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June 21, 2019

Open thread 222
Posted by Avram Grumer at 02:08 PM * 573 comments

The year 222 BCE saw the Roman Emperor Elagabalus assassinated by the Praetorian Guard, to be replaced by Alexander Severus, who was only 13 years old, young enough to have attended Hogwarts and studied potions under a teacher with whom he had a name in common.

Or, alternatively, to have attended the fictional Walt Whitman High School in Los Angeles, where he might have learned about the assassination of his predecessor in a history class in Room 222.

Comments on Open thread 222:
#1 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2019, 02:55 PM:


I'll put a notification in 221.

#2 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2019, 04:16 PM:

I think that's 222 CE. 222 BCE was before Rome was an empire, AIUI.

#3 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2019, 04:28 PM:

Wikipedia supports the CE theory.

#4 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2019, 05:19 PM:


#5 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2019, 07:40 PM:

Here's a pointer back to OT 221. (Because, yes, I am obsessive.)


Meanwhile: WOO HOO! I'm so happy!! Looping back to our Zero-Waste discussion, I just found out that the plastic rings I've been saving off the Häagen-Dazs lids (because I can't bear to throw 'em in the landfill) are in fact recyclable!! They go in the "large durable" plastics (kid toys, buckets, lawn furniture, &c) instead of the regular consumer single-stream, which means they have to go out to the collection center. But I'll take it! Especially since that's where the guinea pig output is now going, so it's no additional effort.

#6 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2019, 07:57 PM:

They sound like the lids on things like the muffin-in-a-cup things that you can buy (and their cousins eggs florentine and frittata). Those have the advantage that there's a seal inside, so the lids stay clean.
(The apple muffin is good; I sometimes throw in a spoon or so of dried cranberries in addition.)

#7 ::: Kip ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2019, 08:21 PM:

Batman: (Reading the Riddler's clue) "When is a clock like a train?"
Robin: When it's TWO TO TWO! TOOO TOOO TOOO!
Batman: CORRECT! old chum.

#8 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2019, 06:16 PM:

@Cassy B, re stories of overcoming a challenge: the Just So Story I'd point to is "The Beginning of the Armadillos." (challenge: not being eaten by a jaguar that has figured out how to handle both tortoises and porcupines.) Has some lovely nonsense as a gloss.

#9 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2019, 06:17 PM:

@me: s/porcupine/hedgehog/, says Wikipedia.

#10 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2019, 07:21 PM:

Which reminds me that there are times I hear train whistles (well, horns, these days) doing something that sounds a lot like "Shave and a hair cut". (Always at night.)

#11 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2019, 10:42 AM:

P J Evans (10): Sounds like the engineers are having fun to liven up the wee hours.

#12 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2019, 11:05 AM:

Yeah, I think it's mostly the freight train engineers, going through my area where there are three or four crossings in a mile, and not always in the wee hours. (I live only about half a mile from the track, and at night I can hear them for as much as a couple of miles.)
The daytime freights are "locals" - two or three cars, mostly lumber, going to the next couple of cities north. The longer ones are mostly at night, when there's much less traffic on both streets and tracks.

#13 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2019, 01:33 PM:

During the brief period when I played church bells (they were managed via a short keyboard), there were definitely people out there that heard and commented on the rather secular music choices.

#14 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2019, 07:26 PM:

Want to hear a tin-can cello and a wooden cello trading beats? Listen to my new song "Rainy Day Woman, Leave the Door Open".

#15 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2019, 07:36 PM:

@14: That has a decidedly Sacred Harp–like flavor to it.

#16 ::: Kip Williams ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2019, 09:17 PM:

While taking Sarah (then four years old) on a ride on the tiny train in my home town's city park, I heard a fellow passenger and train enthusiast explain to the engineer the code of whistle toots used by the real trains. There was something like a long one when they were a mile from the station, and two short ones when approaching some type of crossing. Of course I forgot the details before the ride was over.

I used to long for a quarter so I could ride that train. Having a daughter finally gave me the opportunity for just a dollar.

#17 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 25, 2019, 09:44 PM:

I know there are signs telling engineers when to use the whistle - it's a white rectangle, short and wide, with one or two Xs on it (it's been long enough since I was on a train that I don't remember it as clearly as I used to).

#18 ::: Quill ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2019, 09:54 AM:

I spent about 15 hours on a train Monday/Tuesday. Part of the fun early on was waving back at people who were there to watch the train go by.

#19 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2019, 10:24 AM:

I rode the "1880 Train" in the Black Hills last summer. A leisurely 10 mph ride through a rural area between tourist towns.

Lots of un-gated grade crossings. As I recall, the signal for approaching a crossing was long-long-long-short.

Not sure how long a head of time they had to toot.

#20 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2019, 11:07 AM:

#21 ::: Angiportus Librarysaver ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2019, 11:45 AM:

Around here the sequence is 2 long, 1 short, 1 long. I think of Mozart's 39th as the Train Symphony, because the 1st 4 notes are like that.
In Seattle, there are bridges that lift. Their signals used to be individualized, but now it is 1 short and 1 long. What amazed me is how far that could carry. That's because they are sort of midrange in pitch, like me in fact only with more power, and the one nearest all the houses and dorms got switched an octave up or so to spare the residents so it doesn't have that range now. The ferries, with the lowest horns, could be heard the farthest. If you ever heard 5 short toots in a row, you knew someone had better scamper.
Long waves roll far, but high notes, at some timbres, have a piercing power all their own.

#22 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2019, 12:40 PM:

No ferries or foghorns or lift bridges in my area, but there are three kinds of trains, and they each have their own pitch - the freight trains are lowest, and Amtrak is highest (and because most of the Amtrak trains stop at the local station, they whistle a little more). The other is regional commuter rail - weekdays only.

(Yeah, I'll wave at the train crews. Sometimes at the passengers - there's a private car with the platform in back, sometimes, and sometimes there are people on it.)

#23 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2019, 12:53 PM:

I spent 16 months living in an apartment building just north of the University of Waterloo, on the top floor in the corner closest to the railroad tracks that ran by the building. In the wee hours, trains would slow to a crawl and blast their whistles, on and on. I was told that it was because there was a history of students being drunk -- sometimes passed-out drunk -- on the tracks.

#24 ::: Doug K ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2019, 02:28 PM:

The rivers in the Colorado/Utah canyons tend to have railroads sharing the canyons. Traditional canoeist behavior requires mooning the Amtrak dome car as it goes by.. for freight trains, wave frantically at the driver to attempt to elicit a whistle..

We have a yurt on a small farm just outside Debeque canyon, Palisade CO (link from my name). The canyon also hosts a state park with campsites on an island in the river. That is the loudest campsite I've ever endured, random coal trains all night and the whistles echoing steadily across the canyon walls: plus truckers rumbling steadily past on the interstate which is also tucked into the canyon. The yurt is just far enough from the trains to make the sound romantic again.

"everybody loves the sound of a train in the distance / everybody thinks it's true"
I used to love that song.
But now the lyrics,
"The night he met her
She was married to someone
He was doggedly determined that he would get her"
make me distinctly uncomfortable.

I went looking out of idle curiosity. A trainspotting website gives details of the traffic - two scheduled Amtraks, the Lacy local Sun through Thur, coal trains on a catch-as-catch-can basis with loads east and empties west running at night, daily BNSF Stockton manifests, occasional grain and steel. So now I know why the whistles are so random in time.

#25 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2019, 06:55 PM:

I rode the 1880 train in the Black Hills when 1880 was a lot more recent than it is now. So I don't remember any details.

#26 ::: Kip Williams ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2019, 08:13 PM:

I rode the Durango-Silverton narrow gauge back around 1970. I could have darn near trotted alongside much of the way, but the it would have turned into one of those things with a mountain on one side and nothing on the other, and there'd have been no 'alongside.'

In Massachusetts, my neighborhood was in easy earshot of the train whistle as it ran alongside of the river. I enjoyed it, because the sound would always segue into the Barber Adagio in my mind's ear.

#27 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2019, 09:42 PM:

@Angiportus Librarysaver no. 21: Speaking of the power of short sharp sounds: The rocky beaches near the harbor a short distance from my house support a stable population of black oystercatchers. These are big, handsome shorebirds with slate-black feathers and long crimson beaks. If you don't live near the northwestern Pacific coast (or with a birder), you've probably never heard of it. Per the Wikipedia entry, there are probably more humans on my island than there are black oystercatchers in the world, but the species is doing well in a restricted niche: mussel beds near a spot where they can nest on the tideline(!!) without anything bugging them.

What the Wikipedia entry doesn't say is that these birds have pipes. They are rarely alone. When something startles them, they all take off, flying low and fast over the water and sounding the alarm: PEEP PEEP PEEP PEEP PEEPa PEEPa PEEPa PEEPa pehpehpehpehpehpeh. That last is them settling back down again. They don't call for long, but while they are calling they can outshout most machinery. I can hear them from a quarter mile away.

#28 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2019, 10:08 PM:

Joel @ 23

When I was growing up, the collective understanding was that trains would put their whistles on and go through town as fast as they could, hoping no drunk students had fallen asleep across the tracks. I hated them for decades as murder machines. (It didn't help, learning how my great-grandfather died.)

Trains were redeemed for me when we chose them to travel North with my then-toddler, though. Waking up in time to watch the dawn rising up through the mountain fog is one of my favorite memories.

#29 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2019, 10:47 PM:

I've been on trains that hit people who were on the tracks. (Many were not all there, one way or another.) One evening, the engineer had, while waiting for the train to come in from its previous trip, wrestled a guy who was off the platform and looked likely to walk into a train. She got help from a LEO who was on her way home, and they got him settled for someone to collect for observation.
Then the train actually hit someone about five minutes from where I get off...that's a long, long delay. And the train crews - especially the engineers - hate it, because reports and time off to recover, and sometimes it's once too many.

#30 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2019, 11:07 PM:

WRT train whistles, we have exclusively freight around here, and I'd deduced some of the coding in short/long alternations mentioned upthread. I'm often fascinated by the difference in the quality of the sound of the whistles, depending how well or poorly they're "tuned." Some have a nice, euphonious chord, and others are painfully discordant, and everything in between (which leads me to wonder if tuning train whistles is a thing, and when/how often it happens). On top of which you get the interferences between the initial whistle and its echo. I'm probably a quarter-mile from the track's nearest approach, and going out east, there's a long expanse of open country, some of which is blocked by the highway over-pass's berm, so there's quite a lot of variation on how loud/quiet/echo-y the tone is, depending on the direction of travel and time of day.

Jenny Islander @27: Black oystercatchers, as advertised (I do lurvs me some internets, sometimes.)

I heard a birdcall over the weekend that I've never heard before. Unfortunately, couldn't spot the caller, so I have no idea what it was, and can't remember the call well enough to describe it or figure out how to look it up. It actually sounded like it might have been a variant of a chickadee, which we have in quantity around here. (I can often tell when our neighborhood hawk is about, by the number of dees in their alarm calls. This occurred more frequently during the tenure of a former neighbor who kept a bird-feeder outside her window. The hawk sussed that smaller birds hung out there, and occasionally I would hear the chickadees fussing and look out to see the hawk lurking in the spruce tree outside my window.)

#31 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2019, 11:26 PM:

At some point I will assemble a bird fountain to attract the little birds and maybe, just maybe, the local owls. I'm not up to a bird feeder right now, but it's great visiting my parents over the winter and seeing the rolls of fat on the squirrels (who actually do get separate food and have for nearly thirty years) as well as calling out juncoes, nuthatches, and jay jay blue jay come see nope it's gone.

We are three houses from the train tracks now. But we're blocks from the trainyard itself, so they're not moving quickly regardless. Mostly we notice when the cars bang into each other all down the row.

#32 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2019, 09:49 AM:

I just had occasion to mention disemvowelling on another forum (PGTE comments) (somebody fumbled their humor roll, ticking off a newcomer), and got some very positive responses. For Teresa's perusal, if desired:

[A.M.]I wish I had more than one like to give this. I just ❤❤❤ this approach. Thanks for letting me know that such cleverness exists.

Shveiran: Disemvoweling sounds fucking awesome and clever as shit. Whoever came up with the idea deserves a treat. Just… priceless.
#33 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2019, 10:24 AM:

@Jaque no. 30: And that's just idle commentary on the presence of a photographer. When they really get going en masse, it's like a car alarm!

#34 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2019, 11:22 AM:

Elagabalus? Isn’t that Dominate-era Latin for “Donald Trump”?

#35 ::: Anne Sheller ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2019, 06:15 PM:

Re trains, distant and close: My house is a quarter mile or more from the nearest tracks, and some distance uphill. While I can hear trains, they're not loud. In early 1987 I moved myself and 3 fairly young cats to a rented house in South Charleston WV. It was the rear house on the lot; another small rental sat between it and the street. Across the street, another row of houses. Behind their back yards was an embankment with tracks.

The first time a train went through after I brought the cats there, the house was full of screaming running beasts, bouncing off the walls, me, each other, almost the ceiling. There was a MONSTER out there!!! It was going to EAT them!!!!! I got them calmed down - and here came another train.

They got used to the trains. The monsters didn't eat them, and I kept reassuring them. Those first few times were wild.

#36 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2019, 11:22 PM:

@Jacque no. 30: I scrolled down and noticed that there were more recordings. Interestingly, I cannot recall ever hearing the type of call that's labeled "alarm calls" on that page. So apparently the car-alarm routine is not actually alarm behavior, but more like a signal to other black oystercatchers that it's time to all do the same thing (fly, alert to photographer, etc.)--?

#37 ::: Owlmirror ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2019, 12:34 AM:

Trainiosity: NYC MTA subway trains do not usually use horns, but I recently found out that they can be encouraged to do so. As the train rolled into the station, a cluster of middle- or high-schoolers looked to the train driver, and made pumping motions with their arms, I guess mimicking the pulling of a horn cord. The driver obliged with a short (and surprisingly loud) blast.

#38 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2019, 08:03 AM:


That is probably unnecessarily insulting to Elagabalus...


#39 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2019, 12:40 AM:

I am sitting next to a living-room full of tween and young teen slumber party guests who chose, out of all options, to watch the original Star Wars. They are happily chanting the words of the opening scroll in unison.

Now they've fallen silent as the rebels prepare for boarding.

#40 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2019, 12:12 PM:

@39, I went to the 25th Anniversary showing of original Star Wars theatrical re-release. The lights went down. The fanfare went off. The scroll started. And a sold-out theater full of people started simultaneously muttering under their breaths, "A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away..." ...heard everyone ELSE muttering the same thing, and broke into giggles.

A whole theater of grown-ass adults, giggling like children in delight. It was a genuinely magical moment of shared joy and fellowship.

#41 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2019, 01:00 PM:

Friend was on a flight to Chicago for Worldcon in 1981, along with several other area fans, *and* their travel agent, who was sitting with a different group of customers.

The movie started.
It was "Star Wars".

The flight attendants couldn't figure out how all those people were obviously following the movie, even though they'd refused headphones.

(Cue the snickering fans.)

#42 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2019, 04:34 PM:

Walking out of Star Wars for the first time, I was proud to be a member of a species that could make this thing....

#43 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2019, 07:07 PM:

Late update: As the medal ceremony ended and the credits began to roll, they applauded unironically.

#44 ::: Kip Williams ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2019, 08:59 PM:

I'm reminded of a passage in an Edward Eager book that was rather informative, about silent movies. He said they weren't really silent, and he didn't mean the music track--he was referring to the fact that whenever a title came on screen, about a third of the audience read it out loud. I had never considered that before, but it sounds like real life.

#45 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2019, 11:41 PM:

Earlier this year Katie and I went to see the Houston Symphony doing "orchestra plays the soundtrack of a movie" to Star Wars. It was everything I hoped it would be when I bought the tickets.

#46 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2019, 10:16 AM:

John Williams's music not uncommonly turns up in the morning rotation on my local public radio classical station. This is a pleasant thing.

#47 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2019, 11:01 AM:

P J Evans @ 12: The longer ones are mostly at night, when there's much less traffic on both streets and tracks. IIUC, that's typical. When I was working on the edge of Boston and driving into town around 8pm along the line that ultimately reaches Chicago, I often saw a substantial freight coming the other way; I rarely saw freight trains at any other time.

Jacque @ 15: it's an interesting sound, but I've never heard Sacred Harp like that; the video sounds bluesy (I-IV-I) with a heavy bass line, where the Sacred Harp I've done runs to balanced chords in more traditional I-V (or sometimes I-VII, since it's minor-key) patterns.

P J Evans @ 17: I suspect the whistle marker varies, as I understand other markers/signals do (especially block signals, per railway museums), according to the line owning the tracks. I have a vague recollection of a signal that was international-yellow, in a thin strip rising diagonally from the post, but I don't find anything identifying this; Wikipedia shows the US standard as a white square with a black W, but notes that former-SP track uses an X.

When I was a child my family spent considerable time traveling by camper (converted VW microbus); it was a standing joke that the trains sought us out. It didn't occur to pre-teen (and more years pre-Ec101) me that the land near a busy rail line was enough cheaper that camping was a reasonable use for land not good for crops, or close enough to a city that campsites were worth more than cropland, but in any case not desirable for permanent residences.

Cassy B @ 40: oh yes, that is magic.

#48 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2019, 10:28 PM:

I think about 90% of the tracks in CA are former SP. Or so it seems.


Today Olivia de Havilland is 103! (Yes, she's still alive.)

#49 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2019, 01:11 AM:

Soooooo I feel a little dumb tonight and need the collective culinary wisdom of Making Light.

As you may know, Alaska is experiencing consecutive days of record-breaking heat. It was 80 degrees here today. This is the second week of dry heat on this island, we have at least another half-week of this, and we live in a house that is fitted out for winter. Not summer. What I am saying is that it. Holds. Heat.

My culinary repertoire is stuck in pre-climate-change-taking-hold mode, back when we only needed to plan for a few days per year of if-you-turn-that-stove-on-so-help-me-I-may-yeet-you-out-the-window. Back then we could also, generally, light a fire outdoors, but they just issued a blanket burn ban here, so cookouts are not possible.

So. Imagine that you have a few fast food joints, some small ethnic shops (Filipino, Thai, Latino), and a couple of moderately sized mid-range supermarkets. And it is freaking hot. And you can't have more than a tiny amount of saturated fat or sugar (think 1 percent milk or jam on your toast) or you'll get very very sick.

What would you buy in order to feed your family good solid food, save money, and not produce more heat? We're blowing our budget on smoked turkey and deli potato salad here.

#50 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2019, 11:30 AM:

#49 ::: Jenny Islander

What do you usually eat?

My tentative notion is to find things in the stores which are already cooked, and add salads.

#51 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2019, 12:28 PM:

Bean salad?
Something like ravioli, cooked, dressed with a vinaigrette?
Cucumber, diced and coated with non-fat plain yogurt?

I've met summer-squash "noodles" - they're not bad with a tomato sauce.

#52 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2019, 12:53 PM:

I would buy a crock pot or other cooker which can be used outdoors.

From time to time in hot weather, I've left my crock pot running overnight on the back porch, on a table which local critters would have difficulty getting onto. I'm not sure how important that last part is. Most of the smaller ones would have trouble getting into a simmering-hot crock pot even if they could walk up to it. We've had raccoons around, though I haven't seen them in recent years, and I've no doubt that they could figure out how to knock the lid off, and perhaps even to tip the thing over so they could eat the spilled food after it cooled.

#53 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2019, 01:38 PM:

HLN: area woman reports earthquake of some size about four minutes ago. Noticeable rocking for a minute. Rang small indoor windchime.

#54 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2019, 01:46 PM:

Update: USGS has it at 6.6, east of Ridgecrest. Which is a long way from me.

#55 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2019, 02:56 PM:

Jenny @49: I-may-yeet-you-out-the-window

Not much practical advise, but I am enjoying this turn of phrase. (Does the verb have a technical definition, or does it imply imparting a simple, ballistic trajectory? XD )

Do you get enough sun for solar stoves to be practical?

#56 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2019, 03:01 PM:

And another update: Caltech is showing two R6.4s a couple of minutes and a few miles apart. That would explain the length of the shaking. (the first was about 6km deeper than the second.)

Yes, I filed a "did-you-feel-it" report.

#57 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2019, 03:08 PM:

Meanwhile, I am now Officially Frustrated. I've been walking home from work (four-ish days a week) since the end of last August. The distance is about 2.25 miles.

I worked up to it over four months. What's making me crazy at this point: it's not getting easier. And on many days, I just flat run out of gas about a mile and a half in. I'm clearly missing something. (I'm careful about eating times, and attend—mostly successfully—to blood sugar levels.) Also: I'm 61.

AKICIML: Assuming there are no organic issues, what sort of specialist/trainer would you consult for help on this? I have no ambitions to Becoming An Athlete. I just want to walk home (and eventually to) work, and not die (or want to).

(My condition has improved to the extent that I can peddle the 4.5 miles out to the municipal recycling center and back and be only reasonably tired, so that's something.)

#58 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2019, 04:25 PM:

Jacque @57: I'd talk to either a physical therapist or a personal trainer about those issues, and be very clear with them about what I wanted. Some of each really understand about different individuals wanting different results: I'd ask around to find the right one. Do you have local friends who go to a gym regularly (e.g., for Zumba or something similar)? Or connections to a yoga instructor? They're more likely to be one-step-removed from the local person who can help you.

#59 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2019, 10:16 PM:

Michael I #38:

Not in this case.

#60 ::: estelendur ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2019, 10:24 AM:

Jenny Islander @49, if nonfat greek yogurt fits the bill, then a yogurt+cucumber salad/dressing, heavy on the cucumber, is quite nice. Likes a bit of salt and could be nicer with some dill.

#61 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2019, 10:39 AM:

Jenny Islander @49 Tuna salad was a summer staple of my youth in Houston in a house with a/c only in the bedrooms; Mom put in green grapes but if you have issues with naturally occurring sugar as well as refined, you'll have to skip those. Maybe substitute cherry tomatoes. Plus use light or nonfat mayo.

Tacos (soft corn tortillas rather than hard shells for lower fat) with chicken and/or bean filling. Do you have a microwave? You can cook the chicken early in the day when it's not so hot and refrigerate it until time to use.

Lentil salad. As with chicken, cook them early in the day and then refrigerate.

Good luck with it.

#62 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2019, 11:25 AM:

@OtterB no. 61: The problem I'm having is that there is no early in the day. :/ The sun gets up before we do, because its July at 58 degrees N.

The heat wave has passed, hopefully for the year, so now I'm prepping for next year. Eating anything warm has been horrible. However, our old bread machine doesn't heat up the air too much, esp. if we're staying out of the kitchen and/or running the exhaust fan. Homemade bread (cooled!) is a morale raiser.

If I'm going to be up late anyway because it's so freaking hot in here, I might as well do hard-cooked eggs under the exhaust fan; it only requires a few minutes of heat, and we can eat them cold.

@estelendur no. 60, PJ Evans no. 51: Thank you, I had forgotten about yogurt-based foods!

@Joel Polowin no. 52: Unfortunately, we have loose dogs in the neighborhood. Bears are probably not a concern, with the salmon running, but.

#63 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2019, 11:33 AM:

OtterB (61): By tuna salad do you mean a salad with tuna, rather than the sandwich spread? The former was one of our summer staples when I was a kid. (Atlanta, unairconditioned house, very hot and humid, for about four months.)

canned tuna
dressing: oil from the can, mayo, mustard, pickle juice

As an adult, I used to add more veggies: green pepper, grated carrots, radishes, and/or tomato

#64 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2019, 11:35 AM:

Jenny Islander (62): If you have a toaster oven, you can bake biscuits* in that; it doesn't heat up the house nearly as much as the big oven. Other smallish things should work fine, too. You do have to allow a bit longer, though.

*My mother always made biscuits to accompany the tuna salad.

#65 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2019, 12:26 PM:

That reminds me that one of the dishes that showed up at potluck lunches at work was wraps done with leaf lettuce. Tuna would work fine in those. (They disappeared fairly quickly.)

#66 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2019, 02:12 PM:

Jenny: Do you spend time outside? Do you have a porch-like place? I wonder if running a bignormous (because current) extension cord out there would allow you to put things like bread machines, toasters, toaster ovens & such out there to be run while there's a suitable human guard nearby?

#67 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2019, 02:51 PM:

@62:...salmon are running already? I thought that was a fall thing. (Only time I've ever witnessed this personally was in Puget Sound back in November '01.)

HLN: Area woman has finally purchased and largely configured a new MacBook Pro. Despite observers reporting frequent, repeated, spittle-flecked rages, she has been quoted as regarding this machine as a vast improvement over the used iMac (chosen because no used laptops were available at the time of purchase) she had purchased the year before as a means of migrating by stages to the latest OS. (Woman is a noted Luddite.) Many of her configurations compensate for unwanted "improvements" over her loyal-and-true old MacBook of ten years, primarily the absence of desired port types. (Woman is morally opposed to wifi in her home, "because reasons.") Woman has often been heard to express solidarity with Doctor McCoy regarding engineers: "They love to change things."

#68 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2019, 03:00 PM:

Mary Aileen @63 The tuna salad we had was water--packed canned tuna (drained), mayo, pickle relish, chopped celery. It could be served on sandwiches (though it was pretty thick) or have grapes added to it and be served on lettuce as a salad. We had crescent rolls with it (the refrigerator can type) when using the oven was tolerable. We didn't usually have biscuits with it; biscuits go with ham.

Jenny Islander @62 forgot about the latitude difference for doing something "early." Maybe next year you can pre-prep and freeze some things?

#69 ::: Heather ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2019, 03:21 PM:

Jenny Islander (49, 62):

If you have good access to fresh veggies, then gazpacho can be wonderful in hot weather. It's really refreshing; I usually have it with bread and cheese.

My go-to version is the one from the original Moosewood cookbook. There are a few reasons I love it:
1. It requires NO cooking whatsoever (no extra heat!)
2. You don't really even need a food processor (MUCH faster with one, but I made it for years without)
3. It is SUPER flexible as far as quantities and precise ingredients (I read "2 cups diced tomato" as "whatever amount of tomatoes I actually bought"; add hot peppers if you like; parsley can be cilantro if you prefer (or 1/4c parsley can be 1 bunch parsley because I will never use the rest before it goes bad); put in more or less of other seasonings to taste; swap in V-8 instead of tomato juice; blend part or all of it if you like a finer texture; etc etc
4. You CAN eat it immediately, but if you can wait a few hours it's a lot better. I like it best if I can fix it after dinner the night before :)
5. This also keeps really well in the fridge. Perhaps with all the tomatoes/lemon/lime/vinegar/etc it just kind of self-pickles?

I found it online here:; but searching Moosewood cookbook gazpacho should find it.

(delurking after reading for years because that recipe is the thing that got me through a decade of summers living in a 3rd-floor apartment...)

#70 ::: Owlmirror ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2019, 03:48 PM:
Jenny Islander @49, if nonfat greek yogurt fits the bill, then a yogurt+cucumber salad/dressing, heavy on the cucumber, is quite nice. Likes a bit of salt and could be nicer with some dill.

I don't think the dill is optional. Or at least, that's what I recall giving the yogurt-cucumber soup its zing. It looks a lot like someone took some a bunch of tzatziki sauce, thinned it a bit, and served it in a bowl. But it's good!

Huh. WikiP actually says that tzatziki can be a sauce, dip, or soup. So there you go.

#71 ::: Owlmirror ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2019, 03:58 PM:

I see that there's a cold soups section in that recipes site, although some of the recipes do call for some cooking, and/or ingredients that call for probably too much saturated fat and/or sugar.

#72 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2019, 11:36 PM:

Whee! Yesterday morning was apparently a foreshock - just had a 6.9 in the same area, about 15 minutes ago. ("Did You Feel It" is not ready for reports yet. It's going to get swamped.)

#73 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2019, 11:39 PM:

With several faults involved, I wonder whether it should still be called a "foreshock". Is that term applied regionally, or on a fault-by-fault basis? (Yes, I could look it up, but where's the conversation in that?)

#74 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2019, 11:44 PM:

Jenny @ 49
I'm kinda guessing, so I'm just gonna jump in with what I do in Cali (summers between 87 and 118 F), and hope some of it is at least a little helpful.

Bag salads, because heat is exhausting, so pick things that will be easy/not a lot of work to fall back on. From scratch salads - add lots of cheese, garbanzo or other edible-from-the-can beans, nuts, edamame, other sources of protein. (I add canned fruit and declare the syrup to be dressing, but if limiting sugar, then maybe avoid. I'm confused by the "or you'll get sick," so I'm going to trust you to make good choices based on your own experience/situation.)

Outdoor bbq ALL THE THINGS. The internet can help. Tinfoil wrapped whatever usually works, if you have time and an appropriate liquid. Put it on low-and-slow, then walk away and do something cooling. Like drinking water.

Remember to salt your food, if you're making everything from-scratch. But don't salt to taste - if it's that hot, you risk dehydration-salting it, and it will be ruuuuuuined. (But the first few bites will still taste amazing to you.)

Salsa is good-for-you ketchup. With home-made salsa, you can use any fruit as the base, not just tomatoes.

On "picnic nights," we put out bread/crackers, raw/dried fruits/veggies, cottage cheese w/ranch seasoning (for the veg), cheese, nuts, trail mix/granola bars, peanut-butter, yogurt... whatever snacky, vaguely healthful things are ready to hand. Nosh iteratively, instead of sitting down to a fixed supper. We all carry water glasses around with us, so every time we refill our water, we can grab a few bites.

Microwave, toaster, and toaster oven will all cook food without adding much heat to the house.

Ice-pops have extra water (and flavor). But also jello and smoothies. If kefir &/or lassi are available, they're nice too. You can stir all the fresh/dried fruits into yogurt or add cereal (I do raisin bran, it's noms) or granola/nuts.

Instant oatmeal or ramen or other foods you can make with boiling water from a teakettle/insta-tap/electric water heater. And you can mix just about anything into oatmeal that you can add to yogurt (maybe not raisin bran).

Also, isn't refrigerator oatmeal no-cook? Cold soups will get you flavor and water at the same time (e.g. gazpacho). You can also get flavored drops, if you're tired of water, or make Kool-Aid at 1/4 the suggested sugar ratio, which comes out nicely tart.

And eggs, because most egg-things can be cooked on stovetop, quickly. Frittatas can be cooked on the stove and walked away from - add misc chopped veggies, put the lid on, set the heat to the lowest safe setting, and step away for 10 or 15 minutes (well, hover where you can see it, for safety). Add cheese, sour cream, guac, salsa.

I'm guessing you know to stay indoors and in shade as much as you can, but if you go outside and it's cooler than your house, throw the windows and doors open until that changes.

And drink more water. I keep a flat of bottled water in the back of my car, and every time I walk near my car, I grab a fresh bottle of water and start drinking it immediately.

Good luck!

#75 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2019, 01:24 AM:

@Jacque no. 67: We have all five Pacific species here, and they run from late June/early July to early October, depending on species and location.

You could theoretically eat salmon or salmon-adjacent fish every day without going past the sidewalk because we have so many stocked ponds and creeks in town. The daily limit for personal use is 10 rainbow trout and two coho salmon--no annual limit, no closed season.

#76 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2019, 11:26 AM:

Tom Whitmore @73: Is that term applied regionally, or on a fault-by-fault basis?

This geophysicist has used the term, so I'm assuming it's technical, not colloquial. (Marvelous thread, btw.)

(Yes, I could look it up, but where's the conversation in that?)

XD "I like the way you think, son."

Jenny Islander @75: AhI Interesting. Presumably they run at different times as an isolation strategy.

And...that's a lot of fish. Whee!

#77 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2019, 11:29 AM:

Me @76: *Ah! Interesting.... (I did proof it, I promise.)

#78 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2019, 12:41 PM:

I don't have anything specific to recommend, but I am a great fan of using a lot less salt, sugar, or mayonnaise than the printed recipe calls for, and adding other spices. Of course that doesn't help anyone who has to avoid them completely.

#79 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2019, 02:50 PM:

Although most descriptions of how to make cous-cous start with "boiling water", that's only really necessary if you're in a hurry.

Cous-cous will sop up water and get nicely fluffy with cold water, as long as you let it take its time (ISTR that it'll be "good enough" for a very hungry person after ~15m, but it's better left for an hour-or-so).

After that, it's a fine base for a variety of salad-or-meat/fish type things, with a broad variety of dressings.

I'm rather fond of cous-cous with greens-and-red meat, and cous-cous with some sort of sharpish green (green onions, dandelion, onion greens), fish (canned or fresh), balsamic, salt, pepper and (good) olive oil. They're both a meal unto themselves, and in the case of fish, something easy to convert into a packable camping meal sans refrigeration.

For that matter, cous-cous + dried fruit + nuts works out nicely as breakfast food.

#80 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2019, 03:51 PM:

Jacque #57: Checking the obvious: Those days when you run out of steam, are they the hotter days, or days/day-afters when you've been doin' stuff outdoors or exerting yourself? Also, if you haven't lately, you maybe should check for organic issues, e.g. GP or orthopedist looking at your feet/legs. It's really easy to compensate for a chronic problem to the point where you forget that you're compensating... but it still soaks energy.

Hot-weather cooking: I agree that eggs and pasta can be "not too much" boiling of water.

I just brought one batch of a dish to a potluck and kept the other batch: I started with boxed pasta-salad mix (Betty Crocker's Suddenly salad), but that was just to get some initial seasonings in, others may take the half-cup of mayonnaise and shell pasta and wield their own spices.

In any case, I also tossed in a pint or so (per batch) of chopped veggies, and a couple slices of bacon off the Foreman grill. My veggie list this round was carrots, celery, red onion, varicolored mini bell peppers, and grape tomatoes. (Long-time readers may recognize this as the same thing I do with boxed mac&cheese, adjusting the veggie list to account for not frying.)

Hot-weather drinks:

I often drink water with a shot of balsamic vinegar (aka Goth-ade, because it stays pretty much black at 8- or 10-to-1 :-) ); lately I've been changing that up with raw apple-cider vinegar.

I haven't been making my "potion" lately, but I should go get the juice for it: Fill a pitcher with a half-gallon jug of V-8, a can of beef-broth concentrate, and a few squirts of sriracha. I will admit that's laying on the salt (and some may want to add water), but that may be appropriate for this weather. (From my mom's side of the family I got low blood pressure and salt cravings even in normal weather.)

#81 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2019, 04:13 PM:

Canned white beans, drained and rinsed; canned tuna, drained; pitted black olives, preferably tangy ones; chopped veg ad lib: red onion, little green onions, celery, cucumber, tomatoes, artichoke hearts; hard boiled eggs, if you don’t mind cooking them. Dress with oil and vinegar, vinaigrette, or Italian dressing. Can be served on or tossed with lettuce. Niçoise-adjacent.

#82 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2019, 05:34 PM:

Dave Harmon @80: Those days when you run out of steam, are they the hotter days, or days/day-afters when you've been doin' stuff outdoors or exerting yourself?

The only clear correlation I've spotted is the days I go to the library (1.n miles round trip to/from work, turns out). I think the physical structure is okay...? I'm generally pretty in tune with my musculoskeletal system, and I do occasionally notice issues which I can usually deal with successfully...? And the context is that I'm walking home from work (bog-standard office job*), so extra exertion/being outdoors isn't going to be a factor.

* Although...the periods of my life when I've done a lot of walking have not traditionally corresponded with periods when I've had a job, so maybe that's a thing...?

...also, the day-afters isn't a thing I'd thought to calculate for.... Hm....


I just ran across a reference to water-with-apple-cider-vinegar-and-honey as a sleep aid. No explanation why it would work, but the recommender swears by it.

#83 ::: Kip Williams ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2019, 05:58 PM:

Jacque @67: Area man, who has worked on Macs since 1990 and has had Mac laptops at home since 2005, finally swore off Power Macs after the one he'd been nursing along since 2011 perished of problems it had had since 2016 (when the motherboard was replaced and we thought that fixed it).

The first replacement was a refurb (smaller, but more expensive) that resisted all efforts to restore files from Time Machine, and which took to ruining every external drive that was connected to it. When this was finally conclusively demonstrated to the Genius Bar, they graciously allowed me to exchange it for a new non-refurb version... and then charged for the difference, effectively upselling me to a new one by making the refurb a piece of crap.

When that brand-new one began to announce a return to kernel panics and unannounced shutdowns, I hastily returned it for a full refund, and now have a 17" Dell Inspiron with a much larger SSD and more memory and ports, and it also folds back into a tablet that I can use as sheet music on a piano (two pages!).

Area man is beginning to get over the mounting horror that was his computer and no longer twitches all the time.

#84 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2019, 01:38 AM:

Jacque @ 82

I'm giggling. That's the recipe my family uses to clear mucus from throats when someone has to speak/interview/sing and is in no condition that they actually should do so. Needless to say, I haven't used it since the one time I had a job interview and was in the middle of an awful cold....

If the person has a problem with mucus buildup, it may help by un-obstructing their breathing passages and reducing sleep interruptions related to difficulty breathing while lying down. But from experience, you can get the same effect from adding a slice of lemon to your water each day, and neither one is a really effective substitute for a CPAP. IANAD, this just potentially hews very tightly to my own experiences.

#85 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2019, 08:05 AM:


I think "Ahi Interesting" works fine in a discussion about fish.


#86 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2019, 02:01 PM:

Since I know that some people on here are or have been into Minecraft, I'd like to post a neat seed I discovered recently.

Specifications: I am playing Java Edition 1.14.3 with no mods. Cheats and bonus chest are always ON. I find fighting monsters to be stressful, not relaxing, so I usually play on the Peaceful setting.

Asyouknowbob, Java Edition now allows you to create a world that is made of a single biome--any biome! Some are more dramatic than others. The warm ocean biome is just plain beautiful to explore in Creative, but seems like a bad choice for Survival because, y'know, no land.

But that isn't always the case. If you would like to pretend to be Robinson Crusoe in a beautiful setting, I have a seed for you.

When creating the world, make sure that the bonus chest is ON, because you'll need it. Chose the Buffet option and select Warm Ocean from the menu. Enter this seed:


You spawn on a tiny sand island. Your chest should be on the sand with torches around it. If it is in midair instead, re-create the world; one or two more tries should get you the torches.

This world is polka-dotted with shipwrecks and tiny islands. There's a shipwreck within sight of your spawn point. If you make a boat and circle your island, keeping it always just in sight, you'll find an island-and-shipwreck pair to the west-ish, and another to the east-ish. Within your circle you'll also find sandbars just a block underwater, underwater ruins, submerged shipwrecks, and small outcrops of coal, iron, stone, and (most precious of all) dirt. The shipwrecks contain at least one blank map every time I create this world, so you should be able to go farther out without getting lost. You'll find sand islands up to about six blocks tall, some with stony foundations visible just below the waterline. Most are barren, but some have stands of sugarcane.

I strongly recommend playing on the Peaceful setting for a while even if you like fighting mobs. Everything sticking out of the water will spawn hostile mobs and in the beginning you'll be fighting in your shirtsleeves with wooden weapons. Plus, you really, really don't need creepers putting you in the water. Anyway, getting at the resources you need when you can only go underwater for 15 seconds at a time is quite challenging! On the Peaceful setting, you can pretend that you're living on fish (because your hunger bar doesn't go down) while you look for ways to make your life easier. By combining resources you mine on your dives with loot from shipwrecks and underwater ruins (and possibly from buried treasure chests if the wiki is correct), you can slowly turn a barren sandy island into a haven, with stands of bamboo to eke out your wood supply, sugarcane for paper so you can record your adventures, and food crops for variety if you go off the Peaceful setting. Fishing rods are remarkably easy to find and even the junk you get from fishing may be useful.

If/when you go off the Peaceful setting, be aware that while drowned won't spawn in warm ocean, they will spawn around underwater ruins, sometimes in large numbers. Also, you have no way to make a bed...keep in mind that phantoms are a thing, and can swim.

A few notes about the islands: Steep-sided islands are usually next to underwater ravines, which may have a lot of unstable sand along their edges. I heard bats and zombies when I was exploring one ravine, opening the possibility of underground adventures and loot, although figuring out how to get into a dry cave without the physics of water in Minecraft messing you up will be a challenge. On the other hand, low islands tend to have caves running through them. I found one once that had a cave mouth (with a stable roof) right on the surface that led down into darkness. Unfortunately I left that island without exploring the cave and couldn't find it again later. Any island may have unstable sandy overhangs on the shore, so if you want to expand an island by moving sand around, swim around it first and check for potential nasty surprises.

I haven't played this world long enough for a wandering trader to show up, so I don't know whether that's possible. If one does, be aware that no flowers or greenery in the wandering trader's inventory, except vines and saplings, can be farmed in this biome. A sapling would be a wonderful acquisition of course.

For the really long term, I note that ordinary zombies spawn on land. The wiki doesn't show any exceptions to the chances that a zombie villager will spawn instead. If you can get the materials together for a trip to the Nether--this may be difficult because of the need for obsidian, since it appears that the only place to find lava is somewhere underground--then you can get some blaze rods, construct a brewing stand, and make a potion of weakness. Combine this with the golden apples you'll occasionally find in underwater chests and you can cure villager zombies. So, if you go off the Peaceful setting, you might be able to get your own Friday. Making a safe place for Friday to live and giving them a job that allowed for profitable trades would be an interesting challenge. If you keep at it you might encounter and cure two villager zombies, which if you play your cards right, might eventually lead to construction of beds (if your villagers become weavers and you can trade with them for wool) and the creation of a growing village, made from sandstone and terra cotta recycled from underwater ruins. And then you can settle down at night to watch the sea pickles light up the underwater jungle of colored coral while villagers toddle off to bed and the stars wheel overhead.

#87 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2019, 02:34 PM:

Oh, wait, explanation of something that may be opaque to casual readers...

In Minecraft, you can sleep at night, which fast forwards the game to the next morning. There is no damage to your health from not sleeping. BUT--if you don't sleep for a certain number of consecutive nights, a kind of flying undead manta ray called a phantom will swoop down from the sky and try to get you.

In order to sleep, you must have a bed, which must be made from specific components, including wool. In this all-ocean-biome world, none of the structures you find have beds or wool as part of their loot, and there are no sheep. So you can't sleep...unless...

you can find lava in order to make obsidian with it

in order to make a portal to the Nether

in order to fight monsters called blazes

in order to get blaze rods from their corpses

in order to construct and fuel a potion brewing stand

in order to create a cure for villager zombies, which are a rare variant of regular zombies

in order to wait outdoors at night for a villager zombie to appear

in order to cure it and give it the right job

in order to trade with it for wool

in order to make a bed, which is also required in order for two villagers to have babies. Whew!

#88 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2019, 05:10 PM:

Jacque @ 82 - Have you ruled out dehydration? What happens if you take a full bottle of water with you and sip regularly while you're walking?

#89 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2019, 05:37 PM:

(Sorry, y'all: "Blog post" (read: Wall-O-Text) follows. It's been...a day. Week. Month.)

Even with incomplete compensations, the MacBook is VASTLY more comfortable than the iMac to use, so that's good news.

New issue, seemingly solved (well, significantly reduced4: I started feeling electrical buzzing when I ran my fingers over the case. Replaced the two-prong plug widget (which has no grounding connector) that slots into the power cord's transformer, with a three-prong cord (which apparently does have a ground connector) from an old machine, and that seems to have solved the problem. (That deficiency, plus the passing of the magsafe plug, is another factor leaving me Seriously Unimpressed with the new design.)

Now working on a flexible design for a lap desk that:

a) supports the dock that compensates for the loss of the ethernet port, and keeps it off my knees when I'm typing in my lap (because it gets hot),

b) has a space for the DVD Player1 2, which is also missing on the MBP, and

c) smooths out the sharp edge of of the case where my wrists rest on it, which is proving to be really quite uncomfortable. (Seriously, did they just not test this design out on actual users??)

Last night's other meltdown resulted when I discovered that the Pixelmator I purchased a couple of days ago won't open files I created on my old mac. I've tried to contact Pixelmator Pro (email, Twitter) a couple of times, and posted a question on their BBS, but so far, crickets.3 Which has me stopped cold on a couple of fronts.

1 Which I discovered last night no longer has color controls. SERIOUSLY, wtf, Apple??? (That was good for a full hour's meltdown last night while I was watching Crimson Peak and wanting to compensate for Del Torro's "design.")

2 Which, since the thing insists on being plugged directly into a port with no intervening extension cords (or even through the dock), I managed to absent-mindedly pull off the table twice when I unthinkingly put the mac in my lap to type something. Which didn't surprise me—I knew that was going to happen. Which just made it all the more enraging.

3 Holiday weekend? Let's pray that's the hold-up.

Kip Williams @83: upselling me to a new one by making the refurb a piece of crap.

This is...not the first instance of this I've encountered.

I note with interest (for pretty unhappy values of "interest") that the failure you report happened right at the five-year mark, which appears to correspond to the planned (by the mfr) service-life (i.e., the "planned obsolescence"). Which confirms my growing sense that I'd better be braced to manage similar in 2024. (I also note that 2011 was probably the one of the first years of Apple w/o Jobs.) SIGH.

...This-all does not, sadly, come unanticipated. Having watched two institutions go to shit when their founding visionaries died (first Disney, and then NCAR), I figured it was just a matter of time after Jobs passed that Apple would follow. My 2009 MacBook was, I'm guessing, one of the last generation to be designed and built under his oversight. :'(

And this whole class of problems is why I resisted, for years, becoming dependent on even an electric typewriter. If you can't build it/repair it/understanding it yourself, you're dependent on forces that are at best indifferent, and at worst acting against your best interests. (Cf. Right To Repair & John Deer.) (No news to this crowd, I'm sure.)

I bought into Mac and Computing because—the stuff you can do is just so goddamn easy and amazing (when it works). (Seduced by the Convenient Side of the Force.)

Now—well. The brand new shiny multi-thousand dollar toy did not sail on a low, flat ballistic trajectory through the closed living room window last night. But that took some...willpower.

I find myself fantasizing about just chucking the whole stupid mess, and being one of those olds I talk to on the phone occasionally, who just doesn't even have a computer.

I also fantasize (marginally less implausibly) of a day when I can pick the pieces-parts bobs & bobbles I want, a la cart, and put together a computer that serves my needs, and changes at my pace. Which doesn't require a CS degree to implement. (Leaving aside the whole security nightmare.) We're doubtless at least a couple of generations away from that, though.

I really, seriously, am not in love with the world I find myself living in, these days. (Though I do note that the US Women's Team appears to have won the World Cup. I don't do sportsball in any form, but I do think that's pretty great. So maybe it's all not a complete loss.)

#90 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2019, 05:51 PM:

Michael I @85

KayTei @88: Have you ruled out dehydration?

I...had not. I mean, I'm aware I get thirsty, and I'm aware that I have to be careful about water/fluid consumption in the last hour of work, due to bladder capacity limitations. But I hadn't actually connected that with getting exhausted halfway through my walk. Thank you; I'll have to give that a try.

#91 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2019, 09:23 PM:

Jacque @90 ...
KayTei @88: Have you ruled out dehydration?

I...had not. I mean, I'm aware I get thirsty, and I'm aware that I have to be careful about water/fluid consumption in the last hour of work, due to bladder capacity limitations. But I hadn't actually connected that with getting exhausted halfway through my walk. Thank you; I'll have to give that a try.

Speaking of dehydration, make sure you're getting the salt/potassium that you need to make the best use of water, (or drink something that's got the appropriate extras).

#92 ::: Quill ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2019, 09:51 AM:

Jenny Islander @62: I can recommend the Dash egg cooker, which can hard-boil half a dozen with little external heat and low counter footprint. It also does excellent steamed (more-or-less poached) eggs, but that requires something to grease the pan. The one drawback is that the buzzer is LOUD and must be shut off manually.

OtterB @68: I read "the refrigerator can type" as a refrigerator capable of typing, and was briefly very impressed with its skill!

#93 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2019, 11:02 AM:

Jacque @ 67: I'm surprised at your Puget Sound observation; I visited the fish ladder at the Ballard Locks (NW of downtown Seattle) in 11/85, 3/88, and 7/91 and saw salmon coming upstream only on the last of those dates. (There was also the occasional lamprey, accounting for signs telling us not to disturb the natural order of nature.)

Jacque @ 82: I just ran across a reference to water-with-apple-cider-vinegar-and-honey as a sleep aid. No explanation why it would work, but the recommender swears by it. That's interesting; I heard of that mix 40+ years ago as "hayman's switchell", recommended as a thirst quencher during hot days/work. (My guess is honey for taste+energy and vinegar so it doesn't cloy if you drink a lot of it.) I would have thought it would be opposite of a sleep aid as most consumers would need to get up a few hours later, but anything that eases the mind may help with tossing-and-turning.

Jenny Islander @ 87: a bed is needed to make babies? How very ... conventional....

#94 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2019, 11:54 AM:

@CHip no. 93: The software used to count doors to determine whether there was room in a village for more babies, but now it counts beds.

#95 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2019, 01:26 PM:

I've been reading various proclamations by people who claim to speak for me about protecting Our Culture As We Know It from Them, Those People, Those Immigrants, Dogwhistle Goes Wheeeeet. And I got to thinking: What is "mainstream" American culture anyway?

Going off the comments of USian and non-USian observers (and one interesting book whose title I unfortunately forgot), I have gathered this much:

Nobody leaves hungry/leftovers are expected; that is, you are served big portions, you aren't expected to eat the whole thing, and you are expected, and even welcomed, to take the leftovers with you to enjoy at another meal

Making or cultivating something with your own hands is a proper use of your disposable income because it signifies a connection with our pioneer past (although this appears to be changing because more people have to learn the old skills to get by...and of course the rich are not part of this culture at all)

People have Opinions about whether outdoor shoes are to be taken off at the door or not, so you'd better ask if you don't already know--but even if they're supposed to come off, you won't be offered slippers

It is extremely rude to ask anybody how much money they make, ever (which I don't agree with because this information may help you decide whether you should unionize). Other forbidden topics include your relationship status and weight.

Sports are extremely important in public (=free, government funded) school, to an extent that is not mirrored elsewhere--?

You should be interested in physical fitness, which means being young-looking and thin/muscular (people who are beefy or pudgy and also athletic apparently don't exist)

Having a companion animal is a sign of competent adulthood and people who don't or can't have them want them or think they should; people who don't like pets are looked at askance; people make assumptions about you based on what pet you have; it is somehow weird to like both dogs and cats

Anybody have a disagreement or addition?

#96 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2019, 01:41 PM:

Jenny Islander @96: As a general cultural rule of thumb: "I am more important than you are."

#97 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2019, 12:21 AM:

Thought of a few more:

Thirst is so unusual that people may not even know what it feels like (water fountains and bottled water are indeed everywhere, and always having something to drink on hand is considered to be normal)

Advertising is heavily sexualized, mainly using women's bodies as a vehicle and men's wallets as the target; but women's breasts may not be exposed for any reason other than sales unless local law specifically protects them (breastfeeding in public is seen as dirty/sexual, topless beaches are extremely unusual, deviation from this is granola/weird)

Unisex bathrooms (=rooms for using the toilet, not for bathing) are very rare

Public bathrooms generally have stall doors that do not reach the floor or ceiling

At home, it's normal to have the toilet in the same room as the bathtub/shower

A tub big enough for an average-size adult to lie down in is a luxury; if your bathtub came with your house it's probably sized for children (this may vary by geographic region)

Are high school reunions a thing in other countries?

#98 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2019, 12:24 AM:

*Unisex public bathrooms.

Also, I'm describing the middle/lower middle class.

#99 ::: Sunflower ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2019, 06:01 AM:

Jacque @76: 'This geophysicist has used the term, so I'm assuming it's technical, not colloquial. (Marvelous thread, btw.)'

That was fascinating! (And I may never again be able to think of a certain geophysical feature as anything other than 'the San Andreas Puppypile' :-).)

Jacque @89: 'If you can't build it/repair it/understanding it yourself, you're dependent on forces that are at best indifferent, and at worst acting against your best interests. (Cf. Right To Repair & John Deer.) (No news to this crowd, I'm sure.)'

The Right To Repair movement was (mostly: I might have vaguely heard of it) news to me, but your mention of it led me to look into it; I've now signed the petition for Canadian RtR legislation, and located a somewhat-local Repair Cafe. Thank you!

Jenny Islander @97: 'Are high school reunions a thing in other countries?'

We have them in Canada.

#100 ::: Quill ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2019, 09:42 AM:

Sunflower @99: Oh, hey, speaking of national culture - my mom and I visited Montreal (we're American) a few weeks ago, and the hotel we were staying at was hosting multiple, formal high-school graduation parties. Is that a thing?

They seemed pretty high-end, to judge from the dresses and the hotel itself. The U.S. does proms, but not (as far as I know) school-sponsored graduation parties.

Of course, it may be a Montreal thing, and I don't know where you are in Canada. :)

#101 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2019, 10:06 AM:

Thought on toilet / bathing in the same room:

It makes plumbing a bit easier. Both require water in, and fairly high capacity water out.

Also, both can share the same tile / linoleum floor and thus save a little money there.

Ditto ventilation.

#102 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2019, 11:11 AM:

Quill (100): My US high school class had a school-sponsored graduation party. I don't know that I would call it formal, but we were all pretty dressed up. (Think suits and Sunday dresses, not tuxes and long gowns.)

I don't know if it's still done, or how widespread it is/was, but it was definitely a thing in Atlanta in the early 1980s.

#103 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2019, 01:17 PM:

Jenny Islander @97, re: women's breasts may not be exposed for any reason other than sales unless local law specifically protects them (breastfeeding in public is seen as dirty/sexual, topless beaches are extremely unusual, deviation from this is granola/weird)

In Canada, it's legal for women to go topless unless local rules (e.g. a specific swimming pool) say otherwise. Some public pools have created some controversy by restricting topless bathing, since that's in contravention of the law. It's still quite rare except at some events where it's done to make a point, e.g. Pride stuff or "Take Back the Night" marches, and generally gets some push-back/rudeness from onlookers. But I believe the national Supreme Court ruled that it was in violation of our constitutional right of freedom from bias on the basis of sex to require women, but not men, to cover up. I know for sure that that was the ruling of the Ontario Supreme Court.

One... person, let us say, local to me but highly active in fandom and in on-line MRA stuff, was yapping about the Evilz of legal activism re: legalization of same-sex marriage. I pointed out that he hadn't been objecting when the courts ruled that women going topless in public was legal.

Just a couple of days ago, Inge and I watched Tig Notaro's "Boyish Girl Interrupted" stand-up special. Lots of fun. The last third or so of it is done without upper-body clothing, showing that she had had radical bilateral mastectomy without reconstruction... i.e., no boobs. It was a bit weird. I've been wondering, since, how it would go legally: is it "women must not go topless" or "women must not show their breasts"?

#104 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2019, 02:46 PM:

Jenny Islander #97: I'm not sure that most of the the things you're describing really do represent "culture" in the sense of a consensus norm. They're more side-effects of various prior negotiations between varied and conflicting cultures.

A lot of what America is becomes much more understandable when you remember that we were founded as a coalition between religious fanatics and dope-smoking Freemasons, with the pacifist Quakers as an uneasy hinge between them.

#105 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2019, 03:07 PM:

...and then you have extremely localized bullshit like this: American Airlines forces black doctor to wear blanket to cover up her "inappropriate" dress. (Spoiler: nothing particularly radical or shocking about the woman's dress.)

#106 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2019, 03:10 PM:

Joel Polowin @103 re toplessness: it varies by venue (city, state, county, etc). In the city and county of San Francisco, for example, the nipple and areola are specified as having to be covered: therefore, women who have had said parts removed may legally bare their breasts. In Washington, massage therapists have to drape the breasts of both men and women unless they get a signed consent form from the client for each massage in which the breasts are bared -- the inverse of the Canadian approach. This is not legislation, but the decision of the state massage board. It has the force of law, however.

I know about San Francisco from many years of working the Pride Parade, and about Washington because it's relevant to me.

#107 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2019, 05:06 PM:

They're run out of Texas, I think - they have a major hub at Dallas. (Not well designed, either: the gate numbers run consecutively across two terminal buildings, and the main route from gate level to tram level is by stairs. They may have elevators, but they're hidden from easy use by people who need them. Or so it was in the 90s - they *may* have fixed that since then.)

#108 ::: Devin ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2019, 06:18 PM:

Oregon enshrines nudity (for purposes other than lewdness) as free speech. Doesn't seem to have had much effect on the prevalence of toplessness.

Dave Harmon @104

I think a lot of that is what culture is, though. It doesn't matter if something came to be because of architectural compromises or long-ago religious weirdness or what. Over time, some of those side effects become consensus norms and some don't, and that's where we get "culture."

#109 ::: Jeremy Leader ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2019, 09:29 PM:

Jenny Islander #97: A few years ago I started noticing more of what used to be single-sex single-occupant restrooms in smaller restaurants (mostly, but not all, fast food) getting new signage designating them unisex around here (urban/suburban Los Angeles areas). Since these are the kind of room where you go in and lock the door behind you, it seems like a no-brainer to improve the situation where 2 people of the same sex both need to use the restroom.

#110 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2019, 10:09 PM:

The Del Taco down the street did that - their restrooms are accessible only from the outside - *and* they took out one of the two when they did it.

#111 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2019, 06:50 AM:

I used to think the quintessential American statement was "I just felt I had to do something."

Note that there's no implication of thought before action, though thought isn't forbidden.

Evidence that this is American: I don't know of any other culture where it's fairly normal for people to deal with grief by trying to make sure the cause of grief doesn't happen again.

I haven't been seeing the statement in the past moderate number of years, and I think it's because the self-justification of "I just felt" is no longer seen as needed.

#112 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2019, 11:15 AM:


#113 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2019, 11:24 AM:

OK, posting issue appears to have been resolved.

Here is a totally spoiler free yet absolutely spoileriffic report on Midsommar. Note: For Reasons, I have to check the endings of many books and movies ahead of time; I can enjoy a foregone conclusion if it's presented well. This is a summary of some summaries.

There is a horror plot that goes like this:

*Protagonist is going through a bad time in life

*Protagonist attempts to change their life for the better or just get away from it all

*Instead, protagonist ends up within reach of a character or characters whose big plans involve violence, murder, dehumanization of others, and lots and lots of vivid cruelty

*Protagonist attempts to fight back, summon help, or escape

*It doesn't work

*Protagonist snaps and becomes a willing participant or victim

*Roll credits.

Midsommar is apparently a very well executed and remarkably violent iteration of this plot. You'll probably like it if you like that kind of thing. (I don't.)

#114 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2019, 06:27 PM:

Americans tend to believe in punishment-- as far as I can tell, they see punishment as morally required whether it accomplishes anything or not.

They also tend to believe that if you're a suspect, you;re guilty, and if you're guilty, you deserve whatever punishment people want to impose on you.

#115 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2019, 09:49 PM:

if you're a suspect, you're guilty

There are bad people and good people — you can tell just by looking at them — it's almost like black and white. Bad people do bad things. If a bad person is suspect, they're guilty. If they're not suspect, they just haven't been caught yet. Good people don't do bad things. If a good person is suspect, it is a misunderstanding and it will be cleared up.

#116 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2019, 10:17 PM:

More on American culture:

It is considered highly unusual, even in "volatile" neighborhoods, for riots to break out because somebody won or lost a sports match.

Cooking outdoors is seen as adding value and enjoyment to life even when/where temperatures make it perfectly comfortable to cook indoors.

American food tends to be sweet except for chocolates and desserts, which tend to be less sweet than the analogous or ancestral dishes in other countries (but there are exceptions). When a foreign dish is adopted into American cuisine, it tends to become sweeter and less hot-spicy, and if it didn't have a sauce before it will have one now. On the other hand, American cuisine features some very strong non-spicy tastes, such as vinegary tomato-based sauces and well-aged cheese.

Beating the heat means slathering on sunscreen and removing as many clothes as local mores will permit (as opposed to staying out of the sun and wearing light-colored voluminous cotton and an airy wide-brimmed hat).

This part applies mainly to smaller towns and rural areas: If a window is intended to open, then it probably has a screen to keep out the bugs. If it doesn't have a screen, it used to. In the same way, it's normal for your front door to actually be two doors. The outer front door is made at least partly of mesh, while the inner one is solid wood or a facsimile, or steel. That way you can open your front door for fresh air without bugs getting in.

If you have a garage, your car is still parked in the driveway, because your garage is used as workshop space (remember, craftsmanlike hobbies are a sign of competence and self-reliance) or storage space.

#117 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2019, 10:29 PM:

Just remembered:

When eating at home, the main meal of the day should be "square." That is, there should be a meat or something that is understood to be a meat-substitute; a starchy food; optionally, something bready in addition to the starchy food; and two vegetables or one vegetable plus one fruit. Anything else on your plate is extra. (Burgers, fries, coleslaw, and melon constitute a square meal. So does macaroni and cheese from a box with tuna fish mixed into it, frozen macedoine, and fruit cocktail. If you want to get fancy: roasted beef or chicken, mashed potatoes, salad, and a hot cooked vegetable; the other vegetables, gravy, pie, etc., are extras.)

Affluence is signaled by surrounding your house with as much green open space as possible: not a garden, you understand, just a lawn. Gardening is a specific hobby, but lawn-keeping is a sign of civilization.

A real home, no matter how small, has at least one potted plant in it. People who can't keep potted plants alive are embarrassed to admit it.

#118 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2019, 11:08 PM:

My mother was unusual in her family for having a brown thumb. Most everyone else is capable of keeping plants alive. (There's a photo of her great-grandmother, who died in 1912 at 80-something, with a table full of plants, and more on the floor, some of which are recognizable.)

#119 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2019, 06:35 AM:

Devin #108: Over time, some of those side effects become consensus norms and some don't, and that's where we get "culture."

A fair point, but the problem is, a lot of those side effects are strictly regional; insofar as they produce culture, they are generating a collection of regional protocultures... and in some cases, generating new conflicts thereby.

Others are in fact status/wealth markers, open space around one's home (especially lawns) being a major example, and increasingly a problematic one. Screen doors and windows probably count too, as they need maintenance and normally need to be taken off/put on with the seasons, and stored when not in use. Battered or tattered screens count against you.

And re: craftsmanlike hobbies are a sign of competence and self-reliance... well, carving wooden knicknacks as a hobby is one thing, but making your own clothes is seriously declasse. If you're good enough at it to make people think they came from a store, it can pass, but you wouldn't normally tell people about it unless you're actually going into the trade.

Nancy Lebovitz #114: Americans tend to believe in punishment-- as far as I can tell, they see punishment as morally required whether it accomplishes anything or not. / They also tend to believe that if you're a suspect, you;re guilty, and if you're guilty, you deserve whatever punishment people want to impose on you.

AIUI, that comes from a mix of colonial-era Calvinism, "frontier justice", and interracial conflicts which have occasionally reached the point of outright war.

Note that the Constitutional prohibition against "cruel and unusual punishment" is very much in the same spirit as the original "eye for an eye" law -- a constraint on unlimited and vindictive punishment. Even now, attempts at rehabilitation tend to founder on the public thirst for vengeance.

TomB #115: There are bad people and good people — you can tell just by looking at them — it's almost like black and white.


#120 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2019, 10:45 AM:

Dave Harmon (119): Screen doors and windows ... normally need to be taken off/put on with the seasons, and stored when not in use.

Not in my experience. Storm windows maybe, although my parents had some put in that were essentially another set of sash windows and didn't need to be removed for the summer. We did take the panes out and wash them every year, but then they went right back in. Storm doors (a Northern thing not seen in the South) normally stay on all the time, too.

#121 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2019, 11:53 AM:

People take off screen doors and window screens? Must be a regional thing - in California, I haven't seen it. (It's possible people do it in the higher mountains, where there's lots of snow.)

#122 ::: estelendur ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2019, 04:18 PM:

My family (Midwest) normally swapped out the screen door and windows for a storm door and windows when fall rolled around, and vice versa in the spring. This relies on having storm/screen windows that can be removed and replaced from inside the house, if I remember correctly, since my parents' house is multiple stories.

The house that I rent has screens on some windows, storm windows on others, and neither on one or two. We don't ever swap them out, partly because they're not swappable from inside and it's a multi-story house.

#123 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2019, 04:27 PM:

Jenny Islander @116: It is considered highly unusual, even in "volatile" neighborhoods, for riots to break out because somebody won or lost a sports match.

It is? Ask DPD about that the next time the Broncos win the Super Bowl.

American food tends to be sweet except for chocolates and desserts

...not that I've encountered...? Non-desert foods have a range of sweet-savory, tending toward the latter. I can't think of a dessert that isn't sweet, and still labeled a dessert...?

Beating the heat means slathering on sunscreen and removing as many clothes as local mores will permit (as opposed to staying out of the sun and wearing light-colored voluminous cotton and an airy wide-brimmed hat).

Where? Around here, people slather on sunscreen, remove clothes, add hats, but I've never encountered that as "beating the heat."

craftsmanlike hobbies are a sign of competence and self-reliance

I've mostly encountered craft hobbies as a sign of craftiness. IME, competence has a wide range of explicit markers.

Jenny Islander @117: A real home, no matter how small, has at least one potted plant in it. People who can't keep potted plants alive are embarrassed to admit it.

They do? I know many people who have brown thumbs/can't be bothered/not interested. Haven't sensed any embarrassment about it.

Dave Harmon @119: making your own clothes is seriously declasse. If you're good enough at it to make people think they came from a store, it can pass, but you wouldn't normally tell people about it unless you're actually going into the trade.

It is? I haven't encountered this attitude, and I've made my own clothes much of my life, and talk freely with others about it.

P J Evans: Me either. I can only report on Colorado, New Mexico, and Minnesota, but window screens, IME, stay on year round. I have observed swapping out screen front/back doors from screened in the summer to glassed-in in the winter. The latter case serves sort of an airlock function to retain heat in the winter.

#124 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2019, 05:16 PM:

@Jacque no. 123: There's often sugar in...

*Packaged fresh guacamole

*Canned soup, including "healthy" brands

*"Plain" cottage cheese

*"Plain" yogurt

*"Plain" sour cream

*So-called deli-style cold cuts (turkey, etc.)

*Soy sauce

*Ordinary bread and buns (not explicitly sold as sweet bread or buns, and there's more sugar than the yeast needs for activation)

*Pasta sauce

*Plain or savory crackers

*Frozen potato products (fries/chips)

*"Plain" canned beans

*Canned corn

We take in astonishing amounts of sugar while eating a theoretically unsweetened diet...

#125 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2019, 05:45 PM:

Jenny: Ah, so you're referring to primarily processed food, not necessarily the general cuisine, then...? When you say "American food," I presumed that encompassed home-made & restaurant food, as well as packaged processed food.

#126 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2019, 06:37 PM:

My parents' house in west Texas had one set of double-glazed windows, with another set of single-glazed outside those as storm windows - the windows were openable, but there was a screen outside the panes. Outside doors were storm/screen, steel; the main front door was steel with no actual window, though the back door had a window (also double-glazed, IIRC).
It was a well-insulated house, framed with 2x6 lumber rather than 2x4.

#127 ::: Kip Williams ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2019, 06:47 PM:

Nancy Lebovitz @114

"Better that a thousand innocent should suffer than that one guilty person escape free." (paraphrased, probably) from The Space Merchants

"The suspect apprehended at the corner of Rossmore and La Brea was found guilty of three counts of being a suspect and one count of being apprehended. Apprehended suspects are liable to a sentence of not more than twenty years in the correctional institution at Soledad."
--Bob and Ray

#128 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2019, 08:09 PM:

The storm window thing depends on the age of the house as well as on the region.

Long ago, everybody had to put the storm windows on before winter started and replace them with screen windows in the spring. But for quite a while most new construction has them all built in together where it's just a matter of sliding up or down what is already in the track.

When we moved out of our old house (built around 1910) and rented it out because we couldn't sell it, I had to go over to take down the screens and put up the storms because the tenants didn't have a clue.

#129 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2019, 01:06 AM:

@Jacque no. 125: Not exactly...I once had the infuriating experience of finding DEXTROSE as the second ingredient in the fresh, wholesome, hand-cut, super healthy low-fat blah blah blah pork tenderloins. The "unseasoned" ones.

Also, people don't generally make their own cottage cheese and sour cream--do they?

#130 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2019, 08:45 AM:

A lot of American food is sweetened, but I'm not sure it tastes sweet. I was recently blindsided by some barbecue sauce which just tasted spicy, but which turned out to have HFCS as its *first* ingredient.

I don't know whether people who usually eat sweetened food find unsweetened food to taste drab or something.

I was reminded by this (14 minutes, interesting story) that the US has hardly eliminated bigotry, but at least we're trying and have had some partial success.

#131 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2019, 08:47 AM:

Better phrasing:

"The US hasn't eliminated bigotry, but we're trying and have had some partial success."

#132 ::: Angiportus Librarysaver ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2019, 08:51 AM:

HLN: Area retiree experiences a geophysical awakening. 4.6, somewhere in Snohomish county, according to the local seismological site--I think, there is a lot to re-check. Gratitude is expressed for the quickness of measuring/reporting systems. It wasn't even 10 minutes before I had the preliminary data. Might have been less if this computer wasn't so slow--it needs intervention.
Hopes were expressed that the Big One would not hit this century.

#133 ::: Quill ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2019, 09:20 AM:

Allan Beatty @128 - Yeah, or the age of the windows/doors. My parents' house was built in 1941, and when I was growing up Dad would routinely replace the screen door's screens with glass in autumn, and remove the screens in the windows for winter. They have since replaced both with more modern versions that don't require it.

#134 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2019, 10:56 AM:

Many pre-WWII houses in some central areas of Austin have an interesting approach to screens--they are treated as a decorative architectural feature, so that the framing rather resembles the stone-lead part of medieval stained glass windows.

I am informed that as far as window manufacturers go, they've given up on calling things mullions and muntins, instead treating the whole affair as an independent grille, applied over the glass. This works perfectly with the Austin approach to screens, where the wooden grille is applied over/to the screening material, and then painted some trim color or other, sometimes matching the window frames, sometimes not. Some of the designs are quite striking, involving curved wood.

They are definitely removable (hung with hook-and-eye hardware) but are never removed except for repair or replacement.

(I know more about this than I should, as spouse rebuilt some on a c.1930 house we rented. And repainted them where needed.)

#135 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2019, 11:52 AM:

A really odd "screen door" sort of thing, which I've only seen in a few Pittsburgh area apartment buildings (older, pre-AC-was-common) :

The INSIDE door of the apartment -- that is, the one facing into the hallway you enter the place from -- has a louvered wooden "screen door" in addition to the heavier primary front door.

This is for ventilation in the summer. You open the inner door so the stuffy air in the (apartment has another way to escape.

Anyone else seen these?

#136 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2019, 01:02 PM:

Stefan Jones (135): I haven't seen that, but the screen door on the front of my parents' house* sounds similar. It has narrow wooden louvers over the outside of the usual screen, so that you can leave the inner door open for ventilation but still have privacy from passersby. The space between the inner and screen doors is also wider than I've seen elsewhere, at least 15" instead of only about 4". (I guess that means the wall is thicker, but it's not otherwise noticeable.)

*the one I grew up in, in suburban Atlanta

#137 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2019, 05:04 PM:

Quill @92 I read "the refrigerator can type" as a refrigerator capable of typing, and was briefly very impressed with its skill!

Heh. I had to go back to the original post to see what I meant. I guess that's what happens when you let your refrigerator connect to the internet.

#138 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2019, 05:17 PM:

Any fans of M.C.A. Hogarth's Dreamhealers series here? (If you aren't, and you like cozy/kind SF, I recommend the series highly. Mindtouch is the first.)

She is running a kickstarter to fill in some shorter pieces in the associated universe, and has added as a super-stretch goal a new novel in this series. I would really, really like to read this novel and encourage fans to chip in.

Kickstarter link here

Note for those looking for cozy/kind reads: The Kickstarter is for pieces in the Prince's Game series, which interweaves with Dreamhealers and is excellent but not cozy/kind. I don't want anyone to fall down a black hole they didn't mean to go down.

#139 ::: Kip Williams ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2019, 11:24 PM:

Stefan Jones @135
I first saw one of those in San Antonio, Texas, back in the 1960s. It's also a feature of the dorm room doors I saw at Durham College in Durham, England, but those open onto a hallway rather than outside.

#140 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2019, 01:31 AM:

Jeremy @109
A couple years ago is when Cali passed a law saying that all single occupancy restrooms *must* be all-gender.

#141 ::: Tim May ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2019, 10:12 AM:

Fans of Good Omens may enjoy this clay tablet from Slightly Alive Translations.

#142 ::: Pete ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2019, 01:38 PM:

Haven't visited for absolutely ages (it's not you, it's me), and yet when I saw this plum-related homage I immediately thought fondly of here. Memory's a funny old thing...

#143 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2019, 01:18 AM:

Here's a ghost story for untrammeled capitalism and the Age of the Megacorps. Warning: There is not a speck of gore in this but it's not for the hyperempathetic. I may have a bad night tonight. It's beautifully written. I give you "The Complaints Line" by Calum P. Cameron.

#144 ::: Patricia Sheller ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2019, 04:31 AM:

I'm trying to remember the title/author of a serial that appeared in Analog, probably in the 60's possibly in the 70's. Almost certainly from the 1960's. An astronaut returns from Mars with a couple of Martians (who die during his capture) and is put on trial for treason. He escapes, manages to talk to a few people, causing some doubt about his guilt. I can't remember author or title. I thought it might be Mack Reynolds from the style, but it isn't included in lists of his fiction. No particular reason for this right now, it's just itching at my brain that I can't remember more. Does this ring any bells for you?

#145 ::: Sunflower ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2019, 05:27 AM:

Quill @100: 'Oh, hey, speaking of national culture - my mom and I visited Montreal (we're American) a few weeks ago, and the hotel we were staying at was hosting multiple, formal high-school graduation parties. Is that a thing?

They seemed pretty high-end, to judge from the dresses and the hotel itself. The U.S. does proms, but not (as far as I know) school-sponsored graduation parties.

Of course, it may be a Montreal thing, and I don't know where you are in Canada. :)'

I'm in Calgary, so, most of the way across the country. The grad dance, usually dinner-and-dance, is absolutely a thing, in cities anyway. (I don't know, but am guessing, that it's a very different event in towns small enough that the school's graduating class has only a dozen or so members.)

As I recall it, from my own long-ago teens, the original idea was to try to discourage (private) grad parties, which involved the new graduates going to a secluded, often outdoor/rural, location and getting stinking drunk. It didn't work; the kids would dress to the nines and go to the grad dance, then afterwards head to the boonies for the grad party (not always having the sense to bring a change of clothes to the grad dance, or stop off at home on the way, because teens). Correction: it had not yet worked; my knowledge is many years out of date, so it's possible that the formal grad dance gradually replaced the grad party - young folks being what they are, though, this doesn't strike me as all that probable.

Dave Harmon @119: 'A fair point, but the problem is, a lot of those side effects are strictly regional; insofar as they produce culture, they are generating a collection of regional protocultures... and in some cases, generating new conflicts thereby.

Others are in fact status/wealth markers....'

The phrasing of your post implies, perhaps unintentionally, that you consider status/wealth markers to be distinct from culture.

HLN: Area geek receives final judgement papers for hir divorce, nearly seven years after hir now-ex-spouse told hir he wanted one. When asked about the lengthy delay, sie said, 'This is what two people with executive function issues divorcing looks like.' Private celebrations are planned.

#146 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2019, 07:08 AM:

Screen doors, #120, #128, #133 etc. My home growing up was on Long Island (so Northeast, very coastal), and the house itself was built in 1950 or so (one of the original Levittowns). I can well believe that the tech has improved over time.

My current apartment in central Virginia does have screens perma-mounted outside the panes, but between climate and allergies, I almost never open the windows to begin with. Some other people in the development do seem to do so.

Sunflower #145: The phrasing of your post implies, perhaps unintentionally, that you consider status/wealth markers to be distinct from culture.

Fair point, but I was trying to contrast the status/class stuff with the regionalisms. Society can be sliced up in several different directions....

Jacque #123: Speaking of which, the making-your-own clothes thing was totally a status/class marker, as per my lower-middle-class-but-aspiring upbringing.

That said, women get some slack (so to speak) precisely because of "traditional roles". And knitting (or anything the ignorant can lump as "that's like knitting, right?" ;-) ) gets a pass, exactly because it's not a "practical" way to supply clothes, versus middle-class or better funds.

#147 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2019, 07:58 AM:

Tentative about American culture:

Americans believe in their intuition. This can lead to people realizing they're being abused when everyone around them is saying they aren't or shouldn't be hurt, and it can also lead to believing the earth is flat.

Other modes of knowledge (experts, tradition, culture) are also risky, but the balance between them might vary by culture.

#148 ::: Devin ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2019, 08:08 AM:

As a man who makes some of his own clothing, I think the key to social acceptability is that it's a hobby.

If you're making your own clothing as a way to have clothes because buying "regular clothes" isn't an option, that's one thing. If you're making your own clothing because you like knitting so you made a sweater, or because you wanted a very specific thing and nobody makes them for sale, that's a different thing. The second one is broadly acceptable, the first can get pretty dicey socially.

#149 ::: Singing Wren ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2019, 09:29 AM:

Devin @ 148 - re: Making one's own clothes

Based on family stories I’ve heard from relatives one generation older than me, even this has changed. For me, making some of my own clothes because I want to (both as a hobby and because I can’t always find things I like in a size that fits) provokes comment, but always complimentary.

According to my dad's cousins, when they were in high school (mid Sixties to mid Seventies), making your own clothes was Not Done. They said it was perceived as not having enough money to buy clothes at the store. Likewise, if (God forbid) you did have to make your own clothes, they had better be polyester, which was modern, as opposed to cotton, which was cheap and old-fashioned.

I’m not really sure when this changed, or how evenly this change has occurred. But there definitely seems to be a class/wealth issue in play here.

Speculation: at least some of the markers of American culture we've been discussing are related to not appearing Poor (whatever that means locally). I’m guessing this is tied up in the ideal of the American Dream (where anyone can be (financially) successful), a certain strain of Protestantism (wherein material blessings are a sign God approves of you), and probably other stuff I'm not thinking of.

#150 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2019, 10:33 AM:

As I understand it, these days it costs more to make your own clothes than to buy them.

#151 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2019, 11:48 AM:

Most patterns run about $10 or more; Vogue can run up to $30 (but if you're going for Designer, it may be worth it; there's one that I tend to follow). Fabric is in the range of $10 to 20 per yard, but a lot is now 54-inch-wide instead of 36 or 44/45 inches.
I knit socks for me and for my sister, because that way I can get socks that fit. One pair of wool socks costs as much as 8 or 10 pairs of machine-made cotton socks, which may or may not fit well.

#152 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2019, 12:59 PM:

Re: making one's own clothes, there's probably a factor of how hard the individual "audience member" finds it to buy suitable clothes. To me, it seems absolutely a proper thing for someone to make their own clothing, because I have enough trouble finding clothes that meet my criteria (weird highly atypical body shape, dislike of wearing slogans, no leather) that I've often considered it myself. I do make my own pajama bottoms and have come close to creating a pattern to make the tops; just haven't had the spoons, but I did get the roll of sturdy paper. If I could make my own running shoes, I would, because getting reasonably sturdy no-leather running shoes that aren't eye-searing and (to me) goofy-looking is a bloody pain. I do not need a 21st-century design with a pocket of UF6 in the sole for extra bounce, thank you, and frankly, I resent what they cost.

#153 ::: Devin ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2019, 05:24 PM:

Singing Wren @149

Wouldn't surprise me if you're right. (Fits my thesis, even: in the 70s there was still a considerable legacy population of people who were home sewers for thrift; it's much less common today so the default assumption may have shifted from "you made that? You must be poor" to "you made that? You must be crafty.")

But I think school is also a factor: I am many years past high school but from occasional contact with students/school shoppers, "Mom/Dad made me their version of the thing all the kids are wearing" is very much as popular as it was in my day, or your dad's cousins' day. Which is to say, not at all welcome. (Thankfully, today polyester is more realistically understood as a sometimes-fabric.)

Joel Polowin @152

Yeah, and I do tend to run in circles where odd clothing is appreciated. I'm sure if my people were the sort where "good taste" meant "the right brand of polo shirt in the appropriately eye-searing pastel" it'd be quite different.

(Once you've got a pattern dialed in, tagboard/cardstock is quite nice for durability. I still use my old fencing jacket pattern as a base for all kinds of stuff. And you probably know this, but if you've a top that fits right but is wearing out, well, a little bit of tedious disassembly and you can trace it for your pattern.)

#154 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2019, 06:18 PM:

Devin (153): It's out of print*, but Patterns from Finished Clothes by Tracy Doyle is great for recreating garments. Disassembly not required.

*available used for not much money

#155 ::: Singing Wren ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2019, 07:37 PM:

Interestingly, even though the default of an adult who makes their own clothes is now "crafty" rather than "poor", the notion remains (especially among non-crafters) that making something yourself is cheaper than buying it off the shelf. Which, as P J Evans nicely illustrated, is generally not the case. And that’s before taking the time involved into account, especially if alterations are necessary.

And I agree that school is definitely a factor. At my age (early 40's), I can get away with a sense of style that is both clearly defined and only occasionally overlapping with current trends. High school students rarely have the former, and if they insist upon the latter, are still expected to fall into one of a limited subset of standard rebellious patterns. (Which may still produce some mockery, but also still have a place in the school hierarchy.)

#156 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2019, 09:05 PM:

Over on the Learned League message board, a question about "The Little Engine That Could" resulted in somebody jokingly complaining that the title gave away the end, and then a thread of people suggesting new titles for children's books that didn't give away anything that happened after the beginning of the story, including:

The Little Engine That Is Statistically Unlikely To Be Able To
Alexander and the Day with Potential
Oh, the Places You Are Currently!
How the Grinch's Plans Were Only in the Idea Phase
Say, I Wonder If There’s Anything on Mulberry Street
The Cat Eyeing a Hat Meaningfully
My Brother Sam is Not Feeling So Hot
Just the Wardrobe

#157 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2019, 09:12 PM:

Devin @153, re: And you probably know this, but if you've a top that fits right but is wearing out, well, a little bit of tedious disassembly and you can trace it for your pattern.

In general, I can see how the shapes have to be to fit together well enough to not have to disassemble. I can figure out what the seam allowances have to look like, etc.

A while back, I worked out my basic pattern for pajama pants by measuring the lengths of the edges of the pieces, then creating "molecules" with bond lengths scaled to those values in a computational-chemistry software tool. Running the simulation gave me the necessary angles for the pattern. You use the tools you have...

A few months ago, I was becoming increasingly aware of the wearing-through of the shoulders of my pajama tops. As in, almost every time I put the tops on, my hands risked going through the holes. I picked out the seams that attached the arms to the body, and replaced the arms using fabric from the legs of another pair of pajamas that had worn through in the butt. The colours/patterns are utterly unlike, but the fabric feels the same, which is the more important factor for sleepwear. IMHO.

I really hate shopping for clothes.

#158 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2019, 09:14 PM:

Jenny Islander @ 116: I acknowledge the tendency of US food processors to put sugar and/or salt in everything that passes through their hands. However, I don't know when chocolate started to be mixed with sugar, but it certainly was not in either Mesoamerica (where it was first cultivated) or in its original sally into Europe; note that both of these areas drank chocolate rather than eating it. I am deeply suspicious of any claim that European chocolates are either more or less sweet than US chocolates, because there is such a huge variety.

P J Evans @ 121: I spent the 1967-68 school year at Millbrook (most known, to the extent that it's known at all, as the location set for the school scenes in The World According to Garp). There were two afternoons when everyone turned out to set up or tear down from winter; some of this involved laying boards on brick sidewalks, but a lot of the work was exchanging screens and storm windows, the latter forming a tight seal against the window frame. This used to be standard in areas that had serious winter; it was replaced first by dual-purpose frames (a solid seal around 2 panes (1 sliding) and 1 screen, such that exchanging was simply sliding the 2 moving panels -- cf Allan Beatty) and then by better window/frame sets (ours, from ~2002, seal tightly enough that storms aren't needed.)

Jacque @ 123: Denver is not alone; there is usually some vandalism when a Boston team takes a title, although so far there's been only one death (a policeman was ordered to use a pellet gun they weren't trained for -- "you'll put someone's eye out!" turned out to be true.)

#159 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2019, 10:19 PM:

"Zebra Is A Good Start"?

#160 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2019, 06:25 AM:

Paul A. #156

Some books are like that. Even in Australia.

#161 ::: Quill ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2019, 09:38 AM:

Sunflower @145: Thanks!!

I did wonder if part of the purpose was to keep the celebrants under some kind of supervision. Since the families all seemed to be staying at the hotel overnight, one presumes it worked for the most part.

Congratulations on your divorce!

#162 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2019, 11:45 AM:

Nancy Lebovitz @131: "The US hasn't eliminated bigotry, but we're trying and have had some partial success."

When I would whinge "I'm trying!" an old (loved) teacher would joke, "Yes, you're very trying."

& @147: Americans believe in their intuition.

Just ran across a reference to the book Thinking, Fast and Slow, which sounds related. Haven't read it, but looks potientially interesting.

& @150: it costs more to make your own clothes than to buy them.

This is true of most of the things one can make. The trade-off (for me) is a) is it fun for its own sake? and/or b) can I find the thing I'm looking for at the store? The latter is usually the motive that drives me to make my own.

Devin @153: a little bit of tedious disassembly and you can trace it for your pattern.

I actually did this with an old pair of Levis that fit me perfectly, and made probably half a dozen pair from the pattern.* It's a pain. (And making jeans is a pain!) Also, I've lost any tolerance for any kind of pressure over my lower abdomen. (Plus, I long since grew out of even the expanded version of the pattern.) Nowadays, I'm probably going to start making plain drawstring pants, since they seem to be basically impossible to find at a reasonable price in the stores. The closest I've found is Chico's Travelers, but I resolutely hate the fabric, so even there, I wear a pair of cotton pants underneath. (Which is not a disadvantage, as I tend to freeze at work.)

Another irritating evolution of the DIY landscape is that Boulder no longer has any really good fabric stores. The one that's left seems pitched primarily at quilters and costumers. I.e., crafty, more than practical. The other two I know about are small, seriously high end, and waaay out of my price range.

* Anybody know the secret of building zippers so that they don't pull open that top half-inch?

Joel Polowin @157: "molecules" with bond lengths scaled to those values in a computational-chemistry software tool

Wow. That's some next-level geekery, right there. 8D

I really hate shopping for clothes.


#163 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2019, 11:52 AM:

I was taking descriptive geometry, way way back, and realized that sleeve tops and armholes are covered in it, as developments of intersecting cylinders (or cones very near to cylinders).
Clearly, you use the tools you have....

#164 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2019, 02:18 PM:

In re: making your own clothes and patterns...

I think there are, socially, different levels of markers with regard to making clothes:

1. Making your own clothes because you are thrifty
2. Buying pre-made clothes
3. Making your own clothes because you want something that can't be bought off-the-rack (due to sizing, pattern, etc).
4. Paying someone else to make your clothes

These distinctions have been around for a long time. O'Henry wrote of poor urban professionals ironing creases into their clothes so they would look like they were newly bought at a store (where they would have sat, neatly folded and pressed, on a shelf long enough to get creases), rather than be uncreased, indicating they were old or hand-made, and therefore you couldn't afford store-bought trousers and shirts.

As for patterns, I have been a member of Freesewing, a site that generates custom measurement-based clothing patterns.

Each of the 23 basic patterns that they have comes with documentation on how to make it, sometimes tutorials on specific techniques, lots of pictures and illustrations of the process. You need to input the measurements required for the pattern ("Simon", the "highly adaptable shirt pattern for men", requires 13 measurements), tell it the details of your printer paper (A4, US Letter), and download PDFs that you can print out, tape together, and cut to get your custom pattern.

Unfortunately, I have yet to make a proper "model" of myself (making up to 23 different measurements of my body), so I haven't yet generated a custom pattern. I don't know for real if it is as good as it looks.

#165 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2019, 06:32 PM:

The Suck Fairy hath visited yet again...

I've re-started a project I laid down [mumble] years ago, reading my way through the most-reprinted poets of the 20th Century. I have an Everyman Library edition of Donne, with a lot of his poetry, some of his prose, and some of his letters. Finally cracked it.

This guy. This priest. This priest who counseled women, sometimes conducting lengthy correspondence with them.

He also wrote a cute little article wondering why "we" imagine that women have souls, seeing as how "they" are basically talking animals with boobs.

The past is another country, and I'm really glad I don't live there.

#166 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2019, 07:50 PM:

WRT comfortable clothing, medical scrubs are wonderfully practical (and have pockets!) but tend to be made of synthetic fabrics rather than natural. IIRC some years ago there was a cottage industry on eBay of home sewers making custom scrubs, but those have probably vanished.

John Marshall wrote a book about how to make your own Japanese clothing, which was vastly simplified by the traditional approach of keeping most of the cloth pieces in their original rectangular shapes and using intentionally temporary seams so they could be taken apart for washing and then modularly reassembled. I think there were some drawstring pants in there (mompe?).

#167 ::: Singing Wren ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2019, 08:15 PM:

Buddha Buck @ 164

In some ways, I feel like option 3 has some overlap with both options 2 and 4. For instance, I'm learning to make button-down shirts because garment manufacturers (at least in the US) don’t seem to believe women with a full cup size can also have a small band size and narrow waist. (I’ve learned a lot about inserting darts in the process.) That’s the overlap with 2. You'd buy off the rack, but what you’re looking for isn’t on the rack.

Meanwhile, my new sister-in-law's wedding dress was every bit as high quality as mine (type 4, except as a gift for my grandmother rather than a purchase*), but she made it herself. So that’s the overlap with type 4. You have the skill to make high quality garments, only you're making them for yourself instead of others.

*Grandpa's aunt was the woman you hired if you got your clothes in category 4 back in the 1940's or so. She could take a picture from a fashion magazine and draft a custom pattern for her customers so as to be flattering and fashionable in the fabric of their choice. When her nephew got married, she made Grandma's wedding dress as her wedding gift - pattern, fittings, all the difficult bits gratis. Grandma just had to pay for fabric and notions. I wore the same dress sixty years later, and my seamstress was thrilled to be doing alterations (and not many) on such a well constructed garment.

#168 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2019, 09:33 PM:

It's possible to get patterns for scrubs so you can make your own. They *look* fairly simple, but that doesn't always mean they are. (Pockets, that kind of thing.)

#169 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2019, 09:40 PM:

My scrub-sewing coworker says that it's the V-neck that gives her trouble. I really need to get some; I have been dressing Very Professionally because I'm in a lab and shouldn't have exposed skin but also it's supposed to be unbearably hot this coming week and I need to be wearing less clothing. Summer is my least favorite season even when it behaves reasonably, and this one isn't.

#170 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2019, 10:24 PM:

Try McCall's M6473 - it should be on sale, according to their site. Two types of V-neck, two kinds of pockets in the top, plus it comes with cup sizes, and the pants come with both patch and side-seam pockets.

#171 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2019, 05:15 AM:

These folks do cotton scrubs, though mostly in silly prints.

#172 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2019, 10:37 AM:

As an alternate data point (and looping back to the whole question of USAn summer wear), earlier this summer I was in New Mexico on vacation and saw multiple people wearing dark long-sleeved tops with hoods or separate hats — what I would normally consider autumn clothing — on a bright sunny 95F day. They were scattered around the city and waiting at bus stops or crosswalks, so I assume they were locals engaged in evaporative cooling via sweat.

WRT. scrubs, I forgot to mention scrub *skirts*, which are blessed with pockets big enough for cellphones. Waists usually seem to be drawstring or eladtic.

#173 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2019, 11:05 AM:

Buddha Buck @164: Is this the Freesewing site you meant?

Julie L. @166: Did a search on "mompe" ("monpe pants" was offered as an autofill), and what came up (leaving aside the gathered hems) looked a lot like gi pants, big surprise. :)

I've tried a couple of different scrubs pants.

I had a dodgey go-round with Uniform Advantage. Misinterpreted their sizing instructions, so I returned them. First round: return value = [pants price], select your return shipping label here. Refund amount = $0 Bwah?? Emailed them, turns out the charge for the return label was the same as the return value, "oh, but we'll waive that this time." So I returned them, and got a refund of, like 20% of the return value. Emailed them again, the rest of the return value finally got refunded. So: their returns department, at least, doesn't seem to be operating entirely in good faith.

Tried a second pair from a different vendor, seem to have gotten the sizing closer to right this time, but they felt weirdly tight across the front, like you're never supposed to sit down in them. Just donated those, rather than screwing with the returns song-and-dance again.

Also: seriously not in love with the fabrics they use. (Sensibly, seem to be designed to shed fluids and wash easily. ≠ comfortable texture. :(

P J Evans @170: McCall's M6473 here.

#174 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2019, 12:17 PM:

I was actually looking at the envelope when I was typing that. (I bought it online from them, when it was on sale before. The sale prices are really good, and they generally ship within a week or two.)

#175 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2019, 12:30 PM:

@174: Yeah, like, 4 bucks—! Only reason I didn't buy it on the spot is I probably should maybe get some measurements, first....

And then I need to find fabric... :(

#176 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2019, 12:35 PM:

Jacque @175 - Maybe see if you have any bedsheets that are wearing out in the middle, but still have good sturdy fabric around that?

#177 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2019, 02:46 PM:

Joel: ...bedsheets—! O.O

I forget about bedsheets....

#178 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2019, 12:32 AM:

"The Times, They Are A-Changing" has a whole new resonance now, what with the lines about rising waters. (I recommend the cover by Runrig.)

#179 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2019, 01:08 AM:

Jacque @177 -- It can sometimes be worth looking in second-hand stores (Goodwill, Sally Ann, etc.) for sheets, blankets, quilt covers, etc. suitable for use as raw materials. For all that I'm somewhat allergic to cutting up a Perfectly Good [item] that someone else could be using as-is for its Proper Purpose.

#180 ::: Devin ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2019, 01:43 AM:

Wait, isn't "fabric cheaper than by-the-yard" one of the proper purposes of Goodwill bedsheets?

I've been doing it wrong all these years.

#181 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2019, 07:53 AM:

Jacque @173:

Yes, that's the site I meant. I idly wonder what I typed

#182 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2019, 10:24 AM:

The gnomes appear to have eaten my last post (or at least deemed it potentially tasty). If the powers that be could release it (and ideally let me know where I went wrong), that would be lovely!

#183 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2019, 12:12 PM:

Jacque @ 162: Anybody know the secret of building zippers so that they don't pull open that top half-inch? Does flipping the tab down not work? That's what I was taught when young, possibly because it makes the top bit bend so the head can't slide so easily.

Jenny Islander @165: was the article serious, or satirical? And how does its date line up with the correspondence? English classes used to teach that Donne was a late-reformed rake, although ISTM that this reading was crumbling even when I studied him half a century ago; his attitudes may or may not have changed. OTOH, Metaphysicals that were taught admiringly in the days before ~2nd-wave feminism sometimes got re-evaluated afterwards; IIRC, there was a noise in the early 1970's about a student's straightforward-and-unadmiring reading of Marvell's "To His Coy Mistress".

Arriving in a ... timely ... fashion (i.e., only a week after my comment): Yankee's history of and mutilated recipe for switchell

#184 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2019, 01:31 PM:

CHip @184 in re: Jacque @162:

In my experience, zippers which lock that way have a small nub on the zipper pull which gets pushed into the teeth of the zipper preventing it from moving when locked.

YKK's website shows 8 different types of locking sliders with 4 different kinds of locking mechanism (including one type with a small key). The type I was familiar with is just one type.

What gets me often, however, is the zipper pull going all the way to the bottom and gets stuck under the fly flap and locks there. Because it's locked, you can't pull it up to free the zipper pull, and that means you can't close the fly, either. I don't know how they get that way.

#185 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2019, 02:48 PM:

That's poor zipper installation. You want the stop to be far enough up from the end of the fly so that doesn't happen. (It's possible to use thread to make a stop: stitch over the coils multiple times at the point you need the stop.)

#186 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2019, 07:26 PM:

Jacque @ 183 ...
Thank you. I was sure I'd missed/forgotten something, but couldn't think what it was.

re: zippers pulling open at the top, using something to take up any strain, like a hook-and-eye or button is also an option. Some zippers really like to start to open given any hint of sideways pull (which is a great effect when you -want- it to happen, and really annoying if you don't).

#187 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2019, 11:22 PM:

xeger: The only solution I ever came up with was to move the button at the top of the fly outboard by half an inch or so. My recollection is that that helped, but didn't solve it. Even with the locking zippers, it seems that the topology creates a bulge that unlocks it at the slightest provocation. It's an issue I ran into even with commercially-made jeans.

#188 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2019, 07:19 AM:

Jacque @188:

One solution I've read for the problem is to attach a loop to the zipper pull and put it over your pants button before buttoning (so the loop is behind the fly flap). That keeps the zipper from unzipping. I've seen a lot of variations -- use a hair tie, or a ball chain, or a key ring -- but they are all basically the same idea.

#189 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2019, 10:15 AM:

Buddha: Huh. That might actually work.

#190 ::: Em ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2019, 12:32 PM:

Over on my twitter, among all my other noise, I've been posting a moon-related poem for every day of the Apollo 11 mission. I haven't posted today's, yet, but it was written by Daniel Elder as the words for a really gorgeous choral piece that I thought folks here might like.

Ballade to the Moon, by Daniel Elder, performed by the Westminster Choir

Every time I listen to it, I have a new Favourite Bit. Right now it's the glorious tenor around the three-and-a-half-minute mark.

#191 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2019, 01:41 PM:

There are two wolves inside of you.

One is white.

One is black.

But who cares what color they are. They don't. They're wolves. Also, it's dark in there, so you can't tell colors apart.

The point is, there are two wolves inside you. That's pretty fucking metal.

Also maybe a health hazard.

#192 ::: HelenS ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2019, 08:36 PM:

I made my husband a yukata from the Japanese clothing book mentioned above. It worked, though I screwed up the measurements at first and had to add extra panels.

#193 ::: Angiportus Librarysaver ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2019, 11:27 AM:

Stefan Jones, #192--2 wolves inside me? That must be why I get so hungry sometimes...

#194 ::: Em ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2019, 09:46 PM:

“The Moon through Windows”
For Michael Collins

My forehead left a mark on the window
of the car in the night and in your module
you might have pressed your face to the glass.

The backseat home along the highway,
the constant moon as poles flew past;
my forehead left a mark on the window.

Your capsule empty, saving gas.
Further from friends than anyone, ever,
you might have pressed your face against the glass.

I said it was the cloudscape that made me cry
then fell asleep in economy class.
My forehead left a mark on the window.

As close a miss as one could ask
to fly, alone, and wait above.
You might have pressed your face against the glass.

Like the reach of our wanting might bring us closer –
Eclipsed – so close! – that untrod path!
My forehead left a mark on the window.
You might have pressed your face against the glass.

---- By E.C. Fleming (me!)

#195 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2019, 10:47 PM:

@em: Lovely!

AKICIML: I am writing a short summary, for children, of the story of Abraham and his descendants, from the departure from Ur to the anointing of Saul. How should I properly refer to the people in the story: the Jewish people, the Jews, the Israelites, or --- ?

#196 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2019, 09:50 AM:

For those interested in keeping track of such things, let it be hereby affirmed that yes you most assuredly can sing "The Streets of Laredo" to the tune of "The Unfortunate Rake".

#197 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2019, 09:57 AM:

dang, I mean "herewith"

#198 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2019, 10:45 AM:

Jenny Islander @196:

"Jewish" and "Jew" comes from the land of Judea, which was named after Judah. Since your story ends with the annointing of the first King of Israel and Judah, and begins long before the birth of Israel and Judah. So "Jew" Seems anachronistic. For similar reasons, so does "Israelite".

I think "Hebrews" might be a good choice. It's a term still associated with the descendants of Abraham, and it appears to come from a term for "immigrant" or "person from the other side" (of the River Euphrates, possibly).

#199 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2019, 12:40 PM:

For the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing, I flew rockets!

#200 ::: Quill ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2019, 09:35 AM:

Em @195: Gorgeous!

#201 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2019, 11:14 AM:

WRT Alaska, PBS Kids has a new show, “Molly of Denali”, about information science and set in a mostly-Native community. It’s pretty nifty. And much more bearable than “Caillou”.

Now if only they would drop new episodes of “Peg + Cat”.

#202 ::: estelendur ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2019, 11:56 AM:

Jenny Islander @196, Buddha Buck @199: The term 'Israelites' pre-dates the land-based nation of Israel, and properly applies to all the descendants of Jacob, who received the name Israel after wrestling with an angel on one of his journeys. Definitely 'Hebrews' covers everyone, through the whole story, but 'Israelites' would only be anachronistic for the Patriarchs and Matriarchs.

I do agree with Buddha Buck that it might be best to stick to 'Hebrews' throughout, but if there is enough room in the summary to highlight the shift from 'one small family' to 'a large nation', you might switch to 'Israelites' starting from the move into Egypt.

#203 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2019, 09:43 AM:

Unrelated to anything in particular: if I'm going to remember a dream for once, why can't it be something cool and gloriously ridiculous like being a werewolf Jedi Starfleet captain, rather than one where I explain grounding to an electrical engineer who should know better.

#204 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2019, 10:25 AM:

#204: Yeah, I had a dream a few years ago about inheriting a highrise apartment building in Queens, with a penthouse suite (kind of 70s tacky, but still) for the family.

And in the morning thinking "Wow, NYC real estate!" and then "What happened to roaming the galaxy in my personal starship with a she-vargr mercenary having adventures?"

(OTOH the apartment building had a subway station right in the basement so . . .)

#205 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2019, 11:17 AM:

As I watched Mueller testify yesterday, I was struck by two things :

The first is that the Democrats had a narrative into which they wished to fit Mueller’s testimony, and that narrative adhered to the facts as found in the report. Mueller didn’t want to take a stance and had to be pushed into admitting the consequences of what he found.

The second is that the Republican Party is currently filled with nutjobs. About the only conspiracy theory left out was the Elders of Zion. I’ve seen corruption of motive and corruption of power, but corruption of mind isn’t something I’ve encountered before.

#206 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2019, 11:17 AM:

As I watched Mueller testify yesterday, I was struck by two things :

The first is that the Democrats had a narrative into which they wished to fit Mueller’s testimony, and that narrative adhered to the facts as found in the report. Mueller didn’t want to take a stance and had to be pushed into admitting the consequences of what he found.

The second is that the Republican Party is currently filled with nutjobs. About the only conspiracy theory left out was the Elders of Zion. I’ve seen corruption of motive and corruption of power, but corruption of mind isn’t something I’ve encountered before.

#207 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2019, 11:19 AM:

Sorry for the double post. I turn up, having been away a while, and the first thing I do is make a nuisance of myself.

#208 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2019, 11:26 AM:

Fragano Ledgister @ 208:

Hardly a nuisance. It's important, and important enough to say twice.

#209 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2019, 12:21 PM:

I apparently haven't been sleeping well, with the result that I wake up repeatedly with some vaguely dream-like idea/image stuck to the front of my mind. Two nights ago, it was a cluster of various text characters in red, that I couldn't un-click and place where I wanted.

Last night I kept waking up with N.K. Jemisin's name in my mind. I guess it's time to read Broken Earth...?

Fragano Ledgister: "Reality's well-known leftward bias."

#210 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2019, 10:19 PM:

NESFA Press has Teresa's books in ebook form.

#211 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2019, 11:38 PM:

@KeithS no. 204: Many of my dreams take place in a dream-version of my home town, specifically the neighborhoods I walked in or was driven to as a child. I could draw a map.

The differences are interesting. For example, IRL a neighborhood street ends in a gate because there's a SEAL training facility on the other side that's in a forest traced with gravel roads and trails and fringed with rocky beaches. (You can call ahead and use the community hiking trail or a beach. There's a rumor that the SEALs use you for practice if you do: if you get spotted, they lose.) In my dream universe, there is no gate; the road instead becomes a houseless dirt track running along a narrow, steep, nearly treeless peninsula that peters out in a string of grass-topped ocean stacks. I dream-spent a nice afternoon rummaging for shells on a dream-beach there, then dreamed about it again but had to walk somebody else's dog to the end of the trail and back instead of going to the beach.

#212 ::: crazysoph ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2019, 07:39 AM:

I'm looking at the approach of the Worldcon and NASFiC, and...

anyone want to talk about potential Gatherings of Light?

Crazy(and trying to distract myself from the local heatwave)Soph

#213 ::: alisea ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2019, 10:04 AM:

crazysoph @213:

Definitely not too early to talk about Gatherings of Light. I very much enjoyed meeting some of you in Helsinki two years ago.

I've got my final programme schedule for Dublin today, which together with working for Exhibits will make me a very busy person. But I think I could make something late afternoon/early evening most days.

Most of the time I suspect I'll be hanging out around the community art project I'm running: The Raksura Colony Tree.

#214 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2019, 10:37 AM:

The one Republican who asked Mueller about Russian interference in the election, and what can be done about it, stuck out like a sore thumb. I wish I'd caught the name of this unicorn.

#215 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2019, 12:38 PM:

alisea @ 214:

The Raksura colony tree project looks amazing. I've been rereading the books, because they're so good, and have even committed an act of fanfic. Alas, I won't be at Worldcon, but I hope there'll be lots of pictures.

Stefan Jones @ 215:

I believe you're thinking of Will Hurd.

#216 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2019, 02:44 PM:

*If they get spotted.

Pronoun trouble.

#217 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2019, 06:54 PM:

HLN: Area cat has had a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. His humans ran out of kibble last night and he wasn't sure there would be any for him this morning (had to be shown it before he believed there was more). Nobody has cooked anything he can eat and put it on his treat plate in his treat corner, ALL--DAY. His favorite person is at summer camp and no amount of calling at her bedroom door will get her to appear. He got used to sleeping anywhere he likes on the warm grass and then it started RAINING. He moved onto the couch and got picked up and put down somewhere else because somebody had to neaten up the couch covers. His favorite water faucet was not dripping correctly and he had to yell about it to get it fixed. And THEN somebody started running a saw down the street and the echoes sounded exactly like another cat talking trash in our driveway.

Hairballs to all of it. He is now a donut. Do not disturb.

#218 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2019, 10:21 PM:

I am definitely planning on visiting the colony tree. I am just a groundling but I understand there are stairs.

#219 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2019, 12:38 AM:

Just saw over on the SMOFs list that Martin Hoare, British con-runner and interesting person otherwise, has died. Like so many people, I didn't get to know him as well as I'd have liked -- but I did like what I saw, and I found him a good person for solving more problems than he created. He won't make a lot of general media news, so I think mentioning him here is appropriate and useful.

Go well, Martin -- I hope I see you at the Great After-Party.

#220 ::: crazysoph ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2019, 02:48 AM:

An obituary for Martin here, at File770

Crazy(and sighing deeply)Soph

#221 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2019, 11:57 AM:

#220 Tom
There might be greater recognition for Martin, given that he apparently had played a key role in health services equipment.

Searching my memory for specific things, the only things coming up sharply as specific anecdotes [and perhaps the last two involving some amount or reconstruction where the memories are not real but are mental reconstructions of mind considering something as high probability generation *] are a him and a trail of kibbitzers [me included...] trooping through hotel corridors searching for a pay phone at Worldcon hotels around 3 AM UK time and him giving Dave Langford the call announcing Dave winning Best Fanwriter and Best Fanzine, and him sitting in the bar at the hotel in Framingham, MA, that Boskone was at for a number of years, and him in a Worldcon hotel bar before the convention officially started, avidly watching US football.

Nothing else comes up than general "good companionship at many conventions over many years" feelings, and great sadness at his departure from this plane of existence.

#222 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2019, 12:19 PM:

The House Judiciary Committee has formally opened an impeachment investigation into Donald Trump's Presidential campaign.

#223 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2019, 12:59 PM:

That's a link to the pdf of the filing: here's a link to the formal announcement by Judiciary Committee members in The Atlantic.

#224 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2019, 03:24 PM:

I would love to meet people and put faces to names at whatever Gathering of Light there is in Dublin. I will not be at the con, but I'm local.

I don't see the schedule posted on the website, so I can't offer suggestions, other than I'm guessing that weekend evenings are right. out. I don't suppose Wed eve before things actually start works?

#225 ::: alisea ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2019, 04:25 PM:

eric @225:

The schedule should be posted publicly sometime during the next week.

I'm on Exhibits staff, so Wednesday evening is probably a no-go, since we'll be working on getting everything ready by Thursday morning. Others may be up for something, though.

We may end up having a couple different gatherings. What might be working during the con is something around dinnertime and before the big evening things, say 6pm or so. It's what we did in Helsinki.

#226 ::: crazysoph ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2019, 03:16 AM:

Eric @225 - I'm ex-local, but coming early to Dublin to spend time with former neighbors and fan friends. (Also, I'll be going to Titancon). Shall we try to arrange a meetup before the con? If we can borrow one of the admins here for exchanging address info, we can avoid doing it in the clear, maybe...

alisea @226 - I can relate to the need for flexibility with an event as complicated as a Worldcon - I remember feeling sad that I didn't make *all* the GoL during Helsinki, but the fact that the group could kind of coalesce at different points of the convention, making it a kind of movable feast, at least gave me a chance to catch more than one.

I'd better get going on getting the schedule installed on my device, once the schedule becomes available. I've become less assiduous than in the past about checking these things.

Crazy(and possibly occupying her time doing brush calligraphy on the romp in Dublin and Belfast)Soph

#227 ::: Devin ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2019, 05:13 AM:

Since it was a surprise to me and I believe I've seen someone posting a similar note about a previous entry.... (Jacque, maybe?)

New Penric and Desdemona! "The Orphans of Raspay." Haven't had a chance to read it yet myself.

crazysoph @227

I won't be in Dublin, but since our admin-time seems to be at a premium, perhaps someone who is going would like to create a temporary email? Post it, everyone else sends a mail to it, and Robert is your mother's sibling.

#228 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2019, 06:48 AM:

Devin @ 228 ...
Since it was a surprise to me and I believe I've seen someone posting a similar note about a previous entry.... (Jacque, maybe?)

New Penric and Desdemona! "The Orphans of Raspay." Haven't had a chance to read it yet myself.

Oooh, thank you! (I was one of several folks posting about them).

#229 ::: Quill ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2019, 09:52 AM:

And on that note, T. Kingfisher (Ursula Vernon) has a new one going live today, Minor Mage. Now available on various e-formats. I am not linking because I'm at work, but check your favorite e-book provider.

(I was so excited to pre-order that I forgot Patreon subscribers get T. Kingfisher books for free!)

#230 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2019, 10:22 AM:

Thanks, Devin! Ordered!

And thank you, Quill. I had already heard (and downloaded from Patreon), but spreading the word is a good thing.

#231 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2019, 01:04 PM:

Ooh, I hadn't see the new Penric and Desdemona. Off to order now.

I was going to post about the T. Kingfisher but Quill beat me to it. I've downloaded that one already.

#232 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2019, 03:32 PM:

I have read Jo Walton's Lent, and it is, as is the usual case with Jo, a stunning achievement. Jo has taken the slipstream fantasy and made it her very own genre. Her sense of the protagonist and of the time and place seem flawless.

I really, truly, love the novel.

Which is why I find this part difficult: I swear that there is a piece of each novel of Jo's that bothers the hell out of me (in Farthing, for example, it's the wrong bird on the reverse of the coin; I'm familiar with actual farthings, they still circulated when I was a boy).

In Lent it is the absence of my favorite 15th/16th century Florentine, the one whose work I taught for two decades, Niccolò Machiavelli. Jo has every right to omit historical figures if she doesn't want them crowding her pages (as she asserts), and I certainly don't object to that. What I find grating is that she omits Machiavelli from historical roles he actually played (as ambassador to the French court) while putting his actual words in Savonarola's mouth.

I can understand disliking the man, the phrase she quotes, "fortune is a woman" is followed in The Prince with "and it is necessary to beat and injure her" (ed e necessario batterla e urtarla. This is a view of women that is rather worse than patriarchal. Nonetheless, the words are Machiavelli's, and it is wrong -- morally -- to attribute them to Savonarola.

At this point, someone is going to ask why I bothered to read the novel if I found it grating. I didn't find the book grating. I like the novel. Jo is a master storyteller, and the maguffin in this novel is brilliant. However, it rubs up against my own knowledge of time and place (and Machiavelli liked Savonarola but believed that he made a gigantic mistake in not creating a militia to protect his power -- it is the armed prophet, like Moses, as he says in the Discourses on Livy, who gets to transform the real world; not unarmed ones like Savonarola, reliant on mere moral force).

Anyway, I'm sorry if this annoys Jo, but I felt I had to say it. I agree that Machiavelli is a truly awful sexist, but I forgive him much for his declaration"Ad ognuno puzza questo barbaro dominio" (in the 26th chapter of The Prince) which is the starting point for my own analysis of colonialism and imperialism. As someone whose intellectual development owes much to Old Nick, I feel an obligation to speak up on his behalf

#233 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2019, 12:55 AM:

Thanks for the heads-up on the Kingfisher. I also discovered that I had somehow not pre-ordered This is How You Lose the Time War, which I could have sworn that I had done.

#234 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2019, 10:23 AM:

David #234:

I hope you have immediately made up for this omission. One of those books you read through, breathless, are truly sad to see it end, and the only reason you aren't immediately rereading it more slowly is because of the fearsome stack of other highly-recommended stuff looming over you.

#235 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2019, 01:59 PM:

Whatwhatwhat? New Penric?? Well, there's my weekend, sorted! (Though, hafta say: ebooks: feh. The hc will be along eventually. But: eventually. ::piiine::)

Fragano Ledgister @233: That sort of thing would irritate me, too. It seems somewhat more than a ... lapse. As a palate-clenser, one assumes you've encountered Ada Palmer's* Machiavelli series? If not, highly recommended.

* Not Amanda Palmer. Who is also woundrous, though entirely differently.

#236 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2019, 10:33 PM:

joann: Well, naturally. It's on the queue for right after I finish the new Penric.

Jo's omission of Machiavelli from Lent is all the more puzzling in that she has most certainly read Ada Palmer's excellent series of articles about him, that Jacque links to.

A rather more minor issue with the book is the multiple references partway through (chapter 13 if memory serves) to things happening on the 31st of April. It so happens that I was born on the 30th of that month, and so have paid more attention than many to that particular corner of the calendar — I am utterly certain that the 30th is the last day! A peculiar sort of error to make past the copyeditor.

#237 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2019, 06:16 AM:

At this point, from the perspective of one who has not yet encountered the novel directly, it's beginning to sound less like "a collection of strange omissions and errors" and more like "Walton commits alternate history again". Do we know definitely that it isn't the latter?

#238 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2019, 10:31 AM:

Jacque #236: Thanks for the recommendation.

David Goldfarb #237: I suspect that the unusual date is an indication that we’ve slipped into another timeline.

#239 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2019, 10:32 AM:

Jacque #236: Thanks for the recommendation.

David Goldfarb #237: I suspect that the unusual date is an indication that we’ve slipped into another timeline.

#240 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2019, 03:20 PM:

Paul A #238:

Jo gives us several alternative histories. That isn’t the point. The novel’s chock-full of historical figures.

The problem is not my being too stupid to tell when alternative history is being committed. Thanks for the hint, though, it was much appreciated . The problem is as I stated it: Machiavelli is quoted even as he is left out.

#241 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2019, 07:12 PM:

Meanwhile, in response to an email alert,* I just put in my order for Knife Children over at Subterranean Press.

* Boy, have they got my number....

And in other news, about ⅔ of the way through J. Michael Straczynski's Becoming Superman.

JMS's prose has a slightly uneven flavor to my ear but, shit is this thing a page-turner. Now in the B5 era. I was heavily involved with B5 online fandom even before the pilot went into production, and it's a weird feeling to be reading along, thinking, "Yeah, I remember that. Yup, that too."

#242 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2019, 08:29 PM:

Fragano, obviously your objection stands regardless; I thought that went without saying, although I admit that my track record on recognising what goes without saying is less than stellar.

Regardless of what I thought I was doing, I can see that I have done a real injury, and for that I am sorry.

#243 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2019, 09:22 PM:

I am reading the latest Bujold upside down. I can't think of a better way to improve my upside-down-reading skills.

#244 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2019, 01:42 AM:

Fragano: I actually went so far as to email Jo about it, and she gave that as a possible handwave but admitted that it was an error.

#245 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2019, 11:58 AM:

Fragano Ledgister @ 206: there's a quote about the difficulty of convincing somebody of a fact when their job depends on the fact being untrue.

My favorite Martin Hoare story is his telling me& about the lecture he gave an airport security person about how they would have inspected his SLR if they'd actually been serious about finding fiendish devices.

Y'all have fun in Dublin....

I have read Lent but am of multiple minds about it; I think she's moving past where this crusty brain can follow.

And yesterday's local paper had an obit for Hal Prince, who died quickly, full of years and honors. An unusual case of someone who started as a producer but became a huge success as a director (instead of moving the opposite direction). For me his most notable achievement was the incredibly productive decade Sondheim had in the 1970's -- five musicals, all of them masterful works that are still done half a century later. I'd regret their breakup over Merrily We Roll Along, but it's possible that without that failure Sunday in the Park with George wouldn't have had the workshopping that gave it time to become its own masterpiece.

#246 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2019, 02:28 AM:

Many thanks for the notification of new Penric. It, the new T Kingfisher/Ursula Vernon, and my Raksura re-read are all competing right now, so we'll see which one I get to first.

That said... Grumble grumble, the hoops to jump through to strip the DRM off of Nook books have changed, but I've managed to adjust my process. I wish I could figure out who to apply the clue bat to with regards to releasing the Bujold novellas on Kobo and other places that I actually like to buy from.

#247 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2019, 08:31 AM:

Paul A #243

No biggie.

#248 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2019, 08:35 AM:

David Goldfarb #245

Well, it is a slipstream novel...

#249 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2019, 08:38 AM:

CHip #246

I am constantly amazed at the duplicity of the human race.

#250 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2019, 10:13 AM:

KeithS (247): I am curious about the new hoops you mention; I have not yet figured them out.

#251 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2019, 03:08 PM:

Mary Aileen @ 251:

If you have access to a rooted Android device (either physical or emulated) running the Nook app, it is possible to get the appropriate keys for the appropriate tools from there. I got it working on an old phone last night, but probably could have saved myself a bunch of hassle going the emulator route. I'll probably give that a shot over the next few days.

If you (or anyone else) wants more details, drop me an email. I'm on Gmail as kesutt.

#252 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2019, 03:20 PM:

KeithS (252): Thanks. I am reluctant to root my Android devices, but I'll look into emulation.

#253 ::: David Langford ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2019, 04:17 PM:

Losing Martin Hoare has been too much for me. I knew him from a ridiculously early age -- about three years old in what he insisted on calling a dame school -- and was best man at all three of his weddings.

There is more, including a little photo gallery, in the August Ansible.

#254 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2019, 07:06 PM:

Dave #254

As I learned during Rag Week in 1975: Veræ amicitæ sempiternæ sunt.

#255 ::: crazysoph ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2019, 05:09 AM:

Jacque @242

I've just finished Becoming Superman and... oof! Again, oof! That book just packs in the punches.

Some of the childhood stuff was recognizable due to Straczynski's convention speeches, but that was no preparation for reading of his experience in this depth. I was having some serious "flashbacks" from my own past - not that my parents were as bad as his in degree, but they certainly exhibited some of the same twisted psychology.

As a note to those running Making Light, I'm wondering if perhaps a Dysfunctional Families Day post could be planned for this coming September 21st, with some kind of reflection on Becoming Superman forming the content of the top post? I could see jumping off points like the presence of allies both real-life and fictional models, or the recurrence of dysfunctional family patterns in public and working life, and/or how one develops a narrative of one's inner experience, which in turns become the rudder for directing one's outer life...

Crazy(do I dare offer to give this a bash?)Soph

#256 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2019, 05:46 AM:

Crazysoph @213: My daughter (whom some of you may know from Twitter as @fromankyra) and I will be at WorldCon, arriving on Wednesday evening, and would very much like to meet up with any other flurorospherians who might be there. (She is on a bunch of panels, so may have a more complicated schedule than me.)

As a side note: the name and nature of Turkish Delight has been an occasional topic of conversation in these parts. If anyone would like to sample some, we shall bring supplies.

#257 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2019, 01:51 PM:

crazysoph @256: abi does appear to be monitoring things, at least to the extent of gnomish activity.

If an OP doesn't occur (at last report, family health is still abi's focus.), I would certainly enjoy seeing a commentariat-initiated discussion. (I debated putting my @242 over there, but decided the topic was of sufficiently general interest to go here.)

I'd had a few inklings of the severity of JMS's history. I think he's mentioned growing up in poverty off an on. Also, not long before the B5 episode "Shadow Dancing" aired, JMS had told the story of the gang assault on Somebody asked if that was the inspiration, and JMS responded, "Huh. Yeah. Never connected that before."

It's pretty obvious if you know much about him at all that he had a rough start. I once had the chance to tell him, "I'm glad you're alive." His instant response was: "I'm not." :( But the whole Anmv zheqre bs gur Wrjf family connection was new to me. o.0

#258 ::: crazysoph ::: (view all by) ::: August 06, 2019, 02:42 AM:

#258 ::: Jacque

I shared your sense of "which one??" for thoughts of where to park the Becoming Superman comments... A great Venn diagram illustration, eh? *chuckles*

From my own experiences with therapeutic talk interventions, I suspect that JSM's revelations progressed in time, as his "comfort"? with what he could share increased. For some things he'd mentioned, one could read between the lines to gain a sense of the disorganization in his birth family, and its effect on his own development. (Curiously, one specific detail from one of those talks - at The Wrap Party convention in the UK - didn't actually make it into the book. I'll be on the lookout for it during a reread, in case I had just "gulped" the book so hard I'd missed it.)

I'm kind of curious about the timing of your remark to JMS - I suspect he'd give you a difference answer now.

Crazy(and agreeing that a commentariat-led discussion is also good!)Soph

PS Yeah, someone in JMS' personal history is a nasty, nasty piece of work. One of the places of "essence-if-not-degree" resonances I kept having was of being told how to feel about something (or facing the destruction of something that made clear to the perp how one's loyalties were not 100% in favor of the perp...)

#259 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 06, 2019, 10:29 AM:

crazysoph: I'm kind of curious about the timing of your remark to JMS

I think it was at Chicago ComiCon in the summer of '85. (Yikes. 34 years!) I have no sense of where he's at now; haven't crossed paths with him since '08, and that only very glancingly. If nothing else, it sounds from the book like something changed fundamentally for him at The Changeling premiere, so I would hope that he's in a better place these days.

It was at that same convention that I got a chance to meet Kathryn Drennan. (Actually, I think it must have been during Big Bang Con the week before.*) The crew I was running with at the time decided to take her out to breakfast. She's a lovely person. Towards the end of the breakfast, this weird guy starts hovering around her end of the table, and it wasn't until he took his hat off that I realized it was Joe. (He'd grown a beard since the last time I'd seen him.)

On the last day of the con, our bunch, and Michael O'Hare, and Drennan were hanging out in the lobby of the convention center, waiting for busses to the airport or whatnot. We got somebody to take a group shot of us, and then we sent out copies to all the participants. Drennan's copy was framed, and because she was sitting in the center of the group, had a little brass plaque that read, "Ms. Drennan's Kindergarten Class."

(I should dig that out, scan it, and post it somewhere.)

* Boy oh boy, thereby hangs a tale.

#260 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: August 07, 2019, 09:43 AM:

Catching up on delights and news.

The "30-50 feral hogs" thing on Twitter [someone was trying to explain how he needed an assault rifle, and it was NOT parody] led to poetry. Which led to someone asking them to stop it with the plums. "Learn another poem." Which led to this, which led me here to share.

#261 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 07, 2019, 10:17 AM:

There was some nerding out on Twitter about the feral hogs.

My contribution:

Feral Hogs
Where Encountered: Suburban backyards
Number Appearing: 4d6+26
MR 10
2 points of armor

(Guess the RPG!)

#262 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: August 07, 2019, 11:29 AM:


#263 ::: Tykewriter ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2019, 08:29 AM:

akiciml: In my blog, I mention having seen some interesting birds. So far, in draft, I have capitalised thus: coot, mallard, Tufted Duck, heron, cormorant, marsh harrier, and Little Egret. I wish to be consistent, sticking to UK usage. Should I capitalise them all, which looks clunky to me, or leave them in lower case, suggesting that my egret was merely undersized?

#264 ::: crazysoph ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2019, 10:32 AM:

#260 ::: Jacque

I was suspecting as much, re timing of JMS' response to your remark. And, it was precisely the thing he relates in connection to The Changeling that has me thinking he'd have a different answer for you now. Particularly as he'd paired it in his autobiography so deftly with his experience of the red-carpet and paparazzi right afterward.

Crazy(and really glad I get to natter with another someone about the book - Dear Hubby having not yet taken the time to read it, I'm anxious not to spoil it for him...)Soph

#265 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2019, 10:33 AM:

@Sandy: I wrote lots of stuff for GURPS through the decades . . . but not this time.

Think OLD role playing game systems.

#266 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2019, 12:27 PM:

Tykewriter, I don't normally capitalize all the words in bird names, so I think you can do whatever feels best to you.

#267 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2019, 01:21 PM:

Why are working people, who would benefit from jones generated by the Green New Deal, opposing it? Why are they cheering Dolt45 when he denounces it? I am truly puzzled if any of Trumpistan’s population lives in anything resembling the actual, material, world. A policy that creates jobs that are environmentally sustainable, decently-paid, and long-lasting? Who wouldn’t be for that?

#268 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2019, 02:50 PM:

@Fragano Ledgister no. 268: Because first, they might have to change their habits (true, and necessary) and second, they might have money they need for other things taken away and get nothing in return (false, and fed to them by people who are not their friends).

I'm increasingly convinced that the real nightmare of the Powers That Be is that the majority might wake up one day and realize that together we are strong. That we might learn how to negotiate and communicate, and work together to make sure that people don't die for lack of money or live shorter lives because of other people's carelessness or greed. Because if we did that, their power base would be gone, and then how would they pile up money and squat on it like so many dragons? And how could they exist, being told no and being expected to live by the same laws as everybody else?

#269 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2019, 03:28 PM:

On a completely different note: I don't like unnecessary CGI, but I think that sometimes it does open possibilities, especially if it's married to artistic vision. If I had the money, I would try to option the Journeys of the Catechist series by Alan Dean Foster and hire people who know how to animate beauty as well as battle.

Etjole Ehomba, the Catechist of the title, is living in pastoral contentment in Fantasy Namibia when a ship from somewhere in Fantasy Europe is wrecked near his village. The lone survivor dies in Etjole's arms, charging him to rescue a woman he's never heard of from durance vile at the hands of a man he's never heard of either in a country he didn't know existed. Unfortunately, this obligates Etjole to do it.

Laden with little gifts from his neighbors--carved figurines, twine, stone and bone weapons, medicines--Etjole takes leave of his beloved family and heads north through a fantastic landscape in which anything might be sentient and the laws of time and space are locally mutable. Along the way he picks up traveling companions: adventurer Simna ibn Sind, who is convinced that Etjole is a mighty sorcerer, although Etjole doesn't think he's a sorcerer at all, and that his quest will lead to a great treasure; Ahlitah, a talking big cat with a straightforward approach to life and a debt of honor of his own; Knucker the Knower, who is omniscient, but only when he's blackout drunk; and gentle yeti Hunkapa Aub.

They have adventures that would make glorious CGI visuals: a journey through the Fantasy Okavango, which is split into terrestrial and aerial bodies of water with air in between; encounters with corrupt merchants and tax collectors and with Corruption himself, all involving astounding magic; the Great Wall of the Chlengguu, which is a hundred miles long and can walk; the adventure of the Lost Highway Median; a meeting with every horse that has ever lived and some that don't yet exist; and more.

The end provides some satisfying twists and revelations and more lovely visuals, and everybody the reader is supposed to care about is as happy as is possible for them.

There are two major problems with the plot. The first is pretty obviously Foster's handling of women. He can write female characters well if they're members of one of the myriad of intelligent nonhuman species that populate this series; but the human women who get any lines are described in terms of their sensuality, and their major mode of interaction with the protagonists is sexual or at least suggestive. In addition, the Big Twist in the situation with the damsel in distress is that she gets Stockholm syndrome, which somehow solves the problem of her having been captured by a cruel despot. So those parts need a rewrite.

The other biggie--going to ROT13 here because the uncertainty was actually part of the fun of reading the series--vf gung gur ernqre vf rkcrpgrq gb ertneq Rgwbyr nf ur ertneqf uvzfrys: n fvzcyr, hajbeyqyl ureqfzna jub unccraf gb unir fbzr fxvyyf gung ner hfrshy nybat gur jnl, nf jryy nf fbzr tvsgf sebz uvf arvtuobef onpx ubzr gung cebir harkcrpgrqyl cbjreshy. Guvf vf rzcunfvmrq ol znxvat bgure punenpgref erznex gung ur fzryyf bs yvirfgbpx naq nyfb ol znxvat uvf crbcyr prerzbavny pnaavonyf (gurl qba'g xvyy crbcyr sbe sbbq, ohg gurl qb rng gurz nsgre gurl qvr). Ur'f nyzbfg n Aboyr Fnintr. Lbh yrnea ng gur raq bs gur ynfg obbx gung uvf pbafgnag ersenva gung ur'f ab zber n fbeprere guna nalobql ryfr sebz uvf ivyyntr vf yvgrenyyl gehr: gurl'er nyy fbepreref, fxvyyrq va fbzr vaperqvoyl cbjreshy negf, naq gurl ner phfgbqvnaf bs gur snoyrq "ybfg" pvgl bs Qnzhen-frfr, juvpu gurve naprfgbef nonaqbarq orpnhfr gurl jrer gverq bs yvivat yvxr cuvybfbcure-xvatf. Ohg Sbfgre'f frghc bs guvf eriryngvba znl or gbb enpvfg gb syl.

#270 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2019, 04:01 PM:

One warning, for anybody who wants to read the books: I get the strong impression that Foster was thinking of Burton's translation of 1,001 Nights as he wrote; he (and Burton before him) needed an editor to tell him that making people drag out the big dictionary in order to figure out the descriptors is overdoing it!

#271 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2019, 08:29 PM:

I'm still wishing I could produce a movie with lots of motion-capture to convey that characters aren't what they seem to be. Dakota Fanning's face with Ian McKellan under it, at least some of the time. Or vice versa. Body language and expression being more important that appearance. Sort of like the bits in Xena where she and Callisto switch bodies; both of them are brilliant at being the other.

#272 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2019, 10:27 PM:

HLN: Area woman, while visiting sister, went out to go on a shopping trip with her. Upon starting the car, area woman found that someone had removed the catalytic converter at some point in the preceding three days. Area woman is *annoyed*, and hopes that the thieves' vehicle loses its transmission in a major intersection, while loaded with stolen converters.
(Yes, police report was filed. And insurance claim.)

#273 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2019, 11:03 PM:

P J Evans @273: I've been told that that was happening in the parking lot of my workplace a few years ago. Some guy scoots under the car on a wheeled dolly, cuts the thing out, and is gone; it takes only a couple of minutes. :-(

#274 ::: Quill ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2019, 09:06 AM:

Speaking of CGI, is anyone here watching The Expanse? I got into it recently and I'm loving it (I haven't read the books).

It reminds me in some ways of the best of Firefly, and it feels more like a miniseries since it's telling one story in episode chunks rather than each episode having its own little story. Sometimes it makes obvious moves, and sometimes it surprises the heck out of me; and I enjoy most of the characters very much.

It is, unfortunately, now an Amazon series - I laud them for picking it up (and greenlighting two more seasons!) but of course, it's Amazon, with all the issues thereof... However, there are DVDs available.

#275 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2019, 09:39 AM:

@Quill: I am amazed by and enjoy The Expanse, but I found myself a) watching one episode at a time, and b) procrastinating about watching the new season, because it is SUCH a tense, full-of-rotten-people future.

#276 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2019, 11:01 AM:

I understand that they use a small jack, and a small power saw, and it takes less than a minute.
(I found one bolt and a spring from a joint, so they may only have needed one cut.)
They arrested two guys in a nearby city yesterday, with a load of converters. But there are undoubtedly more around.

#277 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2019, 12:31 PM:

Thanks for the comments about Becoming Superman. As I result, I checked it out of the library, and found it (as Jacque did) a page-turner. This, despite having seen little to none of his work. As a fringe nerd (much more into the written word than TV, movie, or comics) I was aware enough of what was being discussed to enjoy it anyway. So if you're wondering if you already have to be a JMS fan to like it, my experience was not.

#278 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2019, 12:35 PM:

Also, crazysoph, I encourage you to touch base with abi about volunteering a post along the lines of your suggestion @256.

#279 ::: Quill ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2019, 04:36 PM:

Stefan Jones @276: I know what you mean - there have to be some people somewhere with content, happy lives, but I guess that doesn't make for sufficient drama (though I would adore a spin-off that concentrates on Mars. Or the Moon!). I admit to binge-watching, but I'm going through the second round more slowly.

Without spoilers, I will say that the third season changes the game considerably by the end of it. It will be interesting to see how that is handled in Season 4.

#280 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 10, 2019, 03:15 AM:

Fragano Ledgister @268: Why are they cheering Dolt45

Jenny Islander @269: their power base would be gone

I'm sure I've plugged this here before, but I've found Ian Danskin's video series The Alt-Right Playbook to be very interesting. In particular, the video Always a Bigger Fish, in which he has a go at why it's so hard communicate across the liberal/conservative divide. The current culture wars can be boiled down to (in my possibly bad paraphrase) a core conflict in worldview between those who favor a flat hierarchy (liberals) vs those who favor a pyramidal hierarchy (conservatives.)

"Hierarchy is humanity's natural state." "Conservatives generally feel that what's wrong with the world today can be chalked up to people not being where they should be in the social order."

Addressing Fragano's question about why they resist the Green New Deal, I'll wager that's down to it being "imposed from without" (by the gummint), and therefore "not earned."

OtterB @279: Ooo! I like that idea!

#281 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 10, 2019, 06:24 PM:

Jenny Islander #269

You’re probably right. It’s infuriating to see people cheering something that harms them.

#282 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 10, 2019, 06:24 PM:

Jenny Islander #269

You’re probably right. It’s infuriating to see people cheering something that harms them.

#283 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 10, 2019, 06:38 PM:

Jacque #281

It is extraordinarily frustrating when people refuse to see what’ right in front of them.

Booing wind turbines for being noisy, while cheering hydrocarbons is utter insanity and I have to pay the price for this. So, more importantly, do my children.

#284 ::: Jenny Islander needs a gnome ::: (view all by) ::: August 10, 2019, 08:45 PM:

@ Jacque no. 281: I favor Charlotte Mason's approach. She argues that hierarchy is indeed humanity's natural state--and therefore, she says, it is vital to enable one's children to choose which authority to follow and which to deny, by teaching them to exercise their reason and by providing plenty of historical examples to compare with present conditions. (Mason is arguing as a Christian and IIRC as a Platonist: the things we are naturally drawn to are not necessarily the things that are best for us.)

#285 ::: Jenny Islander does not actually need a gnome, sorry ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2019, 02:51 AM:

I...seem to have autofilled an oopsie. Stroopwaffel?

#286 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2019, 07:03 AM:

Jenny Islander #285: Heirarchy is one of two deep themes in human society, but the other is "community", by which I mean horizontal power -- alliance and connections.

It's not even that they chase each other around a circle, so much as that they're both self-generating in every society, and whichever is dominant tends to be limited by the other.

#287 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2019, 08:02 AM:

Jenny Islander #285

We do seem to rank things, but the way we order them is sometimes arbitrary. A lot of people are suspicious of hierarchy (“Who died and made you king?” to use one celebrated expression).

Our overall tendency seems to be towards the lessening of formal rank and an increase in actual hierarchy. This is why we refer to the Duchess of Cambridge as Kate Middleton, and why we will never encounter her socially.

#288 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2019, 11:05 AM:


I'm looking for a spooky poem to tell at a Spooky Stories storytelling session. (We did "The Cremation of Sam McGee" last year, and "The Raven" is a bit long and full of rather difficult vocabulary for a younger audience.) Anyone have any ideas?

Alternately, a good (short) ghost story would be appropriate...

#289 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2019, 12:49 PM:

It's probably way too long, and not really for younger listeners, Cassy B289, but Ogden Nash's A Tale of the Thirteenth Floor haunts me since I read it many years ago. It deserves to be better known.

#290 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2019, 11:09 PM:

@290, that's a hell of a poem. No pun intended. Thanks for bringing it to my attention; I don't think it'll work for storytelling but I'm very glad to have been introduced to it.

#291 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2019, 11:12 PM:

Jenny Islander @ 269: second, they might have money they need for other things taken away and get nothing in return (false, and fed to them by people who are not their friends). It's not quite that simple; sustainability (to use one term loosely) is seen as taking away jobs -- and certainly would involve shutting down some jobs (or at least precise tasks) and replacing them with others; hiding the latter is one part of the lie the Right tells, but having to change (regardless of the end result) is frightening to many people. (I half-rebuilt my career twice, once from luck (including fannish friends) and once with a great deal of support; if I had had to move, or hadn't had the support, it would have been much more difficult.) As I noted on the latest thread, the Right has worked for some time on the claim that it protects against threats, or at least alleged threats.

#292 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2019, 02:26 AM:

Cassy B @292: originally published in F&SF in 1955, according to ISFDB. It's not mentioned in his biographies, according to a source on the internet.

#293 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2019, 12:51 PM:

Cassy @289: Would you be open to something musical / filk-ish? (Your twin was into filk; I don't know your take on such things.) There's Duane Elms's "Dawson's Christian", which also references the Flying Dutchman and the Marie Celeste. There are other spooky filk songs; the Pegasus Awards have included a couple of relevant "floating" categories. In 1996, it was "Best Eerie Song", and in 2002 it was "Best Chilling/Spine-Tingling Song".

I find Bill Roper's song "Challenge" kind of scary. Technical Difficulties covered it on their Station Break recording.

#294 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2019, 02:30 PM:

In fannish news, I'm going to take the liberty to point out that Jon Singer is slated to be the Hal Clement Science Speaker at Boskone, this year.

#295 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2019, 02:35 PM:

@Cassy no. 298, re Joel Polowin no. 294:

If you rearranged it like this and recited it with a disturbing little frame-drum or something in the background, it might be very effective.

(spoken prose, something like this) Here's a tale of future past...from the days when we imagined ray guns and star pirates, shipping lanes through hyperspace, and riding the stellar winds to the high seas of the galaxy. Every sailor knows that there are strange things out there on the high seas. How much more the ocean of night among the stars?

(start up with the drum)

There are stories of the Dutchman, the Celeste and Barnham's Pride,
There are stories of the Horseman and the Lady at his side,
But the tale that chills my spirit, more because I know it's true,
Is the tale of Jamie Dawson and his crew.

Jamie Dawson was the captain of the Christian and her crew,
And he flew and fought the Christian in the War of '82.
Now the Christian was the tightest ship 'tween here and Charlemagne,
And the crew of Jamie Dawson was the same.
On patrol in Sector Seven, keeping watch on Barber's Sun,
They were jumped by three light cruisers, though they weren't a match for one.
As they came to general quarters and they sent out the alarm,
Dawson's crew was sure they'd finally bought the farm.
No one living saw that battle, though the fleet was quick to leave.
When they reached the site, they found a scene no sane man could believe.
Dead in space lay three light cruisers, cut to ribbons all around,
But no sign of Dawson's Christian could be found.

I was second mate on Hera's Dream, a freighter of the line.
We were shipping precious metals to the colony on Nine.
It was on the second watch of that most uneventful flight
When the pirate ships appeared out of the night.
Now to me there was no question, for they had us four to one,
And you can't fight dirty pirates when your freighter has no gun.
So we stood by to be boarded by a party yet unseen,
When another ship appeared upon our screen.
First we thought it just a pirate, but the vector was all wrong.
Then we thought it might be rescue, but the signal wasn't strong.
When she didn't answer hailing, we all felt an unknown dread,
For we saw her shields were up and glowing red.

Now the courage of that single ship is shown by very few,
But we never knew a ship could fly the way the stranger flew.
Never fearing guns or numbers, like a tiger to its meat,
The stranger then attacked the pirate fleet.
And the strangers beams burned brighter than all beams I'd seen before
And the strangers shields were harder than the heart of any whore. [Alernate: And her shields were hard as diamonds spinning in old Saturn's core.]
As the battle rent the ether, while we watched and shook our heads,
The pirate ships were cut to bloody shreds.
Just as quickly as it started, then, the fighting was all done,
For the pirate fleet was shattered and the stranger's ship had won.
Though we tried to call and thank her, not an answer could we draw,
Then she dropped her shields and this is what we saw:

There were thirty holes clear through her and a gash along one side,
And we knew that when it happened, that no crew were left alive,
For the markings all said Christian. Deep inside us each one knew,
'Twas the tomb of Jamie Dawson and his crew.
Now instead of flying off, the stranger then began to fade,
First the hull and then the bulkheads as we cowered there afraid,
For as the Christian disappeared, the last to slip from view,
Were the bones of Jayme Dawson and his crew.
There are stories of the Dutchman, the Celeste and Barnham's Pride,
There are stories of the Horseman and the Lady at his side,
But the tale that chills my spirit, more because I know it's true,
Is the tale of Dawson's Christian and her crew.

(final drumroll, scattered taps trailing off into silence)

#296 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2019, 02:42 PM:

@296, Wow. Just... Wow. Did you write this? That's amazing!

(Yes, I like filksongs, and I've been known to sing "Black Widows In The Privy" for Spooky Stories....)

#297 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2019, 02:57 PM:


That one...rings true, as something you'd hear at a spacer bar.

#298 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2019, 03:07 PM:

@Cassy B. no. 287: I wish! It's by Duane Elms. The original is sung over an acoustic guitar, but it makes for great poetry with a bit of rearrangement, doesn't it?

#299 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2019, 03:20 PM:

Here's IMO the best performance of "Dawson's Christian" on Youtube. It includes some lines in the first verse that I inadvertently left out, which make it even spookier.

#300 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2019, 03:23 PM:

Listening to the rest of I totally did not remember the words correctly. Listen to Vixy and Tony's performance and disregard what I posted!

#301 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2019, 03:47 PM:

Even if you posted the wrong words - it's still excellent as a ghost-ship song.

#302 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2019, 11:23 PM:

Cassy B @ 289:

How about the ballad of Sir Patrick Spens? It's not a ghost story, but it may be sufficiently spooky without one and it's a nice in-between length. There are a number of variations and many intepretations, and you could do one of the ones that renders it from Scots into plain English.

"Half o'er, half o'er to Aberdour,
'Tis fifty fathoms deep
And there lies good Sir Patrick Spens
With the Scots lords at his feet."

#303 ::: Doug ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2019, 04:42 AM:

Spotted in the wilds of Twitter, this demanded to be shared here:

Hey now
You're a plum thief
Where'd the plums go
All gone

Hey now
That was breakfast
Gonna eat them
At dawn

All that's empty and cold
In the icebox just this note

#304 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2019, 07:22 AM:

I am totally impressed by the verse here. It’s like coming back to an old convivial pub and finding the conversation just as brilliant as when you left a long time gone.

#305 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2019, 12:21 PM:

"Sir Patrick Spens" is definitely a good choice, especially if you translate it out of dialect, so that it's clear how Sir Patrick knew the whole time that the ship was doomed.

#306 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2019, 12:55 PM:

CassyB: Some of these might be too long/require editing, but have you run across these William Rose Benet's "The Skater of Ghost Lake" (which is kind of a ghost story without a ghost, I admit) or Noyes' "The Highwayman"?

#307 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2019, 12:56 PM:

CassyB: Some of these might be too long/require editing, but have you run across William Rose Benet's "The Skater of Ghost Lake" (which is kind of a ghost story without a ghost, I admit) or Noyes' "The Highwayman"?

#308 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2019, 12:56 PM:

Oops--double post! Apologies--

#309 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2019, 01:55 PM:

Ooh, The Highwayman! Don't know why I didn't think of that one already; thank you!

#310 ::: crazysoph ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2019, 03:06 PM:

Current sitrep in Dublin:

Worldcon registration opened 4 pm local time today, so we ambled down from the home of my former neighbor and fellow fan, and those of us signed up for the entirety of the convention got our memberships. Walking away turned into a running-the-gauntlet thing with folks recognizing myself and Dear Hubby, with the usual fannish teasing among folks who knew us but not each other.

Two different sets of local friends kidnapped each of us to local Dublin pubs. Meanwhile, my mobile phone screen decided to quit but for real this time, leaving me a bit without communication. But, happily - I had my laptop, and Belgian friends currently on vacation in Croatia were on Skype, so, I asked one of them just to text Dear Hubby with the update.

So, from one local pub in Dublin to another, via a relay in Croatia.

Crazy(and very in the mood for her Worldcon!)Soph

#311 ::: crazysoph ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2019, 03:07 PM:

Current sitrep in Dublin:

Worldcon registration opened 4 pm local time today, so we ambled down from the home of my former neighbor and fellow fan, and those of us signed up for the entirety of the convention got our memberships. Walking away turned into a running-the-gauntlet thing with folks recognizing myself and Dear Hubby, with the usual fannish teasing among folks who knew us but not each other.

Two different sets of local friends kidnapped each of us to local Dublin pubs. Meanwhile, my mobile phone screen decided to quit but for real this time, leaving me a bit without communication. But, happily - I had my laptop, and Belgian friends currently on vacation in Croatia were on Skype, so, I asked one of them just to text Dear Hubby with the update.

So, from one local pub in Dublin to another, via a relay in Croatia.

Crazy(and very in the mood for her Worldcon!)Soph

#312 ::: crazysoph apologizes to the gnomes ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2019, 03:08 PM:

Crazy(sorry for the repeats!!)Soph

#313 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2019, 04:41 PM:

I'm in Dublin town tomorrow for work, finishing at the usual quitting hour or thereabouts.

#314 ::: crazysoph ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2019, 04:48 PM:

Eric @ 314

I'm attending a pub quiz tomorrow - completely separate from the Worldcon stuff; friends of mine are in dog-rescue, and are fund-raising.

Dunno how many folks will be there - it's not a huge place, but if you're at loose ends,...

Crazy(and sort of worrying about the effect of blurting out place/time here might be...but hey, if you're interested, I just might)Soph

#315 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2019, 05:19 PM:

Have fun in Dublin, all of you who are there!

This year I'm really wishing I could be there, between all my friends here, writers I chat with on Twitter, et al. Seriously thinking about planning a Worldcon trip with my wife for next year, depending on where it ends up.

If any of you are at Jeannette Ng's Kaffeeklatsch on Friday or Premee Mohamed's beer meetup on Thursday, say hi for me if you get a chance.

#316 ::: Eric ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2019, 05:47 PM:

Crazysoph@315 I wonder if I would know anyone there, we've fostered dogs up in Meath for the last couple of years.

#317 ::: crazysoph ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2019, 06:00 PM:

Eric @ 317

Greyhounds, by any chance?

Crazy(and appreciating her doggie friends, even though she is herself very much a cat person)Soph

#318 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2019, 09:02 AM:

AKICIML moment: Is there a name for a trope where an old rich powerful competent white man is mean to all the people who were mean to the young, female "sidekick" type?

I saw it in Blacklist, the one and a half episodes I watched, and I just tried reading a Preston & Child book (Cabinet of Curiosities) and there it is again. Agent Pendergast spends like fifty pages belittling the pretty anthropologist's bullying boss and stupid boyfriend. I had more examples in mind, I think, but then I spent an hour on TVTropes and they're gone now. It's not quite "Knight in shining armor", it's not quite "Bad boy", and it's not quite "What these people need is a white guy". (Also, everyone but Pendergast and the sidekick is an incompetent brute. Apparently the NY Times hires just anyone and lets them learn on the job.)

#319 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2019, 01:16 PM:

Crazysoph @ 318

No, not greyhound rescue, it's been more abandoned puppy rescue for the most part. Though we did have a Lurcher (greyhound/collie cross) for a month. He was sweet, but not the smartest dog in the pack. (Though, we've since been told he's quite smart for a lurcher).

The number of litters of puppies found in a box by the road is just heartbreaking.

Meetups wise, today has been too long a day, so I'm headed home. I just can't even anymore today.

#320 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2019, 05:58 PM:

@eric no. 320: I saw a topless box with a notch cut into one side on the sidewalk by the post office two days ago, and went "Oh God." Walked slowly up to it, expecting to see too-young kittens or puppies (or possibly bunnies) in dire need of help.

Books! Free to good owner. They're even house-trained, and they've probably had all their shots.

#321 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2019, 06:02 PM:

Jenny Islander @321 Plus the books don't continue to cost you money in the proverbial way of "free kittens."

#322 ::: drd ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2019, 07:34 PM:

Cassy B.: When it comes to filk and spooky stories, I would naturally think of the Lackey/Fish "Ferryman". In the "found filk" category, there's also Goethe's "Erlkönig".

#324 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2019, 04:31 PM:

@324, I live in "U".

#325 ::: Singing Wren ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2019, 08:32 PM:

Cassy B.:

Music, not poetry, but "Ghost Riders in the Sky" is nicely creepy. (I’m partial to the recording by Johnny Cash myself, although I have at least two other recordings as well.)

#326 ::: Chris ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2019, 07:58 PM:

This has been a work in progress for a while, and recent events tell me it's time to post what I have.

"Send learned men, investors rich," cries she
with silent lips. "Don't bother me with poor
and broken families desperate to breathe free;
I'll send back those who wash up on my shore.
For these, your homeless, have no worth to me.
I douse my lamp, and lock the golden door."

#327 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2019, 06:08 PM:

A few years ago, I got an idea for a cartoon: Statue of Liberty with Trump's head, holding up a "STOP" sign instead of the torch.

"Give us your poor, your tired, your huddled masses, unless you are Muslim, in which case go away."

#328 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2019, 07:36 PM:

Hi y'all. Poking my head in here to say that if Elliott Mason is still around, I have a book he should totally read. "Greenwich: The Place Where Days Begin and End" by Charles Jennings. I have never before read such a gossipy history/architecture book, and it is immensely enjoyable. Witness this description of the Deptford Town Hall (1905):

"It's as if the National Maritime Museum had shrunk to a fifth of its present size, got riotously drunk and was elbowing itself down New Cross way, looking for a fight."

Elliott, in thanks for your marvelous architectural tour of Chicago several years back, if you want this book I will mail it to you!

#329 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2019, 08:59 PM:

Incidentally, another delight some of y'all might not have discovered: The "Crime Pays, Botany Doesn't" channel on YouTube. Amateur botanist/geologist with a thick Chicago accent and a plethora of f-bombs explores areas of botanical interest and pontificates on the drawbacks of the Anthropocene. "Looka da phyllaries on dis dainty bastard."

#330 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2019, 09:19 PM:

Heyyy, sooo...

I've seen yet another fan-art of Klimt's The Kiss online, and I gotta wonder.

Has anybody, like, ever, besides me, noticed that the woman in the picture is digging at her own cuticles with the hand that the man can't see? And that she's veryvery gently attempting to adjust his grip on her face with the hand he can see?

#331 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2019, 10:54 PM:

Jenny Islander, I hadn't, but I had noticed that necks don't work like that.

#332 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2019, 12:11 AM:

@Nancy C. Mittens no. 332: I noticed the neck thing too, but had decided that it was due to the stylization.

But when you get past the stylization, and the gorgeous flowers, and the gold, what you get is a man looming over, and getting awfully close to, a woman whose body language is uncomfortable. Also note that she's digging in her toes at the edge of a cliff.

#333 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2019, 10:15 AM:

And I can't tell if she's wearing anything at all - he's wearing a cloak.

#334 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2019, 12:04 PM:

She's wearing an off-the-shoulder sleeveless midi dress and a nimbus of light. (Aside: Would love to see somebody make that dress IRL.)

#335 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2019, 12:38 PM:

Just duckducked it and discovered that more than one couple has cosplayed as The Kiss!

#336 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2019, 12:42 PM:

Whoa, and the clothes and styling in the paintings were cutting-edge fashion at the time because his muse was a fashion designer who drew inspiration from him in turn:

Emilie Louise Flöge is her name.

(The Kiss is still offputting though.)

#337 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2019, 07:15 PM:

Offputting, but so shiny.

#338 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2019, 10:16 PM:

And because it's Worldcon somewhere, the Hugo results (statistics are linked there):

#339 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2019, 03:15 PM:

No worldcon-going since 2013 (that's the one where Patrick and I met in the middle of a crosswalk and talked to each other right there), but hopefully 2021's in DC and hopefully without trump still in town...

#340 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2019, 03:29 PM:

Yes, 2021 will be in DC - DisCon III.

#341 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2019, 03:33 PM:

If Trump is still in town, there may be some difficulties at the convention. Given the nature of fandom, that's my prediction.

#342 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2019, 03:53 PM:

I have faith in fandom. The not-so-long-ago attempts at disrupting the Hugos showed that.

#343 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2019, 05:35 PM:

May you be right and me wrong, Serge!

#344 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2019, 06:20 PM:

I'm concerned about visitors from other countries having trouble with border agents.

#345 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2019, 08:54 PM:

HLN, follow up to #273: Area woman is still carless; necessary parts are on order from Boston, MA (remember, this is in California!) and may arrive tomorrow. Area woman needs to be home Friday.

#346 ::: alisea ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2019, 10:39 AM:

Yes, there was a Worldcon in Dublin, and I had a fabulous time in spite of working way too much while technically being on vacation. Read about my adventures here and see Martha Wells' Twitter for more pictures.

#347 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2019, 11:42 AM:

I am gobsmacked by the energy that’s woken up here.

#348 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2019, 11:42 AM:

I am gobsmacked by the energy that’s woken up here.

#349 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2019, 05:41 PM:

HLN: area woman has car back and can now go! home!

#350 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2019, 11:04 PM:

We're re-watching the very first Star Trek movie at my house tonight. Still can't help tearing up at the very, very long fly-by and docking sequence with the flourishing triumphant orchestral soundtrack. "There you go, fans. Imagine yourself on that shuttle. There she is. Enjoy. We love ya. We love ya."

#351 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2019, 03:43 PM:

Here's kind of a mind-blowing thought:

If you choose to not have children, you’re the first person in your direct line of ancestry to make this choice since the first organism to exist on Earth, about 4 billion years ago.

I mean, obviously, but still o.0

Via Bored Panda.

#352 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2019, 03:02 AM:

P J Evans @350: Hurrah! Safe driving.

#353 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2019, 03:45 AM:

eric@320: thank you for all you do in dog rescue. I truly cannot understand people who simply abandon animals, whether in boxes, or a cage, or tipping them over a hedge at night, or leaving them tied up and walking off, or ... I can't go on because if gets worse. Much worse.

Jenny Islander @321: Were some of the books suitable for adoption by you?

#354 ::: estelendur ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2019, 10:20 AM:

My parents are adopting a rescue greyhound on Friday!

And I have got a fancy new tea-making device that I would highly recommend to anybody who likes to fuss over their tea.(In hindsight, though, trying it out with highly caffeinated leaves a couple hours before bed was... unwise...)

#355 ::: Catherine Crockett ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2019, 11:50 AM:

I am trying to find out if Friesen Press is scammy. Perfunctory Googling is not helping much. Can someone make a suggestion about where I should look next?

#356 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2019, 05:29 PM:

Jacque #352: Unfortunately, as phrased that's not necessarily true, given that reproduction is not always a matter of choice.

In random news, at my boostore we had what might be the oddest non-book inclusion I've seen yet in a box of incoming books: A deceased but completely intact lizard. (A baby five-lined skink, which is the commonest lizard around these parts.)

#357 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2019, 05:50 PM:

estelendur @355: Great! My husband's family used to have one. Ideal pets since as long as they have the chance to run around fast for 30 mins twice a day they're happy as couch potatoes the rest of the time. :-)

#358 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2019, 06:23 PM:

Dave Harmon @357: Unfortunately, as phrased that's not necessarily true, given that reproduction is not always a matter of choice.

?? The quote is:

If you choose to not have children

How is choosing a thing...not a choice...?

#359 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2019, 07:23 PM:

You can choose not to have kids as much as you want, but sometimes, it happens anyway. Whether by more powerful people or lack of resources or both. But it's still a good quote.

#360 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2019, 08:54 PM:

Catherine, the Writer Beware blog at has news about scams in the publishing industry.

#361 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2019, 03:02 AM:

Diatryma: Yeah, okay, true.

(But it's still a cool idea. ::grumble::)

In other news, my new crush: Irving Finkel | The Ark Before Noah: A Great Adventure

#362 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2019, 07:00 AM:

Diatryma #360: Whether by more powerful people or lack of resources or both.

Or simply because biology can be pretty dang determined on a level far below sentience... and will occasionally just sneer at the arrogant humans, trying to interfere with its purposes.

#363 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2019, 11:37 AM:

Has anyone else had problems with accidental double orders from the Great South American River?

#364 ::: Kevin J Marks ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2019, 09:24 PM:

#49 with a Thai shop make som tam (if they have green papaya) or ask what variant to try.
If you have fresh fish a ceviche is also a good idea - lime juice and chile marinade on the fish.

#365 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2019, 09:52 AM:

Somebody posted this Dragoncon filkvid over on Customers Suck, I found it amusing enough to pass on here. Most of the participants/makers are pseudonymous (including the CS user who linked it with "I made a thing"), but I would not be at all surprised if some of the folks shown are "of this parish".

#366 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2019, 09:40 AM:

alisea @ 347:

The Raksura Colony Tree project looks wonderful. Everything came together so well. I wish I could have been there to see it.

#367 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2019, 11:42 PM:

Hey, is anybody else experiencing, not just complete loss of Disqus comments, but complete loss of the Disqus login page? I can't bring it up.

#368 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2019, 03:23 PM:

Jenny Islander #368: I had trouble with it the other day; I've previously found it cranky enough (and I was just poking at NAR out of boredom) that I just went off to read something else. ("Something else" turned into a Digger reread, so I've been giggling a lot the past few days... and crossposting a bit.)

#369 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2019, 02:24 AM:

Random hopeful late-night thought: Living in the 21st Century means seeing the baffled faces of your children as you try to explain why you are weeping with joy on June 26, 2015, because to your kids it's just obvious that if you want to live together as spouses, you get married, no plumbing criteria involved.

#370 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2019, 08:19 AM:

RIP Jessi Combs, trying to break her own land-speed record.

She died as she lived... at high speed, and challenging the limits.

#371 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2019, 10:17 AM:

#370: Oregon had a brief window of marriage equality in the early Naughts.

A manager at work and her partner swiftly took advantage.

I remember thinking something like: "Why were people worried about this? I mean, get a life."

The ruling got rolled back in Oregon -- I forget the details -- but the whole country got on board with Equality in what in retrospect was extraordinary speed.

I think it dawned on a majority of Americans that: "There's no problem with this. And yeesh . . . just what were we worried about?"

#372 ::: Mental Mouse ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2019, 12:04 PM:

Stefan Jones #372: Oh, ordinary people never had anything to worry about. Priests and preachers, on the other hand, were facing a very real attack on their "God-given" authority to decide whose marriages are legitimate. Why, how dare the secular government claim authority to permit unions that the representatives of God have forbidden, yadayadayada. (Hmph. That ship sailed well over half a century ago.)

The other week, my bookstore got in a number of books to the effect of "the homosexuals are trying to undercut the very concept of marriage". Some of were dated after the transition. Straight to the trash, after having covers or more torn off. Along with the other books advising pastors how to deal with "the problem of homosexuality".

#373 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2019, 12:49 PM:

Mental Mouse @373: A used bookstore, I take it?

One of the scheduled events at Torcon 3 was a slot for same-sex weddings, Ontario having recently legalized such. I remember chatting with an American gay acquaintance about it at the con. He said, "But I don't want to get married!" I replied something like "That's fine. Nobody's going to force you to. But I think it's important that if you do want to, you should be able to. It's a matter of basic fairness."

A just society benefits everyone.

#374 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2019, 06:16 PM:

Mental Mouse @ 373: with all due respect to my many issues with established religions, this wasn't just a matter of priests. Here in Boston, the loudest contrary voice whenever the next increment of justice is suggested comes from the "Catholic Action League", rather than from any official. ISTM that there are way too many people who tell themselves "I must be good! I'm following all the rules!" and who are threatened by the fall of any of these rules suggesting that maybe there are other rules -- or at least principles -- they've been neglecting. They're not necessarily ChINOs, they've just never learned to ask the next question.

#375 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2019, 08:15 PM:

CHip #375: there are way too many people who tell themselves "I must be good! I'm following all the rules!" and who are threatened by the fall of any of these rules

Which is very true... but who told these people what the rules were? And told them that this wasn't just an individual failing to be forgiven individually, but a threat to be combated? Those books were pretty damning¹ evidence in that regard.

Priest, preacher, minister, rabbi, imam -- these are all positions whose basic role and purpose is to teach other people (their congregations first, but also by intention the public at large) about morality: What the rules are, which ones are most important, what to do about violations within and outside their various faiths.

I have no problem with holding secular leaders accountable for what they say to their followers, or to the public at large, and declaring them responsible for the consequences of those instructions. Why should religious leaders escape that same responsibility?

¹ So to speak.

#376 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2019, 06:29 PM:

Dave Harmon @ 376: I have no problem charging clerics, or a religion as a whole when it has a central authority, with bigotry. (Don't get me started....) However, I expect you'll find few pulpits that make this their sole or even frequent topic. Contraiwise, in my generation (at least), social enforcement of "norms" had no reference to religion; it was something that filtered down from age group to age group.

And since coincidences happen, Boston is stuck with a Straight Pride parade this weekend. The organizing troll told the local paper:
Straight people have “been disregarded, and that’s a form of attack,” Racioppi said, citing a Netflix show about drag queens and his friend’s preteen daughter questioning her gender. “People need to be reassured that even though there’s all this mixed messaging, it’s still perfectly natural to identify as a heterosexual.”
They're bringing assorted hard-right jackasses (e.g., Milo Yiannopoulos and a Proud Boys leader) to speak on City Hall plaza, along with useful idiots (at least one each black and gay, they claim).

#377 ::: Mental Mouse ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2019, 09:19 AM:

Pardon me while I indulge in a brief rant about "why UNIX isn't more popular with the public".

So, my task at hand was to create an image with a circle of diameter 64 pixels. (Meant as a model for building in Terraria.) I'm running Ubuntu with GNOME.

First I looked at GIMP. Whoops, that's not actually a drawing program. The "ellipse tool" gives a selection, but doesn't actually draw anything. Now where the heck is the brush selection? Its window doesn't show by default, and the "toolbox" gives no sense of how to apply the brush to that ellipse, as opposed to, say drawing a line with an ellipse brush. Consulting "help" fires up a browser window. Choosing "draw simple shapes" gives insufficient and perhaps incorrect instructions for drawing a line; the next page admits that GIMP isn't really meant for drawing, but assures me that doing shapes is just like the line, but with shapes.

OK, hit synaptic to find a more appropriate program (which wasn't installed by default). "gpaint" looks like something a schoolboy would write as a freshman programming assignment. It's got some simple buttons, but no tooltips, feedback, or zoom. "gnome-paint" is marginally better, and actually can draw a circle, but still has no way to zoom in on the image... or print it from the program. The next plausible option is grafx2, which turns out to be a straight emulation of a program from the Amiga or somesuch, with no system menus, much less toolboxes.

At this point, I might be able to get some use out of the image I got from gnome-paint, but I'm also starting to get disgusted with the OS. There's a bunch of other paint programs available, but which of those are likely to be actually useful? Programs like gpaint or grafx2, which are flatly not up to snuff, shouldn't even be in the repositories!


#378 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2019, 09:57 AM:

Mental Mouse, thanks for the rant. It's timely, as I am looking into switching to Linux at home, after a few weeks' experience with Windows 10 at work.

#379 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2019, 10:34 AM:

GIMP is major league UGH. I use it occasionally, but never feel comfortable with it.

Gwenview, a photo management program, does most of things I need. Crop, resize, etc.

Libre Writer is the better of the various Unix friendly office suites. Does the job, but there are occasional oddities.

#380 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2019, 10:48 AM:

Mental Mouse @378:

What does the lack of a bit-mapped graphics editor that can draw ellipses have to do with the OS? I mean, GIMP on Windows can't draw ellipses either.

But Inkscape, on Windows, Mac, and Linux, can, and it does it much better than a program like Photoshop (a commercial bit-mapped graphics editor you'll only find on Windows and Mac). It's comparable to Illustrator (the commercial vector-based graphics editor you'll find next to Photoshop on a Windows and Mac).

#381 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2019, 11:32 AM:

Whoops, "Mental Mouse" is in fact my gaming ID. Given what I'd just been doing, I accidentally invoked it here.

#382 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2019, 12:42 PM:

Dave Harmon: FWIW, one draws a circle with GIMP by selecting the oval shape, then filling in the selection with the "bucket" tool.

I agree that GIMP's documentation leaves much to be desired.

#383 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2019, 12:48 PM:

Alternately, one can set the pencil tool with a round tip of whatever diameter. Click.

#384 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2019, 03:40 PM:

Mental Mouse @378: Though I'm an old UNIX geek (when the hell did that happen??); I can't dispute your point.

The problem as I see it is that Open Source is often subject to different, less draconian selection pressures, and so generally is "good enough" to serve the purpose of the person doing the coding—but no better. Proprietary software, while proprietary and subject to that model's own failings, does have to be at least good enough to keep customers coming back.

Meanwhile, wrt graphics software, I've been using Pixelmator (Mac only, sadly) very happily for about seven years, now. It has its own issues, but it is a very credible stand-in for Photoshop, and costs all of $50.

It also has some spline capabilities as well, although it's still not Illustrator. (Though TBF, I do know that there are capabilities that I haven't explored yet.) (I haven't actually tried PM Pro yet, which is reputed to have enhanced spline capability. PM is generally sufficient for most of my needs, and I just went through a forced upgrade this summer, so am Not In The Mood to learn a new software just at the moment.)

Buddha Buck @381: I've tried Inkscape, but have found to to be frustrating in similar ways to GIMP. ISTR I never did successfully create anything with it.

#385 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2019, 05:33 PM:

Collected responses:

Allan Beatty #379: It's not that UNIX is generally inferior -- its primary advantage is that it doesn't bind you to one of the two major ecosystems, which are respectively predatory and paternalistic (and neither of which is all that easy to use either). And the command line tools redeem a lot of sins. But every so often, I run into something like this.

Buddha Buck #381: The problem I was ultimately complaining about is poor curation of the package repositories. There probably is a full-featured paint program for Linux that can do anything MSPaint can and more. The problem is finding it among the chaff! I've just installed Inkscape, and will check it out over time. (And being able to grab programs almost instantly is one of Linux's strengths, which they had long before Apple started in with their App Store.)

Joel Polowin #383: Thatnks, I'll try to remember that for next time. The problem with GIMP is that even for an old techie, its learning curve is steep enough that as an occasional user, every time I fire it up, I find myself trying to find my feet all over again.

Stefan Jones #380: I did try LibreOffice's Draw, but that's a different sort of "other sort of program. It was immediately obvious that it wanted to create a circle object, to be represented as such at whatever scale the document was displayed, rather than the bitmapped circle I was looking for.

Jacque #385: Yup, that's always been a major weakness of Open Source. But it's worse now, because as GUIs took over and system libraries multiplied, even a pre-GUI ex-programmer like me has effectively lost their recourse to "use the source Luke, these docs are hopeless". (And don't get me started on system management, with all those layers of indirection.)

#386 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2019, 01:37 PM:

And meanwhile, I'm still getting used to the MacBook Pro I bought a couple of months ago—hafta say, not in love. In addition to an ever growing list of irritations with the current incarnations of the software packages I use most frequently (MS Office, I'm looking at you, but Pixelmator, you're not off the hook, either.), the box itself seems a little flakey.

Granted, I've got the trackpad set to the Accessibility setting, which means a lot of false-positives. But the keyboard seems less than 100% reliable, and I really loathe and detest the touchbar. (Only reason I have one is that I quickly realized I need four USB ports rather than the two that the basic model provides—and even with that I'm still using a dock.) Not least because you have to hit the "key" twice to (for example) Mute the sound. Tripley irritating with ads on videos.

More than once this summer I've seriously considered just giving up home computing as a bad bet. But the online world is so thoroughly integrated into my whole life, now, that that just isn't practical. And heaving the laptop through the closed living room window would be...expensive.

#387 ::: odaiwai ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2019, 08:58 AM:

RE: Mental Mouse@378

I find SVG very handy for those sort of tasks where you know you want THIS shape at THAT size. (That basic tutorial page even shows you how to draw a filled circle of radius 40.)

Then, with ImageMagick (which is going to be in just about every repository) you can convert it to a jpg/png/whatever.

#388 ::: Kip Williams ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2019, 10:34 AM:

Jacque, sympathies. After using MacBook Pro at home since 2005, I finally got fed up with the same thing going wrong over and over on different machines. My 2011/2014 one finally died, and the refurb we got to replace it couldn't finish a task without ruining external drives. We replaced that with a brand-new one, and when it started doing the same thing as the last two or three MacBook Pros, I returned it and got a Dell Inspiron.

Pretty happy with it, too, despite having to figure out how to get along on a platform that's determinedly opposite whatever I've learned to do over the last couple of decades. For the same money as a 13" Mac with insufficient ports and enough memory to recall its own name I now have a 17" laptop/tablet with a .5TB SS drive.

The tablet aspect is particularly nice. Now I have a sheet music platform that can go on a piano's music stand and show me two pages side by side at a reasonable size. I use it as much for that as for all other computing tasks.

("Computing tasks" reminds me of the line in Chicken-Man where he describes the Chicken Cave to Miss Helfinger: "It's where I keep things like the spectro-analyzer... and the Chicken Computer... for computing things with...")

#389 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2019, 11:14 AM:

Something tells me that Marxism is reviving under the idiocy of Dolt45. I'm reading and hearing more references to class struggle, and the Dotard's frequent rejection of socialism as a national pathway leads me to the conclusion that there is something there.

Am I mistaken (or optimistic)? Or are we seeing the return of class analysis and organization?

#390 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2019, 12:09 PM:

Fragano #390: The thing is, Trump has repeatedly been dumb enough to say out loud what his predecessors cloaked in euphemism and misdirection.

Then too, his policies and actions have been so blatantly hostile to the poor (and even the not-rich), that even people who've never heard anything about Marxism beyond "that's what the Russians did" are starting to realize that there's a war on, and Trump isn't on their side.

#391 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2019, 04:08 PM:

Dave Harmon #386: "the two major ecosystems, which are respectively predatory and paternalistic..."

It's not as easy as you think to guess which is which, in your estimation. :/

#392 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2019, 04:16 PM:

Re the resurgence of Marxism: I think it's at least partially a window shift. We've had literally a generation (some voters' entire lives) of the Right saying that financial safety nets are socialism, affordable health care is socialism, working financial regulation is socialism, clean air and water is socialism, public transit is socialism. Inevitably "socialism" polls really well these days among people who like living in a functional society. Whether this extends to genuine Marxist thought is not obvious.

To be clear, I know young folks who are deadly serious (and better-educated than me) about destroying capitalism. But my social circles make a lousy statistical sample of America.

#393 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2019, 09:14 PM:

I also wasn't sure which operating system is predatory and which is paternalistic. They both seem predatory to me, but I guess Apple is more paternalistic.

#394 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2019, 09:30 PM:

I think of Microsoft as the predatory one, based on my old-time experience with them. They're the ones that would do stuff like checking the mouse driver for their copyright string, while their own driver would test for an undocumented response from their own hardware. They're also the ones who coined the Embrace, Extend, Extinguish strategy to co-opt independent standards.

With Apple, the interfaces they built (and MS tries to copy) are designed to do what they think you should do, and never mind what you actually want to do. And who needs a manual, when "our interface is totally intuitive!"

#395 ::: Singing Wren ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2019, 09:37 PM:

Dave Harmon @ 395:

Microsoft seems to have gotten pretty good at that "what they think you should do" part. I use Visual Studio for work, and regularly mutter things like "Quit helping me". (On a good day. On a bad day, I am rather louder than a mutter.)

#396 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2019, 08:57 AM:

Re Marxism, I'm not knowledgeable enough to be sure I'd recognize actual Marxism. I agree with Andrew Plotkin that "socialism" with the idea of a more cooperative rather than exhaustively class-competitive society seems to have become more appealing over the past few years. I've been wondering whether the change I thought I saw reflected a gradual shift in the voices I listen to or a wider cultural shift. It might be the ideological rift in our nation deepening as those whose unacknowledged privilege previously allowed them to drift in a mostly-politically-apathetic middle (I am, for better or worse, one of those) feel compelled to choose sides.

#397 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2019, 09:55 AM:

Dave Harmon #391

I agree.

#398 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2019, 09:59 AM:

Andrew Plotkin #393

I'm seeing class struggle language out of DSA. Marxism is back, I think.

#399 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2019, 10:06 AM:

OtterB #397

If class struggle is mentioned, then the ideology's either Marxism or anarchism. As I say in #399, I'm seeing increased use of Marxist language.

I'm glad to see that I'm not alone in seeing a revival of socialist activity over the past few years -- since W's Great Recession revived the progressive movement -- but until recently I hadn't realized that socialist ideas were given new life by capitalism showing its underside.

#400 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2019, 10:12 AM:

Fragano Ledgister @ 390:

I'm definitely of a similar opinion as Dave Harmon and Andrew Plotkin: stagnant wages and a dearth of good job opportunities, combined with Trump and the Republicans finally saying the quiet bits out loud are leading to white Americans finally examining things through a class-based lens — and a lot of them are realizing they're not the happy middle class people they were told they were. Combine that with seeing no way out of where they are under the current system with being told that everything that would help them is Socialism, and a bunch of them are starting to think that that might not be such a bad thing after all.

I first started coming to political awareness when I was living in England, so when I moved back to the US I was stunned to see that practically no one looked at society through a class-based lens — it was all racial. While it's impossible to understand the US without understanding the racism baked into the bones of our society, ignoring the class aspects leaves us vulnerable.

I am glad to finally see a class-based understanding of what's going on. What I worry about is the subset of white progressives who don't want or care to admit the racist and sexist underpinnings of our society at the same time. It all needs to be integrated to see how we got to where we are today, and how to fix it.

OtterB @ 397:

Likely a bit of both. Gradual shift in voices, yes, but I've also noticed a growing cultural shift. Plus, of course, the ideological rift that has been encouraged to grow ever stronger.

A friend of mine lives in a small town in Arizona, and she is not happy by the number of people who now openly fly Confederate flags from their pick-up trucks, or (when she was working retail) would just start ranting about Hillary at her for no reason. Behavior that a lot of people once seemed to be embarrassed by, they're now proud of, and it's harder to pretend that there's a happy little middle ground. You have to decide which way to jump.

#401 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2019, 01:33 PM:

OMG! Teresa has a new post up on the home page!! Squee!

Kip Williams @389: I'm finding I'm having thoughts along those lines, so thank you for reporting your experience. I'm assuming the Dell is a Windows machine? For good or ill, my job has brought me up to speed, so I think I would find it an easier transition than you maybe did. Windows does have issues (frex around folder behavior), but they are steadily converging with Mac.

Fragano Ledgister @390: I think you are not mistaken. I don't have the jargon, but I see the term "socialism" bandied about more and more and, frankly, not before time, if you ask me.

Andrew Plotkin @393: the Right saying that financial safety nets are socialism, affordable health care is socialism, working financial regulation is socialism, clean air and water is socialism, public transit is socialism.

Me: "Oh, it is? Oh, okay. Yeah, let's do that!" That argument's probably not having the effect the Right wants it to have.

I think well-regulated capitalism has much to recommend it. What we're living through right now, though, seems to be the corollary to the current manifestation of the "well-regulated militia" of 2nd Amendment fame. :\

Allan Beatty @394: *snort!*

Singing Wren @396: Let us take this moment to  celebrate  mark the passing of the late, not-particularly-lamented Clippy.

OtterB @397: gradual shift in the voices I listen to or a wider cultural shift.

From where I sit, I'm hearing both. And I think a lot of credit goes to the forces that brought AOC & The Squad into office.

KeithS @401: it's impossible to understand the US without understanding the racism baked into the bones of our society

YouTube has been offering up a lot of '60 TV, and on a lark I went and watched a couple of eps of the old Daniel Boone series ('cause I <3 Mingo). And, HOLY SH!! is the American Holocaust front and center in that show! In a completely taken-for-granted, "yes, of course, that's the way things were supposed to go" sort of way. My god! An aspect which, it should be pointed out, slid right past young-me without so much as an eyelid twitch.

ignoring the class aspects leaves us vulnerable.

Somewhere around twelve years ago, someone hipped me to the idea that Race in this country is really about Class—the race angle also serves as a facade laid on top to get the lower class whites on board.

It all needs to be integrated to see how we got to where we are today, and how to fix it.

This is one reason #MeToo gives me some hope. It'll be far to easy to let those concerns get sublimated, though, should things start to get comfortable again.

Behavior that a lot of people once seemed to be embarrassed by, they're now proud of

OTOH, it does make 'em easier to spot 'em in the wild, which is worth something.

#402 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2019, 07:54 PM:

Thanks to the gnomes for taking out the spam!
(I have some cookies. And some good chocolate bars.)

#403 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2019, 08:55 PM:

Dave Harmon at #395: With Apple, the interfaces they built stole from Xerox PARC (and MS tries to copy).


#404 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2019, 09:54 PM:

Allan Beatty #404: That was their original interface, but the move to app-style interfaces and icons-for-everything adds a new layer.

#405 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2019, 10:18 PM:

Somebody just "won the thread" on Not Always Right with this one:

Q: Where does a mansplainer get his water?
A: From a well, actually.

#406 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2019, 11:54 PM:

AP has changed its guidance on the use of hyphens.

I shall have to write a strongly-worded letter to the Times.

#407 ::: Kip Williams ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2019, 10:33 AM:

Jacque @401: Indeed, it was a fairly extreme thing that drove me back to Windows. The Mac problem was the USB chain and the drives on it. I had big backups, and I couldn't install them on the new Mac, because it had a ludicrously tiny hard drive, and those backups were flopping right and left. I bought a 5TB drive, and it promptly became unusable. I managed everything off of it (online backups helped there), and exchanged the drive for a new one that immediately did the same thing.

At this point, Apple finally acknowledged the unit's problems and decided I should have a brand-new unit instead of the refurb, and charged for the difference. Essentially, they upsold me by starting me off with a lemon. What I wasn't expecting was that the brand-new MacBook Pro would start doing the same thing as the refurb, which was also the same thing my old computers had done on their erratic road to obsolescence. That's when I got off the platform completely and bought this Windows machine. Still finding those backwards reflexes every day, but less harrowing.

#408 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2019, 11:32 AM:

On Macs: I've heard very similar stories in the last 10 years from other users. Why I stuck with PCs, despite the problems with Windows. (I didn't upgrade every time, and tend to stick with older versions.)

#409 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2019, 12:25 PM:

Kip: Can you unpack the terminology a little bit above? I'm not quite following.

The 5TB drive, was that a plug-in drive? Or was a replacement for your small on-board one?

#410 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2019, 02:07 PM:

I'm not nearly as optimistic about a leftward move as some of you seem to be; the attacks on analysis-by-class as "class warfare", and presenting socialism as if it were utter tyranny, have been effective so far, and I don't see them losing power among enough of the electorate to support a shift -- persuading enough people that they'll lose something in return for insufficiently perfect promised benefits (given that past promises have not been 100.00% fulfilled) is too easy. IMO the Electoral College gives the Right excessive leverage, but that's a whole 'nother rant, along with the one about First Past the Post. The fact that preferential voting has passed the first hurdle to being on the ballot here in Massachusetts is nice to see but not likely to be significant.

#411 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2019, 03:56 PM:

Omg look at that nice shiny clean "Recent Comments" list! Thank you, Gnomes!!

(Some Pepperidge Farm Strawberry Thumbprint Cookies, perhaps?)

#412 ::: Kip Williams ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2019, 07:35 PM:

It was a free-standing Passport 5TB backup drive. And it still is, actually.

I need to borrow a Mac some time so I can get data from the Mac-formatted external drives I have, and then reformat them on this one.

#413 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2019, 12:18 PM:

So this just happened.

MY YOUNGEST CHILD: Good morning! tries to sit down

FURRBALL, my grumpy 15-year-old cat: yells at him

Y.C.: Oh, sorry, I'll sit somewhere else.

FURRBALL: keeps yelling

ME: I think he's mad because your dad left his sleep wedge on the couch.

Y.C.: moves enormous sleep wedge to another room

FURRBALL: That's better. However, I don't want that couch. I want the other couch. I just don't like it when Big Hoomin leaves that thing lying around. curls up exactly where Y.C. had been sitting

I love my hairy little buttheaded eldest son.

#414 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2019, 12:49 PM:


It isn't so much the Electoral College that gives the Right more leverage. The Electoral College tipping point bias (that is, who is more likely to win when the popular vote is even) varies from election to election and doesn't systematically favor either party (for example, it favored the Democrats as recently as 2012).

The big problem is the Senate. Which has MASSIVE overrepresentation of rural white voters. Unfortunately we're basically stuck with that, although the problem could be reduced slightly by granting statehood to DC and Puerto Rico.

#415 ::: Devin ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2019, 06:01 PM:

Michael I @ 414

The Electoral College does systematically favor rural states (at least until and unless we drastically redraw the map of the US). It does not tilt as heavily as the Senate, but it does overrepresent some voters and those voters are not randomly selected. The fact that in some elections a specific measure occasionally tilts the other way doesn't change that.

The problem really is the inclusion of Senators in the EC count: if you based the EC vote on the House alone, you'd get a population-proportional system with some odd tipping-point behavior, much as you describe. But since instead it's based on each state's House and Senate representation, Wyoming votes count triple.

#416 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2019, 06:54 PM:


There should be some bias in the EC. And if we had a long enough time series it might be detectable. But in any individual election the noise predominates.

#417 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2019, 07:57 PM:

Devin #415: The Electoral College does systematically favor rural states ... The problem really is the inclusion of Senators in the EC count...

I'm afraid that's working as designed. The House represents the population, the Senate represents the states as units of governance. The EC adds them together for the Presidential contest, specifically to reduce the electoral dominance of populated states over the less-populated ones.

Whether that system is a good thing overall is... kinda above my pay grade. ;-)

#418 ::: Devin ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2019, 02:27 AM:

Eh. I am generally uninterested in whether or not the Constitution is working as designed: unlike most of the founding fathers, I think slavery is "wrong," and when they sat down to design a government to preserve it, I stopped caring about their design (except in as much as it contains pieces that are salvageable to serve better purposes.)

The EC isn't such a piece: its other design function was to allow enslavers' presidential votes to be counted as if their slaves had voted with them (or at least three-fifths of their slaves.)

But even if we pretend that "working as designed" and "a problem" were somehow antithetical, I don't think it's at all plausible to claim that men who lived in a confederation where the gap between the most populous state and the least was about ten to one would have forseen either California or Wyoming, with their nearly-hundred-to-one gap.

There's also the issue that, because of the massive expansion in voters per House seat, even a California-to-Wyoming spread in 1790 would have left California voters far better represented in the EC than they are under today's rules: if we'd kept the size of House districts as the sacred intent of the blessedly original founders had it, California would have 545 EC votes to Wyoming's 10, instead of 55 to 3.

(And yes, a House that size would be unmanageable... But an EC that size wouldn't be a problem: the EC doesn't need to debate.)

#419 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2019, 08:16 AM:

Devin #418: That falls under the homeostasis problem that I was rambling about on the other thread. Back then, the drastically disparate economies and guiding concepts of the various states were facing an overriding need to stand united against the British. Making that happen required making concessions... which concessions cost us big-time later on, with the Civil War.

The greater "modern" disparity of population has arguably even darker roots -- the reason for it is that we claimed huge swathes of territory that we didn't actually have the population to settle... and we flatly refused to accept the self-governance, or even humanity, of the people who were living there before we came along. (Yet another followup to that original precedent of deciding that only some people actually counted as "real".)

#420 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2019, 08:18 PM:

Preserving slavery was not the only intent of the EC.

It was also designed to help guard against corruption of the government. The framers of the Constitution were obsessed with the fear that any government could be seized by corrupt interests or fall sway to the momentary passions of the mob.

And by mob they generally meant farmers who outnumbered merchants and could write lenient bankruptcy laws when they got the chance. See why Rhode Island didn't send any delegates to the constitutional convention and why uniform bankruptcy laws are specifically listed as a federal power.

So to prevent the three branches of government from all going corrupt at the same time or at least slow down changes that the conservative classes would not like, the framers arranged for various officials to be selected at different times and by different methods. They came up with a real doozy of a method for selecting the president.

#421 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2019, 10:20 PM:

Devin at 418,

I wonder if modern communication methods (computers, email, texts, etc.) would make any difference to the manageability of the House if we removed the 435 cap.

#422 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2019, 10:20 PM:

Devin at 418,

I wonder if modern communication methods (computers, email, texts, etc.) would make any difference to the manageability of the House if we removed the 435 cap.

#423 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2019, 10:23 PM:

Oh dear, double post. Well, I really do wonder.

#424 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2019, 11:17 PM:

The problem is that 435 is as many as the chamber can hold physically, and they're unlikely to want to change that. (Not without a lot of money and persuasion, anyway.)

#425 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2019, 10:28 AM:

#424: Just have Spirit Airlines design new seating arrangements.

#426 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2019, 06:38 PM:

P J Evans @424:

The Commons Chamber in Westminster seats 427 of the 650 MPs. It is 46'x68'. The Senate Chamber in DC seats 100 Senators. It is 80'x113', or nearly 3 times as large. The House Chamber seats 435+ Representatives. It is 93'x139', over 4 times as large as the Commons Chamber. In theory, if they packed the House Chamber like they do the Commons chamber, they could fit 1700+ Representatives in there. Saying they don't have room, when other legislatures pack as many in much less space is disingenuous.

I read somewhere that a good rule of thumb for effective legislature size is the cube root of the population it serves. Westminster greatly exceeds that, and the US House doesn't come close. If the US increased to the cube-root size, that would put the House at around 690-700 representatives. That is not quite twice what we have now, but still wouldn't require rebuilding the Capitol. It may require re-organizing the chamber, but not increasing the size of the room. It may also require building a new office building to hold the offices of the new representatives, but that's not too big a deal.

#427 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2019, 07:01 PM:

Buddha Buck @426: Any idea of a citation on that? Varying as the cube in that situation makes no sense at all to me: what definition are they using for "effective"? How do they measure?

Seems more likely that there are absolutes in terms of communication theory for a size limit.

#428 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2019, 07:15 PM:

The House has desks, not benches, and all the officers sit on a dais. I doubt you could convince them they need to change that feature.

#429 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2019, 02:20 AM:

Late night over here....

I just discovered that somebody recommended one of my fanfics on Tumblr.

Half of my brain: Happy flapping! Silent squeals! I got noticed!

The other half: Oh. Crap. I got noticed.

#430 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2019, 09:21 AM:

Dunno why I can’t find Mike Ford’s original post here, but while searching I found that someone put together a reading/slideshow of sorts:

#431 ::: Kip Williams ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2019, 09:48 AM:

Julie L: Good thought, and thanks for having it while it's still timely. I went to the front page right sidebar, which has a link (on the words "We Remember") to a page of Mike Ford tribute material, which includes the link to 110 Stories among many other bits of prime Ford.



#432 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2019, 02:01 PM:

IIRC, Happy birthday, Xopher. A good reason to remember the day.

#433 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2019, 03:11 PM:

Xopher: Happy happy!!

#434 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2019, 03:51 PM:

Xopher, long life and good health!

#435 ::: errolwi ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2019, 05:39 PM:

Tom Whitmore @#427
The cube-root law is an empirical observation, backed by a theoretical model.

#436 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2019, 07:11 PM:

Ah -- so there is no measure for what's "effective", the chart shows wide variation that could fit a large number of curves, and the article you pointed to has no connection to the model.

#437 ::: Devin ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2019, 07:32 PM:

errolwi @435

That's an empirical observation about what size legislatures tend to be, not what size functions best. (Or else perhaps it's someone claiming that there is a functional argument that has been made, but they give neither an explanation nor a link and their summary of the referenced paper suggests otherwise.)

In order to answer Tom's question (and mine as well) you would need to graph that cube-root ratio against some measure of governmental effectiveness and show that it drops off above and below a particular ratio. I'm not convinced that it would: I suspect, like Tom, that there are limits to effective collaboration that have to do with how many cooks are in the kitchen, not with how many people sent each of them there.

As a thought experiment: is there some reason that 800 representatives would be able to cooperate and debate better if they represented 500 million people than they would if they represented only 50 million?

#438 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2019, 08:15 PM:

Happy Birthday, Xopher!

#439 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2019, 07:16 AM:

Tom Whitmore @427:

I found a couple of citations.

There is a Wikipedia article on the Cube Root Rule, which is essentially about the proposal I made above and efforts to make it work. It cites the work of Rein Taagepera, but doesn't give a specific work.

I was able to find a 1973 paper by Taagepera which discusses a different cube law in elections -- that in a 2-party system, the ratio of seats won by each party goes by the cube of the ratio of votes cast for each party -- with citations for that observation dating back to as early as 1910. But it doesn't discuss this particular rule.

I did find a blog post by Michael Shugart, one of Taagepera's co-authors, discussing the cube root rule. He even has a category on his blog about it. The two of them wrote a book, Seats & Votes, in 1989. It does not appear to be available legally online.

#440 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2019, 10:23 AM:

I'm reading Lepore's "These Truths."

Just finished the Civil War chapter.

The stank of white supremacy and aristocratic bully politics was strong enough on the Confederacy to knock a buzzard off a shit wagon. I mean, dang, there was Abel Upsher writing out loud that the South didn't have to deal with the conflict of capital and labor because enslaved blacks gave poor whites someone to feel superior to.

#441 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2019, 12:21 PM:

Buddha Buck @439: Thank you for doing a bit of research. On the whole, this continues to look to me like someone deciding that what's happened is what's best, and that what they can measure easily is a good surrogate for something they've failed to measure but wanted to (a very common problem in any system).

It's remarkably akin to claiming that FPTP is the best election system because it's so widely used. It's good for certain things, but it's not good for dealing with large complex electorates where one wants to elect a candidate that's optimal on multiple measurement criteria.

My experience is that large groups of people need different forms of organization depending on size (my rule of thumb for the levels of organization a convention committee needs is that the convention becomes one layer more complex every time the size of the convention gets 5X bigger -- there's a fair amount of wiggle room there, but it seems about right overall). Communication structures within a group of over 700 people are substantially different from those in a group of 7 (not least important: the number of calls necessary for each person to talk to each other person goes up as the factorial of the number people talking, which means it's faster than exponential -- setting up "phone trees" can make this easier, as can committees and the like, but these require trust).

The "cube root law" does not pass the "sniff test" with me.

#442 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2019, 02:58 PM:

Tom: Yeah, the whole issue of scaling and stable social structure seems to be something human societies seem to pretty consistently fail at.

Dunbar Number suggests one possible limit. OTOH, things like Occupy and the Hong Kong protests suggest that dynamic organization of large numbers of people is maybe more fluid than might be immediately obvious. (I'm also dubious of Dunbar's conclusion, as I am confident I have regular interactions with well over two hundred people comprising several distinct communities.)

I'd be fascinated to see if any studies have been done of the complexity/flexibility/resilience of rule-sets as they compare to group sizes. (It would surprise me if such work has not been done, but a likely search phrase doesn't leap immediately to mind.)

And then if you wanted to get really wonky, layer into your model dimensions for resource abundance and ambient stress levels and types.

#443 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2019, 06:20 PM:

Stefan @ 425:: [snortle]. Good thing I didn't have any liquid around....

On the anniversary, the BBC asks "Was CIA ‘too white’ to spot 9/11 clues?", pointing to places where it probably missed serious Islamic symbolism

#444 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2019, 06:27 PM:

On a lighter note, people can now see whether they can call spirits from the vasty deep: Virtual reality recreates Owain Glyndwr's Sycharth home.

#446 ::: Kip Williams ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2019, 10:47 PM:

(via The Daily Cartoonist)

#447 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2019, 02:49 AM:

So I cook for a family of five, a sick relative, and an elderly cat.

Immediate family (not counting the cat) has a recently expanded Nope List of foods that range from "will gag" to "may have to go to the E.R." Sick relative has a Nope List just as long all on her own. a cat.

I have to find dinner recipes that are safe for everybody at some stage (cat gets plain meat, sick relative may get a portion before the dish is completely made to avoid Nope Ingredients), so I've been ransacking cookbooks in order to get out of a rut. As a result, I made Blasphemous Pad Thai today.

Blasphemous Pad Thai is Pad Thai with no chiles or chile-based ingredients whatsoever. It tastes...well, it tastes pretty good. Savory, greens-y, bright with citrus, smoky with nam pla. We all liked it. I just feel like I'm blaspheming against Thai culinary religion, because there is no heat at all in this wok!

#448 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2019, 02:59 AM:

Maybe it's Pre-Columbian Pad Thai.

#449 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2019, 09:26 AM:

#447 Jenny Islander

Congrats on excellent food under constraints.

There doesn't seem to be such a thing as pre-Columbian Pad Thai.

"Stir fried rice noodles may have been introduced to Ayutthaya during the time of the Ayutthaya Kingdom by Chinese traders[4][5] and subsequently altered to reflect Thai flavor profiles.[5]

Author Mark Padoongpatt[6] maintains that pad thai is "...not this traditional, authentic, going back hundreds of years dish. It was actually created in the 1930s in Thailand by Plaek Phibunsongkhram, who was the prime minister at the time. The dish was created because Thailand was focused on nation building. So he created this dish using Chinese noodles and called it pad Thai as a way to galvanize nationalism."[7]

Another explanation of pad thai's provenance holds that, during World War II, Thailand suffered a rice shortage due to the war and floods. To reduce domestic rice consumption, the Thai government under Prime Minister Phibunsongkhram promoted consumption of noodles instead.[8] His government promoted rice noodles and helped to establish the identity of Thailand. As a result, a new noodle called sen chan (named after Chanthaburi Province) was created. Pad thai has since become one of Thailand's national dishes.[9] Today, some food vendors add pork or chicken (although the original recipe did not contain pork because of the government's perception that pork was a Chinese meat).[10] Some food vendors still use the original recipe."

#450 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2019, 11:26 AM:

Food is part of living culture; my friend's mother is from Hong Kong and considers Worchestershire sauce to be a key part of any dish. Besides, 'inauthentic' food that gets eaten is better than 'authentic' food for display.

I mean, I also referred to my Protein Now Feed Me meal upon getting home from work as a magnificently inauthentic quesadilla (refried beans and mozzarella microwaved for a minute on a tortilla, then stirred together, folded into quarters, and shoved directly into my face) but.

#451 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2019, 03:54 PM:

Jenny Islander @447: I'm blaspheming against Thai culinary religion

If you feel the heresy is entirely unsupportable, maybe reach out to Somtow Sucharitkul of this parish's Oort Cloud, for a dispensation? I have personally observed him fabricating religious traditions on the spot out of whole cloth (well, table cloth, to be precise).*

* The hotel housing the '83(?) Westercon(?) had table cloths the color of Buddhist monk's robes. He wandered about the convention wrapped in one, offering blessings on behalf of The Church of Totally Awesome.

Diatryma @450: magnificently inauthentic quesadilla

Ob ref John Scalzi's burritos

#452 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2019, 05:41 AM:

#450 ::: Diatryma

I find it entertaining that "authenticity" has a lot of nonsense to it, but the belief in authenticity is one of the things shaping what people cook.

#453 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2019, 10:39 AM:

And even rejecting the commonly applied authenticity means, for me at least, applying a smaller version of it-- "It might not be 'authentic' but it's my mom's recipe, so bite me." Much like my insistence that the flowering shrubs are rosasharons rather than roses of Sharon because that is how We say it. Also, cranberry sauce can be homemade, and praised heartily for the special effort, but more properly has can ridges. I don't even eat cranberry sauce, but I know that.

#454 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2019, 12:11 PM:

In my family, we call that cranberry jelly, and there was an oval dish that was used for that and not much else. (The jelly fit in it perfectly.) Cranberry sauce was home-made, usually with orange in it, and needed a spoon because it really was a sauce.

#455 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2019, 01:20 PM:

@Diatryma no. 453: One of my MIL's signature recipes was "tacos." You made "tacos" like this:

Saute' ground beef, drain the fat, add lots of chili powder and a little cumin; you could also throw in some mild salsa if you have the end of a jar to use up; add enough water to make it wet, and simmer.

Meanwhile, tear up just the heart of an iceberg lettuce. Also grate some Tillamook medium Cheddar cheese, finely dice an onion, ditto a tomato (or used drained canned tomato if the fresh tomatoes are lousy), chop an avocado or two, and open a tub of sour cream, some more salsa, and a bag of Fritos Scoops.

Set everything out and let people make "tacos" to their own taste.

Now, obviously, this isn't a recipe for tacos at all; it's kind of a hybrid between taco salad and nachos, with the meat served hot so the cheese goes all melty and contrasts nicely with the crisp lettuce and chips. But tacos was what she called it, so tacos it remains.

#456 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2019, 02:38 PM:

...yes, but is it a sandwich?

(Sorry sorry—my brain kept emitting that, so I finally gave in. Again, sorry!)

#457 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2019, 03:03 PM:

Similarly, my mother used to make "an omelet" for dinner sometimes. It was a big mass of scrambled eggs with cheese and a little bit of milk mixed in.

I'd never had a real omelet and quite liked Mom's version.

#458 ::: Kip Williams ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2019, 05:27 PM:

Mom used a recipe for 'cheesecake' made with cottage cheese, Jell-O, graham cracker crust, and lemon rind, topped with real or fake whipped cream. I never have learned to enjoy real cheesecake as a result, and have occasionally looked up recipes online to see if I could fake Mom's fake cake.

#459 ::: annejohn ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2019, 11:40 PM:

Re: 458
Kip, this sounds like unbaked cheesecake ..

#460 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2019, 01:34 AM:

There's a bunch of foods that I didn't try for quite a long time because I was repelled by how they looked. Cheesecake was one of them. Turns out I actually do like it.

#461 ::: crazysoph ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2019, 04:32 AM:

Re foodstuffs, two silly stories.

Story one: Junior Year Abroad for me was as a transfer student to Italy. I love the reactions I got after I'd returned to the US, when it was clear I'd lost rather a lot of weight. That's because a lot of the food there... smelled in ways I wasn't used to. For instance, it took the longest time for me to eat prosciutto crudo because... "you want me to eat uncooked pork?!"

Though the weight came back, eventually, it's because I really loved all the new foods I learned to eat in Italy. And at the sizes they'd served there, it really was a healthier way for me.

Story two: Years later, in contact with an international student community, at a potluck. These days, I could label the way I was feeling as "anxious that I am appropriating someone else's culture" - I'd chosen to cook a "Hot and Sour Chickpeas" dish, from a cookbook by Madhur Jaffrey. I'd made it before, and discovered I really adored fresh-ground cardamom. So, my garam masala mix went a bit on the high side of her recommendations.

One of the students came from the very place in which this dish was a popular street food. She observed that there was a lot of cardamom, and I asked if it was too much. "Oh no, not at all! It's not my mother's recipe, but it's perfectly acceptable." I confessed my cardamom adoration, and she laughed kindly, "That's exactly how family recipes are created!" She further hoped that if I were to have kids, they would be good enough to also adopt the recipe as their very own.

Crazy(those were the days, eh?)Soph

#462 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2019, 10:25 AM:

#403 Allan -- Apples stole the parts of the Xerox Star UI that I strongly dislike and kinaesthetically object to, Apple did NOT steal the "browser view" and ability to create and show links between drawings, text, etc., that I liked majorly and am extremely annoyed got dropped... Apple also did not do multiple windowing until the Mac II, and then dropped it AGAIN for the Newton and iPad and iPhone...

The iPad was what the Mac really wanted to be...

Various: chile peppers and related "hot peppers" are from South and Central America, they were not in the eastern hemisphere prior to the distribution of western hemisphere foods and plants to the eastern that hapkpened following 1492. (However, there was at least one variety of sweet potato that had crossed the Pacific to eastern Asia, before 1492! ). Thus, the spiciness of Asia food pre-1492, depended on e.g. mustard and piper nigrum or whatever the Latin name of the black/white pepper plant is called and other spicings than capsicum...

#463 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2019, 01:03 PM:

Kip Williams @458 -- As Annejohn notes @459, that's a lot like an unbaked cheesecake. My mother did those, IIRC from a recipe from a cream cheese package.

There's a medieval "cheesecake" recipe I've cooked for SCA events whose modern adaptation uses cottage cheese and/or ricotta along with eggs, in a pie shell. It's originally from Digby's The Closet of the Eminently Learned Sir Kenelme Digbie Kt. Opened, Published by his Son's Consent (1669), as adapted in Cariadoc and Elizaeth's Miscellany. There's a somewhat similar recipe in Hieatt and Butler's Pleyn Delit.

#464 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2019, 01:20 PM:

@Paula Lieberman 462: There's a recipe for (basically) beef stew in Andalusian that combines long pepper and culinary lavender. As I was tasting it, I realized that people may have been looking for heat with a complex afterburn long before chiles crossed the Atlantic.

I had to leave the SCA for assorted reasons that boil down to "my health." To avoid nostalgic heartache and temptation, I just plain don't look at SCA stuff anymore. But I do miss the cooking...

#465 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2019, 01:25 PM:

Jacque @456 (wrt Jenny’s “tacos” @455): ...yes, but is it a sandwich?

Hmmmm. I don’t think the cube rule of starch location (not to be confused with the cube root rule) has an answer for this. Ordinary nachos would probably be considered “toast”, so I spose regular chips/dip would be individual toastlets?

#466 ::: estelendur ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2019, 03:39 PM:

Julie L., perhaps you meant your link to go here?

Said cube rule irritates me greatly, in a way that I suspect was intended. :D

#467 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2019, 05:13 PM:

estelendur: thanks for the link correction :)

The cube rule is an interesting set of generalizations, though still missing some possibilities such as evenly distributed starch throughout (meatloaf?), though I see they’ve ruled poutine (and I spose thus nachos) as Salad.

Which raises the eternal question of exactly what defines a salad wrt subsuming chicken salads, jello salads, and niçoise among other sundry variations.

#468 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2019, 07:16 PM:

I've approached salad as 'all mixed together'.

#469 ::: Kip Williams ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2019, 11:49 PM:

annejohn, Joel Polowin,
Unbaked seems an apt description. It prepared in the fridge. I didn't think to mention it, not knowing how regular cheesecake is made.

#470 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2019, 05:50 AM:

Crossing the streams:

Over in the PGTE comments, one of the regulars just came up with this:

caoimhinh: "Integrient is an essential part of Typoi cuisine and many traditional dishes of Misspellheim. 😉"

#471 ::: Quill ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2019, 09:40 AM:

Savillum, the ancient Roman version of cheesecake, uses ricotta and honey. I've never had it but I hear it's good (thank you, Eagle of the Ninth fandom).

One recipe is here, which I picked mainly because of the site name...

#472 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2019, 10:11 AM:

@465 & @466: In the first frame, why do I hear the hot dog's line read in William Shatner's voice?

..."pigs in a blanket is sushi" ... ::strangled giggling noises:: (I wonder if Jon Singer has seen this?)

Okay, wait. If pumpkin pie is toast, then how is key lime pie quiche?

...and—wait—if toast is salad...?

I'm SO confused!!


#473 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2019, 10:53 AM:

@Kip Williams no. 469: If you want to try it without committing to an entire cheesecake, the Philly cream cheese recipe is pretty good:

For a 6-cup muffin tin, take 1/3 cup Graham cracker crumbs, 1/4 cup plus 2 tsp sugar, 1 Tbsp butter or margarine, 1 8-oz package Philly cream cheese, scant 1/2 tsp vanilla, 1 egg. Line muffin cups with paper, then combine crumbs, 2 tsp sugar, and butter and press into bottoms of cups. Beat cream cheese, remaining sugar, and vanilla until well mixed, then beat in the egg. Spoon mixture into muffin cups. Bake 25-30 min. at 325 degrees F; take them out when the centers of the cheesecakes are still slightly jiggly. Cool on countertop, then refrigerate for 2 hours.

The traditional topping is spoonfuls of your favorite canned fruit pie filling, but you can try any fruit syrup, or whipped cream plus fresh fruit, or chocolate curls, or...

(But back when I could still eat cheesecake, I liked mine plain and still warm from the oven.)

#474 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2019, 12:32 PM:

Help, please - point me to the thread(s) that dealt with the early Christian church history as fanfic?

#475 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2019, 12:57 PM:

Carol: I used the Google search string christian fanfic

In particular, this seems like it might fit your query.

#476 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2019, 01:51 PM:

Thanks, Jacque! That's exactly what I wanted. I also appreciate your giving your search string.

#477 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2019, 03:56 PM:

Woo hoo! I just figured out how to log into my UNIX shell acounts via the web!
Woo hoo!!

(Sorry, I'm just so jazzed I had to share.)

(We lost admin rights on our desktop boxes at work, and they won't let me load puTTY. :P)

(In other news, my new mac's Terminal has a...mutated version of UNIX. Who the hell fucks with UNIX syntax!?)

#478 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2019, 04:18 PM:

Jenny Islander @ 473:

A little while back I figured out the right time and temperature to do mini cheesecakes in custard dishes. And the reason for that is that I wanted to try making cheesecake using goat cheese rather than cream cheese, and I didn't want to make an entire goat cheese cheesecake only to find I didn't like it.

Spoiler: I liked it.

Jacque @ 477:

As I recall, Apple recently switched from Bash to Zsh as the default shell. It apparently has some nice features (that I've never used).

#479 ::: Kip Williams ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2019, 04:24 PM:

Jenny Islander, thanks! I gather, however, that this is a recipe for real cheesecake, and I've had plenty of time to decide it's just not for my palate.

#480 ::: Singing Wren ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2019, 08:55 PM:

Jacque @ 472:

My theory is that a slice of pumpkin pie is toast, while a whole key lime pie is a quiche. Presumably, a slice of key lime pie would also be toast, and a whole pumpkin pie would be quiche. This also suggests that a slice of Quiche Lorraine would no longer be quiche, but toast.

#481 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2019, 11:02 PM:

Singing Wren: Hah! Yes, I believe you have squared the circle. (Um, or triangulated it...?) Heh.

#482 ::: Singing Wren ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2019, 06:57 AM:

Jacque: I'm not sure which either. Pi?

#483 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2019, 08:01 AM:

Mary Aileen@457: My Aunt Martha made scrambles of egg and bacon for me when I was young, and so I never got a taste for cheese in my eggs, but I do make scrambles with bacon and/or ham and sautéed...well, almost vegetable.

Jacque@477: "In other news, my new mac's Terminal has a...mutated version of UNIX."

I am not a deep Terminal user, so I've missed this. What's it doing?

#484 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2019, 10:20 AM:

Singing Wren: ::fistbump!::

Have I mentioned lately how much I love Making Light?

John A Arkansawyer: My Aunt Martha made scrambles of egg and bacon

I misread this as "shambles," and thought, "Yeah, okay, you do need something living, I guess, though the bacon seems a little odd." (I'm just finishing up Pratchett's Tiffany Aching series.)

Re: Mac UNIX: What's it doing?

Well, the three most conspicuous things so far:

  1. I have to use .bash_profile to set my environment, instead of .login and .[shell]rc.
  2. The syntax for setting aliases now requires an equal sign between the alias and the actual command:
  3. alias word='command -l filename'

    which is minor, but is irritating and seems pointless, and

  4. My habit forever for multi-command pipes has been:
  5. command -option filename | \
    nextcommand -o filename | \

    (I do this so I can handle commands as a line-unit.)

    Now it echoes the backslash. ::eyeroll:: Now that I think about it, I can see how that would conform with Mac's other line-return weirdness. (IIRC, a TextEdit .txt file isn't just a dumb ascii file. It's got weird, custom ^M line returns that have to be Dealt With if you're using them in UNIX. I guess they "fixed" that.) It should be noted that I'm sort of a kitchen UNIX user—I don't actually have a lot of Deep Understanding that would likely make this make more sense.

I've been able to make it work, but it's irritating, and also means I'm going to have to dick with any scripts that get ported back and forth between my mac and my Panix account. Feh.

#485 ::: stefan jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2019, 10:42 AM:

I was ready to replace the MB, processor and memory of my badly misbehaving desktop workstation yesterday.

Decided to try out my old Desktop Fu.

Laid the big box out on the dining room table, plugged in a monitor and keyboard, and started disconnecting things and restarting until the lockups stopped.

Turned out to be the power supply. It was still working, but browning out, so to speak, during start-up, when all of the drives were cranking up.

$80 repair instead of $400 . . . well, $480, since I would have discovered the failing power supply eventually.

And the new fan is SO quiet . . .

#486 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2019, 11:50 AM:

Jacque@484: That sounds like your shell got changed from csh to bash. I know how I'd fix that on a *nix box, but not a Mac. There are enough places where Apple has complexicated things that should be simple that I get frustrated, too.

#487 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2019, 12:26 PM:

I had a power supply replaced a few years back on my Win98 machine. The fan isn't as quiet as on news ones, but it's not too bad. (I need a better/bigger desk, though: I need a separate monitor and keyboard for the older machine from the Win10 machine. Grrr.)

#488 ::: Sten ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2019, 02:34 PM:

Jaque@484, John@486: Open Terminal, select the menu option Terminal->Preferences.
In the General tab, mark the option "Command (complete path)" and change the path from /bin/bash to your preferred shell, probably /bin/csh in this case.

#489 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2019, 02:49 PM:

Thanks, all, for the glybnix recs! Yeah, probably part of my confusion stems from the fact that historically I've run csh at the command prompt level, and bsh in scripts. I've never been entirely clear on the particulars; I just adapted at the level of muscle memory, which is why I get so twitchy when Things Change, and then I Have To Think about what I'm doing. ::eyeroll::

The downside of learning just enough to get by, without actually diving deep enough to actually Understand.

#490 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2019, 11:21 PM:

Stan@488: Thank you! That's got to be the weirdest way to set a shell I've seen yet. At least, it seems weird to me.

Jacque@489: It frustrated me immensely when I started using OS X and found myself with csh. Not that there's anything wrong with it, but I was used to ksh, which was standard on my first two jobs, covering nine years.

#492 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2019, 09:02 PM:

anyplum lived in a purple cow town
(with up so floating many plums down)
spring summer autumn winter
it sang its damson it danced its prune

#493 ::: Quill ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2019, 10:15 AM:

Julie L: I know that's supposed to be a parody, but it really tickles me!

#494 ::: Adrian ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2019, 04:39 PM:

pudding and cake (both little and small)
cared for anyplum not at all
they cooked their compote they dried their prune
green gage sun moon

#495 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2019, 05:22 PM:

492, 494
Oh, excellent!

#496 ::: Adrian ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2019, 05:50 PM:

anyplum on any tree
they laughed their joy with fruit and tea
but in the icebox dark by light
anyplum's any spent the night

#497 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2019, 06:01 PM:

one day anyplum dried i guess
(and noone stooped to kiss its stem)
busy folk buried them seed by seed
leaf by leaf and branch by branch

(yes I know it's out of order....)

#498 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2019, 06:56 PM:

bud by twig and seed by sprout
and note by note about plums in mouth
icebox’s everyplum is noplums now
“i lik the plumb” quoth purple cow

#499 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2019, 08:34 PM:

stefan jones @ 485: you lucky person -- the power supply on our system had a fan problem, and Best Buy (where we'd bought it) told us the system was way too old (~6 years?) to have a replacement still available.

Julie L. @ 492: very cute. Now I'm imagining the high-school chorus where I ~sang this substituting your version, just to play with somebody's head.

Jacque @ 475: I remember MacDonald's summary of Nicea, but had completely forgotten this ... liberal ... discussion of history. Thank you for reminding me.

#500 ::: Adrian ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2019, 09:09 PM:

someplum married their aprium
breathed their blossoms and left their leaves
(sweet cold hope and then) they
said their sorrys they woke their words

#501 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2019, 11:16 PM:

and ... I see I should have consulted the table at the bottom; s/MacDonald/Macdonald/. Sorry to Jim if he's still listening.

#502 ::: Crazysoph ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2019, 04:07 AM:

Jacques @ 257, OtterB @ 278

Regarding the review of Becoming Superman, I got in contact with Abi, but things didn't work out due to known issues.

I posted it at my Dreamwidth account, here. It's not a long review, meant more as an introduction.

Crazy(and apologies in advance if I don't get the permissions to comment there right - have to find the settings and see if I can tweak them for just one post)Soph

#503 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2019, 11:18 AM:

crazysoph, thanks. Nice summary. I never watched B5, by the way, but still found the book engaging and meaningful.

#504 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2019, 11:21 AM:

Any interest in a Gathering of Light at Capclave? I have never managed to get myself to one, despite living just a few miles down the road from the hotel, but the presence of Martha Wells as a GOH this year got me registered.

#505 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2019, 12:27 PM:

A small and belated bit of good followup from a story last December: Referee who told wrestler to cut dreadlocks suspended. I'm a bit dismayed that I had to pick this up from the BBC rather than NPR (which had the original story) or my local paper, but news is news.

#506 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2019, 12:43 PM:


I'm interested in a GOL at Capclave.

#507 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2019, 12:47 PM:

[Gathering of Light at Capclave]

For those who might be interested. This year Capclave is October 18-20 at the Hilton Washington DC/Rockville hotel. The hotel is across the street from the Twinbrook metro station.

#508 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2019, 01:02 PM:

Michael I @506, great. There doesn't seem to be a programming schedule up yet, so I guess we (and any others who chime in) can make plans a little closer to the time.

#509 ::: Hiding for now ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2019, 06:56 AM:

AKICIML: Much to my surprise, I snagged the bittiest of bit roles in a highly-anticipated* musical film with big-name stars that's expected to premiere in Cannes next year. First video audition, first callback, first rejection letter, and first phone call a fortnight later saying "hey, we actually have something for you if you're still interested." It's been a helluva trip. And I had the time of my life during filming and would love to do more of this sort of thing. So where and how do I start? I'm nowhere near the entertainment industry; I'm a middle-aged scientific translator in Brussels and deal with grammaticalization paths and insect holotypes, not Tinseltown! The most showbiz-adjacent thing I've done is be part of my choir's occasional concerts, and we're all amateurs. Does the Fluorosphere have any ideas?

(I'm known in these parts as the drifting pen, but need to use a different handle for this question because reasons.)

*i.e. a two-time Oscar winner who dropped another project to be in this one; director with a tiny but influential filmography (Locarno Leopard of Honour lifetime achievement award); people who traveled from around the continent and across the Atlantic at their own expense to be extras (it's set in the US but filmed in Europe); original songs by a band with devoted followers; top-notch producer and musical director handling the music. That sort of thing. It's kind of a big deal as arthouse projects go.

#510 ::: stefan jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2019, 11:53 AM:

I baked, for the country Democratic party meeting, a pan of "pumpkin spice bars" (from a mix; really good actually; I added pecans and a crust of cinnamon sugar) and a loaf of banana bread with chocolate chips.

Now I'm wondering what baked goodies would be appropriate for Impeachment Hearing Watch Parties.

Beyond Shadenfreude Pie of course!

#511 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2019, 12:15 PM:

Crazysoph @502: This is an excellent review. Thank you for posting it!

Hiding for now @509: Wow, that project sounds like a complete gas! You'll have to update us when the project drops. (Sadly, if it's a musical, I'm probably out; musicals not Zathras skill. But I'll joyfully cheer you from the sidelines!)

Back when I was sniffing around a similar idea, the consistent recommendation was to check in with whatever the relevant trade guilds are. If it's acting or acting-adjacent, that would be SGA and Actors Equity (the latter of which I believe is also in Brittain?), and I suspect it's not a long hop from there to the relevant support orgs, analagous to our Writer Beware and suchlike. Also, these days, "Hollywood" is far more distributed than it used to be (just look at the locations list for Game of Thrones, and nationalities of the cast), so I imagine there are many points of intersection besides Los Angeles, CA or NYNY. A quick Google immediately coughs up the Brussels Film Festival. Screen Brussels Film Commission is another thing that comes up. I'd also Google search strings like film actor association Europe, and any subsequent search strings these things suggest. Also brussels theatre. That won't be film focused, but I imagine the networks overlap. Also touch base with the film/theatre departments of any local colleges.

stefan jones @510: pan of "pumpkin spice bars"

Ob ref "pumpkin spice" (ht someone of this parish, I think, I forget who)

Shadenfreude Pie of course!

Remember: "Don't dance over your enemy. Dance over your enemy's corpse."

#512 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2019, 12:53 PM:

@stefan jones no. 510: How about Election Day Cake, as a reminder that the history of our country is not what Mister MAGA says it is? History and recipe here:

#513 ::: stefan jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2019, 12:55 PM:


(google, google)

Election cake – Thirty quarts of flour, 10 pound butter, 14 pound sugar, 12 pound raisins, 3 doz eggs, one pint wine, one quart brandy, 4 ounces cinnamon, 4 ounces fine colander seed, 3 ounces ground allspice; wet flour with milk to the consistence of bread over night, adding one quart yeast; the next morning work the butter and sugar together for half an hour, which will render the cake much lighter and whiter; when it has rise light work in every other ingredient except the plumbs, which work in when going into the oven.

I might want to double the recipe if the MF actually gets impeached.

#514 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2019, 01:31 PM:

Or William Henry Harrison's pound cake.,0,6597386.story

#515 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2019, 02:23 PM:

Hiding for now @509: if the part actually involved speaking and being identified you might be able to join an actor's guild or union. If you're serious about pursuing that, the money would be very well spent to do so. I have no idea what the requirements are, but there are often other perks: I work with a naturopath who acted in some commercials as a child, and she maintains her guild membership so she can get copies of all the films to vote on for the Oscars.

#516 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2019, 01:34 PM:

Odd news: In US businesses where the idea of time-disconnected-from-office is becoming obsolete (so I hear, >6 years after retirement), I would find the following less puzzling -- but I'm surprised to see that in France anything that goes wrong if you're away from home on business, no matter how unbusinesslike the activity, is considered a business accident: French company liable after employee dies during sex on business trip. The story says the partner was a total stranger (i.e., not a colleague or someone the deceased was doing business with).

#517 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2019, 08:27 PM:

[Capclave GOL]

Following from the discussion above (504, 506-508) about a possible Gathering of Light at Capclave, the preliminary program is now up at (click on the "programming" link).

#518 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2019, 02:47 AM:

stefan @510: not baked, but what about the “Orange Fool” recipe on the Mt. Vernon website?

#519 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2019, 03:00 AM:

(drat, didn’t think of this ‘til right after previous post, and for some reason I can’t set up hyperlinks properly) also, there exists a recipe for an orange’n’peach mint beverage:

#520 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2019, 05:59 PM:

Might have been a deliberate malapropism but "fret level"

#521 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2019, 06:00 PM:

sorry wrong thread. that was meant for "dreadful phrases"

#522 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2019, 11:00 AM:

Spotted on, this jewel from @attacus_au on Twitter:

This is just to say

I have stolen
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
for breakfast

they're in the lake now
with your sandwich
honk honk honk#untitledgoosegame

#523 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2019, 02:35 PM:

@Lila, <snork!> That's wonderful!


#524 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2019, 10:49 PM:

Untitled President Game

#526 ::: Adrian ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2019, 11:08 AM:

Honks appreciatively in Lila's general direction.

#527 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2019, 07:20 PM:

John Arkansawyer@525

Would that qualify as Snakes on a Plain?

#528 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2019, 11:49 AM:

Michael I@527: I hadn't thought of that! It would have been the perfect subtitle, wouldn't it?

#529 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2019, 11:52 AM:

Apropos of nothing: I am constitutionally incapable of reading this aloud without pronouncing the long 's' as an 'f'.

#530 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2019, 08:55 PM:

I'm pretty happy with the latest song I've written and I thought some of you Making Light folks might like it for its wordplay (and its beat) --

Half a Jagged Shilling is a Jagged Sixpence blues
The Modesto Kid

There was a jagged man, who walked a jagged mile.
He found a jagged sixpence, behind a jagged stile.
He bought a jagged cat, to catch a jagged rat,
and he made his way back to his jagged little shack.

Walk along the side of the jagged highway
walking down the road a jagged mile
rest my load at the jagged crossroads
set my jagged burden down a while.

Scratching out a tune on my jagged cello
drowning in an ocean of jagged blue
let the words ring out to a jagged anthem
swear to love nobody but jagged you.

Jagged, broken, never smooth
talk me off the ledge.
Quick to anger, always uncouth
drag it off the edge.

Listen now I'll tell you a jagged story
all about a jagged fish that got away
all about a certain longing for jagged glory,
at the jagged close of the day.


Jack and Jill were jagged lovers
They went for a walk up the jagged hill
Well Jack fell down and broke his jagged crown,
Or maybe those two would be up there still

Jack gave Jill a jagged nickel
Jack gave Jill a jagged kiss
Jill gave Jack a jagged tickle
And showed him how to walk like this

aw, drag it off the goddamn jagged edge!

#531 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2019, 08:55 PM:

I'm pretty happy with the latest song I've written and I thought some of you Making Light folks might like it for its wordplay (and its beat) --

Half a Jagged Shilling is a Jagged Sixpence blues
The Modesto Kid

There was a jagged man, who walked a jagged mile.
He found a jagged sixpence, behind a jagged stile.
He bought a jagged cat, to catch a jagged rat,
and he made his way back to his jagged little shack.

Walk along the side of the jagged highway
walking down the road a jagged mile
rest my load at the jagged crossroads
set my jagged burden down a while.

Scratching out a tune on my jagged cello
drowning in an ocean of jagged blue
let the words ring out to a jagged anthem
swear to love nobody but jagged you.

Jagged, broken, never smooth
talk me off the ledge.
Quick to anger, always uncouth
drag it off the edge.

Listen now I'll tell you a jagged story
all about a jagged fish that got away
all about a certain longing for jagged glory,
at the jagged close of the day.


Jack and Jill were jagged lovers
They went for a walk up the jagged hill
Well Jack fell down and broke his jagged crown,
Or maybe those two would be up there still

Jack gave Jill a jagged nickel
Jack gave Jill a jagged kiss
Jill gave Jack a jagged tickle
And showed him how to walk like this

aw, drag it off the goddamn jagged edge!

#532 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2019, 08:56 PM:

Oh no! Sorry to double post the self promotion!

#533 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2019, 09:04 PM:

That's a jagged good song!

#534 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2019, 10:52 PM:

I like the song. The particular performance has some things I really don't like (the instrumental dissonances are distracting rather than exciting, and the mix doesn't bring up either the vocal or the instrumental in a way that makes me want to keep listening, for a start). The underlying song, however, is really interesting.

#535 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2019, 02:36 PM:

Thanks, glad you like it! Yeah I agree the performance and the recording are not what they could be. Just wanted to give an idea of the melody of it.

#536 ::: Kip Williams ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2019, 11:11 AM:

Spring is cold and sweet,
Like the shelf in the icebox
Where you kept your plums.

#537 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2019, 06:03 PM:

I read T Kingfisher (aka Ursula Vernon)'s new novel The Twisted Ones over the weekend. It was delightfully creepy but fundamentally humane, and I recommend it highly to anyone who can hack horror.

(I found it interesting that my local bookstore shelves horror in with general fiction, but has a separate section for F&SF.)

It is, perhaps, odd that one of the things that I want to praise most highly is her portrayal of a hoarder's house. The main character Mouse is cleaning out her late grandmother's house, and her grandmother was a hoarder. Kingfisher absolutely nailed all the details, from random bags of stuff to keep, to the piles of newspapers that are going to be recycled some day, to the room where the door won't even open all the way any more, but new stuff kept getting dropped in right up to the end. It took me right back to helping clean out my uncle and grandmother's house, which was quite an experience in and of itself.

My uncle's bedroom was the one where we couldn't even get the door open at first. Once inside, we could date the layers on the floor from when he was still able to use his bedroom by pages from page-a-day calendars. It was like a very thoughtfully dated archaeological dig, albeit with an unfortunate number of Polish jokes.

It occurs to me that my mom's side of the family might make for some interesting material for the DFD thread.

The rest of the book is good too, don't get me wrong, but the hoarding part really stood out to me. Doubly so after asking Kingfisher whether she had direct experience with hoarders and she answered no.

#538 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2019, 06:02 AM:

I just made a similar notice on File 770, but it seems silly I didn't think to put one here, given Teresa is on the panel programming:

I will be at Scintillation 2 this weekend. Am in fact in NYC right now, killing time until the morning's train to Montreal. I hope to arrive midway through the reading at Argo tonight.

Y'all what's gonna be there, I will see y'all there!

Pausing to scan back over the last few comments...

@KeithS - I just read The Twisted Ones too! I enjoyed it immensely. I agree with everything you said about its depiction of a hoarder's house.

I also see the biographical material writ large wherever the dog steals the spotlight. I've listened to Kevin & Ursula Eat Cheap; the protagonist's asides about the dog sounded very like something Ursula would say during the podcast about her real life coonhound.

It did not ping anywhere near my limit for horror, but I have a high tolerance for reading horror, especially of the supernatural kind.

Weirdly, I think I've begun glomming onto supernatural horror in actual hopes it'll give me nightmares, because those are better than the sort of nightmares my own brain weasels can give. Plus, they're entertaining in a "I just watched a really exciting scary movie" kind of way.

#539 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2019, 06:53 AM:

"O__u__en_e at O_l __ee_ B_id_e"

A man stood upon a railroad bridge in northern Alabama, looking up at the blackboard....

#540 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2019, 10:37 AM:

KeithS @537: What does it say about me that I covet those newspapers for my guinea pigs. (I lost my supplier when she unsubscribed,* and the papers are getting pretty thin anyway.) (Who knew that, of the resources that would see shortages In The Future, one of them would turn out to be the heretofore-eternally-ubiquitous newspaper?)

(I could actually go back to collecting from work, but my neighbor spoiled me: presorted, with all the ads & weird size sheets mostly removed, left right at my door.)

* Dear Abby changed out for a new, much-less-interesting advice column, and I guess the funnies aren't all that funny anymore.

The Modesto Kid: Tangentially reminded me: was at my congressperson's town hall on Monday. Plane flying overhead with one of those streamer-ads, which I couldn't read. Inside, people quoted it as saying "Neguse is Pelosi & Biden's lapdog." O...kay?

I think that says more about the advertiser than Mr. Neguse, though I'll give 'em props for commitment. ::eyeroll::

#541 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2019, 09:27 AM:

[Capclave GOL]

Checking if there is any interest.

This year Capclave is October 18-20 at the Hilton Washington DC/Rockville hotel. The hotel is across the street from the Twinbrook metro station.

Convention website is

The preliminary program is at the "Programming" item.

#542 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2019, 10:05 AM:

KeithS #537: found it interesting that my local bookstore shelves horror in with general fiction, but has a separate section for F&SF.)

FWIW, so does the bookstore I work at. The arrangement predates me, but it does save one set of "which section do we put this in?" discussions.

#543 ::: Quill ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2019, 10:22 AM:

The reverse is true where I am - I don't know about horror as such, but F&SF has disappeared into general fiction, while mysteries are still their own group.

What really peeves me is that the libraries are doing it too. It seems to me that it implies that F&SF is not important as a genre - and it also makes it difficult to browse for new goodies within the genre.

#544 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2019, 10:26 AM:

Michael I #541 I am still interested. If it's just the two of us, it will be relatively easy to coordinate a meet. My email (rot13) is ROOvmbg@nby.pbz

#545 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2019, 10:45 AM:

The library where I lived in west Texas shelved all of the fiction together (alphabetically by author, and they were tagged for genre) - but the newest books were on a separate shelf, so you could find them easily.

#546 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2019, 10:47 AM:

I don't know how true it is, but I have been told that the reason bookstores shelve horror with general fiction is because Stephen King objected to being ghettoized.

Quill (543): Does yours at least put genre stickers on the spine when f/SF is interfiled with general fiction? That helps immensely. My library, and the others I'm familiar with, still separates out F/SF from the main fiction section.

#547 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2019, 10:57 AM:

My library interfiles fantasy with general fiction, no genre stickers on the spine, but has a separate science fiction section with little rocket ship stickers. They've done it this way since before we moved her 20 years ago. I'm a little puzzled by this, but whatever, I can still find things.

#548 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2019, 02:29 PM:

I just saw the two MCU Spiderman movies this week. While Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse strikes me as impossible to top, they were really, really good. Those two and Black Panther were great about showing the results of power fouled by arrogance. T'Challa gets to grow out of it in his movie (though the worst of it is his father's), while Peter Parker has to clean up the messes Tony Stark caused, and best of all, all three villains are wrong but have a point.

Even though I'm not a moviegoer, I'm anxious to see some more MCU movies now.

What I've seen are the Captain America movies, the Avengers movies, and those three. What other MCU movies should I seek out via my primary means of moviegetting, namely Redbox? And are there any so good I should seek them out through other (legitimate) means?

AKISCIML, right?

#549 ::: stefan jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2019, 03:06 PM:

The Ant Man movies were funny and low-key. Not universe-saving sort of stuff.

I really liked the first Guardians of the Galaxy, and enjoyed the second.

#550 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2019, 06:02 PM:

AKICIML: My 7th-grader is really interested in atomic structure. Among other things, she would like to know what, if anything, is in the atom, between/among its particles. I know vaguely that this kind of question is extremely exciting to certain scientific disciplines, but I need an introduction to the topic that she can comprehend because it's all Greek to me. Does anybody know of a good book, site, or video?

#551 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2019, 06:58 PM:

Jenny Islander @550: there's a good basic look at the chem4kids website. It seems to have links for those who want to dig into more detail.

#552 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2019, 08:22 PM:

Jenny Islander@550:

The older and simpler answer was no things, but a special force of attraction holding them together, the strong nuclear force, and also a weak nuclear force which causes certain interactions such as radioactive decay within the nucleus. The strong force is why the positive charge on the protons in a nucleus doesn't cause them to repel each other and fly apart; at very short distances it becomes tremendously stronger than electrical force.

The longer and more complicated answer in modern physics is that with the wave|particle equivalence, both those forces operate by exchanging special particles between the interacting protons and neutrons, which pop in and out of existence. In the case of the strong nuclear force those are a type of meson called pion.

When you get down to a finer level still, at our current level of understanding, all the larger types of particles in the atom, like neutrons and protons, and the pions which carry the nuclear force, are made out of still smaller things called "quarks" and antiquarks, neither of which can never appear or be observed in isolation.

That's a quick version anyway!

I don't know a good site to find out more at a teen level though. The above came via refreshing my memory (and correcting my knowledge on a few points) via Wikipedia under Quark and Nuclear Force and Weak Interaction. But those aren't very easy articles to read...

#553 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2019, 09:08 PM:

Jenny Islander @550: I don't have any good links for you. But the basic answer to the question is that when you look at things at that level, everything is constantly moving and everything is blurry. The protons and neutrons aren't rigid balls with definite edges; they're fuzzy and they partially interpenetrate. Technically, the extent of the "blurriness" is infinite, but most of the particle stays fairly close to its centre under most circumstances.

It's a little like our atmosphere. There isn't an actual edge to it; just that almost all of it is fairly close to the planet's surface. If solar wind and other effects weren't carrying away the traces of our atmosphere that extend out far enough, there wouldn't be any limit to it, just less and less the farther out you looked.

The less massive the particle, the more "fuzzy" it is, relatively speaking. Electrons more than protons or neutrons, photons more than electrons, until you get to really high-energy photons. On the atomic scale, electrons are relatively spread out. They fill rather peculiar spatial shapes around and between atoms, making the bonds that hold atoms together.

So what's "between" the particles is... the particles. There is no vacuum, in the sense of containing absolutely nothing whatsoever; there's space that has very little of the extended fuzzier aspects of particles.

Until you get to the nuclear forces that hold the nuclear particles together. The neutrons and protons have a sort of exchange thing going, with high-energy virtual particles sort-of momentarily blipping between them. If there's enough of that, an atomic nucleus is stable. If there aren't enough neutrons, the positive charges on the protons push each other apart too strongly, and some kind of nuclear decay happens. If there are too many neutrons, they aren't stabilized by the protons, and different kinds of decay happen. So at that next-lower level of physics, there's more complicated stuff going on.

#554 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2019, 09:36 PM:

I find myself repeating a rather famous quotation of Teresa's over and over again these days:

"I deeply resent the way this administration makes me feel like a nutbar conspiracy theorist."

Today's repetition was brought on by the sudden exit from the network of a Fox News straight-news journalist who'd frequently been critical of the President only a day or two after the Attorney General of the US met the Fox owner for lunch.

#555 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2019, 10:04 PM:

I keep telling people (those who are too young to remember it) that this is crazier than 1974.

#556 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2019, 10:23 PM:

P J Evans at #555, yep, and FAR crazier than the Ollie North/Richard Secord star turns during Iran/Contra.

#557 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2019, 04:08 AM:

It's crazier and more dangerous, and yet more hopeful.

After choir Wednesday, I went to the hugest demonstration Little Rock has ever seen. It was too big to count effectively, but I estimated 2000-2500, and that might've been a little low. That's about a percentage of the city's populace.

It was about a local issue--the so-far successful attack of the state legislature on our public school system--so it's not a direct response to national events, but I can't believe the current madness didn't add to the crowd and its energy.

While the usual suspects were there, we were just garnish in a big old salad, and I for one was happy to be a crouton.

#558 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2019, 09:01 AM:

Linkmeister #554: Yeah, back in the Shrub days Mom thought I was being conspiracist. She stopped thinking that after a few years....

#559 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2019, 12:02 PM:

Dave Harmon @558 - Not to be confused with so many of the folks on Trump's side, who are conspi-racist.

#560 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2019, 04:23 PM:

One of the really interesting things about atomic structure is the size of the nucleus compared to the size of the whole atom. One analogy I liked was a pea inside a racetrack - it's 1/10,000th the size, but it contains more than 99.9% of the mass.

#561 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2019, 06:50 PM:

Question for the bakers here.

I MAY (and may is an important qualifier, I’m not sure I did this) have accidentally swapped the amounts of sugar and flour in a pie filling. Fairly standard two-crust blueberry pie, nine-inch pie pan. Filling recipe calls for a half of a cup sugar and a third of a cup of flour (also four cups of blueberries and a half teaspoon of cinnamon, a tablespoon of lemon juice, and two tablespoons of butter).

So how big of a problem is it if I did swap the quantities of flour and sugar?

#562 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2019, 07:09 PM:

Per my baking partner, K. G. Anderson -- absolutely no problem. In the crust you might have a problem, but fillings are incredibly forgiving. We regularly cut the sugar by at least 50% in pie recipes.

Adjust the filling for taste, and make sure you let it set for long enough -- we never do, and get very oozy pies that still taste wonderful. Worst case scenario: the slices will be crust with blueberry soup. This is not a terribly bad worst case.

#563 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2019, 07:33 PM:

There isn't a lot of difference between a third of a cup and half a cup, so probably it won't make much difference. Might not be as sweet, might be a little less juicy.

#564 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2019, 08:00 PM:

There is, more or less, a continuum from pie filling through pudding to cake.

#565 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2019, 10:03 PM:

True: one of the recipes in my family is a "lemon cake pie", where the filling is somewhere between custard and cake, and is equally good baked in a dish.

#566 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2019, 10:40 PM:

Thanks to everybody who replied about my child's physics question! She says "thank you very much" and she is putting the printouts of your replies into her Nerd Notebook (her title).

#567 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2019, 08:07 AM:

Jenny Islander #566 I can't tell you (and your daughter) how happy the term "Nerd Notebook" makes me. Mine are mostly virtual these days, or mental, but everybody ought to have a place to keep the things they love to learn about.

#568 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2019, 08:13 AM:

Best wishes to Patrick and all concerned after his health scare this weekend!

#569 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2019, 09:58 AM:

@568 - echoed, fervently!

#570 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2019, 11:26 AM:

[For those who weren't aware: PNH became ill at Scintillation with symptoms very much like a heart attack. He spent a night in the hospital. Fortunately, it was gastroenteritis.]

#571 ::: stefan jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2019, 02:26 PM:

For those not on Twitter:

While at a con in Montreal, Patrick was hit with really scary symptoms that seemed cardiac-related at first but which turned out to be gastrointeritis; Teresa is now going through the same misery.

More wishes for swift recovery and commisseration over a messed up convention experieence.

#572 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2019, 03:20 PM:

Jenny Islander @566: I'm glad that I was of some help, and I too like the term "nerd notebook".

One thing that might be good for her to understand is that when it comes to stuff at the atomic level, everything she's going to be taught is a simplified model of something much more complicated. Each time she has one learned, with various exceptions to the rules pointed out along the way, she's going to be told "oh, wait, that's just a simplification, here's a better and more complex model that covers those exceptions", repeat. The "electrons are in circular orbits around the nucleus" gives way to atomic orbitals and "hybridization" and electron-pair repulsion, which then falls to molecular orbitals.

And it's hard to avoid this, because physics at this level is so weird that it has to be approached stepwise. And because one can't grasp the physics without having learned enough math; 7th-grade math limits how complicated a math-based theory can be explained.

And because even the very best, most complex, most fundamental theories we've got, as understood by our smartest physicists, are still just simplified models. We know that the real universe is more complicated than our theories, because we don't know how to make quantum mechanics and relativity fit together. We don't know what the so-called dark energy and dark matter are, or how they fit with everything else we know.

I got rather annoyed in school by the succession of "that was a simplification, here's how it REALLY is" things. It would have been better if they'd been up-front about matters.

#573 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2019, 10:25 PM:

Joel Polowin #572: Basically education, kinda has to recapitulate the succession of discoveries. If only because early grade-schoolers can handle the planetary model, but not more advanced models.

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