1. says

    In the “I had no idea” category:

    The word undead first appeared in the tenth century, when a Christian preacher named Aelfric of Eynsham (c. 955- c.1010) employed its Old English ancestor -- the adjective undeadlic -- to describe the immortality, the undyingness, of God.


    Ancient necromancers were typically male, but in the Roman literary tradition it became common to associate the practice of summoning the dead with women. Homer’s depiction of the central role played by the enchantress Circe in Odysseus’s consultation with Tiresias was an important precedent. Why did this change take place? By assigning necromantic agency to women, Roman authors simultaneously expressed their disdain for this ancient practice and distanced themselves from the rites that were increasingly viewed as unsavory and suspicious in their culture.

    No surprise on that last one.

  2. rq says

    The kids agreed that it is suitably weird, creepy, and totally awesome. Like an analog effects machine.

  3. says

    chigau @6: “Even the long loaf of dwarf bread that he carried into battle, and which could shatter a troll skull, was by his side. Dwarf scholars had, with delicacy and care and the blunting of fifteen saw blades, removed a tiny slice of it. Miraculously, it had turned out still to be as inedible now as the day it was baked.”—Thud!, by Terry Pratchett

  4. chigau (違う) says

    cubist #7
    Their mistake was using a saw.
    They should have used some kind of knapping technique.

  5. says

    Well, I hope you all had a nice Halloween, if you celebrated.
    In Germany it’s still mostly a “younger folks and parents with children” thing, which is why I prefer it to our traditional carnival since that is mainly a “get drunk, really racist and commit sexual assault dressed up as important cultural tradition” celebration these days.
    We combined the little one’s birthday party with a Halloween party and had great fun. I’ll send Caine pics of the baked delights. We had a piñata (exactly right level of stability for the kids to have fun without it breaking too fast or too late), food, food and food.
    I didn’t even need the colour-in masks I downloaded to keep them from wreaking havoc. I went as a corpse bride, complete with a bloody stab wound to the heart.
    I also had the easiest, cheapest and fasted yet gorgeous front yard decoration: Use old glass jars from pickles etc. Pour in some thick (colour must not be runny) black paint. Swirl around a bit, tip over repeatedly to make the paint run down the sides in streaks. Turn on the head to remove excess paint, let dry, put in candles, done.

  6. says

    For Halloween I drove yesterday my mom to her parent’s grave, and today my dad to his. So yesterday I spent 6 hours behind a wheel and today 16 minutes.

    Other than that I am trying to fend of a nasty case of rhinitis, that buggers me for weeks now. I cannot go outside in this weather in such condition, and I cannot really do anything either.

    Ah, memories. Caine, you said you do not remember how you chewed me a few years back. Well, here it was. I was reading through pharyngula archive to remind me of how I got to the point where I am now -- the arguments, the reasons, the opposition I met and to evaluate how my opinions have evoled and how I would argue today for/against this or that.

  7. Ogvorbis: Swimming without a parachute. says

    Wife and I celebrated Hallowe’en by going to the theatre and watching Little Shop of Horrors. This one was the ‘director’s cut’ with the original ending. The plants won this time.

    A couple weeks ago, we saw The Princess Bride in the theatre. First time I ever saw it on the big screen.

  8. says

    Stories like that make me appreciate my family’s preference for anonymous burials. Though there is some ultimate irony in the fact that my grandma’s name was on my grandpa’s headstone for so many years and now she’ll be buried without it*.

    *My grandpa died so long ago his grave doesn’t even exist anymore.

  9. says

    I do not mind driving my mom to my grandparent’s grave. She gets to meet her sister there, and that makes them both happy. On my mohters side the family functions fine.

    But being at my fahter’s parents grave today I noticed something I knew already, but now it struck me more forcibly due to my uncle’s situation. My grandmother died at the age of 43 years, leaving behind 5 children. She was just two years older than I am now.

    The not often spoken but agreed upon family consensus is that she has been abused to death. Not beaten, but bullied and worked to death by having to bear too many children and having to do too much work at home alone caring for the household, because my grandfather would not soil his hands with “woman’s work” because “Gods order must be maintained”. The old man repented in his last years for all the shit he caused to happen, but that did not undo the damage -- and that damage has outlasted him by decades.

  10. says

    Charly, have you read A Midwife’s Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard based on her diary, 1785–1812.? (by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich). One of the things which stood out to me was the sheer amount of work that women had to do, every single day. They were responsible for everything. I remember thinking how much I would dislike having to do that amount of work for even one day.

  11. says

    No, I have not read that book and it does not look like it has been translated and published here at all. But I have no reason to doubt that the labor division among gender lines historically was and is weighed unfavorably for women in many households and cultures. I see it even with my father, and he is progressive compared with many.

  12. blf says

    I had to visit Marseille before November started — absurd paperwork reasons — and managed to successfully put it off until Oct 31. Got (mostly) what I needed — and scheduled the (hopefully final) trip for a few weeks time — and had a grand lunch at a nice restaurant I’d discovered in plain sight around a year ago. Which was the last time I was in Marseille, as far as I can recall…

    Much to my annoyance, the shop which carried a (small) selection of English-language SF doesn’t seem to anymore. And the shop nearby which used to have a decent (for France, where the stuff is rarely drunk) port now only seems to have the “what the feck is this?” stuff you can find everywhere… (Didn’t check on the butter situation.)

    Of course, that was on All Ghosties & Ghoulies day, so I didn’t see any. Until returning to the village, where they were everywhere. Well, Ok, I went to the ghostie-and-ghoulie DJ party at the local beer specialist bar / pub — the staff were dressed as droogs from Clockwork Orange but it wasn’t outfitted as the Milk Bar and they weren’t playing Ludwig Von — and a procession of costumed kids wandered in, usually to applause from the reprobates and always to treats from the staff (the scared little warecritter boy got an extra helping) — then to a fine dinner with fewer reprobates and a few costumed visitors for treats. (Quite sugary(the treats, not the costumed kekidbabs), the owner (a friend) gave me some, and then an emergency infusion of bread when I started banging off the ceiling after trying just one! (Most of that is real.))

    Wound up with sore feet and waaaaaay too much alcohol. But did get some nice super hot sauce, which is hard to find in the village since a sortof-specialist shop closed last year. (I have suggested to the local Mexican restaurant they should sell bottled sauces.)

    We return you now to interesting comments…

  13. says

    Caine and Chigau, thank you very much.

    blf, sounds like a fun time. Also, I’ve never had port. What’s it like?

    And in regards to the talmud stuff…whaaa? I suppose I can see why a search including “hate” and “christians” would lead people to this blog (although I’m pretty sure it’s not what such searchers were expecting), but why are they searching for that in the first place? Maybe the answer will appear on RWW soon.

  14. blf says

    What’s [port] like?

    The opposite of starboard? (Sorry!)
    Port (or porto) has a number of styles which can vary considerably, but is basically sweet, rich, and heavy. It’s frequently described as “smooth”. And it packs a punch — it’s fortified, with an alcohol content around 20% (unfortified wines are around 13–14%). As a class, I find them very tasty, albeit of course different styles and producers have their own tastes (with exceptions, producers blend for consistency in taste). Some are intended to be served young, or chilled, but most are aged — sometimes for decades before release. Like wines, cost is all over the map, from a few euros / dollars / pounds to silly prices.

    Some ports can be tricky to serve, because they form a sediment over the years (during aging) and must be decanted. When ports are dunk depends a bit on culture. Here in France, porto is mostly drunk as an apéritif, whilst anglophone societies prefer it as a digestif. (I have no idea how that cultural difference came about.)

    My favourite port story happened in California yonks ago. I was visiting from the UK, and one night ordered a port as a digestif, just like I would in the UK. This completely baffled the young lady who was serving me, and clearly as a result, I eventually got a large wine glass (the large Bordeaux-style vin rouge glass) filled with port — two or three times the typical serving size. I can see why she choose that glass — most port is red and might seem full-bodied, seemingly like a classic Bordeaux.

    Naturally, I drank it! Well, actually, slowly sipped & enjoyed it — porto is not a quaffing drink, more commonly slowly savoured similar to a brandy. At one point during which I could see the restaurant’s owner patiently explaining to the lady how port was supposed to be served. (Naturally, I made it a point to leave her a large tip. (And no, I wasn’t driving.))

    The good stuff — reputable or artisan producers / brands — is bloody hard to find in S.France (dunno about Paris). Most of what you do find seems to be the port equivalent of plonk, from producers with strange-seeming names not encountered where port is more commonly drunk. The best port I’ve had was in the UK, but the stuff I’ve had in Portugal was also fantastic.

    Proper porto is only produced in Portugal, in the Douro region near the city of Porto. As far as I know, the drink is named after the city. Port-like fortified wines are produced elsewhere in the world, but they shouldn’t / can’t(?) be called “port” or “porto“.

    (Whilst double-checking the above to try and avoid any horrible errors, I was reminded port producers are usually called “shippers”, since the original trade was controlled by Irish and British shipping companies.)

  15. says

    I barely put a fresh bowl of water down before Angel jumped in and started plashing about with vigour, having herself a lovely bath.

  16. blf says

    Is [port] ever used in a punch or cocktail?

    Whilst I’ve never heard of it being used in a punch, Generalissimo Google for port punch does find some suggestions.

    The only cocktail I know of — and have had — is hot port (which I think is the same-ish thing as spiced port (could be mistaken)), which was fad in Ireland some years ago. As the name suggests, it’s quite simple; from memory, lemon and honey were the other ingredients. It’s served warm and is very comforting on a cold Irish winter’s eve.

    Port is tasty enough by itself I admit to being skeptical about using in a punch, cocktail, or similar — it’s almost designed to be drunk, well, sipped, neat.

    It’s also a tasty alternative to wine in cooking, albeit keep in mind it is sweet. For instance, I’ve concocted port-and-orange based basting / glazes over the years (mostly for duck). And recently used some as part of the liquid in a pork-potato-apple-leek casserole.

  17. blf says

    in the talmud they hate christians

    For giggles I tried to track that down. No success, but did stumble across a marvelous fact-free rant about President Obama, or more specifically, how he allegedly became first a Senator and then President. (Broadly, by somehow obtaining / inventing smears on his opponents at all stages.) The flavour of the spewed absurdity — which I won’t link to — can be judged by the following reader’s comment (quoted in full):

    Warning: Please ensure your helmet is securely attached, and your forehead protected by numerous pillows, before proceeding…



    You’re leaving out the elephant. There was plenty of evidence that Obama favored gay bathhouses in Chicago, among other homosexual perversions. The word was that it was simply impossible for him to be nominated, much less to win, with the scores of witnesses to his depravity.

    Throw in a long list of once…ahh…frowned on behaviors, like snorting coke, lying under oath & countless false assertions and combine them with an affirmative action, no accomplishment life and you have the biggest fraud ever perpetuated on this country.

    Leave it to our scummy, left dominated media to take on the role of Guardian. They passed over all of the wreckage of his life just to get a black-half but they skipped over that part too-elected president.

    The article that is a comment on is not any better.

  18. says

    Joseph, I love your sign!

    On the one hand, getting up early to feed the cat is a pain. On the other hand, it sure is nice to sit and drink tea and read, with nobody demanding my attention except the cat.

  19. says

    Ummm, I checked my twitter to make sure everything got posted, and the 2005 photo of a dandelion I posted this morning has been viewed over 200 times. WTF?

  20. blf says

    Unfortunately, the bomb squad didn’t blow it up, German man alerted police to wartime bomb in garden — but it was a courgette:

    A worried resident in Germany alerted police to what he thought was a second world war bomb in his garden. Officers found … a particularly large zucchini.

    Police were summoned to the scene in Bretten, near the south-western city of Karlsruhe, on Thursday morning by a worried 81-year-old man.

    They said in a statement Friday that officers determined “the object, which really did look very like a bomb” was actually a 40cm (nearly 16in) courgette.

    The offending vegetable, which was very dark in color, weighed about 5kg (11lbs). Police believe someone threw it over a hedge into the garden.

    So, zucchini fiends: 1; penguins & others: 0.
    We now have a clew as the contents of the steganographic “dandelion” message.
    Or it’s just a decoy.

  21. says

    I used to sign my carvings and knives with a simple logo that I devised 25 years ago. It consisted of a stylised combination of my initials and was easy to make, either carve, chisel or engrave.
    Now that I am able to get back into this business, I have to solve a conundrum how to sign the things that I make. I cannot use my old logo anymore because -- and this is true, I am not joking -- by sheer coincidence it was independently designed a few years later and it is ever since used as bluetooth logo.
    So I have to invent a new logo. I am torn between using again my initials, only differently stylized, or my nickname “Charly” or some derivation of my smiley avatar, or a combination thereoff. Unfortunately almost nothing I can come up with is as easy to make as my old logo with perhaps the exception of using glagolitic script -- which I do not consider aestheticaly pleasing. And unfortunately I suck at this.
    Le sigh.

  22. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I’ve been making very slow progress on the cleaning up of the master bedroom, but finally reached the tipping point. I have the closet, chest of drawers, and armoire cleared of the Redhead’s stuff. The armoire needed repairs which I essentially completed today (only need to screw a door back in place after overnight glue drying). The armoire dates to circa 1980, so a little repair is not untoward.
    Now to deal with the unused stuff from her decor conversion from blue to dusty lilac that was in process prior to her stroke almost 6 years ago. Goodwill will get some stuff in it’s original wrappers. Have bedding either on site or in transit to make the bedding of a color more suitable to me.
    Used to be, the Redhead ran the socialization side of the family. I have my first solo group meeting this Sunday, a reception for ElderCare volunteers.

  23. says

    It’s not bots, I take the time to hashtag my stuff, and anything tagged #Photography gets a lot of views, this is just unusual. I expect it’s because it’s so unexpected this time of year, what with winter happening to much of the planet, and I haven’t explained about these being from a found card, 2005, except for the first post.

  24. Ice Swimmer says

    Sea water has been getting colder quickly. The week before last week it was 10 °C, now something like 2 °C.

    The sensation of swimming is getting much more intense. On Friday night, it was almost dead calm, which meant being able to look far into the distance, over the moonlit black waters, eyes at the height of one’s nose (+ a few millimetres).

  25. Ice Swimmer says

    The water near the shore gets cold rather quickly, but farther from the shore it’s still 7 -- 8 °C.

    I also ventured a dozen kilometres inland on Friday and noticed that while here, near the shore, almost all piles of snow have melted, they hadn’t done so in Northwestern Helsinki and Central Vantaa (near the Helsinki-Vantaa airport).

  26. says

    Swiming in 2°C water would be so intense sensation for me, that I suspect I would not survive it to tell the tale.

    Just returned from a visit to my uncle. He is immobile and unable to form a coherent sentence. I do not know whether from drugs or from the illness. But he was able to move his right hand, which was completely paralyzed a week ago, and he seemed slightly cheered by our visit, although he kept loosing his conscience.

    I wonder whether he recoveres enought to be able to move and think clearly again.

  27. says

    I aten’t dead. Just overworked as usually. Fuck that shit. Today was “Open Doors Day” for the parents of prospective students*, which meant overtime yesterday and going to work on a Saturday but of course you’re supposed to keep up with the ridiculous amount of work you have anyway…

    *While you have to visit the primary school that is closest to your home, your parents can choose your middle/high school and schools compete intensely.

    What a cute sign.

    Do you know Humble Bundle? They frequently sell SF bundles that are much to my taste and that of my wallet.

  28. says

    ON the positive side, I love how Mr “convinced” me to get a real Kitchen Aid instead of some cheapshit kitchen machine. It’s not that I don’t have a kitchen machine (which wasn’t cheapshit either), but it was constructed by an engineer who never ever made a cake because those idiots places the main part of the motor underneath the bowl which means that it’s giving off way too much heat and now my buttercream failed one time too often to put up with that shit.

  29. lumipuna says

    My coworker was also planning to swim in the sea this morning. I wandered outdoors on Friday just after dusk, admiring the rising full moon.

  30. chigau (違う) says

    The SO is asleep, so I can’t ask, but as I recall, -16°C is not cold enough to justify plugging-in the truck.
    In any case, I can’t be arsed.
    The morning will take care of itself.

  31. says

    Since I don’t really know what you’re talking about, you’re probably alright.

    Not so much burned but runny. I tried to make meringue buttercream but I simply couldn’t cool down the meringue enough to add the butter…

    Oi fuck, I’m sitting over my grandma’s funeral speech. I would not have agreed to do this if I had known the actual parameters. It turned from “the grandchildren do this together” into “me, my aunt (wife of her late son) and my other aunt”. My other aunt has found “some nice things on the internet”. I’m not going to bury my gran with some truisms from the internet.

  32. says

    Chigau, I’d say you’re close to plugging in. Most of our vehicles will start without at -17.5, but you don’t want to push your luck.

  33. says


    Oi fuck, I’m sitting over my grandma’s funeral speech.

    Oh, that’s tough. Rick had a terrible time when he had to do that.

  34. says

    Those are nice, but, you know, generic. Fit for every funeral, fit for every person. And if religious funerals have taught me one thing it’s that I HATE platitudes at funerals. If I need to catch the name at the start to know who it’s about I get angry.
    In a way this is a good thing: I may disappoint others, but I will get to hear exactly what I think is important about my grandma at her funeral.
    I’ve finished my part, now I’m waiting for feedback from my sister. I will start with a fragment of a poem by Pablo Neruda

    I cannot live
    without life,
    without man’s being man,
    and I run and look and listen
    and sing,
    stars have nothing
    to do with me,
    solitude bears no flowers,
    no fruit.
    For my life, give me
    all lives,
    give me all the sorrow
    of all the world
    and I will transform it
    into hope.

    It’s not just the most wonderful piece of poetry that ever touched my heart, it also speaks of her deep humanism, her belief in human kindness and her ability to take pain and sorrow and to really transform it into something new.

  35. StevoR says

    This is a short but great little clip :

    The Impossible Hamster and its implications for economic growth.

    In other news they burned an effigy of a sexual predator and douchebag to celebrate Guy Fawkes night in a town in Kent, England :

    The old folk song “Remember, remember! The fifth of November, Gunpowder treason and plot;” ( ) really seems somehow more apt these days. Though not I hasten to add in the originally intended anti-Catholic propagandistic way which has been rather complexly and ambiguously subverted by the likes of Anonymous & the V for vendetta movie. Odd how the whole history and symbology around Guido Fawkes -- who wasn’t even the ringleader of the Gunpowder Plot -- has altered (We did have Guy Fawkes night / Bonfire night in Oz in my childhood though it seems to have faded out now.)

  36. StevoR says

    A few other items hopefully interesting for folks here :

    The roads of the remote APY lands, which straddle the Northern Territory–South Australian border, are strewn with abandoned and rusting cars, but one artist has turned these forgotten objects into a canvas.

    Robert Fielding is also helping to redefine what Indigenous art looks like.


    Bordertown retiree’s backyard spider photos have discovered a new species of spider in the Maratus family as well as being exhibited in galleries. Not one for the arachnophobes obviously but really pretty cool I think.

    Oh & there’s also this :

    On a famous Beatles chord with music and maths combining nicely as they usually do to solve a mystery.

  37. StevoR says

    @ 56. Caine : In two minds about posting this because potentially upsetting, early speculations without firm evidence yet (?) and via Hemant Mehta’s blog. However :

    Apparently, the (predictably) white male mass murdering douchebag :

    ..taught Vacation Bible School at a (different) Baptist church in 2013, where he worked with kids ages 4-6, “helping their minds grow and prosper.” (Reports say children were among those killed in today’s attack.)

    I have no idea what the shooter’s religious beliefs were. I have no idea if his shooting spree today was the result of religious disagreements. But those suggesting he did this because he was inspired by atheists have no clue what they’re talking about. They’re jumping to conclusions without evidence. As usual.

    Apparently he also “liked” The Friendly Athiest blog and it seems that some dropkicks are blaming atheists already so, if this helps?

  38. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Tonight my Congresscritter is having a phone town hall meeting, which had never been completed with my old phone system. I changed cordless phones. Now to see if I can vote without being cut off.

  39. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Update, the new phone system appears to working to keep me in touch with the Congresscritter, while allowing voting without being disconnected. Exactly what I hoped for with the new system. A good buy.

  40. chigau (違う) says

    Now this is IMPORTANT!!!!!
    It is so cold tonight, we deployed the extra blanket.
    It is only just November …
    we are all doomed ….

  41. chigau (違う) says

    When in danger
    Or in doubt
    Run in circles
    Scream and shout
    I am initiating a major clean-up of my bookmarks

  42. says

    My PC took increasingly long ammounts of time to boot lst few days, upt o fifteen minutes today. I heve spent an hour each day looking through protocols trying to find the problem. I hope I was finally succesful, otherwise expect a scream of frustration that shall reverberate around the globe causing cats to leap, dogs to howl and glass to shatter.

  43. Ice Swimmer says

    Charly @ 68

    Now, the interesting question is, at which stage is the time spent, BIOS startup, boot loader or the operating system startup.

  44. says

    @Ice Swimmer
    It seems that Adobe Update Service got somehow damaged and could not start properly, and there was some ghost driver left behind by one of windows updates. I reinstalled Adobe Reader and uninstalled the dirver for non-existent hardware and it seems to work -- boot time 3 minutes. I hope it holds.

  45. StevoR says

    So, 300 years ago, there was this woman :

    Who somebody decided was a”witch.” We don’t really know why, can only guess. She frightened them somehow, perhaps by knowing too much, by being a force they couldn’t handle, a person who didn’t do as she was expected to do.

    So she was accused of things that were wrong -- things that were false and nonsense and impossible, labelled a “witch” and they, those people back then, they (almost certainly) tortured her, bullied and intimidated her and forced her to admit to those falsehoods; that impossible crime that existed not in reality but in their heads.

    After that, they kept her imprisoned and killed her. They would have burned her alive at the stake until she was dead. Killed her with fire. For nothing. Nothing but their non sense (not a typo, spacing deliberate), their fear, their irrational hatred and lack of empathy and lack of understanding and lack of willingness to tolerate people who were different, who maybe knew more or knew differently. She stopped them doing that because she died first of illness.

    Now, today, with all we’ve learnt since and all the technology and availability of ways of understanding we’ve developed after the 1700’s. Now in the 21st century, 2017. We have this :

    We have “pizzagate”, the modern “witchcraft”; we have brain-washing bubbles of Faux news spewing 24 / 7 “Fake news” that actually is what the name says it is and selection bias and cherry-picking and unchallenged fallacies and media focusing on irrelevancies and ignoring realities and .. Trump and Abbott in high office. And internet comments and people and trolls that think and say such things that the worst fever nightmares would barely suffice to summarise and make less sense than those.

    And those people vote and speak again and again drowning out too many other voices and in a world where we’ve seen ‘The Crucible’, where science can reconstruct the facial features of a woman wrongly accused, wrongly convicted, wrongly done to death for an imaginary crime liter . no, sadly only *metaphorically* beyond belief; a world where a dozen human feet have touched our Moon and spacecraft have flown past Pluto and telescopes here and in Low Earth Orbit have studied the spheres of other stars; a world where facts are checkable online in seconds with some thought and care we have a world where people choose ignorance and willful needless hatred and cruelty still and I have to wonder again, what century are we really living in and why? And which of us by what choices of what things we accept as our ways of thinking?
    Witchcraft, “Pizzagate”, the deliberate choice to not investigate and not think and not learn. Not to act based on what is evidently real and fair and kind and mutually beneficial for all. The choice to believe in what can charitably be called “cow chutney”* rather than facts and to believe the most malicious lies above what logic and reason tell us now -- like what logic and reason and science tell us today about what happened to that “witch” back some 300 years ago.

    So. Just what’s wrong with so many people today given our greater knowledge and wider yet smaller and more connected world? How will we choose to think or not think now and with what consequences for other lives today?

    * Hat tip to comedian Adam Hills, ‘The Last Leg’ TV show.

  46. blf says

    Yesterday I went butter hunting. Multiple shops later, no success. Well, Ok, there was some butter in some shops, but none that my barge pole would reach.

    Wound up at a restaurant I’ve recently re-discovered. I found them some time ago, but the service at that initial meal was so off-putting I never went back. The food was quite good, but the service was diabolical. More accurately, one lady was simply evil. I still recall leaving in a very foul mood.

    A few months ago, I tried again. This time, the food was still excellent, as was the wines and wine selection, but most importantly, the young lady serving me was charming and helpful — very different than the previous server.

    So I went back last month. Again, a nice lunch (same nice lady, who recognised me).

    So I went back yesterday. Oops. The nasty one. Who immediately snarled. (No joke, the person literally snarled!) That person — who is now quite possibly the worse waiter I’ve ever encountered in France — didn’t even get a second chance. Turned around and walked out without a word, albeit with a theatrical grimace.

    Wound up at the local Indian, where I spilled some of the lunch on me. Which is a bit of a problem, as I’m now down to essentially one set of clean clothes. The rest became so lively they migrated — or at least the heap was last seen slithering down the esplanade at a fairly impressive speed.

  47. says

    My uncle did not get better, in fact he got worse. I just learned that he might not live until tomorow morning.

    I did not even manage to help him to get his things fully in order, his house is not completely cleaned up yet.

    Shit. I do not even have apetite for dinner now.

  48. says

    I am not blaming myself, just cursing my bad luck. If he dies before getting everything in order, I excpect being harrassed and possibly sued by two of his siblings. I am afraid they will fall like vultures on his inheritance now that the house is mostly clean (and therefore ready to be sold) -- despite everyone saying they want nothing to do with him (and from him) before the clean-up. And I would not be in the least suprised if they accuse me of not cleaning his house, but destroying it and throwing away valuables and manipulating him etc.etc.

    So right now I feel like everything I ever do is destined to blow up in my face sooner or later, no matter my intent and how careful I try to be in all my endeavors.

  49. says

    You have authoritative witnesses on your side, Charly. If they pull shit like that, direct them to the dump, tell them to go digging, and let them know they can finish bringing the house into a state of readiness, too, and here’s an invoice for all the work I did.

  50. Ice Swimmer says


    Charly, is there no evidence, that the state the house is in can’t have come about in a space of a few months and your uncle lived there for many years, without letting any people in?

  51. chigau (違う) says

    on another topic:
    What is “forgiveness” outside of a Christian context?
    It has been a while since I have thought about Hindu or Shinto or Confucian … ism
    Do they do “forgiveness” and “redemption”?

  52. chigau (違う) says

    and a totally nother topic
    what is up with these extra long sleeves with thumb-holes?
    does that actually work for … anything?
    I kinda like the extra long sleeves but my arthritic thumbs do not like those thumb-holes.

  53. says

    My uncle has died this morning from multiple organ failure and a stroke. Tomorow We are going to discuss the paperwork.

    It seems his body was in alltogether too poor a shape to cope with the surgery and the angst and stresses involved. I just have to wonder why they performed the surgery then, because it seems that in order to prolong his life they ruined whatever remained of it and possibly speeded up his demise.

  54. says

    Given that there are enough witnesses to testify on your behalf (people in the hospital, nursing home,…) I think the worst they can do is to make you really angry and cost you a lot of time.
    I don’t know how the law is intge Czech republic, but in Germany you could sue for your time and expenses spent on caring for your uncle. That m8ght be an effective threat to keep the ghouls at bay.

  55. blf says

    Condolences to Charly & family.
    And as others have said you would seem to be able to (point out that you can, quite plausibly) steamroller right back should others attempt to take advantage of the situation.

  56. says

    Thank you for the support. I hope for the best, but expect the worst. I do not think anyone could succesfully sue me for any damages, but I am not too good at coping with conflicts. One of the reasons why I never, ever, want to be a manager. So the only worry I have is exactly that they will make me angry and waste time. But that is for me a big worry.

    On the bright side, last water analysis from my sewage treatment plant also came in today, and they are OK. So I hopefully can finally pass the final inspection, pay a small fine for the delay and be done with it for at least a decade.

  57. says

    People are fucking trash
    Big trigger warning for child abuse.
    You may remember that my cousin has a foster child, I think I talked about it before. The people who made her (I won’t call them “parents”) have had another child, which they know because the woman still has visitation rights (the man has a no contact order). My cousin’s foster child was understandably delighted to get a baby brother.
    At 9 weeks the baby was taken to hospital with signs heavy abuse. hospital they found old bone fractures.
    No, I didn’t mix up weeks and months. 9 weeks.
    The foster child has of course been retraumatized by this and my cousin and her partner are thinking about taking the baby in as well.
    Now, I’m a firm believer that bodily autonomy is also for shitty people and that the government must never decide who can have and not have children, but I don’t believe you have a right to keep children if you have proven aptly that you are a fucking danger to them. Because children are people and they have rights, too, and you can’t just wait and see if those people will beat a new baby to pulp again or not.

  58. says

    Jesus. Poor babe. I agree, for some people, it should be an automatic “nope, you don’t even get to see the infant”, because that kind of abuse is unconscionable.

    People are always shocked when they run up against the fact that yes, very young children do get abused, and a hell of a lot of them don’t survive.

  59. rq says

    Jesus christ, 9 weeks. How does one even. I really hope your cousin and her partner can take that baby in, it would be good for both children and holy shit. My mind doesn’t quite wrap around the concept.

  60. says

    People are always shocked when they run up against the fact that yes, very young children do get abused, and a hell of a lot of them don’t survive.

    It’S because people still believe that somehow the child must have done something to provoke this.

  61. says


    It’S because people still believe that somehow the child must have done something to provoke this.

    That’s a lot of it. People also think that all adults are somehow magically inhibited from hurting infants. A lot of people out there with issues and short tempers, and rage looking to lash out. I was one of them for a very long time, and while the rage has been under control for a good while now, it sure as hell wasn’t when I was 17 and found myself pregnant. I couldn’t terminate fast enough. I knew damn well I’d end up killing it if I was forced to have it.

  62. says

    @Giliell, I hope the baby will get to a better home, preferably with their sibling, ASAP. I agree that people should not be allowed to play a roulette with children’s health and well being. People with history of child abuse proven beyond reasonable doubt should be barred from any contact with children no matter how and when those children got into their presence. I assume the abuser is the male in this case, because the female has visitation rights. The woman should be legally obligated either to give the child away if she wants to stay with the abuser, or be required to leave the abuser if she wants to keep the child. No compromise. He has proven himself to be a danger to children, do further discussions.

  63. says

    The woman is the “lesser abuser”, so to speak, at least for the older kid. For the boy, we may never find out. Everybody had a lot of sympathy for her before, very young, inexperienced, with a shithead for a partner. The very kind of woman where everybody is willing to help, to forgive. That was 5 years ago.

    My cousin is thinking about it, but they are also both in their 50s already. The kid is with an intermediate foster family right now, one specialised in taking in kids while authorities and courts work out what’s next. The whole process, even when it runs smoothly, is highly traumatising. When we first met my cousin’s foster kid (we live 800 km apart), she was instantly the most charming kid you can imagine, but she would have nightmares after each new encounter with new people because she was always afraid she would have to leave her home again. They didn’t allow anybody except her mother and own children into the flat for months to give her safety.

  64. Ogvorbis: Swimming without a parachute. says

    Hmmm. Came through here. I wonder why I cannot post at Pharyngula anymore.

  65. says

    I wouldn’t worry, Ogvorbis. PZ has a huge word filter list, it might be that, or it might be Akismet, our spamware. I know it goes berserk occasionally, and starts dumping random people into the spam folder. PZ is at Skepticon now, but if you still can’t post later today or tomorrow, let me know, and I’ll holler at him to check the spam trap.

  66. Ogvorbis: Swimming without a parachute. says

    Thanks, Caine.

    I just worry that I stepped over a line somewhere, somewhen, somehow. I wonder if there has ever been a regular who has created such turmoil. Sorry.

  67. says


    I wonder if there has ever been a regular who has created such turmoil.

    Yeah, me. And Giliell. And Sally Strange. And a host of others.

  68. Ice Swimmer says

    This Saturday I have:

    Walked through the rain to the local health care center.

    Taken a flu shot in the said health care center. It was a rather strictly organized thing, they had queueing number tickets and each time a nurse called the number, a (female) security guard yelled the next three ticket numbers and ordered people who had those to prepare, take out the National Health Insurance Card and bare their upper arm. Brought up some memories from the military service.

    Taken the bus from there to the Didrichsen Art Museum to see the Osmo Rauhala exhibition (Mirror Test, his 60-year jubilee exhibition). I first felt a bit lukewarm, but the works sort of grew on me, I think I’m going to see the exhibition second time (buying the Museum Card has really been worth it, about 65 € for free entry to most museums here for one year).

  69. says

    Oh, Saturday? Damn, forgot Raturday. I need someone around who just reminds of what day it is, and the time, too. I suppose I could always get a clock.

  70. chigau (違う) says

    Oh, Caine #115
    You know that you could just use any of those cute little calendar appes over on the sideorwhateverlocation bar …
    you just choose to write it on stickynotes or the backs of receipts or whatever might not will be ratetted by morning…
    a notion…
    can you (anyone) programme a rat to grok GMT and to do a wake-up call…
    ’cause that would be a totes useful thing

  71. says


    you just choose to write it on stickynotes or the backs of receipts or whatever might not will be ratetted by morning…

    I don’t even do that much. Apps are useless where I’m concerned -- they either annoy to the point I kill them, or I promptly forget about them.

    Rats do wake up calls on their own time. Usually that means deciding to sit on your face and start eating your hair around 4:30 am.

  72. chigau (違う) says


    … start eating your hair around 4:30 am …

    oh yes
    re: the late cat
    daylightsaving or not
    always hopeful

  73. StevoR says

    Armistice day today & looking something up for that found this :

    Many artillery units continued to fire on German targets to avoid having to haul away their spare ammunition. The Allies also wished to ensure that, should fighting restart, they would be in the most favourable position. Consequently, there were 10,944 casualties of which 2,738 men died on the last day of the war. ..(snip) .. Augustin Trébuchon was the last Frenchman to die when he was shot on his way to tell fellow soldiers, who were attempting an assault across the Meuse river, that hot soup would be served after the ceasefire.

    Staggering senseless absurdity really.

    Also :

    The graves shown in this song are real and an understatement :

    Who knows what so many nations could have been & done and produced but for this war and so many other wars..So much potential for we’ll never know what thrown away into machine gun fire, mud, barbed wire, gas, mortars, bombs and all by deliberate, needless, stupid barbarity.

  74. chigau (違う) says

    I just had a powernap.
    I had a dream.
    Do y’all think that Melania actually had actual sexual intercourse with Donald?

  75. says

    That’s cute!
    The one misgiving I have about my wedding is that you got to get married by a town clerk who will hardly ever do any personal stuff. I would have liked to have something personal. On the other hand the town clerk was unable to play song #4 on a CD, so instead of getting married to Sting’s Fields of Gold we got married to Message in a Bottle
    I nearly fell off the chair laughing.

    Well, another teaching test MOnay and Friday. By now I’m getting nightmares.