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June 21, 2019

Open thread 222
Posted by Avram Grumer at 02:08 PM * 1127 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.

#574 ::: stefan jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2019, 03:29 PM:

Maybe we need a "Hot Times In Congress" thread.

{Orders more popcorn}

#575 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2019, 04:06 PM:

We need a popcorn delivery company where the smallest package is a 30-gallon drum.

#576 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2019, 07:09 PM:

There's also the more basic 'what are you using it for?' aspect of models. For most people, molecular stuff is sufficient at a 'this end bad, this end bad in a different way, middle okay, bottom NOPE' view of the periodic table. For most people who aren't most people, I think 'wants to steal or give this many electrons' is honestly enough (certainly it is for me, and I know way more than that.) But I'm a biology person; I care more about the bison than the boson. I like knowing why the periodic table is shaped that way (and xkcd pissed me off this week) but there's a diminishing return of utility to complexity in terms of models.

For pure personal research, though, it's nifty.

#577 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2019, 09:47 PM:

What'd xkcd do?

#578 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2019, 10:51 PM:
(It's silly)

#579 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2019, 08:33 AM:

Very silly.

(I needed that, it's been a rough week for moose.)

#580 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2019, 08:19 PM:

[Capclave GOL]

Scheduled for Friday (October 18) at 5 pm. Current plan is to meet in the Hotel Lobby and then decide where to go for supper.

In case there is additional interest, Capclave is 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.

#581 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2019, 09:17 AM:

Elijah Cummings has died.

#582 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2019, 10:56 AM:


#583 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2019, 12:37 PM:

How similar, offhand, are the two songs "My Boy Lollipop" and "Sugar Sugar"? I am at the office now, where I don't listen to music, and am hearing the lyrics to the chorus of MBL with the riff from SS following each line, and it sounds in my head like its a pretty perfect fit... but can't confirm until this evening if I've got the melody of MBL correct. And don't remember how the verse goes at all.

#584 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2019, 03:44 PM:

Say—Anybody here likely to be at MileHiCon in Denver this weekend?

#585 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2019, 05:13 PM:

P J Evans @575: Drop a can containing the kernels from orbit; they'll be popped when it hits.

Of course, even if you get rid of Dondo, you'll still have Martou to deal with.

#586 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2019, 05:47 PM:

AKA: while I'm still rooting for Giant Meteor.

#587 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2019, 12:02 AM:

@Joel Polowin 585

That is a fantastic metaphor.

#588 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2019, 12:22 AM:

Those songs aren't similar enough for a copyright lawsuit, unlike, say, Muskrat Ramble and I Feel Like I'm Fixin' to Die Rag.

#589 ::: Devin ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2019, 05:12 PM:

The trick is, of course, that none of Martou's power was dependent on Dondo's legitimacy.

I've never bought the "Pence is smarter, therefore impeachment is a bad idea" argument. Sure, Pence is smarter (a low bar indeed) and we can argue about whether he might have made a more dangerous/worse president in an alternate timeline... But "time-serving lame-duck VP of an impeached president" does not offer the same legitimacy or leverage as "elected president."

There are other arguments against impeachment, but that one doesn't impress me.

#590 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2019, 09:18 PM:

John A Arkansawyer @ 547: agree with stefan jones @ 549 about the 2nd Ant-Man movie. (I missed the first.) IMO the Iron Man movies were better than expected, the Thor movies were not (although #3 was better about balancing the original character's pomposity).

Joel Polowin @ 572: Jack Cohen used to use the term "lies for children" to describe the necessary simplifications of complex science to make it understandable without distorting it (as, e.g., too much history is distorted). I don't remember him mentioning the need to be clear that these were simplifications, but it's a good extension.

Devin @ 589: the question is whether Pence would be a time-server, or would push even more aggressively for some of the programs (or anti-programs) that are for him a matter of Belief rather than expediency?

#591 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2019, 10:11 PM:

I've heard that Pence wasn't well-liked when he was in Congress, and I doubt that he's improved since then. He might have a lot more trouble pushing things through than he may be expecting.

#592 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2019, 10:36 PM:

IMHO Pence isn’t as Martou as McConnell is.

#593 ::: Devin ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2019, 01:40 AM:

CHip @590

As PJ Evans says, it's really not a question of what Pence wants. It's a question of the position he's in. While "Pence as elected President" might be worse than "Trump as elected President," "Pence as the replacement for an impeached president" will not have the political capital that he might have had if he were elected, and he's going to have to distance himself from his predecessor's least-popular/most-suspicious policies if he wants any cooperation from anyone in an even-slightly-competitive seat.

With three years, I could see him maybe doing enough cleaning up to get out from under the shadow of corruption and then trying for some of his (creepy, awful) agenda. But with, if Congress moves fast, maybe six months before the election and eight total? I wouldn't bet on his getting to do much of anything.

Julie L @ 592

Ouch! I'm actually a bit offended on Martou's part: he was an able and dedicated administrator, working hard for the betterment of his nation, just one with a (magically-augmented) blind spot for his family. It's implied that he was once a decent person. McConnell shares his ability, but none of his dedication.

#594 ::: stefan jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2019, 10:50 AM:

Pence could sign executive orders, and appoint judges, and continue horrible policies that don't require the House to approve.

But he'd not only be a lame duck, he'd be a horribly unpopular one, and dealing with shit hitting the fan on a weekly basis as investigations continue and whistleblowers emerge, and there will be a lot of "how could you not have KNOWN about that?" questions.

And as awful as Pence is, I don't see him keeping the corrupt Kushners around, and maybe he'd purge Miller.

We can deal with Pence for a year. Concentrate on getting on getting people ready and inspired to vote. The real battle is kicking the GOP out of power, bottom to top.

#595 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2019, 01:33 PM:

P Sarbanes, quoted in the introduction to the "Final Report" on the Watergate investigation (and Nixon's possible impeachment):

You go into a grocery store and see a whole section of nice-looking tomatoes. You pick one up and it’s rotten on the bottom. You figure, all right, it’s possible to have one rotten tomato. You pick up another tomato and it’s rotten. After eight or ten rotten tomatoes you wonder about the whole grocery store.

Pence is one of those tomatoes.

#596 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2019, 08:17 PM:

Devin @592: I was thinking primarily of McC’s legislative effectiveness as well as him providing political legitimacy and agenda. Pence’s main function seems to’ve been providing a thin initial veneer of piety before turning into a sycophant. (Orico?)

I was wondering recently whether anyone has tried the presidential nickname “Caligulear”; websearch brought up the word in a few Spanish-language tweets in a way that suggests it was a typo for something else.

#597 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2019, 09:55 PM:

Julie L. @596: I'm not sure if that's supposed to mean "in the manner of Caligula" or a combination of Caligula and Lear.

#598 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2019, 03:27 AM:

The latter; I spose internal capitalization as CaliguLear would clarify.

#599 ::: Kip Williams ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2019, 10:44 AM:

A quote I often find useful, from How to Lie With Statistics (Huff): "When all the mistakes favor the cashier, you can't help but wonder."

[caveat: I seem to quote it a little differently from time to time. Heh.]

#600 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2019, 12:13 AM:

I thought that character looked familiar, but it's only when the end credits of Watchmen's first episode started rolling that I learned that was Don Johnson.

Not sure what I think yet, but I'll keep watching the watchmen.

#601 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2019, 07:11 PM:

Friday was St Crispin's Day.

It should be no surprise that it was the French Ambassador to the EU who is giving us so much uncertainty over the timing of an extension. We can have it, but how long will it last?

#602 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2019, 08:14 AM:

What was the "Christmas Carol" where the procession was led by a priestess carrying a thrysus?

#603 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2019, 03:28 PM:

AKICIF: long-shot short story ID request; Iiirc this was in an elementary-school reading anthology in the late 70s but don’t know the original pub date/venue. I have a vague sense that it might’ve been by MZB.

A group of explorers meets up with a group of telepathic faerie-like aliens; when the aliens are asked what they call themselves, individual vocab differences among the explorers result in several alternatives: “the fair folk”, “the beautiful people”, or “the lovely ones”.

#604 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2019, 03:36 PM:

New word find of the day: asseverate. I almost put this on the Dreadful Phrases thread, but it turns out it's quite real. It's like assert and aver got together to have a baby.

#605 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2019, 03:39 PM:

I've found this subreddit to be useful for finding slightly remembered stories.

#606 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2019, 03:45 PM:

The rec.arts.sf.written Usenet group is also good for identifying stories and books. Post with a subject heading that begins with "YASID:" (the acronym for "yet another story ID"), with a few key words, and put every clue you can think of in the message body.

#607 ::: Kip Williams ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2019, 04:07 PM:

KeithS: "Asseverate" is part of the giant package of synonyms for "said" that I offer as part of my Super Classy School for Vanity Published Authors. You'll never say "said" again!!

#608 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2019, 07:56 AM:

I'm not sure whether this belongs in DFD-- it's links rather than a personal account, but it is excellent stuff and relevant to DFD.

This is a novel-length account by Crowley's therapist, and a spectacular piece of work.

I read it because siderea recommended it as the best portrayal of a therapist she's ever seen.

Dramatic healing effect of the show:

#609 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2019, 03:35 PM:

Oooh, cool!

#611 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2019, 04:15 PM:

I thought this crowd might appreciate this.

So my middle schooler just plopped down on the couch and sigh-groaned to me.

"There's this book I'm reading for Battle of the Books. It's the shortest one, but it feels like the longest, because it's just so boring. You'd think it'd be interesting but it's just this dog endlessly complaining about how awful it is to be a sled dog and I'm like, 'Dude. Head out of your butt.' "

The Call of the Wild.

#612 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2019, 04:32 PM:

I remember having to read that one in, IIRC, 9th grade. I thought it was never going to end.

#613 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2019, 05:28 PM:

That's not how I remember the book. Perhaps it is the reader who is complaining, not the dog. What is so awful about being a sled dog? Is it the sledding? Buck becomes a champion at sledding, and the leader of the pack. Is it the people who are cruel to Buck or stupid? That definitely happens, but there also are people in the story who are smart and kind. That seemed realistic to me. Jack London felt that going to Alaska changed his life. The Call of the Wild is a romance that expressed his love of the outdoors and the hard life on the frontier. I love the outdoors, so maybe that's why I enjoyed the book when I read it.

#614 ::: Quill ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2019, 09:45 AM:

The Call of the Wild was my favorite book at age five (I pulled it from my parents' shelf without them noticing), but I would hardly consider it appropriate reading for a middle schooler. The view of canine/lupine behavior is not exactly accurate, and more importantly, the racism is really nasty. Unless they're discussing that in class...

#615 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2019, 11:49 PM:

On a completely different note...

Like a lot of people, I enter the Publishers Clearinghouse Sweepstakes, not because I think I'll win anything (although I have won $10 in the past), but because it only costs a stamp.

I got a call today from somebody purporting to be the agent confirming my location and identity so that the camera crew could deliver the big prize--one of those packages PCH offers sometimes, with a big sum up front, periodic payments for life, and a fancy car.

Folks, he was plausible. So, so plausible. I was hanging onto my common sense with all ten fingernails, because holy shit that prize could have changed our lives.

Then, of course, after leading me along for 10 minutes, during which red flags began to flutter, he mentioned the transaction fee. And I cheerfully said, "And there's the sting! I know what you're trying to do, g'bye now." And hung up.

And then I started getting angry. Because I was almost desperate enough, almost ignorant enough, to have fallen for it. And there are so many people out there who haven't been sufficiently warned, and are desperate. People who send in the PCH envelopes. Because it only costs a stamp.

May "David Preston" receive a thousand bedbugs for every successful call he makes. Damn him.

#616 ::: stefan jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2019, 10:36 AM:



I would have added "Does your mom know what you are doing?"

#617 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2019, 11:26 AM:

...and would she be proud of you if she did?

617: Damn, busted!

#618 ::: Kip Williams ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2019, 12:08 PM:

Huh. Now I have Walton's "March from the Dam Busters" going through my head.

#619 ::: Del Cotter ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2019, 05:09 PM:

Eric Coates, I think. But I see where you're coming from with the William Walton.

#620 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2019, 11:40 AM:

"You steal from people who are poor. You hurt people who are old and sick. Doesn't that bother you?" can segue into "So, you're okay with being a sociopath?"

#621 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2019, 12:11 PM:

I think I'm getting the hang of polyphony -- check it out, -- I've written a couple of duets to date but the two parts are generally pretty close to each other. Here each of the three upper parts is a distinct melody. I think they sound pretty nice together.

#622 ::: Kip Williams ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2019, 06:17 PM:

Del: No wonder I felt like I was by a sleepy lagoon all the while.

#623 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2019, 08:47 PM:

Modesto Kid: Very nice!

#624 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2019, 08:59 PM:

David Goldfarb: Thanks!

#625 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2019, 12:53 AM:

I dipped into the witchy current of Tumblr by accident (I was looking for something else) and I started to wonder about something.

Anybody else seen those lists of things you do and do not do when you are out away from houses? The ones that mix very sensible advice (If your dog won't go near it don't go near it either) with stuff that just seems odd (take nothing living from the forest, unseen Things can take possession of unfilled seats in your car but not if you put stuff on them, etc.)?

Because I'm wondering whether anybody who posts these lists in earnest lives where there are actual physical dangers. The list talks about how you should learn to tell the Others in the woods apart "by sight or by Sight" (paraphrase) because you need to know how to correctly address them, and also if you feel a sudden need to leave an area you should walk but never run because running might offend certain Others. Well, there are Others in the woods around here. They are big and hairy all over and have deep voices and smell like dirty wet dogs, and they're called bears. And of course in other parts of the country there are wild pigs or pumas. And it's important to learn how to tell if they are around, even if you can't see them; and it's usually a very bad idea to run away (because they are faster, and may be predatory). But the list says nothing at all about actual wildlife.

It just seems to me that what they're passing around in Witchy Tumblr is partly old folklore about fairy folk and ghosts and such, and partly third-hand warnings about wild animals that have become mythologized because the actual wildlife isn't there anymore.

Or I could be barking up the wrong tree.

(Also, around here we take nothing living from most forests because they are the legal property of somebody else, even if the land is undeveloped and unfenced. Is that just an Alaska thing? Or why was that left out?)

#626 ::: Devin ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2019, 01:53 AM:

I have to ask what "posts those lists in earnest" even means. If (re-)posting tumblr memes is a Real, Serious part of your plan for connecting spiritually with a forest, well... You might be doing it wrong?

My suspicion is that the closest people really get to earnest there is "some of these things made me think" and/or "some of these are good advice on not being an asshole." (Which is to say, if you're a teenaged witchy-type and you uproot a bunch of shit from the forest and bring it back to die in your dorm room, you are an asshole and it is easy for someone to be earnest about telling you to cut it out.)

Given that, I don't think anyone thinks of those lists as homogeneous: it's not "here are twenty things to do/not do in the forest that are all the same kind of advice regarding similar sets of dangers," but rather "here are twenty things, some of them are smart precautions against general forest-ness, some are good-citizen rules, some are about respecting the forest in a non-physical sense, and a couple are pretty stupid."

You might compare it to a list of "tips for visiting $CITY:" some of those will be can't-miss activities, some will be safety-oriented, some will be about the transit system. And some overlap: advice about not looking like a complete fucking tourist in NYC is both safety and good citizenship, because it makes you both a mark for pickpockets and a pain in the ass for anyone who was trying to walk down that sidewalk when you decided it was gawp o'clock. By the same token, taking nothing living can be about the law, and not trashing the place for everyone else, AND not offending any Other Entities who liked that plant.

Now, it does strike me that "if you get spooked in the forest, don't run" is good advice even for bear-less forests. I'm going to guess that Witchy Tumblr does not have a high concentration of backpacking/orienteering/wilderness S&R types (maybe above the national average, but not, like, 20% or anything) and that a lot of the people reading those lists don't spend much time in forests. Any forest can be dangerous: the terrain can be treacherous, it's easy to get lost and very easy to become isolated in a very short distance. You run, you probably get less calm, it's easier to get lost, and easier to trip and tumble down a slope and crack your head on a rock. Plus, if you got spooked, you were probably alone, which means there's no one to see you take that fall and come find you/go for help.

#627 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2019, 02:10 AM:

@626: I mean that they are advising one another about How To Woods or How To Desert. And they aren't all teenagers either--I've seen photos.

Yes, some of it is plain common sense, like "trust your dog" and "don't run." They just explain it with "you will attract the attention of unfriendly spiritual beings" instead of "your dog may be detecting the physical signs of a physical being" or "falling and getting hurt while you're out in the woods someplace would be very bad."

I also note that I used to repeat a story I had heard, that you don't say "bear" out in the woods; you say "Grandfather," because bears, as numinous beings, will be annoyed by you using their bare (excuse me) descriptive noun. It was told to me as an Alaska Native thing. But an actual Alaska Native bear guide who was from here (bear country par excellence) and had worked with Natives from different parts of the mainland (also bear country) had never heard of it except from white people. In his opinion it was a white people thing. I think there is an instructive parallel there.

#628 ::: Singing Wren ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2019, 09:36 AM:

Jenny Islander @ 625:

Re: Take nothing living from the forest

This sounds like what I was taught in Girl Scout camp (in more or less the form of 'don’t damage nature'), and very similar to the “Take only pictures, leave only footprints” adage I've seen at various National Parks.

And it’s sensible advice. Either you've damaged the local ecosystem by taking something essential but difficult to replace, or you’re taking something that won’t survive where you’re taking it, or you've taken something that will thrive where you’ve taken it and now we've got an invasive species.

So perhaps it’s bits of that, with a witchy polish on top?

#629 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2019, 09:37 AM:

Posting to Tumblr about going places isn't doing anything wrong. We post here, after all.

(actually, the comment reminds me more of people, mostly my parents' age, who are offended-baffled at Twitch and game streaming in general. Meanwhile, I am watching folks dance on Desert Bus.)

I have heard the bear-name thing before, but always in the context of European and near-European languages rather than North American. It's like the fairy-name circumlocutions.

#630 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2019, 10:37 AM:

625 on
I don't hang out in that part of Tumblr, so I haven't seen those. (I see a lot about writing and fanfic, but from people who do it themselves.)

#631 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2019, 11:56 AM:

Posting to Tumblr about going places isn't doing anything wrong. We post here, after all.

(actually, the comment reminds me more of people, mostly my parents' age, who are offended-baffled at Twitch and game streaming in general. Meanwhile, I am watching folks dance on Desert Bus.)

I have heard the bear-name thing before, but always in the context of European and near-European languages rather than North American. It's like the fairy-name circumlocutions.

#632 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2019, 11:57 AM:

Diatryma @629: Jenny Islander wasn't referring merely to posting to Tumblr; she was referring to what-to-do advice that was based on matters other than practicalities based on the physical world. And some of which appears to be questionable even from a spiritual point of view.

I'm not offended-baffled by people who are enthusiastic about Discord, though it isn't at all my thing. I am offended-baffled by the people who, right now, are trying to rename pages on W'pedia so that the main page about "discord" is about the software system, with other meanings of "discord" relegated to second-class status.

#633 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2019, 12:02 PM:

I see that kind of post on Tumblr, and in my opinion a lot of it is simply about the Esthetics of it all. Some witchy people just like to allude to these vague spooky concepts.

I think it's like those lists of how a gothic sensibility and atmosphere manifests differently in different regions. In Alaska it would be about avoiding naming bears when you're in the forest. In Iowa it's about corn mazes. In the Southern US it's about abandoned plantation homes. And so on. Those aren't recommendations for behavior so much as they're literary moods.

#634 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2019, 12:14 PM:

@633: I wish it stopped there.

Before I learned not to interact, I got into it with somebody who--well, here's roughly how it went:

Other Blogger: Hey, Witchy Blogger, sometimes I discover that clothes have been folded, or other simple chores have been done, but I don't remember doing them. Also, sometimes things have been moved or opened or shut that I don't remember touching. I live alone. Could it be fairies?

Witchy Blogger: Wow, you have house brownies! Leave out a bowl of milk.

Me: Whoa! Time to go in for a neurological workup and also get a CO2 detector for your house. Rule out the stuff that can be super dangerous before you decide that it was fairies!

Witchy Blogger: I know more than you do. It's more important to appease fairies than it is to check your environment for physical danger.

Me: ...

#635 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2019, 12:18 PM:

"Don't do that, it offends the forest spirits, and they will send a bear to eat you."

"Don't do that, it's a sin, and God will send a bear to eat you."

"Don't do that, it attracts bears, and they will eat you."

"Don't do that, it puts bad energy into the universe, and a bear will eat you."

I think I'm coming at this from a more racist-relative-at-wedding standpoint, where I don't actually care why the behavior stops, only that it does. Racist uncle rolls his eyes but knows that I am willing to pause halfway down the aisle and Make A Scene? Pretty much the same as racist uncle changing his mind and embracing a social justice redemption narrative... from the perspective of me refusing to have my friends deal with my racist uncle at a celebration.

I worry more when the aesthetics lead people to 'dead and stupid' (or just 'dead') vs reframing sensible advice, or folkloring sensible advice-- although now I also want to find more sensible but outdated advice that's been folklored!

#636 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2019, 01:07 PM:

Ooh, good point about the carbon monoxide (not carbon dioxide).

#637 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2019, 01:46 PM:

One of my favorite quotes from E. Nesbit is

"You should never light a fire with today's newspaper. It will not burn well, and besides, there are other reasons."

This clearly fits the two out of three "Is it true? Is it useful? Is it kind?" test for passing on advice. It is definitely useful, it is definitely kind for the children Nesbit was writing to; it's even kinda-sorta-true. (Hmm, Googling for that exact quote only returns me saying it. Maybe I'm rewriting history. Still and all -- if it encourages people to read Nesbit, I'm happy.)

#638 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2019, 07:03 PM:

Hooboy, that definitely sounds like carbon monoxide or something else brainwise, vs helpful brownies! Did you read the article going around recently by a psychic talking about how she did her job, and telling a client to go to the doctor NOW but being told nope, it's a curse, solve it with psychic?

#639 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2019, 08:32 PM:

@638: No, but it unfortunately sounds very plausible. It reminds me of an ad I saw once from IIRC the early 1920s. It was for a special "reducing bath." You take a brisk walk, every day, see, and then you put these here salts in your bath afterward. The more you walk, the more gobbledygook blahblah pseudoscience will be forced near the surface of your body to be drawn out by the salts. And then, your clothes will become looser! I always wondered whether a doctor somewhere threw up their hands and put together the bath salts in order to get people to walk more.

#640 ::: HelenS ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2019, 09:30 PM:

From The Phoenix and the Carpet: “Then [Anthea] took a sheet of old newspaper (you ought never to light a fire with to-day’s newspaper – it will not burn well, and there are other reasons against it), and tore it into four quarters, and screwed each of these into a loose ball, and put them on the cinders...”

#641 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2019, 12:23 PM:


#642 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2019, 03:32 PM:

Thank you, HelenS! Now I get to correct my memory with the proper quote. I was pretty sure it was The Phoenix and the Carpet -- after all, how many of her stories involve having to build a fire in the house?

#643 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2019, 07:25 PM:

Tom Whitmore @642: Then there's the Calvin and Hobbes strip...

#644 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2019, 07:39 PM:

And there's the photo of my brother, taken by the father of his older son-in-law, captioned as "[name] in pyro mode". (Loading coals into the barbecue starter.)

#645 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2019, 10:47 PM:

Joel Polowin -- oddly, that strip is from the day before my birthday!

#646 ::: Quill ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2019, 09:18 AM:

Okay, gonna ask the obvious question - why won't today's newspaper (from that time period) burn well? Is the ink still damp? And is this why servants ironed the papers?

#647 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2019, 11:02 AM:

That's probably it. Even in the 80s, reading the day's newspaper could get ink on your fingers (and if it had gotten damp, it was fragile, too).

#648 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2019, 12:01 PM:

Jenny Islander @627: In his opinion it was a white people thing.

...or a Native F'ing with white people thing. Has the smell of a "snipe hunt" about it, I suspect.

Tom Whitmore @367: "You should never light a fire with today's newspaper. It will not burn well, and besides, there are other reasons."

...but is lighting a fire with yesterday's newspaper okay...?

P J Evans @647: Even in the 80s, reading the day's newspaper could get ink on your fingers

Still does. I have to wash my hands after prepping newspaper for the guinea pig cage. Also pulping newspaper for papier-mâché. (I have a plastic bucket that's still gray-black inside from this.)

#649 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2019, 12:28 PM:

AKICIML, Culinary Edition: I am the main cook in the family. For assorted boring reasons, I have had to retool my dinner menus; this involves checking out every cookbook in the library (one at a time) and copying the one or two recipes in each book that I can actually use to make dinner. (Breakfast and lunch are covered.)

Here's a summary of something I tried last night: To three pounds lean pork, take two medium onions, two cloves garlic, two medium zucchini, basil, marjoram, thyme, pepper, 1 pint chicken or vegetable broth, olive oil, 3/4 cup yogurt, 1 tablespoon cornstarch.

Cube and saute' the pork; take it up; saute' the onions (chopped); add the garlic and cook briefly; add the seasonings; put the meat back in, pour in broth, and simmer briskly 15 minutes. Add diced zucchini and simmer until tender. Stir the yogurt and cornstarch in a bowl, pour in a little broth, stir thoroughly, pour into the pot, stir again, and serve with freshly boiled potatoes on the side.

We all liked it, but agreed--even my carnivorous husband--that it has A Lot of Meat. So should I adjust it by replacing some pork with zucchini? Or would some other vegetable be better as a pork replacement? (I can't put the potatoes into the pot or include tomatoes or artichoke hearts.)


#650 ::: estelendur ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2019, 12:47 PM:

Jenny Islander @649: Subbing with zucchini seems likely to work, although you then might end up with A Lot of Zucchini in it (not necessarily a problem). I imagine you could do some zucchini and then some carrots (if those are possible), in cubes a bit smaller than the pork if you want more bite or diced small if you don't. Larger cubes would probably want to be put in when you add the meat and broth to the alliums. (Carrots would make it a bit sweeter, though.)

#651 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2019, 01:24 PM:

Perhaps a reason for not starting a fire with today's paper is that someone in the household hasn't read it yet.

As for ink coming off on people's fingers, that seems to vary a lot. My mother had a problem with it, but I don't think anyone else in the household did.

#652 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2019, 02:27 PM:

Nancy Lebovitz (651): "[S]omeone in the household hasn't read it yet" is the Other Reasons.

#653 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2019, 04:44 PM:

It is generally Not True that today's newspaper won't burn well -- it is, however, an easily-remembered reason that is harder to get around than many others. That is why this falls in the category of Kind and Useful.

#654 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2019, 05:00 PM:

I remember from a couple of Incidents when I was young that when I wanted to clip something from a newspaper or a magazine -- even if it was a couple of days old -- it was important to check with others in the house. Not just for the item I wanted, but for whatever might have been printed on the other side of the page.

#655 ::: Kip Williams ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2019, 07:17 PM:

Jacque @648: We never used printed newspaper for papier-mache. We'd go to the Coloradoan and get roll ends for free, and use them for scribbling and whatever else. Consequently, my oldest drawings look like they date back to the Crimean War.

#656 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2019, 07:38 PM:

@650: Thank you! I'll try it with A Lot of Zucchini and/or Carrots next time. (I'm thinking that I could offset the sweetness of carrots with more pepper and some savory and rosemary.)

Come to think of it, that would make a pretty good meal for a not-too-hot summer day, because hoophouse zucchini at the farmer's market are cheap and also come in basically one size, which is A Lot.

#657 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2019, 08:21 PM:

Kip: Gave away some guinea pig compost last spring, which is something like 50% newspaper by weight. On impulse, the recipient tested the pH before he put it in his garden, and discovered it's very acidic. Which, on thinking about it, what with all the fuss around "acid-free paper" in books & drawing paper, makes complete sense.

Newsprint: archival quality, it is not.

(Which makes it doubly ironic when some urban archeologists discovered that newspaper in landfills basically doesn't decay. It's still entirely legible, like, 40 years later.)

#658 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2019, 08:53 PM:

Depends on what period the newspaper is from. I have several 1803 Boston newspapers printed on rag paper that are still very supple.

Acid is used to prepare the paper to take ink ("sizing") -- the ink prints more evenly with less smearing after acid treatment. It makes printing much faster, and easier to do in large quantities. It was discovered in the 19th C, which is why a lot of books from earlier don't show anywhere near the deterioration of books from 75 years ago.

#659 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2019, 09:15 PM:

In #637, Tom Whitmore writes:

Hmm, Googling for that exact quote only returns me saying it. Maybe I'm rewriting history.

You should. After all, today's newspaper is the first draft of history.

#660 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2019, 10:53 PM:

Most of my childhood drawings were on paper my dad brought home from school, so there were often worksheets or tests on the other sides. I got to know his handwriting pretty well.

#661 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2019, 11:36 PM:

My parents did that also. (We had formica-topped sink cutouts for drawing boards.)
Later, after they moved to west Texas, my father built a drawing table for the kids' section of the library that held a roll end that was pulled out to cover the length of the table, then clamped at the other end.

#662 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2019, 11:26 AM:

Chuck Jones(of Bugs Bunny fame)'s father famously was a terrible business man. One consequence of that was that he was forever bringing home unused stationery from his latest business to go belly-up. In one account, Jones claimed that they were only allowed to use one side of the paper to draw on, because dad wanted it used up as quickly as possible. (Another account said this was because dad said, "You'll never know when you're going to do a drawing you want to keep." I suppose both are plausible.)

One consequence was that all of the Jones children wound up being pro artists in some form or other.

I remember once when my dad brought home several boxes (i.e., several Ks) of unused business cards from some failed endeavor or other. Those were great to play with and make stuff with. I have a vague recollection of some sort of architectural model made with a bunch of them, plus clear acetate for windows, which was very cool.

(Yet another memory was that time my dad brought home a whole bunch of empty cigar boxes. A bunch were still serving as the drawer dividers in the living room desk by the time I moved out. I still have one that my brother spray-painted green on the outside and red on the inside, and contained his marble collection, which I  stole  inherited when he moved out.)

#663 ::: Quill ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2019, 11:36 AM:

The ink is why I don't read newspapers any more (not that I was ever an avid fan). The texture of the paper and the ink on my fingers bothers me enough that I don't like to touch the things.

It didn't bug me when I was a kid reading the comics section, but kids often don't care about "clean" the same way adults do.

#664 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2019, 12:11 PM:

Jenny Islander #649: Fennel is good in a pork stew. I don't know if your family can eat it, or if it grows in your neck of the woods, but it's very tasty. Cut it into thick slices and the slices into manageable pieces. Put it in after the onions. Cooking time similar to carrots.

You mentioned that potatoes are out, but what about turnips?

#665 ::: Kip Williams ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2019, 12:12 PM:

Most of our newspapers went up the chimney of the pot-bellied stove, having first been crumpled up in milk cartons for handy fire starters. Not all, because we had a puppy for some of the time.

#666 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2019, 01:20 PM:

@664: Somehow I never think of turnips--thanks for the reminder!

If I use fennel, would that basically be The Herb (and also a vegetable) for the dish? I haven't worked with fresh fennel, so I don't know what goes with it. Can I leave in the garlic?

#667 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2019, 01:59 PM:

Jenny Islander @666--
Fennel behaves exactly like celery but has more flavor. Carrots go nicely with it. Garlic, yes.

#668 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2019, 02:29 PM:

Jacque (662): My mother ran for school board when I was nine. (Lost, but did force a runoff from a field of five, which was doing very well.) Afterwards, we were left with several thousand flyers, folded into thirds. We tore them along the fold lines and used them as scratch paper for notes, grocery lists, etc. The supply lasted a good forty years but has finally run out.

#669 ::: Quill ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2019, 03:03 PM:

My dad still has some leftover computer punch cards from his college years that he uses for scratch paper. He graduated in '63...

#670 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2019, 04:08 PM:

That's specifically fennel bulbs we're talking about here, not fennel leaf/weed or fennel seed. Fennel leaf is really good for baking salmon on, and acts as an anise-like herb.

#671 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2019, 04:34 PM:

Heh. The shop my dad worked in was next door to a printer. Every couple of years, he'd go over and pick out some stacks of odd-sized scraps left over from some big print-run. Would have the printer paint one side with note-pad glue, and bring home these "pads" of 5"x5" notepaper that were, like, a foot and a half tall.

The original upcycler.

#672 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2019, 06:16 PM:

I used to write letters on some printer's scrap that David Lance Goines had thrown away: cut apart portions of one of his posters that weren't good enough for him.

#673 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2019, 08:06 PM:

Okay, you win. 8-)

#674 ::: stefan jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2019, 10:40 AM:

Gary Gygax used the business cards of departed employees for card decks of game-designs-in-progress.

#675 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2019, 12:05 PM:

At one point, an employer of mine had four major product lines. All of the employees got business cards from all four lines, regardless of what their actual work involved.

So all I had to do was collect one of each "suit" from 13 employees, and add a few denomination symbols, to have a functional standard deck. IIRC, the company president was the king, and the receptionist was the ace: depending on circumstances, sometimes the lowest and sometimes the highest.

#676 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2019, 01:17 AM:

It is a truth universally acknowledged that people in a startup worry about being taken over by suits. But if the suits are as in cards, hmm.

#677 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2019, 01:27 PM:

I appear to have discovered another set of Eight Deadly Words. Instead of "I don't care about any of these characters," they're "I am so tired of this asshole antagonist."

I've been following a webcomic for years, but I am officially Done. It's visually stunning, the worldbuilding is fascinating, the protagonists are interesting and sympathetic, some of the antagonists get character growth...and then there's This One Guy. This one smirking, preening, sadistic, creepy guy. Like Q, except that he is in every damn episode lately. He is toying yet again with a brooding anti-hero who he has secretly been controlling since before the story began. I am so sick of watching him play. At this point I don't even have enough give-a-damn left to keep reading in case he loses. I get the impression that the webcomic may be building up to the Great and Final Chapter...but I won't be there to watch it.

Anybody else have this experience?

#678 ::: Kip Williams ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2019, 11:23 PM:

Here's a particle: John M. Ford's work (I didn't know him, hence the formality) is mostly all going back into print, thanks to a list of folks who PNH listed on Twitter in a post I could probably find if it was earlier in the day. They've been on this case a long time, and now their efforts are coming to fruition, and it's good news for people who already love his writing, and great news for those who don't know it yet. I would sort of expect someone better informed than me to say a bit more about it, if it's not already on the front page (I haven't looked).

#679 ::: Kip Williams ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2019, 11:26 PM:

...And it's on the front page already, because of course it is. I come here through a link to the most recent comment I've seen, which is a perfect and unassailable excuse that has nothing to do with me being lazy or ignorant.

#680 ::: Kip Williams ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2019, 07:30 PM:


#681 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2019, 09:07 PM:

[[semi-reproduced comment -- I seem to have kept editing and never actually hit Post.]]

Jenny Islander @666: back when there was a custom-order pasta place down the street from me, diced lightly-cooked fennel bulbs were one of my standard add-ons -- a very mild flavor that worked with pork products (Italian bacon or sausage) and added some fiber to the dish. IME not nearly as in-your-face as celery, and a bit less inclined to go limp when heated, so the crunch may be a nice balance to the chew (pork) and the smoosh (zucchini). Now, thanks to Tom, I'm going to have to try salmon cooked on fennel leaf -- I've been automatic about dill for some time.

various re newspaper issues[sic]: I remember a couple of decades ago the Boston Globe being apologetic about the way it was dirtying people's fingers, blaming the problem on a new formulation that had fewer toxic elements/compounds and saying they were trying to find a better solution; as of ~5 years ago, ink was still coming off on our white toaster when I read the newspaper standing up, so I moved my breakfast spot. I never noticed it coming off on my hands. I'm not surprised that buried newsprint lasts; I don't know the exact reaction(s) that cause(s) browning and crisping, but I expect they involve oxygen. Newsprint may even be hostile to anaerobic bacteria; when I was homebrewing, I read that saccharomyces drops the pH as it populates the fermentation jar, such that once it's established a lot of other bacteria can't get a foothold.

#682 ::: Robert Glaub ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2019, 10:06 PM:

I'm taking a science-fiction course at UMD. Instructor me to share all my Harlan Ellison stories.

#683 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2019, 10:09 PM:

I made etli rezene once - Turkish meat and fennel. It's very tasty.

I'll second your comment about yeast lowering pH. Sourdough starter is acidic, to the point where getting it to not react with soda requires a lot of dilution. That's one reason it's kept in glass or ceramic containers.

#684 ::: Kip Williams ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2019, 12:17 AM:

CHiP @681: A couple of decades ago, my wife's father was in the business of advising newspapers on how to keep the ink from coming off on readers' fingers. I didn't investigate closely enough to determine if he sold inks or ink systems, or if he merely advised.

#685 ::: Kimiko ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2019, 09:52 AM:

*waves hopefully*
Hey, it's been a loooong time, but I came back because I heard the news about John M. Ford.

Aaand then my buddy told me about some nonsense the FDA is up to to make things more difficult for narcoleptics and people with ADHD. The best link I have is to a giant wall of text by a lawyer & advocate over on Patreon.

(Patreon? Weird.)

Anyway, I vividly remember PHN's post on Ralph Nader back in 2006, and I immediately thought this might be relevant to some of us.

#686 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2019, 09:52 AM:


I remember playing with Silly Putty as a kid, and one of the things you could do was smoosh it over the newspaper and pull off a mirror image of it. Mirror-image Garfield was pretty cool to five-year-old me.

And I still have to wash my hands after reading the paper. I don't think the black finger problem is as bad as it used to be, but I also don't read physical papers as much any more.

Jenny Islander @ 677:

"I am so tired of this asshole antagonist" is why I don't care much about Batman any more. The Joker seems to have taken over Batman fans' and writers' minds as the best villain ever, but a lot of the time he doesn't seem to be written in an interesting way. I exceedingly dislike the way so many supposed heroes have no problem with death and killing, so Batman having a no-killing rule is great. However, since people seem to want Gotham to be dark and dysfunctional, I think Gotham would be a much better place if Batman made an exception to his no-killing rule and plugged the Joker. Or, you know, the various writers could let Gotham get cleaned up a bit.

#687 ::: Kimiko ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2019, 10:06 AM:

Of course I forgot to include links. *rolls up sleeves*

What's at stake: FDA wants to reformulate meds to make them "harder to abuse". This will make them not generic, hard to split for half doses, and might involve adding other stuff to them.

FDA link:
Comment period closes tomorrow.

Matthew Cortland (the lawyer/advocate):

Anyway, I hope I am not treading on our hosts good graces by posting this. It's poor manners to suddenly return and be like "oh hey, I've got this reaaaaly important thing I want you to pay attention to" but it appears that this is what I have done.

#688 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2019, 10:14 AM:

Kimiko @687, thanks for the reminder. That had come across my twitter feed for some reason and I had flagged it to reply but missed that the end of the comment period is tomorrow. My daughter with intellectual disabilities takes med for ADHD and would have a hard time maintaining paid employment without it, and it's already hard enough to manage her prescription.

#689 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2019, 11:00 AM:

For a change, some good news from the UK: runners in a half-marathon were warned they could be disqualified for littering -- paper and water bottles have to be dumped in bins instead of dropped. There's also an interesting photo of an edible water packet.

#690 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2019, 11:39 AM:

We did that too - that was back when Silly Putty came in Only One Color.

#691 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2019, 10:48 AM:

Controversial opinion: the following should not be crossword puzzle answers.

  1. Names of entertainment personalities or shows.
  2. Sports teams, terms, or player names.
  3. Brand names or references to advertising.

And if they absolutely have to be there, they definitely should not cross.

Also, if an answer gets to be so common that one of the clues is "Crossword cookie" (Oreo), maybe it's time to retire that answer.

I guess it makes me a bad American that I'm not constantly glued to the TV, soaking up commercials, and treating baseball and American football like a religion, but if I did all that, when would I find the time to do crossword puzzles?


#692 ::: Kip Williams ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2019, 07:04 PM:


Are you TRYING to PUT TV Guide OUT OF the crossword BUSINESS?

#693 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2019, 02:34 PM:

KeithS 691: I would clue your example as "Imitation Hydrox."

#694 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2019, 03:49 PM:

That would certainly have a lot of people confused. (I grew up with Hydrox. Oreos didn't show up in my region until later.)

#695 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2019, 04:05 PM:

Xopher Halftongue @ 693 and P J Evans @ 694:

For quite a while, I was unaware of Hydrox the cookie, but was of Hydrex the pest control company. I had to stop and read very carefully the first time I came across the cookie.

#696 ::: HelenS ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2019, 04:49 PM:

ISTR Harlan Ellison being a Hydrox cookie fan.

#697 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2019, 08:22 PM:

Gahan Wilson has died. Like Bob Bloch, his kindness was so much greater than his cartoons might have made one think -- a very nice man, with a long and amazing career spanning six decades. His first cartoons that I know of were in a Ballantine pb in the 50s. He had a long and good life. (There are lots of other obits that will appear -- that link is to the NYTimes.)

#698 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2019, 10:39 PM:

"if an answer gets to be so common that one of the clues is 'Crossword cookie' (Oreo)..."

It's not just randomly common; it's a useful pattern of letters for crossword construction. Crosswords need words that start and end with vowels at a higher rate than they naturally occur in English.

I remember a crossword constructor lamenting that URINE and ENEMA would be terrifically useful as crossword entries, but audiences really don't want to see those words repeat week in and week out.

#699 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2019, 07:59 AM:

KeithS @ 691: I've been doing the local crossword for maybe 20 years; "oreo" is a frequent answer, but they've never been so short of clues as to offer "Crossword cookie". As a former hacker(*) of the instrument, I am also amused at the number of ways they've come up to clue "oboe". I don't mind a certain amount of current material in crosswords -- maybe it makes up for the sort of clues that only antiquarians among the under-40 set would get. (I can't think of anything immediately, but I remember seeing, at least once a week, a clue that requires knowing the 1950's.) A single crossing can often be sussed by thinking about what letters could fill in the empty square -- I'm reminded to do this carefully by the number of times I skip right over the correct letter -- but I do get annoyed when there's a cluster of this-minute answers.

(*) I owned an oboe for 6 years; I was never good enough to say I "played" it, although I did play the trumpet motifs from Britten's setting of Psalm 150 because the trumpet player in our middle-school band was even less competent.

Andrew Plotkin: I've never thought about the vocabulary needs of crossword constructors; that's a fascinating tidbit.

I've actually picked up a few words that aren't contemporary proper nouns; my favorite at the moment is "orlop".

There are times when schadenfreude is not merely OK but proper: Indonesian man who helped set strict adultery laws flogged for adultery

OTOH, the idiocy is not just overseas: Utah Woman Charged With Lewdness After Being Topless In Her Own Home

#700 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2019, 08:56 PM:

This afternoon, a bit before sunset in Ottawa, I was picking up Inge from the hospital. I looked up and saw crows. Many of them, spread out in the sky, flying generally eastwards. Thousands of them, streaming along, occasionally calling to each other. Tiny dots becoming visible in the western sky, and vanishing to distance in the east... apparently endlessly. Me, looking up in the sky, having a flashback to Londo Mollari shading his eyes as he watched his sky full of Shadow vessels. It was really creepy.

#701 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2019, 10:56 AM:

Andrew Plotkin @ 698:

I think I realized that about crossword words without quite realizing it. A similar word, "olio", gets used moderately often too for the same sorts of reasons. I'm sure someone uses it in daily speech, but that person isn't me. I don't mind that one, though, probably because no one's managed to come up with an overly twee clue for it.

I saw a video on YouTube — I think it was on Vox's channel, but I'd have to check — where a crossword author lamented that he wasn't allowed to use some useful words because they were not something people wanted to read at the breakfast table.

CHip @ 699:

That reminds me that when I learned how to do American crosswords ten or fifteen years ago, "Alda" (as in Alan Alda) was a pretty common answer. I haven't seen his name nearly as often recently.

Also, yes, there are a remarkable number of ways to clue oboe.

Joel Polowin @ 700:

That sounds remarkably creepy. You haven't made any ill-advised deals with a Rod Serlingesque guy lately, have you?

I've been thinking about rewatching Babylon 5 and introducing my husband to it. Although, with current events, watching it might prove to be a little more than I want to deal with right now.

One of these days, I will make good on my plan to feed all the crows in the parking lot at work and train them to be my corvid army. That's a thing that normal people do, right?

#702 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2019, 01:41 PM:

KeithS @701: I have no recollection of having made any such bargains. There's always the concern that such a bargain would include one not being able to remember about it.

I've thought often of B5 over the last few years. Ultimately, the good guys won. "But the cost..."

#703 ::: Kip Williams ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2019, 05:45 PM:

The first play I was in (aside from school) had an olio at the end, with the whole cast singing "Hello! Ma Baby!"

The piano we were accompanied by had thumbtacks stuck in all the hammers for that metallic sound. I learned later that piano technicians abominate the silly practice.

#704 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2019, 06:43 PM:

If I had access to a paper each day, as I did in the school district, I'd probably get more in the habit of crosswords. One local paper's is satisfyingly not-actually-difficult, and I have done it on graph paper, building the grid as I go; the other's escalates, and I stall at Wednesday. I used to do a couple online as well, but not these days.

I don't mind clues that rely on things outside my knowledge-base. Each crossword creator has their audience; they don't all have to be me.

#705 ::: Kip Williams ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2019, 11:16 AM:

I held onto a couple of books of crossword puzzles from The National Observer, which I still miss, thinking I'd be up to them some day. What I've found is that though I can do most normal crossword puzzles okay, the references in these require an awareness of secondary political and cultural figures from the early 1970s that I can't summon up, even in pencil.

For many years, I worked at a place where my duties included going through the local papers, and the Southside one had a page every Sunday with NYT and LA Times puzzles, and I'd save them up for entertainment on long trips--reading books on conveyances unpredictably makes me sick, but puzzles don't involve the same sort of eyeball tracking. When I ran out of those, I bought a book of puzzles and cut out a few at a time to keep on a clipboard in my pack. I wish I'd bought a half dozen of the books, because the ones that are coming out now are on crap paper, and most of them are weekday-type puzzles to boot. It still feels weird to cut pages out, but I was already writing on them. Next thing you know, I'll be making "book art" from first editions.

#706 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2019, 02:00 PM:

I'm thankful for this space and the people who post in it today. May we all share, as best we can, what we have with those who have something different.

#707 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2019, 02:16 PM:

May all the beneficent deities bless us today and through the next year!

#708 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2019, 03:13 PM:

Tom: Yes! +1

#709 ::: stefan jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2019, 03:25 PM:

Happy Thanksgiving, and ditto Tom's comments.

#710 ::: stefan jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2019, 03:46 PM:

Fade Manley is in the hospital with abdominal pains. Sending good vibes.

#711 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2019, 12:22 AM:

My heart hurts a little bit.

I've been scrolling through AO3. I just found a fic by a very young author (judging from the style) in which the author simply takes it for granted that the most famous superhero in the world, in a universe in which superheroes are celebrity first responders who have control of their own merchandise and have well-staffed agencies of their own...would have to start a GoFundMe to cover his medical bills.

Insert bitter political rant here.

#712 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2019, 06:05 PM:

Apropos of nothing: RIP Gahan Wilson. Even if you don't know his name, you'd certainly recognize his drawing style.

#713 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2019, 06:55 PM:

Is there a term that really means what "decimate" is used to mean, nowadays -- i.e. "leaves only one in ten" rather than "kills one in ten"? I'm inclined towards "cedimate" but that's not obvious in meaning.

#714 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2019, 06:38 AM:

Joel Polowin #713: I think most writers would stick with less-specific classics like "massacre" or "slaughter".

#715 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2019, 08:05 PM:

HLN: Area woman discovers the joy of cooking all over again.

I used to love trying new recipes, until the recession hit and it was "these ten cheap meals in rotation." Then things got better financially, but assorted health problems restricted what we could eat, so it was "these ten healthy meals in rotation, and don't eat out even when you've got the money because very few things are safe for you." I rolled up my sleeves and decided to do things the Autistic Way(TM). I am checking out every single cookbook in the library, in order, and copying dinner recipes that fit within our assorted restrictions.

And y'know? I'm having fun. I was going through my file of recipes to try just now, glanced at one, and thought, "I didn't buy meat for that this week, but I'm looking forward to seeing how it tastes."

For reference: I'm making (not necessarily in order) roasted whole turkey breast, a modified version of arepas "Reina Pepiada," pork medallions, beef fajitas Alaska style (with carrots instead of peppers), halibut pot roast, fish bowl, and Cuban-style vegetarian red beans and rice.

#716 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2019, 11:12 AM:

Jenny Islander (715): Those all sound good.

I just bought an Instant Pot--impulse purchase since Target was having a huge sale this past weekend. I haven't taken it out of the box yet, but I just checked out five Instant Pot cookbooks and put two more on reserve. I figure I'll end up buying one or two cookbooks that look particularly good and copying likely-looking recipes from a few more. Going to be interesting!

#717 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2019, 05:44 PM:

@716: You can convert any slow cooker recipe to the Instant Pot by keeping in mind that the default Instant Pot slow-cook setting is more or less the high setting on a Crock-Pot. If the recipe starts with pre-cooking some stuff in a skillet or bringing things to a boil in a pot, you can do it all in the Instant Pot; just use the Saute' setting to saute'/bring to a boil, then press Cancel and switch to Slow Cook for the rest of the recipe. Same goes for anything that starts "fry up this stuff in the bottom of a soup pot, bring to a boil, then simmer." You can just use the same Saute'-->Slow Cook trick; you don't even have to bother figuring out the Soup setting or whatever. Just start cooking your potful of stew or soup an hour earlier than usual and take note of how long it takes in the Instant Pot. If it finishes earlier than you need, just use the Keep Warm setting until dinner.

#718 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2019, 06:08 PM:

The inevitable techie question: does Instant Pot's "Keep Warm" have some resemblance to "low" on a crock pot? Or is it too low to actually Do Anything?

wrt the initiator of the recent flurry of comments on crosswords: today's local included "I Love Lucy's next door neighbor". Wikipedia informs me that the show ~"remains popular with an audience of 40 million each year in America", but I wonder how many of that number are younger than 60 (i.e., born after weekly shows ended).

#719 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2019, 06:25 PM:

@718: It's just hot enough to prevent/delay pathogen growth, IIRC--which is not hot enough to cook with.

#720 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2019, 07:37 PM:

Jenny Islander (717): Thanks for the tips. I have saved them to my computer to print out later.

I do have a newish crock pot that I'm not planning to get rid of any time soon. I understand that rice is easy in the Instant Pot, too; that's one of the reasons I bought one.

#721 ::: Melissa Mead ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2019, 10:01 PM:

Yes, although I think mine uses little less water for rice than my old rice cooker.

You can even make popcorn using the Saute function of an IP.

#722 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2019, 11:27 PM:

Melissa Mead (721): Apparently it takes about half the water that cooking rice on the stove does.

#723 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2019, 11:54 PM:

Mary Aileen @722 -- That must depend on one's recipe. I use: bring 2 volumes of water to full boil on high, add 1 volume of white rice or 3/4 volume of brown, reduce heat to half, bring back to simmer, cover and reduce heat to minimum. Wait 20 minutes for white rice, or 35-40 for brown. Almost no water is lost. I can't imagine any cooking method using much less. OTOH, using our rice cooker requires a lot more water than that.

#724 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2019, 01:49 AM:

@723: You do rice on the pressure cooker setting in an Instant Pot. So it takes a lot less water and time. On the other hand, if you don't like distinct and separate grains of slightly al dente rice, you may not like Instant Pot rice. At least, in my experience.

#725 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2019, 02:04 AM:

Jenny Islander @724 -- My rice comes out fairly dry; it has to be fluffed up a bit. What proportions of rice to consumed water are involved with the Instant Pot? I don't doubt that it's faster.

General: Is there any useful reason for phone spammers to be calling before 6 a.m.? I can't imagine anyone buying into anything when they're woken up that early. All that I can think of is that they're spammers-for-hire fulfilling a contractual obligation to make N calls, without regard for when or to whom.

Unfortunately, Inge's in the Intensive Care Unit (having *again* been ignored nearly to death by supposed medical personnel), so it's not easy to simply ignore incoming calls. (Call from a public health official early Sunday afternoon: "It's invasive strep A, but fortunately it doesn't appear to be necrotizing. What contact has she had with people? Here are the symptoms to watch for...")

#726 ::: stefan jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2019, 10:13 AM:

I still use my (small, battered, 20 years old!) dedicated rice cooker for rice-only cooking. But if I make fancier rice dishes, my Instant Pot clone comes off the top of the fridge.

#727 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2019, 11:58 AM:

stefan jones (726): I had been looking into rice cookers last winter, but decided not to buy one because they all seem to be nonstick; I hate nonstick cookware. A friend recommended an Instant Pot instead, but the $100+ price tag was daunting. Target had them for about $50 last weekend; that seemed worth it.

Joel Polowin (723/725): For stove-top cooking, I use 2 cups of water per 1 cup of brown rice. A friend of mine tells me that the Instant Pot is a 1:1 ratio, at least for white rice.

Jenny Islander (724): Ah. I always wind up with slightly sticky rice, so that's what I'm used to. It remains to be seen whether distinct grains will bother me or not.

#728 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2019, 07:24 PM:

We have a rice cooker; I haven't used it yet because I don't eat a ton of rice (or meals in general, honestly; we're not on the same shift.) I am still resentful of the fact that I can no longer buy condensed chicken broth; those were great to cook rice with. Two cans of condensed broth, one can of rice, tasty food.

#729 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2019, 10:34 PM:

and for anyone who hasn't yet heard: D C Fontana has died.

#730 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2019, 04:43 PM:

This CAT.

He has learned that if he makes an awful howling noise, we come running, because he only used to do that when he was about to throw up.

So he was outside just now. "DisASTer! HORror! Oh HELP! It's the APOCALYP--oh hi." The "Oh hi" chirp came right after the ruckus, because my daughter had just opened the door.

...this cat.

#731 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2019, 05:14 PM:

Coworker's ferrets do the same thing. Bigger brother would asault smaller sister. Sister would scream, human runs to the rescue. After a while, sister screams, human runs to the rescue; no brother in sight.

Sister has worked out that screams = snuggles.

#732 ::: Angiportus Librarysaver ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2019, 08:35 PM:

HLN: Area mind mourns demise of 5th computer, done in by viruses due to user having thought a protective program was switched on when it was not. Said computer, 1st laptop, lasted 4 1/2 years; more had been hoped for. The replacement is McAfee'd and currently being familiarized/got-to-known.
A cousin has a cat who is quite old and apparently deaf, and she has these spells of going into the most acoustically live room in the place and she doesn't just meow, she...trumpets. It is the most startling, primeval sound you could ever be startled by, even in the daytime. Owner of new computer decides to continue multi-decade practice of no animate dependents.
It seems that in this region, the past month was, as suspected, the driest November in more than 4 decades. The backlash is awaited with some trepidation. After 9 months, the realm of the Skagit has still turned out to be quite a good home. Speaking of trumpeting, you know you are in a neat place when you hear a funny noise outside and it is swans.

#733 ::: HelenS ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2019, 06:28 PM:

Data point: I make stovetop rice with 1.5 cups of water to 1 cup rice (either white or brown). White takes 17 minutes on our stove, brown 40.

#734 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2019, 06:57 PM:

I have again been running over the collected Mike that Macdonald did so well for us 13 years ago, and looking at some of the posts that prompted Mike's responses. I was ... somethinged ... to discover, in the discussion on astroturf, this from Avram talking about its results:

(1) they lose the ability to make rational decisions on the matter at hand, and instead decide based on whatever they're told by somebody with an authoritative tone who reinforces their existing prejudices, and (2) they start to crave simple solutions, even (perhaps especially) brutal ones.

seems almost prophetic...

#735 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2019, 07:06 PM:

And for people who haven't had their nutbar quota for the day: Trayvon Martin's murderer is suing the victim's family. I don't know about you, but I couldn't make this stuff up....

#736 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2019, 01:32 AM:

I've been wondering this for a while now:

Is it out of date to italicize the names of ships, planes, novels, movies, series, albums, etc.? Because I have noticed that in many places I visit online, I'm the only one who does it. (Not here, of course.)

#737 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2019, 04:01 AM:

Jenny: I do to. I suspect that it's partly a less-taught practice, and partly the ascii bottleneck that online writing went through (and still pertains on some sites that don't have formatting options in the comments.)

#738 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2019, 01:35 PM:

I've noticed that italicizing book titles has pretty much gone out of fashion, so I only do it if there seems to be a risk of ambiguity.

Sometimes I'll put underscore's before and after the title because it's more convenient.

#739 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2019, 02:04 PM:

I usually use quotation marks around those. (Some sites allow em tags, but not i.)

#740 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2019, 03:14 PM:

And back to My Cat's Peculiarly Specific Intelligence:

My husband started this, because he noticed that the cat was bored and depressed due to it being cold as a border agent's heart out there all the time. So he responded every time the cat meowed, even at 4 a.m. His sleep is suffering, but he won't quit it because kitty cat and he won't install a cat door because [long digression]. So MY sleep is suffering, because I can't lie there and leave him to suffer.

So the cat has been bossing one or the other of us out of bed in the middle of our sleep cycles in order to complain about his water trickling at the wrong velocity or the level of kibble in his bowl being a quarter inch too low or the lack of treats in his treat plate, or whatever. This spoiled old so-and-so won't even cover his own messes in his litterbox. We have to do it. At crap o'clock.

Last night he wanted his water flow adjusted AGAIN. (He has three sources of water and he alternates complaining about all of them.) So I did that, and went back to bed.

And then--I could see him clearly--he walked to the middle of the living room, sat down, and just started meowing. Because, y'know, get up, pay attention to me.

So I got up, because I had had a bit more sleep than my husband, and stomped over, leaned down, and said, "WHAT."

He went quiet real quick, and did not pester either of us for the rest of the night.

Smart kitty.

#741 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2019, 08:03 PM:

For a few months, some decades back, I was sharing a house with a couple of friends. They had a fairly old half-Siamese. Said cat would come scratching and yowling at my bedroom door in the wee hours. This got an escalating reception: water pistol, swatted with a pillow, water pistol full of vinegar. Once or twice, as I recall, I grabbed him firmly but gently, brought him to the tub, and sprayed him with water. He eventually learned to run away as soon as he heard me get out of bed... but not to stop bugging me. I don't know why he didn't try to get the attention he craved from his owners. Ultimately, he had to be shut in the laundry room with his food and litter box all night.

#742 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2019, 08:25 PM:

A water pistol is exactly what I'm recommending to my husband to tame this monster he created. But he won't, because he wuvs kitty cat. I love our cat too, but I also love not seeing my husband dragging around exhausted all day!

I also want a cat door, so that he can go be mad at the weather at the weather, not at us.

#743 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2019, 08:45 PM:

Everyone needs to have their established boundaries to get along with others; that applies to animals and children as well as adults.

You may be optimistic in assuming that having a cat door will cause you to not be held responsible for the weather. Or so I infer from The Door Into Summer.

#744 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2019, 10:25 PM:

The cat's going to expect you to fix the weather, regardless of its ability to go in and out.

We had a locking cat door between the house and the garage: it was locked so they could go out at night, but not get in. (There was food and water and a safe place to sleep (or eat) in the garage, and it was warmer than outside.) The cat door between the garage and outside was the standard flapping door. (Those can be modified to require the cat to pull the door open. They'll make a big production out of opening it, but they can go through and be twenty feet away before it stops banging on the stop.)

#745 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2019, 02:36 PM:

Jenny Islander @740: From the Department of You Are Not Alone.

Also, John Scalzi regularly reports that 3am is Cat Butt O'Clock.

#746 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2019, 02:51 PM:

One of my sister's cats likes to get up and play with his toys at 0-dark-hundred, including running around the living room.
He ran across my butt one night when I was there this summer, and his 14-lbs-on-one-paw barely registered - proof that cats control gravity.

#747 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2019, 06:42 PM:

Rene Auberjonois has died.

#748 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2019, 09:53 PM:

Aw damn.

#749 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2019, 10:03 PM:

We've lost Carroll Spinney too.

G'bye, Big Bird.

#750 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2019, 11:02 PM:

make it three - Mark Oshiro's partner Baize White died Friday.

#751 ::: Online Tech Support in USA ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2019, 06:54 AM:

We are a free specialist co-op for all the equipment and programming related issues. We are an outsider organization giving specialized help in programming, PCs, PCs, printers and so forth. Online Tech Support in Canada

#752 ::: OtterB sees spam ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2019, 07:33 AM:

Because of course you're going to hire a spammer to give you tech support...

#753 ::: Kip Williams ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2019, 10:52 AM:

I italicize book titles, unless I'm on Twitter or some other place that doesn't do italics, and then I use all-caps. I also use all-caps for movie titles and animated cartoons. Otherwise, I capitalize first letters as appropriate. I also leave periods out of capitalized initials (like RJ Reynolds, or DFT).

The other day, I was apparently so bugged by something that I momentarily reverted to two spaces after a period, which I haven't done since 1991. I caught it before the second word following, but it was there.

#754 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2019, 11:03 AM:

I still do two spaces after a period, if the software permits, because I do not care if The Style is now to pack things together, I can read it better if I put in more white space.

#755 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2019, 12:03 PM:

I also use two spaces, same reasoning. I still italicize when appropriate; if the medium doesn't permit it, then I use the classic markers: *bold* and _italic_. I still often put the periods into things like "U.S.A." and "S.C.A." though I'm gradually drifting out of that.

#756 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2019, 12:35 PM:

I started out doing two spaces after a period, but years of typesetting beat that out of me. The rationale being this is less useful with proportional-space fonts. Pointless for a long time, because web browswers will wash out the extra space in a lot of contexts.

#757 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2019, 02:16 PM:

I italicize titles where I can. If the interface won't let me, I either just capitalize properly (Gone with the Wind), or if that's not clear, I enclose the title in quotation marks.

I never learned two spaces after a period so don't have to unlearn it.

#758 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2019, 02:19 PM:

Speaking of using all caps for titles, if you're on Twitter and looking for book recommendations (for yourself or someone else), check out the hashtag #libfaves19; it's librarians counting down their personal top ten books of the year. Most of what I've noticed so far is mainstream/literary fiction, but I'm doing my part toward getting some genre fiction in there as well.

#759 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2019, 02:29 PM:

Some sites automagically turn *word* into word.

#760 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2019, 02:37 PM:

@755: You too? I was trained to put the periods in if the initials could be pronounced as an acronym but shouldn't be, and leave them out otherwise. So U.S.A., but IBM; O.K. or okay, but not OK (except on mailpieces, per USPS requirements). I notice that most people don't bother with such details, but I still feel weird if I leave them out.

#761 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2019, 03:37 PM:

Jenny Islander (760): Huh. That's a detail I never heard before. I tend to put the periods (and spaces*) in for a person's name, but otherwise leave them out. Except that I do use them in U. S. [something].

I never really analyzed it before. Now that I do, it seems to have something to do with having a word after the initials**, rather than just being an acronym or initialism; I use periods for the former but not the latter.

*It looks very odd to me to not have a space after a period.

**for example, I would abbreviate my name as M. A. Buss

#763 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2019, 03:46 PM:

Yaytest enables you to have more fonts like italics on sites like facebook which don't offer italics.

#764 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2019, 03:49 PM:

That should be Yaytext.

#765 ::: Kip Williams ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2019, 10:34 PM:

Thanks for that, Nancy. Using it.

#766 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2019, 01:43 AM:

Do creatures of Faerie live by some kind of nuclear fusion? They are famously poisoned by the presence of matter which contains no nuclei that can be fused to release energy.

#767 ::: Clifton sees still-undeleted spam ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2019, 08:38 PM:

Spam at #751 - thank you, good gnomes!

#768 ::: Chris ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2019, 06:24 PM:

Fun with Google Trends:

Interest in two search terms spiked yesterday, both at right around the same time.

The terms were "UK election results" and "Scottish independence".

#769 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2019, 11:38 AM:

Catching up with a couple of moderators' items:

"How Monopolists Broke the Fed" has interesting bits, but I was struck by
In a world with a looming climate crisis and endless poverty, it is extraordinarily weird to act like there is no way to profitably use capital.
ISTM that if there were a plausible way to make money off of "fixing" poverty, somebody would have found it. (I don't consider private prison systems, or even maquiladoras, as fixes.) And AFAICT investment in climate change would serve to prevent long-term losses rather than providing anything that looks like a profit to markets as currently constructed; that is a criticism of the markets, but ISTM that the statement as given is untenable. Thoughts?

And the article on fabric computers was fascinating, but missed a detail. I get that the bead-and-wire things are connected by conductive threads, but can anyone figure out what the activating mechanism is that flips the semicircular bit[sic] on top of the bead from one side to the other?

I just saw something bizarre about the latest-comments function: it added my response on "Return of the Dreadful Phrases" when the item was still in preview but not yet posted. This could invoke thiotimoline, but it doesn't reproduce either with this comment or with another in Dreadful Phrases; anyone suddenly having time on their hands is invited to experiment and report.

Speaking of the above construction, did anyone notice
Merriam-Webster Singles Out Nonbinary 'They' For Word Of The Year Honors

#770 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2019, 03:31 PM:

CHip #769: The problem with the idea of profiting off fixing poverty, or climate change, is the same basic problem as we're currently running into with even basic material recycling. In all cases it's capitalism whining for another externality to exploit, when the problems themselves represent fundamental entropic "holes".

For a long time we've been able to shunt recycling off on "people who are more desperate than us", with the cooperation of governments that don't need to actually answer to their populace (especially China).

But that was never sustainable: China is trying to come up and gain First World prosperity despite our best efforts, and much of the Third World has gotten better at publicizing and fending off our abuses, often with aid from our enemies.

Trump's attempts to strongarm and bully China (and his casual insults elsewhere) have probably goosed the process along, but it was inevitable that sooner or later we'd have to learn how to clean up our own messes.

But making that actually happen requires government action, precisely because it's not actually a "new opportunity", it's an old debt. And of course, the GOP had been methodically sabotaging and damaging the government for decades even before Trump showed up to "grant their wishes".

#771 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2019, 02:52 AM:

More on my senior cat who is experiencing a personality change: For most of his life he was, "I will consent to a courteous exchange of cheekbone rubs and ear scritches, but no more." This has escalated over the past few years, beginning with his discovery that Laps Are Good.

Today he jumped onto my desk, which usually means "Socialize with me, by which I mean let's hang out and occasionally exchange headbumps of love." But he turned to me, bowed his head, and put one paw gently on my chest. I had no idea what he wanted, so I tried picking him up, something which he used to endure. He draped himself over my shoulder, allowed me to hold up his butt (another first! He used to insist on digging in his claws instead because he was Mr. Tough Independent Kitty), and cuddled and purred for half an hour. Observers said that he looked very happy. (I shut down my Minecraft game and started reading something, so that I was basically sitting still for him.)

He also used to jump away from food when reproved, but today he nabbed a pizza crust and kept going with it until I grabbed him and made him open his jaws. (We usually keep him out of table scraps, I swear! Somebody got careless.)

#772 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2019, 05:48 PM:

"The Far Side" is up! Whee!

(Note: it isn't actually new material; it's old stuff plus notebook sketches. But that's still a lot of drawings.)

#773 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2019, 08:12 PM:

Dave Harmon @ 770: no disagreement -- the issue I had was the essayist's apparent belief that capitalism could somehow change its spots but still be capitalism.

#774 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2019, 01:33 PM:

Trump did.

The GOP did naught.

Now there is a try.

#775 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2019, 05:10 PM:

Somebody pointed this out and now I can't unsee it.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Is actually a white-tailed deer.
None of them look like reindeer,
But they look like white-tailed deer.

Somebody couldn't draw reindeer,
But they could draw white-tailed deer--
Or they just copied Bambi.
There's something screwy going on here.

#776 ::: Kip Williams ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2019, 11:15 AM:

Merry Holidays! This year, for my seasonal reprint, I'll give Freddy the Snowman a pass (for now) and cut to The Canterbury Carol.


Back in 2003, a friend in RASFF queried:

Where could I find the "Canterbury Carol"?

This was the sort of challenge that, for some obscure reason, I felt like picking up and running with. As it turns out, I made some errors, conflating or expanding the MONK count somehow, so until that gets fixed, this is a work in progress. 2013 will be its tenth year as such. Anyway, fire up your plainchant (I had in mind a tune similar to Veni, Veni, Emmanuel's beginning) and have something near to hand for when you get thirsty.

Pilgrims, nine and twenty number we,
Traveling in such a company.
To Canterbury now we all do come
To shrive our sins at Thomas Becket's tomb.

A KNIGHT I am, whose warlike chivalry
Does serve our peaceful Lord of Galilee.
To heathen foes the fight I'd gladly press
To show them Jesu's grace and gentleness.

I am his YEOMAN, clad in brightest green.
My bow is long, my arrows true and keen.
How dull is e'en the sharpest shining sword
When laid beside our savior's holy word.

A PRIORESS am I, and it is thence
For Jesus' sake I make my journey hence
His blood redeem-ed Adam's shameful fall
His is the love alone that conquers all.

I am a NUN, and keeping to my friend
I'll travel on until the jouney's end.
My chapel I make on the open road,
And roods I find abundant in each wode.

We are three PRIESTS who travel in the sun.
A trinity we be, who preach as one.
Together, we make light work of our load,
And save such souls as we might, on the road.

A MONK I be, and forward now I ride;
My calling is not one found safe inside
I wander widely round the earthly sod
And hunt with love for souls to bring to God.

I am a FRERE, indeed a merry man
I find my pleasant joys where best I can;
To men I freely God's forgiveness give
For after all, a man of God must live.

A MERCHANT I, and reckon fully well
The worth of every good and ware I sell.
Yet all this world's wealth would not reckoned be
A farthing's worth in God's own currency.

A CLERK I am, from Oxford's noble halls;
I leave the shadows of its ivied walls
And travel hence with one important goal,
By Jesu's love to cleanse my mortal soul.

I labor as a SERGEANT of the law.
Before God's might, I meekly stand in awe.
His son did bring us, with his humble birth
A greater law than all that's found on earth.

Although a FRANKLIN wealthy I may be,
Yet in my soul I feel but poverty
The sweetest riches of this world I'd give
In Jesu's better world one day to live.

In stylish HABERDASHER's livery,
I garb in cloth men's frames most fittingly.
My greatest hope is that one day I'll don
A fairer raiment, when from earth I'm gone.

A CARPENTER, I hack and hew rough wood
And hope my work comes out the way it should.
But now I ride for days past field and floss
To honor Him nailed on a wooden cross.

A WEAVER am I, toiling at my loom
And as I work, my mind is on the tomb
Tho' warp and woof of life be in my eye
I pray I might be shuttled to the sky.

A DYER I, I live by staining cloth
With industry I strive, abjuring sloth.
And now on holy pilgrimage I fly,
That my soul may be stainless when I die.

An ARRAS-MAKER, I craft tapestries
Of heavenly and earthly majesties
The first to help me stand on Judgment Day;
The other pays my bills along the way.

Sweet friend, I pray you, do not scorn the COOK,
Whose recipe for life comes from a Book.
Who seeks his soul to leaven ere he dies,
That from the dirt to heaven he may rise.

A SHIPMAN, I have roamed the mighty seas
Yet now I go to pray upon my knees
And pardon seek for all those times I failed
And thoughtlessly and sinningly I sailed.

PHYSICIAN am I; man of many parts.
Philosophy I read, and healing arts.
Yet now I seek the healing of my soul,
And being with the Lord shall be my goal.

A humble WIFE am I, upon this path
Five husbands I have had, who lived in Bath.
A pilgrimage I take, so when I have died
The Prince of Peace may claim me for his bride.

A PARSON, I do preach upon the rock.
I seek to find the best way for my flock
I guide them not for profit nor for pelf,
Nor bid them go where I'd not go myself.

As PLOWMAN I must walk behind my ox
And watch to spare the colter blade from rocks.
I pray to God my soul to Heav'n may go,
And see my friends and neighbors there also.

A MILLER stout, my wheel grinds for an hour
And from its movement, grain is ground to flour.
So too, from even one of my large size,
My sins be ground away, and I may rise.

I am a MANCIPLE from inn of court,
No man has managed yet to sell me short.
This pilgrimage I take, while I have breath:
For I could win in life, yet lose in death.

As REEVE, I am the steward to my lord,
And from my skills, fine goods I can afford.
Yet though I forecast crops with great success,
I would not wager my soul on a guess.

My living as a SUMMONER is sweet,
I never want for cheer or drink or meat.
I blush not that I take whate'er I can;
For God knows, you can't cheat an honest man.

A PARDONER, I know the Bible well
Choice relics from it I am pleased to sell
Saint's toe bones I can let all have who pay
And they're all glad to have them, anyway.

As POET, I have dragged this out too long,
And yet I'll put myself into the song.
I earned the right by riding on this road,
And trust that God will lighten my soul's load.

©2012 by Kip Williams.

I've indicated some places where the chorus may be interposed. You can skip them! Or you can sing it after every verse, if you like. If you sing while walking, you may be at Canterbury when you finish.


#777 ::: Singing Wren ::: (view all by) ::: December 23, 2019, 09:22 PM:


As residents of this parish no doubt recall, it is possible to sing a great many songs to the tune of the theme song from Gilligan's Island (due to the prevalence of Common Meter darn near everywhere).

In a seasonally appropriate request, I’m wondering if anyone knows of a video of someone performing O Little Town of Bethlehem to the theme of Gilligan's Island? All the videos I can find are to the tune of The House of the Rising Sun.

#778 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2019, 02:41 AM:

I cannot help you, but I am forcefully reminded of something I heard on Saturday while we were taking our annual Christmas light drive.

"Oh," I said, "it's a fantasia on 'What Child Is This.' With an Arabian orchestra. Cool."

"Oh...wait," I said. "We tuned into this halfway through, apparently, because that's the floor work portion of a bellydance routine. And here's the veilwork. Yep, and now we're into the fast finale."

I didn't hear the credits and they weren't answering the phone at the station, so I have no idea. Of all the combinations--!

#779 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2019, 08:02 AM:

Happy Holidays, all of you!

#780 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2019, 12:05 PM:

Happy Holidays all! For your delectation, some Christmas carols in ragtime arrangement: and a mashup of Poe's Raven with "The Cuckoo, she's a pretty bird":

#781 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2019, 06:03 PM:

Merry Christmas! (from Central European Time)

Stockings are stuffed, children are in bed, and the teenager has turned off his alarm for the morning. I look forward to the first Christmas in memory where we can all sleep in.

#782 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2019, 07:51 PM:

seasonal greetings:

#783 ::: P J Evans is be-gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2019, 08:38 PM:

when all y'all find time.
I have some pecan truffles....

#784 ::: stefan jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 25, 2019, 08:44 AM:

Merry Christmas to thems that observe it.

Last holiday season in the house my parents retired to twenty years ago; the first time I visited here we had Y2K hanging over our heads.

In 20 years, may Trump and his enablers seem just as foolish in retrospect.

#785 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2019, 05:19 PM:

Merry Christmas to those that celebrate it, and I present to you the Best Present Ever, from this year's Yuletide: The Facebook of Margery Kempe.

I shall not be at ALL surprised if the author turns out to be a ML regular!

#786 ::: Janetl ::: (view all by) ::: December 28, 2019, 12:22 AM:

Lila: That is hilarious!

#787 ::: Mea ::: (view all by) ::: December 29, 2019, 12:32 AM:

Lila #785 soooo perfect. Thanks for the pointer!!! *goes back to lurking*

#788 ::: Mea ::: (view all by) ::: December 29, 2019, 12:32 AM:

Lila #785 soooo perfect. Thanks for the pointer!!! *goes back to lurking*

#789 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: December 29, 2019, 07:15 PM:

Lila #785. Very .... suitable

#790 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: December 29, 2019, 07:40 PM:

So, this was on Twitter, but my previous excursion into Genesis 2:19 (Adam naming things) was here, so I though I'd re-post it.

This was prompted by a photo of a long-eared jerboa. Which is basically a porg with rabbit ears, on stilts.

Adam: yeah nah
Recording Angel: we've already got hyena
Adam: no, I mean that thing. It's not an animal, it's whatchamacallit, bricolage
Recording Angel: He creates it; you gotta name it. Says in the Bible
Adam: If we let that through He'll be making chimaeras and hippocampuses and capricorns
Recording Angel: We've did hippocampuses yesterday
Recording Angel: Big water beasts with teeth?
Adam: Hippopotamuses
Recording Angel:
Adam: just check, ok?
Recording Angel: (relieved) ok
Adam: and the mouse-rabbit thing?
Recording Angel: it's staying
Adam: ok. Anything else weird about it
Recording Angel: it runs at 52000 cubits/hour
Adam: He's not letting up on metric, then?
Recording Angel:
Adam: Ok. I name thee jerboa
Recording Angel: Ok. What language is that going to come from?
Adam: Arabic, I think.
Recording Angel: Well, that's Asian mamals
Adam: At least they don't fly or lay eggs or have venom or lasers
Recording Angel: on to Australian mammals.

#791 ::: Quill ::: (view all by) ::: December 30, 2019, 09:47 AM:

In the theme of Christmas carols with alternate the last Advent service at my parents' church, we sang a common one (I've forgotten which) to "Star of the County Down". Which prompted me to wonder if Mary had nut-brown hair.

#792 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 30, 2019, 09:49 AM:

For those who haven't been following: All Night Laundry has finished its story. (Epilogues are promised for the coming year.)

I will be greatly disappointed if ANL does not receive at least a nomination for the Hugos, in fact I'm considering a Supporting Membership just to nominate it. I will be happy but not surprised if it wins. Yeah, that good. It started out impressively good, and then just kept topping itself over and over for most of 7 years.

IIUC (and feel free to correct me) the epilogues extending into 2020 basically make it eligible for both 2019 and 2020.

#793 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: December 30, 2019, 11:43 AM:

@791: You mean this one?

#794 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2019, 12:11 AM:

Quill #791

On alternate carol tunes: I have noticed that while The Red Flag sounds much better sung to 'The White Cockade' than to 'Tannenbaum' (eg here, by Billy Bragg and Bill Bailey), O Christmas Tree sounds even worse (no recording, but easily verified)

#795 ::: Quill ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2019, 10:13 AM:

Jenny Islander @793: Nope, it was one of the ubiquitous carols one hears a thousand times during December - I just can't remember which one.

The choir director was surprised that I knew the tune, but since he plays the alphorn for fun, I don't think he has the grounds to find anyone else weird...

#796 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2019, 08:11 PM:

Just back from the library and I am very annoyed.

This is an unfavorable review of Valley of Ashes by Cornelia Read (Grand Central Publishing, 2012). It includes spoilers.

Guvf vf cneg bs n frevrf bs pevzr abiryf. Ernq vf nccneragyl jryy xabja sbe frnzyrff vagrejrnivat bs gur pevzr cneg bs gur cybg jvgu gur qnvyl yvsr bs gur cebgntbavfg. V cvpxrq guvf bar hc naq syvccrq guebhtu vg orpnhfr gur pbire jnf vagrerfgvat. Fur pna jevgr irel ivivqyl. Va guvf obbx gur cebgntbavfg hcebbgf ure yvsr, zbivat gb n gbja jurer fur srryf yvxr n svfu bhg bs jngre fb gung fur naq ure uhfonaq pna svaq n serfu fgneg. Vafgrnq ure uhfonaq vf hasnvgushy, naq unccraf gb cvpx fbzrobql jub jnagf gb xvyy ure naq nffhzr ure yvsr nf zbgure bs gjvaf naq qbrf xvyy fbzrobql fur xabjf. Gurer vf n ybg bs ivivqyl jevggra natre, orgenlny, naq qrfcnve. Gurer vf nyfb n ybg bs ivbyrapr ntnvafg naq greebevmngvba bs gur cebgntbavfg. Cyhf, nsgre gur ivyynva vf pnhtug, fur ernyvmrf gung ure uhfonaq vf fgvyy va ybir jvgu gung crefba--abg jvgu ure.

Ohg gung'f abg gur jbefg guvat fur fhssref.

Gur cebgntbavfg gnxrf gvzr gb urnc fhcresyhbhf ivbyrapr ba gur xvyyre, jub unf orra pnhtug naq nyernql orngra gb gur sybbe. Vg'f jevggra fb gung gur ernqre pna, vs gurl fb pubbfr, rawbl gur qrgnvyrq onggrevat bs gur ivyynva.

Ohg gung'f abg gur jbefg guvat fur qbrf.

Gur irel ynfg puncgre bs gur obbx rkcynvaf jul gur cebgntbavfg, jub vf aneengvat gur jubyr guvat nf vs jevgvat n zrzbve, ab ybatre srryf unccvarff--jul fur vf "sngubzf qrrc" va tevrs. Vg'f orpnhfr nsgre fur frcnengrq sebz ure uhfonaq, zbirq onpx ubzr, naq erfgnegrq ure yvsr, bar bs ure gjvaf jnf qvntabfrq jvgu nhgvfz. Vg'f orra lrnef, gur cebgntbavfg vzcyvrf, ohg fur vf fgvyy ybfg va ure tevrs, orpnhfr ure puvyq jnf "fcvevgrq njnl." Gung'f gur jbefg guvat fur fhssref.

Naq gur irel ynfg jbeqf va gur obbx ner "zl punatryvat." Gung'f gur jbefg guvat fur qbrf.

V qhaab, znlor Ernq vf tbvat sbe gur haeryvnoyr aneengbe guvat urer. Znlor jr'er abg fhccbfrq gb flzcnguvmr jvgu guvf crefba jub vf whfg jnyybjvat bire ure qrpvfvba gung bar bs ure puvyqera vf ab ybatre gurer, gung gur erny crefba jub vf fgvyy va ure yvsr vf va snpg n snxr crefba naq ure erny puvyq (gung vf, gur vzntvanel puvyq fur jnagf vafgrnq) vf tbar. Ohg gur jnl vg'f jevggra fher fbhaqf yvxr jr'er nyfb fhccbfrq gb tb, "Lhc, gung'f n snxr crefba, cbbe cebgntbavfg, njshy njshy, guvf vf jbefr guna nyzbfg orvat zheqrerq, jbefr guna orgenlny bs n jrqqvat ibj, lhc, nhgvfz vf guvf ubeevoyr guvat gung unccraf gb gur cnerag naq gur nhgvfgvp crefba vf n snhygl qhcyvpngr bs n erny crefba jub vf Fbzrjurer Bhg Gurer." Fb zl pbapyhfvba vf gung Znqryvar Qner vf na hagehfgjbegul nffubyr naq V'z abg tbvat gb ernq nal zber obbxf nobhg ure.

#797 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2019, 09:06 PM:

Jenny Islander (796): That's the book where I stopped reading Cornelia Read, too.

#798 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: January 01, 2020, 09:17 AM:

@796, Not having read that book or heard of that author, I went ahead and read your spoilers.

Nope. Just... nope. I can put that author on my Do Not Read list, now. Thank you for the public service.

#799 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: January 01, 2020, 12:52 PM:


Ok, one series I can avoid, and I am a mystery reader. Thanks for the notice!

#800 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: January 01, 2020, 05:14 PM:

@798, 799: Hey, I could be wrong! Y'know, being a literalist autistic person and all.


#801 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: January 01, 2020, 09:31 PM:

Me #792, addendum: Also, if there's any Puppies left around, ANL winning would make their heads 'asplode:

The protagonist is female, Indian-Canadian, gay, and Hindu, the sidekick is a black <spoiler>, the secondary sidekick/troublemaker is (IIRC) half-Asian and bi, and the only guy to join the party is anything but macho... without being the slightest bit wimpy. (Oh yes, and he's black as well, without being violent or otherwise disreputable.)

The villain, on the other hand, is a white man, though he's a surprisingly sympathetic villain for being a scary-ass half-crazy Russian ex-soldier.

#802 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2020, 02:01 AM:

Thank you for the pointer to ANL; I'm a couple of chapters in, and am enjoying it. I find myself wondering if the Puppies would be more upset by an Indian-American than by an Indian-Canadian. And whether the presence in the story of an actual sad puppy would be a plus or a minus for them.

#803 ::: Quill ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2020, 09:40 AM:

Thomas @794: Thanks! I admit I can't quite transcribe one onto the other. :D

#804 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2020, 09:10 PM:

Jenny 796: Ick, ick, ick. Definitely goes on the DNR.

#805 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2020, 10:35 PM:

Happy, Patrick!

#806 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2020, 11:40 AM:

Jenny Islander (796): You may be glad to know that that appears to be Cornelia Read's last book. I can't find a trace of any more published after that.

#807 ::: Kip Williams ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2020, 12:04 PM:

My family has a birthday song, roughly to the tune of the William Tell Overture (as strained through the Flintstones and "Happy Anniversary"), and the complete lyrics are "Happy Birthday Yesterday" (repeat as needed).

Consider it sung.

#808 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2020, 01:11 PM:

@806: Hopefully she's writing something better under another name. She really does have an engaging style. She's also very good at setting the novel's dramatic events in a world that feels real--where stuff happens, not because it's time for the next plot point, but because life goes on.

#809 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2020, 06:54 PM:

Jenny Islander #796: Yeah, that puts her on my DNR list too.

The thing is, that reaction is "realistic" in that some parents unfortunately do react that way... but the author certainly shouldn't!

The place for that "changeling" attitude is not at the end of the book as a final blow to the protagonist. It's at the beginning of a book featuring the protagonist's journey to enlightenment and acceptance of her child.

#810 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2020, 10:07 PM:

@809: IKR? Or as the lead-in to the next book, in which case the explanatory text shouldn't be about how she has never experienced happiness since that moment and will never experience it again, but about how everything leading up to that afternoon feels like it belonged to another life and she has had to fight harder and travel further than ever before, but in different ways. Or something like that.

#811 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2020, 11:57 PM:

More library stuff: I cook dinner for six people. It has to be edible for all of them at some stage, even if they can't eat the finished product. But each person can't eat certain things, and they're all different things. Unless they are added later in the recipe, I can't use tomatoes, potatoes, tomatillos, eggplant, shrimp, dairy, pineapple, chocolate, sweeteners of any kind, grapes, alcohol, wine vinegar, rice vinegar, regular oranges, turmeric, coconut, palm oil, bird or mammal fat except the tiny amount that can't be trimmed off of very lean cuts, eggs, tree nuts, peanuts, soy products, hot peppers that haven't either been powdered or cooked until very soft, or any grass grain except corn.

So, yeah, problems.

The Internet is just too much. Too many graphics, too much motion, too many click-throughs. So after going through my small cookbook collection, I decided to start at the first 641.5 and read straight through to the end of the cooking section, jotting down any usable recipes I found and testing them one by one. I check out 3 cookbooks at a time. Sometimes I find nothing usable; sometimes I get lucky. And sometimes I discover that some very famous TV chefs copy from one another. Seriously, I have seen the same "pet" recipe almost word for word in cookbooks produced by two celebrity chefs whose names are close in the alphabet. Wow, guys.

But anyway, here's an unusual but very tasty recipe for chicken and saffron soup that I found last week and have not seen a duplicate for--yet.

You will need 2 cups diced cooked chicken or turkey breast. If you cook up a lot at once and freeze it, you should thaw 2 cups before beginning this recipe. You will also need 2 cups cooked tiny soup pasta and 1 cup total peas, corn, diced carrot, and/or cut green beans. If you don't have either on hand, cook them at the same time as the soup.

Dice 2 ribs celery and a medium onion. Heat 3 tablespoons oil oil in a soup pot on Medium and saute' the vegetables until no longer acrid. Stir in a pinch of true saffron and a scant teaspoon thyme. Stir until fragrant, then pour in 2 quarts strong chicken broth (Swanson's or good homemade broth) and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, add the chicken, and cook until all is soft. The saffron will gradually release its aroma. Stir in the pasta and additional vegetables and heat. Add the juice of 1/2 lemon, or a small amount of mild vinegar, plus 1/4 cup minced parsley. Correct the seasoning with salt and pepper and serve piping hot. Serves 5 or 6 as part of a meal.

To stretch it for guests, cook a whole box of tiny soup pasta and a lot of the additional vegetables. Serve the pasta, vegetables, and soup all hot in separate dishes. People can eat them separately (this makes a very delicate and pleasant soup, but the broth had better be very good!) or put as much pasta and vegetables as they want into a bowl and ladle soup over them.

#812 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2020, 10:39 AM:

#811 ::: Jenny Islander

That looks like a good soup. I'll probably try it out.

#813 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2020, 01:50 PM:

@812: I suspect that garlic bread would be an excellent accompaniment, but I can't verify that.

#814 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2020, 02:54 PM:

I'm looking at the veggies and thinking "frozen mixed veg" - though that tends to be heavy on the peas and carrots.

#815 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2020, 07:12 PM:

@814: The original called for only corn, but I looked at it and thought, "But any small pieces of vegetable that taste sweet when cooked would work--hey, frozen mixed veg!"

But where I live, even basic stuff like frozen peascorncarrots'n'greenbeans may be out of stock for months, so I wrote it to take advantage of whatever was available.

#816 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2020, 03:20 AM:

I went on a camping trip in a cave in the winter time. We brought frozen food and stashed it in a snowdrift. It was convenient having a refrigerator, but it was weird — you could walk into the refrigerator and see lights in the distance.

#817 ::: crazysoph ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2020, 12:41 PM:

Heh - TomB (@ 816), over the just-passed New Years' celebrations, we stowed all our drinkables on a bench in the garden. Extra protection laid on by our host, who tied a tarpaulin over the bottles with garden twine. (She was worried about them getting rained on, but also we discovered the birds were flying around doing their business in grand, Gary Larson "How Birds See the World" fashion.)

It wasn't freezing but nicely chilled, and it saved space for other bits in the fridge that local wildlife (urbanized: so, foxes and other small mammals) would help themselves to, no problem.

We started referring to it as "the walk-out fridge".

Crazy(and cautiously wishing all here a good 2020)Soph

#818 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2020, 12:55 PM:

When I was in college in Fairbanks, before climate change took hold, it was well known that if you wanted to keep something frozen solid in your dorm room, you put it into a plastic grocery bag, looped the handles around the interior window handle, slung the bag out the window, and shut and latched it. Perfect deep freeze conditions.

#819 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2020, 01:18 PM:

When I was a kid in Atlanta, an ice storm took out power to the city for almost a week. My mother took everything out of the freezer, put in it a garbage can lined with newspaper, and put it out on the screen porch. It lasted just fine until our power came back on.

#820 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2020, 03:33 PM:

My parents went on a July group camping trip in the Sierra, back in the mid-60s, where the snow was just starting to melt, and they used a snow bank for cold storage. (At the end of the week, it had warmed up enough for the mosquitoes to be out. Big ones.)
(And in the late 50s, we were on a group trip in the Yosemite back country, one August, when it was dropping into the teens at night (18F). A fridge would have been useful for keeping things unfrozen.)

#821 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2020, 05:49 PM:

PJEvans @820: this is one reason why it's actually possible to "sell refrigerators to Eskimos" in the words of the old saying.

#822 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2020, 11:18 PM:


In my childhood--I don't know whether climate change has made this impossible--people living in the Far North of Alaska used to put milk on the shady side of the house to keep it fresh for as long as needed. (Even at noon, the sun casts a shadow at that latitude.)

#823 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2020, 05:58 PM:

Jenny Islander @818: In Russian class in high school (this would have been mid-'70s), our teacher, Yllena Petrova, told us that in Russia, they have double-pane windows (where the space between the panes is on the order of a foot deep), you don't put stuff in the refrigerator, you put it v'okno, "in the window." (It wasn't clear to me what the procedure was during the summer.)

#824 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2020, 06:05 PM:

Jacque @823: perhaps in summer they used it for slow cooking?

#825 ::: Angiportus Librarysaver ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2020, 08:06 PM:

Jenny Islander, #818--You took me right back. Every last window in that dorm [Skarland] had stuff hanging out of it. At -40, when you opened it to get something, a big lump of cold air would drop on your feet. But the 2-pane windows used as refrigerators, mentioned by Jacque, that was a new one.
Far to the southwest, someone I knew built a little insulated box on the side of the house for a refrigerator, and it seemed to work well, cool but not freezing. But now I think it would have worked better, on the warmest days, if he'd put it on the north side. But I don't think anyone figured that out then. Back then the difference between wind and IQ in that town, which shall be nameless, was that the wind got over 100 sometimes. If somebody gave the world an enema, that's where they'd put the hose. And so on. There were many more problems besides cooler design. It is a matter for the dysfunctional family page. I've been out of there for several decades and things might be different, but I'm not going back to check. I just hope the kids stranded out there against their will now are having an easier time.

#826 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2020, 11:08 AM:

@825: Skarland!!!!

I spent the first semester of my one year at U.A.F. in that year's party dorm and got out ASAP. Second semester I was up on the hill, and could watch the sun go down behind Denali at 3:30 p.m. Magnificent sight.

Did you ever blow a soap bubble, watch it fall to the ground, and pick it up?

#827 ::: Kip Williams ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2020, 11:16 AM:

A friend in northern Colorado was renting a house that came with no fridge. Instead, there was a "California Cooler"--a cupboard that opened to the outside on the bottom, and apparently one was expected to put damp cloths or some such beneath the food shelves and above the screen, and this would, per evaporatio, magically keep things a little cooler than they would have been.

I also remember "swamp coolers," which used the evaporation in water-soaked excelsior to produce surprisingly cold air. I'd seen one in Colorado in the early 60s, though I expect it didn't work as well there as the one that they were examining at The Garret the time I was there. I seem to recall we got it running, but can't be sure from here.

#828 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2020, 11:21 AM:

A friend from California brought ice cream to a party that was being held in a rented location with sunshine pouring through the windows. This was in Alaska, so the sun was about at face level for most of the day. She simply put the cold ice cream, with each container touching the others, into a cardboard box, and closed the top. And the ice cream didn't melt! I still use that trick.

#829 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2020, 11:48 AM:

Hey, has anybody heard of a scam like this?

My teenager is slowly leaning away from somebody who used to be the cool friend. Friend is legally an adult but still in high school. Friend has some odd patterns of behavior, such as being excited about and then heartbroken over 5 romantic relationships in 6 days or some such ridiculous number. Friend also likes to use my kid as a listening ear but refuses to reciprocate...hence the leaning away.

Anyway, the latest from my kid is that this former cool friend is convinced that they are now in a long-distance relationship with Ed Sheeran (a rich and married pop star). So far, so catfish, but here's the twist:

"Ed Sheeran" has actually deposited $4,000 in Former Cool Friend's bank account. "He" wants Former Cool Friend to purchase gift cards with this money and mail them to a specified address, as part of a charity drive. Obviously there's a scam here. But what is it? How can "Ed Sheeran" be sure that Former Cool Friend won't open a different account at another institution, move the money there, close the first account, and just say "Sayonara, sucker?" What's in it for "Ed Sheeran?"

#830 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2020, 12:17 PM:

Jenny, the $4,000 is probably not real. I mean, it will turn out that the account is overdrawn, or there's some other rwagon the money looks like it transferred, but it's not. The friend will spend the 4K, send the gift cards, and the bank will say, "Sorry, that money was deposited in error, and we want it back," and the friend will be on the hook for 4K plus all the fees.

#831 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2020, 12:18 PM:

Jenny Islander @829: It's likely that the cheque or other instrument that was used to deposit the money was bogus, but it takes the bank system a few days to sort that out. At which point the deposit is rescinded, leaving the victim on the hook for whatever withdrawals have been made in the interim.

#832 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2020, 12:22 PM:

Jenny Islander @829: This sounds a lot like the scams where someone overpays for an item and asks for the refund in gift cards. The problem comes when the money that was "deposited" turns out to have come from a bogus account. The bank credits your friend's account quickly (as folks nowadays want instant gratification) then claws the money back when the original account doesn't have it, up to a month later. Your friend is then on the hook for the money.

Be exceptionally wary around anyone who wants you to purchase gift cards! They're used a lot in scams. This one basically uses the banks' latency periods to make money look like it's there when it isn't.

#833 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2020, 12:38 PM:

The obvious question to ask is: why would "Ed Sheeran" be asking ex-cool-friend to jump through these hoops, as opposed to buying the gift cards himself (or getting one of his own flunkies to do it)?

I've received any amount of spam which tried to drag me into this kind of scam. I've received two "cold call" pieces of paper mail containing cheques. When I spoke to my bank about them, they asked me to bring them in, so they could use them as evidence. I think I still have the accompanying mail in my "stuff I wasn't stupid enough to sign" file.

#834 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2020, 02:25 PM:

Jenny Islander @ 829:

The others have the right of this: the transferred money isn't real for one reason or another, and the scammer wants the money back in a cash equivalent that has to be paid up-front (gift cards, Western Union, etc.).

I've also seen the following variants:

Scammer says they can't send money directly to someone for one reason or another, and asks Victim to be their intermediary. Scammer apparently sends Victim money through some reversible means, and then asks Victim to send it on through some cash up-front means, possibly minus a commission for being so helpful. Scammer's deposit turns out to be fraudulent and is reversed, leaving Victim out the money they sent to Scammer/Scammer's confederate.

Scammer asks Victim to buy them something because they can't order it for one reason or another, but can send Victim money. Scammer apparently overpays. Victim, being nice, informs Scammer of this. Scammer asks for money back as a money order. Overpaid deposit turns out not to be real at all, and is reversed, leaving Victim out the cash they sent (and possibly the item they ordered).

Joel Polowin @ 833:

The implausibility is a feature, not a bug. Scammers don't want to waste their time on anyone who will see through them before it's too late, which actually incentivizes them to use mildly to wildly implausible stories. I also wouldn't be surprised to discover that the absurdity of the stories also makes the victims reluctant to report that they were scammed once they do realize it.

#835 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2020, 03:20 PM:

KeithS: True, but it might be worth pointing it out to the ex-cool-friend, if they haven't yet sent the cards.

I've seen reports of a new-ish scam involving gift cards, in which the scammer opens the package for a new card and swaps the card for an old one. The activation is tied to the package, not the card. After activation, the scammer can use the card they've held onto, and the card in the package doesn't work.

#836 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2020, 04:40 PM:

Thanks, everyone. This is food for thought.

Someone IRL suggested another one: The money is real, but is only a small part of a very large amount; "Ed Sheeran" is using dozens of pigeons simultaneously to launder their ill-gotten gains, because they can't deposit them in a bank without attracting the notice of Homeland Security.

#837 ::: Angiportus Librarysaver ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2020, 06:41 PM:

Jenny Islander, #825: I never heard of the soap bubble trick. I do recall the ice fog--it was like the air didn't want to be breathed.
In the late 70's when I was there, Skarland was pretty quiet--most of the time; one night, a student who lived in the room below got real drunk, hit the wrong button in the elevator and opened the door to *my* room--I, woken from deep sleep, let out a roar that is probably still faintly echoing between the concrete walls of that dorm, and he vanished. Rumor had it that he was then no longer with that school.
As a reclusive ace with other interests, I didn't know about the party scene in any of the dorms.
My big problem with Skarland was the viewlessness. Whatever idiot designed those 3 dorms on the hill se the windows so deep in the walls that one could not see Denali to save oneself. What were they thinking?
I decided college wasn't for me and returned to the great Pacific North Wet I remembered from childhood, having never asked to be in Alaska in the first place. But the dazzling pink mountain with the dazzling pink moon behind it, seen from another dorm, is still a nice memory.

#838 ::: Clifton R ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2020, 05:25 PM:

Jenny Islander @ 811:

Thanks for the recipe; I may have to try a veg version of that soup using saffron and vegetable broth if I can figure out what to substitute for the chopped chicken.

(DYK about saffron pricing at Costco? For those who didn't it's one of those special cases where Costco can be up to 20 times cheaper than regular markets, as with bread yeast; IIRC $30 gets you on the order of 5-7 grams instead of a quarter gram.)

I do sympathize with the recipe problems; I do most of the cooking for our household, and while my restrictions are shorter and simpler than yours, they are also a bit limiting of what I can make.

In my case I'm cooking for all vegetarians, one who is quite-strict-vegan (except when she unpredictably decides to waive the "no dairy") and is also unable to handle certain kinds of textures like soft tofu or mushrooms, hyper-sensitive to black pepper and certain other kinds of bitter, and very sensitive to hot peppers, and one teen who as of the past year will now eat medium hot stuff but absolutely can not tolerate even a trace of green peppers or other bell peppers. So in the main dishes no animal meat (of course), no traces of animal fat (which rules out a lot of seemingly safe canned/frozen food), no dairy, no animal products other than honey, limited soy products, no mushrooms except as soup stock, no bell peppers, black pepper, or anything hotter than paprika.

Would you be interested in my 3-pea split pea soup and minestrone recipes, both freezable, filling, and proportioned for huge quantities? The potatoes could be dropped from the pea soup without other changes, and the tomatoes could be dropped from the minestrone though obviously it will change the taste.

#839 ::: Clifton R ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2020, 05:35 PM:

Also Jenny @ 829:
I'm with everybody who's saying it's the fraudulent deposit scam.

I wonder how the money was deposited to gullible-friend's account in the first place. Check? Certified check? Bank wire? Many people don't realize that getting a certified check doesn't actually guarantee anything, and that the deposit can be reversed a week later when the bank it's apparently from says "nope, no such account" or "nope, no money in that account." Bank wire would mean the crooks are confident they could transfer all the money back out again later, and perhaps siphon out friend's other money as well.

#840 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2020, 10:52 PM:

Clifton R @839

Bank wire could also be indicative of a money laundering scheme. The main problem with the money laundering scheme is that gullible-friend is unwitting cut-out who will be the first in line when the T-Men come. Not only did gullible-friend help launder money, they also profited from it -- and has no real contact info for "Ed Sheeran".

#841 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2020, 12:37 AM:

Clifton R @838: Good pea soup and minestrone recipes are always in order!

#842 ::: stefan jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2020, 11:45 AM:

SF author Mike Resnick has died of lymphoma:

#843 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2020, 07:36 PM:

Resnick was a bit of a polarizing figure -- at his best, his writing was wonderful, and he was kind and entertaining. He'll leave a big hole in Worldcon fandom, and in the field.

#844 ::: Kip Williams ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2020, 07:37 PM:

Steve Stiles reports that he has been given "a few months." I plan to remember him while he's still around.

#845 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2020, 09:32 PM:

This year isn't starting any better than last year. I hope it improves soon.

#846 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2020, 10:58 PM:

@838: Yes please! I am always looking for freezable recipes.

#847 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2020, 11:18 PM:

This may also be useful:

#848 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2020, 01:18 AM:

@847: Unfortunately, there is literally no milk that everybody I cook for can safely consume. :(
When the one person who is allergic to cow's milk (and also all nuts, oats, and rice) isn't eating with us, I take the opportunity to use fat-free cow's milk, which is safe for me, to make chowder or what have you--but I have to check first that the lactose-intolerant person isn't running out of their lactase pills. If this market had part-skim or fat-free goat's milk, I could make dairy meals all the time. But I can't find any, so.

As for eggs, I haven't yet found a dinner recipe that can accommodate egg substitutes that doesn't also call for something on somebody's Nope List. So I just don't do kugels, frittatas, custards, vegetable-based patties, etc. And I am not supposed to have dessert anymore. Like, at all. I buy unsweetened chocolate almond milk when I can find it; it tastes rich and sweet, if you haven't had any cream or sugar for a long time, and the cocoa powder is suspended in the almond milk in a way that I can't duplicate at home.

#849 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2020, 01:40 AM:

Tom Whitmore @843: There is absolutely no doubt that Resnick was one of us.

#850 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2020, 05:47 PM:

What a mess!

I have an assortment of cookbooks. Some of the recipes might even be useful, like the ones in my favorite slow-cooker book for "Usable Chicken" (chicken cooked in water with basic seasonings that can be changed as needed; cooked chicken can be frozen for later use) and acorn squash that's cooked with no seasonings at all.

#851 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2020, 08:01 PM:

@850: Eh, we're doing OK. I can go through a fat cookbook in about half an hour because I just skim the recipes and move on when I see something on the Nope List. I am trying new recipes every week, and dropping some into rotation if reviews are good.

Of course, sometimes I'll go through six cookbooks and find nothing, or just duplicates of something I already make. But I've also found some delicious stuff. I have a stir-fry of pork tenderloin and pears in my "to try" file that sounds wonderful.

#852 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2020, 08:58 PM:

I guarantee this one won't fly, but I thought it was interesting:
("What's for Dinner" is a Saturday evening feature.)

#853 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2020, 09:51 PM:

@852: That does look interesting.

#854 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2020, 11:21 PM:

They've done some very interesting dishes. (It's one of a long, long series of posts.)

#855 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2020, 12:00 AM:

This should get you pages of links to posts:

#856 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2020, 05:37 PM:

Jenny Islander, have you tried making a list of the ingredients you can use and going on from there?

#857 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2020, 06:18 PM:

@856: You mean making up recipes from scratch?

#858 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2020, 07:33 PM:

#857 ::: Jenny Islander

Possibly, but you can also search for recipes by ingredients. I wouldn't be surprised if you can also search for recipes without various ingredients.

Or go to places where people cook a lot, and ask. I'm thinking it's easier to think of recipes that work with a list of permitted ingredients rather than thinking of what doesn't have a list of ingredients.

#859 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2020, 07:36 PM:

This link is claimed to be for a site where you can search by ingredients:

#860 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2020, 07:51 PM:

@858: The recipe side of the Web hurts my brain. Too many graphics, too much moving stuff, too many clickthroughs, too many sidebars. Cookbooks are easier, and faster.

@859: Been there. I still have to sort through the results I get and reject most of them.

Anyway, I'm going to bake a ham today, because if I trim the fat off and eat nothing else with sugar in it I can enjoy ham. I'm also doing red cabbage and apples, Good Old Mixed Veggies, and possibly some fresh bread. Horseradish-mustard sauce will be on the table.

#861 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2020, 08:00 PM:

I just saw that Steve Stiles has died. (via File770)

#862 ::: Kip Williams ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2020, 09:31 PM:

I just heard. God damn it. I emailed him a couple of days ago. Cancer fucking sucks.

#863 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2020, 10:16 PM:

Steve's a major loss to the SF community. It was somewhat expected, but I'd thought we'd have a couple of months longer.

#864 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2020, 10:49 PM:

and in completely different news, they have a record of the acoustics of Notre-Dame from before the fire, so it's possible it can be rebuilt with those restored.

#865 ::: estelendur ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2020, 10:22 AM:

AKICIML, HLN edition (or HLN, AKICIML edition?):

Local Human has officially taught first class as an adjunct at Local University! Local human says, "I'm excited and also terrified because I don't really know how to teach? But I seem to have done okay in class 1. Ahhh."

Local human also is seeking advice for how to help a student who doesn't learn well from readings... Local human personally learns better from readings than from not-readings, so is unsure how to proceed. Also, syllabus is inherited and has a lot of reading on it.

#866 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2020, 11:19 AM:

estelendur #865:

Congrats! (I think. :-) )

By "doesn't learn well from readings" do you mean info goes in one eye and out the other, or the readings don't make sense, or ... ? Because if it's just a retention problem, your student could try engaging other learning styles, such as listening to the readings, or making really exhaustive notes, complete with diagrams and doodles. (This works for me in the reverse context--I have had serious problems getting stuff from straight lectures with no visual aids and no discussion. Turning the lectures into transcripts would have worked wonders, but even 25 years ago it was note-taking all the way down.)

#867 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2020, 11:24 AM:

What is the student's modality of thought? Visual? Auditory? Kinetic? The student will have to work to see the essence of the text, or hear it, or grasp it. Suzette Haden Elgin understood this and could communicate well across modalities.

#868 ::: Venus ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2020, 12:05 PM:

@865 Congrats to Local Human on the class!

Depending on the college, there may be a faculty support department that can help update a syllabus to be more inclusive of varying learning styles or can offer some resources on teaching skills and other support services. Lots of unis/colleges have such faculty teaching support services departments these days, but they often fly under the radar in terms of faculty being told about them. (Sometimes they're the people who approve syllabi in terms of accredidation. That can be a good place to start looking.)

My old uni used to have mentors who would offer direct one-on-one support for just such student learning questions--the mentor would read over the syllabus, look at the readings, etc, and help with specific suggestions. That may not exist there, in which case, I'd suggest looking at the department pages of other unis that do. They're designed specifically to help with such issues of pedagogy.

Here's an example that includes some teaching resources:

There's plenty more out there, some that are for specific subjects (STEM or language or history or what have you).

Hope that helps!

#869 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2020, 12:16 PM:

Agreed on "how does that individual learn best?" For me, it's by writing and doing: detailed note-taking, and/or working through examples. I'm very fond of Donald Knuth's books and their graduated problem sets.

#870 ::: estelendur ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2020, 12:21 PM:

I asked the student if an audiobook would work better and they indicated it would not, but was unable at the time to give me any idea what would help. The issue with readings is apparently the 'gets stuck reading the same page over and over' variety: in one eyeball and out the other, I guess. They seemed to pick up on things alright from the lecture, which was talking + terse-ish slides. I've emailed them asking how I can help but am not sure if they'll answer.

There are teaching support services somewhere around here. As an adjunct, I'm not entirely sure when I count as faculty and when I don't, but I certainly qualify to use the teaching support services. So that's a good idea.

And thanks for the congrats :) I just have to teach, uh, 14 or so more sessions now!

#871 ::: Robert Glaub ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2020, 05:54 PM:

Why in the hell did Jaym Gates feel it was necessary to go after Mike Resnick? It is dishonorable and despicable to go after a dead person who cannot defend himself. This is also the kind of stupidity that causes people to leave SFWA.

#872 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2020, 11:16 PM:

P J Evans @ 864: I notice that the article has a lot about measurement and how we perceive sound, but little other than a bald assertion ~"science can do this" to justify a belief that the acoustics can actually be restored. I would like to have seen examples, because acoustic history is full of fortunate accidents that don't necessarily reproduce and unsuccessful attempts to fix problems coming from design. (Possibly modeling has improved enough that these are less commmon.) It will be interesting to see how well the work goes, and how they solve any differences between the desire to mostly-restore the building's appearance (IIRC there were changes discussed here and there) and the desire to get something like the previous acoustics.

#873 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2020, 12:24 AM:

Robert Glaub @871: I am intentionally not looking up the person you mentioned. I am not here to judge them, or Mike Resnick. We're all human, and we are all capable of hurting other people, and we're all vulnerable to being hurt.

#874 ::: Dave Crisp ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2020, 06:29 AM:

Relevant to our gracious hosts' ongoing naming issues:

Rebecca Long Bailey: What's in a hyphen?

#875 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2020, 11:04 AM:

Right now, they seem to be busy figuring out what's still there and what has to be done.

(Carpenter's markings are now visible on beams.)

#876 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2020, 11:22 AM:

I do not understand Tumblr culture sometimes.

An artist draws fan art of characters from a school story, portraying them as adults, and not baby-faced chibified adults either. He updates their clothes and hair, adds scars or weathering where appropriate, and gives them confident adult expressions. Sometimes he draws them cuddling or kissing each other, and sometimes he draws them without shirts, the better to display their adult male musculature. (The artist is gay.) And therefore...anonymous commenters...repeatedly spam his inbox...calling him a pedophile? ????? For drawing hunky 20- and 30-year-old men?

#877 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2020, 09:06 PM:

Butbutbut "those characters are kids and kids can't evvah grow up...."

Do you remember the ruckus when Miley Cyrus grew out of the G-rated teen thing? Or before her, Britney Spears? I'm sure there are others....

#878 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2020, 09:12 PM:

Jenny Islander @ 876:

Tumblr user kallinite has written some posts and a short sociology paper regarding the Tumblr anti-shipping phenomenon and its warped perspective of pedophilia. I'm not sure it helps me understand why anti culture exists, particularly the way it does on Tumblr, but it does at least offer explanations of their warped definitions.

#879 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2020, 12:33 AM:

@878: Holy schnikeys, it's even stranger than I had realized. By that fourth criterion, my husband and I each victimize each other the way a pedophile victimizes a child...because we remember each other from childhood, and also he's 13 months older than me.

#880 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2020, 11:00 AM:

I suspect kallinite is trying to deduce a "schematic" ("the reason why") for behavior that simply is not planned, or even "caused" in any simple sense. Rather, it develops in a succession of reactions.

For the first step, thinking in terms of triggered responses -- not exactly neuropsych "engrams" but a generalization. A proto-anti sees, say, a fanfic of grown-up characters from Pokemon. This simultaneously triggers two chains of responses:

A-1) Pokemon -> children, because "everyone knows..."
A-2) More directly, Sex->Sex, that is, the instinctual/physiological circuit is activated.

B) But simultaneous activation of the ideas of "children" and "sex" triggers a well-trained taboo response: "children"+"sex" => TRIBAL LAW VIOLATED => ENEMY! ATTACK!

C) The viewer then sets out to "defend the tribe" by attacking the fanfic and its author. But if, as in this case, the facts on the ground don't actually support a conventional accusation of pedophilia...

D) Then things can get really ugly. The viewer's already riled up, and is thus motivated to come up with some reason to attack regardless. Humans are really good at using language and logic to justify the things they've already decided to do for non-logical, indeed sub-rational, reasons. Of course, if there is anyone defending the fanfic, it then also becomes necessary to crush the defenders, and quash any chain of reasoning that tries to defend it.

E) If the newly-formed anti then verbalizes those justifications and shares them with others (that is, memetic spread), that propagates the reaction to other people, basically trying to "gather the tribe" against the newly-identified "enemies".

Note that banding together against enemies is an animal-level social operation, so at this point the process has impetus from well below the human/cognitive level of individual participants. However, new participants can also add to the band's arsenal of arguments for "why we need to defeat them". This eventually forms a new "band" defined by those who were successfully "impressed" by the original person and/or the accumulating arsenal.

#881 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2020, 11:21 AM:

With an added layer of weirdness that, for me at least, when I was a kid, other people my age were "people" (as opposed to older people, who were "grown-ups," and younger people who were "kids."). One of the commenters pointed out that apparently the complainers regard the canonical character age as being immutable, which—okay?

#882 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2020, 11:38 AM:

I hadn't heard of any of this before. How do they cope with the Harry Potter books, in which the characters are explicitly taken through growing up from pre-teens to teenagers (with relationships, snogging, but no etc.), then jumping to an epilogue in which they're adults with children of their own?

#883 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2020, 12:37 PM:

Joel: I'll bet the rationale is that the growing-up happens in-canon.

#885 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2020, 07:57 PM:

When I look at Tumblr, I don't expect to find subtlety. Discussions around fascism, cultural appropriation, racism, and many other topics can get derailed by the swell of groupthink in the same way.

#886 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2020, 08:01 PM:

I don't think Jaym Gates has anything to apologize for. She didn't make any new accusations. She just filled in some of the backstory about why she couldn't speak up at the time.

If Mike Resnick didn't want people to say such things after he died, he could have behaved better.

#887 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2020, 08:13 PM:

Hmm, Harry Potter is a special case. The growing up happens in canon, yes, that's part of why it's okay to ship the characters.

But also, hardcore HP fandom on Tumblr, being unhappy with some aspects of the stories and of the author, takes a post-modernist position. The books are just Rowling's headcanon, and anybody else's speculation can be just as good. For example, it is well-established fanon that Hari Potter is from India and that Hermione is black.

So it's okay to ship characters from HP because they grow up in fanon.

#888 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2020, 09:20 PM:

#882, #883, #887: Also, I suspect the HP fans are more likely to shoot back. ;-)

#889 ::: Devin ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2020, 01:59 AM:

I think another element is that there's a sort of slide downslope going on. Like, "if they knew each other as kids, it's creepy" doesn't start as a hard rule, and probably most of those people would accept Jenny Islander's marriage as non-creepy, or the girl I dated in high school who turned out to have been a kindergarten classmate of mine.

I'm guessing it starts with a genuinely sort of icky scenario, like one of those old-school "married your ward" setups, where he knew her when he was an adult and she was a child, and then once she was an adult and he was an older adult, they got married. Which is sketchy in my book: not necessarily awful, there could be exceptions, but it definitely raises some flags.

And then once you've identified that scenario as problematic, you take the show on the road, applying it to smaller and smaller age differences and to more varied situations, as a justification for why a ship that rubs you wrong isn't just "not my thing but you have fun" but in fact badwrongthink.

I think the other confounding factor is the age (and sexuality, and perceived intentions) of the shipper. The example I've seen going around is of a gay male artist doing beefcake art of aged-up versions of characters who appear as kids, and I can't help thinking that part of what's going on is not "oh those kids can never fall in love because they knew each other when they were 12" so much as "obviously this gay man can't be trusted and he's just drawing these loving tributes to grown-man abs and shoulders because he wishes they didn't have all those muscles and were kids instead." Which is, of course, ridiculous... but ridiculous in a way that fits certain stereotypes.

#890 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2020, 07:40 AM:

Devin #889: In literary or artistic contexts, the issue is usually the taboo (rather than the welfare of any actual child). As I noted above, taboos are implemented on a subrational level -- and this makes them quite vulnerable to "slippery slope" creep.

#891 ::: Singing Wren ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2020, 09:46 AM:

Riffing on Devin @ 889:

…as a justification for why a ship that rubs you wrong isn't just "not my thing but you have fun" but in fact badwrongthink.

I feel like there is a group dynamic that hits even before this justification. Start with a story or picture that is popular with a group but not a particular individual. Let that individual be someone who (for whatever reason) trusts the group's judgment over their own. If the individual strongly identifies with this group, that’s going to lead to some uncomfortable cognitive dissonance. One way to relieve this dissonance is to come up with a reason the group is WRONG.

Of course, this also leads to the individual seeking a new group to belong to (who presumably have more "trustworthy" or at least similar views), and thus groups of antis, ship wars, and non-standard definitions of terms within the group.

#892 ::: Devin ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2020, 05:11 PM:

Dave Harmon @889

Yeah, I think we're coming at the same idea from different angles. I will note that the process I'm describing is not necessarily subrational. It can be, but the entirely-legal married-your-grown-ward scenario is indeed ripe for grooming and abuse and all sorts of creepiness, and some of the midslope versions aren't exactly ideal either.

(There is, of course, the closely-related question of "can we dramatize a thing without wishing to enact it in real life?" Personally, as a fan of kung fu movies who does not wish to be thrown into a wall, I answer with "yes, obviously," but some people disagree.)

Singing Wren @891

Yes, and there does seem to be a very strong sense in those circles of... consensus judgment? One of the things I find odd about Tumblr fandoms is that they do seem to expect/mandate/form a strong shared fanon, which leaves less room for even fairly minor disagreements. (I've seen rather heated "X is taller than Y!" "Actually the book says the opposite, here's the page reference and quote, but I love the drawing and you do you" "But no, X has. to. be. taller than Y" arguments, for instance.)

#893 ::: Robert Glaub ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2020, 08:55 PM:

#886 ::: Allan Beatty :::

Have you no decency, sir? Mike hadn't been cremated yet and he starts getting black-guarded in full view of his grieving daughter.

#894 ::: Kip Williams ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2020, 10:49 AM:

Regarding age differences, the past was a completely different place. Not only in creepy 60s songs like "Young Girl," but in even creepier old songs. Look at the sheet music cover and read those lyrics:

"My dear when you first saw the light of day,
Your mother's eyes beamed in her loving way,
Your daddy's heart was filled with pleasure,
Your little home was bright and gay
And no one then could see,
That you were meant for me.

You came to me, dear
Never to part
Watched you grow up since you were only knee-high
You were so shy
And I knew why
Love and its blessing
You never knew
As we grew older,
I taught it to you
Just like the dawning, of a beautiful morning
Out of the cradle of love, dear
You found the way to my heart.

You're getting much too old for Baby toys,
Now there's in store for you far greater joys,
I've waited, Honey, all my lifetime,
When I could claim you dear as mine
But still you'll always be,
A little child to me.


(by L. Wolfe Gilbert and Anatol Friedland; copyright MCMXVI

Sounds like grooming was taking place. Brr.

#895 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2020, 11:57 AM:

@892: It seems as though every time somebody mentions squick on Tumblr, there are people responding in the comments with absolute crogglement that it could even be a thing. You mean...people can love a thing...and hate a thing...and coexist?????

I am not precisely a Fandom Old, but I am old enough to remember the days when "ship wars," at least where I hung out online, meant that people would be "battling" each other by posting as much fanfic of their preferred pairing as possible before a given deadline--and NOT bashing the other pairings, even their squicks. Moar fic! Everybody wins!

#896 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2020, 01:34 PM:

On a completely different note, I had no idea this rock band existed and I must scream about it.

I absolutely loathed the music of my high school years. If it wasn't over-polished shrill thumping disco or frog-voiced depressing synth, it was showoffs making their guitars scream. There were good songs in every genre. There just weren't enough of them, and they never seemed to stay on the charts as long as the crap.

I still play pop and alternative commercial radio in the car frequently. Hip hop has its annoyances, but also some good beats and lyrics, and what I guess I could call the Third Folk Revival offers some real treats. I stick to plain old broadcast radio; the streaming services are not in my budget. So sometimes I'll hear a song go by and miss the credits.

I don't dislike electric guitars as such, but I hate it when people go at them like cats with the zoomies or conversely just use them as a kind of drone behind the sung lyrics. You have an amplified thing that makes music, man, use it! So when I hear a song featuring somebody who knows what to do with an open E string, backup musicians ditto, and a drummer who is either in the same studio as everybody else and at the same time or really good at faking it--well, about the fourth time I hear that song, I'll pull over. Give me lyrics that Mean Something and you'll have me hooked.

First song like that: "Wow, somebody actually got some rock on the Top 40 station. Nice fluke!"

Second song, same artist: "Okay, so, this wasn't their One Rock Song. Who are these people?"

Third one: "How the hell are they playing the music I wanted to hear when I was 18, and what else have they done?"

And that's how I used all of my download bucket this week on the Black Keys.

Something about them reminded me very strongly of Postmodern Jukebox, so I looked up the band bios and what d'you know, I was right. It's another case of people playing the music they wanted to hear when they were kids--and discovering that they can actually make money at it. And they're younger than I am, and their audience skews younger still. Long may they rock.

#897 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2020, 07:48 PM:

Suggested reading: When Is a Bird a ‘Birb’?, a Very Series Investigation by Audubon Magazine.

(Bonus: The top-rated comment under the article is a pretty impressive riff on "This Is Just to Say".)

#898 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2020, 07:49 PM:

ohnosecond: Very Serious

#899 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2020, 08:02 PM:

Mr. Glaub,

I reread Gates's tweets, and it appears I need to trim back what I wrote above. Although she did not make any new accusations of specific acts of wrongdoing, she did add some new judgmental language. In my opinion she could have made her point without using the term "abuser".

(Yes, I know I just made a tone argument.)

#900 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2020, 08:11 PM:

Paul A., thanks for that. And I note that another commenter brought out a point not in the article: a birb is a smol bird.

#901 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2020, 10:24 PM:

A kestrel may be a birb, but a goshawk isn't.
California quail are birbs. Redtail hawks are not.
Coots and grebes are birbs. Pelicans are not (though it's a pleasure to watch white pelicans: they fish in flocks, and fly in squadrons).

#902 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2020, 01:07 AM:

In re my earlier burbling about the Black Keys:

Here's one of their best live performances on Youtube. Yes, that's two guys. Yes, that's all them. No, nothing is being layered or looped.

And here's a live version of one of the recent tracks that got me looking for more of their stuff. It's more polished, but still powerful rock'n'roll. (Aside: My favorite comment is that when the producer asked lead guitar/songwriter Dan Auerbach how many backup guitars he wanted, Auerbach must have just answered, "Yes." Also the numerous comments about the thick, heavy, greasy sound--yeah, that's what I mean. Anybody can make an electric guitar scream or snarl. Make it sound like a contented dragon having a good dream; that's my jam.)

Finally, here is their tribute to an artist they admired deeply (Junior Kimbrough, 1930-1998). Reminds me of the days when my local public radio station had a three-hour blues show on Monday nights.

#903 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2020, 01:57 AM:

Also please enjoy this official Black Keys music video.

It's a dinosaur hand puppet lip syncing to their Grammy winner "Tighten Up." These guys are bananas.

#904 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2020, 02:20 AM:

Aww, man I should have posted this one instead! This is the same song as the first link but from just last year instead of 8+ years ago.

I kinda want to roll around in this sound.

#905 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2020, 06:48 PM:

There is also the use of 'birb' and 'doggo' (and 'kitty' to some extent) as a way to signal affection and cuteness toward the audience, not the creature itself. Last time I had a drive with my excellent spousebeast, I called out a lot of red-tailed hawk birbs.

And any bird can be a birb by the muppet rule.

#906 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2020, 08:27 PM:

I've seen them called pooties and woozles. (Woozles are the ones that bark.)

#907 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2020, 08:06 PM:


So our 1990s-vintage secondhand Magic Chef bread machine just died. I knew that it was going to happen soon and I had already established via research that there was no fixing what was about to go wrong. Sooooo....I need to buy a new bread machine.

Any recommendations? I'm looking for one that makes a 1- or 1.5-pound loaf. I don't need it to do anything besides make bread and possibly also prepare batches of unbaked dough. A small footprint is a plus. If there is one out there with some kind of online connectivity, I do NOT want that one.

#908 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2020, 08:17 PM:

Jenny Islander @907: we are incredibly fond of our Zojirushi bread-maker. It's a wonderful machine. I can tell you the model after I get home, but I figured I should toss in the mention quickly.

#909 ::: stefan jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2020, 01:17 PM:


My Oster 2 lb. Expressbake has been running for years without a complaint. I've heard that Oster will send out replacement paddles just by asking.

It is the model that has been sold at Costco forever, and that turns up (often unused) at thrift shops.

In addition to bread, it has a dough setting. I've used that to make pizza dough.

Good cookbook included, but I suspect you have your own recipes!

#910 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2020, 06:07 PM:

#905 ::: Diatryma

I've also seen kitteh and snek.

I find it interesting that birb, doggo, kitteh, and snek aren't closely parallel. You can't predict any of them from the others.

A bird quiz I liked.

#911 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2020, 11:10 PM:

Jenny Islander:

Thank you for the music links! I like their sound.


Last weekend I made good on my threats to get a bird feeder. At first I was worried they wouldn't find it, especially since my first visitor was a squirrel who cleaned up all the bits of seed I'd spilled on the patio. I needn't have worried. The day after I put it up, there were times when a bunch of little birds were all over the feeder.

Now I need to find a good southern California bird guide so that I can tell the difference between little brown bird, little brown bird, little brown bird with a bit of yellow, little brown bird with a bit of red, and little brown bird. I'm also tempted to repurpose one of my old phones as a webcam to watch the feeder, but I need to find the right place to mount it.

Is this a gateway drug into birding, and should I be worried?

#912 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2020, 11:05 AM:

"little brown bird with a bit of red" sounds like a house finch.

There are a lot of books and websites on backyard birds in the area.

#913 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2020, 11:18 AM:

That's the word I kept thinking of while watching "Picard".
I'm looking forward to the rest of the story.

#914 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2020, 03:12 PM:

@911: Also check out Junior Kimbrough, Dan Auerbach's inspiration.

#915 ::: Susie Lorand ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2020, 03:58 PM:

KeithS @911, you might find the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's site All About Birds helpful.

#916 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2020, 08:05 PM:

P J Evans @ 912 and Susie Lorand @ 915:

Thank you!

I seem to have house finches and yellow-rumped warblers.

Serge Broom @ 913:

With that review, you have my attention, and I am now 99% of the way to getting a CBS subscription.

#917 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2020, 09:06 PM:

Yellow-rumped warblers have the nickname "butter-butts". They're mostly around in winter, as far as i can tell. You probably also have bushtits, which come in flocks: teeny grey-brown birds that twitter their way through shrubs and trees - they eat insects and spiders. (Description: ping-pong balls with wings and tails. Small, bouncy birbs.)

#918 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2020, 10:19 PM:

I just saw another one of those "Here are words in other languages that we have to translate using a whole lot of words in English" listicles go by. It got me thinking: what about the reverse?

I mean, does any other language the Listmind is aware of have a verb like "bolter?" It means "to become encumbered, or at least inconvenienced, by matts of another substance," and originally referred to the furnishings of a hairy draft horse, which tend to pick up snow, mud, etc.

#919 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2020, 12:08 AM:

Oh, here's another one: the listicle mentioned a language that has a single word for "that prank where you tap somebody's left shoulder but you're on their right." So does any other language have a word for "ding-dong-ditch?"

#920 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2020, 10:59 AM:

Jenny Islander (919): What's ding-dong-ditching? Since you mentioned pranks, I'm guessing it's ringing someone's doorbell and running away?

Now that I think about it, I might have known that as 'doorbell ditching', but I can't be sure. 'Ditch' in that sense isn't really in my vocabulary, but I can slowly get there.

#921 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2020, 09:27 PM:

Jenny@919: apparently yes,_Knock,_Ginger

#922 ::: SunflowerP ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2020, 08:46 AM:

Jenny Islander @879: 'Holy schnikeys, it's even stranger than I had realized.'

It's (probably) even stranger than that.

I got trainwreckishly fascinated by the 'purity police' phenomenon a few years back, not from encountering it in transformative works fandom and ship wars (I'm only peripheral/adjacent to TW fandom) but from its emergence into Tumblr social justice culture, which overlaps with TW fandom but is its own distinct Venn circle.

I don't outright disagree with Dave Harmon's analysis @880 - some of what he says is clearly relevant/applicable - but it doesn't entirely accord with my observations; IMO there's a lot more going on here than that.

I recently ran across this article, which makes a very good case for 'patient zero' of this particularly virulent strain of toxic wank being Voltron fandom; a good many of the specific arguments of Tumblr purity culture seem to have originated, or at the very least been refined and polished to a high gloss, in Voltron ship wars. From there, it apparently spread to other fandoms - and from there (presumably because TW fans are disproportionately people from marginalized groups, and as a result likely to also be interested in, and post about, social justice) to non-fannish social justice Tumblr.

SJ Tumblr was already something of a cesspit, for a variety of reasons - many people attribute it to the young age of the typical Tumblrer of the mid-2010s; while I agree that youthful idealism not yet mitigated by practical experience was and is a factor, it's only one of many factors. (Bullying isn't specifically a trait of the young, it's a trait - no, make that 'a practice'; 'trait' implies inherence - of bullies, of whatever age, and the ones who are most skilled at it are usually older.)

Then there's the tendency for social justice/civil rights movements to develop a wing that emphasizes ideology/theory over practice and practical effects. That's nothing new; see the (ten years old, and reminiscing about events much older) ML convo that starts here.

Somewhere along the way, and I'm guessing earlier rather than later (that is, I think they were already present in and subverting SJ convos on Tumblr before fandom 'anti' tropes spread there, rather than seeing the tropes in play and scenting opportunity), certain older theorist-ideologues stuck an oar in - specifically (though probably not only) TERFs/SWERFs, particularly those who characterize sexual attraction and activity as patriarchal constructs.

That barely even scratches the surface, but I don't want to bore people with TMI, nor discommode the gnomes with an excess of links.

#923 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2020, 03:07 PM:

SunflowerP: I, for one, would welcome the TMI. :D (FWIW, I think the limit for links in a single comment is something like seven, if that helps?)

Meanwhile, reading your linked article, this really jumped out at me:

Antis appear to be a response to, among other factors, changes in how fans interact online. As fans moved from sites like LiveJournal, where content was opt-in, to Tumblr, where content is opt-out, the method in which fans consumed content changed

I'd actually lay bets this also explains much of the failure modes we're seeing in discourse in the culture at large, and I haven't heard else anybody talking about it. (At least not the opt-in/out aspect, specifically.) And, oh yeah, moderation. :-\

#924 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2020, 05:32 PM:

@923, 922: Yes; the treatment certain people feel free to heap on fannish creators these days would have been (and in some places still is) shut down with the remark, "Wow, entitlement much?" and sometimes with a banhammer.

#925 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2020, 10:56 PM:

In science news: a fossil squid found in Solnhofen limestone has a pterosaur tooth stuck in its mantle.

#926 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2020, 11:22 PM:

@925: COOL.

And on reflection, obvious. If some pterosaurs were far-gliders, which seems clear from their body shapes, and there were small squid foraging near the surface then as now, then at some time some pterosaur must have become adapted to scooping up squid on the wing, like an albatross.

#927 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2020, 12:15 AM:

Here's another winner in my ongoing search for recipes that six people with different Nope Lists can eat. It's called Caribbean Stew. It's probably about as Caribbean as I am, but it's tasty.

One Day Ahead

Pick over, wash, and soak 1 1/2 cups (8 oz.) small red beans. May also use pinto or red kidney beans, but the small red ones are best.

2 1/2 to 3 Hours Before Dinner, Or Early In the Day

Drain the beans. Put them into an Instant Pot, slow cooker, or pot, along with a small spoonful of minced garlic, a cinnamon stick, and a bay leaf. If using an Instant Pot, add 2 quarts water, bring to a boil on the Saute' setting, press Cancel, start the Slow Cooker setting, cover (make sure the vent on the lid is open), and leave all day. If using a regular slow cooker, bring the water to a boil separately, pour it over the ingredients in the cooker, and crock on Low all day. If using a pot on the stove, bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat, and simmer until tender, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

2 Hours Before Dinner

Cube a pound of lean pork--sirloin roast or chops or tenderloin. Also peel and cube 2 medium sweet potatoes or yams and dice 1 large onion and 1 large bell pepper. The vegetables may be any color, but oranges and yellows look best. Set all of these ingredients on separate plates. You can replace the bell pepper with a large carrot in wintertime.

Also have ready: salt; plain or smoked paprika or some other finely ground red pepper (we never get hotter than paprika); a big spoonful of minced garlic; gluten-free corn chips, corn tortillas, or arepas.

Heat some oil in a skillet. Brown the pork and sweet potatoes, in batches if necessary, lightly salting them; take them up; then put in the onion, pepper, and garlic, also lightly salting them, and cook until golden and soft. Return the sweet potatoes to the pan, sprinkle the contents with lots of paprika or what have you, and set aside.

When the beans are done, take up 4 cups of the broth and drain off the rest. Pick out the aromatics. Put the 4 cups reserved broth back in along with the other ingredients, bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer, uncovered, until the stew is thick and everything is tender, which may take as long as an hour. Serve with corn chips, tortillas, or arepas. This is like a bowl of sunshine.

#928 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2020, 08:49 AM:

Wow: if you do not already know about it, take a look at Athelstan Frederick Spilhaus's marvelous world ocean map:

#929 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2020, 11:21 AM:

Double thanks, to The Modesto Kid @928 for something fascinating that I hadn't seen, and to Jenny Islander @927 for a tasty sounding receipe (adding pork to my shopping list ... I think I have everything else.)

#930 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2020, 11:55 AM:

seconding OtterB's thanks!

I'd heard of Spilhaus's projection, but I don't recall seeing it before. It's interesting!

#931 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2020, 12:37 PM:

Huh. Neat! I encountered the Spilhaus projection recently, having been led to the W'pedia page on the various projections one way or another. Seeing it contrasted with the Dymaxion projection leads me to wonder if some combination of them might be feasible: a polyhedron-based map, to minimize the distortions (pretty drastic in the Spilhaus) but dividing in the land masses rather than in the oceans. Something like it is shown in Fig. 12 here, but it's using 5500 polyhedra.

#932 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2020, 02:52 PM:

Re: Spilhaus

Sciency folk might remember the Spilhaus Space Clock that was developed by Edmund Scientific back in the late 60s.

#933 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2020, 03:22 PM:

So we got about a foot and a half of powdery snow in the past 24 hours, on top of about 8 inches of crunchy snowpack. This is Not The Usual Around Here, although somebody who did their dissertation on Kodiak's weather suspects that it's going to become a lot more usual, along with hellishly hot summers.

Anyway. My work desk is next to a security monitor with a good view of the playground belonging to the preschool next door. I have been watching the kids on their first day at preschool after Snowpocalypse. (Everything was closed yesterday.)

The first four out the door went like this:

1. trust fall into the snow--FLOOMP

2. leaned over, with hands held behind back, and ate some

3. dug like a doggie

4. splashed it like water

The next contingent is busy stomping trails and attempting snowballs. Everybody is covered in powder and everybody appears to be smiling.

#934 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2020, 04:00 PM:

Update: The kids cleaned off the swings themselves. They have discovered that swinging when your legs are in the snow isn't possible, but that swinging on your tummy when you are thickly swathed in winter gear is pretty fun.

#935 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2020, 04:03 PM:

*but swinging on your tummy

#936 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2020, 02:08 AM:

Serge Broom @913: I've now watched the first two episodes of ST: Picard, and am having very mixed feelings about it. Kindness, yes. But I get very irritated when impossible magical data enhancement is fundamental to the plot of a story, and there has already been too much of that, and I anticipate that there will be much worse.

#937 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2020, 02:55 PM:

HLN: The official snow depth in my town is 36 inches. Most of it fell on Tuesday night. It's been cold and mostly clear since then...but it's going to rain on Sunday afternoon. Prayers and good thoughts please.

#938 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2020, 06:35 PM:

Joel: Watched ep 1 of Picard last night (it's available free on YouTube). Not moved to want more, especially if I have to pay money for it. Unfortunately, the whole android thing is my least favorite skiffy trope. Very pretty production; I wanted to see more of Mars, but I guess they blew it up...? I expect I'll be content to wait until I can get it on DVD via Netflix.

Jenny: Boy, you-all are certainly on the front lines of the whole climage change thing. Deepest sympathies!

#939 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2020, 03:00 PM:

Soooo....the revised forecast calls for up to a foot more of snow tomorrow...followed by rain.

#940 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2020, 05:04 PM:


#941 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2020, 05:49 PM:

My husband actually told me not to drive. The problem is that we have a driveway that is above and behind somebody else's parking lot--15 feet above it, and just behind. Our driveway is separated from their retaining wall by a fence. There is so little traction on the snowpack right now that if I take the brake off, the car begins to slide down the slight grade (for drainage)...toward the fence. And this is with us digging-digging-digging every day.

I have much less experience on snow than he does, so he got me out of that and re-parked the car. But I ain't goin' nowhere.

Complicating factors: I drive a 16yo Escape, whose onboard computer is slowly losing its mind. It is possible that although we have switched it into 4wd for the winter, it's actually in 2wd as of a few days ago. It just doesn't feel right.

#942 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2020, 09:55 PM:

I wouldn't want to be driving under those conditions, either. I imagine it's like hydroplaning.
(I've hydroplaned a couple of times. Heartstopping experience, and the first time it happened, I was going uphill toward a red light, so slowing anyway. The second time I was slowing as I went downhill on a freeway off-ramp toward a red light.)

#943 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2020, 12:44 PM:

It's happening. It's snowing sideways out there, but the trees are dripping and the windows are wet.

#944 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2020, 01:05 PM:

9 a.m. Some streetlights should be going out by now, even at 58 degrees N with the sun coming up behind another island. But it just got darker, because it's snowing that hard.

#945 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2020, 02:09 PM:

10 a.m. Dry powder is still blowing off local roofs even as heavy wet flakes are sliding down the window. About 3 inches so far and still coming down.

#946 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2020, 06:30 PM:

Update on the snow situation at 2:30: It's slacked off--still falling, but I can see across the harbor again. 4 or 5 inches on top of the existing snowpack, so we're looking at probably 3 1/2 feet by the time it stops. No raindrops yet, but the eaves are dripping.

It's supposed to rain about dinnertime, then freeze, then rain again after midnight. Frack I hope not.

#947 ::: Angiportus Librarysaver ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2020, 10:47 AM:

HLN: Area retiree sees Skagit River in flood stage, is duly impressed. Sends best thoughts and wishes to Jenny and others dealing with the snow--for my money, that stuff should stay up in the mountains where it belongs.
The Skagit was just over the official flood level, so businesses and homes are safe [for now.] We have a wall with special gates for keeping it out of downtown. Interesting to compare it with the Cedar in Renton, which I had gotten quite familiar with over 3 decades. When that one got up there, it became quite turbulent, with various sorts of waves, these often breaking a little, and it could be heard before you saw it. But the Skagit in Mount Vernon did none of this, barely even a whisper, looking quite placid, even mirror-like, for all its increased speed and debris-load--and if anything more spooky because of that. One always gets a jolt when confronted with the sight of a river in a magnified state. But if one and one's own are safe, knowledge of science adds to the fun. One wishes that all could be able to live in a way that none are harmed, nor their property, so that phenomena like this could be enjoyed instead of feared. It takes one's mind off politics, which is an additional plus.
Same thing for the snow, even a little of which tends to paralyze our region. Stay safe, all.

#948 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2020, 11:02 AM:

Good morning! Husband just flat-out told me he's driving me to work. GOSH it's sure awesome that global climate change isn't a thing, and that the chances of this happening again don't increase every year.

#949 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2020, 11:20 AM:

Sympathies, Jenny Islander and others with extreme weather.

Here in the DC area, it's supposed to go up to 65 today. Which is nice, but also nuts for this time of year.

#950 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2020, 11:24 AM:

Here's the really frustrating part. The problem isn't the roads, or even our cars as such; it's our freakin' driveway. We live on a mountainside, plus our driveway is a hard left turn followed by a downward slope, and also it's on the top of the retaining wall of the neighboring hotel. AND you can't just pull slightly off the road and call it good, because that would block our upward neighbor's driveway, which forks off of ours. AND FURTHERMORE there's no nearby public place to park the car, and I have mobility issues.

#951 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2020, 11:28 AM:

So, basically, if we just didn't live right where we live, none of this would be an issue.

#952 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2020, 01:22 PM:

Not on a par with what you're dealing with, Jenny, but we had a high of 73°F yesterday, and we're looking at a low of 3°F for Wednesday. O.O

#953 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2020, 01:26 PM:

@952: !!!! Where are you, if you don't mind my asking?

Oh, BTW, I made it to work, where I am currently running backups. But when I go home, I'll have to call my husband, put the flashers and the emergency brake on halfway up our road, and let him park the car. Our driveway might as well have been greased. Same goes for the parking lot at my workplace, but at least it's flat and I have lots of room to miss everybody else.

He has 100 pounds of salt and grim determination. We just need the rain to stop.

#954 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2020, 03:25 PM:

60F heading down to 45F in Philadelphia, which would be pretty warm but not *that* remarkable, except that my sister in Santa Monica, CA is getting the same weather.

#955 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2020, 04:22 PM:

I'm in the northwest San Fernando Valley, and the forecast high here is 55. Also windy through tomorrow (when the high is supposed to be 59F). Feels like February. (Rain would be a nice change.)

#956 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2020, 06:27 PM:

Yeah, we're used to some pretty wild swings, but it looks like we're getting a polar vortex on the heals of a chinook, which is...unusual.

I'm in the Denver Metro area. If you look a the heat maps of the Continental US the NWS tweets out, we're nearly always right on the pivot between the really really hot and really really cold regions. Usually that means we're kind of in the middle, but not this week. My guess is that it's probably because it's going to clear off after our current big floofy snow finishes.

#957 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2020, 06:30 PM:

Wup! I may have lied. The variance (according to Google) has flattened way out. Low for Wednesday is still projected to be 4°, but I'll believe it when I see it. (I'm okay with it not being that cold; I walk to work, and there's a limit to how much additional clothing I can put on.)

#958 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: February 04, 2020, 03:12 PM:

HLN update: The main roads, which got the most plowing, have been rained clear, but everywhere else we're driving on bumpy ice with its level and relatively brake-friendly overcoat of snow washed off and water running across it. Plus the outer half of each driving lane is covered in slumped heaps of plowed snow, so people are sharing the turning lane--where there is one. On the smaller residential streets you have to pull into somebody's driveway to let the other driver go past.

I got permission from the hotel down front to park in their lot, which will be a painful slog there and back, but safer for me than trying to park. My husband will park the car in the driveway for me after he gets home. I plan to practice backing in a lot this summer, so that I may not have to go through this rigamarole the next time we have a winter like this. I have experience driving on ice, but not backwards on ice next to a sheer drop!

It's supposed to rain every day through the end of the week, and also freeze every night but oh well. I hope to see some bare gravel in our driveway soon.

#959 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 04, 2020, 04:10 PM:

Definitely feels like February. Got down to 36 last night in my area, and will do that again tonight.

#960 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: February 04, 2020, 08:41 PM:

Meanwhile down here in central Virginia we've had a few days at 60 and above. We’re not *that* far south, dang it....

#961 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2020, 12:00 PM:

4°F this morning on the way in. I rode the bus in this morning (rather than walking). Even so, anything that didn't have at least 4 layers ... wasn't warm enough. (Weather like this, I fantasize about a fur-lined burqa.)

#962 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2020, 05:55 PM:

So the cat that was up our butts at all hours of the day and night...just needed thyroid medication?

Yes, apparently, he just needed thyroid medication.

He still gets up in the night to have a drink or whatever, but he no longer summons us to attend him. He still reminds whoever is in the kitchen that he would like some of whatever that is plz, but he isn't lunging at people who are holding pot lids or mittens in the hopes that there is chicken hidden inside them. And he doesn't leave a half-finished plate of salmon to scream urgently at me that he MUST have the onions I am chopping because they are FOOD and he MUST eat them or he will DIE.

I crush half a pill each morning and evening and hide the crushed pill under some canned fish, or meat that I'm also cooking for our dinner. (I'm going to try stinky canned cat food next, because it's cheaper.) And he neatly eats his food, and goes and washes his face and looks out the window or asks me to open the door so he can disapprove of the massive snowpack in the yard. The quiet is eerie. I find myself checking on him because he is no longer driving me nuckin' futs.

He is also packing on the weight, thank goodness, and growing more fur. But these obvious physical signs just happened during the month preceding his vet visit. The food obsession and attention seeking had been going on much longer.

He just needed meds. Huh.

#963 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2020, 01:15 AM:

It's not cheap, Jenny Islander @962, but we've had incredibly good results from getting cats' thyroids irradiated if they're malfunctioning. In one case, it cured diabetes, according to Karen; I've seen it make an incredible difference in several cats. Most of ours are unwilling to take meds as well as yours seems to.

#964 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2020, 09:54 AM:

The Great Cat Sophie (d. 2009, some old-timers may remember her) had thyroid issues eventually requiring surgery. She also had widely-known anti-med issues, so the replacement thyroid med came in a gel that we rubbed into the inside of her ear. She loved the way that felt. (Yes, we wore a glove when doing this.)

#965 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2020, 05:45 PM:

Jacque @ 956: If you look a the heat maps of the Continental US the NWS tweets out, we're nearly always right on the pivot between the really really hot and really really cold regions. Right with you; the coldest I've ever been was there on Christmas 1990. (My sister lived there a few years before her husband got a job in the SFBay area, where all his family was. A strained time, but not utterly lost; it's the only time I've heard a recording (first Christmas Revels record) that I was on played on-air.) It was down to -16F when my flight arrived; Boston was close on Valentine's eve 2016, but only got to -15F.

Jenny Islander @ 962: I didn't notice a human difference (two close relatives had surgery for hyperthyroidism), but I'm not always a noticing type; I've read that a malfunctioning thyroid can be like an engine with the throttle tied down and no governor, so it's not surprising your cat was painfully overactive -- good to hear there was a simple solution. And I'm croggled at your driveway; I did a little moderately hairy driving in my youth, but nothing at that level.

#966 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2020, 06:52 PM:

The salt that I threw on the driveway has finally started working. A clump of it has melted all the way to the gravel--three inches down.

I'm currently parking in the 9-hour free parking area in front of the Mall (an actual Mall, i.e. with an open-air promenade and independent shops). It's a painful slog from there to the house for my joints, but the hotel down front has decided that two days of me using their mostly-empty lot for 4 hours at a time is This Can't Go On. They disrupted our lives for almost two years while they were building the thing, and possibly damaged our car with their temporary driveway (complete with massive potholes and rebar sticking up from the dirt) that they made for us, but two days of me using a space in their massive barren lot is Too Much. Sure, fine, whatever.

#967 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2020, 02:52 PM:


Not sure what shopping is available for you (I'm in Montreal), but I go through several bags of Anti Skid crushed gravel every winter. These links are to Canadian websites, but maybe you can see them anyway?

I prefer it to straight salt or ice melter, because I get the traction immediately (my driveway is an incline, though nothing like yours!), and because it's environmentally friendly. It does get tracked into the house, but hey: not sliding down the driveway and going through the garage door makes me happy, so I'll deal with vacuuming.

#968 ::: estelendur ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2020, 03:49 PM:

AKICIML: does anybody have knowledge about neurofeedback for ADHD? I know one person who's had good results, nobody who's had bad results.

There is one practitioner in my area, but he's not trans-aware and is setting off a couple of 'quack' alarm bells. There's also home neurofeedback kits, which would have about the same overall cost as an estimated treatment plan with this guy with copays (~$1.5k) but it'd be all up front and of course prone to lay user error...

#969 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2020, 04:37 PM:

I saw this one recommended elseweb - the person said it seems to help, but he's not sure if it's real or placebo (much less than $1.5K).

#970 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2020, 07:04 PM:

Another one gone: Robert Conrad.

#971 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2020, 04:41 AM:

Amazon is being awkward over uploading personal documents to a Kindle. Right now, I am getting error messages if I try to upload something in .azw format (Kindle-typo ebook), which the helpfiles say is accepted. The older .mobi format still seems to work.

If you have Kindle on a PC, you can still manually put both these file types in the folder where your Kindle stores books, and they work. I am hesitating over installing the current update.

Yes, some Kindle devices don't read the new format, but I am trying to send something to a recent Kindle Fire tablet (8th Generation, which is October 2018 release). The error email doesn't mention anything device-specific.

#972 ::: Quill ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2020, 09:59 AM:

If you aren't aware, T. Kingfisher's* latest self-pub is out, Paladin's Grace. Available in Kindle or epub forms - Google for your preferred format.

Excuse me while I vanish into my reader for a while...

*Ursula Vernon

#973 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2020, 10:56 AM:

Here's another success in my ongoing quest for dinner recipes that will feed six people who each have lists of foods they can't eat. Total prep and cook time is about 90 minutes.

Make sure there are lactase pills in the house for the person who needs them. Trim all fat from some leftover baked ham. Dice the meat, measure 3 cups, and put it on a paper plate. Dice 1 large onion (any color) and, if you have one, a leek, and put it/them on another paper plate. Dice 2 large boiling potatoes (trim but do not peel) and keep them under cold water. Find about 1 1/4 pounds fresh, frozen, leftover, or canned vegetables. Everything should be diced, and the cooked/canned should be set aside from the fresh/frozen. Measure a tablespoon of minced garlic and a teaspoon each of dried thyme and dried sage and set them aside together; have a pepper shaker and a bay leaf on hand. Have a quart, total, of broth (chicken, pork, ham, and/or vegetable) ready. Measure 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch or 3 tablespoons flour and set them aside. Stir together a pint of 1 percent or skim milk and 1/2 cup low-fat or fat-free regular or Greek yogurt.

You will need a small soup pot (1 gallon). Heat 2 tablespoons olive or canola oil on Medium. Cook the ham, stirring occasionally, until the bottom of the pot is turning brown and the ham smells like bacon. Take it up, put in more oil to make 2 tablespoons if needed, and cook the onion (and leek if using) until soft and beginning to brown. Stir in the garlic and herbs. When they are fragrant return the ham to the pot. (At this point I take some of the mixture out to send to the relative who can't eat potatoes, so she can use it to make her own dinner.) Drain the potatoes and add. Pour in the broth, stir, bring to a boil on H, immediately turn down the heat, and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes.

Take up some broth in a bowl, whisk in the flour or cornstarch, and return it to the pot. Add any fresh/frozen vegetables, let it boil up again, immediately turn down the heat, and simmer uncovered until all is tender. Take out the bay leaf and mash some of the potatoes against the side of the pot with your stirrer. Stir again, add any cooked/canned vegetables, and heat through. Pour in the milk-yogurt mixture, heat through again, correct the seasoning with plenty of pepper, and serve hot as a one-dish meal.

I have tried this with frozen macedoine and also with a mixture of frozen cauliflower and leftover broccoli (both diced), with equal success.

#974 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2020, 04:02 PM:

Oh good grief. I forgot to note that the above recipe is ham chowder.

#976 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: February 12, 2020, 07:09 PM:

Jenny, your recipe doesn't sound like something I would try to cook myself. But I had to look up the word macedoine that you used, which led me through a few Wikipedia articles where I eventually wound up at Russian salad. So now I do have something I want to make. So thanks for the tip!

#977 ::: Kip Williams ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2020, 09:51 AM:

Where'd everybody go? I looked, and there wasn't a new Open Thread.

I've got news, of sorts. Two friends from the weekly Irish session have been coming over about once a week to play other music at my house with me. Woo hoo! Golden age!

Also, without fanfare, Sarah just turned 18. By some mathematical property, that means I must be an adult now, too.

#978 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2020, 10:32 AM:

@976: It's such a useful word! I don't have to say, "peas-corn-carrots-n-green-beans" or "you know, like Veg-All, but frozen." I wish U.S. home cooking lingo had taken it up.

#979 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2020, 11:17 AM:

Kip: ML seems to be handing the long threads somewhat better than it did Back In The Day. Also, the gnomes aren't hovering around to track thread size like they used to be, so when it comes time for a new one, someone has to go flag them (usually Avram, since, as far as I know, he's got more capacity than the others) down to get one posted.

#980 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2020, 11:18 AM:

Yes, it is about time for a new thread, isn't it?

#981 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2020, 06:55 PM:

CHip #975: Well, it's not quite happened yet, but it's progress!

#982 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2020, 11:07 PM:

HLN: Area woman tackles turkey, wins.

I scored a free 20-pounder in a promotion around Thanksgiving. I thawed it last week and roasted it on Sunday. On Monday, I picked all the leftover meat that would come away from the carcass, diced it, and froze it in recipe-sized portions. I put the bones, skin, neck and tail into the roasting pan with some chicken broth I had on hand, plus a carrot, an onion, and a stalk of celery. I brought it to a boil on two burners, then turned off the heat and let it cool. Today I took that massive pan out of the fridge, defatted the broth, lifted out the bones and vegetables, and poured the partly jellied broth through a strainer into reused quart-sized yogurt tubs. I am proud of this, because it's rare that I can actually do all of these steps.

Yield for the freezer: 1 gallon and 1 pint broth, 3 quarts diced meat. I could have gotten another pint each of meat and broth if I had been slower about straining the broth and if I had re-picked-over the bones, but I was out of time.

Also, here's the soup I made tonight, which is especially good for sick people. It isn't one of my recipes for six people with non-intersecting lists of things they can't eat, but if I replaced the potatoes with sweet potato it would be. (The sixth person mustn't be exposed to our germs, so made her own supper.)

You need:

1/2 fist-sized onion, any color, diced
Tablespoon cooking fat (I used olive oil)
Generous tablespoon minced garlic
About a pound of diced raw or cooked chicken or turkey
Salt and pepper--lots of both
2 quarts best quality chicken or turkey broth
3 medium red potatoes or other boiling potatoes
1 Alaskan carrot or up to four smaller ones
1 cup fresh or thawed frozen broccoli florets, cut into small bits
2 handfuls sliced fresh spinach or 1 handful frozen or drained canned spinach

Kitchen knife, cutting board
Slop bowl
Plates or something for staging ingredients
1-gallon soup pot

Heat the cooking fat in the pot on M. Brown the onion.

Stir in the garlic. Cook until fragrant.

Add the meat, salt and pepper generously, and cook until no longer raw, or until hot if using leftover meat.

Pour in the broth. Add the potatoes and carrot(s). Add lots of pepper.

Bring to a boil, reduce to a lively simmer, and leave until the vegetables are al dente.

Now add the broccoli and (if frozen) the spinach. Simmer a few minutes more, stirring as needed.

Add the spinach last, if fresh or canned, and cook just until wilted or nice and hot. Taste, add salt and/or pepper as needed, and serve.

This sounds like very basic seasoning, but it tastes good even when everything tastes bleh because you're sick.

#983 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2020, 11:32 PM:

Sorry--trim and dice the potatoes, but do not peel; peel and dice the carrot(s).

#984 ::: stefan jones ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2020, 10:16 AM:

It has been years since I did the roast-a-bird-and-make-stock deal.

A lot of work, but very rewarding!

#985 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2020, 11:31 AM:

@984: I pick up free turkeys and hams whenever my local supermarket runs a promotion, and do about one a month if the weather isn't too hot. Even when I don't have the time or spoons to give it the full treatment, I can get some meat and broth off it, which makes cooking easier.

Defatted ham broth, BTW, is fantastic for any kind of dried legume soup or casserole, and also for other recipes that typically call for bacon or ham hocks (which I can't eat).

#986 ::: stefan jones ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2020, 07:39 PM:

@Jenny: That reminds me of an old college friend. He was (likely still is) a supermarket promotion maven. In turkey season, he would fill up his freezer with birds. I don't think he was into making stock, but he had "Thanksgiving dinners" throughout the year for friends and relations.

#987 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2020, 09:38 PM:

@986: I just roast one plain, like a big chicken, and do some rolls or rice and two veggies as a side.

Sometimes when we are all feeling bored and stuck in the house, we have Barbarian Feast. That's when I don't carve the turkey. I put it on the table with a big stack of wet wipes, and let people rip off pieces with their (washed) hands.

#989 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2020, 03:35 AM:

Jenny Islander @962: Belated response, but... Yay for the meds. Two notes for anyone who needs the info:
(1) yes, the radioactive iodine treatment is good (not suitable for all cats - I don't think ours would cope with being in an isolation ward for a couple of weeks);
(2) for getting pills into cats that hate them, there's a wonderful product called Easypill for cats - it's a delicious (to cats) putty - you pinch a small piece off, wrap it around the pill. The cat enjoys a treat with a crunchy bit in the middle. I always give a couple of other treats at the same time. It won a welfare award. There's a dog version as well.

#990 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2020, 08:12 AM:

dcb @989: None of our irradiated cats have had to be in isolation for anywhere near a week: we did have to sequester their litter for a couple of weeks and hold it until the iodine had decayed, but the treatment did not require a long quarantine. I can't remember whether it was outpatient or a single night at the vet. Regulations may vary by state; check with your local vet rather than trust my experience completely.

#991 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2020, 08:47 AM:

Tom Whitmore @990: in the UK it's 4-14 days in an isolation ward, then back home but with restricted handling, plus (as you said) litter to be sequestered for typically 4-5 weeks.

#992 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2020, 10:11 AM:

So, my nephew's gone nonbinary (and WTH is the ungendered word for nephew/niece?).

I'm mostly annoyed that I found out about this in an aside in an E-mail broadcast.

#993 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2020, 10:26 AM:

@992, I don't know if it's in general use anywhere, but Graydon Saunders in his Commonweal novels uses "neeve" as a gender-neutral neice/nephew. As in (from Under One Banner): Easy to tell whose the other set stones are, if you have the memory of the making of sunrise roses. There’s a three-footed trellis of those over the markers for Fire’s children and brothers — Blossom’s dead neeves and siblings, unmet for all the many gifted memories.

Don't know if that's a useful construction for you, but it seems to fill the need and be generally comprehensible without explanation.

#994 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2020, 10:26 AM:


HLN: Local correspondent tapped for couch space for Warren workers, and I would be SO TOTALLY ON BOARD with this—except that my house if not suitable for civilized guests, and the floor space that would be a place to sleep is paved over with boxes & crap.

Anybody local to Boulder wanna volunteer to help me excavate in the next couple of days? (Ho ho, we laugh.)

#995 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2020, 11:33 AM:

@992: I have heard people use "nibling" in meatspace, as in, "Most of my siblings and niblings were at the family Thanksgiving this year."

#996 ::: estelendur ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2020, 12:43 PM:

@992, @995: Seconding 'nibling' as the term I've learned/heard used.

#997 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2020, 02:47 PM:

I've also heard 'nibling'. But it sounds so much like 'nibbling' that...well, let's just say the puns write themselves.

#998 ::: Venus ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2020, 03:59 PM:

@992 et al. Speaking as someone nonbinary, I suggest asking the relative directly. If asking isn't possible, a circumlocution like 'my sister's kid' is a solid option.

There's a lot of variation in preferred terms. In general, I have a visceral loathing of being referred to by these diminutive-ending neologisms. I realize the intention is to be inclusive or playful or loving, but that's not the emotional effect for me.

#999 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2020, 08:42 PM:

Dave Harmon @ 992: I have used "niephew" (often pronounced "nieview") internally to refer to branches (who are on the opposite sides of the US and so have never met) -- but I don't think I've ever tried this on auditors to see whether it's understood.

#1000 ::: Sunflower ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2020, 04:19 AM:

I'm also nonbinary, and strongly second Venus's advice to ask. Most terminology related to nonbinary gender is still in flux, and different NB folks have different preferences in how they're referred to.

#1001 ::: Kip Williams ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2020, 10:14 AM:

A new thread would be grand.

(Commenting mostly so that the site will take my name and other info. This computer seems to spew its cookies with depressing regularity, and that's after it spent a couple of days in Tech Jail having the OS replaced.)

#1002 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2020, 07:34 PM:

Just tweeted Patrick requesting a new OT.

#1003 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2020, 08:32 PM:


#1004 ::: Kip Williams ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2020, 10:53 AM:

Thanks, Jacque. I should have thought of that with my brain.

#1005 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2020, 02:33 PM:

Kip 1004: But you thought of it with your heart, and that's what's...oh, no, wait,that's stupid, never mind.

#1006 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2020, 03:44 PM:

Spleen, guys. Always with the spleen.

Meanwhile, no action. (I'm assuming Patrick's notifications are too dense for somebody @ing him to draw his attention, so I'm gonna try Avram next.)

#1007 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2020, 12:09 AM:

#993-998: I did ask (by E-mail), and they're fine with "nibling".

#1008 ::: Kip Williams ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2020, 11:03 AM:

Scarecrow (Ray Bolger): But that's so easy! I should have thought of it with my brain!

Tin Man (Jack Haley): I should have felt it with my heart!

Lion (Arnold Schwarzenegger): I should have shot it with my gun.

#1009 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2020, 11:46 AM:

Isn't it interesting that English has no genderless term for Uncle/Aunt or Niece/Nephew, and no gendered term for cousin? I'm sure it came about in some boringly mundane process, but it's weird that we care about the gender of our siblings' offspring but not about that of our parents' siblings' offspring.

I wish there were fewer gendered terms in English, so I'm delighted by 'nibling' and the other variants. We'll see how they shake out.

#1010 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2020, 02:06 PM:

We can blame French, which has plausible cognates, similarly unalike, for aunt/uncle, while using simple gendering for same-generation relatives (as in the film Cousin, Cousine). Feel free to ask the French who to blame after I've retired to a safe distance; I hear some of them are still touchy about language -- especially language as practiced in the US, which tends to spill over (le weekend?).

I've read that Norwegian gets even more distinctive, using words that also mark the gender of the connecting relative (e.g., morbror vs farbror); can anyone speak to this? is dropping directly into an ad-laden error msg for me.

#1011 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2020, 02:14 PM:

CHip (1010): German has the same distinction, very similar to the French ('Tante' and 'Onkel'), which suggests that the origin is farther back in Indo-European.

#1012 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2020, 02:55 PM:

IIRC, one is from Latin for mother's sibling and the other is from Latin for father's sibling - I think, but am not sure, that aunt (amita) is father's sister and uncle (avunculus) is mother's brother.
(Latin has a lot more kinship terms than English, and all of them are gendered.)

#1013 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2020, 03:08 PM:

P J Evans (1012): But German is not a Romance language (i.e., not from Latin), which is why I think the origin must be farther back, before the Romance/Germanic split.

#1014 ::: Incoherent ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2020, 06:30 PM:

Mary Aileen (1013), PJ Evans (1012):

Per Etymology Online (, "uncle" and variations thereof do come from Latin via French "oncle". The Germanic equivalent would be "Oom".

Etymology Online is a great resource for that kind of question.

#1015 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2020, 12:26 AM:

I've read that Chinese doesn't just distinguish father's siblings from mother's, it further distinguishes whether they are older or younger, thus producing no fewer than eight kinship terms.

#1016 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2020, 07:34 AM:

Xopher Halftongue #1009: I'm pretty sure that the choice of where to maintain those gender distinctions has a lot to do with rules of inheritance for specifically European royal lines.

Aunt vs. uncle and nephew vs. niece matters because European rules are patrilineal; in contrast the gender of cousins does not matter, because there's no automatic line of inheritance between them -- in a conflict they'd figure priority based on their respective paths from their common ancestor.

#1017 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2020, 11:20 AM:

Spanish has gender distinctions, but simple ones rather than entirely unrelated words (varying only in the ending vowel). It looks like French is the oddball among the Romance languages here, at least for aunt/uncle, but English and German got their words from French - sure, they aren't Romance languages, but there's a lot of crosstalk and borrowing.

#1018 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2020, 04:03 PM:

English isn't "genetically" a Romance language, but its vocabulary is 1/3 French, and the majority of its vocabulary comes ultimately from Latin. We've borrowed some grammar from French too.

In fact, since English is a creole of Norman French (itself a creole of mostly French and bits of Norse) and Anglo-Saxon (itself a creole of you-don't-wanna-know), assigning it to Germanic rather than Romance is a matter of proportion, not of absolute ancestry.

Dave 1016: That makes a lot of sense.

#1019 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2020, 04:52 PM:

English and French having very similar words for 'aunt' and 'uncle' is normal enough. What surprised me is that German and French do as well. I had not realized that German had borrowed words from French. I suppose it makes sense, but it's new information for me. Neat!

#1020 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2020, 04:53 PM:

I don't know how much role rules of inheritance played in kinship terms, but marriage used to require knowing degrees of kinship - or at least how close you might be as cousins.

#1021 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2020, 05:50 PM:

#1020: And while it's not single words, we do distinguish plain "cousins" from "second-degree cousins", "cousins once removed", etc.

#1022 ::: Kip Williams ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2020, 10:18 AM:

Then there are "patties" -- cousins who get into wacky scrapes once a week because they look alike and walk alike.

#1023 ::: Jim Parish ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2020, 02:31 PM:

I thought they were "cathies".

#1024 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2020, 04:39 PM:

HLN: After an extended period of unemployment, Local Man acquires job. "It's a good job with decent pay and a dream commute," he says. "Would I have rather had a job since June? Yes. But this is as good as it gets these days."

#1025 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2020, 04:52 PM:

Xopher (1024): Yay, Local Man! Yay, job! May it be everything you hope and nothing you fear.

#1026 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2020, 05:30 PM:

Hurray, Xopher!

#1027 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2020, 06:06 PM:

Xopher: ::cheers!::

#1028 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2020, 02:28 AM:

Every man wants to be a local man
To have the kind of job always in demand
Commutin' in the mornings, go man go

#1029 ::: stefan jones ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2020, 11:57 AM:

Congrats xopher!

#1030 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2020, 12:29 PM:

Well done, Xopher!

#1031 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2020, 03:19 PM:

Congrats, Xopher!

#1032 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: February 29, 2020, 02:04 PM:

Congrats Xopher!

#1033 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: February 29, 2020, 06:05 PM:

Congrats to Xopher! I've been through long unemployment twice, and know that it's No Fun.

Dave Harmon @ 1016: I was wondering about that; it does seem logical for countries with Salic law -- which list may include France if you're not trying to suck up to Henry V...

#1034 ::: Kip Williams ::: (view all by) ::: February 29, 2020, 07:52 PM:

Jim Parish, the actress is Patty, the show is Patty, and half the cousins are Patty. Choosing the name was a piece of cake.

Xopher, good on ya! Glad to hear it.

#1035 ::: stefan jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2020, 10:26 AM:

I caught a sneak preview of the new Pixar movie, "Onward," yesterday, and it is adorable.

With a really WHOA emotional twist.

Just one hankie this time around.

#1036 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2020, 01:09 AM:

I gather that people are referring to The Patty Duke Show, which featured identical cousins Patty and Cathy?

#1037 ::: Kip Williams ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2020, 10:19 AM:

Joel, yes. Nick at Nite once did a tribute to the vital and unsung actress who played "the back of Patty Duke's head."

#1038 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2020, 03:50 PM:

My brother tried to convince me that Patty & Cathy were played by the same actress. If I squinted, I could sorta see the resemblance...?

Turns out to be the first concrete manifestation of the fact that I recognize people less by how they look than by how they move and sound.

#1039 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2020, 07:00 PM:

Patty Duke had already won an Oscar for The Miracle Worker, at that time the youngest ever winner. And yet this silly show was all they could find for her to do next.

#1040 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2020, 08:41 PM:

Xopher, congrats!

#1041 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2020, 09:28 AM:

Politics today:

Democrats: We need someone who can mobilize the base, get young folks on board, and do well with the blacks!

Sanders: Does all that.

Democrats: We need someone else who can...

#1042 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2020, 10:24 AM:

Wow, I've been remiss about commenting here. Time to catch up.

Quill @ 972:

Paladin's Grace is great! All of Ursula Vernon's stuff is great, of course, and this one didn't disappoint.

Side note: I think my horror sense might be slightly busted. When I was much younger, I was terrified of not even very good supernatural stories. Now, I can read The Twisted Ones as bedtime reading material. It was still delightfully creepy, don't get me wrong, but, judging by other people's reactions to it, I might be an outlier.


I found a table of family words in Romance languages. I wish it had Latin to compare to, too, to see where the languages diverge from it or pick an alternate word.

I also find Catalan's word for nephews and nieces — nebots — to be rather charming.

Romanian is an interesting language. Technically it's a Romance language, but, because of geography, it has a whole lot of Slavic influences.

I do wish there were fewer gendered pronouns in English for a number of reasons. Selfishly, it means I don't get the twinge of misgendering my husband in front of people he's not out to yet.

Xopher Halftongue @ 1024:


stefan jones @ 1035:

We're looking forward to seeing "Onward" here.

Dave Harmon @ 1041:

Since you simplified greatly, I will too. He doesn't do all that, he's not a Democrat but is coopting the party for his presidential bid while complaining about the party's rules, and he has no accomplishments worth speaking of in the Senate. I'll vote for him if he's the eventual nominee, but that doesn't mean I like him.

Star Wars and Disneyland!

Went to Disneyland recently because a friend was visiting from out of town. The new Galaxy's Edge area there is amazing! They only have a couple rides in it, but they went all out on them and the atmosphere of the area in general. I got the same feels as the first time I saw the movies, and then the first time I played Star Wars Galaxies. Usually after going to Disneyland, I'm all Disneyed out for the next few years, but this time I want to go back.

#1043 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2020, 12:24 PM:

I really really like Warren. First candidate I've been excited about. Like, ever. MSM seems to be working extra hard to ignore her, which suggests TPTB are afraid her her, which—a point in her favor...?

#1044 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2020, 02:09 PM:

@1043, I really like Warren too, and I doubt she'll still be in the race by the time my primary comes around <sigh>. I strongly dislike Bloomberg, but honestly whether I like or hate the eventual Democratic nominee, I'll vote for ANYBODY over Trump.

#1045 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2020, 02:11 PM:

Thank you, everyone! I'm excited. And a little scared. But hey, that's how it goes.

#1046 ::: Quill ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2020, 09:49 AM:

KeithS @1042:

Yes, I loved it, as usual! Her worldbuilding is always so unique, and I love the fact that her people aren't required to save the world - it's not some huge threatening apocalypse, it's more human-sized problems. They don't need miracles, they just need people to care and try.

Granted, if she wrote a huge threatening apocalypse I'd probably love that too.

I haven't read The Twisted Ones yet because frankly I was a little scared to given the reviews. Your comment is reassuring!

#1047 ::: stefan jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2020, 11:00 AM:

Bloomberg is out!

I hope Warren stays in, so she can influence deals during the convention.

Maybe get tapped as Veep by the nominee.

#1048 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2020, 11:15 AM:

Quill @ 1046:

Like I said, my horror sense may be busted. If you would be fine with some of the really creepy bits from Swordheart, or Digger, or The Clockwork Boys and The Wonder Engine, only for a whole book, but with a bit of her usual humor and humanity to break it up, I think you'll be fine.

Relatedly, James Nicoll reviewed the Penric novella The Orphans of Raspay recently. I was moved to comment thusly:

One of the things I truly appreciate about the Penric and Desdemona stories is that they are fundamentally kind. This isn't to say that bad things don't happen, but rather that our main characters are decent people who do the right thing, and, because of that, everything goes well in the end. I have been enjoying this sort of thing of late, perhaps especially because the world seems to be such a mess.

Other works I enjoy for the same reason are the Dr. Greta Helsing series by Vivian Shaw, and the Wayfarers series by Becky Chambers.

Another commenter also reminded me about The Goblin Emperor, which I agree with wholeheartedly.

Thinking a little more, this left me feeling slightly puzzled. Pretty much all of Vernon's works feature main characters who are decent people who try to do the right thing, and, because of that, things go well in the end. Still, somehow, they don't fit into that "fundamentally kind" box in my head, despite meeting my own criteria. I'll have to think more on why that is.

This isn't meant as a slam on her or her stories at all, since I love them and will read and re-read them over and over. But it is interesting.

#1049 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2020, 12:55 PM:

KeithS: By Vernon, do you mean Bujold?

Also, I've added both Shaw and Chambers to my TBR pile, since I burned through Bujold-again last summer. :(

#1050 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2020, 03:50 PM:

Jacque @ 1049:

Rereading my post, I realize I didn't make the transition clear. I took the comment I made previously about my category of "fundamentally kind" stories, and used that as a rather puzzled springboard into wondering why I don't tend to categorize Vernon's works that way, even though by my stated definition they should be.

Maybe it's because of the way the worlds themselves feel?

#1051 ::: Devin ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2020, 01:54 AM:

KeithS @1050

I think your definition is incomplete. I'm not sure exactly how, and I certainly don't have any better ideas, and I really like your partial definition... but you're absolutely right that there's something more going on too.

I think I understand what you mean about kind stories, and it is something I love about Goblin Emperor, and something I hadn't really considered about Pen and Des... But there are lots of other stories that approximately fit that definition without at all fitting the category. I haven't read Vernon, so I can't comment specifically there.

(Just for one example, everyone in Merchanter's Luck turns out to be fundamentally sound,* with the exception of the almost-faceless Mazianni. But the atmosphere of relentless distrust, pressure, and fear puts it in a wholly different place than Goblin Emperor, even though it has about the same ratio of good-hearted characters and even though everyone comes out okay at the end. And even though one of the joys of re-reading Alliance-Union is watching the characters learn to trust each other.)

Personally, I find Chambers swings a little too far that direction for my taste. There are real stakes for Penric and co, and even for Maya: I don't really believe Maya is going to die in a coup, it's not that kind of book... but I do believe he could take bad advice from the wrong people and cause a lot of harm, or simply undermine his ability to do good. With Chambers, I can't bring myself to believe there's anything really at risk.

*At least as far as their actions in the book. Mallory was of course notably vicious in the war and hasn't softened all that much since... but in the book she goes out of her way to give the protagonists a chance to prove themselves, on rather more favorable terms than she needed to, and then she's nice at the end too.

#1052 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2020, 09:44 AM:

Allan Beatty @ 1039: "that silly show" was steady employment -- which may have been her choice (along with the challenge of simultaneously playing two recognizably different people, per Jacque@1038). Or it may have been her agent's choice, cf the agent's line in I Hate Hamlet: "What's an actor? Someone from England who can't get a series." I see Wikipedia says it was created as a vehicle for a "rising star" -- and I can certainly see a popular-if-silly TV serial giving more role choice in the future (given the power and money dynamics around casting) than sercon dramas.

Dave Harmon @ 1041:
Sanders doesn't check the does-well-with-blacks box; notice how he got stomped in SC, and didn't take any Southern states. He does do well with Latinx, e.g. taking Nevada despite reports that union workers thought his health-care plan wasn't as good as their current benefits, and winning California. See NPR's discussion. Apparently he also isn't checking the youth box as well as claimed -- and from the numbers I've seen from 2016, he didn't get off his ass to get them to turn out in the general election.
I prefer Sanders to Biden, and Warren to either of them (fat lot of good that preference is doing), but Sanders's negatives may be easier for Trump to exploit in the general campaign.

Xopher @ 1045: a new job is always scary. OTOH, you probably won't have the toxic politics I found at my last job, such that I started looking again almost immediately; one interviewer's first question was "Oh, you're at PTC. Is the terrible Russian still there?" (I assume she was referring to the founder, who was fired by his own board for driving away too many people; it took many years after that to get his residue to clean up their act or leave.)

Devin @ 1051: good points; I found Chambers obnoxiously manipulative, pulling out a new reason to sympathize with some character every time the plot flagged, and won't read her any more despite the people drooling over her on File:770. And Merchanter's Luck is one of my all-time favorites, partly because I was about Sandor's age when I first read it (and unjustifiably paralleled myself to him in my more ose moments) but mostly because it wraps up both well and plausibly. I still think it would make a great movie -- the come-into-his-own (cf Kidnapped) moment at the end is a stunner -- imagine no music, just the subtle ship's noises that SWIV accustomed us to, when he says ~"It's my Name. I'd like it back." -- but I haven't heard even a rumor of Hollywood sniffing around it.

#1053 ::: Quill ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2020, 10:19 AM:

KeithS @1048:

Hmm, that's an interesting distinction. On (very brief!) thought, I would say that Bujold highlights the decision-making process more for her characters. Or perhaps the potential consequences either way. But I doubt I could give you a solid example.

Oh, I had no problems with the creepy bits in any of those, so good. I will have to figure out what I did with my copy of TTO.

#1054 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2020, 12:14 PM:

Quill: Bujold highlights the decision-making process more for her characters.

Yes! A Civil Campaign has numerous excellent examples. One of my favorites is the Long Night of the Comfy Chair in the Closet. Imprecisely remembered:

[Knock on the door]

Simon & Alys: Everything okay in there?

Miles: I'm wrestling temptation.

S&A: Who's winning?

M: I'll let you know.

Many examples of Miles's twisty little brain working throughout the books.

Lots of good examples for Ekaterin in both Komarr and Campaign.

#1055 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2020, 12:56 PM:

Noodling a bit: as a result of contemplating ASoIaF vs. The Goblin Emperor, I now rate books on to what extent cooperation is possible and rewarded.

#1051 ::: Devin: Very good point about the background stress level in a book.

In re The Twisted Ones: I'd call it fairly scary, though the tension isn't cracked up to the max. You are told early on that the dog will be alright, and he is.

Possibly the only book I've read with an NPR fund drive as a plot point.

#1056 ::: Kip Williams ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2020, 04:08 PM:


I guess I'll be voting for someone else's Democratic candidate.

But I won't be smiling as I do so.

#1057 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2020, 04:17 PM:

Kip 1056: Right with you there, pal.

#1058 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2020, 04:26 PM:

I voted for Warren, knowing that she'd finish third at best in my state.
And this morning I went to her site and threw a little more money at her.

#1059 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2020, 07:35 PM:

CHip, I forgot about Patty Duke's manager. That was not a happy relationship at all.

I'll also note that although younger people have since won Oscars, Patty Duke is still the youngest person to have the TV show named after her.

#1060 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2020, 08:52 PM:

KeithS @#1048, that's interesting, b/c I definitely DO file Ursula Vernon's stuff under "fundamentally kind", right next to Terry Pratchett's.

Kip and Xopher @1056/7, me three. Sigh. Trying to take heart from Charlotte Clymer's excellent suggestion of Warren as Senate Majority Leader...

#1061 ::: Kip Williams ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2020, 10:13 PM:

Xopher, PJ, Lila, yes. For some time, I was hoping that she'd be VP (if nothing else), but it seems now that her talents are more usefully deployed elsewhere, and there would be great satisfaction in seeing her as Senate Majority Leader. Or Attorney General, for that matter. Or Economic Czar.

And then President.

#1062 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2020, 02:08 PM:

CHip #1052: s/Blacks/Latinx/?

Fair 'nuff, and his failure to throw in quickly and solidly for Clinton after the primary, remains IMHO his biggest black mark.

As far as Warren, I was kinda assuming the Cabinet: perhaps Health & Human Services, but there are other options.

#1063 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2020, 05:25 PM:

TIL that the worst con crud ever, the norovirus that sickened so many at WisCon 2008, and made WisCon subsequently apply the strictest food-handling rules of any convention I've ever attended, is officially named Wiscon-USA, aka AY502008 (Wiscon).

Not exactly a mark of distinction, but if WisCon goes ahead this year it will be dramatically safer from COVID-19 than conventions that don't have deep institutional knowledge of safe food handling.

#1064 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2020, 08:46 PM:

Somebody on Twitter floated the now-obvious notion of "Senate Majority Leader Warren." I really like that idea. It'd almost be worth keeping McConnell in place, just to watch the burn. (But I wouldn't want to do that to Ky.)

#1065 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2020, 08:47 PM:

Somebody on Twitter floated the now-obvious notion of "Senate Majority Leader Warren." I really like that idea. It'd almost be worth keeping McConnell in place, just to watch the burn. (But I wouldn't want to do that to Ky.)

#1066 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2020, 08:49 PM:

Okay, that's weird. Let's see if this one goes through. I just posted a comment (and a duplicate, 'cause it didn't work), and it's showing up on the Latest Comments, but not here. That means it's be-gnomed?

#1067 ::: Kip Williams ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2020, 11:04 PM:

The make-up of the Senate is bad enough now. If Warren goes elsewhere, the Republican governor of Massachusetts will appoint a Gop to her position. This is a consideration--and she can still do a lot of good where she is.

#1068 ::: Kip Williams ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2020, 11:19 PM:

[Frodo sidesteps the last Orc and dashes to the top of a vertiginous peak off of some 50's classical album.]

Sauwon: Oh no! Oh no! I didn't KILL THE HOBBIT!

Frodo: Aha! Aha! He didn't kill the hobbit!
And now I'm at the top
And now it will be gone--
On second thought, I'll wait
And try the darn thing on.

[Just then, the miserable little black duck runs in]

Gollum: No! You can't have it! It's ours! It's ours! [Grabs the ring; teeters on the edge. Frodo offers a hand, but he slaps it away, sending himself plunging.] OH NO YOU DON'T! HAHAHAHA! [He hits the lava.] We win! We're rich! We're powerful! We're a happy miser! [Lava closes over him.] Happy birthday to us! Happy birthday to us...

Sam: Well, he's g-g-g-... he's g-g-g-... that's all, folks!

Frodo: Actually, Sam, we have to trek our way back home for another five reels.

Merry: Thufferin' Thnaketh!

Frodo: Well, whaddaya expect from a trilogy? An ending?

Originally posted here around 2015; reprinted by popular whim.

#1069 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2020, 04:01 AM:

...with a properly Jones-style backgrounds and Wagnerian-inspired musical score....

#1070 ::: Kip Williams ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2020, 07:49 PM:

Credit where due! Maurice Noble did the backgrounds we're all thinking of. They, in turn, always seemed to me to have been inspired by Victor classical albums of the 50s, which were probably inspired by various set designers for Wagner's "Ring" cycle.

#1071 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2020, 12:34 PM:

HLN: Local nerd gives up on getting humans to record Vogon poetry set to Renaissance music, in celebration of the 42nd anniversary of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy's initial broadcast, and creates a "choir of robots" to do the job.

#1072 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2020, 01:47 PM:

So, anybody else watching the news being uncomfortably reminded of Heinlein's story "Year of the Jackpot"?

#1073 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2020, 02:38 PM:

Jacque @1072: I've been having that feeling for about the last four years.

#1074 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2020, 05:42 PM:

I've been thinking John Brunner has been looking uncomfortably prescient for a while. Between "Shockwave Rider", "Stand On Zanzibar", and "The Sheep Look Up"....

#1075 ::: Devin ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2020, 05:53 PM:

Happily, even lemmings aren't lemmings in the sense Heinlein meant...

#1076 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2020, 10:00 PM:

Dave Harmon @1074: Brunner was amazingly good at predicting the major forces and trends in the world. He tended to get all the little details wrong, but they were reasonable guesses, and they don't matter anyway. For the big important things, yeah it's scary how well our timeline is following his outline.

#1077 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2020, 12:17 AM:

Allan Beatty @ 1059: ISTM there was a lot of that going around in the earlier days, especially when the manager was also a parent (and so could sway the performer more easily, producers may have thought). These days the abuse of minors may be less -- but (from bits I've seen) the abuse of adult actors to do nudity and simulated sex has been in the same ballpark for some time, although a BBC report suggests it's getting less bad.

#1078 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2020, 01:20 AM:

Dave Harmon/TomB on Brunner: and don't forget THE JAGGED ORBIT in there too. The four go together very strongly: each explores a different way the world was likely to fall apart, with only THE SHOCKWAVE RIDER being essentially hopeful that we'll solve the problems. The others... depressing is a good word. Elements of each one are very strong in our current society. I re-read THE JAGGED ORBIT last summer, and it was better than I remembered.

#1079 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2020, 01:01 PM:

Thinking more on THE JAGGED ORBIT -- as STAND ON ZANZIBAR is about overpopulation, and THE SHEEP LOOK UP about pollution: THE JAGGED ORBIT is about the factionalization of society and using fear of The Other to sell weapons. It's a very short step from that to using such fear to sell politicians.

#1080 ::: Kip Williams ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2020, 04:44 PM:

Local Man, who lives locally and is a man, enters sonnet contest sponsored by local branch of Shakespeare Society, comes in third in crowded field of seven. Man is permitted to read his verses in front of audience who came to see high-school students competitively read monologues and sonnets from the Bard of Avon. The sonnet, which we remind you beat the hell out of four others, was later reprised for the dozen kindred souls at his local Shakespeare group, where audible applause was again heard.

#1081 ::: Kip Williams ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2020, 04:53 PM:


The dam of silence burdens us too hard
Behind our brow the pressure's far too high
The hand we hold leaves us no other card,
So come; the weight's too much. It's time to cry.

We're all alone. No one will mock our sobs
We'll prime the pump with brine, our eyelids pursed
The others all are busy at their jobs
And won't be here to see us at our worst.

We pray our brain's endorphins buy some peace
Two ducts purr like a cat behind our eyes
Too much to hope our cares might really cease
But, for a time, the hard lump liquefies.

The silent burden won't be eased by sleep
The load's too great, so come: It's time to weep.

by Kip Williams, rev 2/2020

#1082 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2020, 04:56 PM:

Kip, congrats for writing it and putting it out there.

I like it.

#1083 ::: Kip Williams ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2020, 04:57 PM:

Oh, and also, I see that Firefox now has an extension called Facebook Container that protects FB users (it says here) from being followed and harassed everywhere by Facebook come-ons and wheedling, and that it also works for other services Facebook owns.

I haven't tried it myself, as I'm not on FB. Which reminds me strangely of a friend on RASFF who used to show up in every discussion of television to inform everyone that he has not owned a TV set since 1985, and that one was just black and white. I will therefore leave it at that.

#1084 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2020, 07:54 PM:

The E-mail message I got introducing Facebook Container says that FB can glom tracking information about people via any web page that has the FB icon on display, even if they aren't on FB.

#1085 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2020, 10:55 AM:

Kip: @1081: Okay, that's weird. I opened this window because I was feeling precisely that sentiment.

& 1080: Hey, that beats the time I came in second in a field of two. Crossed the finish line fifteen minutes after the race that followed the one I was in finished. (Race organizers called the next day: "Do you want your ribbon?" "Uh, no. Thanks."

& 1083: In the spirit of your RASFF Luddite, I scraped Fb off my internet activity ten years ago, and have not regretted it once. (Well, that's not true. There have a been a couple of people/groups I regret not having access to. But—)

#1086 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2020, 06:46 PM:

I have tried out the Facebook Container extension for Firefox. I turned it off because it prevented reposting Facebook things to Tumblr. Actually I should check if it allows site-specific exceptions.

#1087 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2020, 07:14 PM:

It appears to allow that - I clicked on it, and that's at the bottom of its menu.

#1088 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2020, 07:32 PM:

Kip @ #1081


(Unfortunately it's poetry that will probably be all too applicable in the weeks to come.)

Excellent, nonetheless.

#1089 ::: Kip Williams ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2020, 07:35 PM:

The other local high school (crosstown rivals of my daughter's school) is livestreaming Pippin at this moment, and it will be available later as well.

They rehearsed for weeks, and have no live audience, except when the orchestra and whoever else is there can provide some spectatin'. My heart goes out to them.

Which reminds me that my Monday Irish jam was notified today that all events are canceled at the college where it meets, so that takes care of the upcoming St. Patrick's Day party and regular meetings. It's kind of a relief--I was feeling guilty that I might be contributing to a contagious atmosphere (we have several older members--like 40% older than me), and I was thinking I might be exposing my hands when I moved the chairs around, as I do every week (I'm the Chair Man of the group). So it goes.

Not sure if the SIAMSA sessions we have planned for local libraries on the remaining Wednesdays of the month are affected by this, but in all justice, they should be.

#1090 ::: Kip Williams ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2020, 07:36 PM:

The other local high school (crosstown rivals of my daughter's school) is livestreaming Pippin at this moment, and it will be available later as well.

They rehearsed for weeks, and have no live audience, except when the orchestra and whoever else is there can provide some spectatin'. My heart goes out to them.

Which reminds me that my Monday Irish jam was notified today that all events are canceled at the college where it meets, so that takes care of the upcoming St. Patrick's Day party and regular meetings. It's kind of a relief--I was feeling guilty that I might be contributing to a contagious atmosphere (we have several older members--like 40% older than me), and I was thinking I might be exposing my hands when I moved the chairs around, as I do every week (I'm the Chair Man of the group). So it goes.

Not sure if the SIAMSA sessions we have planned for local libraries on the remaining Wednesdays of the month are affected by this, but in all justice, they should be.

#1091 ::: Kip Williams ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2020, 07:39 PM:

I only sent once, got an error message that said click here, and clicked.

Oh, and I will still be having a friend or two over on Fridays to work on not-so-Irish music, so there's that.

Also, thanks for the kind words. Mongo like kind word.

#1092 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2020, 08:58 PM:

@Kip Williams: I got email a few hours ago that the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra is livestreaming Berlioz' Symphonie Fantastique to an empty Boston Symphony Hall (capacity at least 2500) -- but they probably spent less time putting it together than the show you linked. I have very mixed feelings about how Pippin ends, but those kids were obviously performing the hell out of the bits I watched.

I read Laughter at the Academy, Seanan McGuire's collection of stories-not-related-to-her-world[s] (says the preface, although there's a piece of the Velveteen multiverse somewhere in the book), over the last couple of months. She had a story reflecting her belief that we don't take the potential for plague nearly seriously enough; I doubt she expected to be around one of the epicenters quite so soon. I've been watching the dominoes falling all over the U.S. today, and thinking how thoroughly they demonstrate the rot at the top (lies, absence of leadership or even recognition, ...), and hoping we will be able to pass through this possibility of a cure.

Tom Whitmore: ISTM that The Stone that Never Came Down belongs next to that set -- not in it because it almost completely ignores the U.S., but it certainly takes your next step in factionalization, with more-complex causes (ISTM) than The Jagged Orbit. I once tried to describe how Rider and Stone reflected opposed possible solutions -- a superhero (US individuality) vs a Wellsian ~external miracle -- but the result of one heated writing session was lost before I had time to let it sit and be rethought. It's now unclear to me how optimistic either of them is, because they both look to sudden salvation rather than any plausible/achievable path from here to there.

#1093 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2020, 12:24 AM:

AKICIML: Hey, so, something weird happened--?

I got a letter that certainly looks legit. It says that the undersigned is the legal counsel of the representative of the estate of [extremely distant relative I have never even spoken to], and that I, as a named heir, can challenge [representative's name]'s handling of probate within the given time period.

I'm not expecting anything. I know nothing about this person, literally nothing, because my family of origin and I are not close. Also, I am one of many named heirs. So I am telling myself that I was left a collection of state quarters or an old book with only sentimental value.

On the other hand, if it's money, any amount would make life easier. But of course I am not going to know anything for months.

Has anybody here been in this situation? Is there something I should do, or not do, that was not spelled out in the letter? Am I supposed to write back to the attorney that yes they reached me and yes please I would like to sit back and let probate do its thing? Is that something I was supposed to just know?

#1094 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2020, 01:42 AM:

Jenny Islander @1093: You actually need to talk to a lawyer who knows something about this. I've had something similar happen with a plot of land that many of my cousins had an interest in: I didn't check, and made less money than some others (money I didn't need the way you do). I would recommend you check and see if there's a local Legal Aid society that can give you a one-hour consultation -- they can at least point you to someone who would be able to help. Laws in different states are different, so you need someone local.

CHip @1092 -- that's one of Brunner's that I hadn't gotten around to reading, and you make me think that's a mistake. I'll go see if I can find a copy in my storage locker. Thank you!

#1095 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2020, 12:39 PM:

Today is the last day to get Hugo nominations in. I really need to do a better job of keeping track of what I've read over the year.

Jenny Islander @ 1093:

I have no experience with that at all, but I do wish you the best of luck.

#1096 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2020, 12:44 PM:

Jenny Islander, again: The note says you are a "named heir." That means at the very least that you should ask for a copy of the will to see what you are named as getting. That's a first step: once you have the will, a lawyer will be able to help you better.

#1097 :::