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Sep 27 2011

Episode CCLVII: I wonder if this is what the Endless Thread looks like to outsiders?

Yeah, we are a rather weird bunch.

(Episode CCLVI: America’s Best Christian explains prayer.)

699 comments

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  1. 501
    pelamun

    Katherine, sorry to hear that. Best strategy to move to Scandinavia (except for Norway) might be:

    get a job in the UK or Ireland, after receiving permanent residency you will enjoy the same freedom of movement like a EU citizen, and should be able to move to Scandinavia more easily (I do assume immigration requirements for non EU foreigners who don’t speak the national language might be more onerous in Scandinavia, but I might be wrong)

  2. 502
    AndrewD

    Chigau,
    There was a CSS work round which produces searchable “left hand” numbers which was written by Strange gods. This is to be found in some of the early episodes of TET on FTB, try the comments in episode ccxlii

    You might need to search for the installation instructions (unless someone has a copy handy) but they are in the same early TET chapters. If required I can post a copy of the CSS but you will need to look for the instructions.
    Talking of Strange gods has any one seen or heard him recently, I do not think I have seen his nym since Hurricane Irene

  3. 503
    SQB

    Katherine, you’re working in IT security, right? Shouldn’t be too hard to find a job in that.

  4. 504
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    Strange Trivia of the day

    “Pistol” Pete Maravich, widely regarded as one of the best College basektball players in history died at age 40 due to an undiagnosed heart defect while playing in a pickup basketball game that included James Dobson of FotF fame. WTF

    Apparently after injuries forced him out of the NBA he turned to all sorts of Woo finally landing on Fundamental Christianity (the ulitmate woo) and was in Pasadena to record a segment on Dobson’s radio show that aired later that day.

  5. 505
    pelamun

    theophontes, admittedly the last time I tried Linux was 10 years ago and it was too complicated for me then, and right now I wouldn’t have the time to get into it.

  6. 506
    AndrewD

    Ignore my previous post, the work around doesn’t any more,bother!

  7. 507
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Hi there
    Katherine
    I’m sorry to hear. The two of you sounded like a cute couple and it seemed like he was really giving you some support.
    As for moving: You know that you will probably find a Pharyngulite everywhere in Europe.

    Tigger
    Hearing stories like your friend’s make me sad and angry each time I hear them. When my mum in law had breast cancer the financial issues were to pay for a decent wig and to help them with their normal payments after her sick-leave payments stopped.
    Fighting cancer was hard enough for fucks sake

    Meh, I’m having a real 1st world middle-class case of frustration: Today is Mr.’s birthday. We had plans. We “booked” the grandparents to take care of the kids, and we booked a table at our favourite Greek restaurant. I was looking forward to some adult entertainment afterwards.

    Well, Mr. caught a bellybug, so instead of a gigantic, garlic ladden plate of starters followed by the mixed grill-plate and afterwards greek yoghurt with honey and nuts, I’ll have a Döner Kebap when I ship the kids off and a DVD on the sofa, if I’m lucky

  8. 508
    SQB

    For fuck’s sake, what the fuck is wrong with people in general and Facebook specifically? (Trigger warning: rape)

    Though, granted, those links are to people who are on the right side, fighting the good fight, so there are good people left on the Internet.

  9. 509
    SQB

    Giliell, Greek yoghurt is probably too thick for the USB port. :(

  10. 510
    pelamun

    Wow, just one more thing that makes me glad I’m on Google+ now..

  11. 511
    Kevin, 友好火猫 (Friendly Fire Cat)

    *sigh*

    So Michelle Obama decided to shop at Target and was spotted and an AP photographer took a couple pictures of her. Okay, not a big deal, she wasn’t mobbed and wasn’t hounded by paparazzi.

    I saw the link on another page and one of the comments was, no joke:

    This is just a PR stunt to show that she’s ‘one of us.’

    I mean, aside from the othering there, can’t a woman who happens to be the wife of the president go shopping without someone making the assumption that it’s a PR stunt? Jeez, maybe she just likes shopping at discount department stores on her off-hours?

    (on a side note, while looking for the proper spelling of her first name, I did a Bing search for Obama. One of the pictures in the image links is a photoshopped version of the Norbitt movie poster with Michelle’s face shopped on the fat woman and Barack’s on the skinny guy… *sigh* People are assholes)

  12. 512
    Rey Fox

    I wouldn’t worry too much about it. She would be ridiculed by the Obama-deranged no matter where she chose to shop.

  13. 513
    Kevin, 友好火猫 (Friendly Fire Cat)

    @Pelamun:

    I’m also upset about the fact that Facebook’s cookies track you after you leave the site.

  14. 514
    StarStuff, a soulless cunt

    @ SQB
    Wow. Who could possibly think that’s funny? It wouldn’t even be funny if it wasn’t horrible. I signed the petition. Doubt it’ll work. As if facebook give a fuck about the people who use it.

  15. 515
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    SQB
    Nah, probably wouldn’t work.
    But at least the girls and I made and ate cupcakes, the good kind.

    Facebook
    I’m more glad than ever that I never joined

    Vox Depp

    I would go so far to argue that if you are being introduced to a woman you find attractive, she will be more attracted to you if you slap her in the face without warning and walk away without explanation than if you smile and tell her that you are very pleased to meet her.

    Well, yes, I’d be very interested in him: his name, age, adress, probably employer…
    It comes in handy to have that information ready when you call the cops.

  16. 516
    RichardAustin

    So, Slashdot has an article up about “cloud-powered” facial recognition:

    In their most recent round of facial recognition studies, researchers at Carnegie Mellon were able to not only match unidentified profile photos from a dating website (where the vast majority of users operate pseudonymously) with positively identified Facebook photos, but also match pedestrians on a North American college campus with their online identities.

    Okay, we’ve all known this was coming. I’m also not sure there’s any way to escape something like this: you’re going to be shown in a photograph, and likely linked to your name somehow, on the internet at some point. There’s basically no avoiding it.

    It’s probably also most reasonable to assume that anything done online – whether with a bank, in a private facebook group, on a private forum, whatever – will be available for search at some point, whether voluntarily by the organization or through a government warrant/order. I hope that doesn’t turn out to be true, but I wouldn’t bet against it.

    So now the question comes back to limiting what people can find out.

    The obvious answer is to not associate your photo and real name online on anything you feel you do not want to be individually identified with. That, in turn, means really thinking about what you are willing to link your name to. Even then, there are obvious “Big Brother” / “silence the dissidents” possibilities here. And I’m not sure there’s really any way around it, in the long run, without wholesale adopting multiple identities (at least digitally).

  17. 517
    chigau (違う)

    AndrewD
    I’m still using some of the CSS stuff from early FtB.
    Too bad the numbering won’t work.

  18. 518
  19. 519
    slignot

    Kitty, I’m sorry to hear about the breakup, but I’m glad you’ll be okay.

    Tigger, that is awful. I don’t understand the aversion to a single-payer system here either.

    As for all the equality stuff, I really want to quit the human race sometimes.

  20. 520
    chigau (違う)

    For instructions on how to blaspheme like a Catholic:
    http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/02595a.htm

  21. 521
    Carlie

    Carlie, she was really upset by the idea of pull-ups, and my friend said that negative reinforcement was likely to make the problem *worse*, so I’m kind of wary of doing it now :/

    That makes sense; I was thinking she might be more upset that people noticed.

    Alethea, congrats! And drive safely. :)

    I have Diaspora sitting in my email, but I haven’t managed to sign up in it yet. (I have the email from them inviting me to). I’m just…not ready for another social network at the moment. I’m kind of in hibernation from people mode.

    Rorschach, you’re positively adorable when you’re happy.

    Katherine, hugs anyway. Even when it’s your decision, that doesn’t mean it’s all chocolate and unicorn poop.

    Giliell, wrecked plans stink. :( Sorry about that.

  22. 522
    slignot

    Ah, yes, NYPD, keeping slut shaming classy.

    The 25-year-old, who did not want her last name to be used, was wearing shorts and a T-shirt when she claims a police officer asked if she would stop and talk to him. He also stopped two other women wearing dresses.

    According to Lauren, the officer asked if they knew what was going on in the neighborhood. When they answered in the affirmative, he asked if they knew what the guy was looking for.

    “He pointed at my outfit and said, ‘Don’t you think your shorts are a little short?’” she recalled. “He pointed at their dresses and said they were showing a lot of skin.”

    Because it’s your job to make yourself a less appealing target to current rapists. I feel like crying in rage.

  23. 523
    StarStuff, a soulless cunt

    @slignot
    It’s ridiculous isn’t it? I sometime can’t believe how much people blame the victims of sexual assault for what happened to them. This is something though: http://slutwalknyc.com/

  24. 524
    slignot

    @starstuff91, I try to be hopeful that things are changing slowly, thinking of slutwalks organized around the country as positive change (I had to miss the one in SLC and was disappointed). And then shit like this happens and I feel like we’re only convincing people already inclined to understand. It feels like the rest of the time, people so entrenched in fucked up sexism make policy and push this kind of police sponsored harassment of women for “making themselves targets.”

  25. 525
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    “He pointed at my outfit and said, ‘Don’t you think your shorts are a little short?’” she recalled. “He pointed at their dresses and said they were showing a lot of skin.”

    Only if he’s not doing the job they pay him for.
    But that kind of responses only occur to you when you’re not in that situation.

  26. 526
    chigau (違う)

    Also from the linked article:

    “Officers are not telling women what not to wear—there’s a TV series that does that,” quipped Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne in an email. “They are simply pointing out that as part of the pattern involving one or more men that the assailant(s) have targeted women wearing skirts.”

    So, do the police really think that if all the women in the neighborhood wore trousers, the rapes would stop?

  27. 527
    StarStuff, a soulless cunt

    I think I might try to do a slut walk in my city. I’m sure I could convince my freethinkers group to help out. We might also be able to talk to the university’s women’s center about it.

  28. 528
    cicely

    Sorry about the kid mix up. The Stoopid is strong with this one. :)
    -
    oniongirl, I’ll be emailing you tonight; I can’t do it from my office machine.
    -

    A new low for Vox Day

    O.o
    o.O
    :( :( :(
    -

  29. 529
    Dhorvath, OM

    AndrewV69,
    We do the same with clothes. Child picks and wears what he wants.
    ___

    Rorschach,
    I often wonder how much cause and effect actually means apart from indicating how our memories deal with past versus future. Does time actually flow or is that a human artifact?
    ___

    Rev,
    Woot, woot.
    ___

    Janine,
    Depleted uranium tips no less. What does god need with a rocket?
    ___

    The Sailor is a coauthor. How cool is that?
    ___

    Dyke Diamonds was awesome. Not blushing, the flush is otherwise caused.
    ___

    kristinc,
    Ah, chain. Is there no end to the joys of the hardware store?
    ___

    Alethea,
    Yay on the Bonnie. Enjoy.
    ___

    Tigger,
    Glad to hear the good news. And a sad on the bullshit that is US healthcare policy. So little need be given for so much benefit.
    ___

    Blasphemy day, eh? I think I may need to get behind that idea.

  30. 530
    Rey Fox

    Only if he’s not doing the job they pay him for.

    “Lauren said she thanked the officer for patrolling the area but said she would prefer that he focus on apprehending the suspects, rather than the dressing choices of women.”

    It made me think of all the other dangerous situations from which red-blooded Mercans say they won’t shrinnk in fear from. Most notably terrorism. “We won’t live in fear! We won’t change our behavior* in response to these cowardly terrorists!” So terrorists are to be defied, but rapists are allowed to dictate everyone’s behavior? I don’t quite get it. It’s almost as if, and I know this sounds crazy, but it’s almost as if they just want to sweep all that under the rug.

    * Well, we will erect a ludicrous security theater, but that’s neither here nor there.

  31. 531
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    So terrorists are to be defied, but rapists are allowed to dictate everyone’s behavior?

    That’s an easy one:
    It’s because terrorist are evil people who want to destroy us good people why rapist are good people who just misunderstood women.

    Hey, I have an upside to this spoilt evening, there are old Star Trek episodes on TV

  32. 532
    slignot

    I think Giliell has nailed it when she says

    rapist are good people who just misunderstood women

    There is such an internalized rape culture at work here that they have to make sure they aren’t only blaming rapists for raping women. Those women clearly incite it, so they need to share the blame.

    The most depressing thing is that this is for stranger rape, otherwise considered real rape to rape apologists. If only we could get police to take somewhat seriously the super common non-stranger rapes.

  33. 533
    Sili

    A question about Americana:

    Is it possible to buy (cheap) pre-paid sim cards? There are some sites selling them alright, but I get the impression that they’re trying to rip me off. I’d just like to be able to be reachable cheaply for the week I’m visiting – no need for my kind kind hosts to pay the rate for calls/texts abroad when I’m in their country. A bit of mobile internet might also be in place – roaming charges are Hell.

    I’ll also need a charger, but they look to be $2 on Ebay, so presumably I can pick something up on arrival.

  34. 534
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    Classic George Carlin. But everyone here is too erudite and mature for that…

    …right?

    (Hopefully I’ll get caught up on TET, etc. this weekend. I don’t know about “Haters gonna hate.” I may or may not be maso enough to go in there.)

  35. 535
    IndyM, pikčiurna

    @Katherine: Sorry about your break-up–hang in there. And if you’re going to move, come to NYC! (Btw, I just lost my job of 12 years, so I’m in a weird kind of limbo myself…)

  36. 536
    Oenotrian

    Sili, I know our local grocery store offers pre-pay SIM cards, as well as inexpensive phones. I have never looked too closely at the display, so I cannot say for certain how reasonably they are priced.

  37. 537
    slignot

    I offer an unofficial moment of Mormon madness today. To understand context, Utah law prohibits full frontal nudity at the same time as alcohol consumption as an obvious way of regulating strip clubs.

    We have local movie theater that is also a bar. You can eat bar food and drink in their movie auditoriums, which is especially fun during a explosion filled movie.

    They ran into some problems when they played “The Hangover Part II.”

    It wasn’t patrons at Brewvies Cinema Pub in Salt Lake City that drew a $1,627 fine for “attire and conduct” violations. It was the movie.

    On Thursday, Utah liquor-control commissioners approved the fine against Brewvies, which was $400 more than the penalty levied against a restaurant cited for serving alcohol to a minor.

    “I’m struggling with the concept that an adult beverage may be served but an adult movie cannot be shown at the same time,” said newly appointed commissioner Constance White.

    Assistant Attorney General Sheila Page acknowledged that alcohol-free theaters also showed the film, which opened in Salt Lake County over the Memorial Day weekend. But those theaters do not fall under Utah’s liquor statutes, which forbid bars and clubs from showing images of certain sex acts and full frontal nudity.

    Scenes that ran afoul of Utah’s liquor laws show full female, male and transvestite nudity. Other culpable scenes show the photo of a sex act in the movie’s credits, and a monkey chewing on a plastic water bottle strategically placed beneath a monk’s robes, state officials said.

    Violations are deemed grave, carrying the harshest penalties that can be levied by the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. Repeat violators may be fined as much as $25,000, and their liquor permits suspended for up to 10 days.

    Commissioner David Gladwell said he had concerns with the “grave” offense levied against Brewvies. He noted that Jam in the Marmalade restaurant was slapped with a lesser “serious” offense involving service to an underage drinker.

    The Utah Highway Patrol’s liquor enforcement team conducted the sting against Brewvies in June at the request of the liquor-control department, said UHP spokesman Dwayne Baird. The liquor department’s request was based on a complaint by a strip club that it had been cited for sexually explicit violations while Brewvies was getting away with showing equally explicit films.

    This is the sort of piecemeal weirdness we get in a state afraid of smoking, drinking and anything hinting at sex.

    I’m concerned about the author’s intention when she said “transvestite nudity” as I can’t help but feel she’s misrepresenting genderqueer people. Not that they’d be treated with any accuracy or respect in The Hangover either. Sigh.
    /endMormonMadness

    Then on the gay-bashing front, the violent thugs that tried to kill a gay couple and lied about attempted kidnapping are up for their first parole hearing. (I’ve mentioned it before) They beat the couple horrifically and left them for dead; it took almost 2 years for one of the men to be exonerated on kidnapping charges and for his attempted murders to face charges. They are not only sorry, but would clearly do so again. I hate my state today.

    At their parole hearing, Mageo and Nuusila said they had each drank between 20 and 30 beers when they were told the children were missing.

    “It just happened so fast,” Mageo said. “I’m sorry that we had to go through this.”

    Nuusila also apologized for the attack: “I made a bad judgment call. I took the law into my own hands. I regret it with all my heart.”

    “I know what he did,” Peace said. “He knows what he did. He tries to put it off like he didn’t do anything and he tried to put it on us 100 percent. He knows that he was guilty.”

    The Utah Board of Pardons and Parole typically takes about a month to issue decisions on parole. Peace, Mageo and Nuusila were all sentenced in May on third-degree felony counts of aggravated assault, burglary and riot.

    Notice they weren’t charged with attempted murder or any other similar charge despite the severity of the attack. Seriously, bashing someone’s head into the pavement over and over or attempting to cave his partner’s head in with a television and frying pan isn’t just aggravated assault.

  38. 538
    slignot

    Oh, and speaking of slutwalks earlier, there’s one in Minneapolis tomorrow.

  39. 539
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Hi, all.

    I see the Haters Gotta Hate threat is living up to its title. I’d dive in but operating a copmputer is beyond me right now. I had another tooth pulled. This one was just the roots. So he had to cut away the gums, then portions of the lingual and labial maxilla and took the root out in pieceds. Vicodin is my friend.

    Peace. Be safe.

  40. 540
    IndyM, pikčiurna

    @Brother Og: Ouch, that sounds awful. I hope you feel better soon, and that you get to enjoy that Vicodin without the pain.

  41. 541
    slignot

    @Brother Father Ogvorbis, I winced in sympathy. Take care.

  42. 542
    Therrin

    Sili, some potentially useful info here (third reply) and here. Also there was some talk about making sure your (the traveler’s) phone being compatible with US frequencies.

    Regarding charger, it might be more efficient to get a converter and use your regular unit.

  43. 543
    The Laughing Coyote (Canis Sativa)

    I’m altering my nick slightly. I know the hoarde disapproves of morphing, but it’s OK. You can all still call me TLC.

    Fact is, it just doesn’t make sense anymore. When I first came here I was depressed and resigned to the idea of being fairly lonely. I’ll always be a bit of a loner, but I can’t truly call myself the ‘lone’ coyote anymore. When I started reading here and my thinking started changing, I started thinking differently about women I knew, particularly a certain one (my ex) and even though we’re not really ‘together’ calling myself ‘Lone’ now is just inaccurate.

  44. 544
    cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming)

    OK, I get no finds for “bbc” upthread, so this is hopefully novel; the scariest thing I read today:

    Pupils were asked to rate various sources of information – the government, Twitter, the Guardian newspaper, their family – according to how much they trusted it. The results were telling.

    Closest to the heading ‘Trust’ the pupils placed YouTube [...]

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-15097139

  45. 545
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    TLC:

    Not to worry. Nyms evolve around here. Partly based on mood. I suspect that you could use anything with ‘Coyote’ and we’ll figure out who you are. After all, I just promoted myself from Brother to Fater, so why not others? As long as you ain’t doin’ it to obfuscate.

  46. 546
    StarStuff, a soulless cunt

    @ TLC
    So it’s a happy change :)

  47. 547
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    After all, I just promoted myself from Brother to Fater, so why not others? As long as you ain’t doin’ it to obfuscate.

    The mistress of such morphs is Janine. But since Janine is always there, not a problem.

  48. 548
    The Laughing Coyote (Canis Sativa)

    Starstuff91: Definitely. Life is alot happier now.

    I hate how feminists are always portrayed as shrill, obnoxious, and, well, bitchy in popular media. It really does give guys who never stop to examine the privilege this false impression that feminists are all just a bunch of crazy hysterics who hate all men and want to make big issues out of little things. Once it’s reduced to such a cartoony image (which a scary number of guys I’ve known actually hold), it’s very easy to turn it into a boy’s club joke to yuk-yuk over.

    This is really how I used to think, and I still thought of myself as ‘progressive’ compared to some of the circles I’d ran with. It’s hard to honestly examine privilege. But my mind runs where it will and won’t allow me to ignore the glaring pattern once I noticed it.

    It also helped, once I noticed the whole Egate thing, that when I finally jumped in and actually talked to some feminists myself, they didn’t turn out to be crazy hysterical types at all, just angry at being stepped on. No one made me give up my balls to be carried in a little pink purse either, like the media seems to subtly warn.

  49. 549
    chigau (違う)

    Father Ogvorbis
    “Fater” has an ominous ring.

  50. 550
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    “Fater” has an ominous ring.

    Oh, oh, we’re going to have to get him for typing under the influence of vic*din. What’s the penalty *spins the wheel of misfortune* has to watch Expelled in Chinese with Polish subtitles.

  51. 551
    Therrin

    From changeable moniker-provided link:

    “I just believed the first answer that came up, to be honest. I know I shouldn’t do it, but Google’s like a trusted website; it’s a lot of people’s home page and you just automatically put trust in it.”

    Sadz being had.

  52. 552
    slignot

    Life is alot happier now.

    Glad to hear it, TLC!

    Although, it sounds like you care about this alot.

  53. 553
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    Reading this again. Been a long time.

    The visitor from outer space made a serious study of Christianity, to learn, if he could, why Christians found it so easy to be cruel. He concluded that at least part of the trouble was slipshod storytelling in the New Testament. He supposed that the intent of the Gospels was to teach people, among other things, to be merciful, even to the lowest of the low.

    But the Gospels actually taught this:

    Before you kill somebody, make absolutely sure he isn’t well connected. So it goes.

    The flaw in the Christ stories, said the visitor from outer space, was that Christ, who didn’t look like much, was actually the Son of the Most Powerful Being in the Universe. Readers understood that, so, when they came to the crucifixion, they naturally thought, and Rosewater read out loud again:

    Oh, boy–they sure picked the wrong guy to lynch _that_ time!

    And that thought had a brother: “There are right people to lynch.” Who? People not well connected. So it goes.

    The visitor from outer space made a gift to the Earth of a new Gospel. In it, Jesus really was a nobody, and a pain in the neck to a lot of people with better connections than he had. He still got to say all the lovely and puzzling things he said in the other Gospels.

    So the people amused themselves one day by nailing him to a cross and planting the cross in the ground. There couldn’t possibly be any repercussions, the lynchers thought. The reader would have to think that, too, since the new Gospel hammered home again and again what a nobody Jesus was.

    And then, just before the nobody died, the heavens opened up, and there was thunder and lightning. The voice of God came crashing down. He told the people that he was adopting the bum as his son, giving him the full powers and privileges of The Son of the Creator of the Universe throughout all eternity. God said this: From this moment on, He will punish horribly anybody who torments a bum who has no connections.

  54. 554
    The Laughing Coyote (Canis Sativa)

    Slignot, alot of people have sent me that link, over alot of years. They are correct though.

    OK I’ll try to stop. I hate when people do U and R instead of typing whole three letter words, and ‘alot’ is, I suppose, a less extreme version of that type of thinking. It just happens to be very ingrained in this particular primate.

  55. 555
    StarStuff, a soulless cunt

    @ Rev. BigDumbChimp

    Is that from Slaughterhouse Five?

  56. 556
    slignot

    TLC, I swear there were supposed to be fake snarky tags on that one. It’s not actually a pet peeve. It popped into my head when I read what you wrote.

  57. 557
    The Laughing Coyote (Canis Sativa)

    Slignot: I know, but I probably should try to stop anyways. The internet has devolved language enough as it is.

  58. 558
    The Laughing Coyote (Canis Sativa)

    Also, I confess: Since the first time I ever saw that ‘Alot’ page, it’s been stuck in my head.

  59. 559
    Algernon

    This is just a PR stunt to show that she’s ‘one of us.’

    Despite being infinitely poorer than Mrs. Obama, I refuse to shop at Target. So I guess this means she’s still one of “them” to me :P

  60. 560
    StarStuff, a soulless cunt

    Everyone’s changing their names. I wanna change mine. Seems like fun. Don’t know what to change it to though.

  61. 561
    Birger Johansson

    ‘Katherine Lorraine,
    “I’m now single. Not going into details suffice to say I broke up with him and I’m going to be alright”

    — — — — —
    “I used to be lonely,
    now, I’m just alone”

    Anna Ternheim – Today is a good day http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VSHLb31dj2Y&feature=related

  62. 562
    chigau (違う)

    I am amazed that about 10 cups of basil leaves convert to about a cup and a half of pesto.

  63. 563
    ChasCPeterson

    Slaughterhouse Five?

    yep

    Rev BDC, have you heard the new Miles ’67 and Dead ’72 releases yet?

    my reviews:
    wow

    and

    wow

  64. 564
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    Is that from Slaughterhouse Five?

    yep

  65. 565
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    Rev BDC, have you heard the new Miles ’67 and Dead ’72 releases yet?

    Bought the Miles one, it is awesome, though I think I have some of it in bootleg format. This obviously sounds better. Still haven’t watched teh DVD. Wife is out backpacking and I have a bottle of wine, and a bunch of beer. Might have to throw it in.

    Haven’t checked out the Dead release yet.

  66. 566
    StarStuff, a soulless cunt

    Slaughterhouse Five is a great book, IMO. I also really enjoyed Time Quake (which was a little strange, even for Vonnegut).

    I google image searched “blasphemy” to see if there was a particularly funny picture I could post to my facebook since today is Blasphemy Day. There’s nothing very good.

    (I changed my name, but just a little bit :D)

  67. 567
    The Sailor

    Haven’t caught up since #487 but:
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Alethea H. Claw says:
    30 September 2011 at 6:15 am
    “My Bonnie has arrived.”

    WhooHoo! Conga rats ***da da da da DAH!***

    And happy 50th! Mine was great, my GF came tied up with a bow, a nice leather bow.

    Double entendres for everyone!
    ++++++++++++++++++++

    CC, nice pics! I love Yellowstone.

    ++++++++++++++++++++
    Tigger_the_Wing, has he changed blood pressures meds? (I forgot whether I asked this before and I also forgot the answer.)
    One of my BP med’s possible side effects is a “smoker’s cough”.
    +++++++++++++++++++
    Kitty, I am so sorry. I’ve never received any helpful advice in this situation that didn’t sound disconnected or trite.
    May I offer you a handkerchief?
    May I Offer a lady a drink?
    Would you like a nice game of chess?
    +++++++++++++++++++
    (sorry about jumping thread)

  68. 568
    Dhorvath, OM

    Everyone’s changing their names. I wanna change mine. Seems like fun. Don’t know what to change it to though.

    Names are just convenient landmarks. Join the fun. Mine morphs often. (Although I must admit to a reversion habit too.)

  69. 569
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    I love people who own small businesses who give a shit about their product and aren’t all about pushing volume.

    Went to the liquor store near the house which has a surprising huge selection of whisk[e]y and I was eyeballing the high end bourbon / American whiskey. One of the owners comes over and starts asking me what I’ve tried and what i like etc..

    I was eyeing the Jefferson Presidential select 17 and 18 yr old, which is actually from a side venture of the Pappy of Pappy van Winkle distillery fame. Cost right at $100.00 a fifth.

    He asks, so you want to try some…

    uh

    yeah

    Walk to the back of the liquor store. After giving me a brief history of the whole spirit (much of which I knew but wasn’t going to interrupt a man giving me free whiskey), he pours me a nice neat drink in a rocks glass and says, enjoy that.

    I sip while walking around the store.

    Mean while he grabs me a bottle of a wheat whiskey I’ve never tried called Bernheim Original and says I should try it. It’s significantly less expensive (around $30.00).

    That’s how you do things.

    I’m no dummy, he knew I was buying something, but he spent a little extra time to make sure I would be a long term customer.

    Haven’t cracked the Bernheim yet.

  70. 570
    Dhorvath, OM

    Rev, That’s doing business. A good customer is worth nearly any amount of time.

  71. 571
    Rey Fox

    Laughing should be the natural state of the coyote.

    It seems like every now and then we go through a namequake. Me, I’ve had this nym since 1999 or so, so I feel like it’s pretty much inscribed in stone.

    Sorry about the fella, Katherine.

  72. 572
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Everyone’s changing their names. I wanna change mine. Seems like fun. Don’t know what to change it to though.

    How about StarStuff90.9?

    When one changes, it is better to start with small changes. Helps you get used to it.

  73. 573
    StarStuff, a soulless cunt

    How about StarStuff90.9?

    When one changes, it is better to start with small changes. Helps you get used to it.

    I kind of like that.
    I think this is a good start.

  74. 574
    slignot

    @Rev. BigDumbChimp I want to shop at that liquor store. It sounds like my favorite kind of local business; alas all wine, cider, liquor and slightly-more alcoholic beer are sold by the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.

  75. 575
    StarStuff, a soulless cunt

    I made a post about Blasphemy Day on my facebook. I tried to find a picture that was funny but not too offensive to people (I’m not trying to lose half of my friends list here, and the last think I want is for my mother to call me and ask “what is all this about”). So I used this picture: http://tinypic.com/r/osy04i/7
    What do you think?

  76. 576
    pelamun

    re Facebook: Yeah there was this article, Facebook is scaring me

    re Michelle Obama: I’m of the opinion that running for president is a job that requires two people, the public just expects it. If you accept that your spouse is running for president, you need to fulfill your obligations too (those commonly expected of presidential spouses), which includes not having a private moment out in public anymore. Tell me if there is a reason to regard this as a sexist view, then I will reconsider, but for the record, I dislike the way Joachim Sauer, the First Husband of Germany*) stays away from affairs of state. He wasn’t even present during her inauguration! And when George Bush stopped by the biggest question for the German media was whether Herr Sauer would grace W with his presence or not!! He is a successful chemistry professor, but I am also of the opinion that he might at least have had to go to half-time or something to fulfill the representative duties that are expected of a chancellor’s spouse… (A state governor, nobody cares, unless your partner is 16 years old, but a chancellor just has a different type of media presence)

    *) I know Germany has a ceremonial president that takes over most of the ceremonial duties, and that’s the way it’s supposed to be, but Angela Merkel has certain representative duties too, like being hosted by the White House, or various summits. The Foreign Office is afraid every time such an occasion arises and Herr Sauer will just not go and snub the inviting country…

    re nephew-son: As I was showing people photos at an event today. Is there an accepted term for this kind of situation: I have donated sperm for a lesbian couple, who happen to be my closest friends. Saying “my son” sounds imposing as I want to make clear that his two mums are his parents, but “my nephew” (coincidentally, the mums and me, we don’t have siblings, and thus “uncleship” would be a suitable social role) sounds like I’m distancing myself. We’re all like a family already, with my parents also being the third set of grandparents, and some of the family members refer to me as his “dad”, but I personally feel uncomfortable using that word. Any thoughts? Sometimes, I’ve been using the word “nephew-son”.

  77. 577
    cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming)

    @The Sailor: “Later. Let’s play Global Thermonuclear War.”

    That script was so full of win.

  78. 578
    Dhorvath, OM

    The only way to win is not to play.

  79. 579
    Walton

    I tried changing my ‘nym a couple of times, but it didn’t work… I’ve been Walton on the internet forever, and it just seems to fit naturally, somehow.

    I have, however, embellished my ‘nym on a few occasions. At one point I was “Walton, Special Special Dumpling of Awesome”.

  80. 580
    Dhorvath, OM

    Rey Fox,
    I have been Dhorvath since before I was on the web, but I add things and take them away regularly.

  81. 581
    Dhorvath, OM

    Walton,
    You will always be an apron away to me.

  82. 582
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    Rev, That’s doing business. A good customer is worth nearly any amount of time.

    Yeah I know, I guess I’m cynical because most places don’t realize this.

  83. 583
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    pelamun:

    Sometimes, I’ve been using the word “nephew-son”.

    I have a friend who is much closer with her stepdad than her “real” father (he moved across the country when she was in elementary school). She refers to him as “bio-dad”. (I feel I should note that her relationship with “bio-dad” was never bad, just distant.)

    (“Nephew-son” sounds… kind of creepy to me.)

  84. 584
    pelamun

    Star Stuff, it’s cool, I think, and totally appropriate for the occasion, but I don’t know the fundie factor of your friends and mum.

    Since I have done research in a highly religious country, I would not ever post any kind of anti-theist message on Facebook. I’ve even had to lie about my religious affiliation, like “where I’m from, most people are Protestants”. But the alternative would be that people could*) just refuse to work with you, and that would be the end of my research.

    *) I’m not sure about the possibility. They did remember with disgust that a American linguist had visited them 35 years ago and had said to them, that she had no religion. But she did get data nonetheless… But it’d be better not to risk it…

    What I would like to post is though is something anti-libertarian, that might actually lead to a useful culling of my friends list..

    Though this was all theoretical, because I don’t really post anything on Facebook anymore, so sorry for the rant…

  85. 585
    Dhorvath, OM

    Rev,
    I run a small business. People who I can just geek out about my product to and share time with are beyond choice. As much as you enjoyed your experience, if this person was anything like me, they enjoyed it the same if not more. Relationships are what drives small business.

  86. 586
    pelamun

    I have a friend who is much closer with her stepdad than her “real” father (he moved across the country when she was in elementary school). She refers to him as “bio-dad”. (I feel I should note that her relationship with “bio-dad” was never bad, just distant.)

    (“Nephew-son” sounds… kind of creepy to me.)

    Maybe it works better in German, lol…

    Well stepdad vs. bio-dad is a quite common situation, I have had the same situation. But my step-dad came into my life when I was 8, so by that time I’ve been just calling him by his name…. But I always refer him as “my stepdad”, my bio-dad was always “my dad”, but it was always clear that when I said “my parents” it was always my mum and my stepdad, never my bio-dad..

  87. 587
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    Star Stuff:

    Everyone’s changing their names. I wanna change mine. Seems like fun. Don’t know what to change it to though.

    I’ve been through a ton of ‘nym changes over the years (here and elsewhere) and until now I’ve never really felt committed to an alias.

    Audley is the first ‘nym that just feels right. And it’s funny ‘cos I didn’t even come up with it myself– Caine gave it to me a while back.

    Anyway, I like Star Stuff, but if you feel like a change, go for it!

  88. 588
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    When I first began commenting on blogs, I introduced myself as “Billy, A Liberal Disabled Vet.” This was in response to a right-winger who wrote that I wouldn’t know the Army if it bit me (I replied that it did). Then, because it was too damn long, I became “Billy, ALDV.” Which (because of my penchant for parentheses) I became Billy (ALDV). Then Billy (The Atheist). Ogvorbis came about when I realized that every name I had ever had (William, Billy, Bill, Loki, Bilbo, Baby Bunny, etc.) were hung on me by someone else. So I decided to become someone new. The other stuff changes based on mood.

    Star Stuff, enjoy your newnym. And have fun accessorizing.

  89. 589
    StarStuff, a soulless cunt

    @ pelamun
    The rant is not a problem. I like reading people ranting here.
    My mom isn’t very religious, but she’s questioned things I’ve done before (like changing my religion on facebook to humanist, and then back to atheist).

    But it usually just goes like this:
    mom: “Secular humanist?”
    me: “Yeah.”
    mom: *sigh* “OK.”

    or:
    me after a meeting was interrupted by her calling: “I’m at a Freethinkers meeting right now.”
    mom: “Freethinkers?”
    me: “Yeah.”
    mom, slightly confused: “OK.”

    Most of my friends on facebook don’t really care about religion, and the ones who do I don’t really like anyway (not because they’re religious, I just don’t talk to them).

  90. 590
    ChasCPeterson

    I think I have some of it in bootleg format

    Yeah, me too. The way I think it shakes out is that there are 5 shows represented. One of them (from Copenhagen, I think) has never been bootlegged, and there are two uncirculated tunes from the Paris show. The two shows on the DVD have been booted and released as audio and as video many times–they just released the audio like 6 months ago–but still. It’s all amazing stuff.

    You should also check out the Europe ’72 vol. 2 release. I “obtained” all 22 shows but this little anthology is fantastic.

  91. 591
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    pelamun:

    Maybe it works better in German, lol…

    Google translate to the rescue!

    Neffe und Sohn? Hm, I’m not so sure how much I trust the Googs on this.

  92. 592
    Walton

    re Michelle Obama: I’m of the opinion that running for president is a job that requires two people, the public just expects it. If you accept that your spouse is running for president, you need to fulfill your obligations too (those commonly expected of presidential spouses), which includes not having a private moment out in public anymore. Tell me if there is a reason to regard this as a sexist view, then I will reconsider, but for the record, I dislike the way Joachim Sauer, the First Husband of Germany*) stays away from affairs of state. He wasn’t even present during her inauguration! And when George Bush stopped by the biggest question for the German media was whether Herr Sauer would grace W with his presence or not!! He is a successful chemistry professor, but I am also of the opinion that he might at least have had to go to half-time or something to fulfill the representative duties that are expected of a chancellor’s spouse… (A state governor, nobody cares, unless your partner is 16 years old, but a chancellor just has a different type of media presence)

    I tend to disagree. The spouse of a head of government shouldn’t be locked into a particular public role. Some prime ministerial spouses have successful and high-profile careers in their own right (Cherie Blair, for instance), but others prefer to keep a low profile and live as private citizens, and that should be an option available to them. They shouldn’t be locked into the limelight; nor, conversely, should they be expected to sacrifice their own careers in order to support their spouses. Political spouses are not public officeholders; they’re private citizens who just happen to be married to public officeholders, and it isn’t fair to impose any duties on them.

    And it shouldn’t be assumed or expected that a head of government will necessarily have a spouse. In the UK, Edward Heath, who was Prime Minister from 1970-74, never married. (Some people think he was gay, but there’s no actual evidence for this.) A politician’s marital status is his or her own business, not the public’s. In a parliamentary system, part of the point of having a royal family or a ceremonial president is to ensure that the symbolic and ceremonial aspect of the business of the state can be left to them. The political head of government, by contrast, should simply be thought of as a person employed to do a job, not as the personification of the state him- or herself.

    Of course the considerations are different in the US, where there is no separation between head of state and head of government, and the First Lady ends up being locked into a public role. But this isn’t ideal; and there have been some First Ladies (Laura Bush, for instance) who clearly preferred to keep a low profile and disliked being thrust into the limelight; I think we should respect their right to make that choice.

  93. 593
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    Oggie:

    And have fun accessorizing.

    Oh yes, that is the best part! (Not that my ‘nym is an indication or anything…)

  94. 594
    The Sailor

    pelamun – “re Michelle Obama: I’m of the opinion that running for president is a job that requires two people, the public just expects it. If you accept that your spouse is running for president, you need to fulfill your obligations too (those commonly expected of presidential spouses), which includes not having a private moment out in public anymore. ”

    Fuck you and all the horses you rode in on. Your opinion doesn’t mean squat, you have no facts with which to back up your opinion.

    BTW, your Freudian slip is showing, misogynist.

  95. 595
    Therrin

    I first thought the Ogvorbis came from the codec.

  96. 596
    pelamun

    A lesbian friend suggested to me “dein Neffensohn” (this -n is called an interfix in English, or Fugenelement in German, as it links together two nouns to form a compound. It is not a plural ending, though the plural of “Neffe” being “Neffen”, as it is only one child we are talking about)

    Google Translate doesn’t really work in cases like this, with neologisms that haven’t gained acceptance yet, or probably never will…

  97. 597
    pelamun

    Star Stuff, in that case, my opinion is that the picture is fine. Please do tell us if you decide to post it, if you got any negative responses…

  98. 598
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    Rev,
    I run a small business. People who I can just geek out about my product to and share time with are beyond choice. As much as you enjoyed your experience, if this person was anything like me, they enjoyed it the same if not more. Relationships are what drives small business.

    And it shows. Customers who care about quality and service appreciate it. Your kind of biz is the type I’ll drive way the fuck out of my way to patronize.

  99. 599
    pelamun

    The Sailor, I have been trying to find some substance in your message, but failed to do so.

    Of course there are facts: the way national politics in most Western democracies has turned into a grand media spectacle. The president’s spouse, or PM’s spouse is expected to be present in public. I’ve always thought that this kind of expectation is appropriate for the most powerful office in the land, and was of the opinion that I was applying the same standard irrespective of whether the office holder was a man, like Barack Obama, or a woman, like Angela Merkel. But yes, I have had some doubts if that is a valid position, which is why I brought it up.

  100. 600
    Pteryxx

    (just skimming) Congratz on the new nyms, TLC et al.

    No one made me give up my balls to be carried in a little pink purse either, like the media seems to subtly warn.

    But, but they COME in a little pink(ish) purse… *flees*

  101. 601
    StarStuff, a soulless cunt

    @ pelamun

    Well, I posted it a few minutes ago. One of my friends re-posted it because she thought it was funny. So far, so good.

  102. 602
    StarStuff, a soulless cunt

    I think I like this name.

  103. 603
    pelamun

    Walton, yes as I wrote, the ceremonial presidency takes off a great weight off your shoulders. However, even the British PM has ceremonial duties, like hosting state guests at No 10.

    But there are obligations in diplomacy. They might not be of a legal nature, but at least political. So if the female chancellor goes on a state visit, protocol has a place for her husband, and when the gay foreign minister does, protocol has a place for his partner.

    Re single politicians, I know that some president was a widower and asked his daughter to accompany him to state occasions. I’m sure protocol has expectation here too.

    I do detect some sexism in the way the protocol handles expectations for female and male spouses on state visit, and certainly in the different degree of public expectation towards male or female spouses in the media. The question is whether just having the same expectations resolves the issue or not.

  104. 604
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    I think I like this name.

    Whatever boats your float. *hic*

  105. 605
    The Laughing Coyote (Canis Sativa)

    (just skimming) Congratz on the new nyms, TLC et al.

    No one made me give up my balls to be carried in a little pink purse either, like the media seems to subtly warn.

    But, but they COME in a little pink(ish) purse… *flees*

    Holy shit you’re right! Hahahahahahahahaha

  106. 606
    The Sailor

    Pelamun- I’m of the opinion that running for president is a job that requires two people, the public just expects it. If you accept that your spouse is running for president, you need to fulfill your obligations too (those commonly expected of presidential spouses), which includes not having a private moment out in public anymore. ”

    Spouses have to fill your expectations of how someone else’s spouse has to behave?

    Ur doing it wrong.

  107. 607
    Carlie

    AAAAUUUGGGHHHH…

    Zombie walk tonight. Zombies. Slow, shuffling lurching, right? That’s what it was last year. This year, nooooooo. This year they decided to spread out the horde so that it wouldn’t spill over into the streets as easily, so they had a couple of guys being fresh bait with big squirt guns who would go running away from the zombies, many of whom would then charge after them and attack all modern-zombie style. Over and over. For a mile. And, of course, my children were two of the ones who were in the front running attacking pack, and the rules say that kids have to stay with their designated adult. Thank goodness running sprinting is one of the (few) things my old fat body can do ok.

  108. 608
    kristinc, now with added ventilation

    I run a small business. People who I can just geek out about my product to and share time with are beyond choice.

    This summer my family stayed in a touristy seaside town and I was surprised and delighted to find a store with a tiny selection of decent quality incense. I geeked out all over the place and the store owner was only too happy to join me in comparing preferences and trading recommendations. It’s so hard for me to find good, new-to-me incenses I can smell in person, let alone people who are interested in talking about it, and I got the feeling he was in the same boat. It turned out to be one of the highlights of my vacation.

  109. 609
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Therrin:

    I first thought the Ogvorbis came from the codec.

    Ogvorbis is a little-known Saxon saint. He was partially crippled (best guess is that his left knee was screwed up) and was a secular cleric who spent his life preserving the history and natural resources of early medieval England. He had poor eyesight, played both wind and string instruments (he collected the folk songs of his people) and had piss-poor speling skills. So Saint Ogvorbis is the genesis of my pseudonym.

    And with that little bit of Sögulegt lygi, I bid you g’night.

  110. 610
    pelamun

    Spouses have to fill your expectations of how someone else’s spouse has to behave?

    Ur doing it wrong.

    Don’t get me wrong, I personally could do without all this media hype surrounding candidate’s families. But for the past few decades, many Western European countries have followed the American example and become what some have called “media democracies”.

    I see several factors here though:

    1. As Walton has rightly said, the American presidency is a ceremonial and executive presidency rolled into one. This increases the media spectacle to the point that the candidate’s children get pulled into the spectacle as well, which usually doesn’t happen with PMs or chancellors.

    2. Diplomatic obligations: this is something expected in diplomacy. German foreign policy officials have been afraid that Mr Sauer’s absence might be seen as a slight by some country. In diplomacy, every gesture matters. So, if you are the partner of a politician running for the highest office, if you are supporting him or her, that would also then imply your cooperation in the event your partner gets elected to said office. Occupying the highest office in the land will create such a strain on the marriage/family that I hope that nowadays no-one runs without consulting their s.o.

    3. Media expectations: this is the part I don’t like, but it seems that it has become part of the circus. A candidate not having support by his spouse has this as a liability (see Mitch Daniels), so it’s become a political factor. Also in the US, presidents and presidential candidates have used their families as political assets (again, probably not a good thing, but this seems to be the way it is). I’ve found it very sexist that in Germany, chancellor’s wives had been expected to quit their jobs and devote their time to some kind of charity bearing their name. So the example of Cherie Booth Blair is a great one I think. But she was able to plan her time freely and was present for all the important occasions, both international and domestic.

  111. 611
    pelamun

    Father O: as I couldn’t find any Wikipedia entry, can you tell me more about the etymology of Ogvorbis? The ending suggests very very old Saxon, as you’d expect vowel weaking/omission.

  112. 612
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Pelamun:

    Check the meaning of Sögulegt lygi and all will be clear.

  113. 613
    Therrin

    Crip Dyke, from another thread:

    porcupine iaijutsu

    After looking up iaijutsu, I’m now trying to decide what a porcupine scabbard looks like.

  114. 614
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    After looking up iaijutsu, I’m now trying to decide what a porcupine scabbard looks like.

    Do porcupines have a penile sheath, or are are they free-swinging?

    (Sorry, that’s the image that comes to mind with ‘scabbard.’)

  115. 615
    Therrin

    Even Google is against me:

    Showing results for Saint Ogg Vorbis
    Search instead for Saint Ogvorbis

    I think you’ve eclipsed your namesake, Ogvorbis returns Pharyngula links.

  116. 616
    pelamun

    Father O: haha, I had to track down the Icelandic-English Dictionary, by Richard Cleasby and Gudbrand Vigfusson, published in 1874, but that was totally worth it!!

  117. 617
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Therrin:

    Translate the Icelandic phrase Sögulegt lygi and it’ll make sense. Honest.

  118. 618
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    You should also check out the Europe ’72 vol. 2 release. I “obtained” all 22 shows but this little anthology is fantastic.

    I’ll be “obtaining” them myself tonight.

  119. 619
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Pelamun:

    Glad you enjoyed it.

    G’night.

  120. 620
    StarStuff, a soulless cunt

    Translate the Icelandic phrase Sögulegt lygi and it’ll make sense. Honest.

    I see what you did there (now that Google Translate has helped me).

  121. 621
    Therrin

    Hah. What StarStuff said. I sit in deference.

  122. 622
    pelamun

    Father O: did you get this through Google Translate? Because Google doesn’t have hits for the exact phrase “Sögulegt lygi”. However what with Icelandic being such a small language community (as much as Anaheim, CA, or Arlington, TX, in the entire country), it could just be a coincidence that this phrase doesn’t appear on the internet. The last time I met an Icelander was 10 years ago, so I can’t ask directly.

  123. 623
    SallyStrange

    This is the weekend! StrangeBoyfriend and I are driving to Maryland, in separate vehicles, both packed with stuff. I will leave him there and return to Vermont.

    It will be a bit of a relief to not have to share my apartment with him anymore. But I will miss the heck out of him.

    We got a family phone plan now, since we’ll be talking on the phone so much more.

    Oh, modern relationships are so confusing! But rewarding. It’s been 5.5 years, about, and I don’t regret a second of it.

    I wish I could just drink some beers and relax but I still have to tie stuff down on my truck.

    ((hugs)) for Katherine. Breakups are hard, and it’s a thing that resonates with me for obvious reasons. A separation isn’t the same as a breakup, but it’s close enough.

  124. 624
    pelamun

    The Icelander was in my Mandarin course for two years, and if I ever meet an Icelander again, I will try to test the hypothesis that all Icelanders know each other, and try to get the guy’s email address from the guy.

    Or maybe I should just take a vacation there on the way from Europe to the US or vice versa… there’ll be a bunch of them, and I hear the volcanoes are nice…

  125. 625
    pelamun

    Anaphora breakdown fixed…

    The Icelander was in my Mandarin course for two years, and if I ever meet an Icelander again, I will try to test the hypothesis that all Icelanders know each other, and try to get the guy’s email address from them.

    Or maybe I should just take a vacation there on the way from Europe to the US or vice versa… there’ll be a bunch of them, and I hear the volcanoes are nice…

  126. 626
    Mattir, Another One With Boltcutters

    Figured that this was more appropriate here than on the Anthony Navarro thread: For a variety of personal and relationship reasons, I do not have a bound copy of my final dissertation. After today’s Holy-Shit-Where-Are-The-Computer-Backup-Files moment, I’m (a) backing it up in the cloud and putting copies in my safe deposit box, and (b) getting it and the data files printed and bound.

    Plus note: although Mr. Patriarch refused to read it when I finished*, the Spawn have asked to, which is sweet.

    *Free advice – this is not a good relationship move.

  127. 627
    Alethea Kuiper-Belt

    Thanks for the birthday greetings. It’s a pity the weather is grey and rainy – not good for either running-in rides or BBQ & spa parties. Oh well, indoors it is.

    @SQB: it’s 1st October, whatever the timezone :)

    @chigau: Of course I’m making my own cake! I also catered full meals for 50 guests for my 21st and 30th. I had a joint 40th with a friend whose Dad was a butcher so we did a whole lamb spit roast for that. Cooking is fun. For “42″, I made pangalactic gargle blasters, and I notice half of that is still in the freezer. Hmm.

    Actually, I suppose it’s not “of course” since I haven’t been well. But I have managed 2 cakes – Chocolate & Guinness; and Tuscan ricotta. First time for the ricotta one and it sank. Oh well, I’m sure it will taste fine.

    @First Approximation: “Guys, good rule of thumb: don’t take dating advice from psycho misogynists.” – my first thought was Oh Noes! Cue the MRAs to claim they have a right to take dating advice from psycho misogynists if they want, and you are oppressing them, and you are a cunt. But since you’re a “Dark Lord” not a “Dark Lady” that must mean you’re pussywhipped or a mangina or something like that. Sorry to bring the bad news.

    @Kitty: sorry to hear about your breakup. Good luck with keeping it amicable. It sound like Beau was a nice chap, perhaps the friends thing can happen – but I suggest giving it a few months to heal first. Best strategy to move to Australia: get a nursing or other professional health qualification. There’s terrible shortages here. Though a specialist IT professional gives you a pretty good chance, too. Oh – and now you can get your hypothetical Aussie passport to say which ever gender you want! No birth-assigned gender compulsion, yay!

    @Laughing Coyote: morphing to avoid bannination or to cause confusion is bad, but open name changes are OK. I changed mine only last month. And alot is too a word! I love this alot!

    @Walton: LOL@your “The spouse of a head of government shouldn’t be locked into a particular public role.” … but it’s OK if they’re born into it, right? Would you agree that Prince Phil the Greek and Princess Kate and Princess Diana shouldn’t have been locked into their particular public roles?

  128. 628
    John Morales

    Katherine, it mildly amuses me to realise you’re as straight as I am (but it’s less obvious, given your circumstances).

    (Must be confusing to those who don’t get it)

  129. 629
    Walton

    I’m reposting my last post from the Navarro thread here, since it’s slightly off-topic for that thread, and may be of wider significance. It’s something that I want to know people’s views on.

    On the Navarro thread, and elsewhere, I’ve long been arguing that it is not rational, helpful or constructive to label people who engage in harmful behaviour as “evil” and similar epithets, nor to blame them and to seek to “punish” them on the basis that they “deserve” it. Rather, I’d say that when someone is engaging in harmful behaviour, it’s more useful to seek to understand, and to overcome, the social and psychological causes of their behaviour. I stand by that position. It’s useless to label people as “evil”, or to blame them and seek revenge on them for their behaviour; a rational response is to try to understand what forces compel them to act as they do, so that we can try to stop them doing so in future.

    Yet I do, on occasion – especially when angered by something egregious, like the death penalty or the racist maltreatment of undocumented migrants – refer to authoritarian politicians, abusive police officers, etc., using epithets like “evil” and “scumbag”. Implicitly, in using such terms, I’m blaming them and holding them morally responsible for the things they do. There’s an apparent inconsistency here in my thinking (or, at least, in my emotions and rhetoric).

    Can I justify this rhetorical difference, in principle? Probably not. But I think the reason for my difference in reaction is that I’m capable of getting much more angry at those with power than at those without it. The difference between, say, Rick Perry and Anthony Navarro is that Perry has a great deal more power to hurt a great many more people than Navarro does, with the weight of coercive state power behind him; and while few people would defend Navarro’s conduct, millions of American voters seem happy to defend Perry and to continue electing him to public office. I guess this is the reason for my difference in emotional reactions, and why I find it hard to feel the same empathy and understanding towards politicians and powerful people who are causing harm that I feel towards the people our society labels as “criminals”.

    Despite my instinctive anger, though, I certainly don’t bear malice towards someone like Rick Perry or Michele Bachmann; I don’t want to see them harmed personally in any way, or subjected to any sort of vengeance. Rather, I just want to see them removed from office, and their ideas excised from the business of government. I don’t want to hurt them; I just want to remove from them the power to hurt other people.

    (For this reason, I don’t really support the idea of, say, prosecuting Bush or Cheney for their involvement in torture and war crimes. Not because I don’t think they’re guilty of various crimes – they are – but because I don’t believe in retribution, and don’t see any point in taking such action against someone who no longer has any power. The only justification for such action is to “send a message” to other future political leaders; and I’m generally uncomfortable, in any context, with the mindset of il est bon de tuer de temps en temps un amiral pour encourager les autres. I don’t think the approach of hurting someone deliberately in order to make a public example of them, and to deter others, is really particularly civilized behaviour or something in which we ought to be engaging.)

    Sorry for the OT post; I just thought I should confront this own apparent inconsistency in my own instincts and reactions.

  130. 630
    John Morales

    Walton:

    On the Navarro thread, and elsewhere, I’ve long been arguing that it is not rational, helpful or constructive to label people who engage in harmful behaviour as “evil” and similar epithets, nor to blame them and to seek to “punish” them on the basis that they “deserve” it.

    Here, let me define ‘evil’: The needless, deliberate infliction of suffering on others.

    (Do you care to provide your own definition?)

    As an aside, if they’re not to blame, they aren’t guilty, are they?

    (Care to elucidate the semantics of those terms?)

  131. 631
    pelamun

    Walton, does this mean you were also against Pinochet and other former dictators to stand trial? (I’m deliberately keeping myself to contemporary examples in order not to Godwin the argument, I’m also not implying that Bush and Cheney were dictators)

  132. 632
    pelamun

    il est bon de tuer de temps en temps un amiral pour encourager les autres

    French language question: can “encourager” have a negative connotation as it seems to do here? (I presume that the English translations of this bon mot have “encourage” due to interference effects)

  133. 633
    pelamun

    Sorry, I just remembered, otherwise I would have merged it with the French post: Chinese has an equivalent chengyu: 殺雞儆猴 sha1ji1jing3hou2 “kill the chicken as a warning to the monkeys”

  134. 634
    Walton

    @Walton: LOL@your “The spouse of a head of government shouldn’t be locked into a particular public role.” … but it’s OK if they’re born into it, right? Would you agree that Prince Phil the Greek and Princess Kate and Princess Diana shouldn’t have been locked into their particular public roles?

    Yeah… I’ve been thinking about monarchy for the last few days, and I’ve come to the view that many of my more idealistic pro-monarchy arguments are, in fact, bullshit, and that much of what I’ve said on the subject has been wrong (and inconsistent with my more well-founded opinions in other areas).

    Realistically, from a cynical perspective, I will be the first to admit that monarchy is an arbitrary, flawed and unjust system. Of course, so are all other systems of government. Government is, after all, just a glorified protection-racket, backed up by people with guns; we shouldn’t pretend that anyone, king or president, has a “legitimate right” to rule us or command our allegiance, or any other such nationalistic bullshit. All governments should be distrusted; after all, all of them are built on institutionalized violence, and most of them throughout history have been aimed at protecting the privileges of the rich and powerful by force at the expense of everyone else.

    Don’t get me wrong. I’m not making some kind of libertarian argument here. I’ll be the first to say that we need an effective government; in the absence of a government, or with a weak government, one just ends up with the local armed gang of thugs filling the power-vacuum (as with al-Shabab in Somalia). Similarly, when conservatives and right-wing libertarians talk about “freedom” and “small government”, they don’t actually mean it; what they mean is that they want the coercive power of the state to be deployed solely towards protecting the privileges and property of the rich and powerful, while scrapping those parts of the state that benefit the poor. Their rhetoric is a smokescreen.

    Nonetheless, all governments and their motivations should be distrusted, and we should never buy into the idiotic idea that anyone, hereditary or elected, has a “right” to rule us, or that we owe some kind of natural debt of allegiance to a self-proclaimed nation-state simply because we happened to be born under its rule.

    I just doubt there’s any major benefit in changing from a monarchy to a republic, given that it doesn’t tend to make much real difference either way to the political system. It’s just a cosmetic change; and if anyone thinks that making a cosmetic change to the way we select the head of state will magically make society freer, more compassionate or more prosperous, they’re probably deluding themselves. If you want a more democratic society, focus on the people who actually wield power – the politicians and their corporate overlords – rather than the purely-cosmetic royal families.

    Meh. Sorry for the incoherent rant. I’m just in a cynical mood this evening.

    =====

    (Just because I can’t help being compulsively pedantic: there is no such person as “Princess Kate”, because she isn’t a princess in her own right. Rather, following traditional protocol, the correct title is “Princess William, Duchess of Cambridge”, or simply “The Duchess of Cambridge”. If her husband had not been given a dukedom, she would have become “Princess William of Wales”. Women who marry princes do not, in Britain, become “Princess [first name]“; rather, they take their husband’s names and titles. Hence why the wife of Prince Michael of Kent is titled “Princess Michael of Kent”; it would be incorrect to call her “Princess Marie-Christine”.

    This might all seem rather arbitrary and stupid, and more-than-a-little sexist; but it’s the way it works, and it hasn’t changed substantially since the letters patent issued by George V in 1917. Don’t blame me.)

  135. 635
    pelamun

    Walton, I’m happy to have played my little part in sowing some doubts in your mind about the splendour and awesomeness of monarchy.

    I agree with you on the sentiment that no government should be trusted, all have their defects, but I do believe that a liberal, democratic republic with a functioning welfare state and a reasonably regulated market economy is the least defective of the systems. Somewhere there is a Churchill quote, I bet…

  136. 636
    pelamun

    Hence why the wife of Prince Michael of Kent is titled “Princess Michael of Kent

    Finally I realise the reason behind this stupid, and at times to me, confusing title. I think the British press wouldn’t say Princess Di, but Lady Di, right? But the Continental press certainly has no compunctions of Princess + name all the time. I suspect Princess Michael of Kent is not important enough to figure in the Continental press, and thus the only time I’ve read about her was the British one… I might be wrong, I’m tired and need to sleep..

  137. 637
    Walton

    Here, let me define ‘evil’: The needless, deliberate infliction of suffering on others.

    Ironically, this brings you into a kind of practical agreement with me; by your definition, retribution for retribution’s sake would qualify as “evil”. After all, retribution for retribution’s sake is by definition “needless” (in the sense that it serves no purpose other than vengeance), “deliberate”, and involves the infliction of suffering on the perceived wrongdoer.

    As an aside, if they’re not to blame, they aren’t guilty, are they?

    I was using “guilty” in a legal sense, not a moral one. I think there’s a strong argument that they are legally guilty of certain crimes (I won’t go into the specifics). This has no bearing on whether the concept of “blame” is coherent in a philosophical sense.

    Walton, does this mean you were also against Pinochet and other former dictators to stand trial?

    Yes. In Pinochet’s case (well-known to international law scholars, because the extradition proceedings in the English courts involved complicated issues of sovereign foreign immunity, and it’s one of the landmark cases in that area), he was arrested for extradition to Spain when he was a sick old man, no longer any danger to anyone, and had come to London for medical treatment. The criminal prosecution was a completely pointless exercise.

  138. 638
    pelamun

    So I didn’t read your last paragraph well enough, so here goes

    I just doubt there’s any major benefit in changing from a monarchy to a republic, given that it doesn’t tend to make much real difference either way to the political system. It’s just a cosmetic change; and if anyone thinks that making a cosmetic change to the way we select the head of state will magically make society freer, more compassionate or more prosperous, they’re probably deluding themselves. If you want a more democratic society, focus on the people who actually wield power – the politicians and their corporate overlords – rather than the purely-cosmetic royal families.

    As we discussed it before: even cosmetic changes matter, as having a minority attain the highest office in the land does serve as an example and encouragement to others. This is ruled out in a monarchy, which can in turn foster resentment. You might have been lucky with Queen Elizabeth, but there are plenty of cases from constitutional monarchies around the world where the monarch has used their position to influence politics behind the doors in favour of conservative political forces. And who knows what the Queen, and the various Court officials, does to influence leaders behind closed doors.

    Also, a ceremonial president usually has the political capital to exercise certain powers, such as constitutional review of laws, moderating the political process, which ultimately leads to more stability.

    You are certainly right, though, that this is not the most important one of issues in the political arena. So if by focusing on politicians you mean strengthen campaign finance laws and lobbying groups oversight, you will get no difference of opinion from me…

  139. 639
    Alethea Kuiper-Belt

    I think Princess is rather like Mrs, as a title. Once it used to obliterate the woman entirely – “An hour ago she was just plain old Betty Munroe and now… now she’s Mrs. Ralph Hapschatt.” Now that’s considered wrong by all except the most ancient of sticklers, and she’d be Mrs Betty Hapschatt. But “Princess William” seems wrong.

  140. 640
    pelamun

    The criminal prosecution was a completely pointless exercise.

    Not to the families of the victims of his regime. I understand where you’re coming from, but it was a very important step politically, and also helped to get Chilean society collectively move a giant step towards closure, something which hadn’t been possible due to the way Pinochet had manipulated the constitution before stepping down.

  141. 641
    Walton

    I agree with you on the sentiment that no government should be trusted, all have their defects, but I do believe that a liberal, democratic republic with a functioning welfare state and a reasonably regulated market economy is the least defective of the systems.

    Sure. But in the real world, I think it would be hard to claim that it makes any real difference whether your liberal constitutional social-democratic republic is called a republic, or whether it’s a republic-in-all-but-name with a hereditary head of state. As long as it has the other basic elements – an elected legislature, a bill of rights, an independent judiciary, freedom to form parties and trade unions, and so on – I don’t think, as a matter of observation, that it makes a great deal of difference how the head of state is selected. It’s a purely cosmetic difference. It’s hard to argue that Portugal, Greece and France, say, are significantly freer or better-governed than Norway, Spain and Luxembourg.

    I think the British press wouldn’t say Princess Di, but Lady Di, right?

    The press generally called her “Princess Diana”, but this was technically wrong. When she was married to the Prince of Wales, the correct style was “Her Royal Highness The Princess of Wales”; after the divorce, she lost the “Royal Highness” and simply became “Diana, Princess of Wales”.

    “Lady Diana Spencer” was her maiden name (she was styled “Lady” as the daughter of an earl), but I’ve rarely seen her described as such in the press, and it would have been formally incorrect to call her by that name after her marriage.

  142. 642
    Mattir, Another One With Boltcutters

    Walton, if you don’t stop with the royalty thing, we are going to impose some bizarro coronation procedure on you at Rhinebeck and take pictures.

  143. 643
    John Morales

    Walton,

    Here, let me define ‘evil’: The needless, deliberate infliction of suffering on others.

    Ironically, this brings you into a kind of practical agreement with me; by your definition, retribution for retribution’s sake would qualify as “evil”. After all, retribution for retribution’s sake is by definition “needless” (in the sense that it serves no purpose other than vengeance), “deliberate”, and involves the infliction of suffering on the perceived wrongdoer.

    You implicitly concur with my definition, then. Nice.

    OK, granting you that “retribution for retribution’s sake would qualify as “evil””; are you implying that no other form of retribution exists?

    If not, care to address those forms?

  144. 644
    pelamun

    Sure. But in the real world, I think it would be hard to claim that it makes any real difference whether your liberal constitutional social-democratic republic is called a republic, or whether it’s a republic-in-all-but-name with a hereditary head of state. As long as it has the other basic elements – an elected legislature, a bill of rights, an independent judiciary, freedom to form parties and trade unions, and so on – I don’t think, as a matter of observation, that it makes a great deal of difference how the head of state is selected. It’s a purely cosmetic difference. It’s hard to argue that Portugal, Greece and France, say, are significantly freer or better-governed than Norway, Spain and Luxembourg.

    Well, as I have tried to say so, it is not a cosmetic difference. I’m partly minority myself, and the fact that Barack Obama has become American president, or that a German citizen of Turkish descent could theoretically become chancellor, is a huge symbol of inclusiveness to me (and Germany does have a female chancellor, a vice-chancellor born in Asia, and a gay foreign minister, though all ceremonial presidents until now have been white heterosexual men). The British monarchy in this case just embodies white privilege to me, sorry…

  145. 645
    pelamun

    The press generally called her “Princess Diana”, but this was technically wrong. When she was married to the Prince of Wales, the correct style was “Her Royal Highness The Princess of Wales”; after the divorce, she lost the “Royal Highness” and simply became “Diana, Princess of Wales”.

    I see, so I did misremember. The monarchy must be in a sorry state if even Her Majesty’s press doesn’t keep the rules (SCNR). But at the same time it proves how little I did follow news about the Royal Family – pheeeww..

  146. 646
    Walton

    I think Princess is rather like Mrs, as a title. Once it used to obliterate the woman entirely – “An hour ago she was just plain old Betty Munroe and now… now she’s Mrs. Ralph Hapschatt.” Now that’s considered wrong by all except the most ancient of sticklers, and she’d be Mrs Betty Hapschatt. But “Princess William” seems wrong.

    Yep, you’re exactly right. Historically, a married woman adopted her husband’s full name and title for formal protocol purposes, unless she held a title in her own right that was higher than his. (So Margaret Thatcher was “Mrs. Denis Thatcher”, until she became a Privy Counsellor, which made her “The Right Honourable Margaret Thatcher”.) This is no longer the usual practice in society at large, but it is still technically the correct practice for royalty and aristocracy in Britain; a woman adopts her husband’s title, unless she holds a title of her own that outranks his.*

    (*This tradition no longer seems to be maintained outside Britain, though. In most European monarchies today, a woman who marries a prince keeps her own name, while taking her husband’s title: Princess Tessy of Luxembourg, for instance, or Mette-Marit, Crown Princess of Norway.)

    Conversely, a non-titled man who marries a titled woman does not automatically get a title at all; nor do their children automatically have titles. So Princess Anne’s ex-husband, Mark Phillips, does not have a royal title. Nor do their children, Zara Phillips and Peter Phillips, although both are in the line of succession to the throne. Similarly, while the wife of a King is a Queen Consort, the opposite is not true; there is no such thing as a “King Consort”. So Prince Philip was not automatically entitled to any title when he married Princess Elizabeth (as she then was) in 1947; King George VI gave him the title of “Duke of Edinburgh” after the marriage, and the Queen made him a Prince of the United Kingdom in 1957. (He was a Prince of Greece and Denmark by birth, but he no longer uses that title.)

  147. 647
    RealityEnforcer, Roaming Bear, terror of the Boy Scouts

    Royalty, Pokemon for Walton. You can memorize all the ‘level ups’, what type Pokemon x,y,z and q are, and how the attacks work. You can find Pokemon fun. You can enjoy talking about, thinking about, and fantasizing about Pokemon. You just can’t claim that they make any sense or have universal appeal.

    If you like Pokemon, substitute Yu-gi-oh. If you like Yu-gi-oh, substitute NASCAR.

  148. 648
    pelamun

    Also, for an example of a monarch being a very bad influence on his country’s politics in Europe, look at the history of recent constitutional changes in Liechtenstein. Tiny it may be, but it is a proud monarchy, with a bully for a monarch.

  149. 649
    Walton

    Well, as I have tried to say so, it is not a cosmetic difference. I’m partly minority myself, and the fact that Barack Obama has become American president, or that a German citizen of Turkish descent could theoretically become chancellor, is a huge symbol of inclusiveness to me (and Germany does have a female chancellor, a vice-chancellor born in Asia, and a gay foreign minister, though all ceremonial presidents until now have been white heterosexual men). The British monarchy in this case just embodies white privilege to me, sorry…

    I see your point. Though, now that royals are no longer restricted to marrying other royals, it’s perfectly possible for someone of ethnic-minority descent to marry into a royal family: see, for instance, Princess Angela of Liechtenstein, an African-American from New York who is married to Prince Maximilian of Liechtenstein, younger son of the reigning Prince.

  150. 650
    Walton

    Walton, if you don’t stop with the royalty thing, we are going to impose some bizarro coronation procedure on you at Rhinebeck and take pictures.

    Give me some credit… I did say:

    Yeah… I’ve been thinking about monarchy for the last few days, and I’ve come to the view that many of my more idealistic pro-monarchy arguments are, in fact, bullshit, and that much of what I’ve said on the subject has been wrong

    ======

    Royalty, Pokemon for Walton. You can memorize all the ‘level ups’, what type Pokemon x,y,z and q are, and how the attacks work. You can find Pokemon fun. You can enjoy talking about, thinking about, and fantasizing about Pokemon. You just can’t claim that they make any sense or have universal appeal.

    Indeed. And if one is a real dork… er… enthusiast, one can even create one’s own fictional countries and create fictional royal genealogies for them. (I will not comment on whether I’ve personally done this.) :-p

  151. 651
    Mattir, Another One With Boltcutters

    Walton, just wait until you see your, um, crown…

  152. 652
    Walton

    Ha… pelamun, how did we manage to mention the Princely Family of Liechtenstein independently in separate posts at the exact same moment? :-/

  153. 653
    Walton

    Also, for an example of a monarch being a very bad influence on his country’s politics in Europe, look at the history of recent constitutional changes in Liechtenstein. Tiny it may be, but it is a proud monarchy, with a bully for a monarch.

    Reportedly, Prince Hans-Adam threatened to abandon the country, and sell the palace to Bill Gates, unless the voters agreed to grant him more powers in a constitutional referendum in 2003. This tactic worked: 64 percent of the electorate voted in favour of the changes.

    Less amusingly, he has depressingly trenchant right-wing economic views, and in an interview last year he expressed sympathy with the Tea Party movement. :-(

    (Not coincidentally, the princely house of Liechtenstein are also the richest royal family in Europe; they own a successful private banking group.)

  154. 654
    pelamun

    So tell me about any reigning house in Europe where the freaking crown prince / crown princess is married to someone of non-white background? Not junior members. That’s not much hope and inspiration, if enough elder siblings die, or if we just wait another 50-100 years, a non-white person could finally become king….

    Nah, nice try, but I’m not buying it.

  155. 655
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    Holy shit, Strange Brew is on the free “HD” movies on Xfinity.

    Take off Hosers

    Rosie rose

  156. 656
    pelamun

    Indeed. And if one is a real dork… er… enthusiast, one can even create one’s own fictional countries and create fictional royal genealogies for them. (I will not comment on whether I’ve personally done this.) :-p

    And probably the language dork equivalent would be creating your own language :D You could also combine this, like Tolkien did…

    Yeah, the Liechtenstein thing was bizarre.. But actually I didn’t know that, it’s a nice thing to know, even if it’s a junior member…

  157. 657
    pelamun

    Less amusingly

    I fail to see the amusement about Prince Hans Adam blackmailing his people. Even thinking about Liechtenstein makes my republicanist blood boil.

    But then I take a deep breath, consider the fact that the entire country of Liechtenstein has only 35,000 people, and get calm again.

    Oh, as I was saying that I once met an Icelander. I also once met a Liechtensteiner, seeing that Iceland has 10x as many inhabitants, that is even a rarer feat!!

    He also told me interesting things how they have outsourced everything from judges (Austria), currency (Switzerland) and tertiary education (NO universities).

  158. 658
    StarStuff, a soulless cunt

    I have to get up at 6 am tomorrow so I can go stand around in a pond for 5 hours. I really should get to bed.

  159. 659
    pelamun

    Sorry forgot a key word there….

    So tell me about any reigning house in Europe where the freaking crown prince / crown princess is married to someone of non-white background? Not junior members. That’s not much hope and inspiration, if enough elder siblings die, or if we just wait another 50-100 years, a non-white person could finally become king / queen….

    Nah, nice try, but I’m not buying it.

  160. 660
    Walton

    So tell me about any reigning house in Europe where the freaking crown prince / crown princess is married to someone of non-white background? Not junior members.

    It hasn’t happened yet, but there’s no reason why it can’t happen in the future. You were pointing out that, in a republic, anyone from any background can theoretically rise to the presidency or equivalent office, whether or not this has actually happened; I’m observing that the same is true of marrying into royal families.

    After all, there is no longer any rule about marrying into families of equal rank, and most of the current generation of crown princes and princesses have married people of ordinary backgrounds. Haakon, Crown Prince of Norway, met his wife Mette-Marit at a rock concert. Prince Daniel, husband of the Crown Princess of Sweden, is a former fitness instructor. Frederik, Crown Prince of Denmark, is married to an Australian former marketing consultant who he met in a pub in Sydney. And so on.

  161. 661
    consciousness razor

    re: Walton

    (Not about monarchism, since strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government.)

    Here, let me define ‘evil’: The needless, deliberate infliction of suffering on others.

    Ironically, this brings you into a kind of practical agreement with me; by your definition, retribution for retribution’s sake would qualify as “evil”. After all, retribution for retribution’s sake is by definition “needless” (in the sense that it serves no purpose other than vengeance), “deliberate”, and involves the infliction of suffering on the perceived wrongdoer.

    That’s not necessarily ironic. John was questioning the semantics of your use of the terms. He didn’t claim retribution wasn’t “evil” in this sense.

    (JM, I worry about your modifier “needless,” since it’s not clear what qualifies as a need or whether the ends being served by it are morally justified.)

    As an aside, if they’re not to blame, they aren’t guilty, are they?

    I was using “guilty” in a legal sense, not a moral one. I think there’s a strong argument that they are legally guilty of certain crimes (I won’t go into the specifics). This has no bearing on whether the concept of “blame” is coherent in a philosophical sense.

    Then what does bear on whether it’s coherent?

    On the Navarro thread, and elsewhere, I’ve long been arguing that it is not rational, helpful or constructive to label people who engage in harmful behaviour as “evil” and similar epithets, nor to blame them and to seek to “punish” them on the basis that they “deserve” it.

    I think labeling people with such epithets tends not to be particularly helpful, but I think there are actions which are doubleplusungood: in other words, evil. We don’t need to disguise our language, or assume that “evil” only comes from some kind of supernatural source (and hence doesn’t exist), just use the term carefully to mean particular kinds of acts which have particular kinds of negative consequences.

  162. 662
    pelamun

    It hasn’t happened yet, but there’s no reason why it can’t happen in the future. You were pointing out that, in a republic, anyone from any background can theoretically rise to the presidency or equivalent office, whether or not this has actually happened; I’m observing that the same is true of marrying into royal families.

    The examples of Barack Obama, Bacharuddin Jusuf Habibie, Manmohan Singh and K. R. Narayanan, arguably also Ma Ying-Jeou, even Nicholas Sarkozy show that while it has happened in democratic republics, while it has never happened in monarchies!!

    Disclaimers:
    - presidents/head-of-governments from a different ethnic group than the majority one in a country are very hard to find. So this is rare but it has happened.
    - Looking beyond Europe, we also find monarchies that are actually minorities (I don’t know if that is called an “oppressive minority” like in Bahrain or what term you use), but let’s restrict ourselves to constitutional monarchies here.
    - Habibie is not a good example, as he was vice president of a dictator. But he did implement democratic reforms.
    - Narayanan is arguably not the member of an ethnic group, but his election to president was a very huge symbolic step also

    And it is still a type of white privilege if the only way to get a non-white king/queen is to marry into the royal family, while in a republic you simply have to run…

  163. 663
    chigau (違う)

    I did it!
    I caught-up with the Hate Thread!
    (I read every word but I did it reallyreally fast. So I’m boggled. And flabbergasted.)
    Good work!
    To all the heavy-lifters: grog, chocolate and fresh basil pesto!

  164. 664
    Ichthyic

    I just popped in to say it’s October here in Hobbitton.

    No evidence yet of Harold Camping’s prediction that the world would end in October.

    Will keep my eyes peeled though.

    uh huh.

  165. 665
    Tigger_the_Wing, Back home =^_^=

    RealityEnforcer,

    Royalty, Pokemon for Walton.

    =^_^=

    I think that I would find royalty a lot more fascinating if it no longer had any real-world application. As it is, I just find it horrifying.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Happy Birthday Alethea! =^_^=

    Hubby is still bringing me over for your party, I’ll just be a little later than I first planned. Can’t wait to see your Bonnie! The pics look great!

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    The Sailor,

    I’m the one in our house with a heart cough (AF/Prinzmetal’s). Hubby’s health has always been rude. He’s on no prescribed medication but I’ve insisted that he takes a daily mini-aspirin, as his father died this year after suffering a decade of multi-infarct dementia.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    My cerebral arteries were playing silly buggers again shortly after I woke up this morning and deprived some chunk of my brain of adequate oxygen. Total paralysis for about an hour. Still a bit slow, but recovering well. Typos galore, so it has taken about 25 minutes to type this comment.

  166. 666
    pelamun

    another disclaimer: Sarkozy is the son of an immigrant. Though of privileged background, but nonetheless.

  167. 667
    consciousness razor

    You were pointing out that, in a republic, anyone from any background can theoretically rise to the presidency or equivalent office, whether or not this has actually happened; I’m observing that the same is true of marrying into royal families.

    I’ll try to keep this short, Walton, because I like you. Being elected to office and marrying into a family are not “the same.” Indeed, one could do both, either, or neither, without contradiction or redundancy. For example, being a married person is a “background,” so unless one is already married into a royal family, the only theoretical possibility for those people from those backgrounds would be to get a divorce. Why such a relationship would matter in the public sphere, rather than the relationship between a candidate and the electorate, is a question I leave open as an exercise for the reader. And of course, (fortunately?) there are only so many royals to be married in given a society, some of which may stay in power for a lifetime, leaving no such opportunities for anyone, married or not.

  168. 668
    The Sailor

    Watching “Let’s Kill Hitler” – Dr. Who.

    The self-referential reference to “spoilers” has made me snicker and chortle. The fourth wall is intact, but it was penetrated.
    +++++++++++++++++
    Walton, as always, you have my respect. It’s very hard to actually change one’s mind.

  169. 669
    John Morales

    I respond to Walton:

    OK, granting you that “retribution for retribution’s sake would qualify as “evil””; are you implying that no other form of retribution exists?

    If not, care to address those forms?

    Walton studiously ignores the challenge, though he deigns to make at least half-a-dozen other comments after that.

    Clearly, Walton doesn’t care to address the issue (not even insofar as to state he doesn’t care to do so!).

    CR:

    (JM, I worry about your modifier “needless,” since it’s not clear what qualifies as a need or whether the ends being served by it are morally justified.)

    Well, I was being extemporaneous, and I did consider whether that quantification was redundant. It has the virtue of excluding entire categories of harmfulness, such as that of people holding down a child so as to enable someone to make an impromptu tracheotomy to save that child’s life, for example.

    (What constitutes needfulness is, of course, arguable.

    Shame Walton declined the opportunity)

  170. 670
    Walton

    Hmmmmm. I’m about to ramble and think out loud (and it’s late), so I apologize if this doesn’t make much sense. I’ll try to put my thoughts in a more coherent order tomorrow.

    I think labeling people with such epithets tends not to be particularly helpful, but I think there are actions which are doubleplusungood: in other words, evil. We don’t need to disguise our language, or assume that “evil” only comes from some kind of supernatural source (and hence doesn’t exist), just use the term carefully to mean particular kinds of acts which have particular kinds of negative consequences.

    Except that the difference between “doubleplusungood” and “evil” is that the latter, as commonly understood, implies fault on the part of a moral agent. If a person is crushed by a falling rock, or a thousand people die of a horrible infectious disease, we might well describe this as “bad”, “tragic”, “horrific”, or even “doubleplusungood”; but, without the involvement of any human agency, we probably would not describe it as “evil”. The difference is that labelling an event as “evil” involves making a value-judgment not just about the consequences of the event, but about the moral quality of the agent that we consider “responsible” for the event.

    Of course, this distinction is an intuitive one; because humans, as sentient beings, do have a kind of agency that rocks ao not. Humans, unlike rocks, have the capacity to learn things through social conditioning, and to change their behaviour accordingly.

    In this sense, the whole structure of rules, rewards and punishments serves a purpose for humans, just as it does for other animals. Just as someone might use a system of rewards and punishments to train a puppy to use his litter-box, or to train lab rats to run one way through a maze rather than another, so our society seeks to use rewards and punishments to train human beings to comply with certain social rules which are deemed to be in the interests of society.*

    (*Or, more cynically, which are in the interests of the power-elites who make the rules: but that’s a separate issue.)

    In this context, the concept of “punishment” is coherent (even if cruel and uncivilized), and its prevalence in human societies has a coherent explanation. It’s simply a mechanism of social conditioning, used by those with power to induce others to follow their rules. And in this context, labelling certain acts and their perpetrators as “evil”, and declaring that they “deserve” their punishment, also has a coherent purpose: it’s a form of shaming and psychological humiliation, much like shouting “bad dog!” at a puppy which poops on the carpet. It’s part of the system of conditioning-by-punishment.

    But the trouble is that this is a very crude, primitive and inhumane tool for conditioning human behaviour. Just as the use of electric-shock-collars and other forms of violent punishment is not a good way to train healthy and psychologically-stable animals (indeed, treating animals this way has now been outlawed in many places, and rightly so), so, too, trying to control human behaviour through violent punishment and psychological humiliation is not a good way to produce healthy or psychologically-stable people. Instead, a healthier and more compassionate way to induce people to behave differently is to use science to understand the psychological, social and environmental causes of their behaviour, and to address those causes. This is borne out by empirical data; in the criminal justice system, tougher punishments are not generally associated with a lower incidence of crime, whereas factors such as socio-economic prosperity, stable employment, good mental health, etc., are strongly statistically-associated with a lower propensity to commit crimes.

    With this in mind, labelling certain acts as “evil” – with all the moral judgment that that term implies – doesn’t seem to me helpful. After all, a human’s behaviour, like the behaviour of any other animal, is a product of genes, conditioning and circumstances. If someone behaves in harmful ways, it’s not because they “chose” to be “evil”; none of us “choose” to be who we are. Rather, the better approach is to try to understand which psychological and experiential factors compelled them to behave in those ways, and to try to address these factors.

    I could be wrong about all this, of course. I’m just thinking out loud.

  171. 671
    Walton

    Walton studiously ignores the challenge, though he deigns to make at least half-a-dozen other comments after that.

    Be patient! Arguing about meta-ethics and theories of justice requires a lot more mental energy and thought than rambling about monarchy. I will reply in due course, but in my view, it’s better to delay replying than to produce an ill-considered and incoherent reply. (In any case, you may find that your question has been partially answered by my response to consciousness razor, though I’m not certain that this is the case.)

  172. 672
    consciousness razor

    Well, I was being extemporaneous, and I did consider whether that quantification was redundant.

    Improvising is good.* (I don’t think Walton was following the changes.) By the way, I don’t think it’s redundant, but it seems to be too general a condition. If only we had the needful words to describe evil sufficiently, we might both get a Nobel.

    *Not evil.

  173. 673
    consciousness razor

    “evil” [...] implies fault on the part of a moral agent.

    Yes.

    The difference is that labelling an event as “evil” involves making a value-judgment not just about the consequences of the event, but about the moral quality of the agent that we consider “responsible” for the event.

    Yes, though “moral quality” is vague at best, and could assume judgment of some “essential” properties of a person (which would not be my assumption).

    (*Or, more cynically, which are in the interests of the power-elites who make the rules: but that’s a separate issue.)

    It’s not a separate issue, but a subset of the larger ethical issues in which such rules and elites are involved.

    In this context, the concept of “punishment” is coherent

    You have carried this line of argument directly to “punishment,” whereas I also think treating people humanely, trying to modify their behavior and improve their social environment, is the best route to take. Calling something “evil” doesn’t entail hellfire and damnation, or the closest substitute we can muster. As I’m using it, it’s merely a fact about an action, that it caused suffering in a particular situation when there were better alternatives. What caused the person to take that action is another fact. What we do, given that information, is another question.

  174. 674
    pelamun

    Argh, the media…

    What’s wrong about

    “Kirsten Dunst accepts German citizenship”

    is that she has a German father. According to German law, anyone who has been born to a parent with German citizenship automatically is conferred German citizenship, she had it all along, even without a passport….

    (This was changed, now for German parents born after January 1, 2000, so probably no cases yet, a child born abroad has to be registered within a year)

    /rant

  175. 675
    Rorschach

    So Kylie Sturgess a.k.a. Token Skeptic is now on FtB as well ? It’s showing on the “recent Posts” column, but not in the blog listings.

  176. 676
    chigau (違う)

    Walton
    one more for you to sleep on

    …a rational response is to try to understand what forces compel them to act as they do, so that we can try to stop them doing so in future.

    re rational
    This will change with the situation.
    In a large group, this may be possible.
    In a small group (50 or so gatherer-hunters) a truly bad actor is better destroyed lest s/he destroy the community.
    That is the rational response.

  177. 677
    John Morales

    Walton,

    Be patient!

    Sorry.

    Take your time, I’m pretty upset right now.

    This will be my last comment, for a while.

    [to anyone following the hate thread]

    I feel the need to say how much I admire you who have been victims and who have the courage to speak out.

    (Bad enough as a perp)

  178. 678
    Ibis3, Let's burn some bridges

    Why am I still awake reading Walton’s ramblings about the monarchy?* I ought to be in bed after staying up far too late last night reading the haters thread. It’s like I’ve been granted semi-permanent insomnia as a parting gift.

    Just like to say thanks again to all the fighters for justice and equality. It’s what makes Pharyngula such a great place to inhabit…um…hang out.

    *I think we get the best of both worlds, having not only a monarch but a viceregal GG who is appointed (much better than having a costly, politicized election)–we’ve had several ethnic minorities, immigrants, and women as Governors General in my lifetime alone–still waiting on someone queer and someone of aboriginal ancestry, but I have no doubt I’ll see both before I’m in the ground, as long as the latter occurs on the predicted timetable.

  179. 679
    chigau (違う)

    John Morales
    have a hug
    (re: some other thread)

  180. 680
    Walton

    Take your time, I’m pretty upset right now.

    This will be my last comment, for a while.

    I’m sorry. :-(

    ====

    In a small group (50 or so gatherer-hunters) a truly bad actor is better destroyed lest s/he destroy the community.
    That is the rational response.

    Maybe. But could you take a human being’s life, in cold blood when s/he is disarmed and helpless, “for the good of the community”?

    I couldn’t. Ever. And if my safety could only be bought by such methods, I’d rather die.

    My morals are a luxury of living in modern civilization. But if modern civilization were ever to collapse, and killing one another over scraps were the only way to survive, I’d simply conclude that life was no longer worth living, and act accordingly. Survival is not always the ultimate goal, and there are plenty of imaginable fates that are worse than death.

  181. 681
    Walton

    I’d also add…

    In a small group (50 or so gatherer-hunters) a truly bad actor is better destroyed lest s/he destroy the community.
    That is the rational response.

    But we don’t live in such a situation. We live in a modern, affluent, sophisticated society with a complex state-apparatus. We have no need to resort to crude and violent methods of “punishment” in order to protect ourselves. You may very well be right that the urge to do so is explicable with reference to the history of our species; but that doesn’t mean it’s appropriate in the modern world, or that we shouldn’t try to surmount it.

  182. 682
    chigau (違う)

    Killing one another over scraps and killing one to save the community are not *remotely* the same scenario.

  183. 683
    Walton

    Calling something “evil” doesn’t entail hellfire and damnation, or the closest substitute we can muster.

    Here, you risk divorcing the word from its real-world context. While I appreciate that you are trying to draw these distinctions, it’s also true that in common everyday parlance, calling an act “evil” tends often to be conflated with calling its perpetrator “evil”, and with the assertion that the latter “deserves” to suffer and that retribution should be inflicted on him or her. I realize that you weren’t making such an argument, but many people do, and that is why I think that “evil”, and similar epithets that imply a judgment about a moral agent’s character, are best jettisoned completely. Better to say that there are no good or evil people; there are only people with problems, and some of those problems are more severe than others.

  184. 684
    Walton

    Killing one another over scraps and killing one to save the community are not *remotely* the same scenario.

    Perhaps they’re not, but they have this in common: it would be better to die than to be compelled to do either.

  185. 685
    Walton

    Also, chigau, you didn’t answer my question. Could you take an unarmed human being’s life, in cold blood, “for the good of the community”?

    If you could do so, then we are not on the same page, morally, and there’s no point in us discussing moral issues with one another at all. I don’t want to live in that kind of society.

  186. 686
    chigau (違う)

    I said nothing about “punishment”.

    But we don’t live in such a situation. We live in a modern, affluent, sophisticated society with a complex state-apparatus.

    Who is this “we” of which you speak?

    …history of our species…

    This is starting to whisper of privilege and perhaps worse.

  187. 687
    Walton

    Better to say that there are no good or evil people; there are only people with problems, and some of those problems are more severe than others.

    To clarify this: of course I realize (and I already acknowledged) that you’re advocating labelling acts as “evil” rather than people. But that distinction is not made clearly, in practice, by most people. And it’s a difficult distinction to draw in practice, because, as we discussed above, the use of the term “evil” implies an assumption of fault on the part of a moral agent: it implies not just that an act’s consequences are bad, but that the person who we hold “responsible” for that act is worthy of blame. Which is why I think it’s better to jettison the language of “evil” completely, and to talk only about “harmful” or “bad” acts – a judgment which relates only to an act’s consequences, and does not necessarily imply that anyone is at “fault” for the act having taken place.

  188. 688
    chigau (違う)

    Walton
    Sorry
    I’m having time-lag problems.

    Could I take an unarmed human being’s life, in cold blood, “for the good of the community?”

    Yes.
    In a heartbeat.
    What has “unarmed” got to do with anything?

  189. 689
    Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM

    tielserrath, thanks for that link from the other thread. They keep making me cry.

  190. 690
    chigau (違う)

    the fucking fully charged battery is dead
    good night

  191. 691
    Inaji

    John:

    I feel the need to say how much I admire you who have been victims and who have the courage to speak out.

    I feel the need to tell you how much I admire you, John. You had the courage to speak out and I thank you, so much. You may not know it, but it’s tremendously courageous and important.

  192. 692
    Ibis3, Let's burn some bridges

    You had the courage to speak out and I thank you, so much. You may not know it, but it’s tremendously courageous and important.

    I just want to say me too, John. And ditto for julian.

  193. 693
    Pteryxx

    *nod*

  194. 694
    Ibis3, Let's burn some bridges

    @Walton

    Before I drop from exhaustion:

    I don’t think it’s moral in most cases to absolve adults from responsibility for the consequences of their actions.

  195. 695
    NuMad

    Walton,

    In Pinochet’s case [...], he was arrested for extradition to Spain when he was a sick old man, no longer any danger to anyone, and had come to London for medical treatment. The criminal prosecution was a completely pointless exercise.

    Pinochet being sick and old had little to do with him no longer being a danger. It’s not like he killed anyone with his own two hands.

    He also wasn’t alone, and in a way he’s still not alone. Justice always has a function as a symbol, I think. And when you’re talking about crimes that can be said to have come from institutions and that have a legacy… then the symbol of justice is more important than at any other time.

    Someone like Pinochet shouldn’t have the leisure to retire as an elder statesman. It’s not, I’d say, a good precedent. Never mind what it says to the victims and people who knew them. Any heinous crimes should have a measure of official infamy imposed on them. Especially when some consider the criminal a hero.

  196. 696
    cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming)

    “what the Queen does to influence leaders behind closed doors.”

    I believe there was once “some kind of drubbing incident”.

  197. 697
    First Approximation, Stormageddon, Dark Lord of All

    Walton,

    Don’t get me wrong. I’m not making some kind of libertarian argument here. I’ll be the first to say that we need an effective government; in the absence of a government, or with a weak government, one just ends up with the local armed gang of thugs filling the power-vacuum (as with al-Shabab in Somalia). Similarly, when conservatives and right-wing libertarians talk about “freedom” and “small government”, they don’t actually mean it; what they mean is that they want the coercive power of the state to be deployed solely towards protecting the privileges and property of the rich and powerful, while scrapping those parts of the state that benefit the poor. Their rhetoric is a smokescreen.

    Nonetheless, all governments and their motivations should be distrusted, and we should never buy into the idiotic idea that anyone, hereditary or elected, has a “right” to rule us, or that we owe some kind of natural debt of allegiance to a self-proclaimed nation-state simply because we happened to be born under its rule.

    QFT

  198. 698
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    HI there
    Just skimming through

    Father o.
    Ouch, that sounds bad, I hope it gets better soon.

    Rev. BDC (I hope you don’t mind)
    Well, will you be going back there?
    If yes, he did right.
    I mean, that’s the only way small businesses can compete. They can’t do it via the price, so they have to offer something extra.

    pelamun
    Oh, the terms. I know a lesbian couple where the sperm donor is not involved in the whole business and they still had problems how and if they should have different names for the birth-mum and the other mum.
    But just out of interest: How do you (all the three of you) manage with the child-support/custody problem? Are you, so to speak “off the hook” if the second mum adopted your nephew-son?
    I think it’s great what you and other men are doing in the fucked-up German system. There must be a high level of trust in each other when you know that the other party could sue you for custody/child support.

    TLC
    That’s a happy name-change
    I like happy name changes.

  199. 699
    PZ Myers

    NEW THREAD!

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