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Comments

  1. FossilFishy (Νεοπτόλεμος's spellchecker) says

    [examines grazed heels]
    Damn, that’s the closest I’ve come to be portcullised.

  2. Portia, sporty and glam, pelted with pastries says

    FossilFishy, last thread

    IIRC, I had the exact same problem. 8:30 am class graded on attendance…that’s just a recipe for disaster.

  3. says

    All the freshman music majors here are required to take an 8:00 am theory and ear training class every day for two semesters. I should have changed majors earlier so I didn’t have to do that.

    Also, nuthatches are one of my favorite birds. They’re so darn cute.

  4. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    8:30 is for wimps. I’m teaching an 8am course next semester.

    Aren’t you up at 5am? If so, piece of cake.

  5. carlie says

    Oh, the band…

    I took 5 years of piano lessons for performance, and spent several years as a substitute church accompanist. I also spent all of my youth in show choir as an alto, and now I’m a pretty low alto – I can do a G3 without trouble, E3 is shaky. According to Wikipedia, I’d probably be a dramatic contralto. Weird, because I have a high girly voice. Wev. To entertain myself at church in college, I used to sing the bass line in hymns.

  6. FossilFishy (Νεοπτόλεμος's spellchecker) says

    Fricken’ hell blogofmyself, theory and ear training at 8 AM!? Whoever put that schedule together had either never met a music student or really, really hated them. There’s nothing like trying to distinguish between half and full dim sevens in first inversion when your head is pounding and your ears still ringing from the night before.

  7. carlie says

    Earliest class I ever took was a 7:30am English Comp. Got done at 2:30 and went back to the dorm for a nap every day. Best schedule ever. Now that I have two kids to get ready and off to school in the morning, I’m fighting to be ready for a 9am class.

  8. Tony ∞2012 recipient of the coronal mass erection∞ says

    FossilFishy:
    If a scientist can find Sasquatch DNA from a bagel, I can accept spectral evidence…

  9. Tony ∞2012 recipient of the coronal mass erection∞ says

    PZ:
    Uh, all you have to do is teach the class. We are the ones that have to do the research and grade the papers…

  10. cm's changeable moniker says

    Heh. Play spot-the-difference with my nuthatches!

    They’re super-cute but also super-timid. They disappeared from the garden for five years, but this year, they’re back. :-)

  11. Tony ∞2012 recipient of the coronal mass erection∞ says

    carlie:
    Best schedule??!
    Mornings are more evil that Rick’s Perry AND Santorum combined.

  12. A. R says

    Pffft PZ! I work in my lab until 8PM, tutor until 2 AM, wake up at 7AM for an 8AM class, and then do it all over again. Pfffft! I say, Pfffft!

  13. FossilFishy (Νεοπτόλεμος's spellchecker) says

    carlie: Come sit next to me and we’ll make fun of those squeeky tenors and sopranos.

    I’m a true bass, once when we were warming up for class the accompanist was running down the scale for the basses. I’d had a long night before and was sitting with my head against the wall, not really paying attention. Suddenly I noticed that I was the only one singing and everyone was looking at me because the pianist had run out of keys on the left side of the piano. A0 I believe. Of course my note sounded like gravelly shit but it was there. Mind you, I don’t recommend spending an evening drinking “Rich Red”, breathing the smoke of hundreds of cigarettes and shouting to be heard over a punk band as means to train one’s lower range.

  14. FossilFishy (Νεοπτόλεμος's spellchecker) says

    Wait, what? carlie, are you a morning person? [shudders]

  15. viajera says

    Red-breasted nuthatch! I love how they sound like little trucks backing up: meep meep meep meep.

    The earliest class I teach these days is 9am, but back in my fieldwork days I’d have to be on site (could be up to 1 hr drive), equipment set up, and starting work at sunrise. Which, when working up north in midsummer, could mean getting up at 3 or earlier.

    On the other hand, the workday was over by 12 or 1, and I’d have the rest of the afternoon to do what I wanted. Not such a bad life.

  16. Alverant says

    OK serious question here. My Dad wants to get me a magazine subscription for my birthday late next month (it’s a tradition that he wants to restart). I’d like a recommendation for a nice science or thinking person’s magazine. Not Scientific American, they “lost” my Dad’s payment one year and it stopped the tradition for a few years and he holds a grudge (and to be fair, so do I but not as much).

  17. cazfans says

    I have a bio-medical question for the horde. I just recently had my gall bladder removed after 2 – 6 weeks of off & on GI complaints, not necessarily caused only by the gall stones. The surgeon said I would be tired, and he’s right. At 57 I’m no spring chicken, but this is my 15th lifetime surgery (I started at ~4yrs with 3 eye (amblyopia) and just last year I had back to back (same day) hysterectomy & breast reduction surgery and don’t remember so much exhaustion. My guess is that my body missed its good liver function and is sorting out both healing and all those normal body toxins (who? me? grog?). The surgeon was not going to guess, but did note that I was a year older. Thanks guy.

    Guesses?

    Thanks

  18. says

    cazfans, I had my gall bother out last year and I had a terrible time recovering. They didn’t get all the gas out, so that took forever to dissipate and caused much pain, which didn’t allow me to get much rest. I was tired as all hells for a good 2 to 3 weeks after.

  19. cazfans says

    Yes that gas can be a real pain but my gas cleared out pretty quick. I’m sleeping 10 hours (usual 6 – 8) plus naps, especially after going back to work.

  20. Portia, sporty and glam, pelted with pastries says

    *gets pen and paper ready to take down forthcoming magazine recs*

    *remembers she has no money for subscriptions*

    *interested anyway*

  21. carlie says

    I’m sorry, FossilFishy. It’s true. I’m no good to anyone after 11pm, and most of the time even 10pm is pushing it. I don’t think I’ve ever slept past 9am unless I was sick, and usually can’t make it past 7:30. But I’ve never been able to decide if I really am a morning person – part of why I get up so early is that I have to have a lot of time to adjust to the fact that the morning is happening at all, and I prefer for that adjustment time to happen when no one else is up to bother me.

  22. carlie says

    You know, I’ll second the Popular Mechanics. Our orthodontist keeps it in the waiting room, and there are often interesting things in it.

    But there’s also Doctor Who magazine. :)

  23. Portia, sporty and glam, pelted with pastries says

    carlie,

    I have that morning wake-up-and-adjust-to-being-awake phase too. My mom is the only one who knows me well enough to adjust her expectations for the first little while of my morning when I’m visiting her. Probably because she was married to my similarly-temperamentededed father for 23 years.

  24. says

    FossilFishy #10: Yeah, it was pretty much awful. I definitely dozed off a few times, and I wan’t even drinking yet that that stage. But you know what they say: Theory and ear training convince you to leave, and music history punishes you for staying.

  25. Portia, sporty and glam, pelted with pastries says

    [non sequitor]

    I get to file a lawsuit in my first pro bono case from the legal aid agency. I’m almost giddy, even though it will take a lot more time than had the defendant-to-be just sent a check in response to my demand letter. Hopefully I can still get a good result for this poor guy anyway.

    [/non sequitor]

  26. John Morales says

    Portia, kindly as I know how, I note it’s non sequitur — lest you misspell it in a professional capacity.

  27. geocatherder says

    My favorite “out there” science magazine is Discover. It’s always an interesting read.

  28. morgan says

    The one magazine I will never let lapse.

    The Sun

    The Sun is an independent, ad-free monthly magazine that for more than thirty years has used words and photographs to invoke the splendor and heartache of being human. The Sun celebrates life, but not in a way that ignores its complexity. The personal essays, short stories, interviews, poetry, and photographs that appear in its pages explore the challenges we face and the moments when we rise to meet those challenges.

    The Sun publishes the work of emerging and established artists who are striving to be thoughtful and authentic. Writing from The Sun has won the Pushcart Prize, been published in Best American Short Stories and Best American Essays, and been broadcast on National Public Radio.

    The Sun invites readers to consider an array of political, social, and philosophical ideas and then to join the conversation. Each issue includes a section devoted entirely to writing by readers, who address topics as varied as Telling the Truth, Neighbors, Hiding Places, Second Chances, and Gambling.

    From its idealistic, unlikely inception in 1974 to its current incarnation as a nonprofit magazine with more than 70,000 subscribers, The Sun has attempted to marry the personal and political; to honor the genuine and the spiritual; to see what kind of roommates beauty and truth can be; and to show that powerful teaching can be found in the lives of ordinary people.

    The Sun Publishing Company, Inc. is a tax-exempt, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, and is supported primarily by subscriptions and reader contributions. Donations to The Sun are tax-deductible.

  29. Portia, sporty and glam, pelted with pastries says

    John Morales

    Thanks for the correction. We use a lot of Latin, but I’ve yet to see that particular phrase used in a legal document. (Challenge accepted!)

  30. says

    I get to file a lawsuit in my first pro bono case from the legal aid agency. I’m almost giddy, even though it will take a lot more time than had the defendant-to-be just sent a check in response to my demand letter. Hopefully I can still get a good result for this poor guy anyway.

    Sweet. Good luck.

    I’m very not a morning person. Years of conditioning and discipline about sticking to the deeply unnatural and inhuman schedule the working world requires have rendered me just capable of handling vehicles generally sans incident before noon, but I’m still not entirely convinced it’s exactly a good idea or anything. And I tend not to do delicate work until late afternoon, if that’s at all an option. Meetings and paperwork are fine in the morning. I don’t like them, much, at any time, and they’re probably even slightly more miserable, then, but I figure it’s like stacking/nesting the misery so it takes less space. And, honestly, since I don’t really trust myself to do anything delicate in those hours anyway, it might as well be the bureaucracy.

    My most productive (and enjoyable) times are typically around midnight. No exaggeration. It’s really when I most like to work, when I tend to get my best stuff done, when things are really going to flow, if ever. Somewhere between about 9pm-2am. Tho’ that’s awfully costly, in the morning, too, what with this accursed worldly veil of tears and its ‘schedules’ and ‘clocks’ and ‘office hours’ (and, fair enough, even without such unreasonable demands from you daylight type people, the rest of my body probably needs vitamin D as much as anyone’s, so it’s not like I could do it all the time even if I were the only person on Earth–or it was just me and a bunch of other Creatures Of The Night) so I don’t get to do that nearly as much as I’d prefer, these days.

  31. Portia, sporty and glam, pelted with pastries says

    Good luck.

    Thanks :)

    And you aren’t kidding, you’re quite the night owl. I’m not as anti-morning as that, but I can relate a little bit. I suppose more than I had previously thought, because I’m sitting here in the office at 8pm still working.

    Tony,
    It took me a second to remember what you were responding to, and it was funny in different ways before and after the realization.

  32. carlie says

    And I tend not to do delicate work until late afternoon, if that’s at all an option.

    Heh. I have an entire semester’s worth of notes from a late-afternoon class which all trail off into random squiggles less than halfway through the session, every single day of the class. Afternoons are deadly to me.

  33. Tony ∞2012 recipient of the coronal mass erection∞ says

    Portia:
    ?
    My mind is aflutter at the possibilities. Dare I ask what goes on in thy head?

  34. Portia, sporty and glam, pelted with pastries says

    That’s a dark and dangerous journey, my friend. Also rather silly, obviously. Before I realized it was a magazine rec, I thought you were just really enjoying your own copy and needed to share your joy with us. Or something like that.

    –====–

    I just reconciled with an estranged friend who was like a sibling to me. I’m crying between laughing at his jokes.

  35. cicely (fair-to-partly-cloudy) says

    Azkyroth:

    …can anyone explain to me why all of a sudden it has become really fucking hard to find coats that are more than crotch length? Or is it just my imagination?

    Global Warming at work, I’m afraid. It no longer gets cold enough in the winter to make the entire person fucking cold.

    Given the number of participants in this Band, is there anyone left to be the Audience?

    Attendance compulsory for the General Public, without an UnTicket.

    For some reason, I have this image of an unperformance being where the audience plays music and the band sits around and ignores them.

    You forgot the part where some members of the band engage in conversation and tell each other hysterically funny jokes, another portion talks loudly on their cell phones, and the remainder try to restrain their undisciplined little maniac children.

    I was pretty good at the clarinet, for a high-schooler, but I quit after 10th grade. I haven’t even picked it up in about 8 years, and I’m now losing my ability to read music. So that should be about right, eh?

    It comes back, though. I went…let’s see…*counts on fingers* fifteen years without playing the clarinet. It soon came back. I figure it’s like falling off a bike; you never really forget how.

    Upon more discussion, turns out that the whole high school group realized it was creepy for all the right reasons. Hooray for some aware youth!

    Indeed!


    I do not “Tweet”.

    FossilFishy: Talk about not-morning people! I ended up changing my major from Zoology to Psychology because Human Anatomy & Physiology was required…and only offered at 8-frickin’-o’clock in the morning. I am not sentient at any 8-frickin’-o’clock in the morning. It does not matter when I go to bed, or when I wake up. (I pulled As in the lab, though…which was held at a much more sensible 2 o’clock in the afternoon. My adviser—who taught both those classes—was amazed at the discrepancy.)

    So…I have most of the requirements for the Zoology degree (at least, at that university, and at that time; I’m willing to bet that the requirements have changed), but never finished. I also have most of the Psychology degree…but never finished that, either. Out Of Cash Error. And now, of course, those ships have sailed, burned to the water-line, and sunk. I are uneddicated.

    Oh, yes; and a completed Math minor. I are uneddicated in one, two, three subjects, ah, ah, ah!

    And now you all know my Shameful Sekret.

    Mornings are more evil that Rick’s Perry AND Santorum combined.

    Prexactly!

    Portia, best of luck (and preparation)!
    -

  36. Tony ∞2012 recipient of the coronal mass erection∞ says

    Young lady, you will TWEET and like it. Or no peas for you…wait.

  37. says

    Just called a couple of friends who live like a block away, who I kinda thought I knew pretty well, found out they’ve been split up since June.

    Feel like I kinda fumbled the conversation. Honestly had no idea they were even headed that way. She sounded pretty okay with it, and I’m still trying to process the ‘since June’ part as we’re winding up matters had to be handled…

    I hate that, actually. Not getting stuff like that right. I suspect I get away with it more than some… Got this sorta eccentric reputation, y’know. It’s like, okay, I guess maybe you wouldn’t tend to know…

    But still. Awkward. And a bit insensitive. I wish sometimes life had savegames, and you could just reload, try that one again, see if you can’t play it a little better, with warning.

  38. says

    Ugh…

    Worked three hours, packed two boxes. Still trying to figure out how to pack the PC tower, which measures around 30″ x 30″ x 8″. I wish I had the box the tower came in.

  39. Portia, sporty and glam, pelted with pastries says

    Thanks cicely! It’s surprising to me what jerks will do for what is to them a relatively small amount of money.

    From facepalmbook (emphasis mine)


    Who doesn’t love a hug or a hand hold from your special someone? I know it’s one of the things that makes me smile and makes other things seem less important knowing I have someone showing me affection. Let’s pray today for open affection in our relationships and that whether our spouse does it or not, we take the initiative to let them know that we care. Lets pray for warmth and tenderness in our marriage. And if you have an undemonstrative spouse, pray for them to see how important this aspect is; pray rather than nag. No matter whether we’re disagreeing or laughing, by holding hands or being close physically it will be a reminder that we love each other and are in this hard thing called marriage together. Pray that past hurts in this area will be healed and that we can get past our own insecurities. I’ll be praying for [redacted] and all of you these next hours:)

    Translation:
    My husband doesn’t give me as much affection as I need, but I’ve been taught that a Gawdly woman doesn’t have feelings or make requests of her ownerhusband, so I’ma make a huge passive aggressive status about it and praaaaaay about it. Then my spouse will magically start fulfilling my needs and we’ll be magically spiritually compatible.

  40. ImaginesABeach says

    I will second the National Geographic recommendation. GirlChild and BoyChild argue about whose turn it is to read it first, I always get it last.

  41. strange gods before me ॐ says

    can anyone explain to me why all of a sudden it has become really fucking hard to find coats that are more than crotch length?

    Artificial scarcity enforced by the trench coat mafia cartel.

  42. Esteleth has eaten ALL the gingerbread! Suck it! says

    Magazines?
    I get and read the following:
    New Yorker
    Scientific American
    American Scientist
    Wired
    Science
    Chemical and Engineering News
    and
    Journal of the American Chemical Society.

    I’ve been thinking about picking up NatGeo.

  43. Tony ∞2012 recipient of the coronal mass erection∞ says

    AAAAAIIIIIEEEEEE!!!!!. Someone help. Please. A pillow, grog, sangria, grapes, a sammich, and a complete mindwipe of the last two minutes of my life. Thanks to WONKETTE (which is where the link leads), I did the unthinkable.
    I went to my first MRA blog (by one Ian Ironwood). On accident (I really did click on text on accident. I was content never to see such anti women drivel firsthand.) Believe me. I feel dirty. The only plus is that most of the 19 comments called out that misogynistic asshat.

  44. Pteryxx says

    One last lawsuit in hopes of keeping the last abortion provider in Mississippi open:

    http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/article/2012/11/26/motion-filed-to-protect-abortion-access-in-mississippi-after-hospitals-refuse-lic

    The Center for Reproductive Rights is back in federal court to prevent state officials from enforcing Mississippi’s unconstitutional new law designed purposefully to regulate the state’s only abortion clinic out of existence.

    House Bill 1390, which was signed into law on April 16th this year and partially blocked by a federal judge in July, imposes a medically-unwarranted requirement that to legally perform abortions in the state, a physician must also be a board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist with admitting privileges at an area hospital. Despite the fact that all the doctors currently providing abortions to women at the Jackson Women’s Health Organization are board-certified ob-gyns, the physicians responsible for the lion’s share of the clinic’s patients have not been granted privileges by any of the hospitals in the area.

    According to CRR and attorneys representing the clinic and physicians, several of the hospitals refused to even process the physicians’ applications, citing the hospitals’ own biased policies and practices towards abortion care as the basis for the denial.

    http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/article/2012/11/26/abortion-foes-redouble-their-attacks-on-jackson-womens-he

    The Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR) has announced that the clinic has finally run out of options, and that every available hospital that could provide the necessary admitting privileges for clinic doctors has refused to consider doing so. According to the CRR’s legal filing, hospitals shied away from offering privileges pointing either to a prohibition against what they define as “elective abortions” within their own organization, or fear of reprisal from outside sources should they associate with the clinic. Refusals often read:

    “The nature of your proposed medical practice is inconsistent with this Hospital’s policies and practices as concerns abortion and, in particular, elective abortions; … [and] The nature of your proposed medical practice would lead to both an internal and external disruption of the Hospital’s function and business within this community.”

  45. Lofty says

    Estleth:
    Magazines: I can recommend IEEE’s “Spectrum” magazine, has some excellent stuff in it, very good read IMHO. A doctor friend of mine passes them on to me when she’s finished them.

  46. chigau (無) says

    Joe #45

    I wish I had the box the tower came in.

    Be careful what you wish for.
    In a cleaning frenzy a few months ago, we discarded the original boxes from appliances we haven’t owned in 15 years.
    And software on 3-1/4 inch floppies.
    —-
    kristinc #53
    I found one on yutub featuring Liza and Alan Cumming
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Cumming
    I agree.
    and his particular Scots accent ….
    I’ll be in my bunk.

  47. says

    Good morning
    Well, first PZ talks about his staff and then he posts pictures of what looks like a tit to me…

    I’m sitting here waiting for the painkiller to kick in and the dentist to open. I wished I could take Ibuprofen.

    +++
    classes: I tend to be an evening person, but I’d much prefer an 8am class to those fucking 6-8pm classes

  48. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    Fuck. Now that I don’t have to drive any more I need moar drinks.

    Anyone else feel like stomping on a couple of rape apology apologists? Sic!

  49. opposablethumbs says

    This was supposed to be from yesterday, but something (probably the influence of Rebecca Watson) wouldn’t let me post for some reason). Anyway,

    Good on your kid, Carlie. That’s way more aware than I was last time I heard that song … only a few years ago.

    But I like the swapping-parts idea, goes some way towards rescuing the song.

    Talking of songs that are profoundly, horribly creepy – and this almost seems to merit a TW here –

    TW – lyrics about rape
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    a while ago I was at a jam session and heard a young woman singing this really bright, cheerful-sounding Southern-style song about a “proud” woman being “put down” (strongly implied by the lyrics – either raped or beaten up or both, and left either broken-spirited or brain-damaged. Or both). I’m not sure whether to be pissed off that I can’t remember the title to post here or overjoyed that I seem to have expunged most of it from my memory at last. It really freaked me out, to be honest. How could anyone sing that and not notice or care what the lyrics were saying? And it was a lovely catchy tune ::shudders::

  50. opposablethumbs says

    Good luck with the dentist, Giliell. I am leaving for the Dental Hospital in half an hour to lose (sobs) a tooth which apparently can’t be saved.

    I haz a sad.

    I also haz a terrified, but what can you do …

  51. says

    opposablethumbs
    Good luck to you, too.
    I’m beyond terrified. I’m at “I don’t care, just make this stop”.
    We’ve been trying to save this tooth for 10 weeks now. Everything went fine, cleaning out the root canals and everything until we did the filling. Then it hurt that I went to the emergency dentist. Cleaning out the filling made everything fine again. Then we spent 4 weeks cleaning and medicating and everything was fine. Now the filling is back in and I’m in fucking pain again.

  52. Tony ∞2012 recipient of the coronal mass erection∞ says

    Giliell:
    Damn. Here’s hoping after today, no more pain.

  53. says

    One of my clinical weaknesses is maybe O&G. This goes back to Uni, because the classes were scheduled for 0725am, a time that for a medical student is just not doable.(same applied to Biochem)

    In other news, Melbourne is imitating Baghdad once again, it’s 39C/102F here today, hottest November day for more than a century.

    Also, because of disenfranchisement with the atheist/skeptic movement as well as the heat, I can’t even be bothered to drive into the city to drink too much with Rebecca Watson.

  54. rq says

    Good mornings and good luck to all those having tooth issues. :( I hope it all goes well!

    +++

    I see the band has made progress, and entered the territory of choir-singing, for which I offer this:
    THE YOUNG PERSON’S GUIDE TO THE SATB CHOIR

    In any chorus, there are four voice parts: soprano, alto, tenor, and bass. Sometimes these are divided into first and second within each part, prompting endless jokes about first and second basses. There are also various other parts such as baritone, countertenor, contralto, mezzo soprano, etc., but these are mostly used by people who are either soloists, or belong to some excessively hotshot classical a cappella group (this applies especially to countertenors), or are trying to make excuses for not really fitting into any of the regular voice parts, so we will ignore them for now.

    Each voice part sings in a different range, and each one has a very different personality. You may ask, “Why should singing different notes make people act differently?”, and indeed this is a mysterious question and has not been adequately studied, especially since scientists who study musicians tend to be musicians themselves and have all the peculiar complexes that go with being tenors, french horn players, timpanists, or whatever. However, this is beside the point; the fact remains that the four voice parts can be easily distinguished, and I will now explain how.

    THE SOPRANOS are the ones who sing the highest, and because of this they think they rule the world. They have longer hair, fancier jewelry, and swishier skirts than anyone else, and they consider themselves insulted if they are not allowed to go at least to a high F in every movement of any given piece. When they reach the high notes, they hold them for at least half again as long as the composer and/or conductor requires, and then complain that their throats are killing them and that the composer and conductor are sadists. Sopranos have varied attitudes toward the other sections of the chorus, though they consider all of them inferior. Altos are to sopranos rather like second violins to first violins – nice to harmonize with, but not really necessary. All sopranos have a secret feeling that the altos could drop out and the piece would sound essentially the same, and they don’t understand why anybody would sing in that range in the first place – it’s so boring. Tenors, on the other hand, can be very nice to have around; besides their flirtation possibilities (it is a well-known fact that sopranos never flirt with basses), sopranos like to sing duets with tenors because all the tenors are doing is working very hard to sing in a low-to-medium soprano range, while the sopranos are up there in the stratosphere showing off. To sopranos, basses are the scum of the earth – they sing too damn loud, are useless to tune to because they’re down in that low, low range – and there has to be something wrong with anyone who sings in the F clef, anyway.

    THE ALTOS are the salt of the earth – in their opinion, at least. Altos are unassuming people, who would wear jeans to concerts if they were allowed to. Altos are in a unique position in the chorus in that they are unable to complain about having to sing either very high or very low, and they know that all the other sections think their parts are pitifully easy. But the altos know otherwise. They know that while the sopranos are screeching away on a high A, they are being forced to sing elaborate passages full of sharps and flats and tricks of rhythm, and nobody is noticing because the sopranos are singing too loud (and the basses usually are too). Altos get a deep, secret pleasure out of conspiring together to tune the sopranos flat. Altos have an innate distrust of tenors, because the tenors sing in almost the same range and think they sound better. They like the basses, and enjoy singing duets with them – the basses just sound like a rumble anyway, and it’s the only time the altos can really be heard. Altos’ other complaint is that there are always too many of them and so they never get to sing really loud.

    THE TENORS are spoiled. That’s all there is to it. For one thing, there are never enough of them, and choir directors would rather sell their souls than let a halfway decent tenor quit, while they’re always ready to unload a few altos at half price. And then, for some reason, the few tenors there are are always really good – it’s one of those annoying facts of life.. So it’s no wonder that tenors always get swollen heads – after all, who else can make sopranos swoon? The one thing that can make tenors insecure is the accusation (usually by the basses) that anyone singing that high couldn’t possibly be a real man.. In their usual perverse fashion, the tenors never acknowledge this, but just complain louder about the composer being a sadist and making them sing so damn high. Tenors have a love-hate relationship with the conductor, too, because the conductor is always telling them to sing louder because there are so few of them. No conductor in recorded history has ever asked for less tenor in a forte passage. Tenors feel threatened in some way by all the other sections – the sopranos because they can hit those incredibly high notes; the altos because they have no trouble singing the notes the tenors kill themselves for; and the basses because, although they can’t sing anything above an E, they sing it loud enough to drown the tenors out. Of course, the tenors would rather die than admit any of this. It is a little-known fact that tenors move their eyebrows more than anyone else while singing.

    THE BASSES sing the lowest of anybody. This basically explains everything. They are stolid, dependable people, and have more facial hair than anybody else. The basses feel perpetually unappreciated, but they have a deep conviction that they are actually the most important part (a view endorsed by musicologists, but certainly not by sopranos or tenors), despite the fact that they have the most boring part of anybody and often sing the same note (or in endless fifths) for an entire page. They compensate for this by singing as loudly as they can get away with – most basses are tuba players at heart. Basses are the only section that can regularly complain about how low their part is, and they make horrible faces when trying to hit very low notes. Basses are charitable people, but their charity does not extend so far as tenors, whom they consider effete poseurs. Basses hate tuning the tenors more than almost anything else. Basses like altos – except when they have duets and the altos get the good part. As for the sopranos, they are simply in an alternate universe which the basses don’t understand at all. They can’t imagine why anybody would ever want to sing that high and sound that bad when they make mistakes. When a bass makes a mistake, the other three parts will cover him, and he can continue on his merry way, knowing that sometime, somehow, he will end up at the root of the chord.

    (c)

    Hmm, that was a bit long. Myself, I am an alto. Yes, salt-of-the-earth, that’s me.

    +++

    In other news, I have no other news.

  55. rq says

    Oh, and then there’s this:

    Golden Rules for Ensemble Singing
    Everyone should sing the same piece. Take your time turning pages. Do not worry if you do not have perfect pitch – you may find singing less stressful without it! The right note at the wrong time is the wrong note. The wrong note at the right time is still a wrong note. A wrong note sung timidly is still a wrong note. A wrong note sung with authority is an interpretation. A true interpretation is realized when not one note of the original remains. If you happen to sing a wrong note, give a nasty look to one of your neighbors. If everyone gets lost except you, follow those who get lost. If you are completely lost, stop everyone and start an argument about repeat marks. Strive to achieve the maximum notes per second – that way you at least gain the admiration of the totally incompetent. If a passage is difficult, slow it down. If it is easy, speed it up. Everything will work itself out in the end. Markings for slurs, dynamics, ornaments and breathing should be ignored. They are only there to embellish the score. When everyone else has finished singing, you should not sing any notes you may still have left.”

  56. rq says

    morning people
    I’m somewhere in the middle. I love to sleep in, but then I usually feel tired and wasteful. If I manage to get up early, I get more done and feel more productive. Also, no matter how early I wake up, I manage to start feeling more wakeful somewhere around 4 – 5PM, which allows me to once again stay up well past any decent bedtime.
    In university I commuted from Toronto to Mississauga via shuttlebus, which required going downtown and then sleeping for an hour on the shuttlebus as it headed back out to the satellite campus. For 10AM classes, that required a wake-up of before 7 (winters) due to traffic and potential hold-ups, also because I like to take my time in the mornings, what with breakfast and all (to those who don’t eat breakfast: I simply do not understand how you function without it).

  57. says

    Best wishes to those with dental problems, and hopefully they get resolved with a minimum of fuss.

    opposablethumbs

    Talking of songs that are profoundly, horribly creepy – and this almost seems to merit a TW here

    The description made me think of the movie The Big Sleep (The Bogart version). There’s a scene where Bogey goes to the big bad’s casino, where Lauren Bacall is singing a bright, uptempo song about spousal abuse.
    Here’s the clip for those interested, I think the TW practically goes without saying.

  58. says

    As a chorister with decades of experience, I can say that it is all *completely* true, except that it fails to account for the transvoxual experience. Personally, I am an alto with the voice of a soprano. I wear sensible shoes, very little bling or swishiness, and I flirt with other Doc-wearing altos and hairy basses. (I do get disgruntled if there’s not enough high notes, though. What is even the POINT of being a soprano if you can’t belt out a few good top As? Fs are routine, don’t give me that.)

  59. rq says

    Alethea
    You’re breaking the categories with your non-soprano dress code. The horror! It’s a wonder you can even say ‘high A’ without flinching! (But that’s a decent range – our sopranos go white at high As, never mind Bflats… mostly because many of them are second-sopranos, not firsts – we’re severely lacking in those. Want to join a Latvian choir?)
    And I have the opposite problem – as an alto, I love the low notes, and there are never enough of those, plus we usually get the boring two-note harmonies. :( Or some composer doesn’t want to write second sopranos and just gives the altos a few high Ds. But when we get a juicy part, boy, is it ever juicy! (But it’s true – nobody ever lets us sing too loud!)

    AJ Milne
    The funny thing is, the choir I’m in has been around for something like 25 years, and in that time, several couples have formed – all of them either soprano-tenor or alto-bass. The one soprano-bass couple broke up (or isn’t doing too well, as far as I know).

  60. Tony ∞2012 recipient of the coronal mass erection∞ says

    PZs revered status must have been revoked. He doesn’t even warrant good trolls these days.

  61. Beatrice says

    Tony,

    Maybe you’re just growing jaded. When you first came here, stomping trolls was new and exciting. The more time passes, the more you expect from them, and they just twitch feebly.

    … or maybe that’s just my general bitterness shining through.

  62. rq says

    And it’s recipe time! I fear I may have misled opposablethumbs about the nature of this gingerbread… I should have said ‘gingersnaps’, not gingerbread, since this is a family-traditional Christmas(Winterfest) cookie, the thin, crunchy kind, but better. Because it’s not a gingersnap, it’s a black-pepper-snap. Since I’ve never been a fan of gingersnaps, I believe these are the best seasonal cookies ever. Running a close second are the traditional German hazelnut cookies our neighbours used to make; it was a cultural exchange every year!
    Anyhoo, here’s the recipe:

    **WARNING: NO animal products (at all).
    **WARNING: Yield: A LOT.

    1 lb (454 g) margarine
    6 cups sugar (3 white, 3 brown, all brown is yummier)
    2 cups water
    1 cup corn syrup (1/2 molasses tastes best, all molasses is a bit dark)
    4 tsp. cloves
    4 tsp. cinnamon
    1 tsp. nutmeg
    1 tsp. ground ginger
    2 tsp. black pepper (can be reduced if too spicy, but you won’t know that until it’s all done anyway! muahahahaha)

    Put all of the above into a pot and bring to a boil. Let boil for 10 minutes (stir constantly, its’ a sticky mess), remove from heat. When cooled* (this is important, otherwise you will not be able to mix in the rest), add the following:

    13 cups flour mixed with 2 tbsp. baking soda

    Mix everything together (probably easier with bare hands). The dough will be sticky but DO NOT add any more flour, otherwise it will be too hard to roll out. Put into a bowl, cover and put in the fridge for at least half a day**.
    On a floured board, roll out to desired thickness, cut out and placed on greased and floured cookie sheets. Bake at ~375F, for about 5 – 10 minutes (less and with thicker dough, and they’re a nice softish cookie; others swear these cookies are delicious when thin and slightly burnt; it’s a matter of taste, haha).

    *I recommend overnight cooling to avoid any mistakes in this department. After several attempts a few years in a row to speed up the cooling process, I have concluded that it’s best to let it do so naturally, at room temperature, over a period of time, no matter how impatient…

    **Again with the overnight cooling, for best results.

    Technically, this recipe can be halved, but I don’t recommend it, because all of my attempts at halving have had something not right – either too dry and crumbly, or just not right.
    Yes, it’s a two-day process, excluding the actual cookie-making afterwards… which, as I mentioned, can extend right into spring. (The dough keeps well fridged or frozen.)

  63. rq says

    Tony
    Are you saying these are bad trolls? They all came at once, and I’ve been having trouble following them all. And you’re saying it used to be even busier? Impressive.
    It’s been educational, though…

    PS I’m going to dig out that bacon-roll recipe from a while ago that I spoke about today. Stay tuned!

    Beatrice
    I don’t know how you do it – first get involved, then resist… *sigh* I have much to learn.

  64. Tony ∞2012 recipient of the coronal mass erection∞ says

    rq:
    I’ve only been here a few years, so I haven’t logged as much HULK SMASH TROLL time as many of the others. I can see how Beatrice would be over it. It’s not like they have new arguments. I mean where is the 21st century watchmaker argument? Or a refurbished argument from CS Lewis?

  65. says

    (Lawls at ‘transvoxual’…)

    I can’t honestly say I much miss choral singing. Been some decades, and still, no.

    I don’t really have the voice for it, I think. I have a good ear, sing in pitch, can follow a seriously twisted mangle of intervals no sweat (not that basses ever get those… Like rq says, it’s mostly fifths anyway), but my voice never seemed to blend real well, wasn’t really that powerful, either…

    So I wound up a kinda ‘tugboat’ bass: assigned to shout with whatever volume I could manage in tune into the ears of the guys with the huge choir-friendly voices, but who were also, regrettably, mostly deaf, in the faint hope of steering all that volume they had available roughly into tune…

    Not really fun. I do still sing, sure… Time to time. But all close-mic’ed, y’know. Whisper, let the condenser grab the faint wisps from the air, amp it from there. Much less painful, all around.

  66. rq says

    Beatrice
    Define ‘long’. :) You seem to be doing well.

    Tony
    From the few examples that I have seen, they really don’t have any new arguments. And they have the strangest attitudes about all kinds of things. They’re so… odd and troll-like, not to mention nasty. *sigh* That’s the world, I suppose. Not always clean and nice and pleasant to look at.

  67. mildlymagnificent says

    To sopranos, basses are the scum of the earth – they sing too damn loud, are useless to tune to because they’re down in that low, low range – and there has to be something wrong with anyone who sings in the F clef, anyway.

    I might say both as a soprano soloist and as a choir member I liked standing next to basses most of all. It always felt as though I was using their large chest capacity as a kind of physical prop/ extra lung capacity. Whatever the physical reality, it always felt as though my own diaphragm could stay extended just that second or so longer, almost effortlessly, and the singing was easier for ‘floating’ on top of theirs. Feeling the vibrations from their voices in my own body was probably the cause of those sensations. (The smallish choir I sang with had a policy of mixing all singers except during the initial learning – where we were in a circle anyway so we heard all the parts quite clearly.)

    As for tenors, fine in a choir, but when you’re doing an opera or G&S or something like that, it’s very hard work if the ‘passionate’ leading man has the vocal approach and body language of an aging choirboy. But their scarcity means you have to take what you can get. A note-perfect Vesti la giubba doesn’t need Placido Domingo at every performance, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6R0iaRcUqDI, but it does need some semblance of adult despair and self-awareness to make sense.

  68. Beatrice says

    rq,

    I honestly can’t say. I don’t remember.

    I know for sure that I occasionally commented in winter 2010, but I’m not sure when I had started commenting. Reading? Who knows.

  69. says

    So, I’m back
    Not from the dentist but from college. Shouldn’t have driven but I really had to meet one of the tutors.

    rq

    “Golden Rules for Ensemble Singing

    Thanks for the chuckle.

    Singing again: When i was a wee lass in primary school, my music teacher was delighted by my musical talent. I really should learn an instrument! BUt: one you play with your mouth so I would never ever be tempted to sing…
    I used to play the flute

  70. says

    I know for sure that I occasionally commented in winter 2010, but I’m not sure when I had started commenting. Reading? Who knows.

    We had an unlikely mass gathering of Pharyngulites in 2010 in Copenhagen, it was mucho fun actually, it included that Myers guy, Nick Gotts, Jadehawk, windy, David M, the Olde Blacksmith, Kristjan Wager, Sili,cant remember who else. I do recall that we spend a lot of time drinking with Michael Nugent in Danish pubs however.
    ’twas a good time.

    Meanwhile, Rebecca Watson and DJ Grothe are just down the road from here, and I couldn’t care less. I saw Blackford going on about meeting Randi for the first time earlier today on twitter, ah well, good on him. They are having the Australian Skeptic hooloobaloo this weekend here apparently.

  71. rq says

    Giliell
    What a backhanded compliment! :D
    I tried the flute once.
    I’ve tried a lot of instruments once.

    Beatrice
    Well, I only started reading sometime last spring or summer (2011). And commenting only sometime in March or April (on Dana’s blog), and even then only on the bird or flower identification posts. And look where such innocent activities have led me!
    Although, when did Pharyngula make the move to FtB? Because I started reading a couple of weeks after that, when my sister sent me a random link here. I think because of the octopus and squid references. Little does she know I still read here regularly.
    I wish I had more time to engage with the trolls, because it looks like fun, but I think I still need to lurk-and-learn before I attempt. One day. One day, soon, I will sharpen my own troll-hammer and swing it with gusto.

    Hats off to all those who regularly take them on.

  72. rq says

    Giliell
    Perhaps you should tell that teacher about your lullaby singing abilities. Would she believe you? :)

    (Although my mum swears that my grandma (her mum) is a terrible singer, but her singing would put me to sleep in a blink…)

  73. rq says

    By the way, I should specify, #68 isn’t my invention, same with the Golden Rules. I’m going to look up the original source, though, for proper reference and all.

    AJ Milne
    As tugboat bass, how low could you go? Besides, at least ONE on-key bass is necessary if the rest of the choir is to stay in tune. :) As long as you keep time, though, all is well – the usual problem with men’s voices can be heard here. Note tempo set by conductor and women’s voices; note tempo of men’s voices. :)

    +++

    Which reminds me of an old band joke: How do you know the drummer’s at the door? He doesn’t know when to come in. Ha. Ha. Ha.

    And THAT reminds me of the one time at a giant-choir event here, one of the songs needed percussive accompaniment (specifically, cymbals in this song at this event). So we had rehearsals, of course, and some poor band guy was recruited for the cymbals bit, except he had no idea how to play according to a conductor’s gestures. How it should be done: conductor gestures, cymbals play. How he did it: conductor gestures, he nods in acknowledgement, cymbals play. So he was always a beat late on all the dramatic clashes.
    The conductor set him right in no time at all, with a few choice words.

  74. says

    Last day of packing!

    You know the happy thought I had this morning? A week from now, I’ll be in a place where I won’t feel like I need a gun to be safe on my own street after dark. Yay!

  75. rq says

    Improbable Joe
    Yay! Hooray! Confetti!
    I just hope everything gets packed and you and all the animals survive (emotionally, physically, mentally, etc.) the drive to the new place! Exciting!

  76. mildlymagnificent says

    The conductor set him right in no time at all, with a few choice words.

    I’ve laughed a few times at non-musical people complaining that conductors look to have 1. a cushy job, 2. where they get to show off a bit.

    They might not like attending rehearsal, especially when a group is first getting a piece together. This is not a cushy job. This is not a place for democratic sentiments. There is no such word as “fair”. You have to do what you’re told to do when you’re told to do it by that one person and no other.

    The conductor has to keep control of 20 up to 80 or more people performing 30+ tasks who might or might not have learned their part or how it fits in the collective activity. FSM help anyone who decides to have a little casual chat with other tenors/ flautists/ celloists when the conductor’s trying to get some important point across to the brass section or the sopranos.

  77. says

    Beatrice,

    Maybe… my wife gets her check today, although I just realized this second that it may be dated for tomorrow and make the whole thing moot. My parents sent me enough money for the movers, and my wife should be able to wire me the cash to get started driving tomorrow. I have enough money to at least get to my childhood home, which is empty waiting to be sold, but still has electricity and water.

  78. opposablethumbs says

    I’m back too – and bugrit millennium hand and shrimp but I still have the tooth for another ten days ::headdesk headdesk headdesk:: – spent ages waiting for an xray, then waiting to have my history taken, and then waiting some more to see three pleasant students and a nice dentist – all this time expecting to have the extraction done this morning so even though I spent the morning feeling terrified at least it would be OVER, dammit – only to be taken through all the details of what would be done (at length – for the benefit of the students, possibly) and FINALLY told they never do extractions right away, the first appointment is always for assessment (this after a letter saying “allow at least three hours for this appointment”, so I figured that implied actually doing it).

    Oh well.

    Now I can start feeling irrationally scared all over again, in preparation for the actual appointment.

    Still happy and very appreciative of my good fortune in being able to go to a teaching hospital for free, though. It wasn’t the waiting, just the not knowing (they see a lot of people, so it’s to be expected to some extent – and I had Snuff with me).

    The gingersnaps recipe also looks very tempting, rq!

    I seem to be some sort of alto, I suppose – used to sing a cappella three-part close harmony stuff once upon a time – but I prefer to think of myself as a tenor manqué.
    .
    I don’t remember that scene from The Big Sleep, Dalillama – will have to check it out.

  79. says

    rq,

    Everything that NEEDS to get packed has been packed. Everything else can be thrown in boxes loosely and sorted later. I’m going to steam-clean the rugs if I get a chance, and do the best I can cleaning the place.

    I have to finish breakfast and watching American Horror Story first… :)

  80. Beatrice says

    Joe,

    Great! Even if you’ll have to go to the parents’ empty house first, at least you’ll be moving and that much closer to the new home.

  81. rq says

    opposablethumbs
    Hugs for the dentist trip. All kinds of sympathies.

    mildlymagnificent
    That’s the key, isn’t it? Choir-singing/orchestra-playing isn’t a democracy, it’s a tyranny. :) (A cushy tyranny?)
    I’ll have to ask my choir conductor about the ‘cushy’ part, because he (a) conducts in the opera, so rehearsals+performances there – singers, dancers and musicians; (b) conducts the professional brass band, so rehearsals+performances there (in a very, very little room) – LOUD musicians; (c) teaches at one of the music academies, so rehearsals (probably some performances) there – young, inept, obnoxious, arrogant, incapable musicians; (d) conducts us, as a hobby, so rehearsals there, too – a bunch of amateurish, wannabe singers out for a good time rather than a musical education… Yeah, I’m impressed by his patience with us, but I think he has fun, because he doesn’t have to be all uptight and stodgy and we all have some good laughs.
    But I wouldn’t call anything about the above ‘cushy’. Or with much space to show off.
    Funny, the best conductors that I’ve experienced in my life have been the least likely to show off (but I do know quite a few who show off with gusto <- I think that's my word of the day).

  82. rq says

    Improbable Joe
    Ah, procrastinating to the last, eh? Kidding, sounds like you’re completely on top of everything. Also, very glad everything worked out for you. :)

  83. rq says

    My Top-3 favourites:
    – She told me she was turned on by dangerous men, so I started running with scissors.
    – Her body tensed and quivered as she felt wave after wave surge through it. I probably should have told her about the new electric fence.
    – My tongue flicked in and out, in and out, faster and faster until she was completely helpless. No woman can resist a good lizard impression.

  84. mildlymagnificent says

    Funny, the best conductors that I’ve experienced in my life have been the least likely to show off

    My reading is that a lot of people who see “showing off” don’t really understand how important it is for conductors to keep musicians/ singers eyes on them. Making large gestures is their only way to catch the peripheral vision of people who have to watch their score or turn their heads for dramatic reasons. They can hardly shout during performance.

  85. Beatrice says

    Favorite:

    I stood over her naked, bound body for several minutes before leaving. Don’t you hate it when you go into a room and you can’t remember why?

  86. rq says

    mildlymagnificent
    I agree with your analysis of ‘showing off’, as done by conductors. Plus, it’s usually dark(ish) in the opera/ballet/concert hall, and conductors tend to wear black, and not all of them wear the white gloves or carry the white baton anymore. Visibility? Definitely a factor.

    And that happened once, the conductor shouting during a performance. I think it was a competition/festival, too. Not the choir’s brightest moment, let me tell you.

    Also, our conductor is used to dealing with orchestra, choir and orchestra+choir. One of the more-likely-to-show-off conductors (of only-choir experience) and his choir was once co-concerting with us, and he had to take the reins (so to speak) for a few pieces, orchestra+choir, and he messed up grandly, because all those wonderful flowy large gestures he was used to making in front of only-a-choir (that knew him and his style) confused the hell out of the orchestra and the other choirs. Not his brightest moment, either, but he did apologize about it afterward, and did say it was his lack of working with such a diverse group of musicians in that particular kind of setting.
    ANyway, that just emphasized the necessity of making large yet CLEAR gestures.

  87. says

    Another moment of head->desk
    In our house, mail gets frequently sorted into the wrong boxes.
    Mr.’s and the kids’ last name is vaguely similar but not identical to two other last names in the house. One of those people just called and gave me a fucking official letter from an insurance company that had been put into his postbox.
    Here’s the best part: Usually they write a code for the box onto the sleeve to easily sort it, with there being 78 of them. So, ours is 13L. It had the fucking right code on the sleeve and they still manage to put it into the wrong box….

  88. Ogvorbis says

    Hallo.

    Happy Tuesday to all.

    If I start to sound a little wonky, let me know. I have gotten so little sleep for the past week-and-a-half. Well, except last Thursday night when I discovered Kraken spiced rum.

    I also downloaded some songs from Amazon — got four Clancy Brothers albums on mp3 dirt cheap. I also got a copy of Thriller (the song, not the album) and actually listened to it. That’s actually a pretty good song. Maybe someday I’ll watch the video.

    Pffft PZ! I work in my lab until 8PM, tutor until 2 AM, wake up at 7AM for an 8AM class, and then do it all over again. Pfffft! I say, Pfffft!

    One semester, I worked 11 to 7 Sun through Fri, skiid from ropedrop (8 or 9am) until 1 or 3pm, then had class at either 2 or 4pm through 10pm and then went back to work. I slept on weekends.

    PLAYGIRL all the way baybeeeeeeeeeee!

    Why not PlayTardigrade?

    No conductor in recorded history has ever asked for less tenor in a forte passage

    Not true. In high school chorus, we had three tenors. The three of us could, if we projected, drown out the baritones and basses.

    I have an empty 28′ trailer parked outside of my house. I’m really moving!

    Not ’til you fill it. With something other than till, I mean.

  89. opposablethumbs says

    Going back to creepy songs for a moment – I finally remembered which song it was that freaked me out. It’s got a really great, catchy tune and if I didn’t understand English I’d probably think it was neat.
    Sister Sadie, apparently written by someone called Horace Silver in 1959 (cursory google search).

    Just in case – TW again if anyone decides to pop over and read the lyrics. They’re very “ordinary”, just your typical common-or-garden “celebration” of an uppity woman getting what some man thinks she has coming to her.

    What weirded me out most was to see it performed by a bunch of people in their twenties who didn’t seem to think there was anything the least bit remarkable about the lyrics. (which are here, among other places, if anyone wants ‘em: http://yongbakos.com/music/sistersadie/

    The only way I could imagine wanting to perform this would be as gut-wrenching counterpoint to visual images or stats on assault. I don’t get it any other way.

  90. blf says

    The mildly deranged penguin suggests Penguins Today!, the Heath Death Daily, and Wild Cheese Hunting.

  91. Ogvorbis says

    blf:

    Penguins Today! is really hard to find. After the centerfold controversy of 2009, most decent stores (Walmart, 7-11, Turkey Hill, Zayres) have stopped carrying it. And if you do get a subscription, your name goes on a list. And we all know what that means, right?

  92. Esteleth has eaten ALL the gingerbread! Suck it! says

    Someone asked me what my favorite “traditional” Christmas song was once. This person indicated that they like the Hallelujah Chorus from Messiah.

    I replied that:
    (1) The Hallelujah Chorus is in the Easter section of Messiah. It is not a Christmas song.
    (2) I like the melody of “Ding Dong Merrily on High,” because I’m a sucker for 14th-century music, but the lyrics drive me batty.
    (3) I like the melody AND lyrics of “Coventry Carol,” because (as above) I’m a sucker for medieval music, and I think the lyrics are beautiful.

    This person fitfully protested the first (“But it is performed at Christmas all the time!”), then criticized “Coventry Carol” for being depressing. It IS depressing – it is the lament of a woman weeping over her dead baby. Killed in the name of religion. Because religion does whacky shit like kill kids for no good reason.

    My grandmother asked me what I wanted for Christmas. I did not have an answer ready, so I asked for a KitchenAid stand mixer. She paused and said “maybe.”

    Jebus, if she actually gets me one…

  93. Ogvorbis says

    I’m partial to “Oh, Tannenbaum.”

    And, of course, this one which is neither a Christmas Carol nor traditional, but I like it.

    I also like “Good King Wenceslaus”.

    Esteleth:

    I love my KitchenAid stand mixer. I don’t use it as much as I used to (I used to use it to make bread once or twice a week but now, maybe every other month) but when I knead it, the mixer is real handy.

  94. Esteleth has eaten ALL the gingerbread! Suck it! says

    I would love to have a stand mixer, period, and if were to have one I’d want a KitchenAid. Because it is KitchenAid. I have a hand mixer, of course, and a bread machine.

    It is just that I flippantly asked for a $300 mixer.

  95. Ogvorbis says

    It is just that I flippantly asked for a $300 mixer.

    You were honest. And those mixers are yet another example of how expensive it is to be poor. When Wife and I were newlyweds with a baby, we went through about 1 mixer every 15 months or so. One $40 mixer every 15 months. For ten years. My KitchenAid has now lasted 12 years of heavy use — including bread and pasta (once I made the pasta dough too thick and I broke the dough hook). The KitcheAid (and other stand mixers like Hobart) are, for most of us, lifetime mixers.

  96. says

    Taking a break for a few minutes. Next up is taking the TV stand apart, good times. The last time I did this I sprained my wrist, so I’m going to be extra careful.

    Then I clean up my office, pack up the guitars, toss the loose odds and ends in a box… and then I think I’m done packing, and everything else is cleaning! I’ve got to box up the TV too, but I might wait until tomorrow when I have an extra set of hands to help me lift it.

    Oh, and sorry for the whole dental thing Giliell and opposablethumbs. Teeth are weird, and should be made out of titanium on principle.

  97. Esteleth has eaten ALL the gingerbread! Suck it! says

    Oh, yeah, I get that. On paper (income-wise) I’m not that poor. It is just that I have a car payment and student loans to pay off, which are chewing up a sizable chunk of my income.

    And I also totally get the “buy this thing I can afford, because I need it now, even though I know it will fail, and over time I’ll have bought 10 of the high-quality one that won’t fail but I cannot afford” thing. Been there, done that.

    KitchenAid’s very generous warranty also is attractive, I’ll admit.

    My grandmother did say that she might not buy me a new KitchenAid but give me hers. Because she doesn’t use it anymore (living by herself and all), and it is still perfectly good. It was a wedding present.

  98. Esteleth has eaten ALL the gingerbread! Suck it! says

    A gift for her wedding, that is. In 1954. She says that one of the beaters has been replaced, as has something or another in the guts. But it is a goddamn KitchenAid, so it may well last long enough for me to give to my grandkids.

  99. Ogvorbis says

    Oh, yeah, I get that. On paper (income-wise) I’m not that poor. It is just that I have a car payment and student loans to pay off, which are chewing up a sizable chunk of my income.

    Oh, I hear you. Mortgage, two kids in college, car payment, (of course, I realize just how privileged I am that I can have those debts). I still remember how happy Wife and I were when we finally polished off the last of my student loans. Just in time to start on a mortgage.

  100. Ogvorbis says

    Holy crap. A 1954 KitchenAid? Wow. My best friend’s mom had one of those and she used it for everything (hers was a few years newer and this was back in the 1980s). That was when I decided I wanted one. Still took me years, but . . . .

  101. blf says

    Next up is taking the TV stand apart, good times. The last time I did this I sprained my wrist, so I’m going to be extra careful.

    Dynamite. Extra good times. And not much risk of wrist damage unless you’re a bit too close…

    (This has been another public service announcement from the mildly deranged penguin school of moving safely, brewing pasta, and growing cheeses.)

  102. Esteleth has eaten ALL the gingerbread! Suck it! says

    I was chatting with my sister, and realized how fortunate I am that:
    1. My car and student loan payments only chew up 25% of my monthly income
    2. Rent and utilities on my apartment only chew up another 25% of my monthly income.

    Which means I have a decent amount of money to live on – and it is just me, no dependents (unless you count Morgan, and she’s pretty cheap to provide for) – and also set some aside (though right now “set aside” means “pay down my $5000 in credit card debt”). But still, having $5000 of available credit is $5000 I can use if I need it.

  103. Esteleth has eaten ALL the gingerbread! Suck it! says

    One downside of the ’54 KitchenAid: it weighs a goddamn ton. The modern ones weigh a bit less, due to improvements in the motor technology.

  104. davidmc says

    Calling all Davids

    DRAFT Statement

    Send signatures,( with a one word biog and country) by Davids to david@davidswanson.org

    Send to all Davids in the world who might sign

    Davids Oppose Israel’s Use of King David

    One tool being employed by the government of Israel to evict Palestinian people from their homes is the claim that doing so will allow archaeologists to discover historical evidence of the existence of King David. Such evidence is intended to strengthen the claim that Jews are returning to land occupied by Jews millennia ago.

    Yet the living people moved off their land by Israeli expansion are denied any right to return to it.

    The King David in the book of Samuel is greedy and cruel, thoughtless of the pain he causes others. David is punished for his actions, but appears to learn nothing from the punishment.The lesson that Nathan attempts to teach David, to condemn evil actions in oneself that one would condemn in others, is a difficult lesson to learn.

    We encourage the government of Israel to try.

  105. Pteryxx says

    One downside of the ’54 KitchenAid: it weighs a goddamn ton.

    ♥ Back when machines were machines, dammit. ♥ ‘Sturdy. Heavy. …Dull.’

  106. Ogvorbis says

    One downside of the ’54 KitchenAid: it weighs a goddamn ton.

    That’s not a bug. That’s a feature. Reduced vibration. Less noise. You have an excuse to let it live on the counter.

  107. jose says

    A very good read.

    Say what you want about DA2. Once you get past the technical limitations, the kind of material that story offered was way above the soporific “marine-saves-the-world” tale that dominates big titles.

  108. says

    So, I’m back
    Local anaesthesia still worked and the damn thing came out relatively smoothly. The kids are making good use of the fact that I can’t open my mouth to argue…
    Let’s see how things turn out when the anaesthesia wears off

    +++

    I’m partial to “Oh, Tannenbaum.”

    Oh Tannenbaum, oh Tannenbaum,
    Die Oma hängt am Gartenzaun.
    Der Opa ruft die Feuerwehr
    Die Feuerwehr kommt nackig her.
    Oh Tannenbaum, oh Tannenbaum,
    Die Oma hängt am Gartenzaun.

    (Oh pine tree, of pine tree
    grandma is stuck on the garden fence
    grandpa calls the firefighters
    the firefighter arrive naked…

  109. blf says

    So, I’m back

    Ah, sorry about that. We tried to set the transporter to “stay for more fun and screams” but the fecking knob wouldn’t turn all the way to 11. Turns out there was a glob of escaped cider behind the control panel. Not quite sure how it got there, the mildly deranged penguin thinks it might be an India cricket fan hiding after the shellacking by England last week. I think it was just frightened by a pea. Anyways, we gave it some cheese and MUSHROOMS!, and it was last seen bouncing down the road, singing (in the rain) what sounded like a sea shanty. Or snarling at the passing snails, it was a bit hard to tell.

  110. says

    My magazine subscription recommendation is The New York Review of Books. Sounds like it is all book reviews, but it is not.

    Here are a few sample links:

    http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2012/jun/21/how-texas-inflicts-bad-textbooks-on-us/

    http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2012/dec/06/taste-being-moral/

    http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2012/dec/06/sinai-uprising-bedouin/

    http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2012/oct/11/imaginary-friends/

    Even when the articles have a book review as their basis, the information provided and the quality of the writing give the reader more than a book review.

  111. george3 says

    Greetings to all.
    Only just caught up from yesterday.
    Re. The Great and Highly Improbable Ookestra & Chorus.
    Can I join?
    As a child I used to play on the linoleum.
    G.

  112. Louis says

    OHHHHH YES HIGH SPEED FIBRE OPTIC INTERNET USING THE WIRING I PUT IN THE NEW HOUSE MYSELF.

    {Man Pride}

    10 days of at home interwebs cold turkey with only the work internet, my phone and pining at shop windows for solace.

    I DO NOT HAVE A PROBLEM!!!!

    (I have, however, just looked at a LOLcat and been happy for the first time in about a fortnight. I am seeking therapy.)

    Louis

  113. Louis says

    Joe,

    Good luck with the move, just done one.

    I have 20 times the books any normal, sane, twelve human beings need. It was a good move. My friend and I did it. 3 trips. There was some swearing.

    I feel your pain/joy, brother.

    {Clenched Hand Truck Salute}

    Louis

  114. blf says

    The Universe just wobbled on its axis, Violent crime takes a rare day off in New York: “No one shot, stabbed or subjected to violent attack for the first day in living memory in New York City” (last Monday).

    I wonder how long it will take for someone to claim it’s due to the Great Sky Faeries, and for someone (not necessarily a different someone) to warn it’s the calm before said Great Sky Faeries unleash even greater devastation for all the “wickedness”? Plus, of course, it disproves AGW, means the flying saucers have arrived, and is all meaningless anyways since in about 3 weeks time the Mayan Longcount calendar goes Pooofffft! and takes the world with it.

  115. Ogvorbis says

    Plus, of course, it disproves AGW, means the flying saucers have arrived, and is all meaningless anyways

    No. It just means that anti-penguin measures are working. For one day, at least.

  116. says

    Syria’s internet just went entirely dark.

    The research firm Renesys reported this morning that Syria’s international Internet connection effectively shut down starting at 12:26 p.m. local time (5:26 a.m. eastern time) Thursday. The firm earlier estimated that 92 percent of all routed networks in the country were offline. Its latest report, however, says that “all 84 of Syria’s IP address blocks have become unreachable, effectively removing the country from the Internet.” The AP is reporting that a second U.S.-based Internet-monitoring firm, Akamai, also shows Syria entirely offline.

    Meanwhile, scattered reports via Twitter suggest that some of the country’s landline and cell phone connections may also be experiencing problems, though that has not been confirmed. An AP report earlier this morning cited anti-government activists blaming the government for the shutdown. It noted that “the government has previously cut phone lines and Internet access in areas where regime forces are conducting major military operations.” But a total shutdown is unprecedented.

    As I write this, major Syria-based sites such as that of the government-run Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) are indeed unreachable.

    Assuming that the government is behind the blackout, it’s a scary time for opponents of the brutal Bashar al-Assad regime, which might take such a step in preparation for a particularly bloody military crackdown. But it also stinks of desperation: The doomed regimes in Egypt and Libya took similar steps during the revolutions in those countries last year.

    Graph showing precipitous drop in Syrian internet traffic, plus explanatory text and additional links can be viewed on the Slate website.

  117. Esteleth has eaten ALL the gingerbread! Suck it! says

    Two things:
    A coupon for KitchenAid stand mixers and attachments just landed in my email. Seems apt.

    I just got back from a seminar. The speaker used the phrase “pear-shaped” about 10 times. And once she said “wahoonie-shaped.” I laughed. Others in the audience looked confused.

  118. says

    rq/#92/93:

    Note tempo set by conductor and women’s voices; note tempo of men’s voices/this one‘s the better example.

    Hee hee.

    I could keep time. At least a little better than that, generally. But let’s just say I recognize the syndrome.

    And re the bottom of my range: checking right now, it’s D2. I could plausibly claim C2, that’s a little more dicey… As in: it doesn’t sound awful, and my electronic tuner actually fairly consistently recognizes it, sung on a broad vowel like ‘Ahhh’, and I can even make sort of notelike noises even down to A1, but those start to hurt and waver pretty bad. D2 is my last really steady, good, solid human note, down there.

    (And my high end is definitely F4. Still clear, not painful. I seem to remember it being a little higher, once, but I guess that’s the way of this.)

    (/Oh, and an actual recording of me down to E2 is here, for some idea of the timbre on a close mic, if you’re curious… but it being, y’know, an E2 and this being a dark sort of mix, it’s not that easy to hear. The G2 right before it stands out pretty decently to my ear. End of the chorus, first example at 1:45.)

  119. says

    This news falls in the Republicans-still-don’t-get-it-category.

    Romney’s 47% remarks still dog both him and the Republican Party. Every time the dog starts to go to sleep, Republicans wake it up again. First, there was Romney’s top campaign strategist Stuart Stevens boasting about Obama only winning the votes of Americans who make less than $50,000. (Yeah, Stuart, that’s a big majority of the people. You still can’t even get a definition of “middle class” right, nor can you grasp the fact that, yes, most people do make about $50,000 or less in the USA.)

    Then, yesterday, we find former Congressman Tom Davis of Virginia waking the dog with claims that Obama won because he turned out “underclass minorities.” He also dissed people who live in “apartments” with the unspoken comparison to those salt-of-the-earth Republicans who live in houses (or many houses).

    Video here: Salon link.

    More on Tom Davis here: Salon link.

  120. says

    Surprise, surprise, Glenn Beck’s gold-selling enterprise scammed its most vulnerable customers, the elderly.

    …Goldline is misleading its consumers …

    The company’s business model was built on systemically swindling and scaring its mostly elderly clientele into purchasing overpriced gold coins, prosecutors in California alleged, leading the company to settle for $4.5 million in refunds to its customer. The City Attorney in Santa Monica, where the company is based, brought 19 criminal fraud charges against the company that were later dropped, but a Los Angeles judge last year instructed the company to foot the bill for a court-appointed monitor, who was tasked with ensuring the company revealed its price markups and stopped misleading consumers.

    But now, the company’s former compliance officer is saying she was fired for complaining to her bosses that she was being prevented from speaking with the monitor … Carol Taylor Gabrelow, who is suing Goldline in LA for wrongful termination, says her bosses were afraid she would spill the beans to the monitor about her company’s shady tactics. Her complaint alleges:

    “Goldline specifically targets vulnerable consumers with sales tactics designed to pressure those consumers into buying products that would often result in the consumer losing over one-third of his or her investment the instant the purchase is made meaning that, even when the price of the precious metals increases, because these consumers were deceived into purchasing coins with mark-ups exceeding 50 percent, it could be years, if ever, before the consumer recoups, much less makes any profit on, the investment.”

    http://www.salon.com/2012/11/29/more_legal_trouble_for_beck_backed_goldline/

  121. says

    OHHHHH YES HIGH SPEED FIBRE OPTIC INTERNET USING THE WIRING I PUT IN THE NEW HOUSE MYSELF.

    Grrr.

    Oh. No. I’m not jealous or anything. Notwithstanding my current choice is cable or DSL and they’re both (barfs) even on a good day, and there aren’t even that many good days despite the fact that I’m so dependent on them for work I’m pretty much on a first-name basis with the guys that get my bits from wiring closet to the ISP’s nearest switch…

    But, I fished Cat5e all through this (not new) place anyway. Just because. So, y’know, now we can move the video around the place just fine at 1Gb/s duplex, so long as it never has to leave, and don’t have to screw around with wireless quite as much.

    Seriously, tho’, that is impressive. Where do you get FTTH? (Just so I can be reminded it’s not here?)

  122. says

    Thanks blf, now I’m afraid of penguins, officially.

    Funny thing. I just got a check in the mail from my bank for $1.61 for overpayment on the last car payment. The LAST CAR PAYMENT! WE OWN BOTH OF OUR CARS NOW!! Not enough to buy bubble wrap, which I pretty desperately need to finish packing.

    I’m poor and I’m rich, often in the same breath.

  123. Portia, sporty and glam, pelted with pastries says

    Joe

    Yay for paying off the car loans! My fingers are crossed for you that no further obstacles pop up on your journey west.

  124. Esteleth has eaten ALL the gingerbread! Suck it! says

    A side rant: Christmas songs

    The song “O Little Town of Bethlehem” drives me batty because of this line (the opening of the third verse):

    How silently, how silently,
    The wondrous gift is given!

    SILENTLY? Really? If we accept that section of the Babble as historical record, a first-time mother in that time period and social class would likely have been 13 or 14. And you expect me to believe that a young teen giving birth to her first baby in a stable would have been silent?!

  125. Ogvorbis says

    And you expect me to believe that a young teen giving birth to her first baby in a stable would have been silent?!

    Not only that, but a virgin birth.

    I suspect, though, that the ‘silently’ refers to Baby Jesus because he was absolutely perfect and thus never cried. He also never pooped or peed until he was potty trained.

  126. Esteleth has eaten ALL the gingerbread! Suck it! says

    Oggie, have you heard the theological tidbit that says that Jebus was born without damaging Mary’s hymen? So she stayed a virgin afterwards?

    The story goes that Mary goes into labor, so Joseph toddles off to find the midwife. Before he comes back, the Babby is born. The midwife examines the Babby, pronounces him healthy, then turns to Mary. She then in a shock reports that Mary’s hymen is intact. How exactly she could tell is not explained (because this story was written by men). But then, a lot of men – even nowadays – believe that the hymen completely covers the vagina.

  127. broboxley OT says

    threadrupt but just had a devine sammich
    corned beef rubbed in stoneground mustard and simmered in beer and honey

  128. Portia, sporty and glam, pelted with pastries says

    Esteleth

    I think I remember that particular nuttiness with the hymen. I think I learned it when I took a class about the gnostic gospels. Wasn’t it also mentioned in one of those?

  129. Esteleth has eaten ALL the gingerbread! Suck it! says

    I think so, Portia. It sure as hell isn’t in the standard gospels. Luke 2 just says that Mary “brought forth” Jebus.

  130. Ogvorbis says

    Esteleth:

    Yeah. I’ve run across that one. Apparently, Jesus’ siblings were also virgin births (of course, they never got even 1% of the press that their showoff brother got).

  131. Esteleth has eaten ALL the gingerbread! Suck it! says

    Of course, my other peeve with the Christmas story – as depicted in art – is how Mary is usually depicted wearing a plain, unadorned (and usually blue) headscarf.

    Those do not go together.

    If Joseph was a well-to-do man (and a trained craftsman probably would have been), then his wife would have worn a headscarf that was embroidered. A plain scarf was the mark of a woman who was too poor to afford anything beyond something very basic.

    It may well have been blue, if Joseph had the cash and felt like showing off. Blue dye was expensive.

    But blue + plain? No.

    (Similarly, a piece of my Renaissance garb is flawed: it is a simple, largely unadorned surcoat. In royal blue. NOPE.)

  132. Portia, sporty and glam, pelted with pastries says

    Esteleth, next you’re going to tell me Jesus didn’t look like this.

    (Who’s got the Snark Hat?)

  133. Tony ∞2012 recipient of the coronal mass erection∞ says

    Can we petition PZ to piss off a few Mormons or Scientogists so their defenders can come fight the good fight here? I think it would be amusing to watch someone trying to justify detonating nukes around volcanoes, or galactic empires.

  134. Esteleth has eaten ALL the gingerbread! Suck it! says

    Oggie, the “Mary was a lifelong virgin” argument says that Jesus’ siblings were either (1) not literally his siblings or (2) were Joseph’s from a prior marriage. Because if she had kids other than Jesus, then either they were Jesus’ full siblings (i.e. children of Gawd) or Mary and Joseph had sex.

  135. Esteleth has eaten ALL the gingerbread! Suck it! says

    Portia, I once told someone in my hometown that as (1) the Gospels say that Jesus had to be identified (by Judas) to the Romans, suggesting that he looked like an ordinary guy of the time and place, and (2) pale skin, aquiline noses and blond hair are statistically rare amongst both Jewish people, and amongst the people of the modern ME, then, Jesus (if he existed) had olive-to-brown skin, dark hair, and a facial structure reminiscent of modern-day Semitic people. Or Jews back then looked like northern Europeans for no apparent reason, and all evidence of this has mysteriously disappeared. Cue head-exploding.

  136. Portia, sporty and glam, pelted with pastries says

    hahaha for real? Google imagez lied to me :) I was just trying to find the most Scandinavian/Anglo looing Jebus I could locate.

  137. Portia, sporty and glam, pelted with pastries says

    Esteleth, your excellent arguments indicate a disturbing lack of faith. (I hadn’t previously thought of the “he had to be identified” point before, very astute).

  138. Esteleth has eaten ALL the gingerbread! Suck it! says

    Portia, that was Jebus in that pic. That’s the classic “sacred heart” imagery.

  139. Portia, sporty and glam, pelted with pastries says

    Ah, ok. Tony, did your snark woosh right over my head?

    Is “sacred heart” a Catholic icon then? I was raised non-denominational Christian. (It was more of a philosophy, *snort*), so I’m not all too familiar with those sorts of images.

  140. cicely (fair-to-partly-cloudy) says

    Louis!
    *pouncehug*

    The LAST CAR PAYMENT! WE OWN BOTH OF OUR CARS NOW!!

    Huzzah! All of that, and you will shortly get to watch Bugtussle (or whatever that place you’re leaving is called) receding in your rear view mirror for the last time.

    (Similarly, a piece of my Renaissance garb is flawed: it is a simple, largely unadorned surcoat. In royal blue. NOPE.)

    I’ve got one of those, too.
    :)
    -

  141. says

    You know what’s the advantage of wound-related pain over infection related pain? In my experience the former reacts better to painkiller and I’m so glad I never use the second bottle of the one I got after the wisdon-tooth removal.
    I think I’ll watch some daily show and go to bed….

  142. Tony ∞2012 recipient of the coronal mass erection∞ says

    Portia:
    Yeah, I think I snuck some snark by you :-)
    ****

    A Mississippi marine biologist fears there’s a serial killer going after dolphins in the Gulf of Mexico.

    Mississippi authorities are investigating the deaths of a half-dozen dolphins that were shot or mutilated
    http://m.fox8live.com/default.aspx?pid=2705&wnfeedurl=http%3a%2f%2fwww.fox8live.com%2fstory%2f20210792%2fdolphin-deaths-investigated-in-mississippi%3fclienttype%3drssstory

    This shit pisses me off. These animals did not deserve this. It is cruel and inhumane. I hope the scumbag is found fast. Especially bc mother dolphins in the area will be giving birth soon.
    I have an affection for dolphins. I think they are amazingly intelligent, beautiful creatures. I have never swam with them, but I hope to do so before I die.

  143. dianne says

    Giliell: I don’t know, but my guess is that infection related pain is harder to treat because it has more ongoing components. Injury related pain is “simply” about tissue being damaged and repairing whereas infection related pain involves all sorts of swelling, release of substances from wbcs and pain nerves and ongoing active damage. Or maybe evolutionarily it’s more important to be able to ignore trauma related pain (so you can get back in there and kill the tiger before it kills you or whatever) so the opioid receptors respond really well to this sort of pain. Complete SWAG, of course.

  144. says

    “buy this thing I can afford, because I need it now, even though I know it will fail, and over time I’ll have bought 10 of the high-quality one that won’t fail but I cannot afford”

    Vimes’ Boots theory?

    Esteleth @173
    ISTR that there’s some mystical/religious significance to the unadorned blue shawl that Mary is depicted wearing, it symbolizes something or other. I can’t for the life of me recall what, but if I can find the reference again I’ll see. Not to take away from the historical inaccuracies of course. Speaking of which, have you read Lamb: The Gospel Acoording to Christ’s Childhood Pal Biff? If not, I heartily recommend it, it’s a laugh riot, and vastly more historically accurate than most theology.

    @Choir/singing
    I’m at the low end of bass range, or I would be if my singing didn’t frighten children and slay small animals. The choir director at my high school wouldn’t take me, but everyone who hasn’t heard me sing insists that I should be a a great singer, with my voice. It rather depresses me, actually.

  145. dianne says

    @Esteleth 173: My first thought was that maybe that Joseph had money but was trying to be restrained and tasteful (not overly adorning the headcloth) but still making it clear that Mary was wearing something expensive. However, I think the “restrained and tasteful” esthetic may not have developed until at least the Renaissance so it’s probably an anachronistic idea. Also, if Joseph was rich, why were they staying in a stable? Surely they could kick someone out of the full inn if they had that kind of money.

  146. RFW says

    Today I am going to discuss Spanish hot chocolate, which PZ’s comrade in arms, Jerry Coyne, mentioned recently in recounting a trip to Mexico.

    2 cups whole milk; 3 oz milk chocolate or 2 oz baking chocolate; 1/2 tsp cornstarch; and 1/3-1/2 cup sugar if baking or bittersweet chocolate is used.

    Grate chocolate. Thoroughly mix cornstarch with cold milk. Bring milk with constant stirring just to the boiling point, then remove from heat. Add chocolate and optional sugar and stir until dissolved. (This is why you grate it first, to speed up the dissolution process.) Return to low or medium heat, keep stirring, and cook until it thickens. It’s a bad idea to boil it at this stage. When it thickens, pour into cups and serve.

    For those who enjoy putting on the dog, there is such a thing in the world as a chocolate cup, like taller-and-narrower-than-usual espresso cup.

    Just the thing to offset the rigors of the Minnesota winter.

  147. Esteleth has eaten ALL the gingerbread! Suck it! says

    ISTR that there’s some mystical/religious significance to the unadorned blue shawl that Mary is depicted wearing, it symbolizes something or other. I can’t for the life of me recall what, but if I can find the reference again I’ll see.

    Purity. Blue = purity.

    Not to take away from the historical inaccuracies of course. Speaking of which, have you read Lamb: The Gospel Acoording to Christ’s Childhood Pal? If not, I heartily recommend it, it’s a laugh riot, and vastly more historically accurate than most theology.

    Read it. Laughed my ass off.

    However, I think the “restrained and tasteful” esthetic may not have developed until at least the Renaissance so it’s probably an anachronistic idea.

    Hella anachronistic.

    Also, if Joseph was rich, why were they staying in a stable? Surely they could kick someone out of the full inn if they had that kind of money.

    A skilled craftsman would have been well-to-do by small village standards, and (possibly) rich enough to buy his wife a blue headscarf, but would probably not have been rich by city standards. There’s also possibly a class/rank issue as well.

  148. cicely (fair-to-partly-cloudy) says

    ISTR that there’s some mystical/religious significance to the unadorned blue shawl that Mary is depicted wearing, it symbolizes something or other

    Blue for innate “royalty/sanctity”, and plain for humility?
    -

  149. dianne says

    The midwife examines the Babby, pronounces him healthy, then turns to Mary. She then in a shock reports that Mary’s hymen is intact.

    God performed a c-section on Mary while no one was looking?

  150. Portia, sporty and glam, pelted with pastries says

    *lightbulb* And a “reverse” c-section is how Gawd got her preggers sans penetration in the first place. Boom. The theology is now consistent. You’re welcome, godbots.

  151. dianne says

    And a “reverse” c-section is how Gawd got her preggers sans penetration in the first place.

    Wait, I thought it was the midichlorians. Oh, wait, different mythos.

  152. opposablethumbs says

    Teeth are weird, and should be made out of titanium on principle.

    If only. Chalk up another black mark on the “intelligent” design front – I want more than a paltry two sets per lifetime. At least three or four, at least, dammit. It’s not asking much – not expecting an infinite supply like sharks.

    I may gibber with fear a bit again on the 11th of Dec. ::sigh::

    Also, wow Joe it sounds like you are nearly nearly on your way! Hope it all goes smoothly for you, and the kids have a comfortable trip.

    Esteleth, I love your point about the Judas story proving what jaycee would have looked like if he existed. It’s great that there are so many people here who know this bible shit cold – I love it that not only can the game be rejected outright, but Horders can also take on xtian trolls on their own terms and still win.

    Now don’t you flaunt your shameless fibre optic net around here, Louis. Showing off that sleek, streamlined connection and those sexy sexy transmission speeds – it’s a disgrace I tell you. There could be children present. Or people whom BT helpfully cut off for days, only a week or so ago. Tsk, I say – or even tcha. And I mean it to sting.

  153. Esteleth has eaten ALL the gingerbread! Suck it! says

    God performed a c-section on Mary while no one was looking?

    *lightbulb*

    Second Apparition
    Be bloody, bold, and resolute; laugh to scorn
    The power of man, for none of woman born
    Shall harm Macbeth.

    (Act IV, Scene 1)

    MacDuff
    Despair thy charm;
    And let the angel whom thou still hast served
    Tell thee, Macduff was from his mother’s womb
    Untimely ripp’d.

    (Act V, Scene 8)

  154. Portia, sporty and glam, pelted with pastries says

    take on xtian trolls on their own terms and still win.

    At Reason Rally, I watched while a very knowledgeable (presumed) atheist debated a Christian protester inside out. They each had a Bible.
    Xian: I guess…I’m not…I don’t really know that passage exactly.
    Atheist: (Shouting by this point) Well, then, you should be at home studying instead of here lecturing us about it, shouldn’t you? *storms off amid applause*
    Xian: Erm…yeah…

  155. says

    I’ve heard the argument that putting Mary in the stable was a favor: that probably a well-kept stable, with privacy and the heat of the animals, was a more pleasant place to give birth than a crowded inn full of smelly strangers.

    I don’t think inns had private rooms back then; ISTR that they were basically big common rooms where everyone bedded down on the floor.

  156. Esteleth has eaten ALL the gingerbread! Suck it! says

    Opposablethumbs:

    It’s great that there are so many people here who know this bible shit cold – I love it that not only can the game be rejected outright, but Horders can also take on xtian trolls on their own terms and still win.

    At one point – possibly still (have not checked) – I was an Elder of the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A.

    (Want me to explain Utter Depravity to you?)

  157. Portia, sporty and glam, pelted with pastries says

    Was your lightbulb that MacDuff was the product of a c-section? I don’t think I put it together on my own when I was in that play, but it’s the most interesting part of the whole story for me.

  158. Esteleth has eaten ALL the gingerbread! Suck it! says

    No, I knew that MacDuff was the product of a C-section. That’s pretty obvious in context.

    But if being born by C-section means that he was not “really” born, then maybe that explains how Mary could be the Virgin Mother.

    Also, we have a bona fide miracle: sterile surgery with a woman living 30 years after having a C-section in a stable! *confetti*

  159. says

    RFW
    You forgot to include the recipe for churros, without which no Spanish hot chocolate should be consumed.

    Dianne
    I have no clue why it is like that. It’s purely anecdotal on my side. It just means that yeah, pain is managable, much better than the last 48 hours

  160. dianne says

    Also, we have a bona fide miracle: sterile surgery with a woman living 30 years after having a C-section in a stable! *confetti*

    Either a miracle or Mary had an immune system of pure titanium. Or maybe she really was poor and had nothing but moldy bread to eat in the days after delivering…

  161. cicely (fair-to-partly-cloudy) says

    (Want me to explain Utter Depravity to you?)

    I believe that that would be rq‘s job…what with all the pea-and-Horse lovin’.

    (Sometimes at the same time.

    Or so I’ve heard.)
    -

  162. says

    Thanks for all the well-wishing.

    I’ve run into an issue I wasn’t expecting. I’m having a hard time maintaining the required level of physical activity. The muscles in my thighs are sore and start burning after any extended amount of movement. I’ve taken the last painkillers I have, and they aren’t helping. And I don’t have money for more, for obvious reasons. What little “extra” money I had, I had to spend on a lock for the trailer. The last thing I need is to wake up to find that someone has stolen the ramps out of the back of the trailer.

    Did I mention that this city has double the crime rate of the place I’m moving to, and that this section of town is high-crime even compared to the rest of the city?

    Re Bible stuffs: I’m a lifelong atheist, so I’m always amazed anew by the stuffs people quote out of that nutter-butter fairytale book, and the sort of thought that happens when people try to justify it. The only thing similar in my experience is sitting around drunk trying to figure out how superhero powers work.

  163. Ogvorbis says

    Utter depravity includes readings of e.e. cummings Book of Practical Cats. Specifically, the one about MacCavity the dental cat. Total depravity involves whisky, bacon, lard and a tardigrade and that is as far as I will go with it.

  164. says

    Joe
    As another life long atheist, let me share this story: In my high-school ethics class*, the teacher who was also a Lutheran religion teacher said some thing or other and then asked “where’s that quote from? and I said “well, I never heard of it, it must be the Bible!”
    His facial features just fell apart…

    *State provides for Lutheran and Catholic religious education. Compulsory. If you’re neither you can opt out, unless there’s enough of you so you get ethics.

  165. Pteryxx says

    Teeth are weird, and should be made out of titanium on principle.

    If only. Chalk up another black mark on the “intelligent” design front – I want more than a paltry two sets per lifetime. At least three or four, at least, dammit. It’s not asking much – not expecting an infinite supply like sharks.

    Howsabout, along with menopause, women should have got a full new set of ‘elder’ teeth? Via the ‘granny effect’ they already contribute to kin survival by living longer. (In modern times, the new set could be tied to going gray or bald regardless of gender, eh? Let’s get right on that, genetic engineering…)

  166. dianne says

    It’s not asking much – not expecting an infinite supply like sharks.

    Why not? If we’re asking the putative omnipotent intelligent designer, why not go for it?

    I’d like a more reliable cell repair mechanism, myself. Something that wouldn’t start getting mutations in a mere 50-100 years. And while we’re on the subject: eyes. They’re total crap. 45 years and they’re already falling apart? Bad design.

  167. Ogvorbis says

    I’d like a more reliable cell repair mechanism, myself.

    I’d like joints that don’t fall apart. Seriously. If we can make a cigar that’ll still be smokable in 50 years, why the hell can’t we make a joint that won’t fall apart?

    Er, wait. Knees. Knees are that to which I was referring. Knees. Yeah. That’s it.

  168. cicely (fair-to-partly-cloudy) says

    Knees were a “designed and built by the lowest bidder” deal if ever I saw one.

    (Also: *insert bitter diatribe about gall bladders here*)
    -

  169. says

    Er, wait. Knees. Knees are that to which I was referring. Knees. Yeah. That’s it.

    (Lawls…)

    While I guess it’d be an exciting new theoretical frontier in engineering and all, I’m just not sure what the practicality would be of a 50th/gold anniversary joint, built to last quite like that. Unless our civilization goes back to the whole Egyptian/take it with them/bury it in their tomb thing, and people start tucking their weed in next to the sarcophagus, it doesn’t seem real likely to me a lot of joints are going to sit around that long.

    … granted, the weed in the tomb thing, it’d be a pretty sweet bonus for the archaeologists, millennia later.

    (Scribbling in notebook)… At Site 3B, field testing the find, now… (Pffff…) And we have confirmed this dynasty, did, indeed, grow them some righteous shit.

  170. dianne says

    Knees. How about the lower back? I think Microsoft must have got the contract to build the lower back.

    And then there’s the pancreas. The endocrine component fails at the slightest provocation, the exocrine component forms a cancer that’s nasty even as cancers go, it’s butt ugly, it collects gall stones…whose idea was this organ anyway?

  171. Tony ∞2012 recipient of the coronal mass erection∞ says

    Churros=good
    Knees=unintelligently designed
    ****

    This past October, the office of the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services issued two reports underscoring the need for improved oversight of the marketing of dietary supplements and improved surveillance of their effects. The reports add to a mounting body of evidence documenting a serious public-health problem.
    http://mobile.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/medical_examiner/2012/11/herbal_supplement_dangers_fda_does_not_regulate_supplements_and_they_can.html

    How many more serious health scares will it take before supplements are regulated in the US??

  172. Ogvorbis says

    … granted, the weed in the tomb thing, it’d be a pretty sweet bonus for the archaeologists, millennia later.

    That depends. How good are tombs at being a humidor?

    How many more serious health scares will it take before supplements are regulated in the US??

    When the tests and protocols required by regulations cost less than the amount spent on lobbying to prevent regulations?

  173. dianne says

    How many more serious health scares will it take before supplements are regulated in the US??

    Probably until enough supplement manufacturers are driven out of business by lawsuits to decrease their influence as a lobby group.

  174. says

    Dalillama, Schmott Guy/#192

    I’m at the low end of bass range, or I would be if my singing didn’t frighten children and slay small animals. The choir director at my high school wouldn’t take me, but everyone who hasn’t heard me sing insists that I should be a a great singer, with my voice. It rather depresses me, actually.

    (Unasked-for advice mode on…)

    Then I’m guessing it’s a training thing, not so much vocal quality? And that the latter is actually pretty sweet?

    See, I really dunno ’bout that. Really not my world. Kinda the opposite, even…

    But it seems to me if it’s just ‘depressed because people say that and I don’t need the hassle’, hey, what can ya do. But if it’s ‘because I’d actually like to’, my general understanding is there are very, very, very, very few ears and voices that can’t be trained. And the kinds of issues that make that happen, usually, that’s like serious physical/neural ear issues, and you’d know.

    Seriously, it is kinda hard for me to relate. For all the self-deprecation we made the standard in this thread, like I said: I do use my voice, on and off, despite its issues. Hell, it’s the one I’ve got. If yours is actually nice, and you’d like to be able to use it right, from all I’ve seen, that whole ‘you’ll always be awful at it because you’re awful at it now’ is way wrong, and especially in music. Ears can learn. So can voices.

    And it can be a lot of things. It’s just a matter of fixing ‘em, one at a time. Anecdote: my daughter had a pretty great ear, fairly early on, learning violin. Note identification, tonality on the instrument, dead on. But she couldn’t sing on pitch for years after that showed up. It was honestly a bit scary to hear, for those of us who knew what things should sound like, and, obviously, intimidating for her to try, knowing how badly she was likely to miss. But, like I said: she had the ‘ear’, knew what it was supposed to sound like. It was just about control of the vocal muscles, and that’s apparently not uncommon.

    And she’s dead on, now. Sings on pitch easy. She learned, is all. It was about practice, being required to for other lessons (she hasn’t specifically trained on voice, yet), and she got it.

    Anyway. Like I said, unasked-for. But I kinda, actually, hate hearing people tell others ‘you’ll never get this’. And seeing people internalize it, believe it. It’s almost always bullshit, from an actual possibilities perspective, but so often turns into self-fulfilling prophecy. If you’ve some densely old-school or just nasty music teacher back there told you that, here’s me spitting on the floor in front of ‘em for you. Because I bet you can.

    (/Unasked-for advice mode off.)

  175. rq says

    So, seeing as Ogvorbis took on Utter Depravity, I don’t have to go there (thanks, Ogvorbis). I can expand, if necessary, with the requisite peas, horses, wassabe, deranged penguins, whatever-the-hell-anybody’s-depravity requires, but I’ll do that tomorrow.

    Christmas songs
    Today we sang some Christmas songs, and during The First Nowell I realized that, (a) someone put some really awkward English words to that music, and (b) that whole thing about the Wise Men looking for a king and following the star wherever it led – doesn’t necessarily follow.
    I mean, what if it was a fake star and was just leading them around in circles somewhere in the desert? Maybe it wanted them to see Paris, or Stockholm? And they never specify which king – at least, the song doesn’t put the two actions together… At least, didn’t do it for me tonight.

    More later.
    Maybe.

  176. rq says

    AJ Milne
    Just listened to that song. Very nice, thanks for that!

    Portia, you can have the Snark Hat for tonight. Or give it to Esteleth.

  177. opposablethumbs says

    (Want me to explain Utter Depravity to you?)

    I have to admit, that does sound quite … intriguing :)

    OK, you’ve convinced me – I’m going to demand infinite sets of teeth (as long as they don’t do that gradual creep forward thing like sharks’ teeth do. Am I imagining things, or are sharks’ teeth modified scales? I still want my teeth to look human). Actually it would be so cool if we really could redesign the human body to optimise comfort and durability … so many great upgrades we could nick from the rest of the animal kingdom. I want chromatophores! And while we’re about it, we might as well have optional chloroplasts from the plant kingdom as well. We could be directly solar powered!

  178. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    We had an unlikely mass gathering of Pharyngulites in 2010 in Copenhagen, it was mucho fun actually – rorschach

    Yes, that was a good time.

    All the best for the final stages of the move, Improbable Joe.

  179. Portia, sporty and glam, pelted with pastries says

    rq

    *twirls around wearing the Snark Hat in all its glory*

    I feel I don’t deserve the honor, having ducked so handily under Tony’s snark :)

    Here ya go, Esteleth.

  180. FossilFishy (Νεοπτόλεμος's spellchecker) says

    Adding to AJ’s unsolicited advice to Dalillama, Schmott Guy/#192

    …my general understanding is there are very, very, very, very few ears and voices that can’t be trained. And the kinds of issues that make that happen, usually, that’s like serious physical/neural ear issues, and you’d know.

    I’m not an expert either but I was a music student who had a linguist/speech therapist for a girlfriend. I also suck at singing despite my musical training so the notion of ‘tone deafness’ was something we explored. Apparently, when people who are truly tone deaf speak they’re immediately obvious to anyone listening. It’s a profound disability.

    AJ had the right of it: training and persistence are the key. Well that, and in my case removing the negative programing gained from a loving father: “Shut the fuck up with that noise!” and clueless music teachers: “Look people, even Fishy got that chord right and he was practically tone deaf when he got here.”

  181. FossilFishy (Νεοπτόλεμος's spellchecker) says

    Audley: You need a serious keUUte! warning on that link.

  182. Tony ∞2012 recipient of the coronal mass erection∞ says

    Portia:
    I pictured you twirling like Lynda Carter while wearing a witchs hat…you so glam!

  183. Tony ∞2012 recipient of the coronal mass erection∞ says

    And now you’re furiously blocking all the peas being pelted at you with you magic bracelets…

  184. Portia, sporty and glam, pelted with pastries says

    I’ll lasso the truth out of cicely…she’s really and truly a horse lover.

    *twirlawayasquicklyaspossible*

  185. Beatrice says

    And a thousand squeeees reverberate across the Earth when Audley posts photos of Dark Infant.

    *squeeee*

  186. says

    Does anyone want to hop in the transporter and come help me finish packing/cleaning?

    I find that I am incapable of packing first, and then cleaning. If I don’t clean as I go, I am incapable of packing. I wish I’d realized this yesterday, or even a few hours ago. I was going to clean while the movers loaded the trailer. I can’t do most of the packing unless I clean at the same time. What(else) is wrong with my brain?!?!?

  187. Tony ∞2012 recipient of the coronal mass erection∞ says

    Shoot Joe. If I lived closer I would definitely help you clean/pack.

  188. Portia, sporty and glam, pelted with pastries says

    I am great at cleaning and packing for other people. I’ll fire up the teleporter…

    (If only I could harness the motivation in cleaning my own house).

  189. says

    Thanks Tony, Portia, ednaz… it isn’t actually as bad as I thought. Once I started just hauling trash and furniture out into the alley, the job became a lot closer to reasonable for one person. I thought I was saving time by trying to pack around the trash, turns out I was dead wrong. I can save the mopping and wiping out cleaning for tomorrow, but the big brute-force cleaning has to happen as I go.

  190. says

    Alethea:

    I’m off for a couple of days – a festival of music & arts in the forest (“Corinbank”, if you feel like googling). It should be a bit cooler in the mountains.

    Oooh, sounds lovely. I hope you have a nice time and the weather is good for you.

  191. cicely (fair-to-partly-cloudy) says

    *drops link to picture of DarkBaby playing with a toy octopus*

    They look so happy together!
    :)

    I’ll lasso the truth out of cicely…she’s really and truly a horse lover.

    Never. Not ever. Not even for 10 minutes. Clearly, you have snared my sister by mistake.

    Alethea: Have a good time!
    -

  192. Ogvorbis says

    PZ:

    If you are around, could you take a look at christtestter over on the “The Amazing Atheist reveals his lack of humanity”? Xe has been around for a few weeks with the same two arguments. No evidence for hir opinions and a sickening combination of victims lie about rape and blaming the victims. Thanks.

  193. Tony ∞2012 recipient of the coronal mass erection∞ says

    And now that he cannot empathize with a rape victim bc he has never been raped, he has taken on new levels of scumbaggery.

  194. Tony ∞2012 recipient of the coronal mass erection∞ says

    Alethea:
    I hope you enjoy yourself bunches!
    ****

    Audley:
    Such an adorable picture of DarkInfant. Do you remember what sleep is?
    ****

    Portia:
    Speaking of cleaning, I am right there with you. I hate cleaning at home and procrastinate quite a bit. At work though…? Whole different story. I hate messes. I’m all about efficient organization. It’s actually a battle right now at work bc nearly the entire staff is accustomed to coming and going as they please. They are used to little oversight. I can organize the bar and the server station, be off for two days and come back to a pit o chaos. It’s like people don’t take pride in their workspace. And do not get me started on the seeming inability of anyone to clean up after a mess is made. Break a glass? Just shove it under a counter. Spill soda on the floor? Leave it until silverware is stuck on the floor from the syrup. Argh!

  195. rq says

    Good morning!

    re: music
    Yes, practice and persistence and a good teacher (or at least a patient one) are key. I know our choir was joined by several so-called ‘tone-deaf’ people who can now carry a decent effort. As I think AJ Milne? said, it’s very rare that one can’t teach anyone any music at all, as long as they’re ready to learn (the negativity ‘oh I’ve been tone-deaf since birth’ is hard to get over sometimes).

    re: DarkInfant
    Oh my goodness. If I didn’t have one of those myself at home right now, I’d be fainting all over the place; unfortunately, I am resistant. A little bit
    PS The baby, not the octopus. :)

    re: teeth
    We have First Tooth action on the wee little slug. Explains some of the sleeplessness of the past couple of nights.

    +++

    I hate it when I come home from a decent time out at rehearsal, even though tired, and then some stupid movie comes on that reminds me of a time when I wasn’t all that happy at all… Makes me very, very, very sad for the rest of the evening.
    Also unable to wear the Snark Hat.
    Let it make the rounds.

    +++

    First snow = most people driving like idiots (last night), except me, of course. I miss Canada (not for smarter drivers; for… many other things).

  196. says

    Good morning
    Have you ever heard the saying that children will notice when you’re under the weather and then be all sweet? I can at least confirm one half of that…
    At half past four my darling angels decided that night was over. But now the little one wont wake up…

    Dark Infant
    Squeeeeeee!
    And matching shirt!

  197. chigau (無) says

    Tonight I received a “HAppY horiDAYZ” hand-made card from a 6-year-old.
    I am seriously thinking of treasuring it forever.

  198. rq says

    chigau
    Very apt! :D

    Giliell
    I don’t know if it’s a saying, or if it just happens, but when I’m feeling feverish, the boys actually make an effort to be a little bit less loud (to varying degrees of success). :) I hope you feel better soon!

    Audley
    Yay for sleep! (Even in short doses.)

  199. rq says

    So no grovelling in front of bowing down in humility before kneeling to worship PZ, eh? Lucky you.

  200. george3 says

    Things that cheer me up.
    Just saw a L M S steam engine go past on the rail line aprox. 150 yds away. Beautiful dark maroon livery. Clouds of white smoke slowly dispersing into the cold slate grey sky.
    And that noise, that living noise, that only steam engines seem capable of, make me glad for once that I live so close to the tracks.
    G

  201. carlie says

    And that noise, that living noise, that only steam engines seem capable of, make me glad for once that I live so close to the tracks.

    My grandma’s house is right next door to the tracks, and I used to sleep over on Saturdays all the time when I was a kid*. I loved the train sounds – I have a white noise app, and my favorite is the train one.

    *what little sleep I could get, because she’d always put my hair in rollers so it would look nice for church and I couldn’t stand sleeping on them.

  202. george3 says

    carlie.
    The only real pain is the vibrations. Over the period of a few weeks things can move to the edge of a shelf and then….instant poltergeist!
    G.

  203. says

    Good morning!

    Moving day is here, and I’m going to be working up to the last second so I can get out of here at a reasonable hour. Pretty much all of the stuff going on the trailer is packed, a lot of the cleaning is done, I still need to pack the car and get the pets set up.

    I wisely realized that I need to have bedding and towels and shit at the new house because I’m going to beat the truck there by at least 3-4 days. I unwisely packed that stuff and had to dig it out of boxes last night.

    Anyways, this is Joe signing off for a little while. Don’t fret, I’ll be back someday. :)

  204. george3 says

    “Instant Poltageist”
    A new product from ACME.
    Just add credulity and it is ready to go!
    {Hope PZ will no come down on me in tenticled wrath for this product placment. (,;;,) }
    G

  205. rq says

    Improbable Joe
    Good luck with everything, may it go well, and have a great trip! See you on the other side. So to speak. :)

  206. says

    Yay, Joe
    Have a save journey and let us know some time that all of you arrived in one piece (ehm, each of you, not combined like all cats inside of Joe)

    george
    Hey, I recently had a real Poltergeist in my bedroom.
    OK, it was a vacuum bag on the top of my wardrobe which is apparently not a vaccum bag anymore, but I tell you, when you get woken in the middle of the night by scratchig sound coming from the top of your wardrobe (as the thing filled with air it expanded and scratched against the ceiling) you’re wide awake within seconds…

  207. broboxley OT says

    Portia,
    On the vote at the UN there should be no surprise. Several Years Ago Abbas and folks in the west bank realized to have a state you need a state. Police, functionaries, policies and governance. He stated those aims to the world and Israel. They implemented fairly successfully considering the situation. If it wasn’t for Hamas and Gaza stirring the pot the 45 abstentions would have been a lot less

  208. carlie says

    Joe – if you see this in time, you might want to pull out a shower curtain and rings too. Otherwise your first shower in the new place will be a potentially slippery one. If you’ve already thrown the old one away or packed it somewhere difficult to reach, a box of garbage bags (the old-style kind that include the twist ties, not the ones with the pull-cords) will also work.

  209. Ogvorbis says

    Happy Wednesday!

    And that noise, that living noise, that only steam engines seem capable of, make me glad for once that I live so close to the tracks.

    You mean the ‘clunk‘ sound right before something breaks?

    “Instant Poltageist”
    A new product from ACME.
    Just add credulity and it is ready to go!

    Does this include the floating orbs of light that are only visible on camera? Or is that an extra charge?

  210. george3 says

    Giliell.
    Ha! Know that feeling!
    At about 3:am most week days a long train of wagons slowly traverses the stretch of rail line I can see from my window. There seem to be between 40 and 60 wagons filled with agregate for road building.
    On morning I woke up to the weirdist noise, a bit like a cross between a baby crying and a far away bell, but that hardly does it justice for shere spooky.
    I could hear the agregate train going past at its usual walking pace, clunking over the points, so I went to the window and pulled the curtains.
    On the window sill was the thing making the unearthly noise.
    I had left my empty pint glass ontop of a 1ft. steel rule earlier that day and the vibrations had set them off together.
    That’ll teach me to tidy up after myself, as Granma used to say.
    G.

  211. blf says

    And that noise, that living noise, that only steam engines seem capable of, make me glad for once that I live so close to the tracks.

    You mean the ‘clunk‘ sound right before something breaks?

    No, the Eeeeeeeeeeeek! Help! Help! Arrrggghh—SQUISH… as it runs over the lady tied to the tracks.

  212. blf says

    Sorry, I got it a bit wrong. It’s not the Heath Death Daily the mildly deranged penguin recommends, it’s the Journal of Thermodynamic Heat Death and Exothermic Cheese Cultivation. The Daily is just a newsletter from the JTHDECC and an interesting read (included with subscriptions to JTHDECC).

  213. rq says

    george3
    Empty pint glass + 1ft steel ruler making funny noises late at night… And you split them up when they’d only just managed to find the good vibrations.

  214. says

    rq/#233, song:

    Thanks, glad you liked it. I try to do stuff like that something like once every five years. Seems to reduce certain cranial pressures.

    Audley/#238, darkinfant

    Insanely cute.

    FossilFishy/##239, rq/#258, re negative programming:

    Yeah, that’s exactly it, and my peeve about people told they’re just hopeless, can’t do this.

    There’s so much bullshit around music especially. I think, maybe in fairness, maybe because it is somewhat poorly understood how people actually learn these things, and it’s complicated, hard to quantify, a lot of it about learning that’s not as directly easy to understand. So much of it you’re eventually trying to burn down into unconscious circuits, and you’re only really going to sound good once it’s there, so people get these confused ideas about innate talent, when it really, really isn’t that at all.

    I can’t remember which performer I saw recently say this wonderfully direct ‘fuck you’ to someone gushing about their ‘god-given talent’, but that nonsense is a side of it, too. Their line was something like, listen, I didn’t practice for six hours a day for most of my life to have some stupid god take the credit for my tone.

    Same thing again, really. So no, it’s not gods, no, it’s not (probably mostly) so much ‘innate’ talent. It is true, a lot like language, there’s probably a particular ‘receptive’ developmental phase of the brain when it’s easier to get certain kinds of ear training, and that’s probably the reason people with true perfect pitch more often have tonal mother tongues and/or extensive early immersion in music. And so yes, probably even relative pitch training is a little harder later, and the slope will be steeper if you’ve spent less time swimming in the stuff…

    But brains are still pretty plastic at any age, if you flex patiently. You’ll have to work a little harder, sure, if you’re older. And then there’s the whole social embarrassment, intimidation thing, for a lot of people. Performing something poorly is awkward and potentially embarrassing, generally, even if it’s just the first time through and you’ve hardly even held this instrument before, and who should even expect better?

    Funny thing about that whole talent/innate thing: my kidding about instruments is half true: I have been dreadful on a few. But here’s the funny thing:

    My deal isn’t about talent or exposure. Like I said, my ear is damned good, thanks to early exposure, very musical family, all that…

    My deal, oddly enough, is probably another facet of this stupid you’ve got it or you haven’t thing. Because I had all that, was vocally strong, and I was academically formidable just about everywhere else, this whole thing about music being unconscious learning that requires repetition was something I had a hard time getting. I mean, practice? Discipline? What? I do not do these things. I just ‘get’ things. And people, not just me, thanks to my background, just figure I’ll get this, too. So it was a while before I was particularly good at anything because, actually, no, it doesn’t work that way in music. There’s a certain level of egalitarianism about it, actually. You may have a slight leg up at the beginning if your ear is well-trained, but you’re still going to be technically lousy if you don’t practice, and I didn’t have the discipline, had never really needed it for anything else before than.

    Long story short: anyone can learn. You’ve got to get around the stupid stuff people have told you about you should be good or you’ll never be good, and just work on it. Remember you’re frequently burning things down into circuits a little deeper than what you’re consciously aware of, be patient, be persistent, listen to yourself, but don’t get discouraged just because it’s taking a while and there’s still stuff you don’t want to hear in there. Repeat. Practice. Find somewhere there’s no one to groan about the awful noise, if that helps you.

    There’s all sorts of stuff, now, too, if you’re motivated, want to get somewhere before plunking down the money for lessons. Theory galore on the internet, relative pitch training websites, you name it. Want to get to the point where you can nail the relative minor from any key signature without even having to think about it? There’s an app for that, actually, and you can pull it out, drill whenever you’re in the mood…

    Anyway. That got way longer than intended (as usual), and I’ve got another nutty busy day coming. But to anyone who’s been told you can’t, including those mentioning their discouragement here: I strongly doubt that. It’s just that there’s a lot of really silly layman-level misconceptions out there about how music is learned. And, just possibly, a lot of people hurt by it in a previous generation, who’ll pull the crab in a bucket thing in a moment on anyone else, given half a chance.

    (/Oh, and one more consolation about that early learning and perfect pitch thing: you really don’t need perfect pitch much anyway. It has advantages and disadvantages, actually. And strong relative pitch, in my view, which you can train at just about any age, is far more useful, anyway. Oh, and incidentally, there’s free apps for that too… Interval drill things, where they’ll play it, ask you what it was, repeat.)

  215. rq says

    PS Funny clunking noises in the middle of the night usually means the cat is barfing somewhere.
    Although once it got into the closet and was wandering around that small space trying to find a way out, mewling and stepping on all the dry-cleaning bags. It was weird.

  216. Esteleth has eaten ALL the gingerbread! Suck it! says

    What have I been doing for the past 6 hours? Why, reading the Leveson Inquiry’s report, obviously.

    A mix of stuff that I have no idea about (not being British), am rabidly curious about (being human) and am reasonably well informed of (being curious).

    Rather rage-inducing in spots. Rather utterly unsurprising in others. Rather excellent in many others.

    I have a nit to pick though!

    At one point (page 690, for the record), the report refers to the “University of New York.” Now, there is a university known as New York University (see their gloriously PURPLE website!) as well as a consortium of universities known as the State University of New York. There’s even a City University of New York! There is, however, no such institution as the “University of New York.” So, I got irritable and did some searching to figure out what the incident described referred to.

    It was NYU.

  217. birgerjohansson says

    Tony at 523, previous thread:
    ” I just learned about this ongoing podcast series involving two skeptics who regularly tackle woo and superstition, going so far as to join religious groups, or sign up for CAM treatments. It looks to be quite a funny angle to debunk from.”

    -In Sweden deep cover journalism is called “wallraffing” after the German investigating journalist Gunther Wallraff., whose books have been translated as great examples of social journalism.
    — — — — — — — — — — — — —
    Robot buddy to keep Japan astronaut company http://phys.org/news/2012-11-robot-buddy-japan-astronaut-company.html Yes, Marvin the Paranoid Android is just the company you need when you are isolated for long periods…
    — — — — — — — — — — — — —
    Even brown dwarfs may grow rocky planets http://phys.org/news/2012-11-brown-dwarfs-rocky-planets.html

  218. rq says

    AJ Milne
    re: performing vs. just playing/singing

    I can sing decent, even on my own, when I’m alone/in small groups; I perform alone (singing) horrendously (nerves; I used to be terrified of concerts). Instruments in concert aren’t as bad, but I’ve had more practice on that. But I still hated it, mostly because I always felt like everyone was judging me, and I don’t like that feeling because in my own mind, I always come up short.
    When in groups, such as choir, I’m actually one of the more reliable altos, since I’m not afraid to hold the part down, if necessary. I’m in a group; nobody knows it’s me. Also, the choir performs relatively often, and the one before that performed every Sunday (up on the balcony where nobody could see us). :)
    So I agree that a lot of what someone thinks of as bad sound can be the product of (a) not enough work and (b) nerves. I think nerves skew how the sound comes out and also how we hear it, but of course, this is just a personal opinion.

    As for all those professional geniuses out there, well, I dunno. Mozart only comes along so often, and all signs point to him having very extensive (one might say exclusive) exposure to music from a very young age, as well as a lot (to the exclusion of everything else) of practice time.
    The current Latvian star pianist, in a recent interview, admitted that very little of his success was due to any kind of talent; he just practises a lot. I think people still doubt that, because, hey, to be good requires talent, because it always looks so easy. Nobody wants to believe that it’s just a lot of hours behind the keyboard (scales, scales, scales…), because that would be almost like an admission of failure – you know, if I practiced hard enough, I really could play like that. Sometimes the whole ‘talent’ thing, I think, is a way to justify one’s own self-perceived laziness (which, really, doesn’t need justification – not everybody needs to be a concert pianist!). And it also downplays the other person’s hard work, which, in a subtle way, is a form of belittling them. Hours of work? No way, they must naturally be good.

    It goes without saying that it comes much easier to some people than others. But even the things that come easy need work, like you said. My brothers, for example, are very good at improvisation; my sister can play things by ear; I’m a sight-reading person with very good musical memory. I know I focussed on sight-reading (and play-back) because it was a way to be sure I knew all the notes and made less mistakes.

    Oh, and I know how you feel about just getting things. That was me, until I met organic chemistry and statistics. Just didn’t get them, but my natural innate stubbornness (and the fact that they were degree requirements) made me stick the courses out, even if those marks were a lot poorer than everything else. But, at least I could say, with no small amount of pride, that I did, all by myself, through hard work and concentration. But boy, was it ever difficult.

  219. Esteleth has eaten ALL the gingerbread! Suck it! says

    Today’s XKCD is making me really angry at the building admin. Why is it so dusty in my office?!

  220. carlie says

    Once again, people are falling all over themselves in the media and otherwise praising a single individual who was really nice to someone.

    Yes, the policeman is an amazing guy and that was really generous of him. (for those who don’t know, a NYC cop bought and gave a homeless guy a pair of shoes this week. It made the news.)

    What nobody, nobody is mentioning is that we live in a country where it’s possible for someone to be homeless and on the street and have no shoes and nobody gives a shit and they have no chance of help unless some random kind person comes along. That we think that’s a perfectly reasonable cost to pay for our society to be structured the way it is. It makes me so fucking mad.

  221. says

    carlie
    I’ve been convinced for a while now that for most people charity isn’t that much about making a difference but about making themselves feel good. Therefore they need poor and sick people. The worst thing that could happen to them is a world without poverty and disease because how would they be able to feel all good and superior if they couldn’t donate or at least feel good by proxi by admiring somebody who did?

  222. broboxley OT says

    it’s a positive mutation

    I’ve been convinced for a while now that for most people charity isn’t that much about making a difference but about making themselves feel good.

  223. carlie says

    >blockquoteI’ve been convinced for a while now that for most people charity isn’t that much about making a difference but about making themselves feel good.

    So what we need to do is to imitate those “save Africa” charities where you get a personalized note and picture of the very child you’re helping out (!), and include a note and photo of some carefully-crafted poor person with every piece of IRS correspondence. “Your tax bill this year is helping Sally, who has two college degrees in English and Engineering but is currently unable to work due to injuries she sustained when she was hit by a drunken driver while she was crossing the street to take her weekly donations to her own local food shelter and got snow in her eye thrown up from the wheel of a passing bicycle courier so she couldn’t see the car coming. Your support will allow Sally to recover and quickly rejoin the working world as a thriving and contributing member of society, and will also allow her to continue to support her elderly father, who lost a leg in WWII in the Invasion Of Normandy.”

  224. Esteleth has eaten ALL the gingerbread! Suck it! says

    That actually might be a decent idea, carlie. “Your tax dollars paid to maintain the Eads Bridge, originally built in 1874, which spans the Mississippi River at St. Louis. Here’s a pic of John Smith, who commutes to work every day by across the Eads, and his lovely wife Jane and their children Bob and Sally.”

  225. Esteleth has eaten ALL the gingerbread! Suck it! says

    Of course, it would also be prone to produce more grumbling, of the “But I live in Virginia, I have never once used the Eads Bridge” / “But I don’t want to support that [slur] person.”

  226. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    How about this, a photo of Guantanamo Bay with a caption that says, “Your tax dollars helps to maintain the facilities that imprisons people that may or may not have been involved in terrorist activities.”

  227. carlie says

    Oh, ye gods. Those Mississippi bridges are the source of my lifelong bridge anxiety, I’m sure of it. Too many trips on the outer lanes of the McKinely. (shudder)

  228. says

    Giliell:

    The worst thing that could happen to them is a world without poverty and disease because how would they be able to feel all good and superior if they couldn’t donate or at least feel good by proxi by admiring somebody who did?

    My cynicism is in awe of your cynicism.

    /tip-o-the-hat

  229. blf says

    Today’s XKCD is making me really angry at the building admin. Why is it so dusty in my office?!

    Can we trade building admins? Here, the cleaner comes in three times a week with the world’s loudest vacuum cleaner, hooked to a sound system Disaster Area would be proud of…

    Meanwhile, the Ethernet plug keeps falling out of its socket (has for multiple years now), there are power strips plugged into power strips (probably illegal (fire hazard)), and the ventilation avoids the area around my desk, but if the Mistral is blowing, you cannot open the window without risk of decapitation. The Ethernet socket is also located in such a position I cannot use my lower desk drawer, as it bangs into the cable. Causing it to fall out…

    For the past two fecking weeks there’s been no hot water. Which means the lack of showers is, for once, not a problem. (You try bicycling up a fecking mountain in the heat of summer in Southern France without an fecking shower at the end…)

    And there is fecking never a spare packet of paper towels or roll of toilet paper, which might be Ok-ish if the dispensers were topped up, but they are not — New supplies aren’t put in until empty. (Literally never, I’m not exaggerating here!) Which means the cleaner being here more than once a week does have a Good Point to it…

    All of which building admin / management know about. Excepting the recent issue of the hot water, has known about the fecking years

    </rant>

  230. rq says

    Just throwing this out there:

    Triple Chocolate Brownies
    1/2 cup + 1 tbsp (140 mL) all purpose flour + more for dusting pan
    2 tbsp (30 mL) cocoa powder
    1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
    3/4 cup (185 mL) unsalted butter + more for greasing pan
    7 oz (200 g) semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
    1-1/2 cups (375 mL) granulated sugar
    3 large eggs, at room temperature
    1-3/4 cups (435 mL) semi-sweet chocolate chips
    1/2 cup (125 mL) whipping cream
    Butter 8-inch (20-cm) square baking pan. Lightly dust with flour, knocking out excess.

    In medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa and salt.
    In stainless steel bowl placed over gently simmering pan of water (bowl should not touch water), stir 3/4 cup (185 mL) butter and chocolate until melted. Remove from heat.
    In large mixing bowl, gently whisk together sugar and eggs until just combined. Using rubber spatula, gradually stir in chocolate mixture until combined. Gradually fold in flour mix followed by 1 cup (250 mL) chocolate chips. Pour batter into prepared pan.
    Bake on middle rack of preheated 325F (160C) oven until toothpick inserted in centre still has moist crumbs attached, 45 to 50 minutes. Cool completely.
    Place remaining 3/4 cup (185 mL) chocolate chips in small bowl.**
    Place cream in small saucepan over high heat. When it comes to boil, pour over chocolate chips. Let stand 1 minute. Whisk until smooth and homogenous. Spread evenly over brownies. Cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate before cutting into 16 equal squares.
    Makes 16 (2-inch/5-cm square) brownies.

    ** I replace these chocolate chips with walnuts because the end-result is otherwise too chocolate-y, which I never thought possible.
    Also, the end-result is very chewy and dense (which I like) but it extremely difficult to get out of the pan. Little pieces keep breaking off randomly, and need to be eaten, which means only a few presentable squares make it onto the presentable plate. *shrug*

    Serve with hot chocolate, coffee+shot-of-something, or mulled wine.

    Dedicated to all those who need some extremely chocolate-y goodness today.

  231. rq says

    blf
    Sounds like you work where I work, except I’m not in France and we have a (non-functioning) shower. Oh, and the boss frequently keeps the window open (even in -25C) because it’s invigorating.
    I feel your pain.

  232. broboxley OT says

    blf the solution to no toilet paper is to buy rolls of very absorbant towels and use lots of them. The will soon figure out that toilet paper is cheaper than plumbers

  233. rq says

    PS blf sounds like a job for the Mildly Deranged Penguin. If she’s going to be a deity of any decent standing, time to take some action…

  234. Tony ∞2012 recipient of the coronal mass erection∞ says

    Hmmm, after that comment I just wrote in the Christianity thread I wish I was skilled enough to write a book.
    Through Atheist Eyes: Religious Privilege in the U.S.

  235. cicely (fair-to-partly-cloudy) says

    Ooh, blue sun!!

    Ooh, Blue Sun!!
    :)

    Well, I must say that I’m better than I was in days.

    Huzzah!

    Well-wishes for Improbable Joe and the Massive Move.
    -

  236. Portia, sporty and glam, pelted with pastries says

    Tony,

    Break a glass? Just shove it under a counter. Spill soda on the floor? Leave it until silverware is stuck on the floor from the syrup. Argh!

    Gross! I hate working with people like that.

    I don’t know what it is about cleaning places besides my house, but man I get a wild hair with it. I cleaned many months worth of cat hair at my friend’s house to help her prepare for a party, getting under couches and on top of wainscoting like it was my hobby. Those things would gross me out at my house. *shrug*

    rq

    Makes me very, very, very sad for the rest of the evening.
    Also unable to wear the Snark Hat.

    Hugs : (

    broboxley

    Thanks. Interesting.

    rq

    Brownies: *drool*

    And here’s my Snark Hat-powered comment of the day:

    Legal Zoom is suing Rocket Lawyer. Presumably, both sides are appearing pro se.

    [For non-USAnians, they advertise heavily that you don’t need a lawyer! Just buy our forms!]

    (I’m obviously biased, but I think they go overboard with what people should do without the advice of a lawyer, and they’re substituting themselves in place of a lawyer by telling people they don’t need lawyers and, and…)

  237. rq says

    Tony
    Doing some catch-up on that thread. Every few hours there’s another 50 or 9283u94823 comments to read. Slog through. Ech. Good job.

  238. Tony ∞2012 recipient of the coronal mass erection∞ says

    george3:
    Interesting that you like steam engines. I love that about this thread. Everyone has some fascinating interests.
    ****
    Giliell:
    How long did it take for you to figure out the source of you poltergeist?
    ****
    Joe:
    Sweet! Moving Day is here. Come pick me up. I want outta this crazy state.
    ****
    Oggie:
    You do realize this is Friday, not Wednesday. Something wrong with your calendar? Or are you playing with the DeLorean again?

  239. Esteleth has eaten ALL the gingerbread! Suck it! says

    So!

    In the past 12 months, I have
    1. Paid each bill on time,
    2. Filed no claims,
    3. Been in no accidents of any sort,
    4. Received no traffic citations or tickets, and
    5. Maintained a decent credit score.

    So, what does Progressive Insurance do?

    Why, raise my car insurance rates, of course. Logically.

  240. Esteleth has eaten ALL the gingerbread! Suck it! says

    But then, googling informs me that if I die in a car crash that is not my fault, Progressive will pay for the lawyer of the driver of the other car rather than admit that the crash wasn’t my fault and thus be responsible for giving my estate money.

  241. says

    Most of us have been numbed by the “fiscal cliff” debates through sheer repetition. However, we need to pay attention. You thought the matter was settled when Obama won with a platform that explicitly based deficit reduction and economic recovery on higher taxes for income above $250,000? You would be wrong. Republicans are immovable objects.

    Paul Krugman’s latest piece for the New York Times lays out some of the sneaky ways in which Republicans are still trying to keep the faucet on for rich people, while ignoring the dribbling flow to which the lower and middle class have been reduced.

    Excerpts:

    …The same people who bet big on Mr. Romney, and lost, are now trying to win by stealth — in the name of fiscal responsibility — the ground they failed to gain in an open election….

    … the election really was a referendum on economic policy. And what voters said, clearly, was no to tax cuts for the rich, no to benefit cuts for the middle class and the poor. So what’s a top-down class warrior to do?

    The answer, as I have already suggested, is to rely on stealth — to smuggle in plutocrat-friendly policies under the pretense that they’re just sensible responses to the budget deficit.

    Consider, as a prime example, the push to raise the retirement age, the age of eligibility for Medicare, or both. This is only reasonable, we’re told — after all, life expectancy has risen, so shouldn’t we all retire later? In reality, however, it would be a hugely regressive policy change, imposing severe burdens on lower- and middle-income Americans while barely affecting the wealthy. Why? First of all, the increase in life expectancy is concentrated among the affluent; why should janitors have to retire later because lawyers are living longer? Second, both Social Security and Medicare are much more important, relative to income, to less-affluent Americans, so delaying their availability would be a far more severe hit to ordinary families than to the top 1 percent….

  242. broboxley OT says

    #316 Esteleth not sure where you live but in the NE US I would expect that because of the storm damage.

  243. says

    I know a lot of you already read The Maddow Blog, but I couldn’t resist linking to this article.

    The chart alone is worth saving for reference. Obama, as it turns out, is the worst socialist ever. Corporate profits have reached an all time high during his administration.

    This makes the posturing of Papa John’s CEO and other conservative fire-the-employees CEO’s even more evidently hypocritical.

  244. broboxley OT says

    #317 Esteleth
    that is weird. I have progressive and if I die and its not my fault they do not pay anything to my estate. If they are already paying nothing why would they hire a lawyer for the other guy? Maybe if my estate was trying to collect the piddly 25k uninsured motorist claim and the other driver was uninsured. Still think it would be cheaper to settle.

  245. rq says

    Portia
    Huh, nice Snark Moment (brought to you by SnarkHat!).
    And I had a lightbuld moment… This has to be you. Almost all the pieces fit – the ‘nym, the job… not sure about the colour but definitely sporty and glam (I should add some poison ivy to that picture).

    Also, ‘get a wild hair with it’? First time I’ve heard that expression. Seems especially strange in conjunction with cleaning cat hair. :) But, hey, if you love it that much, come anytime! We have cat-hair, dust, and various children’s messes. (I’ll omit the spider-webs for marketing purposes.)

    cicely
    Ooh, blue sun. :)

  246. rq says

    Portia
    Better warn Beatrice about that vampire, she’s in the area! Wait…

    Janine
    Baby-eating jokes disturb me, too. I’m going to avoid that link.

    Tony
    I think it’s the DeLorean; yesterday (Thursday) he did the same thing with a ‘Happy Tuesday’ greeting.

  247. Esteleth has eaten ALL the gingerbread! Suck it! says

    Broboxley, I do live in NY State, but the extent of hurricane damage where I live was limited to my neighbor’s trash can getting tossed about and some downed tree limbs.
    In the new dox I got today, it did say something about a NYS law possibly making my rate go up. *off to google*

    The “Progressive will pay for the lawyer bit” comes from this story.

  248. broboxley OT says

    Katie, was killed by an under-insured driver 2010. While Progressive was due to pay the difference between Katie’s policy and the driver’s, instead they fought the case, leading Mr. Fisher’s family to realize a small state loophole:

    Ah, different state, different laws.

    In GA you may buy uninsured motorist insurance as a separate rider to your main insurance. However this coverage is limited to the rider. If one gets killed progressive is only liable for the rider amount. In my case $25k because the premiums have a steep curve over that amount.

    If you are in NY the policies of all auto insurance should rise to cover the storm (as in collecting extra to pay out in the next storm) Insuarance is a state by state thing so collective punishment is on for the NE US

  249. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    So!

    In the past 12 months, I have
    1. Paid each bill on time,
    2. Filed no claims,
    3. Been in no accidents of any sort,
    4. Received no traffic citations or tickets, and
    5. Maintained a decent credit score.

    So, what does Progressive Insurance do?

    Why, raise my car insurance rates, of course. Logically.

    I would suggest switching. I’ve found AAA insurance to be really good, both in terms of price and services. (Even though, no, I’m not thrilled about all of their lobbying).

  250. Ogvorbis says

    Ogvorbis.
    Sorry, you only get floating orbs if you buy a 6 pack.
    G.

    Thought that was flabby abs, not floating orbs, with the 6 pack.

    Triple Chocolate Brownies

    I double-dare you to go to Quadruple Chocolate Brownies.

    Oggie:
    You do realize this is Friday, not Wednesday. Something wrong with your calendar? Or are you playing with the DeLorean again?

    Bite me you oppressive calendarist! Today is Wednesday in the Ogvorbisverse!

  251. says

    AJMilne

    I mean, practice? Discipline? What? I do not do these things. I just ‘get’ things. And people, not just me, thanks to my background, just figure I’ll get this, too.

    This is probably a significant part of my problem as well, yes.
    rq

    Nobody wants to believe that it’s just a lot of hours behind the keyboard (scales, scales, scales…), because that would be almost like an admission of failure – you know, if I practiced hard enough, I really could play like that.

    Broadly true, but there’s definitely at least some transfer between musical skills, if it’s not talent. I took piano lessons for a number of years as a child, but a flautist friend of mine who’d never had a lesson could still sit down and play the piano better than I could. I don’t know how much he practiced, but it can’t have been that much as he didn’t have a piano at home.

    Also, I had exactly the same experience in Ochem. Stats’ didn’t give me as much trouble, but Ochem killed me. I remeber a particular incident when I sat down next to a student I thought was really getting it, hoping he could help me out, and he said “Oh great! I’m so glad you’re sitting next to me! You seem really smart and on the ball, I’m hoping you can help me out.” “Funny,” I replied, “That’s why I sat here muyself.”
    carlie#294
    I’d honestly like to live in a society where charity didn’t exist. In a well-organized society, there’d be a sufficient social safety net to ensure that everyone gets taken gcare of without needed to go begging for it.

    Giliell #295
    You’re not wrong, and Christians are among the worst offenders there.

  252. Portia, sporty and glam, pelted with pastries says

    rq

    Your whole comment had me rolling. The “wild hair” saying came from my mom, I think. I’ve heard it used as a way of implying temporary obsession or fervor.

    I’ll clean your cobwebs with a looooong vacuum cleaner hose. : )

    Hey Beatrice, I made you a lovely garlic bread. Have some? Please? *nervous laughter*

    -====-

    That Progressive thing, paying for the other side’s lawyers, is a shining example of the Vulcan-lawyer phenomenon. Progressive’s legal department looked at it and said “Hm, way cheaper to fight this from the other side.” Hard to believe the PR people wouldn’t have told them “No. Stahp.”

  253. rq says

    Beatrice
    I am, indeed.

    Ogvorbis
    You double-dare? You double-dare? I don’t know where to add more chocolate, in that recipe… But I’ll figure it out. I will. And you will suffer the consequences.
    By the way, I am a one-calendar purist; I believe it is Friday, because my calendar says so, and everything the calendar tells me is true, which is why everyone else needs to follow my calendar, otherwise they are not worthy of my attention and may be discriminated against with impunity. So where do I bite?

  254. Portia, sporty and glam, pelted with pastries says

    I don’t know where to add more chocolate, in that recipe…

    chocolate fudge frosting

  255. rq says

    Portia
    The frosting already has chocolate (combination dark chocolate-whipping cream, the stuff is delicious). ;)
    Try the recipe; it’s amazing.

    Ogvorbis
    Tease.

  256. Portia, sporty and glam, pelted with pastries says

    rq, I’ll have to give it a try. :) My mouth watered immediately, just from reading the title. I’m such a chocoholic.

  257. says

    Tony

    How long did it take for you to figure out the source of you poltergeist?

    Hmmm, about 10 secs, the time an energy saving lightbulb tkes to give enough light. I’m pretty good at figuring out where a sound comes from, so I saw the still expanding bag that still made the scratching noise

    +++
    Hmmm, brownies
    I promised to make them for the christmas party at the kindergarten.

  258. dianne says

    don’t know where to add more chocolate, in that recipe

    Add some more chocolate chip flavors. Like, for example, dark chocolate chips. White chocolate chips given an interesting appearance as well.

  259. Tony ∞2012 recipient of the coronal mass erection∞ says

    Ok, as much as I love brownies, ain’t no way in hell my impatient ass is fixing them from scratch.
    ****
    If Beatrice does not want the garlic bread, I lay claim to all of it.
    ****
    Add me to the list of people who will not indulge in baby eating jokes
    ****
    Also, no nuts in the brownies, please.
    ****
    I also have some mild anxiety crossing bridges. Especially thos really long, old suspension bridges. I cannot cross one without imagining a section collapsing as I drive across.
    ****
    AJ, thank you for that post. It was one of the rare inspirational ‘you can do it’ type comments with substance.
    Also agree about not crediting any deity for our hard work.

  260. cicely (fair-to-partly-cloudy) says

    You can chocolate that sucker up by just serving it warm, with the chocolaty-ist chocolate ice cream you can find, on top.

    With mini-chocolate chips sprinkled on top of the whole thing.
    -

  261. rq says

    Oh good, everyone solved my over-chocolatification problems just like that. I love the creativity of this group.

    +++

    Really, Ogvorbis, you’d want Saturday forever?

    +++

    Tony
    You’ll have to fight me for that garlic bread, but I see Beatrice is only toothy, not a vampire. Because vampire lore, which is always true, says that vampires can’t stand garlic.
    Wait… Always true?
    (The brownies are worth the effort, though.)

    Beatrice, may I see your cuspids, please?

    +++

    I only have issues with bridges if they’re over a really deep river/valley. Which reminds me, I’ve never been on a freakishly long/freakishly high bridge.
    Interesting.

  262. Ogvorbis says

    Really, Ogvorbis, you’d want Saturday forever?

    No, just pointing out that different people have different calendars. And different colanders, for that matter.

  263. Portia, sporty and glam, pelted with pastries says

    *backs away slowly from Beatrice*

    Niiiice vampire, good vampire… :)

    (Durn it all, no crucifixes to be found anywhere in the Lounge!)

  264. Tony ∞2012 recipient of the coronal mass erection∞ says

    rq, you can have the edge pieces of the garlic bread.

    Were Twilight vamps allergic to garlic? Can’t remember.

  265. Tony ∞2012 recipient of the coronal mass erection∞ says

    Portia:
    One would think, this being an atheist blog that crosses would be difficult to come across.
    Remember though, with all the idiotic martyrs we have dealt with at Pharyngula, that there are spare crosses in the storage room.

  266. rq says

    Tony
    I don’t remember, either.
    And I’ll only accept the crusts if they have extra garlic bits baked on/in them, with extra butter, because the crunchy parts are the best.

    NO Ogvorbis NO, there is only ONE way to do a calendar, and that is the way I do a calendar.
    I don’t have a colander. You don’t have to act all superior about it.

  267. Esteleth has eaten ALL the gingerbread! Suck it! says

    *defeats the vampire in a burst of logic*

    You are incapable of ingesting enough nutrients via vampirism to sustain a healthy body!

  268. says

    So, I packed about 30 of the necessary 48 little packets for the kids’ advent calendar. Why can’t I just buy them a stupid chocolate one like I do for myself? Nooooo, my kids got a handmade one with 24 individually wrapped treats…

  269. rq says

    Beatrice
    Nooooooo… I’m pretty sure I have a secret crucifix around here somewhere. Oh, hey, look, Christian apologists! That’ll do!

  270. rq says

    Giliell
    You have super-lucky kids. :) Seriously.

    Esteleth
    Nobody ever said Beatrice was healthy or even alive.

  271. rq says

    And oh look, now we have Portia pelted with pastries and Beatrice pelted with garlic bread. I sense a trend.

  272. Ogvorbis says

    NO Ogvorbis NO, there is only ONE way to do a calendar, and that is the way I do a calendar.

    Julian. Gregorian. Mayan. Egyptian. Chinese. Russian Orthodox. Ogvorbisian. Etc.

  273. rq says

    chigau
    I’d try that bridge, at least once. It looks awesome.

    Ogvorbis
    I do not allow any sort of splitcalendarism in my version of the calendar. You are a heretic. I sentence you to Mondays forever! (Because I said so.)

  274. carlie says

    Realistic baby heads made from white chocolate.

    White chocolate is the worst part about that, really. There is no reason for white chocolate to exist, other than getting you excited about the prospect of chocolate and then being let down horribly.

  275. Ogvorbis says

    And oh look, now we have Portia pelted with pastries and Beatrice pelted with garlic bread. I sense a trend.

    Shouldn’t that be:

    Portia Pelted with Pastries

    and

    Beatrice Beaten with Bread?

    Maybe

    Ogvorbis Obsessed with Olives?

    Chigau Channeling Chutney?

  276. Esteleth has eaten ALL the gingerbread! Suck it! says

    *constructs a chutney cannon outside of chigau’s house*

  277. Ogvorbis says

    You are a heretic. I sentence you to Mondays forever! (Because I said so.)

    I can live with that. Your Monday is my Saturday. Thpppt!

  278. Esteleth has eaten ALL the gingerbread! Suck it! says

    *breaks into Beatrice’s house, steals all the food, leaves only broccoli and mustard*

  279. Tony ∞2012 recipient of the coronal mass erection∞ says

    rq:
    Duct taping xtian apologists together in the form of a cross will not repel vamps. They have to be sanctified.
    WTF am I talking about??? Xtians are as sanctified as they come. All that sanctimony is enough to make me very, very cross!

  280. Ogvorbis says

    Big E, little e, what begins with E? Esteleth Eating Eclairs, E, e, E.

    Of course, my favourite was

    Big C, little c, what begins with C? Camel on the Ceiling, LSD.

  281. Beatrice says

    Joe,

    I assume ghost-white she-beast also identifies as the office cat?

    Good luck! Don’t answer the question!!! Drive safe!

  282. cicely (fair-to-partly-cloudy) says

    Remember though, with all the idiotic martyrs we have dealt with at Pharyngula, that there are spare crosses in the storage room.

    I thought we were saving the wooden ones for firewood, and melting down the ones made of precious metals (after scavenging any valuable gemstones, natch!) to help defray the costs of Carrying Out PZ’s Bidding?

    (Oh, yes; and never forget to check for secret hidey-holes. We have an entire character class for just such things.)
    -

  283. Ogvorbis says

    Xtians are as sanctified as they come.

    No, that would be sanctimonious, not sanctified. Or even Sanka-fied (for those olde enoughe to remembere).

  284. rq says

    Improbable Joe
    Good luck!

    +++

    Yay, I get cinnamon nut bread. Delicious! I’ll take it.
    Poor chigau in chunks of chutney. :/

    +++

    Ogvorbis
    I sense a flaw in my world-domination plan. *goes back to drawing board*

    Beatrice
    I’m with you on that – getting hungry this late (by the way, how many o’clocks do you have?) is never good. :( At least you have broccoli (yum) and mustard (depends on what kind). I am left with… Oh look, wafer cake!
    And until you prove you don’t glitter, I’m not going to believe that. Because you never know with those vampires.

  285. broboxley OT says

    chigau, my bucket list includes floating the Makenzie then on to Barrow AK in my canoe

    checks lifeline, better hit that lottery soon

  286. cicely (fair-to-partly-cloudy) says

    (For that matter, it’d be worth the trouble to make it standard practice to gut the vanquished apologeticisors and MRAs—you never know; they might have swallowed something valuable/saleable.)
    -

  287. Ogvorbis says

    Good driving, Joe. I’ll put in a word with Saint Ogvorbis, Icelandic patron saint of public lands*, for your safe arrival.

    *This is religion. The less sense it makes the better it works!

  288. Tony ∞2012 recipient of the coronal mass erection∞ says

    If it doesn’t stick with the food motif…
    The Elegant Egalitarian Esteleth
    Hmmm, who else

    Grape Gobbling Giliell

    Beatrice Breaking Bagels

    Jerking Joe Juice

  289. rq says

    Sanctimonious, sanctified, self-righteous or otherwise, I think those Christians are enough to scare away any vampires.
    Which leads to my next question: since none of you (us?) are sensibly afraid of them (Christians), what are you??

  290. Esteleth has eaten ALL the gingerbread! Suck it! says

    I am having great fun filing my Amazon wish list with things that I know I am absolutely not going to get, and a few things that I might actually get.

    Also, OMG SQUEE

  291. cicely (fair-to-partly-cloudy) says

    Safe journey, Improbable Joe. Remember: all the other drivers must be presumed to be complete idiots, until proven otherwise.
    -

  292. thunk, cold air advection says

    Asshole english teacher mode:

    [blockquote] Well of course it’s easy to be awake! Just go to bed at 10 pm and wake up at 5 am and you’ll have 2 hours to do homework! So stop complaining about how you’re tired; it’s your own fault![/blockquote]

    Yeah. Really. Variant human physiology is a fucking moral failing.

    Me and 7:30 classes have a hate-hate relationship.

  293. Tony ∞2012 recipient of the coronal mass erection∞ says

    Oggie:
    If you get to make Friday into Wednesday, I get to make sanctimonious xtians into sanctified xtians.
    So :P

  294. rq says

    cicely @389
    Also, the human sacrifice is bound to do some good somewhere, at least in foretelling the future by ancient proven methods. Right?

    Beatrice
    Ah, so I’m an hour ahead, then. Getting on towards 23.

    Tony
    Jerking Joe Juice…?

  295. Tony ∞2012 recipient of the coronal mass erection∞ says

    thunk:
    Yep, slight fail at the HTML (ooh, a rhyme…that was fine…will he do this all the time?)

    Btw upthread, we established that mornings are evil.

    If you mix mornings with peas and horses, the monstrosity with be like the Cloverfield creature.

  296. Tony ∞2012 recipient of the coronal mass erection∞ says

    rq:
    I could not think of a food starting with J.
    So I went with juice.
    Whats wrong with that?
    ::whistles softly with admiring ceiling tiles::

  297. Tony ∞2012 recipient of the coronal mass erection∞ says

    Ooh, I’m depraved!!!
    Woo hoo.
    I knew I would make something of myself.

  298. rq says

    Tony
    Oh nothing just my mind went to the gutter when you combined it with ‘jerking’ and ‘Joe’.

    +++

    Apropos nothing, just saw this on Facebook: “People can be taught how to hate, and people can be taught how to spell. But apparently, it’s one or the other.”

    +++

    Janine
    It must be Friday (sorry, Ogvorbis).

  299. rq says

    It’s all about goals, Tony, goals.

    Janine
    Sorry, Ogvorbis believes it’s Wednesday, but I believe the trolls come out (mostly) on Fridays – at least, for entertainment purposes. That’s the short version. :)

  300. Esteleth has eaten ALL the gingerbread! Suck it! says

    *toddles off to read the recent explodey thread on BillO*

    *dashes back*

    WHAT THE EFFIN’ SHIT IS GOING ON IN THERE?!

  301. cicely (fair-to-partly-cloudy) says

    If you mix mornings with peas and horses, the monstrosity with be like the Cloverfield creature.

    and

    I think you just defined Utter Depravity.

    Or something that resembles it to an uncanny degree.
    -

  302. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    Esteleth, in cased you missed it, start here and then stroll dow to my first responce where I reveal where jencare got most of that post.

    And laugh.

  303. rq says

    I leave it to you brave folk. My Friday night has ended.
    Good night, all, and delicious dreaming and troll-fighting to all!
    Have some brownies for sustenance. They go well with ignorance (and bad spelling).

  304. Esteleth has eaten ALL the gingerbread! Suck it! says

    Janine, I haven’t gotten past comment 175 and I am already baffled. You mean it gets better?

  305. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    Esteleth, the comment I linked to is over one hundred comments away. Just follow my link, read what jencare said and go down to my comment and much will be made clear.

    I would also like portia and other lawyers comment on what jencare is doing.

  306. Portia, sporty and glam, pelted with pastries says

    Beatrice

    Why did you think I’m hanging around atheists?

    Characteristically diabolical…

    Giliell

    So, I packed about 30 of the necessary 48 little packets for the kids’ advent calendar. Why can’t I just buy them a stupid chocolate one like I do for myself? Nooooo, my kids got a handmade one with 24 individually wrapped treats…

    How fun! My mom does this for my niece who was born on Christmas. I contributed a lot of the goodies for this year’s calendar.

    Esteleth

    I saw that exact diffuser in a shop and squee’d as well.

    Janine

    I would also like portia and other lawyers comment on what jencare is doing.

    Reading now…

    rq

    Goodnight!

  307. says

    FtB, Y U NO think I’m signed in, ever?

    So, the school counselor called to tell us that my 8-year-old (who loves pretty clothes and experimenting with fashion) brought the Nordstrom holiday lingerie catalog to school.

    She’s referred to it as “pornography” and recommends there be “consequences at home” for bringing it.

    Also, she intends to make my kid write apology letters to the other kids she showed it to. Mostly (according to Misterc) because he “got them in trouble too”. What the fuck? Either the other kids are responsible for looking at it, in which case she shouldn’t need to apologize, or she’s responsible for them seeing it, in which case they shouldn’t be in trouble. Unless lingerie pictures carry a sort of contagious ritual uncleanliness, which the school must now purify.

    Thinking of walking over to the school and cheerfully informing them that my kid will write apology letters to no one unless she actually harmed them, I’ll take the catalog and recycle it, and the matter is now over.

  308. chigau (無) says

    kristinc
    I looked at the Nordstom online catalog and must say that I agree with the teacher.
    I was particularly titillated by the argyle socks.
    but seriously
    WTF?

  309. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    Kristin: I suggest bringing a dictionary with a definitional entry for “pornography” and pointedly that the staff members seem to be the only people who see anything sexual in this.

  310. Portia, sporty and glam, pelted with pastries says

    Oh darn. Yes, shorting out, as you say. At any rate, Ill get the popcorn.

    What legal action did xe mean? Defamation?

  311. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    Portia, that was in response to what anteprepro said at #349.

    I asked where jencare has gone. This is what anteprepro answered.

    Guess: Trying to see if there is anything relevant she can copy and paste here from Stormfront.

  312. Portia, sporty and glam, pelted with pastries says

    I guess I’m not familiar with Stormfront, that must be a serious charge. To teh googull.

  313. carlie says

    Good luck, Joe!

    We’ve gotten quite the crop of interesting commenters the last few days.

    I also have some mild anxiety crossing bridges. Especially thos really long, old suspension bridges. I cannot cross one without imagining a section collapsing as I drive across.

    Oh, my problem is imagining accidentally running off the edge. McKinley, the one I attribute this to, was a train bridge, so only the lanes outside the trestle were available to drive on, and they were barely wide enough for a car. The railing was literally about a foot from the car door.
    Also, I’ve had a recurring nightmare all my life about being on a long narrow bridge, the kind that looks like just a road without even cables on top, and having it turn and then go down and end up underwater. The first time I crossed the Tappan Zee bridge I thought I was going to have a heart attack. And then I planned my return trip to not go anywhere near it, even though it added an extra 40 minutes to the trip. Seeing that roller coaster in the water after Sandi was also quite unpleasant.

  314. Portia, sporty and glam, pelted with pastries says

    Carlie:

    The only bridge I have trouble with is also a railroad bridge over the Mississippi. The train tracks are above the car lanes. It’s downright unnerving when the train is overhead.

  315. opposablethumbs says

    Tony

    Hmmm, after that comment I just wrote in the Christianity thread I wish I was skilled enough to write a book.
    Through Atheist Eyes: Religious Privilege in the U.S.

    I’m way late, but I did just want to say I thought that comment was pretty damn good. In fact I just wanted to say I’ve been very impressed by your eloquence lately!

  316. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    No one knows what it’s like to be the bad man
    To be the sad man
    Behind atheist eyes

    Sorry. My standard defense; I had to say it.

  317. birgerjohansson says

    Technically accurate fairy tales http://www.smbc-comics.com/index.php?db=comics&id=2809
    — — — — — — — —
    And Zingularity (below Pharyngula) has a thread about a wingnut grifter who claims sex-obsessed demons are out to possess you.
    (If the meme takes hold there will be a stampede of people joining occultism to get in on a good thing)
    — — — — — — — —
    It occured to me PZ should try to take after the singer in Heaven 17 in the video of “Temptation”; definitely ehvil-looking. I am not including the link, because I am a filthy atheist, and therefore mean (also, tired).

  318. says

    Oh lord. I went to the school and talked with the counselor. She was very reasonable, actually, and said that B did know she wasn’t supposed to bring underwear catalogs to school and that she had been deliberately sneaky with it. B was required to write a short apology letter to the friends she showed it to (for, yes, LAWL UNDERPANTS purposes), which I thought was idiotic but not a great big deal. The counselor acknowledged that she was “sensitive” about the issue today because she spent yesterday at a conference about sexual abuse of minors and the grooming techniques that pedophiles use.

    What I didn’t know until I talked with B after we left the school was that her TEACHER had made her read the apology letter out loud to the whole class, that she had cried, and that then her teacher excluded her from that day’s birthday fun for a classmate. No cupcake, no handmade birthday cards, nothing.

    Also, because the school flipped the fuck out about third graders and LAWL UNDERWEAR, all B’s friends are having to write letters to their parents about what they saw. They are of course behaving like normal 8-year-olds and turning into a circular firing squad, all blaming B, and several of her best friends have “dumped” her. Maybe it will blow over by Monday but right now B has been sobbing for the better part of an hour.

    Fucking Puritanism, how does it work?

    (To be clear: I feel it was inappropriate for her to take something to school that she knew was against the rules. I’d feel it was inappropriate if she took a Pokemon toy too. But this fucking ridiculous purification ritual they seem to be doing would not have taken place with Pokemon. And the shaming bullshit is right out.)

  319. Portia, sporty and glam, pelted with pastries says

    Weren’t we *just* discussing the lack of any quality trolls? Chewing them up isn’t even my particular hobby, and even I’m disappointed.

    I’m likely to be offline the rest of the evening, have fun with the lackwit, Janine. I’m gonna go have some tamales. Night all!

  320. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    Portia, sadly, I am getting a very clear glimpse of just how stupid jencare actually is.

  321. carlie says

    Portia – Ack!!!!

    kristinc – that is unconscionable. I’d go straight to the principal, school board, and superintendent at the same time.

  322. thunk, cold air advection says

    Kristinc:

    Fuck. Sorry for your kid. Growing up in a freethinking family and being punished by a puritanical culture sucks. Even I wasn’t immune to ZOMG UNDERWEAR for a long time.

    When I did a school announcements thingy in elementary, one of the teachers flipped out when showing a web page… it had a Victoria’s Secret ad. I was saying “Just reload it!”

  323. thunk, cold air advection says

    kristinc – that is unconscionable. I’d go straight to the principal, school board, and superintendent at the same time.

    Agreed.

    (Ack. I wish I had parents who would stand up for what is right like that. But no, it has to be a kyriarchal tone troll party. This is most of the reason I want kids– to Do It Right.)

  324. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress is actionable, isn’t it?

  325. carlie says

    Besides, Victoria’s Secret ads are on tv, and not just on prime time. Nothing they wouldn’t have seen before.

  326. Rey Fox says

    Jesus fucking Christ. What a bunch of assholes. I’ve never seen why shaming children is seen as a good idea. Way to get a bunch of probably otherwise well-adjusted kids afraid of underwear.

    Which reminds me, I’ve never been on a freakishly long/freakishly high bridge.

    Well you need to get yer ass to Twin Falls, Idaho post haste. Bring your BASE jumping gear.

  327. Menyambal --- son of a son of a bachelor says

    Good golly, with all the Victoria’s Secret ads on the TV, who thinks kids haven’t seen undies? It may not be best to take a catalog to school, but ritually shaming a kid is decidedly wrong. (I don’t know what the school standards are, these days, but I was picking up one of the kids at the high school today, and I’ll say that what they call yoga pants would have been called underwear in my day, and something would have been worn over it.)

    ====

    This video of a big suspension bridge being blown up looked familiar, so I researched. Yep, I had walked across it after it was closed, going around some big holes in the decking (I was on a bicycle trip, and would have had to go back many miles to get around.)

  328. Menyambal --- son of a son of a bachelor says

    When I say I was picking up one of the kids at the high school today, I mean I was getting one of my own children to take them home.

  329. cicely (fair-to-partly-cloudy) says

    White chocolate is a cruel lie.

    A question, for those among the commentariat that are Knowledgeable About Such Things: when pipe tobacco is smoked through a hookah, does the nicotine get through? What about carcinogenosity?

    kristinc: The school must have a scapegoat. So, B must be beaten with sticks and driven out into the desert.

    For that matter, with ordinary TV programming, kids will have seen undies.
    -

  330. FossilFishy (Νεοπτόλεμος's spellchecker) says

    [So threadrupt that I’m hemorrhaging bits all over the place. Just leave it, I’ll brush it off after it dries.]

    I just met an Olympic gold medal winner! Too cool.

    Of course I had to apologise for an ableist joke I made prior to finding out who she was. It never even considered that it might be such prior to walking outside and seeing her trike. Saying: “Very sorry for my ableist remark.” went over well though.

  331. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    So I guess in the current Thunderdome image, the acronyms stand for A Bible-thumper’s Head and A Misogynist’s Head?

  332. StevoR says

    Ninemsn poll to possibly pharyngulate here :

    http://ninemsn.com.au/

    +++

    VOTE

    Has the Catholic Church done enough to stop sex abuse?

    Yes = 1133

    no = 17264

    +++

    Course its already going in the right direction but still.

  333. StevoR says

    PS. Get in quick if you’re going to vote there – those polls are usually only up /open for a day or two.

  334. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    The counselor acknowledged that she was “sensitive” about the issue today because she spent yesterday at a conference about sexual abuse of minors and the grooming techniques that pedophiles use.

    I wonder if she was the subject, given how much she seems to enjoy humiliating and crushing children.

  335. says

    I wonder if she was the subject, given how much she seems to enjoy humiliating and crushing children.

    No, no, in fairness that was NOT the counselor. That was B’s teacher. Who is old, and apparently old-school in some distasteful ways.

    I am still gobsmacked about the fuss over third graders and LOL UNDERWEAR. Doubtless some of her friends *will* have parents very upset that they saw this stuff, which just boggles me.

  336. Tony ∞2012 recipient of the coronal mass erection∞ says

    razzum frackum razzum frazzum…
    Trying to have a bit of fun with the creobot in the ‘Dome, and Hurin goes and spoils it. No way to let on what I was trying to do. Of course if the creobot is _really_ dense he may still follow along.

  337. Tony ∞2012 recipient of the coronal mass erection∞ says

    opposablethumbs @430:
    Thank you for the compliment. That was so sweet.

  338. ednaz says

    kristinc – I am sorry B’s teacher is so awful. I cannot stand grown people who get their kicks making children cry.

  339. Tony ∞2012 recipient of the coronal mass erection∞ says

    kristinc:
    Sorry to hear about the little one. It does sound like the teacher overreacted and shaming a child is screwed up.

  340. Tony ∞2012 recipient of the coronal mass erection∞ says

    Oh my fucking god.
    I can’t stop laughing.
    The fuckwit, jencare, is threatening PZ with legal action for being “censored”.
    I am laughing so hard it hurts. I haven’t laughed this hard in a very long time.
    Bwahahahahaha!

  341. says

    And to think some people were complaining about the thunderdome being boring not too long ago!

    I’m thinking of staying off there for the sake of my blood pressure…actually probably most of the comment topics as it’s feeling less fun and more aggravating lately which probably means it’s time to cut off that time sink. Will stick aground lounge though

  342. says

    Good morning

    OMG kristin that’s horrible.
    How many different types of idiot are there at her school?
    The teacher who’s a cruel sadist, the counsellor who’s so sensitive about pedophiles that she balmes a kid and the ret who obviously thinks that’s OK?
    Hugs to B.
    I wouldn’t only call the principal, but I would send some time in advance looking for studies about the harmfull effects of sadistic shaming rituals.

    +++
    *must go looking what Jencare wrote…*

  343. Tony ∞2012 recipient of the coronal mass erection∞ says

    Ing:
    Do what’s best for you. There are plenty of us to fight.

  344. Tony ∞2012 recipient of the coronal mass erection∞ says

    Giliell:
    PZ deleted a bunch of spam from jencare. Xe appears to have created a sockpupet called draztikmesurez. Just a heads up if that thread doesn’t make sense.

  345. chigau (無) says

    On another topic:
    because I drop things,
    I bought a very nice stainless steel wine glass.
    Works real good in the summer.
    Outside at -15°C, other issues arise.
    ow ow ow

  346. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    because I drop things,
    I bought a very nice stainless steel wine glass.

    And some steel toed footwear, I assume?

  347. John Morales says

    chigau:

    I bought a very nice stainless steel wine glass.

    You mean a goblet or a chalice.

    (But I guess a steel steel has a ring to it)

  348. chigau (無) says

    John Morales
    You are such a knob!
    but yes.
    It bounces on the patio stone in the summer (wine lost, sad)
    it adheres to my lip at -16° (owowowowow)

    very late
    bed

  349. rq says

    chigau
    Well, it makes explanations of ‘why do you always have that with you?’ a tad easier… :)

    Good morning all, and I beleive I’ve missed some of the fun with jencare. :( Oh well, I’ll go look at the pieces left.
    And yes, quite a few were recently complaining about NO TROLLS. Ha. Way to summon them!

    Improbable Joe
    Lots of hurrahs for you!

    kristinc
    Sympathies and I hope the fuss dies down really fast (as in on Monday). :( Teachers like that make me angry and also they scare me.

    +++

    Off to enjoy some snow with the minions!

  350. onychophora says

    So, I’ve been enjoying the delightful squeak toy on Thunderdome. However, I keep seeing the phrase “Nigel’s demon” being referenced. I have no idea what this refers to. Does this have something to do with Morton’s demon? Please to help.

  351. onychophora says

    rawr. Nigel’s gremlin, rather. I suppose the concept first makes its appearance just in that Thunderdome thread. nm.

  352. says

    @ rq

    And yes, quite a few were recently complaining about NO TROLLS.

    Actually I was complaining about the quality of godbots. They really have gone downhill in the last few hundred years. Worse still, they are getting worse on this very blog.

  353. rq says

    theophontes
    Right, it was the quality that was poor. Sorry, my mistake (although I could swear that someone else complained about the lack *shrug*).
    Well, either the quality is poor, or you all are just too practiced at the art of taking them down.
    (They don’t build ‘em like they used to…)

  354. says

    Seeing Australia humiliated by South Africa in the third Test, I turn to my favourite TV series for comfort:

    A Best Of from the cast of Nikita

    I have no issues declaring Maggie Quigley the most beautiful woman alive, I think that one is fairly obvious. Also, Birkhoff is the coolest nerd ever in a TV series.

  355. Ogvorbis says

    The only bridge I have trouble with is also a railroad bridge over the Mississippi. The train tracks are above the car lanes. It’s downright unnerving when the train is overhead.

    You have a problem being run over by a train? Why?

  356. rq says

    I like Nigel’s gremlin. Just spent an hour+ wasting(?) possible productive working time working through that thread. Ech. Educational, and frustrating, and sometimes funny.

  357. carlie says

    Wow, thanks for that link, John. I had missed that comment. I’ll be marking that for the next round of comment awards.

  358. rq says

    Tony
    I had no idea you were created in the image of Loki. Do you prefer this, this, this or this depiction?
    And we named our (female, Aussie shepherd) dog ‘Loki’. Does that count as blasphemy?
    And then there’s this.

  359. Tony ∞2012 recipient of the coronal mass erection∞ says

    rq: thou art blashemous indeed. The great Loki doth appear in thy fourth picture, but none else. For thy insult, thy body shall be pelted with pastries, clubbed with crackers, spanked by salmon, and bombarded by broccoli.

  360. rq says

    TonySpitting Image of Loki#4
    I submit to the punishment, Almighty Flying Spring Onion, Rat-of-the-Sky, Mater-with-Horses and Bearer of the Indomitable Slippery One.
    Just let me know when it’s over, ok? I have sammiches to make for the menfolks.

  361. Portia, sporty and glam, pelted with pastries says

    Good morning, Lounge!

    Ogvorbis, it wouldn’t be such a problem if the cackling villain weren’t twirling his mustache so diabolically when it happened.

    ====

    I see I missed quite the shorting out on the part of the troll(s?) in the Xianity=philosophy thread. I pictured a crying, flailing toddler when I read the “warning” xe gave to PZ. Good stuff.

    ====

    What’s everyone doing this weekend?

    ===

    Best of luck Joe!

  362. rq says

    Portia
    Nothing much at all. How about you?

    And yes, while I don’t engage in these fights (yet?), I love watching them, and most of the time, you get either whiny, bratty toddler (jencare, Christianity is a philosophy?) going wah-wah-wah-I-don’t-hear-you or overly arrogant wise-ass teenager (joe4060, [Thunderdome]) going la-la-la-I-don’t-hear-you.

  363. broboxley OT says

    #491 Portia
    off to look for airforce abu/bdu(s) for daughters xmas present. Need to pickup Opium perfume and Chloe for spouse and a pair of boots for elder son’s xmas present. If I have anough coinage left I will pickup an 8lb rib roast from no antibiotic/corn grass fed grain finished beastie for xmas dinner. At $12.80 a lb it takes planning to buy one of those.

  364. Tony ∞2012 recipient of the coronal mass erection∞ says

    Broboxley:
    Why do you have to buy the roast so soon?

  365. Nakkustoppeli says

    Portia writes:

    The only bridge I have trouble with is also a railroad bridge over the Mississippi. The train tracks are above the car lanes. It’s downright unnerving when the train is overhead.

    Can you see the bottom of the train?

    Now, I suppose U.S. trains do not have same type of toilets some Finnish passenger trains still have. They have a normal toilet seat and will flush (with very little water) but just have a pedal operated metal flap in the bottom. When you press the pedal the flap opens and you can see the rail under the train whizzing past.

    Newer passenger train cars do have a closed system, though.

  366. broboxley OT says

    #494 need to buy the roast now as they are frozen at the outlet and have a limited supply. This week I may have the money. Next week I will not

  367. Portia, sporty and glam, pelted with pastries says

    rq

    Nothing much at all. How about you?

    And yes, while I don’t engage in these fights (yet?), I love watching them, and most of the time, you get either whiny, bratty toddler (jencare, Christianity is a philosophy?) going wah-wah-wah-I-don’t-hear-you or overly arrogant wise-ass teenager (joe4060, [Thunderdome]) going la-la-la-I-don’t-hear-you.

    I’m going to go searching for a fake Christmas tree for SO and me to help the kids decorate. Then busting out the cookie press to make some treats. Maybe even decorating for Christmas a little.

    Hoping to start a painting in time to get it into the shop by the end of next week.

    And, I’m not great at engaging in troll-battles myself, but they are darn fun to watch, aren’t they?

    broboxley

    Good luck finding everything, hope you can get the roast. Sounds yummy.

    ====

    Can you see the bottom of the train?

    I’ve honestly never looked. You can see the river below though, which has always freaked me out a little. (That is, the bridge is one big grate, essentially, and so I try not to look down).

    But, it is a freight train line, not passenger. So I don’t think there’d be a human-waster shower at any point, if that’s what you’re getting at, ha.

  368. Portia, sporty and glam, pelted with pastries says

    Oh and rq, I forgot mention, re: my alter-ego. I do have a bit of a thing for Steve McQueen, so it’s not all that far off :)

  369. Ogvorbis says

    Now, I suppose U.S. trains do not have same type of toilets some Finnish passenger trains still have. They have a normal toilet seat and will flush (with very little water) but just have a pedal operated metal flap in the bottom. When you press the pedal the flap opens and you can see the rail under the train whizzing past.

    That was outlawed in 1985 and US railroads had until 1995 to fully comply. Chemical toilets with holding tanks are now required.