a desert pyramid, so that there were torch pillars and potted cacti inside the pyramid! But in all of the flyovers I did, I never saw a village with a lava pond in it.

#887 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2019, 03:47 PM:

Backing away from the nuts and bolts for a second, let me just say that Village and Pillage is PURTY, guys, it's really really pretty! The Aquatic Update made the world under the sea (and now it's going through your head) super pretty; now you can see the same effect above the waterline. Again, I prefer to play in a desert world; even in a relatively visually barren place like that, the detail on the villagers' clothing is fantastic, and the baked terra cotta tiles look like real tiles. Even the cacti look alive, for all that they're still made of blocks. I actually like the playful, blocklike look of Minecraft, but this is like...suddenly you've got hand-painted wooden blocks from a boutique toy store instead of plastic ones.

I reloaded my other super-village-y desert buffet world, which scared me off in the Aquatic Update when the third village I came to had an underground ravine whose walls were full of gravel deposits, hidden springs, and voids, so that I was constantly in danger of watching my little Steve die in the dark. I flew through the ravine in Creative in Village and Pillage and discovered that it's much less of a mess, so that's nice.

It's interesting: The surface, away from villages, is almost identical block for block, and the exposed ravine you have to go down into to find this underground ravine is also almost the same; but the deep levels are very different.

#888 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2019, 08:36 PM:

Jenny Islander #886: If your computer isn't optimized for games, it will load your world slowly when you are moving quickly. The more different textures and/or changes in elevation there are in your route, the more slowly it will load. You'll be flying over a void or a void with pieces of the underground visible in it.

I regularly get this already with my modded worlds, especially when flying or otherwise speeded up.

#889 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2019, 02:13 PM:

People who are fans of Pratchett and Gaiman's Good Omens should check out this promotional video for the upcoming mini-series: . It's a lovely a cappella performance by the nuns of the Chattering Order of St. Beryl, "Brand New Baby Smell".

People who aren't familiar with the book should read it. It's a collaboration between two very talented writers at the top of their form, trying to delight each other by stuffing in as much dark humour as they can. Sure, yeah, Apocalypse time -- Antichrist, four Horsemen, rains of fish, etc. -- but one doesn't have to be all serious about it.

#890 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2019, 03:15 PM:

HLN: area woman has "check engine" light come on in car, takes car in at first available time, learns the rechargeable battery pack needs to be replaced. (It's due to age rather than mileage.) Area woman hopes that car can make it back to dealer when battery pack is available.

#891 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2019, 04:18 PM:

Joel Polowin @889 -- and there's a lovely cameo of Neil G at 58 seconds in!

#892 ::: Dave Crisp ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2019, 05:21 AM:

Spotted posted anonymously elseweb; will probably be appreciated by those here

As she approaches in the midnight dark
A song rings out, and yet she does not hear;
Her chariot reflects stars' holy spark,
And only whispered murmurs catch her ear.

I hailed a passing greybeard on my way
In hopes of wisdom he might share with me.
Spoke he no words, and yet I heard him say,
"Hie thou along thy path - she waits for thee."

Should any wish to part me from thy side,
They may try - vainly, aye, and try again;
Until we've done what yet remains untried,
I'll not be budged, though by a hundred men.

In this great land, with wonders numberless,
I treasure most the rain, and that I bless.


#893 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2019, 06:37 PM:

HLN: area woman has ransomed car, with new pack of cell-phone batteries, and is reasonably mobile again.

#894 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2019, 03:30 PM:

Dave Crisp, that is awesome, and I am delighted.

#895 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2019, 03:40 AM:

Well, that's...huh.

I just found out that one of my favorite blogs, McMansion Hell, can now be contacted only by people with Tumblr accounts who do whatever it's called where you duplicate somebody else's post on your Tumblr and put a comment on the bottom. The email that used to be for comments is now for professional inquiries only and the ask box was disabled a long time ago.

I understand why Kate Wagner did it--the thing blew up bigger than she'd ever dreamed, and she is a grad student with a busy schedule--but it's still a bummer.

Also I still refuse to get a Tumblr account. Even for commenting on McMansion Hell.

#896 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2019, 04:27 AM:

Up late for infrastructure reasons, luckily just resolved.

For anybody else out there playing Minecraft Java Edition with 1.14 installed: Here's an interesting seed.


Choose the Buffet option when creating the world and select Desert from the Buffet menu. Make sure that structure generation is enabled.
Turn on the bonus chest while you're at it, because you're going to need it.

You will find yourself in a desert that covers the entire Overworld. Your bonus chest will be to one side of you and a low dune will be on the other side. Climb this dune. You'll discover that it's ring shaped, and also that it's riddled with voids. This world has the most voids just one block under the surface that I've ever seen in this edition. So don't mine any sand, anywhere, unless you're certain that you're standing on something that won't fall!

Somewhere near this ring dune you'll see a small lake. Climb the dune on the other side of the lake and walk along its crest. You'll spot a village in the distance.

The village overlooks something that can't be a dry lake studded with cacti and with a pink granite cliff at one end, because that's not how Minecraft works, but it sure looks like it. Climb the dunes at either end of this "dry lake" and look around. Sooner or later you'll spot a peculiar object in the distance. It's a desert pyramid with a pillager outpost built directly on top!

If you're playing on a setting with hostile mobs, you may find this to be an enjoyable challenge. I prefer Peaceful. I'm going to hang out in this world for a while, I think. I can use the pillager outpost for wood while I'm waiting for a wandering trader to show up, hopefully with a sapling in their inventory. Trading with the villagers for emeralds in anticipation of the trader's visit, "refilling" that dry lake, mining the grass blocks from the yard by one of the houses without destroying the grass, and multiplying them next to the lake will be enjoyable tasks. I should also look into making a lot of stone slabs in order to lay safe roads over those voids. A flyover in Creative mode showed me at least 3 other villages not far off to the east, so I could have fun with this for a long time.

#897 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2019, 10:59 AM:

that's called "reblogging". (I like some of the Trek blogs.)

#898 ::: SunflowerP ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2019, 10:57 PM:

Dave Crisp @892: Thank you for sharing that. It does full justice to its source (of which I am very fond).

#899 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2019, 11:52 PM:

Chronic pain is well on the way to devouring 12 hours of my day, thanks I hate it.

For reasons having to do with a fic I'm sort of writing in between rocking back and forth murmuring "ow," I've been listening to the top 100 songs in the U.K. for 1973. What I've learned so far:

* American hair bands did a lot of covers of stuff that had been big in the U.K. 10-15 years previously.

* Wings sounded a lot like a hair band slowed down and with better instrumentalists.

* Wow, early David Bowie was so dorky and cute.

* Some of the stuff those rock bands wore onstage was WILD, man, and they didn't have to get boobalicious or flaunt codpieces to get noticed. There was this guitarist who appeared in one video in a white khimar sewn all over with big round mirrors and in the next one I saw he had a purple cloak with a popped collar and a shiny tiara. Lots of all-over black, buttoned up but skintight, on both men and women. In one band half of the guys were rocking that Heavy Metal look and the other half looked like they were dressed for their very first job interview and nobody seemed to have a problem with it.

* Roomful of hairy hippies belting out a genderswapped U.K. version of "The Union Maid" was the best energy in the lineup so far.

* The number of creepy songs making jokes out of rape and the exploitation of underage girls is matched or exceeded by the number of songs with female lead singers kicking ass

#900 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2019, 12:04 AM:

More: Did Barry Blue and Gary Glitter have some kind of feud going on? Because 1973-ish Gary Glitter dresses like Barry Blue, right down to the initial on his shirt, and is kind of like his creepy, skeevy, nastily smirking older brother.

#901 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2019, 12:09 AM:

@892: I finally followed the link. WHOA! I love it!

#902 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2019, 12:18 AM:

And more: Teenage years suffering through screaming incoherent guitar solos by long-haired white boys who used their music lesson money for cosmetics and blow did not prepare me for a band that looked like Wizzard to sound like Wizzard. The looser the hair, the tighter the music?

#903 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2019, 12:21 AM:

I know I'm spamming but I'm hurtin' here. Why did people think Ringo Starr's solo act wasn't good?

#904 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2019, 03:11 AM:

...yep, 12 hours almost to the minute.

Pain ebbing. Gonna try to sleep now.

#905 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2019, 09:52 AM:

Jenny Islander (903): It's not spamming if it's interesting. And that was.

I'm glad you're feeling better.

#906 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2019, 11:38 AM:

Got hit by another run-away vehicle.

This time, a "First Robotics" vehicle, at a STEM event on the sidewalk in front of an educational toy store.

The team behind the "robot," a metal platform maybe 2 1/2 feet on a side, upwards of 100 lbs, with powerful motors, had the bright idea of demonstrating it on the sidewalk, with no barriers or warning signs. And because hands-on is so important for enthusing youngsters, they invited kids to steer the vehicle via a radio control box.

The boy who drove the bot into my ankle was barely past toddler stage. Knocked me over, causing scrapes and bruises to my arm.

Having been hit by a run-away car in the past, I had strong words for the team.

Really, if it had been one of the other kiddies who was hit, the vehicle could easily have broken bones. There'd be lawsuits and rotten publicity.

#907 ::: estelendur ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2019, 09:26 AM:

Stefan @906, that's appalling. If they can't set up barriers or warning signs then they shouldn't ever let the vehicle out of their control. Though of course you know that. Hopefully the kids* and their advisor who should have been supervising learn a thing or two and add it to their institutional knowledge for the future.

* For those who don't know, FIRST Robotics is a high school program, which might explain the gross negligence although it doesn't excuse it.

#908 ::: Sarah E. ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2019, 10:27 AM:

In one band half of the guys were rocking that Heavy Metal look and the other half looked like they were dressed for their very first job interview and nobody seemed to have a problem with it.

I’ve seen a post going round Tumblr the past month about how one of the endearing things about Queen was that the members seldom looked as though they were dressed for the same event (I think the OP’s descriptions of the outfits in the example photo included stuff like “camouflaged to hide in a sofa” vs. “waiter at a vampire social.”)

#909 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2019, 12:17 AM:

A few years ago, I got an idea for an app that would assist people who are living with dementia, as well as providing support for their caregivers. I've had very positive reactions to the concept from my partner Inge (who's a specialist in Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia) and from several nurses who work with patients with severe dementia.

I don't have the skills to design the architecture, nor do I have experience in organizing such a project. My vision is of a freeware package, probably open-source. It probably wouldn't require particularly high-end hardware to run. I believe that most of the core "building blocks" are already available as open-source systems, though some adjustments would probably need to be made for the specific purpose.

Given the nature of the thing, I think it's likely that developers can be found who will be willing to contribute to it as an open-source project. But I don't know where to begin. And when it comes down to it, I don't have a lot of spoons to contribute, right now nor for the foreseeable future. I don't know if it's "safe" even to discuss the details publicly, because I don't want somebody to jump in, grab the rights, and block freeware development in favour of a commercial product.

Any advice?

#910 ::: J Homes ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2019, 05:36 AM:

Joel Polowin @909

You might get some useful advice here. There is a book available for download, plus various other bits and pieces. Note that it's a fairly thick book and you will need to mine it for what's useful to you.

J Homes.

#911 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2019, 09:34 AM:

Jenny Islander:

Definitely not spamming. Glad we could at least help a little while you deal.

The differences between the US and UK pop charts are fascinating, and not always what one would expect. And Top of the Pops is a great show to watch for any number of reasons. Although, looking it up just now, I didn't realize it had been cancelled in 2006. I'm a little sad about that.

Joel Polowin @ 909:

You can't copyright an idea, so no one can block you from making your app once you have the time. No other advice from that, but it does sound like a fascinating and useful project.


Husband and I just moved to a new place that we actually own! Well, the bank has quite an interest in it at the moment, but still. There are boxes, and boxes, and also boxes, but at least the kitchen's half unpacked and I know where my underwear are. And my towel.

#912 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2019, 03:04 PM:

KeithS (911): Congratulations on your new home! And wishing you strength in dealing with the multitude of boxes.

#913 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2019, 05:38 PM:

AKICIML: I need some computer advice of my own, although I'm starting from a lot further back.

I have volunteered to re-found my church's website; they had one years ago but stopped making the payments.


My experience consists only of looking over the shoulder of somebody who is entirely self taught and who started a site for a small non-profit using the premium service at wordpress dot com. Plus, I have a tiny, tiny amount of experience with HTML. So I have close to zero experience, a small budget ($200 per year is the absolute limit), and not a ton of free time. Should I go with wordpress dot com? Any recommendations otherwise?

Here's my planned order of development, if it helps:

1. Just a page with a picture of the church, directions, contact info, and service times. Because apparently nobody can figure out that a newspaper directed specifically at local interests and available, what d'you know, in an online edition, would have a church directory in it, so Coasties in our denomination can transfer in, be here for years, and be surprised that we exist.

2. A blog, I guess, to post weekly newsletters that currently go out by email. Or maybe an announcements page. I don't plan to get fancy with this: a large, readable font and weekly updates are all I want to do. No comment feature. I do not want a mod hat.

3. Some type of calendar feature, if possible, although folks have told me that online calendar options suck and they suck worse if you're a religious organization. If I have to I could do this as a page with a series of short articles--"What's Going on at Holy Helpers? May 12: Mother's Day brunch after the service; May 14: Parish hall has been rented for the evening by the 4-H Needlework Club; May 19: Special collection for disaster relief," etc.

4. Get with the folks who make up the coffee list and so forth and see about doing a sign-ups page with Sign-Up Genius or some other service if I can find one whose security is acceptable. (Depends on their willingness to sit down and use the site.)

5. Get the church set up with VANCO (kind of like PayPal but better) if they aren't already and put a VANCO link on our website. (This involves decisions that are not my purview and may never happen.)

6. Ask the Ladies Who Know to write something about the church's history and put up a history page with photos.

#914 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2019, 06:57 PM:

Jenny, if your church belongs to a denomination, it might offer free web space, some page templates, or at least advice.

#915 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2019, 07:31 PM:

Jenny Islander: My Karen, who does a lot of web work, swears by WordPress (though its latest update always makes it more difficult to work with). She also recommends that things be kept simple: your base webpage sounds like what she most recommends for folks. And make sure that the information is not in a graphic (which makes it unsearchable); make sure that the important information shows up on the first screen people see (they don't have to scroll down from the picture to find your address and service times). Make the picture smaller rather than bigger. Make things easy for the user. If you'd like to see what her site looks like, go to That's a site for an author: one for a church can be even simpler, and be very effective.

Effective is your friend. Flashy is not.

#916 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2019, 07:37 PM:

The church I went to as a kid has a website that might give you ideas.

#917 ::: Devin ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2019, 02:26 AM:

Echoing KeithS @ 911

There are a lot of ways that someone with money or the right resources could make entry into the market difficult... but to my knowledge none of them is going to cause much trouble if you don't care about marketing or money.

If you have a clever name or logo you'd be annoyed if someone stole, definitely keep that secret until you're ready to put it into use.

The current state of software patents is garbage, but it's not garbage that is likely to affect you: someone could patent something as high-lariously vague as "a computer system for communication between patients and caregivers, with adaptive aids for people with Alzheimer's" and then they can sue you and the Eastern District of Texas will say they won... But since you ain't got no money and you're not making bank off the idea, there's no reason for them to do so.

There are some real parallels to "I have an idea for a novel," in that the idea really isn't the hard part. That's not to say your idea isn't useful or important! But the worst thing that could really happen, I suspect, is that someone could be struck by your brilliance and insight and, having experience and a team available, beat you to market. For a novel, that's maybe a problem (though not a dire one: ripping off a plot synopsis without any real prose-flesh is going to mean you take it different directions anyway) and for software as a business it's a huge problem...

But if you really aren't looking to sell anything, I suspect getting copied is actually neutral-to-positive: for one thing, the app exists now and it didn't before. Even if they're charging absolutely extortionate fees, it's probably helping some people. For another, they've just made it monumentally easier to recruit help: "I want to make a FOSS/freeware answer to X, but we're going to make it better with A and B" is a much easier pitch than trying to explain the nature of a thing that doesn't exist (especially since it sounds like you still have unresolved design questions). And, of course, if they add a feature you never thought of, you might well be able to borrow the idea and do your own version.

#918 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2019, 06:25 PM:

HLN news: area woman complains to news site about poor grammar in headline, suggesting that they have their headline writers take a class in English-language grammar.. ([name] "has highest density of billionaires than any other city" is just WRONG.)

#919 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2019, 09:52 PM:

"[Name] has denser billionaires than any other city" would be better, yes.

#920 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2019, 10:00 PM:

Yes, that would also be accurate...but probably not exactly what they intended.

#921 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2019, 10:16 PM:

Jenny Islander @913: WordPress is specifically designed to be operated by people who don't want to be mucking about in the html. It's got a reasonably clear (once you get used to the interface) modular bolt-it-together out of pieces-part framework, and there are eleventy-gazillion tutorials out there on the web.

Blogs, articles, comments, and calendars are all pretty standard kit.

#922 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2019, 12:13 PM:

People are celebrating a "I can't be bothered to find it" footnote on Facebook, and somewhere in the comments I found the Dothraki Reference System, as shown here. Which I love.

#923 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2019, 02:05 PM:

Sandy B. @922: I like it.

A month ago or so on FB I was wondering what the proper way to cite (via footnote or inline citation) "Pulled from my ass". I think we settled on something like: (B. Buck's ass, personal correspondence, 13 May 2019) or similar.

Now that I think of it, I should have asked here.

#924 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2019, 10:41 AM:

Buddha Buck #923:

Alternatively, "internal communication"?

#925 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2019, 11:52 AM:

AKICIML: I'm trying to chase down that old quote from the (translated from the Japanese?) instructions for assembling [widget], where the first step is "peace of mind."

Anybody remember that and have a pointer? My Google-fu is failing me.

#926 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2019, 12:39 PM:

From my google-fu I found a reference to Robert Pirsig saying in ZEN AND THE ART OF MOTORCYCLE MAINTENANCE, "Assembly of Japanese bicycle require great peace of mind!" -- which is probably what you're remembering. Don't know if he pointed to the actual instruction sheet or not, or even if he made it up (since I haven't read the book and have no context for the quote).

#927 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2019, 12:42 PM:

Ah -- slightly further down there's this summary of Chapter 14, which gives much more context.

#928 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2019, 03:32 PM:

Ah! Yes, that probably is the reference I was thinking of. Thank you!

#929 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2019, 01:16 PM:

@923,4: Heee!

#930 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2019, 04:31 PM:

Just had a client call in who sounded exactly like Peter Capaldi. I did not squee in his ear. Because that would be weird.

#931 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2019, 11:55 AM:

Jacque: squeeing is better than laughter-- which I had to work hard to suppress back in ~1977 when dealing with a salesman (not door-to-door, but a requested visit to look at something my lab might have found useful) who was a dead ringer for Eric Idle. It was so tempting to ask him to join me in an expedition to Mt.s Kilimanjaro....

#932 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2019, 06:02 PM:

CHip: Yeah, that one would have been a no-win scenario: either he gets it, and has heard it sooooo many times or, he doesn't get it and is all, "Wut?" And then you have to decide whether or not to explain....

Hats off for your self-restraint.

#933 ::: Devin ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2019, 06:16 PM:

I was stuck on the horns of a similar dilemma with a customer who was dressed JUST CLOSE ENOUGH to Mario (or possibly Luigi). Like, no giant letter or anything quite on the nose, but her hat was a pretty good femme answer to his, and then the overalls...

So I'm wondering, because on the one hand, if she knows she's styled Marioesque then it's a compliment, but on the other, if she ain't considered it maybe she's all offended that I've suggested she looks like a plumber.

I took the chance, and fortunately, while she was not aiming for Marioesque specifically, she had chosen her accessories with a costumish sensibility and sufficient sense of whimsy to enjoy the comparison. (She was shooting for "old-time railroad engineer," turns out. Which, yep, checks out.)

#934 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2019, 09:47 PM:

HLN: area woman has done her jury service, without actually having to go in. And after rescheduling the medical appt that was for this week, because of the jury summons.

Area woman is also annoyed at all the calls about the local election week after next, most of said calls being for one or another of the candidates for the area council seat.

#935 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2019, 11:47 PM:

P J Evans: In this day and age I'm...less annoyed? calls like that. But also: I just don't bother answering my phone anymore unless I'm expecting a call and know the caller. Because 90% of the time it's junk. Or worse.

#936 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2019, 08:17 PM:

I've volunteered for "phone banking" for a campaign, and hated doing it. 90% no answer (we don't leave voice mail), most who answer politely blow off.

Question for the group:

Do people mind canvassers? Targeted (e.g., you just get visited by folks from your own party) or otherwise?

I volunteer for a county Democratic party, and canvassers are seen as essential for get-out-the-vote and familiarizing people with down-ballot candidates.

#937 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2019, 10:13 PM:

In principle I understand the importance of canvassers. In practice: another reason I leave my phone off. By the time they roll around, I've already (a) made my choice and often (b) voted.

I wonder if they're effictive in areas of low turnout?

#938 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2019, 10:29 PM:

Stefan Jones @ 936 ...
Question for the group: Do people mind canvassers? Targeted (e.g., you just get visited by folks from your own party) or otherwise?

I detest them. They have a truly unholy knack for calling when I'm on top of a ladder, or have hands covered in glue (or worse), or am in some situation that's interruptable if the call is sufficiently important[0] (and, well, canvassing doesn't fall into that category!).

That said, if you -must- call, if I say I'm busy, just say "Okay, thank you" and -go away-. Arguing with me about whether I really am busy, telling me that I'm wrong about being covered in quick-setting epoxy and/or glue, or otherwise 'splaining' my situation to me is an extremely fast way to a strongly negative reaction to you AND your organization.

[0] See also: on-call, family/friends with immediate issue

#939 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2019, 10:59 AM:

Hate them. There is no way to distinguish (before picking up) between them, the robo-callers, and the ever-changing cast of lawyers, detectives and collection agencies looking for the woman who had our phone number sometime over ten years ago.

And there's very little to distinguish between any of those *after* I pick up--they all want to use my time in a way I do not--so I don't.

I have a "No Solicitors" sign by the front door, and I really wish there was some way to put one on my phone.

#940 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2019, 11:35 AM:

If your phone has a privacy setting (cell phone, obviously) set it to accept calls from folks in your contact list. Anyone else can leave a voice mail.

(I realize some will have valid reasons for not doing this).

#941 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2019, 01:55 PM:

Oh . . . I specifically meant door-to-door canvassers. The folks who want you to support a candidate, give you a flyer, ask you to vote.

(Versus "phonebanking.)

#942 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2019, 02:12 PM:

I actually had a local city council candidate come to the door a couple of weeks ago. I was pleased to get a chance to meet him.

I generally have no beef with actual people canvassing in my neighborhood: sometimes they show up at a bad time and I'm not willing to give them a lot of time, but I support the concept.

Someone who works from home and is on a deadline might be less generous.

#943 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2019, 03:45 PM:

I met Pete McCloskey when he was canvassing the added part of his district in 1972. He also had, and was in, a booth in the commercial building at the Santa Clara county fair that year. He's still the only elected official I've met, at least while in office. (I met a guy who was working summers as a house painter (his job the rest of the year was a middle-school principal) who has since become mayor of that city.)

#944 ::: Jim Parish ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2019, 05:23 PM:

A couple of years ago, a candidate for the state legislature knocked on my door. When I opened it, she said, "Oh! Hi, Jim! I didn't know you lived here!" I assured her that she had my vote. (She was a coworker of mine at the time, but resigned from the department when she was elected. She was re-elected last year.)

A few days later, a worker for her opponent dropped by, but left when I mentioned that she was a friend of mine.

#945 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2019, 05:25 PM:

I just got a recorded phone call. In Chinese. Something about UPS.

#946 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2019, 08:25 AM:

PJ Evans, I understand there's a Chinese-language telephone scam out there that tells expats that their relatives have been arrested by the Chinese government and they must send thousands of dollars to release them. There was a news bit about it a while ago. It's functionally similar to the fake IRS telephone scam where they're sending police to arrest you for back taxes; it's a tactic to panic people into sending large amounts of money fast. Anyway, that may be what you heard, or something similar....

#947 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2019, 10:57 AM:

Cassy B: TFTI. I got a rash of phone calls in something tonal(*) some weeks ago and was wondering why they thought I would understand but this sounds like it was just a spamblast.

Our district's city councilor announced recently that he's done; a few days ago we got our first replacement-candidate visit -- from a candidate, not a shill. Poor timing, as it was the time of day when the we-can-reduce-your-power-costs people (frequent pests) come around, but the contestant was quite reasonable ("Hi, this is me, here's a flyer"). I ignore the landline as it has an answering machine (a few key people have my cell), so I don't even notice unless there's a message (which the tonal-language people left); for candidates, I much prefer fora (where I can compare how they handle themselves) and written material (where I can compare and ponder positions, or at least what each thinks is important). I've never had an importunate candidate; there's a Jehovah's Wit*esses hall up a hill from here so we get occasional doorbells(**), but the only people who were dumb enough not to take a curt buzz-off were Mormons.

* I've learned how to pronounce a bit of Mandarin for a concert, but didn't get a word-for-word translation and can't tell the difference between it, Cantonese, and any other tonal languages I don't know of.

** The JW were the only ones dumb enough that they rang the back door afterward, but it wasn't that dumb considering the number of deliverers who think our back door is the front door of the more-important street that is the other bound of our corner lot.

#948 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2019, 11:58 AM:

I definitely heard "U P S" in the middle. That and "Ni hao" at the start were about all I understood.

#949 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2019, 05:10 PM:

I hate hate hate door-to-door people of all stripes. Hate.

Also phone calls from campaigns. Especially the ones who won't take "put my on your do-not-call list" for an answer. (Unfortunately, this seems to be all of them.)

#950 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2019, 08:28 PM:

This morning I got the weirdest voicemail spam ever. (I went in to work because I can decide when I work and it was more convenient to me that way.)

A middle-aged middle-state American voice, enunciating clearly, said, "Okay. Page 69, here we go. 'Can you lose your contact lenses in the back of your head?' Some people visit emergency rooms because they have lost their contact lenses. They are usually found folded up--" and that's where I pressed Delete.

WHAT the heck. WHAT were they selling. I was afraid to find out!

#951 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2019, 08:51 PM:

Sometimes I think they've pressed the wrong buttons on their smartphone: they thought they were talking to someone else. (Kids will play with phones and call a random number, but it's easy to recognize those.)

#952 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2019, 08:53 PM:

And every so often, for the last several years, I've gotten calls from people looking for "Steve", obviously business. I suspect that they're calling the wrong area code, but they don't seem to have gotten the message that there's no "Steve" at my number - one of them has a distinctive voice, and I've told them multiple times already.

#953 ::: Sarah E. ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2019, 08:51 AM:

I once got a wrong number for someone with my first name, and spent about thirty seconds trying to recognize the caller’s voice and wondering why she was excitedly telling me about a sale at a laboratory-supply place (I think that’s what she was talking about; something to do with slides, anyway). That was a legit person-to-person call, though, not spam.

#954 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2019, 09:45 AM:

Stefan Jones @ 936:

I don't like canvassers (phone variety), but I understand that they help turn out the vote, so I put up with them. I do mind phone calls begging for money from groups I already donate to. Really, if I could give more, I would. I've never run into a door-to-door canvasser, so I have no real opinion on that, although I'm not that fond of door-to-door sales and fundraisers. Again, I recognize they help get out the vote, so I suppose I could live with them. Would that we lived in a place and time where it wasn't necessary to do any of that.

Although I do have my own complaints about American voting. I half suspect that we have so many elections so often for so many government offices that make little sense to vote for that people get tired of them and stop showing up.

P J Evans @ 945:

I get phone spam in Mandarin, which probably comes from having a San Gabriel Valley area code. I expect the ones I get are an immigration scam thing, but I've never been quite curious enough to ask my Chinese coworker to listen.

I am grimly amused that the FCC is finally going to (pretend to) take action about making mobile providers block unknown numbers. Why? Because the telecom industry shill currently heading it didn't like some legislation in the works that would actually have some bite to it.

Cassy B. @ 946:

A few years ago, I repeatedly got an IRS scam one that couldn't have been scammier if it tried. They had a voice synthesizer reading the script, and claimed they would "call the cops" on me if I didn't pay up.

P J Evans @ 952:

The only even moderate success I've had with people who have repeatedly called me expecting someone else is to ask them what number they were trying to reach, and then tell them the exact mistake they made. Some people really are clueless, though. I've had real people make it through my entire voicemail greeting, in which I clearly state my name, and still leave a message for someone else.

#955 ::: Quill ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2019, 09:50 AM:

AKICIML: Does anyone know of a support group and/or club for photographers with disabilities, that's based in the United States?

An acquaintance is looking for one - he's a serious hobby photographer - but all the ones he can find are elsewhere, usually the UK.

I tried Google with as much luck as he had, but I'm wondering if anyone here knows of one that just isn't well-publicized.


#956 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2019, 11:13 AM:

@952, I've been regularly getting spam calls for "Steve". I think it's to provide plausible deniability; "gosh, sorry you're not Steve, but since I have you on the line..."

I've not listened that closely; I think the asking-for-Steve bit is a robot, but if a human voice answers they switch to a live operator. Or a high-quality robo-seller, perhaps.

#957 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2019, 11:21 AM:

Cassy, there are at least two different people calling for Steve; the distinctive voice is female and never actually asks, just says "Steve?" as if it's supposed to be a direct line to him.

#958 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2019, 12:56 PM:

P J Evans @ 957 -- At that point, I think I'd be tempted to make up some misinformation about why Steve would never be available at that number. Had to move to another state on short notice, perhaps.

A friend of mine regularly receives E-mail intended for other people with the same name. One of them apparently frequently gets her own E-mail address wrong on things up to and including résumés and stuff related to her wedding. My friend occasionally yields to temptation.

#959 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2019, 02:13 PM:

Wrong-number calls are usually solvable by asking what number they're trying to reach. The series in French a while back was tough, because I don't speak French and they didn't know any English. I finally looked up how to say "wrong number" in French. I'm sure I totally mangled the pronunciation, but they didn't call again.

And then there was the woman who refused to believe that she had the wrong number for the law office she was trying to reach. She asked a series of increasingly annoyed questions, culminating in "Did you recently get this number? Could it have been theirs last year?" Lady, I've had this number for more than twenty years, and it was a new exchange at the time. No one else has ever had this number.

#960 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2019, 02:37 PM:

I am not wild about door to door canvassers, but it makes sense for local political office. I don't want to have long conversations, though.

Phone calls, I don't care for. Not for political candidates, not for more money for things I already support, not for obvious scams (the Microsoft support team one still pops up occasionally). But my social-scientist heart is enraged by phone or mail items that purport to be surveys but are either (a) thinly veiled fundraising vehicles, or (b) something with deliberately biased wording that they will use for PR saying that 85% of people support X.

#961 ::: J Homes ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2019, 07:24 PM:

Here in my corner of Aotearoa, we are currently being bombarded with phone calls trying to get us to install malware on our computers. The shtick is that they are from the country's largest telecoms and Internet provider (with whom I do not have an account), that they have detected illicit activity on my connection, and that they must gain remote access to my computer to fix the problem.

I have lost count of the number of time I have been called. Usually I just hang up, but a couple of times I have strung them along for a while. Once I tied them up with a sustained argument about whether there was an Internet Search Engine called DuckDuckGo (I suspect that when they said Search Engine they meant browser, but it's not my job to educate scammers).

It is not just me. The police have issued a warning to the general public about them.

J Homes.

#962 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2019, 08:49 PM:

I got a call this afternoon that started "Dear customer" and then went into a story about a refund due. (AFAIK, the only businesses with my phone number are the ones with legitimate reasons to call me - mostly medical providers. Microsoft doesn't have it, nor do most other businesses. And most don't have my email, which makes it so much easier to toss the spam.)

#963 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2019, 10:53 PM:

FWIW, I've found that many robot spam calls will disconnect if you don't say anything for a few seconds after picking up the phone. Humans, of course, are more resilient.

#964 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2019, 11:55 PM:

On my home number, I frequently get some dude with a thick (probably) Indian accent telling me that he's from tech support, at which point I say gently, "No, sweetie, you're not," and hang up.

There's been a recent rash of badly written emails posing as urgent messages from one of the biggest in-state internet providers. Click here to verify your address or purchase more bandwidth.

#965 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2019, 04:47 AM:

Re. unwanted callers-at-the-door, we have a sign by the doorbell: "Please respect our privacy. No cold callers, no religious groups." It is reasonably effective, and if anyone does try anything I ask them if they can read and I point to the sign, smile, say 'thank you' and close the door. In the last few years since we put it there, I've only had two or three people try to argue that it didn't apply to THEM.

Another one I've seen says something like: "We do not buy, subscribe, donate or talk religion or politics to anyone calling at our door".

#966 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2019, 10:14 AM:

Joel Polowin #958:

My [starts-with-g] email address is [firstname].[lastname] for a combination that can be easily misspelled and is more common than I had thought when I was growing up. I keep getting loyalty stuff for various online companies I don't patronize, and also the occasional notification that my expensive widget is ready to be picked up from [electronics big box] in some other state. I unsubscribe from the former and report them as spam; I can't quite figure out what to do about the latter--any suggestions?

#967 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2019, 10:23 AM:

@Quill #955: Maybe he could try contacting the Accessible Technology Coalition.

#968 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2019, 10:24 AM:

dcb #965:

Our no-solicitation sign occasionally fails; I used to open the door, stick my head out, and announce, "No politics, no religion, no clipboards, this does mean you," and close the door.

I used to get arguments about whether or not they were soliciting, always settled (never to their satisfaction) by me quoting the dictionary definition of solicitation, which includes them wanting "something of value," and I then would point out that my time is valuable to me, thank them very little.

Nowadays we have a video doorbell, another porch camera, and (for plausible deniability) double sheer curtains over the way-too-large door window. There are still idiots (most recent spate is a cable provider) who persist, and then keep returning.

#969 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2019, 12:26 PM:

joann @968: Ours fails occasionally as well, but it does work most of the time, thankfully.

Re. telephone calls, I respond to the spam/phishing calls with "this number is listed with the Telephone Preference Service. Your call is illegal. Please remove this number from your list." Usully they put the received down half way through that. Persuading someone they're dialling the wrong number? That can be harder, particularly when they're trying to get through to their doctor's practice or a bookstore or fast food place, but I too have had that 'as I told you the last two times you called this number in the last 10 minutes, you have the wrong number and nobody here is called Steve' experience.

#970 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2019, 12:41 PM:

joann @966 -- Depends on how charitable you are regarding other people's screw-ups, I suppose. You could reply to them to tell them that they've screwed up. Or you could write back, and ask them to deliver the item, delivery charges to go to the same card that paid for the item or its repair. :-)

My current response to phone scammers is judo-ish. Regular scammers get "Does it bother you that your job is a scam?" Malware scammers get "Your job is to hurt people. You steal from poor people. You hurt people who are old and sick. Doesn't that bother you?" Which lead nicely to a discussion of sociopathy.

#971 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2019, 01:33 PM:

I don't mind door-to-door campaigners, but our election period is sufficiently short that it's not an ongoing issue.

My only regret for the nice young man who first knocked on our door in the last municipal election was that I was so surprised to see him I didn't have any discussion questions ready, because once I could look over his flyer he had good policy points. (He lost to a woman with similar campaign policies but more visual recognition. We had 8 people campaigning, and thanks to our retiring oft-elected councilor being one, a decided leftward skew in the would-be replacements. A nice problem to have).

I hate campaign robocalls, because they are so often so blatantly biased for a particular side, usually the Conservatives. And occasionally American.

#972 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2019, 02:26 PM:

I got the same young dude growling, "Is Crystal there?" every few weeks for almost two years. I finally started replying, "Still not her number."

Honey. Cookie. Sweetie. If you don't have a cell phone (this was back when lots of people didn't), do you at least have a Post-It note? Used envelope? Something?

#973 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2019, 05:14 PM:

... then there was the young thing that gave out my cell number in bars, resulting in my being woken up after the bars let out, and having to explain to variably drunk people that no, this was a wrong number, not a booty call (explaining, because they otherwise just kept calling back...)

#974 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2019, 05:18 PM:

I've gotten a couple of calls where it was pretty obvious that someone picked my number out of a directory to use as theirs. One of them was apparently using it in a legal matter, so I had to tell the nice person on the other end that no, I don't know any of those names, or the address, either.
(And sometimes it's obviously someone who's trying to find someone where all they have is name and city to look in.)

#975 ::: Anne Sheller ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2019, 10:31 PM:

I used to get occasional calls for a local restaurant with a number similar to mine. If my last four digits were xyzz, theirs were xxyz. They closed a number of years ago, so those calls stopped.

There was a series of calls that started about 35 years ago, when I moved to my present address and got my current number. The last was maybe 10 years ago. It started with a woman trying to get in touch with her brother, a Mr. Angle. I didn't know anyone of that name, nor could I find him in the phone directory. I told her that. She insisted that my number was his; they'd been out of contact for several years but she had it written down. Not long after that call, I came across a city directory from about 4 years earlier at a library. At that time Mr. and Mrs. Angle did have my phone number. They lived in a different neighborhood and obviously no longer had the number. When the woman called again I told her that yes, her brother used to have the number, gave her the address I'd found, and told her that's all I knew. This time she got belligerent, insisting I HAD to know her brother and was lying to her. I hung up. Got a couple more calls, hung up on her quickly. Then, at random intervals, often several years apart, I got calls from other relatives, less emotional than the first woman but still seeming to think I ought to know where the Angles were. One man asking after them didn't claim to be a relative; from the way he asked I guessed he might be a hired investigator. I told him about the whole series of calls and what little I knew. Not sure if that was the last call or if there was maybe one more from a family member. I still don't know where the Angles are.

#976 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2019, 08:51 AM:

We've had our current phone number for 19 years. It is similar to the number for a local bakery, with an easy-to-make error. We used to get a lot of calls for them, and would always just correct the caller (you want 234, and you've called 243). We haven't gotten one in a long time, now that I think about it. Maybe everyone who doesn't have the store in their phone contacts checks the store hours and places orders online now.

When we moved into our house in New Orleans many years ago, the number the installers left on the phone was one digit off from our actual phone number, but we gave out the incorrect number for a week or so before we discovered the problem. Unfortunately, the incorrect number was for "Sleepy's Sporting Palace." We also got the occasional wrong number call for Sleepy.

#977 ::: Quill ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2019, 09:18 AM:

TomB @967: Thanks! I'll pass that along.

#978 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2019, 01:44 PM:

I used to clean a church late on Saturday afternoon so it would be nice and fresh for Sunday. This was before cell phones, so they had a landline in the nursery. The local numbers all start(ed) with 486, and this phone had the number 486-4864.

This town has a lot of bars. And a lot of cabs, all of which (back then) could be reached via landline.

I'm sure you can see where this is going.

#979 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2019, 01:44 PM:

Anybody remember obscene phone calls? This is a phenomenon I had gratefully forgotten about. Not surprisingly, more common back in the days of phone books. Also correlated strongly with identifiable femaleness of the listing name. Dropped off somewhat after I changed my listing from "Jacque" to "J".

Used to get calls for various [first name starts with J] [my last name] over the years. Never for me. :( Occassionally got some collection agency calling for somebodyorother. "Nope, sorry, no clue, can't help you." Repeat as necessary if they try to argue with me.

I mention above that I've stopped answering my phone and even turn the ringer off unless I'm actively waiting for an incoming call. (Which reminds me, I forgot to turn it off after my chat with my friend last night.)

The only time it rings through and I answer is when I'm waiting for another call (which happens more frequently than I would have expected). I'm not polite anymore, though I'm not necessarily abusive.

Latest one that got through, "Wow, Jacque! It's harder to get through to you than it is to get my husband to wash the dishes!" First thought: "Oh! Somebody who actually wants to talk to me!" Second thought: "uh, your marital issues are not my concern...?" But it was a paid solicitor for some cancer charity. Once she had established that she had a live body on the line, I had to literally shout to punch through her pitch.

In retrospect, I wish I had said, "You know, for a second there, I thought maybe you were an actual nice, interesting person who actually wanted to have a nice, interesting conversation with me, an actual interesting person? But, no, you just want to ask me for money. So, no, I'm not going to contribute to your charity, and you can take comfort in knowing that you have disappointed me on a personal level. Good bye." But I didn't. I just gave my standard, "Idon'tacceptphonesolicitationgoodbye."

I've started wondering lately about the viability of a class-action lawsuit against the phone companies, since these spam calls basically make it untennable to use the phone for one of its core purposes, which is to be contactable by the people I want to be able to contact me.

(It's less bad now that I have a phone that I can see has voicemail, rather than having to actually pick up to check. But it's still annoying, because 99% of the time, the voicemails are either truncated pitches, or just dead air.)

#980 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2019, 02:05 PM:

I've gotten calls where a bright, chirpy female voice comes on after a moment and apologizes because "having trouble with" [fill in blank] which point I hang up, because not someone I know and obviously calling with a pitch of some kind.

#981 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2019, 07:28 PM:

Have I ever told the story here about the time I came home to find that a survey robot had attempted to administer a customer satisfaction survey to my answering machine? (More precisely, it was an automated answering service that cut in if nobody picked up the phone; more on this in a moment.) The recorded message was a question, followed by a series of increasingly pointed hints about how you could also answer with your keypad if you had difficulty talking, and eventually the survey robot ringing off in the closest thing it could manage to a huff.

It was the telephone company's survey robot and the telephone company's answering service, so you'd think they might have taught the one to recognise when it was speaking to the other. Particularly when "How are you finding your new answering service?" was the intended topic of the call.

#982 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2019, 07:45 PM:

A former coworker used to respond to any question with "State your name. Questions will not be answered". That tends to work for him.

I get a lot of calls which my phone identifies as "suspected spam caller". In general, none of them leave messages longer than 4 seconds of silence, except for the 30 seconds of Chinese scam calls.

#983 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2019, 07:45 PM:

A former coworker used to respond to any question with "State your name. Questions will not be answered". That tends to work for him.

I get a lot of calls which my phone identifies as "suspected spam caller". In general, none of them leave messages longer than 4 seconds of silence, except for the 30 seconds of Chinese scam calls.

#984 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2019, 09:08 PM:

A couple of weeks ago, I got a call at home, soliciting my attendance at a "road show" of 3D printing technology. The caller got really huffy when I told him that he was phone spamming. "No I'm not!" And when I pointed out with increasing anger that what he was doing was strictly illegal, since I had no previous contact with his organization and was on the federal do-not-call registry. "It isn't illegal!" "Yes it damned well is!" After a couple more rounds, he started muttering in French -- the call was from Montreal -- and hung up.

I was sufficiently annoyed by the whole thing that I tracked down the E-mail address of the company president and sent him a message, to the effect that he *appeared* to be running a reputable company, so why were they doing illegal phone spamming? I heard back from their Supervisor of Business Development, who apologized, and explained that the marketer hadn't been properly trained regarding the do-not-call registry and who was exempt from it.

I replied to him: "May I ask where you got this list? I may need to have a word with whoever sold it to you. You obviously did not get what you paid for."

His reply: "Unfortunately i do not, in fact we haven’t bought any list, its was employee, who received a small list with around 30 companies from your area from a friend of a friend of one of our customer and in that list, 7 of them were individual like you. but I've deleted all of them from our database after receiving your email."

This is a rather stunning level of idiocy. If true. I haven't decided how to reply. How would you even get a list of contacts from a friend of a friend of one of your customers? Put something out on social media and wait for the forwarded forwards to roll back?

#985 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2019, 11:08 AM:

I totally love Caller ID.

One of the really transparent tricks that totally-illegal callers use is to spoof a number from your exchange. I totally ignore those. If it's a real call they'd leave a message, I figure.

I am tempted to answer one of these with a braying supervillain voice. "You have reached the domicile of Chartor the Implacable. State your need!"

#986 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2019, 01:18 PM:

I had a problem in the other direction recently.

I wanted to retake a first aid class, which is something the state recommends for disaster preparedness. So, as one does, I called the Red Cross local number.

I got a computer program, which, okay, fine, everybody and their cousin has one of those anymore. Navigated through the menus. When I finally made it understand that I wanted to take a class, it went silent.

And then the entire script started again, in a different voice, with more static.

Okay, I thought, maybe they don't actually have a local office anymore except for storage of emergency supplies and they chose to connect people with folks who fly down from the mainland to teach classes by keeping the local number and making it connect to Anchorage...?

So I went through the menus again.

And it went silent again...and restarted the a different voice...with even more static.

Repressing the impulse to scream, I navigated through the menus for a third time, and finally got a human being.

Who then began to run down a script designed to get me to donate money.

"Oh, forget it," I blurted, and hung up the phone.

I found the number for a local Red Cross-certified business that teaches first aid courses. I found it by following the Jeep with the business logo on it until I had gotten the number off the side and written it down, because wherever they advertise, it's probably a social media platform, but that's a whole other rant. They're getting my money instead.

#987 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2019, 03:41 PM:

Random thought:

The fad for women putting their hair up in loose chignons like ladies from the late 1860s/early 1870s appears to be passing. And I still haven't seen a single one of the highly decorated miniature straw hats ("bonnets") that people used to pin over them. They pair the look with gray yoga pants when they could have had "Fanchon, of marabout, with a blue velvet bow in front, and another behind, over the chignon. Long barbs [decorative strips] of lace and tulle, falling to the front like a scarf [and tied under the chin]. Strings of ribbon, tying behind [that is, the "strings" are here purely decorative and are tied beneath the chignon to trail down the back]." Boo.

Source: Page 2 of first issue of Harper's Bazaar, found here:

#988 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2019, 11:46 PM:
One of the really transparent tricks that totally-illegal callers use is to spoof a number from your exchange.

I ran into someone a while ago that hadn't figured this one out.

I got a text one morning, while doing my regular Friday AM Boulder Food Rescue shift, basically along the lines of "Please stop texting me," which, well, how do you answer that? Probably best not to, right? If they don't want me texting them anymore?

I texted back, like a fool. "I haven't texted you that I know of," something like. "Your text is literally my first interaction with your number."

This turned into an argument in which they sounded increasingly pissed off at me for persisting in lying to them, and so transparently, too. They could see my number, right there in their call log!

Finally I texted back, "Look, I'm knee-deep in donated produce on a grocery store's loading dock. Can we argue about this some other time?"

Which seemed to do the trick. But, oh-em-gee, whatever spammer spoofed the caller ID did absolutely nobody any favors that day.

Lesson learned: When the first thing you hear from someone is, "Stop contacting me," do not contact them the first time either. Especially if you'd have to wipe moldy tomato yuck off your hands to do it.

#989 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2019, 07:49 AM:

Paul A. @981: ::facepalm:: Okay, now that has got to be some kind of quintessentially...something. SMH, as the kids say.

Joel Polowin @984: Well, good on the president of the company, at least, for doing the right thing once it was brought to his attention. One suspects (hopes?) that the employee in question has since experienced some adjustment to his or her employment prospects, current & future.

How would you even get a list of contacts from a friend of a friend of one of your customers?

Actually, TBF, I think this sort of networking was more-or-less standard sales-lead generation practice, back before the days of digital advertizing and spam.

Stefan Jones @985: spoof a number from your exchange

Hah, so that is a thing. I'd vaguely heard, and I get a bunch of those. I deduce these are spoofed numbers, because whenever I try to call them back out of curiosity, I almost invariably get "Your call cannot be completed as dialed." I did once get an actual human, who was thoroughly puzzled by my return call. The spoofing most usually seems to hit on non-active numbers, evidently.

I wonder how it's done, and what sort of draconian penalties one could engineer if one could pin down the culprit.

WRT phone scammers, esp of the Indian call-center variety that want you to call them back to be subjected to their scam, I think my favorite response to those was the guy who automated callbacks, and whenever he detected one, would hit them with a DDOS attack on their phone lines. Audio recordings of the scammers's reactions included some very satisfying swearing in Hindi.

"You have reached the domicile of Chartor the Implacable. State your need!"

Oooo, I may have to steal that.

Jenny Islander @986: I've actually had a fair amount of success dealing with the phone bots of legitimate businesses by basically just hammering on the 0 key until it finally gives up getting any parsable response from me, and connects me to a human.

Actually used that tactic on Xfinity's chat bot successfully, after figuring out it was entirely unequipped to deal with the streaming connection error I was getting from my Mac. Though in that case, one step in the process was the exchange, "Are you a human?" when I began to suspect its digital nature*, and it's response, "I am a customer support bot." "I want to talk to a human." "I will connect you to an agent now." So, cool. Either I've got a knack, or companies are figuring out that forcing bots on people is somewhat more expensive than funding low-rent humans from marginalized populations.

* Props to the programmers that it took me a few rounds to twig.

Jenny Islander @987: loose chignons

Huh. I haven't actually seen those. The one that seems to be all the rage in my orbit is those little braided buns on the top of the head, like Yaz, in Doctor Who.

Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little @988: Hey! Tangentially-related to food rescue: If you know any cyclists who want more excuses to peddle around town, have them get in touch with the Boulder Meals on Wheels office. I have a now-former coworker who recently started a job with them, and she reports that MoW is apparently having a heck of time finding reliable deliverers (i.e., people volunteer, but never show up, which seems like a truly shitty thing to do to clients who are waiting to, like you know, eat a meal.)

I suggested cyclists to them as a possible, nearly-as-fast (sometimes faster) alternative to drivers. Some engineering might be required to manage food containers, but in this day of bike trailers, it seems like something ought to be come-up-with-able.

#990 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2019, 03:52 PM:

Jacque @989 - I'll keep that in mind and pass it on as appropriate! Maybe the lady whose AirBnB I stayed at earlier this year will be interested - she was looking for volunteer opportunities that would get her more physically active, and asked me all about Boulder Food Rescue.

It sounds like Mow is only just now incorporating the bicycling angle? It's not going to be like BFR where they already have a bike with trailer living at each donor grocery?

Those BFR trailers are no joke. I took a pretty impressive tumble during yesterday's ride; the front wheel slid out on a patch of what looked like coarse sand toward the end of the downhill in the northbound bike lane on 30th approaching Colorado Blvd. I involuntarily ejected into a roll over my right shoulder, with my backpack on and everything, but the trailer just slid to a stop with the ~250 lbs of food stacked on top, only lightly strapped down mind you, just sitting there in its boxes like, "Yeah? What's the hold-up? Come on, I was due at Harvest of Hope like an *hour* ago."

(BTW do not put the arnica gel on a scraped knee. They warn you not to put it on broken skin. They mean it. OW.)

#991 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2019, 07:31 PM:

I get a lot of phone spam from people who want me to change my electricity provider.

#992 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2019, 08:06 PM:

I occasionally get phone spam from people who want me to switch to them as a phone service provider. Such calls are invariably full of noise, garbling, and dropouts, so much so that it's sometimes hard to tell what they're shilling for.

#993 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2019, 12:23 AM:

I used to get a robocall where the caller said "I'm sorry, I dropped my headset."

A clever move, it makes the caller seem real and accounts for the speech rhythm being a little off as you pick up.

At first I would try to converse with it as it delivered its spiel,

"the reason why I'm calling is because you stayed in one of our resorts in the past..."

"remind me what resort that was..." but the caller didn't seem to hear me.

#994 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2019, 12:40 AM:

Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little @990: It sounds like Mow is only just now incorporating the bicycling angle?

Far as I know, they haven't used bikes at all. I think they think (like a lot of folks who live through cars) that cargo carrying on bikes isn't really a thing...? Especially stuff that might need some temperature control, and or stuff that needs to be kept upright.

Just hasn't cross their minds, far as I can tell.

There's a new outfit down on Pearl (~1900 block?) that sells cooler-kitted bike trailers for picnics & such. I suggested MoW hit them up, maybe get some donations in trade for "free" advertising.

Those trailers BFR uses are rockin'. I had occasion to borrow one from Community Cycles went I had a big backlog of compost I needed to run out to CHaRM.

I involuntarily ejected into a roll over my right shoulder

Woo! Bet you're grateful for those roller derby reflexes! (I've lost count of the number of times my minimal Aikido training has saved me a trip to the ER.)

just sitting there in its boxes

Low and wide is definitely preferred for massy loads. I 'member the time I had my old modified Burley loaded over the gunwales, but the with center of gravity a little too far aft of the axle. Turned my back, the load overbalanced, fell on its back, and just picked my bike up by the hitch. Turned around, and my poor bike is hanging there by its tail, like a puzzled rat. Wish I'd thought to get a picture. It was actually pretty funny, though I had to find help to get the whole thing righted again.

arnica gel

Arnica gel! I keep forgetting that stuff exists. I need to get some for my stock. And, yeah, I can believe that would smart, as I think the substrate is the same kind of gelled alcohol they use for hand sanitizer.


I can often tell if there's been a major hailstorm in the region, because I'll get a spate of calls for body work & windshield replacement services.

#995 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2019, 01:29 AM:

@Jacque no. 989: I had a surprisingly difficult time finding a photo online; the loose chignons I was turning up were too artful. I finally had to search on "yoga pants and loose bun hair" to find one:

Basically, you gather your hair into a ponytail, put a hair elastic up to the back of your head as if you were about to secure the ponytail, but stop pulling when you've got a big loopy bun sort of thing, before the ends of your hair come through. But most people put it much higher on the back of the head than the model in the photo I linked. This also happens to be cartoon shorthand for "everyday middle-class woman who isn't dressed to go into town" in the old magazines, although I can't find an image to link ATM. And in general the more put-together hairstyles for daywear back in the era of fetching little bonnets were dressed at the back of the head, perhaps a bit higher.

Just a missed opportunity, is all. ("Catalan [tiny circular flat hat with a rear-facing bill that lies over the chignon], of black velvet, edged with guipure, bordered with jet beads. A rose and buds thrown carelessly over the side [=placed asymmetrically]. Strings of lace [non-functional because the hat is held on by pins, so they can be tied loosely beneath the chin to contrast with a pale throat and starched collar].") Imagine pinning that into place before you go to the store.

#996 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2019, 11:17 AM:

Jenny Islander #995:

That hairstyle (do?) is known to me as How to Keep Your Too-Long Hair From Obscuring Fencing Target. Gather it up so the center is about 1-2 inches above your bottom hairline in back, and secure it with one of those double-loop elastics with the beads. I ran my hair through both loops; other people did not.

#997 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2019, 05:25 PM:

Jenny Islander @995: Huh. That style actually has a name. Who knew?

I generally do a loose variant of that, only with a barrett as securement. Never met a hair elastic yet that could support my hair aloft for more than one quick head-turn. And for karate, I got in the habit of double-clipping it for extra security.

I used to clip it to the back of my head (which I prefer), but I started to develop a bald spot where the clip attached. Now I mount it to the top of my head, and move the clip around from day to day. Still making a bald spot, but at least it's less concentrated. (Or I may be simply seeing the effects of familial pattern-baldness, which is a Known Thing.) (Or both.)

#998 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2019, 05:45 PM:

How To Human, Twitter Edition yielded up this little gem yesterday. I was bemused to find that I can make five bingoes.

#999 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2019, 05:53 PM:

I'm seeing at least four for me. Hmmm.

#1000 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2019, 02:11 AM:

I'm down to 3 bingos. I think it might have been substantially more at times.

#1001 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2019, 08:55 AM:

@985 "You have reached the domicile of Chartor the Implacable. State your need!"

I would like to steal this, too. I might replace "State your need!" with "You may present your petition."

But I probably won't. Back in the days when spam callers were more likely to be a real human than a bot, I decided that anyone who called and didn't know how to pronounce my fairly-unusual last name was probably not somebody I wanted to talk to. The first caller I said that to was my daughter's new soccer coach who was calling all the parents on the roster. Oops. Since then, I enjoy imagining snarking responses but I don't actually say them. Although I have been known to tell "Microsoft tech support" scammers "Get a real job!" as I hang up.

#1002 ::: Quill ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2019, 09:31 AM:

I once, in a fit of hilarity, answered the family phone with "Fred's Flying Furball Factory, how can I help you?"

Perhaps fortunately, the person calling was my brother's friend and managed "Yes, I'd like to buy a furball?" But he was used to us.

#1003 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2019, 01:04 PM:

@1002 I like it.

Pretty sure he never did it (he was a buttoned-down lawyer type) but my father's standing joke was to answer the phone, "Joe's Bar and Grill, Grill speaking."

#1004 ::: Kip Williams ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2019, 01:41 PM:

Just typing this to get my info back into my own system. New computer, and when the old one collapsed into a grey hole it took all my old links and cookies.

Things are going well. We played at my town's annual Erie Canal event, and the rain actually held off for two hours. Our set included one of my tunes. My daughter came by and later said I'd played well. Oh, and I graduated from college with a BS in Studio Art. Wore a flat hat, moved the tassel over, heard speeches. (Chuck Schumer's was the only one that wasn't boring. I am indebted to him.) As George Burns said when his grade school gave him an honorary sixth-grade diploma, "Now I can go out and make something of myself."

#1005 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2019, 04:09 PM:

Congratulations, Kip!

#1006 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2019, 05:51 PM:

Kip -- congratulations!

When a friend of mine graduated from university a few years ago, after a tough slog as a mature student, I gave her a reversible graduation hat. One side was classic black; when inverted, it was one of the most gaudy fabrics I could find.

In case anyone's interested, the basic pattern concept goes like this... The cylindrical part was simply 2-sided, with the size adjustable with velcro. The square top involved a rigid board of size x on an edge, covered by a fabric square of size √2 x on an edge, folded to bring the corners together. That fabric square was similarly 2-sided. The corners were held together by another bit of velcro; more bits of velcro on the inside of the cylinder attached it to the top. (One criterion for fabric selection was that it had to be at least a bit "sticky" for velcro hooks.) Each side of the fabric square had its own tassel. When properly adjusted and worn, it was pretty hard to see that it was reversible.

#1007 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2019, 09:56 AM:

And by √2 I'm assuming you mean 22 ? 'Cause √2 would be kinda tiny....

#1008 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2019, 11:45 AM:

Jacque @1007 -- √2x is about 1.5x -- right for folding on a diagonal of a square of side-size x. it's not actually tiny at all.

#1009 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2019, 11:50 AM:

Jacque @1007:

√2 works here. Try drawing a square, then drawing a squarer inside it by connecting the midpoints of the edges. If you cut out the big square, then fold the corners along the edges of the smaller square, they will all meet nicely at the center. If the inside square edge length is x, the outside square will have an edge length of √2x (about 1.414 x).

#1010 ::: estelendur ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2019, 11:55 AM:

I've been thinking about deep value recently.

My place of employment is pushing hard towards more sustainable, less consumptive operations. I am one of my department's five 'compost advocates'; we have installed a little compostables container in the hallway of our office and are ensuring that it stays uncontaminated and that it gets taken out regularly. There's also a kind of 'ecological ambassador' training that I did yesterday, which got me thinking more about sustainable living.

I've spent several thousand miles in a car over the last couple weeks, doing interstate travel. A lot of rest stops and restaurants have no paper towels in the bathrooms, but only hot air dryers, which we are learning are notably unclean. And every time I dry my hands with paper towels, I use more than one to do it. This got me thinking, what if I could just carry a small hand towel with me and use that to dry my hands? Like a handkerchief, but not for blowing my nose. Handkerchiefs, too, carry value in replacing disposable tissue.

I already own a couple of cartridge fountain pens, but I could buy cartridge converters to be able to fill them from bottles. That seems like a deeper value writing instrument. I purchased steel chopsticks to take with me to work for eating lunch; we provide compostable eating utensils, but not using the disposable thing in the first place feels strictly better. I bicycle to work every day, and added a basket to the front of my bike along with an elastic netting so I can carry more groceries on the bike. I use a reusable water bottle; I could choose one of my travel mugs to carry with me when I think I might want to purchase a hot drink.

I'm thinking about taking it farther: buying as much produce as possible from the farmer's markets, and carrying it in cloth bags. Using primarily glass containers, and some sturdy plastic, for storage. Buying from the bulk section and bringing those storage containers. Figuring out how to sew my own clothes that fit, can last a long time, and that I enjoy wearing.

I know that there is a limit to how much deep value I can live, but I want to explore more ideas like this, without necessarily getting bogged down in Pinteresting-but-impractical. (For example, gardening isn't on there because I don't think I can devote the energy to it at this point in my life.)

What do y'all do? What do y'all daydream about doing?

#1011 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2019, 12:00 PM:

Huh. Learn something new every day!

#1012 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2019, 12:36 PM:

estelendur: Oh god.

  1. Decided, Earth Day 1970, that I would never own a car. (I've found it more limiting in recent years, as a lot of the retail I would patronize has moved out into the 'burbs, and the 'burbs are not optimally acessible by bus.)
  2. I've been doing kitchen compost for probably thirty, thirty-five years. I also compost the guinea pigs' "output" and associated litter. I have intermittently kept a compost bin, but these days I peddle it out to municiple compost receiving. (Our complex does have a compost bin, but it's usually heavily contaminated with trash, so I just don't bother with it.)
  3. Recycling, of course.
  4. Non-recyclable paper products and old, non-donatable clothes get charred, and the char goes into the compost.
  5. (On balance, I could probably do better with my purchasing, but I've managed to get my landfil down to <0.5lb/month)

  6. I'm a "Zero-Waste Champion" at work. (Not that it helps; I think I'm going to have to conspicuously pitch a tantrum, because people are not getting stuff into the right bins.) I also have a plastic-bag bag up in the break room, and take charge of emptying it and ferrying the input to the appropriate recycling destination.
  7. LED lightbulb in my living room. I also have various solar & hand-crank emergency lights deployed around.
  8. Low-flow toilet & showerhead, of course. Second-use dishwater to water plants & such, where reasonable.
  9. Last couple of employers I've had have had strong Zero-Waste programs, so if anything, my footprint at work is possibly less than at home. Also public sector, so I'm not helping manufacture landfill.
  10. Supporting/voting for green political representation.

One thing I haven't done is upgrade my condo's insulation (this is, AIUI, non-trivial), put in thermopane windows,* or done anything fancy with my water heater, so there is still substantial room for improvement wrt my carbon footprint.

I finally got rid of the old wall-mounted air conditioner that my condo had when I moved in, and that (not surprisingly) made a huge difference, not having that whistling HOLE in my living room wall.

Also, after The Year Of The Racoon a few years ago, I discovered that the chimney on my not-useable-as-a-fireplace fireplace had never gotten capped, like I thought it had, so I finally got that sorted out. :-\

* The local upgrade-your-energy-efficiency-loan-program administrator gave me to understand that thermopane windows are far less positively impactful than the much simpler step of putting up good curtains, or insulating one's walls.

#1013 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2019, 01:25 PM:

Oh yeah and: they put hand-blowers in the bathrooms during our recent remodel, so between that, and the breakroom towel dispenser constantly running out of paper (and Facilities refusing to give us a spare, because we're "using too much"), that finally kicked me over into bringing in my own hand-towel. Then, of course, the trick is to remember to bring it along when I go to the breakroom or the bathroom.

#1014 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2019, 02:12 PM:

When they renovated our part of the building, several years ago, they put in motion-sensitive paper-towel dispensers in the restrooms, along with motion-sensitive plumbing fixtures. (They work reasonably well.) But I'll probably take a handtowel for the rest-area facilities. (I do have paper towels in the car, because Things Happen.)

#1015 ::: estelendur ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2019, 03:08 PM:

Jacque @1012: Non-recyclable paper products and old, non-donatable clothes get charred, and the char goes into the compost.

My understanding was that a lot of non-recyclable paper products are that because they have a thin layer of plastic (e.g., most paper plates). Does charring those get rid of the plastic satisfactorily, or do you just avoid those and stuff is non-recyclable because the fibers are just too short to re-use, or what?

Also, wow, less than 0.5lb of landfill per month is way impressive!

#1016 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2019, 03:41 PM:

I live in a community that produces more than 95 percent of its electricity via renewable resources (and also via a co-op, so money is conserved: it recirculates in the community instead of accumulating as fill in some offshore account).

I daydream about a quarter-acre garden providing much of our fresh vegetables throughout the year. We could do it; my late mother-in-law did it on this land. But I haven't started for the same reason she had to stop: ill health. We did change the soil in one garden tub and plant salad items this year; just helping the kids do that knocked me out for a day.

On the other hand, about half of that quarter acre is now Siberian raspberries--spread from a century-old patch, visually identical to a variety that still grows around Irkutsk--with a potential average annual yield of 15 gallons. I never pick that much, but I do pick and freeze a lot. The raspberries ask nothing of me beyond the washings from an emptied milk jug now and then. So I save money, improve our diet, and reduce our indirect consumption of petroleum.

#1017 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2019, 06:12 PM:

estelendur: Does charring those get rid of the plastic satisfactorily

This is an excellent question, to which I have not yet found a definitive answer. My operating assumption, though is: yes, it chars satisfactorily. Plastic is a hydrocarbon, not dissimilar to wax. I check the char to make sure it doesn't include any non-charcoal looking stuff.

So, basically, the stuff that goes into the char is: ice cream containers, the cardboard backs off blister-pack packaging, card-stock tea boxes and sleeves, receipts, the rare frozen-food box, & suchlike. Even recyclable paper/cardboard will go into that pile if it's less than 2 inches on a side, as that's the lower limit for the sorting machines. Other stuff: synthetic fabric, thread, & yarn scraps.

While I was running my own compost, I'd also char things like bones, wood chunks, cherry & peach pits, mango seed husks, and any other food waste that doesn't break down handily. Also the lion's share of the guinea pigs' newspaper, just to knock the volume down. That stuff just goes into the municipal compost now.

I'd love to get the char tested for purity, but I have n

#1018 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2019, 06:13 PM:


...but I have no idea how to go about doing that.

#1019 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2019, 08:22 PM:

And every time I dry my hands with paper towels, I use more than one to do it.

For people who have this problem but aren't ready to go as far as giving up on paper towels entirely, there's this short video on how to effectively dry your hands with only one paper towel. I don't promise that the method works for everyone, but I can testify that it works for me.

#1020 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2019, 09:53 AM:

There are reusable cloth towels suitable for use in public restrooms. A portion of the towel hangs down from the dispenser and then loops back up into it. You pull down on the towel when you want a clean section of towel to come out.

The way these dispensers really work is that the used portions of towel are pulled onto a take-up roll, which is then removed and sent for cleaning when entirely used. Most people don't like them, however, because they think that they use a much shorter continuous loop of towel, and so believe they're unsanitary. I last saw one of these installations in the '90s. I think they've all been replaced by paper towel dispensers at this point due to a combination of cost and perceptions of hygiene.

#1021 ::: Kip Williams ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2019, 10:25 AM:

Sad to see the Tor staffers moving out of the Flatiron Building. They've been there for 27 of Tor's 30 years, which means Cathy and I visited Tor in one of the first three. And, of course, never made it back for another visit, despite how much I'd love to look out a window of the Flatiron!

There should be a version of THE CRIMSON PERMANENT ASSURANCE with the Flatiron Building standing in for the original building. Even just a clip would be nice.

Sigh. Well, time passes, don't it?

#1022 ::: Kip Williams ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2019, 10:28 AM:

Trump thinks D-Day is about him.

His personal Vietnam was avoiding VD.

We should honor him appropriately on VD-Day. (There were very fine organisms on both sides!)

#1023 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2019, 08:37 PM:

The half-up bun thing is definitely not a chignon to my eyes, even the way I used to do it-- I called it 'up in quarters'. Pull hair through ponytail holder completely once, halfway leaving about eight, maybe ten inches bound in, then halfway again. It may not have looked strictly professional, but I had a pretty good amount of hair and limited ability to do anything to it.

Then I sold it all and now can do one thing with bobby pins, and sometimes buzz the sides if I'm feeling ambitious.

Compost and work and waste and things: the balancing can be difficult sometimes since it's never one-size-fits-all. The best example I've seen is cloth vs disposable diapers. Is the biggest impact on the environment going to be the landfill or the water used for washing them? Estimating the payback period is a decent start if you can estimate it at all, but a lot of times, there just isn't data for the way individuals use things. It's easier with big purchases (the payback period for an electric or even hybrid car is decades for me).

I mostly figure none of the things people do to help are bad to do except shitting on other people and their needs. Half-good is better than no-good.

#1024 ::: estelendur ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2019, 08:46 AM:

Diatryma @1023: That reminds me of the study done on the environmental impacts of different kinds of grocery bag...

This article concludes: ... knowing how many resources it takes to make a piece of cotton, treat fabric items in your home like infinitely reusable resources worth their carbon-mitigating weight in gold. Find new uses for old clothes, use textiles until they wear out...

I had been thinking about picking up something to use as a personal hand towel that was perhaps less bulky than terry-cloth. There is, of course, a Japanese cultural solution to this, which is just a piece of cotton that is pretty, basically. I realized, I have a bunch of worn-soft cotton bandanas sitting around from my hair being too long to stay out of my face and too short to put in a ponytail. I will just take one of those to work and use that.

There's also the two-birds-with-one-stone thing of turning old clothes into cleaning rags to use instead of paper towels. (We also have a whole mess of "auto cleaning cloths" from Costco to use as household rags, instead of paper towels. But see above re: cotton...)

I wonder what the comparative environmental impact of hemp is.

#1025 ::: alisea ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2019, 09:54 AM:

My favourite bakery has a new sign in the store: Please ask us if you don't want to have your goods packaged, we'll hand them over unpackaged for you to put into your own packaging.

That's a major source of packaging in my household gone - I always have a cotton bag in my backpack (and yes, those get reused until they fall apart).

#1026 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2019, 12:56 PM:

A couple of times, I've made fabric grocery bags from the below-the-knees parts of worn-out pants. The handles are made from the bottom hems; the remaining tubes are split with an eye for symmetry.

#1027 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2019, 01:22 PM:

I just remembered that we've always used and reused old towels, shirts, and jeans in our household. It wasn't a conscious thing; it just seemed obvious.

Cut straight across a pitted-out T-shirt below the armpits and you have a kitchen towel or car rag.

If you have a bath towel with densely woven bands a few inches in from each end, that's where most of the wear will happen. So you just rip the ends off right along those bands, like a perforated seam, and you have (pardon me) pantiliners for the allergic and thrifty. The middle part can be cut down the middle to make two hand towels.

Old jeans and sweats can be cut down, at home or by a good tailor, to make proper sturdy play pants for young children. With functional pockets!

If you have really heavyweight jeans, like Carhartts, the lower legs can also be recycled as washable garden kneelers. I also stuff old pillow batting, etc., into them and tie them shut at each end for kneeling sorts of chores because I have knee damage that makes kneeling painful.

Also, old jeans make quilts that wear like iron.

#1028 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2019, 04:48 PM:

I have some worn jeans that I intend to turn into grocery bags - I have poly webbing to use for handles; it's reusable, just by taking out the stitching. Also some slacks that are worn, same thing. (I'm thinking about using the less-worn jeans tops for a purse: two tops, one with pockets inside and one with pockets outside.) Webbing would make a decent purse strap, too.

#1029 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2019, 02:31 AM:

alisea: I wish stores around here would allow similar. Unfortunately, our health department apparently Really Doesn't Like That. Which I guess I sort of get. I suspect that your bakery gets away with their trick because your packaging never touches their surfaces. I went through a period of taking tupperwares with me whenever I went out to eat. Got out of the habit because I mostly don't eat out much anymore, but also water-proof containers are bulky to pack. And I've never really seen a reasonable foldable solution for that use.

Upcycling fabrics: I keep old bandanas and the like around as shrouds for guinea pigs that have passed. They get enclosed in the heavy paper bags that their pellets used to come in, cushioned with some hay, and sewn shut with a length of heavy cotton string.* (The pellet company has since converted to those hateful pressed-seam non-recyclable plastic bags, so I'm going to have to find a different "casket" material when I run out of those). Then they get "buried" at the municipal compost.

* I collected it off incoming mail bundles when I worked a temp job at the CU Physics Department.

Ana Mardoll on Twitter did some fascinating live-tweets of the book Prairie Fires. In one set of replies, someone went through the usual progression of uses of fabric in American rural culture of the time, and it was amazing. I'd link to it, but I haven't the first clue how to search for it. Anyway, folks back in the day could seriously wring some use out of fabric. Like, four rounds of use, starting with yard goods and with cleaning rags, like, somewhere in the middle.

My backpacks have always been made out of recycled jeans, but this round I'm going to break down and go to bought-for-purpose synthetics, because building a pack is a lot of work, and I'm getting Old and Tired. I've been limping along with my current pack for maybe ten years after I should have replaced it, first by filling in patches over the holes (which inspired this thing) until it got to be Just Too Much. (Since then, the more-holes-than-body has been supplemented/lined by a (quality!) canvas shopping bag The Guardian sent me when I subscribed, back in '16.) I made the shoulder straps back in, god, the late '70s, I think? Reluctantly (because I really like the colors and the pattern), I'm going to replace them with new material, because I realized I could relieve a lot of the wear with a new design. But I'll probably save them for the next iteration of the pack.

#1030 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2019, 06:14 AM:

For reusable bags, I'll repeat my occasional pitch for Chicobags. They have an ever-increasing list of designs all¹ of which stuff into their own internal pocket for a very small packet that can be tossed into a backpack or purse.

They are strong, easily cleanable, and some are themselves made from recycled plastic. My oldest Chicobag is perhaps 10-15 years old; it's gaping a bit at the seams but still usable.

They come in a variety of colors and sizes, plus various co-branding and custom options (minimum 100 units for custom stuff).

¹ Apparently not the new snack/produce bags, and presumably not the water-bottle slings.

#1031 ::: alisea ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2019, 08:49 AM:

Jacque @ #1029: Exactly. They handle the bread loaves with those bulky gloves, never touching the bread with their hands, and will hand it over, and you take it and package it. Otherwise our health department also wouldn't like it at all. They're an organic bakery chain, and a lot of their marketing revolves around producing food while being kind to the environment, so they tend to look hard for what they can do.

#1032 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2019, 11:30 AM:

For several years, Austin had a ban on one-use plastic bags, eventually knocked down by the Texas Lege [1] on decidedly retro grounds [2]. We got in the habit of reusables, and now we don't have to, we mostly stick to that--our cars each have a meta-bag with a bunch of other bags inside. (I've got to confess that except for after the yearly leaking-milk disaster, we don't attempt to clean things out.)

I also keep a small bag in my purse like those Dave Harmon describes at #1030; it's medium dark/bright blue and folds into itself, so, as it's the appropriate color and is bigger on the inside, I call it my Tardis. Always fun to see which counter-persons twig to the reference.

There was, for a few years, a nearby bulk ingredients store that did not supply any packaging--you brought whatever you thought was appropriate to put whatever you were buying into. Folded last year, more, I believe, due to a rent dispute than to anything else.

[1] Legislature. Serious genuflection to the late great Molly Ivins for the usage.

[2] We don't want our stinkin' cities bannin' nothin'--unless us rural folk hate it and the cities love it. We particularly resent, as legislators, coming to the big city and not being able to throw our single-use bags out the car windows like God intended.

#1033 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2019, 02:41 PM:

I have a blue duffel-type bag that folds up into a smaller square, joann, and I am so stealing your habit of referring to it as a TARDIS. It's the spare bag I sometimes remember to carry when I'm traveling to a convention....

#1034 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2019, 05:22 PM:

Dave Harmon @1030: reusable bags

Heh. Of course I'd forget this in my innumeration @1012: I've been reusing bags since the dawn of time. First carrying plastic bags to reuse, then moving on to french knit bags when they showed up at McGuckin's. Picked up some smaller draw-string style produce bags some years later, and now use something similar to the ChicoBags for the guinea pig greens. Sets of four of each pack into a volume of about a half-gallon that lives in my backpack.

I hate carrying stuff in my hands, especially if it's heavy, and hanging grocery bags from the handlebars of my bike is dangerous. I finally worked out a trick I'm inordinately proud of (and this is one of the reasons I make my own backpack instead of buying a commercially-made one). My pack has a hard back (between me and the cargo*), so my pack has "shoulders."

I bought a couple of big carabiners. I loop the 'biner through the handles of the four french knit bags, and drape the resulting assembly over my pack's shoulder-straps, saddle-bag style, so the bags hang down along the sides of the pack.

Those french bags can expand out to a volume of three-four gallons. With two on each side, I can carry a lot of cargo. Sometimes more than I can actually lift.** But even if I can't lift it with my arms, I can still carry it loaded onto the pack (though my arms may have gone numb by the time I walk the three blocks home.)

Interestingly, walking on ice actually seems safer wearing the bags this way, because they seem to act as ballast if I slip, and it's easier to stay upright. God help me if I drop my keys wearing a full load, though, 'cause once I've bent down to pick them up, it's everything I can do to stand again.

* I started doing this very early on, because carrying a heavy load of groceries in my pack, and having can corners jabbing me in the back is very uncomfortable.

** I once weighed a really big load, and it was something like sixty-five pounds. I try to avoid doing that.

joann @1032: Boulder argued over that for years, and the accommodation they finally came to is that a single-use plastic bag'll cost ya 10¢. Boulder's pretty obsessive about that sort of stuff generally, so plastic bag use only went down a bit. But I felt inordinately smug, because I've been carrying my own reused/reusables since...god, I don't even remember when. (Me? Smug and self-satisfied? Me??)

I have a little Tardis bag I keep in my purse on the (rare) occasions I carry one. But it's brown, so the joke doesn't work. :( I keep an additional small net bag in it, as well.

#1035 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2019, 10:47 AM:

jacque #1034: When I lived in Venice, X years ago where X is now way too large to contemplate comfortably, everyone carried string bags--I guess that's what you mean by net? They folded up really small, and my landlady had a couple hanging on a hook right inside the door, so I took the hint. Very useful for existing in a city where every trip from Y to Z was also a process of buying anything you might need that presented itself; by the time I got from the library I was using in San Marco to my flat in the back of beyond, just off the Strada Nuova, I might have collected soup packets, a newspaper, a book, some pesto, a tea mug, the jalapenos I'd been looking for for weeks, my late-lunch eggplant sandwich, the latest developed slides, and an onion or two from the stall run by my downstairs neighbors, the veggie-vendors. The only real failure point was getting toilet paper, which for some reason came only in huge packages of like eight rolls, requiring its own trip to the grocers several hundred feet away, complete with a return via dolorosa bearing the rolls for all to see.

Compare this to ten years earlier in London, where everyone treasured their (very) non-single-use heavy plastic bags.

#1036 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2019, 12:46 PM:

Hillsbor, OR just started its plastic shopping bag ban.

Paper bags are a nickel.

So far, I haven't been incnvenienced. I usually have 3 - 4 reusable bags in the car, and I hung one up on the entryway coat rack so it is handy for when I go shopping during dog walks.

I accumulated a lot of reusable bags. I find them in recycling bins sometimes, full of paper or cans or whatever. I empty them out, take them home, and give them a washing.

One of the animal preservation charities, or maybe Sierra Club, sent me a compact bag of the sort mentioned uptopic. It has a hook that I could attach to Ivory's leash, and I think I'll do that.

#1037 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2019, 02:41 PM:

I wound up putting a label on my dash saying "BAGS?" to remind me to get the reusable bags out of the back of my car whenever I stopped at Kroger.

#1038 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2019, 10:25 AM:

Oh My Gawd.

My blog roll goes from here to Boing Boing.

Look at the first story to catch my eye this morning:

#1039 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2019, 06:01 AM:

We have umpteen cotton and other-materials reusable bags. Some are conference bags. Many are advertising bags handed out by various companies at conferences: but mostly I've not been given those by the companies, but picked them up after other people have taken them and then dumped them. I really don't understand why people do that, as nobody is forcing you to take the bags in the first place. One conference I picked up about 15 bags that other people had discarded. Kept some, gave the others to family. Five years later and they are still being used. We make sure we always have a bunch in the car, and I keep a couple in my cycle panniers (including one that's a drawstring backpack) in case I go to the supermarket and pick up more than I expect while cycling home from work.

#1040 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2019, 10:27 AM:

I've picked up* lots of conference bags through the years. I've even gotten a couple of conference laptop bags . . . nice ones!

I clean them up and donate them.

* Um, from dumpsters, or boxes by dumpsters.

#1041 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2019, 01:24 PM:

I recently did another round of repairs on a backpack that was a training-day freebie, about 20 years ago. The little old lady at the fabric store told me that I shouldn't bother, that I should just chuck it and get a new backpack. Seemed very weird to me; I'd have expected that someone of her generation, especially with a strong Eastern-bloc accent, would have been more frugal.

It was the *only* positive thing that I got from that training day, some kind of Microsloth thing that had nothing to do with the work I was doing. I don't know why my employers sent me; I can only guess that there some some vague idea that I should be getting *some* kind of training. I didn't have any of the background necessary to understand any of the sessions: enterprise this, server that. I had to get up a couple of hours early to get there on time, and that always ruins my day from the start. The "continental breakfast" was insubstantial even by continental breakfast standards, and despite an acknowledged request, there was no vegetarian option for lunch, so all I got was a roll and butter with a thin slice of cheezoid. Even the dessert pies were made with lard -- server guy, snootily: "All pie crust is made with lard."

#1042 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2019, 10:10 PM:

(belated response -- there was this performance of Frank Martin's Mass eating my time and energy. At least we had an OK performance -- the chorus's previous two attempts were remarkably bad.)

I admire the people who are willing to take time making monkeys of spam/scam callers; I've never had the emotional patience to make that work. OTOH, a friend sometimes does, and told me of a call she got some time after I stopped renting a room from her:
[caller] Is Mr. X there?
[friend] No.
[caller] Is this Mrs. X?
[friend] <annoyed tone, ramping up>Y X left here Z years ago to move in with another woman. And he married her!<>
(No, she wasn't serious; she'd been part of the conspiracy to make sure I wound up marrying who I did, including an episode involving an semi-outdoor concert I sang, where a group showed up in dresses so loud I could see them when they crossed the lawn behind the pavilion.)

P J Evans @ 980: I've seen that fake-stumble discussed elsewhere, and gotten it a couple of times myself. I guess somebody thought it was a bright idea and made it company policy.

Stefan Jones @ 985 (et al): when I was a MITSFS keyholder, there was an announced competition for strange ways to answer the phone. "Tech SciFi" was what kicked it off. (MIT people had started a store called "Tech Hi-Fi" at the 1939 World's Fair; this was years before the term was deplored.) I only remember a couple of answers I gave: "60th Street spindizzy! It's hot down here!" and (unctuously slimy accent) "Goyalantis; this is the evil grand vizier speaking." Even then I tended to be too obscure for my own good.

Jenny Islander @ 986: that was amazingly stupid of Red Cross -- but I've had experiences (not quite so bad) suggesting that whoever programmed their answering equipment was non compos.

I've been hearing that the latest scam is ring-once -- some fraction of recipients think they've missed something and call back a number that costs a lot to call (not just long-distance but eating money like a phone-sex line).

Nancy Lebovitz @ 991: at least they're just calling; around here there have been lots of door-to-doors trying to sell power, often with a claim that they aren't and often with a demand to see the current bill.

OtterB @ 1001: I decided that anyone who called and didn't know how to pronounce my fairly-unusual last name was probably not somebody I wanted to talk to. My nickname is not the usual one for my legal name; I occasionally get calls asking for the usual one, which tells me (a) they don't know me, and (b) they are pretending that they do. Back when I answered the landline, I usually just hung up on them without saying anything.

P J Evans @ 1014: The last office I worked in was required by the town to have spring-loaded faucets that stopped running after some time. This was IME dumb; usually one push wasn't enough and two was too much, so they wasted water routinely -- and sometimes they stuck on. Motion-sensitive faucets aren't always sensitive enough, but at least they're not usually wasteful.

Kip Williams @ 1022: good one!

Boston and some (AFAICT) suburbs have mandated that automatic checkouts ask how many store bags the customer is using. I've been using cloth for a very long time so don't know whether that causes a fee (except in Cambridge, where of course it does); I haven't watched to see how many people are honest about their bag count.

#1043 ::: Devin ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2019, 05:02 PM:

Joel Polowin @1041

It seems quite possible, if you were at a fabric store, that she was being more frugal. I mean, I'd fix a backpack: I already have webbing, hardware, and workable fabrics on hand from other projects. I'd buy materials to fix a backpack I liked, even.

But it is very likely that, if you are at a fabric store buying materials to fix a freebie logo backpack, you are spending as much or more to fix this backpack as it would cost you to just get another castoff logo backpack. (I haven't really looked, but those things have to be pretty common in the ol' Goodwill soft-goods-by-weight bins, right?)

#1044 ::: Kip Williams ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2019, 06:44 PM:

Somewhere around the 90s, my friend Mike and I saw some CNN item about an evangelist who thought people should answer their phone "Heaven-O" instead of with that bad place. One day the phone rang, and I was so sure it was Mike I answered it that way.

"Did you just say Heaven-O?" he asked.

"Hell, yes!" I said.

#1045 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2019, 02:39 AM:

#1042 ::: CHip

I get the phone calls from change your electricity supplier people, they come to the door, and they're on the street. I've never had anyone demand to see my bill, though.

There's got to be a substantial incentive behind this behavior, but I have no idea what it is.

Any thoughts about whether any kindness is owed to telemarketers and the like?

They're human beings, and I'm sure it's not a job that anyone wants. On the other hand, they're a plague. My kindness consists of getting them off the line as fast as possible.

#1046 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2019, 09:25 AM:

Nancy Lebovitz @1045 I agree that telemarketing is probably not a job anyone wants. I figure I owe them a certain level of civility but not warmth, and I agree that kindness calls for getting them off the line as fast as possible so they can go on to possibly-more-agreeable callers. I usually try to interrupt the spiel as soon as I can with "We're not interested, please remove this number from your call list," followed by a hang-up.

Scammers are a different matter. I occasionally yell at them but I don't think that offers any benefit to them or to me. Mostly I hang up as soon as I realize what it is (usually at the sound of the robocall switching me over to the background noise of a boiler room).

#1047 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2019, 12:04 PM:

My responses to phone spammers are somewhat coloured by my being on the federal do-not-call registry. Their calling me is flat-out illegal. Their job is fundamentally based on breaking the law, not merely annoying.

#1048 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2019, 01:16 PM:

Paul A @1019: this short video on how to effectively dry your hands with only one paper towel

Dang, but this trick actually works. I've now taken to shaking my hands thoroughly even when I'm using my own towel, because mildew is a thing by the end of the week, if I'm not careful.

Stefan Jones @1038: blog roll

Say: I'd be curious where folks are hanging out online these days. My current route around the intertubes is:

  1. Making Light
  2. Captain Awkward
  3. Whatever (John Scalzi)
  4. Scalzi's Twitter feed
  5. Boing Boing
  6. Gizmodo
  7. Captain Awkward's Twitter feed
  8. Ursula Vernon's Twitter feed
  9. File 770
  10. Bored Panda
  11. This Is Colossal
  12. Atlas Obscura

Later, rinse, repeat. Anything y'all'd recommend that's not in here?

Joel Polowin @1041: The little old lady at the fabric store told me that I shouldn't bother, that I should just chuck it and get a new backpack.

This would earn the little old lady a fierce scowl from me. If I've gotten to the store with the intension of obtaining materials and kit, I would think I could be credited with the wisdom and agency to allocate my own resources in this matter. See also: discouraging customers from making purchases doesn't really seem like a sound business practice.

I'm sufficently obsessive about this that, when one of my latest generation of french knit bags started to sprout holes in the mesh, I actually repaired it.

Boulder has, in the last few years, instituted a very cool new thing, through the library's Makerspace*: U-Fix-It clinics.

* I really hope the impending demise of Make Magazine doesn't impact this resource. I haven't had occasion to use it yet, but I love that it's there, and fully intend to, someday.

"All pie crust is made with lard."

Hrm.... Google returns 22 million results on a search for "vegan pie crust recipe." I think "snootily" is the operative word, there.

Devin @1043: if you are at a fabric store buying materials to fix a freebie logo backpack, you are spending as much or more to fix this backpack as it would cost you to just get another castoff logo backpack.

Yeah, but that calculus doesn't account for design. I am wholly confident that I could purchase a commercially-made pack for far less time-equivalent money than it takes to make my own. But that doesn't account for the features mine has that are simply not available in commercial options. (Never mind the time involved in finding a purchase that would suit my needs.)

Kip Williams @1044: "Hell, yes!" I said.

This seems like a quintessentially Kip W kind of response. :)

#1049 ::: estelendur ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2019, 02:13 PM:

Jacque @1048:

My current route around the internets includes the following components, in no particular order (including username where applicable; feel free to follow):

  1. Mastodon (

  2. Dreamwidth (estelendur)

  3. Tumblr (estelendur)

  4. (estelendur)

  5. Various subreddits — gifrecipes, shittygifrecipes, frugal, personalfinance, talesfromtechsupport

  6. YouTube — Bernadette Banner (historical sewing!), Binging With Babish (cooking), Magic Ingredients (cooking), Chinese Cooking Demystified (cooking), Numberphile (maths), a miscellany of others

  7. My RSS reader, highlights of which include:

    1. Webcomics — Freefall, El Goonish Shive, Girl Genius, various others

    2. Advice blogs — Ask A Manager, Captain Awkward

    3. "Rationalist" blogs

    4. Smitten Kitchen

    5. SFF & adjacent blogs — Ada Palmer, Ursula Vernon

    6. Short fiction and poetry — Strange Horizons, Samovar, Beneath Ceaseless Skies,, Uncanny Magazine (I am extremely bad at actually reading these)

  8. Making Light

  9. Occasionally Facebook

... I guess that's a lot of things! And I read a ton but hardly ever post.

#1050 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2019, 02:15 PM:

Every cookbook I have has recipes for piecrusts made with a fat that isn't lard. (Oil and butter are both common. Different results, though.)

#1051 ::: Angiportus Librarysaver ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2019, 03:09 PM:

xkcd and many of the abovementioned. YouTube, for music--new organ, wind band, orchestral stuff appearing frequently, and whatever sci/tech phenom I'm currently fascinated with. Amptoons' Alas, a blog, and Metafilter. Slashdot, Slate [for Prudence], The Stranger, boingboing and BLDGBLOG.
Many long gone that I still miss--Plastic, SF Signal and Hugo Schwyzer's blog before he crashed and burned, which didn't happen all at once--it was one of those why-didn't-I-see-that-coming debacles. Some smart people used to hang out there and I don't know what happened to them, partly because I've forgotten their names.
I am afacebookual and illtwitterate, but I expect I will find some new thought-food soon enough.

#1052 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2019, 04:51 PM:

@Jacque no. 1048:

In no particular order:

1. Here
2. Slacktivist at Patheos
3. Love, Joy, Feminism ditto
4. AO3
5. The Tumblrs of various AO3 authors and also Diane Duane
6. Captain Awkward
7. Sites related to my current special interest(s)
8. Comic strips: Dumbing of Age, Schlock Mercenary, A Girl and Her Fed
9. CakeWrecks (only the Sunday Sweets feature)
10. My account

Even if the other choice were absolute social death, I would be reluctant to join social media.

#1053 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2019, 06:06 PM:

Jacque @1048
Current online regular places, in no particular order:

1. Here
2. Whatever
3. Ask A Manager
4. (comic)
5. Twitter: Regularly UrsulaV, evilrooster, and a cluster of women and/or minority scientists most of whom I found through Katie Mack. Sometimes links from those.
6. Facebook: mostly family and personal friends, with a few writers including Adam-Troy Castro, Elizabeth Moon, Sharon Lee, and the KJ Charles fan group, and some columnists/news sites including Carolyn Hax and Dan Rather at newsandguts
7. Dreamwidth: Martha Wells, LRowyn, malkingrey, and the findabook site (which is much less active than the old one on livejournal was), plus occasionally into the networks of those.

Occasionally I check in on Captain Awkward and File 770.

#1054 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2019, 07:49 PM:

some of the Trek tumblrs
Science News
a couple of mostly-liberal political blogs

#1055 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: June 13, 2019, 09:07 PM:

Political (more or less): The New Civil Rights Movement, Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters, The Hill, The Daily Beast, Five Thirty Eight, Tumblr.

Advice: Captain Awkward, Dear Prudence, How to Do It, Ask Dr. Nerdlove.

Language: Language Hat, Language Log.

Tech: The Daily WTF, The Old New Thing, Lauren Weinstein.

Religious (more or less): Slacktivist, Formerly Fundie.

History: Far Outliers, History Unfolding.

Pop culture and gender issues: Tumblr.

Web comics: too many to mention.

Chit chat: Making Light, Facebook, and some special-interest forums where I don't use my real name for reasons.

#1056 ::: Kip Williams ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2019, 02:53 PM:

Jacque: There's Twitter, the Comics Curmudgeon (after a hiatus of about a decade on my part), Comic Strip of the Day (at The Daily Cartoonist), Mark Evanier's "News from ME," Pharyngula (rational atheist blog), some comics, and Camestros Felapton (who I expect you'll have seen at File 770). For specific recommendations on Twitter, have a look at who I follow, I guess.

#1057 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2019, 09:26 PM:

My family uses the term 'Glencoe bag' to mean a specific set of gray bags Dad brought home from school (I think, might have been Mom but unlikely) that were, and if they have them still are, exactly the right size for a sleepover. We wore those bags to death.

#1058 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2019, 10:30 PM:

Blog rollish:

I keep Twitter open on its own tab. Also Twitters for a game company and the local Democratic party, whose feeds I run.

Also always open: MeWe, which has a lot of game design folks, and a Discord tab with accounts for the SUNY SF club and a RPG I am writing for.

In the morning, I open a tab and do the "roll" part. About a dozen comics (not all every day), then Steve Jackson Games site, The Onion, and a model rocketry group.

My personal-blogs set is long but since the election I hardly touch much of it. I skip to a few artists and writers blogs. Sometimes weeks or months will go by between visits.

I wind up with Making Light and Boing Boing. I save the ones I most look forawrd too for last!

#1059 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2019, 09:23 PM:


I'm going to be participating in a storytelling performance in August. The theme is "problem solving". I'm tentatively considering doing The Brave Little Tailor, but can anyone suggest any other folk tales that involve clever solutions to intractable problems?

Also, I've been asked about songs that would work for the performance. All I can think of is "The Ballad of Transport 18" ("So we cheered our salvation, and we mourned for the brew/And we sealed on the pipes, as he showed us to do/Then we opened the fuel line with the ship aimed toward home/And we rode to the station on a long wake of foam!"), but I think that's too explicitly SFnal for a general audience, who are unlikely to know how rockets works...

Anyone have any ideas for stories or songs?

#1060 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2019, 10:33 PM:

All of Kipling's Just-So Stories are about solving problems, and they read aloud wonderfully. And he is a Nobel laureate, even if folks find him a bit difficult these days. "How the Whale Got His Throat" is good, I'd think. Similarly, E. Nesbit's short stories (but they're perhaps too fantastical).

#1061 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2019, 10:43 PM:

"The great gray-green greasy Limpopo" is still a wonderful phrase.
And I love his drawing of the Cat walking by himself (and all places were the same to him).

#1062 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2019, 01:02 AM:

@1059: "The Fisherman and the Jinn" (from 1001 Nights: a poor fisherman accidentally attracts the attention of a vicious and powerful jinn and saves his own life by trickery)

"The Peasant's Wise Daughter" (sometimes has other titles: a woman repeatedly outthinks a king; depending on how long the story is supposed to be you can end the story when she gets her father out of prison, or later, when her husband is jealous of her brains and she outsmarts him yet again and fixes his attitude at the same time)

#1063 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2019, 07:02 AM:

My usual morning involves 20-odd comics in three batches (highlights: Skin Horse, Kill 6 Billion Demons, Devil's Panties, Something Positive).

Interspersed with that, various forums: Naturally, check Making Light for anything new (less active than it used to be), usually CustomersSuck and Not Always Right. Firefox's "pockets" actually have suggested a fair number of interesting articles, though some clickbait gets through there.

Aside from that whatever's my "thing" at the moment, usually including associated wikis:

Currently, my big thing is Practical Guide To Evil (over on WordPress), which is currently leaping from climax to climax. (The current arc started with the protagonist's schemes proving to be literally enough to make a saint swear. ;-) And then we got into her real plan....)

I used to haunt various Minecraft Forum threads, GitHub, and Curseforge, but with the 1.13/1.14 mess I've been trying vanilla again, so not as active there.

Indeed, I only just stepped back there to find that the Minecraft Forums were set to shut down (going read-only), but have since been rescued. (I'll spare you gory details, but combined with their handling of the recent Europurge... well, if I ever have an occasion to suggest a host for someone's forums, it won't be Curse.)

#1064 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2019, 11:00 AM:

@1060, thank you. Oddly, I never considered the Just So stories as problem solving stories, although I can see once it is pointed out that some of them certainly are.

@1061, Yes, I can still recite great swatches of The Elephant's Child with his 'satiable curtiosity.

@1062, Those both look perfect for the purpose; I especially appreciate the 1001 Nights referral, as it's a story that the general audience may not have encountered.

There are going to be eight or so storytellers, so please do keep the suggestions coming!

#1065 ::: Kip Williams ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2019, 11:51 AM:

Cassy B @1059: "There's a hole in the bucket…"

ps: This thread's getting kind of long. Just saying. Takes a while to preview a comment.

#1066 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2019, 01:37 PM:

Is the peasant's daughter similar to Clever Manka, with the not riding nor walking, not day nor night, etc? Because that was my first thought. There's also Stone Soup. Or a number of myths, I guess, with monsters menacing people and needing to be tricked or weaknesses found.

#1067 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2019, 02:01 PM:

@1066: Yes! In the version I heard growing up, she shows up at the palace with one leg over a goat's back (neither riding nor walking) and the other in a rut (neither on the road nor off it) while bundled up in a big fishing net (neither naked nor clothed) and with a moth caged in her cupped hands (a gift that is not a gift).

#1068 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2019, 06:24 PM:

Probably not appropriate for general story-time, but the one poem I think of fondly (it was one of my dad's favorites) is The Cremation of Sam McGee. I actually have some of it memorized, even. (I'm normally allergic to poetry. I appear to have to poetry what would to music would be a "tin ear." (See also most song lyrics.))

Kip: I just tweeted Avram, so if he runs to form, a new one will likely be along presently.

#1069 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2019, 10:01 PM:

@1065 LOL! I'll certainly suggest that as a duet!

#1070 ::: Jen Birren ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2019, 05:44 AM:

Blogroll: besides several of the ones mentioned already, I look at Metafilter and Ask Metafilter,, Crooked Timber, and several SFF writers' blogs (I particularly enjoy worldbuilding ones like Patricia Wrede's, or Marie Brennan's on Book View Cafe).

#1071 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2019, 09:05 AM:

@1059 For a song, maybe The Mary Ellen Carter?

#1072 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2019, 01:03 PM:

Could we please have a new open thread? I’ve been flying past because I thought that discussion was in the doldrums. I see that the Funnan Games continue, thank goodness.

#1073 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2019, 01:38 PM:

@1059: I just thought of another one! "Raven and the Giant Who Sits on the Tides" is a Haida story about how Raven used a little social engineering (and his pointy beak) to get The Giant Who Sits on the Tides to rebrand himself as The Giant Who Makes the Tide Go Out and Come In, so that he (Raven) could go tidepooling.

#1074 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2019, 01:58 PM:

Making some progress with musical notation. A few years ago I started intermittently using Noteflight to notate fiddle tunes I was learning, some traditional, some original. It was interesting to be able to hear the music played back -- I read music very slowly and with a lot of mistakes, so being able to hear what is actually written on the staff was a big help.

Over the last couple of months (as I've started learning cello and bass clef) I've started writing duets for two cellos and for cello and violin. Next Sunday will see the first public performance of one of these -- I'll play my tune Rainy Day Woman at my teacher's student recital, with my teacher on first cello and my friend Rebecca on vocals. Excited!

Slowly getting better at reading the music I write...

#1075 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2019, 03:09 PM:

1072: I tweeted Avram yesterday. If we don't see any action by, say, Wednesday, I'll poke him again.

#1076 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2019, 06:45 PM:

Well, regarding the storytelling... it was pitched to me informally as "problem solving", but I just saw the official title, and it's "Creativity". So that may open up the field of suggestions somewhat...

#1077 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2019, 08:20 PM:

Creativity songs? Kathleen Sloan's "Take It Back".

#1078 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2019, 10:44 PM:

Those suggest completely different sets of stories. Hm. There's the story about the guy who paints dragons without eyes or they become real, I guess.

#1080 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2019, 10:41 AM:

@Jacque: Ohhh, thanks for the link.

I have a recording of an old Jean Shepherd radio show in which he reads that.

#1081 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2019, 11:24 AM:

Stefan: I'll bet you mean Joel. Seems kinda unlikely that the song at my @1079 would turn up on an old radio show. Unless the ADHD multi-verse navigational superpower is even stronger than I thought!!!??

Meanwhile, I just got a robo-call at work, peddling a free chronic pain evaluation, "from" a City of Boulder number. Called it; turns out, the scammer decided to digitally impersonate a police officer. That seems...bold.

(Particularly stupid scam, as I couldn't detect any way to actually engage with the scammer. When I said something, the recording just started over.)

#1082 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2019, 12:32 PM:

Kathleen's song is also unlikely to have been in an old radio show, unless "old" is used very loosely.

Another good song about creativity is Harry Chapin's "Flowers are Red". Creativity... or the stifling of it.

#1083 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2019, 10:33 AM:

@Jacque: Sorry, I didn't include a post number. Shepherd recited "The Cremation of Sam McGee."


#1084 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2019, 04:42 PM:

Stefan: Ah! Yes, that makes much more sense.

#1085 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2019, 12:22 PM:

Jacque #1075:


#1086 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2019, 12:27 PM:

What does one do when an anniversary that one has been both anticipating with pleasure and fearing with trepidation is the oncoming train at the end of the tunnel?

#1087 :::