Troy Davis, dead »« Botanical Wednesday: Is it 4:00 yet?

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  1. ChasCPeterson says

    CEOs and other top execs of “health maintenance” or “health insurance” organizations need to be first, not second, but first against the wall when the revolution comes. Tobacco company executives will just have to wait their turn.

    *clenched-tentacle salute*

  2. Wowbagger, Madman of Insleyfarne says

    Huh. Another of those experiences I never thought I’d get to have: Noam Chomsky is coming to my city to give a lecture, and I just bought a ticket.

    Not a big deal for some, I guess; remember, though, I live in Australia.

  3. kristinc says

    Oh, cicely, what was I thinking? Here, I’ll put a spoonful through the USB for you.

    (Recipe, such as it is: 4 big black plums with red flesh — I don’t know the proper name for the variety — skinned, chopped, and simmered with sugar to taste until it all gets thick and saucy. It took maybe 45 minutes? and made about a cup of jam. I suspect it would work with any plums, and the yellow kind would be very pretty.)

  4. starstuff91 says

    And another thing.

    Fuck.

    No, seriously.

    Is everything fucked forever or not?

    I say yes.

    What in particular makes you say that right now?

  5. tim rowledge, Ersatz Haderach says

    Tigger –

    I am fortunate that I’m a Brit with a permanent residence in Ireland; reciprocal health agreements mean that I get all emergency treatment free here in Australia and a visitor’s Medicare card which covers some elective and prescription costs.

    Sounds like a complicated arrangement but much more satisfactory than the insane situation in the US. It’s 10 years since I left (also a Brit, but now in moderately sane Canada, at least until ‘GW’ Harper gets his way) and even back then my coverage (for two healthy adults with no ongoing conditions to confuse the issue) was over $500/month even after a generous employer payment. Bizarre.

    ObRecipes – I found a recipe that makes cauliflower exciting. How cool is that?
    All ya have to do is sauté the florets in butter until the butter is browning and the caulk softening; then remove the florets to a safe place and start torturing your favourite risotto rice (Arborio is good), then do the usual risotto things with a bit of white wine, stock, stirring and simmering until nearly done. Throw in some Brie and the cauliflower, stir around some more, remove heat and let sit for 5 minutes. Try to hold off eating long enough to get it into dishes and on to the table. Serve with whatever – I like roasted peppers & carrots.
    Risotto generally is a fabulous thing but this version is amazing.

  6. Ibis3, féministe avec un titre française de fantaisie says

    @491 Not bad in isolation, but the frustration built up over the weekend, and I just reached my tolerance limit with the “Elevatorgate” dismissiveness.

  7. starstuff91 says

    I still don’t understand the hostile reaction to Rebecca Watson simply pointing out that a certain behavior made her feel uncomfortable. Can someone please explain that to me?

  8. starstuff91 says

    I’m just taking a wild-assed guess here, but I think it might just possibly have something to do with ethanol.

    lol, I see.

  9. kristinc says

    On cauliflower: I’m pretty unenthused about the stuff but it sure makes a delicious cream soup with a little Parmesan grated over the top. Yum.

  10. tim rowledge, Ersatz Haderach says

    On cauliflower: I’m pretty unenthused about the stuff but

    It is pretty boring, which is why I was so excited to find a recipe that makes it wow! I dunno, some days it doesn’t take a lot to excite me I guess. Today I finally got the last coat of finish on the floor I finally got finished laying a mere six months after starting the job. Pretty mundane in the grand scheme of things but it certainly got me excited…

  11. julian says

    Can someone please explain that to me?

    (zero evidence opinion warning)

    At this point I think people are just sick of all the tussles across the atheist-o-sphere. And like with most cases where people are sick of strife it’s always easiest to blame and be angry at the most visible figure in the maelstrom as they’re the most closely associated with it. In this case, that would be Rebecca Watson.

  12. Tigger_the_Wing says

    The problem with cauliflower is that it goes from undercooked (yeuch) to overcooked (bleargh) almost instantly. I love it steamed to almost cooked, then put in a shallow dish with hard-boiled eggs and a strong Cheddar cheese sauce poured over, lightly sprinkled with semi-sentient parmigiano-reggiano* and grilled until topping is brown.

    I call mine Horatio.

  13. theophontes , flambeau du communisme says

    I went to buy myself a copy of Dawkin’s new book yesterday (UK version). I have started reading it and am so far very impressed (for a children’s book at least, most of us will be quite familiar with the issues he raises). The artwork is great and the book is generally very well put together. The printing is done with such a high resolution that they have managed to capture the very fine detail of the artist. It is a very lush, rich book and well worth the price (HK$300) for the graphics alone.

    On the way from the ferry to the bookstore I passed the bizarre spectacle of hundreds upon hundreds of Mac cultists swarming about the new apple store. Holy fuck guys, get a grip. They are just regular computers with inflated prices, not religious relics… (Picture: New Mac store.)

  14. starstuff91 says

    @ Lone Coyote
    lol, it’s so stupid. I think I might comment, but I want it to be a really good one. I’d like to make this person really feel stupid (and I don’t care if that’s mean of me).

  15. says

    I love cauliflower – in curries, roasted, with cheese sauce, soup, mashed and mixed in rice, plain old steamed, you name it. (Not overcooked, though – like all brassicas, it goes sulfurous when overdone.) But I have a problem with energy at the moment (dire lack of spoons), so I have a problem.

    I’ve been buying frozen veggies to save the effort of cleaning and chopping. Peas hold up brilliantly; spinach and green beans are acceptable. Carrots and cauliflower seem to be the the worst. Does anyone know how to make these frozen veg less disgustingly flabby and watery?

  16. The Lone Coyote says

    it’s mean of her to write some big emotional piece designed to make women who choose to abort look like horrible heartless babykillers. And something about the way the woman in the story is portrayed as going from being all excited about having a baby to instantly deciding to abort after her abusive boyfriend leaves her that stinks of a sort of misogyny…. though I can’t quite articulate WHY it seems that way to me.

    And the constant pukesome ‘mommy mommy i love you so much mommy’ crap is just revolting. BLECH *spit*.

  17. starstuff91 says

    @ Lone Coyote

    I know what you mean. I’m not angry at this idiot though. This is just too stupid that it can’t not be funny. This entertains me way too much.

  18. Tigger_the_Wing says

    Alethea,

    Thank you for the link to The Spoon Theory! I had often wondered where the expression “not enough spoons’ had come from. That made perfect sense!

    I haven’t yet found a way of cooking frozen carrots or cauliflower that didn’t leave them needing some kind of disguise. Fortunately, I find fresh cauliflower one of the easiest vegetables to prepare, and fresh carrots are nearly as easy.

    Speaking of food, what kind of dish would you like us to bring? Savoury? Sweet? Vegan/vegetarian/gluten-free/all of the above?

  19. theophontes , flambeau du communisme says

    [Saudi women] …they have finally been given a small concession.

    It was always god’s will that women there don’t vote. Bizarre now that god has changed his mind just like that. (Or are the Wahhabi just making it up as they go along?)

    I see further on the BBC link that Wangari Maathai (link:The Green Belt Movement) has died. She has been a major force for greening the planet and recognising the inter-relationship between ecology and society and has worked tirelessly to achieve empowerment of women in Africa. (The Saudi’s could really use a person like her right now.)

  20. Beatrice, anormalement indécente says

    For Doctor Who lovers:
    Weeping Angel costume

    By the way, I loved the last episode. If they were going for the cute and cuddly before massive angst in the next episode, they definitely succeeded. Well, Doctor was already angsty and preparing for death, but even he had to bow down before the cuteness of the great Stormageddon (and Craig, to be honest. I kinda wanted to cuddle him too).

  21. Tigger_the_Wing says

    I loved the weeping angel costume. I hate Australia broadcasting Dr Who a week behind everyone else.

  22. Beatrice, anormalement indécente says

    A week?! I snort in derision. None of the seasons with the eleventh Doctor have aired here yet. I torrent.

  23. says

    Good morning
    Urgh
    I thought I was feeling better this morning, but after doing the most essential things like getting the kids ready, taking #1 to kindergarten, #2 to her gran and doing shopping I feel like I could do with a good night’s sleep.
    Maybe breakfast will help. IIRC last meal was about 20 hrs ago and my blood sugar doesn’t like that

    David M.

    Well, I should elaborate on the “stupid students” a bit. It’s not that this is overly negative in the eyes of the fellow students, but it’s a role children then fit into. You mustn’t be too clever either, but of course “Streber” is a position avaible, too (you don’t even have to be very good, you just have to act the part.

    Well, it is a problem when teachers confuse children with their parents.

    Yes, but there are many layers to this problem. There’s confirmation bias, self-fulfilling prophecies and a lot of frustration.
    The one kid in my daughter’s kindergarten group who is most likely to play alone, most likely to be in trouble is Justin (for our English-speaking members: English names are a lot more common in poor households than in middle-class households). Justin obviously has some issues. Justin has never learned to deal with frustration and conflict other than by hitting. But he’s also a great kid. I have great talks with Justin. Justin is a darling when it comes to my daughter. But I fear that Justin won’t do very well in this world.
    I hate this fucking “children are the responsibility of their parents” idea. There are shitty parents out there (and that’s something you can’t predict according to background, income or intelligence, only that intelligent wealthy people have more resources to make up) and it’s not the fault of the kids.

    Jugendweihe

    Sounds creepy.

    It isn’t. The tradition differs vastly according to where you are and what groups are responsible. It’s still rather common in eastern Germany (when my cousin in Berlin celebrated hers the main ceremony took place in the Theater des Westens because that was big enough). When I went to mine it was more a bunch of parents who got together and organized the whole thing. We had about half a dozen of “meetings” where we talked about science, secularism, what being a responsible adult means and so on. It was actually quite interesting and covered those things that never come up in school (like the scientific method or what the burden of proof is and so on)

    a long-standing secular tradition

    Then why is it called “consecration” (Weihe)?

    Well, probably because they weren’t that concerned about the language in the 1850’s. In the beginning it was sometimes even called “Konfirmationsersatzfeier”.
    It’s something that often amuses me about this generation of atheists who are new atheists in the sense of coming from more or less religious backgrounds and on a rather individual basis: You (generic sense) often act as if you have to invent the wheel anew. Because especially in Europe there are long-standing secular traditions, very old freethinkers associations and so on. There are naming ceremonies to welcome a child instead of christenings, Jugendweihe to welcome a youth into the world of adults instead of Konfirmation or Firmung, and last, but not least, secular mourning cultures to say farewell.
    Not that I am that old, but I come from a long line of atheists, so those traditions are mine.

    Had they worn holy underwear, everything would have been wonderful !!

    You mean holy like this?
    ;o)

    Katrina, radicales féministes athées
    Wait, if I get this right he took the woman’s son (yes, his son, too) for a trip to the grandparents, never came back and now anybody is wondering why she has some issues?
    I’d be freakig mad. I’d have set the police on him, too. Unless he has the sole custody this seems illegal to me (I’m not too familiar with the US law).
    I would also be very careful with accusations against her “hurting” the girl, especially if all he’s got is a “mummy you hurt my arm” over the phone.
    This can get that woman into serious trouble over nothing. She might or might not have hurt the kid and even if she did it might not have been intentionally.
    To give you an example, I don’t allow my kids to hit me. This is a no hitting household. But they’ll lash out sometimes against me (or each other). If they do, I catch their hands and hold them. This may indeed hurt them, depending on the force they used themselves.
    My friend once dislocated her daughters shoulder. The kid tried to dash into the street and she grabbed her hand. Must have hurt like hell, but that doesn’t mean my friend did anything wrong.
    I don’t know the woman in question, but neither do you. All we have is hearsay from her ex, so I think we should be rather careful with accusations.

    plums
    Well, in the olden times people here would make “Latwerg”, a special plum-jam. It would be slowly cooked in big copper kettles for 24 hours (several families would get together for this).
    But here’s something that takes less time:
    3 tablespoons of sugar (more or less) melted to caramel
    1 glass of red wine poured on top
    Cinnamon, cloves and star anis, 1 kg of prune plums
    1 lbs of sugar, simmered for about an hour

    starstuff

    I still don’t understand the hostile reaction to Rebecca Watson simply pointing out that a certain behavior made her feel uncomfortable. Can someone please explain that to me?

    I’ll try.
    I actually saw her video before it became elevatorgate and I never thought it somewhat remarkable. More a bit of chit-chat, what I did on my holidays, really cool convetion, thank you guys, and an anecdote.

    Then the internet exploded. Apart from the real MRAs, guys who thought of themselves as “good guys”, because, of course, they’d never rape or hurt a woman, felt attacked and labelled as potential rapists when women dared to point out that, look, that’s great, but you know, we actually don’t know that about you, for all we know you could be one.
    And instead of thinking about it they went on that, since nothing had happened, this proves that nothing could have happened and therefore any uncomfortableness on her side was her problem.

    cauliflower
    Love it.
    Curries, salads, with a bit of butter-fried breadcrumbs…. *nom*

    mommy mommy “poem” (in the widest possible sense)
    I’ve seen it on youtube before.
    It’s sick.
    But it shows how desperately they need to appeal to emotions because they obviously have no facts to support their nonsense.
    And I’m always wondering, are those people actually aware of what they’re doing to women who lost their children during pregnancy?
    Once a pro-lifer, one of those well-meaning know-nothings threw the alleged “breast cancer risk” at me.
    So I asked him how this had been controlled against the huge number of women who have a D&E after a miscarriage, which is much higher than the number of women who have the D&E as part of an abortion.
    He was actually a bit ashamed that he had never bothered to check…

  24. John Morales says

    In local news, same old same old: Church denies disabled kids’ sex abuse cover-up

    Twenty-year-old documents have revealed the church received legal advice telling it to avoid mentioning in writing charges of sexual abuse against a volunteer bus driver at St Ann’s Special School in Adelaide.

    […]

    As a result, knowledge of the allegations was contained and no attempt was made by the school or the Catholic Education Office to pursue police investigations, which stalled.

    However, current Adelaide Archbishop Philip Wilson has told Four Corners he doesn’t think the letters indicate there was a cover-up.

  25. John Morales says

    Dammit, SQB, I had to look that up.

    (I’d assumed it was some sort of work-person doing roofing work, and sorta ignored it)

    Yeah, let’s not go there.

  26. julian says

    However, current Adelaide Archbishop Philip Wilson has told Four Corners he doesn’t think the letters indicate there was a cover-up.

    When caught deny, deny, deny. It’s what baby-jesus would want. That and donations. For who? The poor! Don’t ask questions!

  27. ChasCPeterson says

    I think it might just possibly have something to do with ethanol.

    I can–uuuuhhhhh–confirm this hypothesis.

    I believe I must have somehow intuited the sea-ice news.
    Stillers won, so it couldn’t have been that.

  28. Beatrice, anormalement indécente says

    Trying to dye your hair dark blond is not a good way to find out your mousy hair actually has a lot of red pigment. *sigh*

  29. John Morales says

    Beatrice, not that I know, but would not first bleaching it and then dyeing it do the trick?

    (I would pity your hair, though, after such harsh treatment)

  30. says

    I can–uuuuhhhhh–confirm this hypothesis.

    Oh, not you too, Chas ! I’m shocked, I tell you !
    I just swapped from Jameson to Smirnoff, and that stuff just goes down like mother’s milk when consumed with OJ, and 2 hours later you find yourself dancing on the lawn to strange hymns and writing unhinged blog posts. Dangerous.

  31. Carlie says

    My apologies; I’m thread bankrupt again. I darted in and out a few times, but haven’t caught more than a couple of comments here and there. Went to my brother’s wedding last weekend. It was fantastic, and wonderful to see all of my relatives again. Lots of driving though, and still trying to play catch-up with everything. Plus I managed to pitch myself down a flight of stairs in the dark at my parents’ house right before we left (with tumbling head-down and bouncing and everything!), so have been a bit sore on top of it.
    Then there’s the kitty. After the last gastrointestinal scare a couple of weeks ago she somehow rallied again, but we knew there wasn’t much time left. We had decided we’d have to take her in to get euthanized sometime this week, but almost hourly this weekend we kept having to revise our estimate forward. Finally last night we decided it had to be today, and we were going to stay up in shifts with her. Spouse took the first shift and was supposed to wake me up at 2, but I woke up at 4:30 and he was still up with her (he wanted to stay with her longer and didn’t want to wake me). He was exhausted and she seemed ok, so I said I’d rest a little longer and get up in an hour or so and check on her and he went to sleep. I got up an hour later and she was gone. I couldn’t have asked for better circumstances for it, though. She never seemed to be in much pain, just very, very tired. I hated the thought of driving her on that last trip, her scared of the car and the vet, but when spouse was a child he had been the one to find the family pet cat when it died and couldn’t stand to have that happen again. Turned out we both avoided what we were the most worried about. She wasn’t in terrible pain, she got to die at home so we didn’t have that drive, and I found her first and got her all nicely wrapped in a soft blanket and prepped for being taken in while spouse was sleeping, so he didn’t get traumatized by that. (I was, however, the slightly unhinged-looking woman at Wal-Mart at 7:30 in the morning crying and asking where the nice lined wicker baskets were.)
    Elder child is also at home sick with what is probably a sinus infection, so I have to take him to the doctor today (the last sinus infection had him out of school for a month, so I’m not taking any chances) on top of dropping the cat off for cremation. Thank goodness I teach nights right now, is all I can say. And thank goodness there’s still some scotch in the house for after work.

  32. Beatrice, anormalement indécente says

    John Morales,

    It should, but I didn’t want to put my hair trough such a harsh treatment either. The color I bought wasn’t very light so I figured it would work without the bleaching. I didn’t take into account that the end result might stray that far from the desired.
    Being impulsive somehow never works out for me.
    Oh well, it’s not too bad. Just a bit of an orange tinge. At least my dad will have a good laugh at my expense.

  33. says

    On another thread, Giliell mentioned Her Serene Highness the Dowager Princess of Thurn and Taxis (née Her Illustrious Highness Countess Gloria of Schönburg in Glauchau and Waldenburg).

    Unfortunately, she is well-known for having made some stupid comments (which is why she was mentioned in the thread). However, aside from that, the House of Thurn and Taxis is fascinating; historically, they became fabulously wealthy because the Prince of Thurn and Taxis was also Hereditary Postmaster-General of the Holy Roman Empire. After the fall of the HRE, the family continued operating the postal service until it was bought out in 1867 by the heir to the Spanish throne. The twelfth and current Prince inherited the family fortune at the age of seven when his father died, and has long had the distinction of being the world’s youngest billionaire.

  34. Dianne says

    Once a pro-lifer, one of those well-meaning know-nothings threw the alleged “breast cancer risk” at me.
    So I asked him how this had been controlled against the huge number of women who have a D&E after a miscarriage, which is much higher than the number of women who have the D&E as part of an abortion.

    The only plausible mechanism of action for abortion increasing breast cancer risk (interruption of the hormonal milieu and dysregulation of breast cells) would be as likely for a miscarriage as for an induced abortion. Possibly moreso since a miscarriage implies something already going wrong.

    However, that’s irrelevant. Multiple studies have shown that there is no there there. Abortion, spontaneous or induced, is simply not associated with breast cancer risk.

  35. Tigger_the_Wing says

    Carlie,

    Sorry your kitty has gone, but glad she had such a peaceful end. I hope your elder child doesn’t have anything serious and gets well soon!

  36. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    Carlie: Despite my utter disdain for all things feline, I haz a sad for you. I’m sure DDMFM will be by soon to offer you *hugs*, *chocolate*, or some *tea*…

    I have no way to push these things through the intertoobz myself, so instead, I made you this owl.

    O,o

  37. says

    Unfortunately, she is well-known for having made some stupid comments (which is why she was mentioned in the thread).

    “she” being the Dowager Princess of Thurn and Taxis, that is.

  38. says

    However, aside from that, the House of Thurn and Taxis is fascinating

    It is indeed. For example, Fritz von Thurn und Taxis is one of the best known football commenters in Germany, and has been for, well, decades really.

  39. Dianne says

    the Dowager Princess of Thurn and Taxis

    Wha? Thurn and Taxis is real? I thought it was something Pynchon made up for The Crying of Lot 49

  40. theophontes, Pedante Royale says

    @ Walton

    As a Real Royalist ™ you should give us her full name:

    Countess Mariae Gloria Ferdinanda Gerda Charlotte Teutonia Franziska Magarethe Frederike Simone Johanna Joachima Josefine Wilhelmine Huberta of Schönburg in Glauchau and Waldenburg

  41. pelamun says

    The noble houses themselves might be interesting for their history (I think the word “Taxi” might also derive from Thurn und Taxis, but I might be wrong), but that people still presumptuously use titles like Her Serene Highness pisses me off to no end (like the concept of monarchy/nobility in general from a contemporary perspective). While the vast majority of German nobility, for instance, has just become part of the elite (say in diplomacy, economics what have you), the scions of these High Houses formerly in power (and as you know Germany has lots of them), are often in the news for doing or saying idiotic stuff, like the Prince of Hanover pissing on the Turkish pavilion, beating up some guy from the German community in Kenya, or the Prince of Prussia being a born-again Christian, or that so-called Serene Highness for saying racist stuff about Africans.

    Her daughter lives in London, calls herself a journalist (I haven’t checked what kind of stuff she is supposed to be reporting about, or for whom), and gave a singularly stupid interview, thus keeping with family tradition.

    http://www.spiegel.de/panorama/leute/0,1518,788093,00.html
    (The mentioning of Moritz von Uslar gave me some hope this might all be some kind of satire, but alas I think it is not to be)

    Money quote (after establishing that E. v. Th. u. T. is a devout Catholic following all the teachings like no premarital sex and no condoms etc)

    “Der Papst verurteilt Homosexualität, wie lösen Sie das für sich?”
    (The pope condemns homosexuality, how do you solve that for yourself?)

    “Ich hab natürlich wahnsinnig viele schwule Freunde.”
    (Of course I have an insane amout of gay friends)

    “Was sagen Sie denn denen?”
    (What do you say to them?)

    “Ich spüre von denen am meisten Verständnis für meine Papstbegeisterung. Ich sehe das so: Homosexualität ist genauso falsch wie vorehelicher Sex.”
    ([My gay friends] are those that the most understanding about my excitement about the pope. I see it this way: homosexuality is as wrong as premartial sex.)

    “Dann müssen die Schwulen nur heiraten?”
    (So gays would just need to get marrid? [which is not possible in Germany which only has a civil union])

    “Nun ja, das ist natürlich die nächste Ebene, die für sie schwierig wird.”
    (well, that’s of course the next level, which would be difficult for them) [not too sure what she meant by ‘next level’]

    head –> desk

  42. pelamun says

    It is indeed. For example, Fritz von Thurn und Taxis is one of the best known football commenters in Germany, and has been for, well, decades really.

    Well, if you’re referring to the time between 1971 and 1993, perhaps. But according to the Pfft of All Knowledge, which says

    Seit 1993 ist er Fußballkommentator des Pay-TV-Senders Sky

    Since 1993, he has been a commentator on a private pay TV channel. Even many die-hard football fans wouldn’t pay to watch games on TV (YMMV, I haven’t been able to find reliable numbers for Sky). For a football commentator to become a household name in Germany, he needs to comment on the games of the national team, and Sky just doesn’t provide that opportunity for him.

  43. says

    The noble houses themselves might be interesting for their history (I think the word “Taxi” might also derive from Thurn und Taxis, but I might be wrong), but that people still presumptuously use titles like Her Serene Highness pisses me off to no end (like the concept of monarchy/nobility in general from a contemporary perspective).

    Why shouldn’t they use their traditional titles? I realize that German noble titles and honorifics are not legally recognized in Germany any more, but that doesn’t mean people shouldn’t be free to call themselves whatever they please, and to use their families’ inherited titles if they wish to do so. And there’s nothing wrong with monarchy. It’s a good system. (I’ve had this argument here many times, so I won’t bore the regulars by repeating everything I’ve said on the subject in the past.)

  44. says

    Then there’s the kitty. After the last gastrointestinal scare a couple of weeks ago she somehow rallied again, but we knew there wasn’t much time left. We had decided we’d have to take her in to get euthanized sometime this week, but almost hourly this weekend we kept having to revise our estimate forward. Finally last night we decided it had to be today, and we were going to stay up in shifts with her. Spouse took the first shift and was supposed to wake me up at 2, but I woke up at 4:30 and he was still up with her (he wanted to stay with her longer and didn’t want to wake me). He was exhausted and she seemed ok, so I said I’d rest a little longer and get up in an hour or so and check on her and he went to sleep. I got up an hour later and she was gone. I couldn’t have asked for better circumstances for it, though. She never seemed to be in much pain, just very, very tired. I hated the thought of driving her on that last trip, her scared of the car and the vet, but when spouse was a child he had been the one to find the family pet cat when it died and couldn’t stand to have that happen again. Turned out we both avoided what we were the most worried about. She wasn’t in terrible pain, she got to die at home so we didn’t have that drive, and I found her first and got her all nicely wrapped in a soft blanket and prepped for being taken in while spouse was sleeping, so he didn’t get traumatized by that.

    :-( *hugs* Poor kitty.

  45. says

    Is it me, or is Jennifer M Hecht dumb or something ? The following FB conversation just ensued, and I can’t make sense of it :

    Jennifer Michael Hecht whatcha eyes rolling for *****?
    16 minutes ago · Like
    Martin *****the cliche false assumption that new atheism has anything to do with a boys club, for one…..
    14 minutes ago · Like
    Jennifer Michael Hecht wow! thanks for that. I’ve been being demur about it for the sake of the good name of the movement and because I have met so many great guys (in the younger generation mostly). But I’ll tell the truth from now on, about the pathetic boys club that it in fact is. Thanks for the inspiration!
    12 minutes ago · Like · 2 people
    Martin ******Err, what ?
    7 minutes ago · Like
    Jennifer Michael Hecht what what? are one of the four horsemen in drag? did i miss something?
    5 minutes ago · Like

    WTF ?

  46. pelamun says

    Yep, you have, and likewise I’ve always been a staunch opponent to contemporary monarchy/nobility. It epitomises inequality and glorifies a horrid past, I can’t see for the life of me how you can’t see this, but yeah, what I said last time.

    Nobility using their traditional titles is privilege pure and simple, setting themselves apart from the rabble that weren’t born into such families. It is not so much about the titles themselves, but more them insisting on being addressed properly, i.e. not Frau Thurn und Taxis, but it has to be Ihre Durchlaucht or whatever it is in her case. That alone gives them already an unduly exalted position in social life, which is totally unmerited.

    You argue for unrestricted borders because where you are born is merely a coincidence, yet you are in favour in monarchy, which is ruled by the coincidence of birth? Sorry, but I find that mind-boggling…

  47. says

    You argue for unrestricted borders because where you are born is merely a coincidence, yet you are in favour in monarchy, which is ruled by the coincidence of birth? Sorry, but I find that mind-boggling…

    Immigration restrictions hurt people. In multiple ways. It’s not just the devastating impact that forcible deportation can have on a person’s life, splitting families apart and returning people to poverty, danger and suffering. And it’s not just the fact that migrants in many countries, including children, are held in detention facilities for “processing” in inhumane conditions. The system of immigration controls also leaves undocumented migrants open to exploitation and abuse, since they risk deportation if they come forward. Many undocumented migrants, left with no other options, end up being held in de facto slavery as domestic workers, agricultural labourers or prostitutes.

    The injustice of immigration controls is a serious issue of social justice. It’s a racial justice issue: anti-immigrant laws give legal force to racism and xenophobia, and legitimize discrimination against a vulnerable group of people. It’s also a feminist issue, on multiple levels. Plenty of female migrants have experienced sexual abuse and domestic violence in their home countries, from which the authorities there are unwilling or unable to protect them; and plenty of female migrants in the West end up getting trapped into domestic servitude or sex work against their will. And it’s an LGBT rights issue; gay, lesbian and transgender people are horribly persecuted in many countries. (And in the US, LGBT families are often split apart by immigration restrictions, because DOMA prevents same-sex partners from being recognized as spouses for federal immigration purposes.) Everyone who identifies as an anti-racist, a feminist and an LGBT activist should be concerned about the impact of the xenophobic, discriminatory immigration policies that our countries are implementing.

    This is a much more important issue than monarchy. I understand why you oppose monarchy in principle, but in the real world, monarchism versus republicanism is a pretty minor issue with little impact on people’s lives, and it isn’t worth devoting hours to talking about it.

  48. pelamun says

    Last time you brought up the immigration control issue, I already gave you my opinion on that, so I won’t repeat myself here.

    But in the same vein, precisely because monarchism v. republicanism is a relatively minor issue, it is also easier to change it, i.e. abolish this morally indefensible institution…
    It would also be a highly symbolic change towards more equality. (No more, no less!)

  49. theowilhelmphontes says

    @ Benjamin

    Ahh, so I can improve on this:

    Adolph Blaine Charles David Earl Frederick Gerald Hubert Irvin John Kenneth Lloyd Martin Nero Oliver Paul Quincy Randolph Sherman Thomas Uncas Victor William Xerxes Yancy Zeus Wilhelm Wolfeschlegelsteinhausenbergerdorffvoralternwarengewissenhaft­schaferswessenschafewarenwohlgepflegeundsorgfaltigkeitbeschutzenvonangreifendurch­ihrraubgierigfeindewelchevoralternzwolftausendjahresvorandieerscheinenwanderersteerdem­enschderraumschiffgebrauchlichtalsseinursprungvonkraftgestartseinlangefahrthinzwischensternartigraum­aufdersuchenachdiesternwelchegehabtbewohnbarplanetenkreisedrehensichundwohinderneurassevon­verstandigmenschlichkeitkonntefortplanzenundsicherfreuenanlebenslanglichfreudeundruhemitnichtein­furchtvorangreifenvonandererintelligentgeschopfsvonhinzwischensternartigraumen, Senior.

    (His friends call him Hubert Blaine Wolfeschlegelsteinhausenbergerdorff for short.)

    (The surname translates as something like Wolf.hammer.stone.house.mountain.village.first-alternative.knowledge.shepherd…. it starts getting strange about here… inhabitable planet… intelligent.kick. from here.between.starry.spaces, Senior )

  50. Dianne says

    I think you could argue against monarchy from the other side too: it burns up a life that might be better used doing something, well, useful. Especially given that the person who becomes king/queen is effectively a random person who gets tossed into it because of his or her birth and may have no interest in being the person the paparazzi chase around for fun, hate ceremonial occasions, and not care two farts about the country he/she is supposed to represent. OTOH, I agree that being both head of state and head of government is a lot of work for one person. Maybe the US should do the president/prime minister split that other countries do. That way we could elect one person who everyone thinks would be fun to have a beer with as president and let him/her distract from power while the other one is elected as the policy wonk who will actually see to the running of the country without the distraction of having to be “cool” for every person in it.

  51. Psych-Oh says

    Carlie – I am very sorry about your kitty. But glad that the circumstances were about as good as it could get for you and your spouse. You deserve the drink.

  52. pelamun says

    Regarding “Wilhelm”:

    In case of high nobility, it has such a Hohenzollern (the House of Prussia) connotation that without a connection to Prussia, that kind of name wouldn’t make sense. KT is married to a descendant of Otto v. Bismarck, but I don’t see any ancestors named Wilhelm, at least not up to 1816.

    So that Gloria v. Thurn and Taxis has actually a first name “Wilhelmine” surprised me. Now she is from the House of Schönburg, which was a regional player in Southwest Saxony until the 18th century. Maybe there were some connections to Hohenzollern, given the geographical proximity.

  53. says

    But in the same vein, precisely because monarchism v. republicanism is a relatively minor issue, it is also easier to change it, i.e. abolish this morally indefensible institution…
    It would also be a highly symbolic change towards more equality. (No more, no less!)

    But abolishing monarchies, where they currently exist, would involve spending money and political capital on making a change that is purely cosmetic. Switching from a monarchy to a parliamentary republic, in countries like the UK, Belgium, Norway, the Netherlands, Denmark and Luxembourg, would not make any particularly huge difference to political life or public wellbeing in those countries. (The business of government would likely continue in basically the same vein; the duties of the king, queen, grand duke, etc., would just be taken over by a figurehead president, as they have been in countries like Germany, Austria, Greece and Ireland.) The change would be purely symbolic, and the energy and funds expended on pushing the change through could be better spent on real issues of social justice.

    (I’m assuming, for the sake of argument, that there are no advantages of a constitutional monarchy in comparison with a parliamentary republic. I disagree with that proposition, obviously, but I’ve argued that point here many times in the past and don’t see any benefit to doing so again. However, even if you were right that monarchy is a useless and indefensible institution in principle, it would still be the case that campaigning to abolish it, at least in Europe, would be a waste of energy.)

    Of course different considerations apply to, say, the authoritarian monarchies in the Middle East (Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Jordan, and so on). But I think you’d be hard-pressed to establish that the Middle Eastern monarchies are worse than the Middle Eastern republics; the monarchies may have fairly dismal human rights records, but they’re not noticeably worse than, say, Syria under al-Assad, Egypt under Mubarak, Libya under Gaddafi, Yemen, or Iran. It’s hard to justify the claim that replacing the monarchies in the Middle East with republics would suddenly magically make those countries freer or better to live in; in practice, you’d just end up replacing one authoritarian régime with another by a different name. (Indeed, in some such countries the monarchy can actually be a stabilizing and liberalizing influence, in comparative terms: the Jordanian monarchy is a good example.)

  54. pelamun says

    Dianne, totally. I think having a ceremonial presidency which is also above the political fray could be a stabilising factor, AND take some work off the shoulder of the chief of government. Or at least have something like the French system, though I find it confusing from the p.o.v of the voters. In times of cohabitation the prime minister matters, in other times they do not (other than being the fall guy for the president). I also find the Austrian system a little bit, but not as, confusing, de facto Austria has a ceremonial presidency, but de jure the presidency is much more powerful than your average ceremonial presidency, and the president is also elected directly by the people….

    As I commented on Walton’s blog:

    I think, also, that you are far too disdainful about the office of the presidency in other countries. To dismiss them all as political hacks, and the rest as exception to rule, is a little bit disingenuous, I think.

    Why not take a look at German presidents after 1949? It is a ceremonial presidency, elected by both houses of parliament (with each house having the same number of votes). I mean I agree with you that you would need an office that is above the fray, and is not easily drawn into party politics, and mostly the German presidency has succeeded. Most candidates were not political hacks, and even those that were have been transformed by the office. You have a five year term, you can get reelected once, but most of your authority derives from the power of your voice….

  55. says

    Especially given that the person who becomes king/queen is effectively a random person who gets tossed into it because of his or her birth

    That’s true – but one could argue that this is in some respects a feature, not a bug. Unlike every other system of selecting leaders, it does not select for people who want political power and are willing to make an effort to obtain it.

    Democratic elections, and virtually all other alternatives, reward those who elevate power-seeking over principles. A truly principled person, who put morality above political expediency, would have a very hard time being elected President of the United States, for instance; the only such person I can think of in the last fifty years was Jimmy Carter, and he wasn’t a very successful President. Generally speaking, the people who are successful in attaining and keeping political power are, more-or-less by definition, the people who are willing to sacrifice their principles for the sake of power. The only way to avoid this would be to give political power to people who don’t actually want it.

    In this regard, unlike elections, the hereditary principle could – at least in theory – elevate a person to the supreme office of the state who doesn’t actually want to be there. And since s/he doesn’t have to worry about winning elections, s/he can, in theory at least, be genuinely independent from politics and can make decisions on the basis of principle rather than political expediency.

    Of course, it doesn’t usually work that way in practice – because modern constitutional monarchs in Europe are generally powerless figureheads who know they will be forced to abdicate should they become too controversial. And where monarchs have actual power, there’s always the risk of being overthrown, assassinated, etc. So I wouldn’t claim that monarchy in the real world has actually fulfilled the ideal I am outlining. It’s just an interesting point to consider.

    (Of course, one way to attain the same effect would be to have a legislature which, rather than being elected, is composed of citizens selected randomly by lottery, who serve for one year and are thereafter ineligible to serve again. This would still produce a fair proportion of idiots, bigots and unprincipled opportunists, in proportion to their numbers in the general population; but it wouldn’t actively reward the power-hungry, and so it might produce a smaller proportion of bad politicians, overall. The downside, though, would be that politicians’ relative lack of expertise and knowledge in the matters for which they are responsible, already a serious problem under existing democratic systems, would become far, far worse under a system of random selection-by-lottery. So I wouldn’t necessarily advocate such an approach.)

  56. says

    So that Gloria v. Thurn and Taxis has actually a first name “Wilhelmine” surprised me. Now she is from the House of Schönburg, which was a regional player in Southwest Saxony until the 18th century. Maybe there were some connections to Hohenzollern, given the geographical proximity.

    Generally, the royal and princely families of Europe are all extensively interrelated. In the majority of royal families, their dynastic laws required that they marry only into other sovereign or mediatized ruling families. (A “mediatized” family, in Germany, is one that used to be a sovereign ruling family, but who surrendered their territories to another while keeping their hereditary rank and privileges.) A marriage between a member of a royal or princely family and a person of lower rank was usually regarded as morganatic – meaning that the marriage was valid, but their children were excluded from the line of succession to the throne.*

    (*This was never the case in Britain, where morganatic marriage does not exist, and where there has never been a requirement to marry only persons of equal rank. However, the Royal Marriages Act 1776 does require that royal dynasts must obtain the Sovereign’s permission in order to be allowed to marry.)

    Of course, after the Reformation, the division between Protestant and Catholic royal families reduced the eligible pool of marriage-partners. Hence the problem of inbreeding in many royal families.

  57. pelamun says

    Regarding European monarchies: first I wouldn’t interfere with other countries’ matters, at least regarding the question of monarchy. If a country wants to keep its monarchy, it’s welcome to it.

    Most of my relatives in Sweden, for example, hate the monarchy, the king and what he stands for. Every time I talk to my cousin I have to listen to what stupid thing he pulled off yet again. (And be it that the king insists on being addressed by “ni”, or that he praises Brunei as a model of democracy, or cheats on his wife etc, or just being an arch-conservative prick in general). But I have never heard of a wide-spread republicanism movement (but I haven’t looked specifically). It’s up to them. Of course there are costs to change a running system, maybe Swedes are waiting to see how Queen Victoria will pan out.
    But you keep repeating the political hack argument. I’m not convinced it would happen that way. Have Irish presidents other than Mary Robinson behaved in a blatantly partisan manner? (IIRC the Irish presidency was elected directly by the people?) You could institute a ceremonial presidency in the UK (which would then need a name change too :) ), whereby 2/3 of the House of Commons and whatever institution follows the House of Lords would elect a person more than 40 years of age to be the president, for a term of 5-7 years, if reelectable, only once (maybe relectable if the term is 5 years, not reelectable if the term is 7 years).

    Regarding monarchies in the Middle East: until recently the region was full of dictatorships, if they were monarchical or autocratic in nature did not make a big difference in my eyes. Until the rebellion, one of Gaddafi’s son was trying to be some kind of reformer, so yes the king of Jordan is a reformer. But you also have Lebanon which is more or less stable at the moment, without a king.

    Looking further afield, Thailand is also a counter-example. The royalist/military elite have been using the institution of the monarchy as a justification for their rule, despite the disenfranchised people electing one populist government after the other. The divine right of the king, protecting the elite’s interests…

  58. theophontes, Pedante Royale says

    @ Walton

    …who serve for one year and are thereafter ineligible to serve again.

    That sounds just like the sacred kings of old. They where made “ineligible to serve again” by killing them. There may still be merit in the good old ways.

  59. ChasCPeterson says

    As you may know, Mahatma Gandhi always went barefoot, to the point that the soles of his feet became quite thick and hardened. As part of his spiritual practices he ate very little and often fasted, so he was very thin and rather frail. Furthermore, because of his diet, he had very bad breath, which bothered him.

    So he was a super-callused fragile mystic vexed with halitosis.

  60. says

    I’d also point out that some of your arguments for replacing monarchs with presidents, and of scrapping noble and royal titles, could be equally used to justify tearing down beautiful medieval cathedrals and replacing them with concrete car-parks. After all, cathedrals have no obvious function from a secular perspective, and they can certainly be “reminders of a horrid past” (the Inquisition, feudalism, witch-burning and so on). Car-parks, in principle, are better-tailored to a practical function; they’re much more egalitarian, in that they serve everyone rather than the members of a specific religion; and they don’t come with any of those associations of religious bigotry, privilege and inequality.

    Yet I’m sure we’d all agree that tearing down a several-centuries-old cathedral with its spire and its irreplaceable stained-glass windows, and replacing it with a multi-storey concrete parking lot, would be a gross act of cultural vandalism. It’s something similar deep within me – an aesthetic sensibility, perhaps – that makes me revolt against the idea of abolishing monarchies.

  61. pelamun says

    Generally, the royal and princely families of Europe are all extensively interrelated. In the majority of royal families, their dynastic laws required that they marry only into other sovereign or mediatized ruling families.

    Yes, thanks to Napoleon and mediatisation, German princesses have been popularly exported to various European countries, as all the disowned families were allowed to keep their status of Imperial immediacy.

    But I’m still wondering about the marriage alliances of the House of Hohenzollern. It’s not like I checked all dozens of given names to see if there was a Wilhelm hiding somewhere in a dark corner. I mean especially the House of Wittenberg was opposed to the Empire and later had to be bribed by money and privileges, so I would think that lesser houses in Bavaria would not necessarily flaunt their connections to Prussia by choosing such a symbolic name, marriage alliance or not. But this question can’t be answered without systematic genealogical studies…

  62. says

    You could institute a ceremonial presidency in the UK (which would then need a name change too :) ), whereby 2/3 of the House of Commons and whatever institution follows the House of Lords would elect a person more than 40 years of age to be the president, for a term of 5-7 years, if reelectable, only once (maybe relectable if the term is 5 years, not reelectable if the term is 7 years).

    A change which would cost an absolute fortune (we’d have to rename the whole country, rebrand everything, and conduct presidential elections; and we wouldn’t save any money, since the state would still have to maintain the palaces* and other royal properties, and the president would need the same security, administrative support, transport etc. that the Queen currently receives). And which would be unpopular and utterly pointless. So why would we bother?

    (*Except for Balmoral and Sandringham, which belong to the Queen personally rather than to the Crown Estate, and so would remain in her private ownership if the monarchy were to be abolished.)

  63. pelamun says

    You can’t be serious, can you?

    I’d also point out that some of your arguments for replacing monarchs with presidents, and of scrapping noble and royal titles, could be equally used to justify tearing down beautiful medieval cathedrals and replacing them with concrete car-parks. After all, cathedrals have no obvious function from a secular perspective, and they can certainly be “reminders of a horrid past” (the Inquisition, feudalism, witch-burning and so on). Car-parks, in principle, are better-tailored to a practical function; they’re much more egalitarian, in that they serve everyone rather than the members of a specific religion; and they don’t come with any of those associations of religious bigotry, privilege and inequality.

    Well, if you ever wondered why Hamburg no longer has a cathedral, it is exactly because of that. it was neither the Great Fire of 1842, nor the Allied bombings of 1944, but it was the Senate of Hamburg deciding to demolish it in 1807*). Today, it is a parking lot.

    ( *) Well power politics was involved as well. It was an exclave of the Archdiocese of Bremen, and after secularisation in 1648 part of the Duchy of Bremen. )

    So even if the merchants of Hamburg might agree with your proposition, it is quite clear that works of art are quite different from titles and institutions of government. Art has its place as an important part of culture. Perpetuated inequality in areas central to government and social interactions, such as nobility dictating how they be addressed or the manner of which to choose the highest representative of the nation, is just something that needs to be overcome.

  64. pelamun says

    A change which would cost an absolute fortune (we’d have to rename the whole country, rebrand everything, and conduct presidential elections; and we wouldn’t save any money, since the state would still have to maintain the palaces* and other royal properties, and the president would need the same security, administrative support, transport etc. that the Queen currently receives). And which would be unpopular and utterly pointless. So why would we bother?

    No read my proposal, I didn’t say anything about presidential elections. The two houses of parliament electing a president will be much cheaper.

    As for the palaces, I remember reading the argument that the British monarchy more than pays for itself because of said palaces attracting tourists and so forth. Surely these tourists will still continue to come even after the monarchy is gone?

    At least for me it doesn’t boil down to a cost-saving argument, but more to one of equality. But as I wrote earlier, this is something for Her Majesty’s subjects to decide.

  65. Bernard Bumner says

    No read my proposal, I didn’t say anything about presidential elections. The two houses of parliament electing a president will be much cheaper.

    And will lead to the politicisation of the role of figurehead of the state.

    Boris Johnson for King, anyone?

  66. says

    Good evening
    Blergh, the cold is fiercer than I thought.

    As for Gloria von Thurn und Taxis:
    There are a lot of names I’d call her, but they are generally not accepted in polite society.
    She and her likes are the reason why I absolutely dislike this nobility circus:
    Nodoby would ever give a shit about her, listen to the shit she says or invite her to a talk-show if it weren’t for this aura of “nobility”.
    It was the same with that miserable fraud of von and zu Guttenberg (I’m sorry that he took up residency in the USA, you definetly have enough on your plates): People excused a criminal only because he was a Freiherr.
    Oh, according to m grandma’s sister, the Freiherr Carl Ferdinand von Stumm Halberg once impregnated one of my ancestors, does that make me a noblewoman?

  67. pelamun says

    And will lead to the politicisation of the role of figurehead of the state.

    Boris Johnson for King, anyone?

    Which is why I wrote 2/3 of both houses… It is clear that in a parliamentary democracy, an important post such as the presidency would at least to be legitimised by parliament. So yes, there will be politicking. But it will be less than a direct election, and the 2/3 (or even higher, depending on the electoral system du jour) will ensure cross-party understanding. If the two houses of German parliament with just a 1/2 majority have been able to electing suitable candidates, why not the British one?

    Furthermore, the German example shows, the office can transform the incumbent. People nominated for the presidency know, it is their last public office, they don’t have to compete any more, they will retire as elder statesmen. Without that pressure, it is astonishing what can happen to politicians..

  68. pelamun says

    Oh, according to m grandma’s sister, the Freiherr Carl Ferdinand von Stumm Halberg once impregnated one of my ancestors, does that make me a noblewoman?

    This one is easy: if you’re not registered in the Gothaer Adelskatalog, you’re not. Also even if you were, since you (I assume as 99.5% of Germans are commoners) married a commoner, they would have stricken your name from the Gotha after that.

  69. Rey Fox says

    My computer is in the shop and I’m typing on a computer with an inexplicable lag between typing and the letters showing up in the comment box in the Reading Room, which for practical purposes is actually the “Undergraduate Yakkity Fucking Yak Room. I’m a bit annoyed.

    But then, I haven’t lost a loved one recently. Much hugs and commiserations to Carlie.

    What’s The Deal With Elevators?

    And instead of thinking about it they went on that, since nothing had happened, this proves that nothing could have happened and therefore any uncomfortableness on her side was her problem.

    There were a couple exacerbating factors as well. First, a student blogger responded to Watson’s initial video saying that she didn’t think Watson’s complaint was that legitimate. Then Watson, at a conference, used a quote from that blog post as example of how entrenched male privilege is, that even an atheist female blogger could defend it. This prompted a righteous shitstorm as everyone railed against Watson for picking on a poor, defenseless college student (who attended the talk and was apparently traumatized beyond speech). This is what brought the issue to PZ’s attention, as his initial blog post on the subject, if you can believe it, focused more on whether it is proper to “name names” when publically criticizing something (never mind that if Watson had blogged it rather than used it in a talk, it would have undoubtedly immediately reached more eyeballs) than whether it is appropriate to propostion someone in an elevator (with all the attendant context). Personally, I’ve always seen this as something of a side issue since Watson and the blogger could easily hash out their differences in private, but so far as I know, this hasn’t happened.

    Then, Richard Dawkins weighed in with a startlingly clueless trio of comments on Pharyngula on the subject. After having his ass thoroughly kicked by the local commentariat, he went back to considering the internet beneath him, so no apology has been forthcoming, and Watson’s slightly snippy response to him was paraded around as horrible slander and boycott.

    Then ERV fanned the flames in her typical fashion.

    So we ended up with one harried feminist, her supporters, a sea of menz douchebags, and at couple of martyrs for the cause of creepiness. The whereabouts of Elevator Dude remain unknown. And that’s all I have to say about that.

  70. pelamun says

    Gilliel, DM re Jugendweihe

    I’m conflicted about this. I think the idea of Jugendweihe has been – in part – abused in Eastern Germany (I have been present during a Jugendweihe when the GDR was still in existence, but I was too small to note any political overtones), also some people have said that secular humanists not necessarily need to imitate the rituals of organised religion…

    I got a good deal myself – back when my classmates were raking in confirmation money, I got my first desktop computer, without having to go to Sunday School…

    David, about the Austrian history thing: no pressure, was just curious about the Austrian perspective…

  71. Carlie says

    (And be it that the king insists on being addressed by “ni”,

    Really? Are there, um, knights calling him that? ;)

    Warning: dark humor involving follows.

    Well, an incompetent desk person at the vet kept me from having a total breakdown, which I guess is good – it’s hard to cry when you’re thinking “WTF, lady???” We’ve been there so much over the years, and especially the last year and a half, that everyone at the vet knows us and if not us by sight, at least knows our name and our cat (it’s a small practice). I called in this morning and talked to one of the techs, who was sad and told us we’d have to come in and fill out some paperwork, and to leave the cat in the car because they’d come out and get her and take her in the back way to be more discreet. So I get there, and there’s some new desk person I’ve never seen. I tell her our name and that we called in this morning, expecting there to be a note or something, and she’s totally clueless (and at the same time, I see a form sitting out on the back table with a name clipped to it that was probably ours…) So she doesn’t know what we’re there for, and I have to kind of stammer around and stage-whisper *cremation* right in front of this other lady with a brand-new kitten and a few other people in the waiting area.

    And then she STILL doesn’t quite get what’s going on, and she doesn’t quite understand at first why we’re there or, then, after explaining again, where the cat is. To the point of her saying “Ok, and this is you in the system (staring at the computer screen), and you’ve brought…”*quizzical look*
    And at that point I’m like, I’ve brought *cat’s name*, for [stage-whisper]*cremation*… And then we stared at each other, and then it finally dawned on her that I had a dead cat in my car. I swear, it was like living in a C-grade Monty Python sketch. So then she goes ahead and charges us, doesn’t have us fill out any forms, and then comes outside to get the cat and walks it right back in through the front door and waiting room (we’d have rather done that if she was going in the front!), then brought us back the basket.

    And the whole time, she was treating it with the emotional resonance of scheduling a rabies shot and teeth cleaning. No “I’m sorry”, no sad face, nothing. Here’s your basket back, we’ll call in a couple of weeks when we have the ashes for you. Um… thanks? I guess? Talk about anti-drama. I guess it was a good thing, because if I’d seen any of the techs or the vet being sad I think I would have lost it, but good grief. It was almost surreal. I’m hoping when we go in to get her back we’ll have someone else at the helm.

  72. Dianne says

    the Gothaer Adelskatalog

    Sorry, but that just sounds to me like the place you go to buy noblepeople. “Ooh, let’s get little Bobby a Freiherr for Christmas. And Jody’s graduating next month. I think she deserves a Graf.” Do you think it’s on line yet?

  73. pelamun says

    And be it that the king insists on being addressed by “ni”,

    Really? Are there, um, knights calling him that? ;)

    Hahaha there is a great joke in there for my next trip to Sweden, …. In Swedish it should be riddarna som säger “Ni”!

    After many decades of Social Democratic rule (in many Social Democratic parties, incl. the one in Germany, the egalitarian “du” is obligatory), it has become customary to widely use “du”, even where Germans or French people would not. My Swedish informants differ as to when “ni” is used, some say their grandmother from the countryside would use “ni”, or some would use it with their doctor, but apparently the King has explicitly stated one time that he is to be addressed as such.

  74. pelamun says

    That was what that young noblewoman that explained these things to me, called it. But apparently, the exact name is

    http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genealogisches_Handbuch_des_Adels

    The most recent version is not online.

    If you follow the link they have a digitised version of the Almanach de Gotha from 1821-1921 in French.

    According to that young noblewoman, this catalog is important for two reasons:

    1. to keep out impostors that took on a noble name. Some impoverished nobility sell adoptions for a price. Suppose you would like to be Dianne, Duchess of Armenberg, you ask the Duke of Armenberg to formally adopt you for a substantial fee. Of course the Adelsverein will not recognise you, as you’re not in the book.

    2. to organise marriage festivals (or what do you call them). Young noblefolk intermingles to find an adequately noble marriage partner. To get on the guest list, they will check the Gotha. So in a way this is like a catalog.

    The noblewoman in question was a member of the Social Democratic party and as such the “red sheep of the family” and as disgusted by the existence of the Gotha as I was. (Though granted, she was only “letter nobility”, i.e. they were knighted quite late towards the end of the Second Empire)

  75. Dianne says

    to organise marriage festivals (or what do you call them). Young noblefolk intermingles to find an adequately noble marriage partner.

    (Rude comment about inbreeding withheld.)

    Oh, heck with it! It’s a good thing that Germany doesn’t officially recognize nobility because they seem to be drawing from a rather limited gene pool and one that presumably still includes the descendents of Queen Victoria and her favorite nephew.

  76. says

    Oh, according to m grandma’s sister, the Freiherr Carl Ferdinand von Stumm Halberg once impregnated one of my ancestors, does that make me a noblewoman?

    I’m afraid not, if the pregnancy occurred out of wedlock. Illegitimate children are usually excluded from rights of succession.*

    (*Though they can sometimes be retroactively legitimated if their parents subsequently marry.)

  77. cicely, Inadvertent Phytocidal Maniac says

    The Weeping Angel costume is frickin’ awesome.

    Beatrice, not that I know, but would not first bleaching it and then dyeing it do the trick?

    (I would pity your hair, though, after such harsh treatment)

    The harsh necessity of bleaching (or the necessity of harsh bleaching) before dyeing is the only reason my hair isn’t very busy being purple right now

    Carlie, *hugs* and condolences for you and your family for the loss of your kitty. At least she had a peaceful, panic-free ending. That’s the kind want.
    -

  78. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    Yet I’m sure we’d all agree that tearing down a several-centuries-old cathedral with its spire and its irreplaceable stained-glass windows, and replacing it with a multi-storey concrete parking lot, would be a gross act of cultural vandalism. It’s something similar deep within me – an aesthetic sensibility, perhaps – that makes me revolt against the idea of abolishing monarchies.

    I can’t imagine how you think monarchy is like a cathedral. There is nothing beautiful about monarchy. It exhibits none of the innovation that speaks to the intelligence and vision of its creators. It is not an inclusive structure but either a vehicle or a vestige of elitism. It is, in short, odious whether real or merely symbolic. If monarchy is a cathedral, give me a parking garage.

  79. cicely, Inadvertent Phytocidal Maniac says

    *sigh*

    Yes, friends; this is My Brain on Monday. *sound of sizzling*

    That should have been, “That’s the kind I want”.
    -

  80. Rey Fox says

    By the way, is anyone else having problems typing on this site? I’ve been on three computers here at the uni, and on every one of them, trying to make a comment causes the whole browser (uh…IE) to lag horribly. Not on any other site though. Either something is weird in FTB or IE or I’m just carrying around a black hole of computer suckitude today.

  81. says

    There is nothing beautiful about monarchy.

    Well, the aesthetic of royalty and royal ceremonies is very appealing on some level. There’s something warm, comforting and happiness-inducing about being ruled by a royal family, with crowns and thrones and coronations and titles and protocol and so on, that one just can’t get from a republican government. It’s not a rational thing; it’s a deep-rooted emotional impulse that pre-dates scientific reason.

    On another level, I suppose it appeals to my obsessive tendencies. The different ranks of royalty and nobility, the different systems of noble rank and title in different countries, the appropriate styles, honorifics and forms of address… one can spend days on end happily immersed in such things, just for the sheer joy of learning, and can become completely obsessive about getting it exactly right. There’s something deeply intellectually-satisfying about knowing the correct honorific for the younger son of a British marquess, for instance, or the correct form of address for a princess of the House of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. Not to mention all the fascinating genealogy and history involved.

  82. pelamun says

    On another level, I suppose it appeals to my obsessive tendencies. The different ranks of royalty and nobility, the different systems of noble rank and title in different countries, the appropriate styles, honorifics and forms of address… one can spend days on end happily immersed in such things, just for the sheer joy of learning, and can become completely obsessive about getting it exactly right. There’s something deeply intellectually-satisfying about knowing the correct honorific for the younger son of a British marquess, for instance, or the correct form of address for a princess of the House of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. Not to mention all the fascinating genealogy and history involved.

    I even agree with you partially and I can understand how one can lose oneself in all these particularities. However, as fascinating as this all may be, it shouldn’t have the fuck to do with how a modern country is governed today. I think it is exacerbated in the case of the UK having all these relics from earlier times, like the Privy Council, the Lord Mayor and what have you. (there is a book that I was once told to read about all these things, was it someone called Patterson? I mean intellectually, I find the British system with all its intricacies highly fascinating too, but all this contributes to the inequality inherent in the system.

  83. says

    Having gone for a walk and thought about this some more…

    Of course my feelings on this matter are very subjective and culturally-contingent. In Britain, the present Queen – who is a popular and well-respected figure, and does an excellent job – has been reigning since before my parents were born. And since the institution of monarchy is identified in the public mind with Elizabeth II, I have, like most of my generation of Brits, grown up thinking of the monarchy as a benign and positive institution.

    But I will be the first to accept that this is far from being representative of most monarchies throughout history. And I can see how people whose countries have very different histories would be less keen on the symbolism of monarchy and nobility; in Germany, of course, the stupidity of Kaiser Wilhelm and the militarism and hypernationalism of the Prussian noble elite was one of the major factors behind the horrendous and pointless bloodbath that was the First World War. And even in Britain, while the monarchy is politically benign now, it’s certainly true that in the relatively-recent past, the symbolism and dogma of “King and Country” or “Queen and Country” was regularly used to justify jingoism, imperialism, colonialism, militarism, and other very nasty things.

    So… I know I’m rambling right now, but I guess what I’m trying to say is that these instinctive perceptions are shaped by our culture, upbringing, and personal inclinations. It’s very subjective. I like monarchy, but I can understand why others associate it with bad things.

  84. Ibis3, féministe avec un titre française de fantaisie says

    I’m with Walton on this one. The pageantry and traditional ceremony of the monarchy is aesthetically pleasing. The fact that we’d have to create something from scratch that wouldn’t be half as nice (and likely more polticised) if we were to go republican is a massive disincentive. I don’t worry very much about the freedom of the heirs apparent and presumptive to do as they wish. We’ve already had one king abdicate for personal reasons and I’m sure there wouldn’t even be a flutter (other than the usual tabloid type) if some other royal person were to opt out in the future. I’d like to see two old conventions change though. I’d like women to be equal in terms of eligibility for succession (so if the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge have a girl first, she would be the heir in favour of a younger brother). And I’d like to see the Crown at least partially sever their bond to the Anglican church. The King or Queen shouldn’t have to be Anglican, but should be able to choose their religion or rejection thereof like the rest of us. It’s a bit tricky though since a lot of the ceremonies etc. have a Christian element (think of God Save the Queen). Anyway, maybe something could be hammered out on that score eventually.

  85. cicely, Inadvertent Phytocidal Maniac says

    By the way, is anyone else having problems typing on this site? I’ve been on three computers here at the uni, and on every one of them, trying to make a comment causes the whole browser (uh…IE) to lag horribly. Not on any other site though. Either something is weird in FTB or IE or I’m just carrying around a black hole of computer suckitude today.

    Seems, at least as far as my experience goes, to be a bug (to differentiate it from a “feature”) associated with long threads; new ET episodes take comments at normal speed, but the suckage increases with the number of comments, until it will only take about one typed character per second; if I type any faster, it acts as if it’s terribly confused and has to chew it over for a while before understanding what I want to post.

    Well, the aesthetic of royalty and royal ceremonies is very appealing on some level. There’s something warm, comforting and happiness-inducing about being ruled by a royal family, with crowns and thrones and coronations and titles and protocol and so on, that one just can’t get from a republican government. It’s not a rational thing; it’s a deep-rooted emotional impulse that pre-dates scientific reason.

    “Whoever had created humanity had left in a major design flaw.
    It was its tendency to bend at the knees.”
    ― Terry Pratchett, Feet of Clay
    -

  86. pelamun says

    in Germany, of course, the stupidity of Kaiser Wilhelm and the militarism and hypernationalism of the Prussian noble elite was one of the major factors behind the horrendous and pointless bloodbath that was the First World War.

    Not just that, but noble elites, in concert with the military, managed to foist the responsibility for the lost war on the newly founded Republic. The nobility consistently refused to support the new system, dooming the Weimar Republic from the start. In the end they paved the way for the Nazis. Paul Ludwig Hans Anton von Beneckendorff und von Hindenburg then finally nominated Hitler to be Chancellor as his noble cronies believed they could control him. Later the nobility enthusiastically backed the new Nazi regime, especially when Hitler was unexpectedly having one military success after the other. It was only when his star had started sinking, some members of the nobility and (some commoners too of course) around Claus Philipp Maria Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg started having second thoughts (which culminated in the attempt on Hitler’s life). But they were not fighting for a democratic Germany, make no mistake, they wanted to preserve the territory gained in the war and install some kind of authoritarian regime, possibly restore the monarchy.

    Yes, I can say I’m happy that Germany’s Constitutional Court, in its verdict regarding the dynastic law of the Hohenzollern (the chief of the House of Hohenzollern had married a lower noblewoman, and not a high noblewoman, and stood to lose his status as chief of the House) declared that the German Basic Law clearly and unequivocally precludes the possibility of Germany becoming a monarchy ever again. Wish though Germany would have outlawed the use of nobility titles like Austria…

  87. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    By the way, is anyone else having problems typing on this site? I’ve been on three computers here at the uni, and on every one of them, trying to make a comment causes the whole browser (uh…IE) to lag horribly. Not on any other site though. Either something is weird in FTB or IE or I’m just carrying around a black hole of computer suckitude today.

    It’s been tedious at work to post anything the last 10 days or so. If I type in the window, I can type sentences and wait a few minutes for anything to appear. Today I’m using notepad as an intermediate. Then I copypasta into the window. Works much faster. No problems with the other site.

  88. says

    “Whoever had created humanity had left in a major design flaw.
    It was its tendency to bend at the knees.”
    ― Terry Pratchett, Feet of Clay

    Yeah… I never shared Sam Vimes’ republican views. The full quote is:

    Royalty was like dandelions. No matter how many heads you chopped off, the roots were still there underground, waiting to spring up again.

    It seemed to be a chronic disease. It was as if even the most intelligent person had this little blank spot in their heads where someone had written: “Kings. What a good idea.” Whoever had created humanity had left in a major design flaw. It was its tendency to bend at the knees.

    Then there’s his view on chess:

    Vimes had never got on with any game much more complex than darts. Chess in particular had always annoyed him. It was the dumb way the pawns went off and slaughtered their fellow pawns while the kings lounged about doing nothing that always got to him; if only the pawns united, maybe talked the rooks round, the whole board could’ve been a republic in a dozen moves.

  89. pelamun says

    I don’t have any trouble typing stuff in (using Chrome). Sometimes it takes a while for posts to appear, especially on TET, but I think that’s because of the high volume this site attracts.

  90. Carlie says

    Walton, don’t forget though, Sam didn’t like a full democracy either. I don’t have the quote at hand, but it was something like how giving everyone a vote sounded like a great idea until you stop and realize they mean that Foul Ole Ron and Nobby Nobbs get to vote too.

  91. says

    I just noticed that some threads give me ads for Papa John’s Pizza, while others give me ads for Pizza Hut.

    I’m wondering if some difference in the threads is causing the switch between chains, or if Google just knows I eat a lot of pizza.

  92. says

    Walton, don’t forget though, Sam didn’t like a full democracy either. I don’t have the quote at hand, but it was something like how giving everyone a vote sounded like a great idea until you stop and realize they mean that Foul Ole Ron and Nobby Nobbs get to vote too.

    Indeed…

    Vimes had once discussed the Ephebian idea of ‘democracy’ with Carrot, and had been rather interested in the idea that everyone† had a vote until he found out that while he, Vimes, would have a vote, there was no way in the rules that anyone could prevent Nobby Nobbs from having one as well. Vimes could see the flaw there straight away.

    † Apart from the women, children, slaves, idiots and people who weren’t really our kind of people.

    In Men at Arms, he seems to have settled on dictatorship as the least bad option:

    “But that’s not right, see? One man with the power of life and death.”

    “But if he’s a good man,” Carrot began.

    “What? What? OK. OK. Let’s believe he’s a good man. But his second-in-command, is he a good man too? You’d better hope so. Because he’s the supreme ruler, too, in the name of the king. And the rest of the court . . . they’ve got to be good men. Because if just one of them’s a bad man the result is bribery and patronage.”

    “The Patrician’s a supreme ruler,” Carrot pointed out. He nodded at a passing troll. “G’day, Mr Carbuncle.”

    “But he doesn’t wear a crown or sit on a throne and he doesn’t tell you it’s right that he should rule,” said Vimes. “I hate the bastard. But he’s honest. Honest like a corkscrew.”

    “Even so, a good man as king—”

    “Yes? And then what? Royalty pollutes people’s minds, boy. Honest men start bowing and bobbing just because someone’s granddad was a bigger murdering bastard than theirs was. Listen! We probably had good kings, once! But kings breed other kings! And blood tells, and you end up with a bunch of arrogant, murdering bastards!”

  93. says

    Well, my question about me being a noblewoman was a rhetorical one since there is no fucking nobility in Germany.
    But it raises the point: It obviously can’t be the “noble blood”, since those with the exact same blood are excluded because of paper. And give or take a few, everybody has about the same number of ancestors.
    End of story.
    Those things are names, nothing else.

    or the correct form of address for a princess of the House of Mecklenburg-Strelitz.

    Easy, Mrs XYZ.

    1. to keep out impostors that took on a noble name. Some impoverished nobility sell adoptions for a price. Suppose you would like to be Dianne, Duchess of Armenberg, you ask the Duke of Armenberg to formally adopt you for a substantial fee. Of course the Adelsverein will not recognise you, as you’re not in the book.

    Or marry the divorced wife of Graf Koks vom Gaswerk. There actually once was one of those pricks sueing against his ex-wife and her new husband: He had taken her nice noble family-name she’d taken in her marriage with the “Von und Zu”.
    The court basically told him to fuck off. Rules are for everybody, and if Mr. Müller can’t prevent his ex-wife’s new husband from calling himself Müller instead of Leutheuser-Schnarrenberg, Graf Koks vom Gaswerk can’t either.

    Ahh, good old Sam Vimes. One of my most favourite characters.

    Carlie
    I’m sorry about your cat.
    Hugs are coming your way if you want them.

  94. starstuff91 says

    For those of you who missed this last night, this exists. It’s awful but at also so stupid that it’s kind of funny (at least to me it’s funny).

  95. pelamun says

    But it raises the point: It obviously can’t be the “noble blood”, since those with the exact same blood are excluded because of paper.

    Actually the so-called “Ahnenprobe” stipulates that all 16 direct ancestors have to be noble (or sometimes just your 4 grandparents). It wasn’t about blood, but about ancestry. If you couldn’t prove you had fully noble ancestry, you were not accepted as a nobleperson in feudal society. If you really had those 16 noble ancestors, you would be “verdunkelter Adel” and could apply for inclusion into the Gotha. (Ancestry was also important for craftsmen: apprentices petionining for being admitted to the a guild had to prove that their ancestry was spotless, i.e. no ancestors born out of wedlock (usually only up to 4 grandparents).)

    I guess it is a sign of the times that nowadays the Adelsverein accepts children born from a marriage between a nobleman and a commoner (OK, OK, this must have been changed around the Secound Empire, when the bourgeoisie was on the up and up).

  96. pelamun says

    Sorry, according to the Pfft, it happened 100 years earlier, from the 18th century. Prussia allowed the marriage between lower noblemen and female commoners from the end of the 18th century, and restrictions on the inter-marriage was lifted completely in 1854 (but dynastic laws of course persisted, like in the case of the House of Hohenzollern).

    Mit dem schrittweise erfolgenden Verlust der Adelsprivilegien seit dem Ende des 18. Jahrhunderts wurden zunächst bei Heiraten des niederen Adels die bürgerlichen Rechtsregeln angewandt, so dass bei Heiraten zwischen adligen Männern und nichtadligen Frauen diese und ihre gemeinsamen Nachkommen den Stand des Mannes erlangten. In Preußen wurden die Ebenbürtigkeitsvorschriften des Allgemeinen Preußischen Landrechts von 1794 (II, 1, §§ 30–33), die Ehen zwischen Adligen und „Weibspersonen aus dem Bauer- oder geringerem Bürgerstande“ regelten, 1854 ganz aufgehoben. Das Beharren auf ebenbürtigen Ehepartnern wurde so ausschließlich zu einer Sache des Sozialprestiges, hatte aber keine rechtliche Bedeutung mehr. Auch die ökonomische Entwicklung spielte beim Wandel der sozialen Normen eine Rolle: je mehr die agrarischen Gutswirtschaften in der zweiten Hälfte des 19. Jahrhunderts in wirtschaftliche Schwierigkeiten gerieten, umso akzeptabler erschien die Hochzeit mit einer reichen Erbin aus angesehener bürgerlicher Familie als Möglichkeit, sich finanziell zu sanieren. Trotz des in Adelskreisen damals unterschwellig verbreiteten Antisemitismus kamen schließlich auch Frauen aus assimilierten jüdischen Familien als Ehepartner in Betracht.

  97. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    Well, the aesthetic of royalty and royal ceremonies is very appealing on some level.

    Admittedly, my revulsion at such things is likely a product of my acculturation. I think my working-class pro-labor upbringing has instilled in me a disgust with titles and needless formality*.

    Nonetheless, these kinds of august proceedings seem to do little else than prop up elitism of the emptiest sort. I can’t find within my head even the remotest or detached admiration for them.

    *I should say that this extends to the same kinds of titles and formality associated with academia. I think it is ridiculous that we are required to address educated people with a special title. So that’s how far into that camp I am.

  98. says

    i.e. no ancestors born out of wedlock

    Naaaa, they aren’t but my grandpa grew really strong for having been such a premature baby ;)
    Seriously, they can make the rules for their club all the way they want, but they really shouldn’t expect for sensible people to take them serious.
    I have a wonderful lineage of Hungarian gypsies, French tinkerers, German and Russian-German farmers, miners, millers, carpenters, i.e. people who actually did something.

    Oh, good news: Tomorrow somebody will take a look at my washing machine, so I will know at least if this one can be fixed or whether I need a new one…

  99. says

    Well you know it was law that if a nobleperson actually had to work for a living, they would temporarily lose their nobility, for the duration of which this untenable situation persisted.

    Cry me a river. Must really have been hard to lose the money your ancestors made from other people’s work and be forced to mingle with lower folks and actually work for a living yourself. And if that wasn’t hard enough, they would even kick you from the ranks of higher beings.

    Oh, on the beauty of royal ceremonies:
    I like the hats.

    *yawn*
    And now I’ll take my germs to bed for a good round of cleansing out the toxins ;)

  100. says

    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/09/26/video-game-challenges-players-to-live-on-8-an-hour/

    “Players have to pick their residence, pay bills, cope with unexpected expenses and still have enough in the bank at month’s end to make the rent. Challenges presented are along the lines of what to buy at the grocery store, whether to let a pet die or take it to the vet, and how to pay for those medical bills once the inevitable occurs, among others.”
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/09/26/alabama-town-to-offenders-go-to-church-or-go-to-jail/

    “Operation ROC resulted from meetings with church leaders,” Bay Minette Police Chief Mike Rowland told the Alabama Press-Register. “It was agreed by all the pastors that at the core of the crime problem was the erosion of family values and morals. We have children raising children and parents not instilling values in young people.”

  101. Carlie says

    The Sailor – I think I remember seeing that game almost a year ago, from the same group. I’m glad it’s finally getting some press. I made my child play it and we had a good talk about how life is and what kinds of choices people have to make at different income levels. It’s a really good idea to have for them, for the PR, the potential increase in empathy, and hopefully their donations.

  102. crowepps says

    We all have exactly the same number of direct ancestors, even if nobody wrote down their names, and they are of as little use to us as anybody else’s ancestors, and wouldn’t be much more useful if they had been part of the group that used force to bully the peasants into working harder for less so the resulting assets could be coopted for their own use. Their hobby of creating elaborate honorific titles and bestowing them on each other, like the titles Calvin and Hobbes invented for each other, has its charm, but only so long as everybody understands it has no connection to the actual value of the personages.

    “The man who has nothing to boast of but his illustrious ancestry is like the potato – the best part under ground.”
    Thomas Overbury

  103. Therrin says

    theophontes: Shouldn’t there be a “Wilhelm” in there somewhere?

    Wilhelm makes everything better.

    My computer is in the shop and I’m typing on a computer with an inexplicable lag between typing and the letters showing up in the comment box in the Reading Room

    Happens on some machines on threads over 400ish posts. I recommend Notepad and copy/paste.

  104. says

    Carlie, I personally have no desire to play that version of the game, I’m still playing ver 1.0, AKA ‘life.’ ;-)

    I’m actually doing much better than that now, but it’s kinda by a fluke and I still remember counting out pennies at the Quick-E-Mart to buy a can of soup. The clerk didn’t want to accept pennies, but I had the can of soup and he was behind a locked down plexiglass shield.
    ++++++++++++++++++++
    ‘Tis et al; from Pfft: “On August 21, 2007, the Northwest Passage became open to ships without the need of an icebreaker.”

    And here’s a boat about ‘Tis’ size, (a few feet longer than mine), making an attempt:
    http://belzebub2.com/?lang=en

  105. says

    Sorry to hear about your kitty, Carlie. The end is always so hard. *hugs*

    Having a crazy hectic Monday. I feel like I should be earning more money given the level of authority they let me have over negotiating contracts. Ah well.

    I have had almost no internet time, but thankfully Twitter steps up and gives me something to be frustrated about.

  106. Dianne says

    Mrs XYZ.

    Frau XYZ is ok, but in US-English (not sure about British or Australian, much less other places), the correct address for a woman is Ms. XYZ unless she requests you use “Mrs.” Or “Dr”, “Prof”, “Reverend” etc.

  107. says

    Whoever linked to the NYT graphic? Good on ya mate! That’s excellent.
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Whoever linked to the Not Always Right/Friends In Unusual Places post? Also excellent. I’m sorry I wasn’t paying better attention at the time, I just opened them up in another tab and didn’t get around to viewing them until now.
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++
    From my link IRT to Alabama town gives choice between church and jail: At least they confirm church is a punishment, but this also stuck out to me: “It was agreed by all the pastors that at the core of the crime problem was the erosion of family values and morals …”

    If I had a hammer … every problem would look like a nail.

  108. Dianne says

    Paul Ludwig Hans Anton von Beneckendorff und von Hindenburg then finally nominated Hitler to be Chancellor as his noble cronies believed they could control him.

    That sort of error is, alas, not limited to monarchs and nobles. Back in the Cold War, Reagan thought it was a good idea to fight the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan by arming and encouraging locals to fight them. He preferred working with the most religiously motivated because he thought they’d be easier to control. It didn’t work out so well.

  109. pelamun says

    That sort of error is, alas, not limited to monarchs and nobles.

    Of course I’m not trying to blame the demise of the Weimar Republic entirely on the nobility. The Nazis had a lot of popular support as well (interesting enough the NSDAP was stronger in Protestant areas than in Catholic ones, probably due to the existence of the Catholic Center Party) after all. But the role of the nobility and the military was a contributing factor.

  110. Dhorvath, OM says

    Chas,

    Mountainbikidor.

    Nice. Porcupine Rim anyone?
    ___

    Starstuff91,
    Gack. If fetuses could really think that way, no babies would be born. Hello pelvis, why can’t I get past you?
    ___

    Giliell,

    You mean holy like this?

    I was thinking similar.
    ___

    Oh, Carlie, I am so sorry to hear about your furry critter. It’s been a roller coaster and the ending sounds better than most. That cat had it good.
    Well, the home ending. How do people end up in that kind of work without any idea of empathy? It’s working with people who keep animals for companionship for crying out loud.
    ___

    The first rule of internet commenting is don’t type on site. This will be repeated.
    ___

    Walton,

    There’s something deeply intellectually-satisfying about knowing the correct honorific for the younger son of a British marquess, for instance, or the correct form of address for a princess of the House of Mecklenburg-Strelitz.

    It’s bloody horrifying that there should be different address for people based solely on accident of birth. Arbitrary rules of title are not comforting to this person.
    ___

    cm,
    Ouch. It’s not even like most people want that much, maybe just healthcare, you know, that would be nice.

  111. says

    Walton, and other folks who bend to your betters: I have a very minor title, which I have EARNED, my boss and colleagues have titles, which they have EARNED.

    Perhaps you equate an accident of birth and whether that accident was approved by the church, to … umm, you know, EARNING it.

    And even having earned a title, almost none of my colleagues would insist upon being addressed that way. (well, except in front of students. I really should learn not to address my colleagues by their first name in front of their classes.)

    There is no divine right of kings and there never was.

    Respect has to be earned.

  112. Big Brother Ogvorbis: I am Watching says

    Couple of updates from personal meatspace:

    Does anyone else have an auto dashboard that accumulates weird shit? On our minivan’s dash, we have a blue duck with horns and a pitchfork, a mini VW Microbus, and a wildebeast (or gnu?) calf. Not that strange, right? Well, this evening I got into the van and there, on the dashboard, in the middle of the dashboard, highlighted by a beam of sunlight, was a 3.5cm tall traffic cone with the words, “Chaos Ahead” printed on the side. I can’t wait for the explanation for that one.

    Also, Boy has been subpoenad to appear in court next week.

    And I just made homemade pizza, with homemade crust, with fresh sugocasa, sweet onions, ham, mozzarella and feta. And, just because there wasn’t enough bread in the pizza, a nice herbed foaccacia on the side.

    (and Wordpad + Copypasta = win)

  113. says

    Re: Mrs – what Dianne said. I get very cranky when telemarketers call me Mrs Claw. Or worse yet, Mrs PartnersSurname. I grudgingly tolerate it from tradesmen, because I usually need them to do something for me.

  114. Big Brother Ogvorbis: I am Watching says

    Bro Og, you buried the lede

    Yes, yes I did. Very observant.

    Bout a month ago, while Boy was working the late shift at his Stop & Rob, a carton of cartons of cigarettes was stolen — a large cardboard box with 40 cartons of cigarrettes. They guy walked behind the counter, grabbed the box, and walked out (a woman even held the door open). Boy ran out after the robber to get his license plate numbers and letters and the guy backed out into traffic and drove up the road, the wrong way, in reverse, thorugh traffic, so that the license plate was not in view. Boy was able to get a good description of the vehicle and the driver, and a motorcyclist was able to get the license plate.

    So he gets to go to court as a witness for the prossecution.

  115. KG says

    I get very cranky when telemarketers call me Mrs Claw. Or worse yet, Mrs PartnersSurname. – Althea claw

    Oh, I happily answer to Mr. (Mrs. KG’s real surname). I actually find it quite useful. If someone addresses me as such, I know they are either one of her colleagues or clients, or someone who wants to defraud me.

  116. Big Brother Ogvorbis: I am Watching says

    I know they are either one of her colleagues or clients, or someone who wants to defraud me.

    Thinking of some of my colleagues. Thinking of some of Boy’s colleagues. Thinking of some of Wife’s colleagues from previous jobs. Colleagues, clients, and con artists may be an intersecting Venn. Not that I know any of her colleagues or clients, but just.. .

    Screw it. Tried to find humour there. Failed. But, with the investment in typing, I’m gonna force it through.

    It isfunny. Trust me. Or it might be.

  117. says

    “I get very cranky when telemarketers call me Mrs”
    —->
    I get very cranky when telemarketers call me.
    FIFY.

    I’m polite, point out that I’m on the state and fed DO Not Call lists, and ask to speak with their manager. Then I get abusive.

    I feel the same way about religious people who knock on my door. I’m just helping them get out of this dishonest line of work.

  118. The Lone Coyote says

    Dhorvath: I like how all the negative comments have like, 6 to 9 people ‘liking’ them as opposed to 1 or 2 for all the positive asspats.

    Also, one of those posts there is tempting me to post again, but what do you say to someone who says they’d beat up a teenager?

  119. pelamun says

    Just read that Texas has the lowest “vanity plate penetration rate” with 0.5%, makes sense for such a populous state. The state with the highest vanity plate penetration rate is Virginia, with 16.19%. Why is that? What are people putting on their plates there?

  120. SpriteSuzi says

    Carlie, I’m so sorry to hear about your kitter-critter. Hugs if you want them.

    Alethea, THANK YOU for the Spoons reference at 527. I hadn’t seen that before, and will be sharing it widely (I have fibro…)

  121. says

    Antiochus Epiphanes,

    *I should say that this extends to the same kinds of titles and formality associated with academia. I think it is ridiculous that we are required to address educated people with a special title. So that’s how far into that camp I am.

    So, in your ideal world, you’d get rid of honorifics like “Dr” and “Professor”? Just out of interest, would you apply the same thing to other job-related honorifics, like military rank titles, “The Honorable” for judges, “Esquire” for attorneys, and so on? Aesthetically, would you prefer that everyone were simply styled “Mr X” or “Ms X”, with no embellishments? (I’m not being snarky; I’m simply curious. It’s interesting how some people love these things and others hate them.)

    You’d hate Britain in this respect: weird and apparently-unnecessary gradations of title, rank and status are a deeply-embedded tradition in every part of British society. In British academia, the honorific “Professor” is awarded only to the most senior academics; many of the permanent faculty who would be called “professors” in the US are called “Readers”, “Senior Lecturers”, “Research Fellows”, etc., in Britain.

    Then, of course, we have styles and titles for members of the Royal Family, the five ranks of the peerage (Duke, Marquess, Earl, Viscount, Baron), members of their families, knights and dames, and baronets and baronetesses. And we also have a whole host of other titles and honorifics for various occupations: “The Right Honourable” for Privy Counsellors, for instance, and “The Right Worshipful” for Lord Mayors. Judges of High Court rank and above are addressed as “My Lord” or “My Lady” in court, whereas circuit judges are addressed as “Your Honour” and magistrates as “Sir” or “Ma’am” (or, archaically, as “Your Worship”, though this seems to have fallen out of use). Certain senior barristers (one of the two kinds of lawyers in England) have the privilege of appending “Q.C.” to their names, short for “Queen’s Counsel”. And so on.

    (Conversely, the thing I find bizarre about American usage is the habit of using people’s job titles as honorifics. It’s normal here to talk about “President Obama”, “Principal Smith” or “Dean Jones”, for instance; in British English we don’t generally do this. We’d never refer to “Prime Minister Cameron”, for instance, or “Headteacher Smith”. “Professor” is used as an honorific, but that’s because it’s a personal dignity, not just a job title. But I digress.)

  122. pelamun says

    Anyone know Doraemon? Came across a very dark comic strip about it, what happens when Nobita finally is in his 30s….

  123. says

    Bro Og – “So he gets to go to court as a witness for the prossecution.”

    It’s tough, I know, right?

    You raise ‘um up right, (or at least upright), and the first thing you know they’re hauled into court and telling the truth.

    Damn kids, get off my lawn!

  124. Dhorvath, OM says

    TLC,
    Yeah, I noticed that too. As for the asshat mouthing off about beating teens after abortions, I have no idea how to even begin.

  125. starstuff91 says

    Dhorvath: I like how all the negative comments have like, 6 to 9 people ‘liking’ them as opposed to 1 or 2 for all the positive asspats.

    Also, one of those posts there is tempting me to post again, but what do you say to someone who says they’d beat up a teenager?

    Do it (to be pronounced: do eet).

  126. starstuff91 says

    Dhorvath: I like how all the negative comments have like, 6 to 9 people ‘liking’ them as opposed to 1 or 2 for all the positive asspats.

    Also, one of those posts there is tempting me to post again, but what do you say to someone who says they’d beat up a teenager?

    Do it! (to be pronounced: do eet)

  127. starstuff91 says

    Ah, double post all the way across the sky. What does it mean? It means that my internet connection hates me.

  128. Big Brother Ogvorbis: I am Watching says

    The Sailor:

    Well, he does have a dark side. He is majoring in history with a minor in fine arts.

  129. says

    Walton, and other folks who bend to your betters: I have a very minor title, which I have EARNED, my boss and colleagues have titles, which they have EARNED.

    Perhaps you equate an accident of birth and whether that accident was approved by the church, to … umm, you know, EARNING it.

    That’s a very USian outlook. I’m a bit sceptical: I’d say the dichotomy between “earned” and “not-earned” is to some extent a false one. Even the things we “earn” are shaped by our circumstances.

    By way of example: have I “earned” my academic degrees? In a sense, yes, since I had to study, take exams, write essays and so on; but at the same time, the fact that I had the opportunity to go to university in the first place reflects my socio-economic privilege, as a middle-class person living in a developed country. There are millions of people in the world who are smart and hardworking, but who are denied the opportunities that I’ve had by virtue of the accident of birth.

    By way of another example: did George W. Bush “earn” the title of President? Again, in a sense, yes; he had to choose to run for the nomination, campaign, win the primaries, campaign again, and win (albeit by very dubious means the first time) the general election. But does anyone seriously believe that his ascent to the presidency was unaffected by his family connections and hereditary privilege, or that he would have become President without these things? The same could be said of the majority of Presidents of the past two hundred years (Obama, who was born into a poor family, being a rare exception).

    Of course many people overcome disadvantages and achieve things in spite of them. But the majority of us, in reality, benefit from some sort of unearned advantage somewhere along the line. People’s achievements do not occur in a vacuum, and circumstances, privilege and sheer dumb luck all play a role. Not to mention that intellectual abilities, to the extent that they are inborn, can’t really be said to be “earned”; do intelligent people choose to be intelligent? For that matter, do we “choose” or “earn” our personality-traits, or are they hardwired by our biology and social environment?

    My argument is not that no one ever “earns” anything. But whether something is “earned” or “unearned” is to some degree a subjective value-judgment, not an objective fact; and it’s really a spectrum rather than a binary condition. Obviously hereditary titles are “unearned” by anyone’s definition, but I’d argue that even the titles, statuses and social positions we define as “earned” are, in reality, influenced by a great many factors outside the individual’s control.

  130. ChasCPeterson says

    “deeply intellectually satisfying”?

    Really?

    *shrug*

    Some people remember baseball statistics. I do not, although I love baseball. I cannnot even remember who played in the World Series last year, though I followed every game and remember enjoying it in real time.

    Some people remember Latin binomials of plants and/or animals. Eh, I know a few but pretty much all species I have interacted with directly in some way.

    I have a pretty good memory for jazz musicians (decades of obsessive liner-notes reading), but I can’t say I find it ‘intellectually satisfying’ to know arbitrary stuff. Not like learning something new and surprising. Or figuring something out, something difficult. Or helping somebody else do either. Or playing music. Or even listening to music.

  131. Wowbagger, Madman of Insleyfarne says

    Hmm, I’ve installed an plug-in for Firefox that allows me to toggle Java, Flash and CSS and so forth, and I’ve been playing around to see if any of that is what’s causing me problems with FtB – and it turns out if I switch the CSS off it’ll actually load.

    What, of course, that actually means – and how else it could be fixed – is well beyond my understanding…

  132. Carlie says

    Thanks for all the condolences. It helps a lot. I was put firmly in my place today though – I had one student whose grandmother died today, and one whose child is in the hospital with a nasty mystery infection (the first of whom I somehow managed to be a total fucking idiot to because, in response to the news and him saying he couldn’t concentrate in class, I said “It’s not anywhere near the same ballpark, but my cat died today so I understand being distracted…” so there’s a huge apology I’m going to have to make when he gets back). But yeah. People more important than animals.

    I do like academic titles – I don’t have much of an authoritative physical presence, so the title helps me get the gravitas I need to properly convey that yes, I am indeed in charge of your final grade, and no it will not be based on how much you try to be nice to me.

    In more news that is ALL ABOUT ME, I finally deleted my facebook account today. It feels so gooooood. Two weeks of probationary deactivation and I’m as free as it can get (meaning, of course, my info will still be on their servers for the next five years). Now maybe I’ll have time to keep up with the Thread and pay attention to other people.

  133. says

    Their hobby of creating elaborate honorific titles and bestowing them on each other, like the titles Calvin and Hobbes invented for each other, has its charm, but only so long as everybody understands it has no connection to the actual value of the personages.

    Well, of course. I don’t know anyone today (including the nobility themselves) who would seriously argue that the nobility are “better people”, or more worthy than the rest of us. I think royalty and nobility, as institutions, have an important and valuable role to play in society, but this doesn’t mean that those of noble birth are “better” than anyone else. That would be a completely foolish and unsupportable claim.

  134. The Lone Coyote says

    Carlie: people are more important than animals, yes, but that in no way minimizes the loss or importance of a beloved pet. Condolences.

  135. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I got good news at work today. Our IT department said he (sound familiar Rev. BDC?) would be over at the end of the week to exchange computers. A recent Dell laptop with docking station, LCD display, real keyboard and mouse. Can’t be any slower than my present one, and should have a better video card than a Rage 128 from 2002. Windows 7 and Office 2007.

  136. says

    people are more important than animals, yes

    Why does everything today remind me of Discworld quotes?

    “Yes, but humans are more important than animals,” said Brutha.
    “This is a point of view often expressed by humans,” said Om.

    (Small Gods, of course.)

  137. says

    Well, I am excited and would bounce if I had the energy. My Bonnie has arrived at the shop, and they are just going to get her registered and the rack fitted so I can pick her up on Friday. The heated handgrips may not arrive in time, but it’s spring now, so no hurry on that.

  138. starstuff91 says

    I hate organic chemistry. How am I supposed to memorize the parent names of aromatics, the ranges for carbon and proton NMR and IR spectroscopy? Oh, and don’t forget synthesis mechanisms for aromatic compounds and their required catalysts! And I have to study for latin and ecology exams that are all within two days of each other. Why do I do this to myself?! D:

  139. Dianne says

    magistrates as “Sir” or “Ma’am” (or, archaically, as “Your Worship”, though this seems to have fallen out of use).

    I love the idea of addressing someone as “your worship”. So much potential sarcasm, so little time.

    I use my title when introducing myself to patients, mostly so they know who I am and why I’m suddenly asking them to describe their bowel movements or how many pads they use each period. (Really, there is a reason.) The rest of the time, I don’t bother so much.

    A minor bit of anecdata supporting your theory that all titles are partly hereditary (i.e. what you can get depends on where you were born and to whom): the Roosevelts and the Bushes are both descended from one person who came to the Americas on the Mayflower. Yes, there is an American aristocracy.

  140. says

    Carlie, sorry about the FB bail in a way, I’m not quite there yet, but I’m closer by the moment. Mainly it’s laziness.

    I never wrote how sorry I was about your friend. Cats and dogs have shorter lifetimes than humans do. I no longer have pets for that reason. Basically the reason is I’m selfish, it just hurts too much.
    +++++++++++++++++
    Walton, I think it’s a USian attitude that we were founded on, sadly I don’t see it much anymore. The rich think they are better than us commoners.

    Your typical TL:DR comment, (which I read the whole thing because it was an answer to me), was bullshit. (I mean that in the kindest possible way.)

    An accident of birth should not lead to a leader. I don’t care that your country elects just as stupid/corrupt people as mine. I don’t care that Canada, still worshiping the Queen, has elected a moron.

    You are endorsing a failed system. A failed, powerless system of I am your god, bow down before me.

    When you get to an actual courtroom, and I certain you will, (you are the best and the brightest), remember, we stand up in court, and we kneel to no one.

  141. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    How am I supposed to memorize the parent names of aromatics, the ranges for carbon and proton NMR and IR spectroscopy? Oh, and don’t forget synthesis mechanisms for aromatic compounds and their required catalysts!

    Try flash cards. Worked for me.

  142. starstuff91 says

    Try flash cards. Worked for me.

    That’s what I’m doing now. I’m also trying to do some practice synthesis problems but my professor posted the wrong key, so now I’m not sure if I’m doing them right. I’m gong to try to visit my professor or a TA tomorrow.

  143. Sally Strange, OM says

    Ugh, awful day. I spoke too soon about the job offer. Since the private company that was looking to hire me contracts with the state for their work, Congress’ inability to pass a bill to fund clean-up efforts has thrown the industry into turmoil. They still want to hire me, but they can’t say when (before they were saying in 4-6 weeks) or even if. And of course I said no to stable job and someone else intelligently jumped on it right away. So I took a risk, hoping for a bigger payoff, and I lost. I’m annoyed and depressed right now. It’s really hard not to beat myself up for making the wrong decisions. I’m off to check out a concert (Das Racist, as I mentioned before) so I won’t be back for a while. I’m just venting, don’t mind me.

  144. pelamun says

    Try flash cards. Worked for me.

    Or better yet, Anki, an immensely flexible flashcard program based on the Spaced Repetition principle. Multi-platform, incl. synching through the web, completely free, except for the iOS app… Flash cards also allow graphics, sound, even entire slides, etc.

    Has helped me a lot when learning languages.