1. broboxley OT says

    #209 Dalillama, Schmott Guy now I feel really old, Richard Pryor wasn’t The comic, he was THE comic back in the day.

  2. chigau (棒や石) says

    A plain-water spray-bottle for when you catch him in the act is a good idea.
    When our kitteh was new, we did this to prevent her from chewing on the houseplants.
    It took very few episodes to completely stop the behaviour.
    15 years later she will leave the room if she sees someone pick up a spray-bottle.

  3. says

    Hmmm… we used cans of compressed air when he was young, maybe that could work again. We’ll see, but I know that mutilating one of my kids isn’t an option I’m remotely comfortable with.

  4. carlie says

    Joe – I don’t know if it is an option. Most vets won’t declaw any more. You can get little rubber tips that glue onto a cat’s claws that render them scratchless, that are supposed to last a few weeks until the claw itself grows out enough to shed the end of the nail off. That might work as an emergency stop while training it with the air or squirt bottle.

  5. says


    I don’t/can’t see declawing as an option in any case. FFS, one of our cats we adopted because her previous mom was going to have her declawed. I’m not willing to go that route. I AM thinking that many of the houses we’re looking at are two-story homes, and maybe we keep Randall on the first floor to minimize his access to carpets, and take our chances from there.

  6. says

    If you can aim the water at them without them seeing you do it, that works even better. Also, double sided tape on the preferred scratching area – they don’t like the feel of it. For couches, a loose cover that will be pulled off when they scratch, with some light tin foil trays to scatter alarmingly, can be useful. We trained ours not to scratch speakers by leaving the cover very loosely balanced so it would fall off if they tried. And you can try citrus scents, if you have something fabric safe.

  7. chigau (棒や石) says

    I know this will be difficult to read but
    you are smarter than the cats!
    You can figure-out something.

    I have lived with cats for most of my 57 years and it is so easy to forget that
    I are smarter than the catses!

  8. chigau (棒や石) says

    Oh yes.
    They can tag-team while you sleep.
    One is puking on the hard-wood while another is knocking stuff off the mantle while another is climbing the xmas tree and the last is sitting innocently purring.
    Oh yeses.
    Been there.

  9. says


    The smoothest bit is that they take shifts in the bed with us most nights. One of them will be in the bed while two of them are causing trouble, and the fourth never leaves my office, which only means I know who to blame to the damage.

  10. carlie says

    ImaginesABeach – nice link, thanks! I’ve seen other versions at the pet store too, for around $15, maybe. I think they’re becoming more popular now that fewer cats are declawed.

  11. kosk11348 says

    Doesn’t anyone know if Christina Rad is still a part of FTB? She hasn’t posted anything to her page in a really long time.

  12. says


    I still see “Cristina Rad” over there on the right-hand list of FtB bloggers. If you check her YouTube channel, she posted a video back in September and then one in the last week, and in the most recent one promises more updates soon. So maybe she’s had stuff going on, and will get back to posting again soon?

  13. chigau (棒や石) says

    So I actually went to the softpaws site (see #10)
    Aside from the person on the video introducing herself as Doctor blahblahblah [srsly]
    My kitteh does NOT permit The Touching Of The Feet.
    So trimming the nails is NOT easy.
    It is not possible.
    Gluing something on her toe?
    It’s more likely to end up on my nose.

  14. Tony–Queer Duck Overlord of The Bronze– says

    Look at the little chick!
    Adorable…I want to hold hir and pet hir and squeeze hir (gently).
    (ok inner 7 year old, calm down now)

  15. says


    I’m fortunate… Randall is a cat who loves being touched and held, and who tolerates all sorts of physical contact. He follows me upstairs when I go to bed and is desperate for me to settle down so he can climb on me and have me stroke him and such. Add treats to it and I think we can make this work.

  16. chigau (棒や石) says

    Good so far but have you actually squeezed Randall’s toes?
    (excuse me I must restart)

  17. says


    What, ever? Yeah… I’ve played with his toes before, once he’s settled into being held, I’ve always been able to really mess with him. All of our cats are like that really, we’re so close to them and they are so close to us that they tolerate all sorts of crap that they wouldn’t otherwise put up with.

  18. mildlymagnificent says

    Yaaaaay!! Choice Shonky awards.

    And the winner is, yes folks …….

    Nature’s Way Kids Smart Natural Medicines, with 44% of the vote.

    People do have some sense after all.

  19. mildlymagnificent says

    improbable joe

    He follows me upstairs when I go to bed and is desperate for me to settle down so he can climb on me and have me stroke him and such.

    Our cat stands in the doorway of the bedroom and calls for us to go to bed when she wants company. Even if it’s 11am or 2.30pm.

  20. thunk, Blob Alert! says

    One cat in my house, although my parents take care of him most of the time. I belatedly realized I’m not a cat person.

    He likes chewing on soft plastic stuff though.

  21. says


    To be fair, Randall complains most of the day that I’m not in the bedroom with him. And when we first met? I had my tonsils out that week, and I was doped up heavy for 10 days, and my wife was out of town for the first few days of it. When we adopted Randall he was really sick with an upper respiratory infection and we took him home anyways. And we picked him up the day before my surgery.

    So me and Randall have a unique relationship. We were sick and miserable together. And he most nights climbs up on me and we lay there and talk to each other, and we talk to each other most of the day and have whole conversations where it is sure that neither of us really understands each other, but we both appreciate the contact.

  22. chigau (棒や石) says

    I had a long, detailed comment about getting the kitteh to the vet.
    But it’s really quite daft.
    Suffice to say, it’s a 2-person, 2-hour job.

  23. Tony–Queer Duck Overlord of The Bronze– says


    Every day, lately, my email is filled with “Manage Your Subscriptions” stuff from FtB blogs—even those that as far as I recall, I’ve never even checked out—and all apparently sent at the same time. Anybody else having this problem? Suggestions for solutions, beyond “continue to delete them as they occur”?

    I’ve been having similar problems for several months. I subscribed to Pharyngula last year, and for a long time, I would get notifications of new posts like I was supposed to. If I wanted to follow a particular post, and clicked the appropriate box below the comments, I would get notifications on my cellphone. At some point in the last few months, I stopped getting notifications for *anything*. When I tried to manage my Pharyngula subscription, every time I hit the subscribe box, I’d get the email saying to “manage your subscription to…”, but it was for nearly every *other* blog at FtB than Pharyngula. I’ve checked every box multiple times in the last few months, and I never get any notifications. I was thinking it was my phone. Of course, now that I think about it, it’s not going to my email, so my phone wouldn’t be the problem.


    congrats on BossNurse starting her new job. Does it look to be a long term position?

    @208 (last thread):

    They don’t actually write real dialog for either of those characters, and when a second black guy showed up and looked like he was going to stick around, they killed the first black guy less than 10 minutes later.

    What would real dialogue be though?
    People often look at me and while their initial thoughts are that I’m black, because of my light skin tone, I’m almost always asked what my nationality is (I usually say mixed, because I got white, black, American Indian, Pacific Islander, Scandinavian, and Japanese in me; I have the skin tone of vin Diesel–not the body any longer…curse being broke!). I frequently get comments that I speak quite clearly and articulately, as if people are surprised. My roommate and best friend, E is black and he doesn’t speak as people often expect him to.
    I think that the default expectation for many people is that black people speak a certain way (for some people the implication is that black people speak “Ebonics”), and when someone comes along that doesn’t fit their view of typical “black speech”, they’re thrown off.
    All of that is to say that perhaps the black characters on The Walking Dead speak in the same manner black people do in the real world.
    By the way, none of this was meant to be an attack or an attempt to accuse you of anything.

  24. says


    We’re hoping that BossNurse’s new job can be a place she can retire from, or at least from the same company or location. We don’t want to have to move again if we can help it.

  25. Tony–Queer Duck Overlord of The Bronze– says

    I’ve found that keeping scratching posts around the house (some fit on the back of doors) is good for helping cats not scratch the carpet. Occasionally put some catnip on the posts (though it’s not necessary) and they love it too.
    That plus the vinegar/water suggestion from Dalillama should help.

  26. Tony–Queer Duck Overlord of The Bronze– says

    I wasn’t aware that fewer vets were declawing. Was this practice phased out for humane issues? My first two cats, when I was far younger, were declawed. My current two, however, are not. I’m with Joe, I wouldn’t declaw a cat.

  27. Tony–Queer Duck Overlord of The Bronze– says

    Oh, cat stories!

    I know I shouldn’t say this, but my favorite cat of the four I’ve had was named Kara. I got her when she was young and she and I bonded quickly. For her entire life, she loved to run up to me and get pet and she did “that thing”. You know, that thing that each of your pets do that sets them apart from the rest? I routinely would lay down for a nap and call her to me. Even if she was across the house, she’d come to me and hop up on top of me and lay down on my stomach and take a nap. I loved it. Sadly, her kidneys gave out a few years ago and I opted to put her down* so she wouldn’t suffer. I still have her ashes.
    I miss you Kara.

    *I chose to stay in the room and hold her while she was injected with whatever they use to put them down (it’s really hard to use the word “kill” there), and within 10 seconds, her body went limp and she was gone. To this day, I wrestle with whether or not I want to stay in the room if I have to put down another companion. That was rough. I spent almost a half hour crying.

  28. chigau (棒や石) says

    I once met a german shepherd who had been de-voiced.
    [google for yourself ‘cutting vocal chords of dogs’]
    I still have the occasional nightmare.

  29. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    Tony, it is not like there was a lot of choices for First Light on the tube of you.

  30. chigau (棒や石) says

    Why is ‘Preview’ such a bad thing?
    I mean, it’s just this little button, right beside the ‘Submit Comment’ button.
    I ‘Preview’ all my comments.
    I check to ensure that the links work.
    Is that so hard?
    I hope everyone is well.
    I hope the sleep is dreamless.
    I hope the electricity and sewage is restored.

  31. says

    Good morning
    Last night one of the kids must have gotten up and back to bed againn. I only noticed this morning because she left the lights on. I think I should start locking the door at night.

    OTOH, reading all your cat storoes, I’m glad I had kids instead.

  32. brucegee1962 says

    Let me try again…

    I don’t know where I should put this, so I’ll post it here.

    I want to figure out how to look at all the various posts I’ve put up on these blogs, so I can check for responses. I can’t really subscribe to threads (long story). Typing in my screen name into the search window doesn’t seem to work either. On some systems you can look at all your old posts through your personal profile, but I can’t find any way to do that here. Any ideas?

  33. Crudely Wrott says

    Aaahhhh, one of my favorites — chick, chick, chick, chick, chickie!

    Two short chicken tales:

    Once, long ago, paternal grandparents provided fertile chicken eggs to us grandspawns for the Easter time. The eggs had been injected with various colors of vegetable dye. The eggs came with a hatching date so we all gathered round at the appointed time. Sure enough, here comes a pink one and a yellow one and a blue one and a green one.

    A couple of days later Dad held one in his had as it peeped and worked its little wings. Dad said, “Aren’t they cute at this age?” and right on cue the little dinosaur let loose with the white stuff. Plop on the kitchen floor! It was a real crowd pleaser. After a moment of angst, Dad joined into the hearty laughter.

    I seem to remember that the three lady chicks went on to live in our chicken coop and enjoyed long careers as regular contributors to our breakfasts and desserts.


    During the summer of 2001 I had gone to Juarez, Mexico with several friends to kill a couple of months. At a local flea market one of them, a red head we learned to call El Roho, purchased two newly hatched chicks, undyed (not to be confused with undead), from a lovely Mexican girl. (He later married her, which is another story.)

    One chick disappeared but the other one survived. Having a predisposed favor for our feathered friends, I took to caring for her, cobbling together a little hutch and making sure she had water and feed. We, well, we bonded.

    I spent a gratifyingly large amount of time in a hammock reading and quaffing Dos Exes in the front yard which featured lots of trees and four beautiful, big agave plants. “Chee-chee”, as she came to assume was her name, would jump and fly up onto my belly, doing a convincing cat imitation by getting between my book and my eyes. She actually liked to snuggle.

    I lost all hope of undisturbed reading when I tried to distract her by turning over flagstones to reveal for her the cockroaches and centipedes and juicy worms that live thereunder. She would go and peck at a rock and call to me insistently until I roused myself. Of course, I always put the rock back in its place to insure future tidbits would be available.

    I’m not really sure which one of us got the better end of that arrangement, she or I. At least both of us took pleasure and comfort in our too short time together.

    All to soon, the world changed. Some knuckleheads flew planes into buildings and all I could think of was getting back into the States. I do not know her fate but am heartened to know that for at least a short time her life was secure and peaceful.

  34. Crudely Wrott says

    @36, Oh, Tony. Some of life’s moments are sharper than razors.

    Putting an old and true friend down is a hard thing. Deeply moving, traumatic for those who care. My heart goes out to you.

    I’ve been in that cold, sterile room more than once and I’ll never get used to it. Even so, I will do it again should the time come. It is only love that makes me do so. I cannot imagine withholding my touch and my voice in their last moments. Many times they have stood by me in my moments of deep pain and worry. I owe them no less.

    Take courage and let your heart lead. Make their last moments be as familiar and warm as you possibly can. They, in their own furry ways, have loved and trusted you. Return that to them. When your sorrow wanes, your heart will be buoyed by knowing that you closed the circle.

  35. Rob says

    Improbable Joe
    Sorry I’ve been busy so hadn’t been back to the Lounge for the weekend.

    I don’t want to get to spoilery on anything, but for instance Stephen R. Donaldson’s Gap series uses a bare minimum of science fiction conceits in order to advance a story that is really based on interpersonal relationships.

    Yup, you’re right and the same holds true for Orson Scott Card and many others. The point I feel is that context is everything. Although there may be only a bare minimum of science fiction conceit it is usually some tech, event or location that creates a thread around which to build the story. Sometimes the whole point is to create a distortion in our reality to enable the suspension of disbelief that without which the story would be destroyed for us. Common examples are FTL, wormholes, bionetic augmentation etc.
    The problem with shows like CSI is that the science is just a poorly painted set to justify the glossy lipped stylishly dressed technicians. Rather than augmenting our reality to enhance the story CSI et al actually tend to dumb down and abuse existing science.
    How’s your move gone anyway? I had to pack our books not so long ago so we could repair earthquake damage. Easy to pack, heavy to shift…

    Also, I hate time zones. Turns out I missed a conversation about science fiction and which kind is the most awesome and what else is worth reading.

    I know! Lots of good conversations on FTB happen overnight for me. It’s a bit dislocating sometimes coming in at the end or beginning of conversations.

    Well, I’m mostly a short-story kind of person, anyway – I like snapshots, good snapshots, of situations or people.

    I have a few collections of short stories. great for reading when I’m tired or restless. They can send my mind shooting off in all sorts of directions. I really prefer immersive long stories or series personally though. Like you I’ve never worries too much about category. I’m more of an enjoy it then read it type. Of the other authors you mentioned (Neil Gaiman, Ronald Wright, CJ Cherryh, William Gibson, Stanislaw Lem, Mervyn Peake, Greg Bear, Iain Banks, Sheri S Tepper, Anne McCaffrey) the only ones I’m not familiar with are Ronald Wright and Mervyn Peake. Which books would you recommend?
    Tony (@36) I inherited my grandfathers cat when he died. She was, putting it politely, pretty feral. Over the next 12 years I grew to love that little ball of murderous fur. Luckily we lived in a house in the country that rats would try to overrun every autumn. They never stood a chance (record was over 20 in a night) but it always made for two weeks like WWIII every year. Like you I cried and cried when she had to go and yes, I still have the ashes. I can almost see PZ staring over his glasses at us in disgust.

  36. Beatrice says


    re: black people in The Walking Dead having no real dialogue.

    I see Joe didn’t clear that up, but for me it’s not the way they talk that’s bothering me. It’s that they have nearly no dialogue and what they have is an occasional comment in passing that doesn’t do anything for the plot nor gives any insight into the character – it looks like they were given a token sentence just so that people don’t complain about this one character not having any text in the series. I’m not sure if that’s what Joe meant, but I think it might be, not real dialogue in the way someone would expect them to talk, but real dialogue as in something significant. Not that T-Dog’s role is significant in any way. If T-Dog suddenly disappeared, I bet half the viewers wouldn’t even notice until an episode later. We only see or hear him in passing.

    Michonne, on the other hand, rocks. My impression for now is that she is so badass, she doesn’t need to talk much, but we’ll see if that changes. I hope she becomes one of more prominent characters.


    Report how the apple cider caramels turned out. I was thinking about making them, but was afraid of screwing up.

  37. Beatrice says

    Note on the Walking Dead:
    I’ve only seen the first two episodes of this season, and I’m now thinking that maybe Joe meant that T-Dog got killed when someone else appeared? I dunno.

  38. rq says

    Good morning, all!


    cats and dogs
    I grew up in a rural forested area, with coyotes howling in the distance on late winter evenings, so we always had a cat or two around, de-clawed, outdoors. They kept the mice down, kept the squirrels out of the insulation, and, once, a brave, brave tom we had even battled rats nearly his own size. He also loved to chat, but he had a tendency to fight with the neighbour’s tom, until we fixed that…
    The point? I don’t support de-clawing cats. Current cat has not been de-clawed, even though he is only indoors (minus escaping twice and being terrified), but he has a scratching post, to which he sticks religiously. It’s funny, sometimes he’s napping somewhere, all calm and cat-zen-like, and suddenly, out of nowhere, he jumps up and attacks that scratching post like his life depends on it. He stays away from the kids, and is imperial enough to let us touch him only when he’s ready for it (but at which moment he gets overly attentive and affectionate and, really, I love cats, but sticking a long-haired tail in my nose? Please.
    (Previous owners said they cut his nails, but after Husband and I tried, once, unsuccessfully, we are forever wondering exactly how they did it…)
    We always had a dog around, too, growing up, mostly as an alarm system, but you know how it is – the uber-friendly dog who would rather get ear-scratches from a would-be burglar than warn the sleeping owners that something is up. Never even thought about de-voicing them. CRUELTY.


    Rob @58
    Mervyn Peake wrote around the same time as Tolkien, and his best-known long novels (I think only?) are the Gormenghast series (Titus Groan, Gormenghast, Titus Alone). He got to three books before Parkinson’s got him, but he’d started the fourth book. He is also an artist and a poet, worked as a war artist in WWII. I recommend his Gormenghast books, although he has a few humourous stories (Captain Slaughterboard Drops Anchor – yes, about pirates!), and also one of the most inexplicably creepy short stories I have ever read (it’s a bit anti-science AND anti-religion) called Boy in Darkness.
    Ronald Wright is a Canadian author who also does non-fiction (he has a great book about pre-European colonized Americas, Stolen Continents, where he delves into what the pre-colonized Americas might have been like, from a fairly different perspective (that is, he doesn’t take the ‘uneducated, uncivilized primitives’ track). His best, and I think only, sci-fi book is called A Scientific Romance. I took it out accidentally at the library years ago, and absolutely fell in love with his writing style and the way he tells the story. It’s a bit of a reflection on H. G. Wells’ Time Machine. I haven’t heard/looked for anything else from him in a while, so that’s all I can recommend from him. But I definitely recommend!

    Also, CSI and science. I work in the field; and I think it’s several decades until our eye-sight evolves to what it is in the show. ;) And yes, technology, too. I find the show depressing, since (a) everyone always confesses in the end, in the crappy ‘It’s not really my fault!’ way; and (b) everything EVERYTHING happens way too fast – like they have one case, no backlog, and perfectly functioning machinery.
    Maybe I’m just jealous. ;)


    Dalillama @54
    Let us know how they turn out! I’m thinking of trying them out soon, too – probably once we return from the country-side, with our own fresh-pressed cider. :) Because, on the page, they just look delicious.

  39. says

    All these new, exotic kinds of feeling depressed+anxious! Well, at least now i know what it actually means to want to crawl out of one’s skin; though I think I could have lived without that knowledge just fine. I think I want my old-fashioned, boring, depress-y depression back; this new flavor sux

  40. says

    no, and I don’t expect any until tuesday. it’s a holiday weekend, and clearly my depression is being disrespectful to veterans for insisting on wanting attention right now

  41. rq says

    Fingers crossed… Is this an official experiment on the Power of Crossed Fingers? Because I could also hold my thumbs for you, as Latvian tradition requires. ;)


    I hope they get back to you first thing once the weekend is over.

  42. Beatrice says


    Damn, I forgot about the holiday. Well, I hope they answer you as soon as possible.

  43. says

    German holds thumbs as well.
    Did I ever tell my hypothesis of the equilibrium of superstition?
    Well, superstition is different from country to country, so we usually say that it’s just stupid because look at all the Germans who step on cracs all the time and don’t give a shit about magpies.
    But what if all superstition is true and we all get our equal share of bad luck because we just don’t know all the rules and therefore all break about the same amount of them?

  44. rq says

    Interesting theory. I had similar thoughts about magic, about the rule where you have to believe magic for it to work, and because people believe in it less and less, it just doesn’t work. :)
    But if superstition has so many rules (maybe we have to follow all the rules of every culture ever?) for it to work, I doubt we’d ever get anything done. Imagine walking on cobblestones!! Do those count as cracks? (Speaking of which, maybe it’s the stupid paving stones back in the middle ages – you know, when they started the whole ‘cobbled streets’ business – that killed the power of superstition and magic…?)

  45. Beatrice says

    Not to mention how wishes cancel each other out.
    Giliell wishes for the bridge to open, but there’s probably someone else out there wishing for it not to because [reasons].

  46. says

    Did you know that apparently you’re allowed to use the word “rotten” in scientific literature?
    I’m preparing the sllidesfor today’s lecture on pedagogy and apparently you can get excellent representativeness, inadequate representativeness and rotten representativeness.

    Who’s that bastard who wants the traffic jam to remain?

  47. rq says

    Rotten? Really? I thought the correct scientific term was ‘bad’. :D
    Also, makes me a bit angry to find that out now – back when I did my bachelor’s thesis, nobody let me call my project Rotting Pigs to See Which Flies Will Eat It (Rotten Pigs, for short). Nooooo, had to be Pig Decomposition Study.
    (Can you have ‘decomposed representation’? :))

    I have also realized that today, I suck at closing parentheses. Usually I’m pretty good about it, because I love grammar.


    Better not tell Giliell who’s wishing the bridge closed… Doesn’t look to end well for that person!

  48. blindrobin says

    Supper-stition: It is bad luck for PeeZedd to use fotties of infant grilled or fried sandwiches to the amusement of the loungers. Such Barbary can only cause strife. Ich denke, ich werde krank zu sein.

  49. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    Possible link between flu during pregnancy and Autism.

    Researchers in Denmark teamed up with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and their results may have found a link between mothers who have the flu during their pregnancy and an increased risk of autism.

    According to ABC News, mothers in the study who reported having the flu during pregnancy were twice as likely to have a child with autism.

    Nearly 97,000 children between the ages of eight and 14 who were born in Denmark between 1997 and 2003 were the focus of the study which was published in the journal of Pediatrics.

    The bottom line? The study suggests pregnant women should get their flu shots. It might not prevent autism, but it will prevent the flu.

    The study also showed an increased risk of autism if the mother used an antibiotic called macrolides.

    One thing to note, however, is that the Dutch study relied on reports from the mothers and not actual medical records, so the link is not definitive. It should also be noted that while the study says the risk is increased, only one percent of the children in the study were actually diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder.

    One professor of pediatrics at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York told ABC News that blaming the mother for an illness she had while pregnant was “destructive” when that illness could have little to nothing to do with the child’s condition.

  50. carlie says

    Holy shit. Got a new laptop setup at work, including a new docking station b/c my previous one was proprietary and sized just for that specific model. The new one? Has serial ports for mouse and keyboard. SERIAL. There are only 2 usb ports on the whole thing. What the fucking hell, HP?

  51. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    Getting really sick and fucking tired of the conservative people I know placing blame on Obamacare for assholes like Pappa Johns owner John Schnatter saying he’s cutting hours to avoid the costs from having to provide health care.

    This guys is just looking for an excuse to fuck over workers, that’s all it is.

  52. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    No you didn’t. I just was scanning through comments and saw “Walking Dead” and quickly skipped ahead.

    I just wanted to nip any spoilers in the bud as I haven’t watched this week’s yet.

    And on that note, no Boardwalk Empire or Treme spoilers either…

  53. ChasCPeterson says

    Feeling fuzzy and yellow?

    there’s an ointment for that.

    (alternatively, and less effectively, there’s annointment for that.)

  54. rq says

    I should specify, not so much the song, as the title. The pea reference came later.
    I apologize if I was being an insensitive ass. If I was, I promise to improve.

  55. says


    Link: USA vs China tax curves. The evidence is in the shape.

    I did this on the back of a beer mat, but it is pretty clear, even if I am slightly out, that China’s tax regime is less harsh on the poor.

    China is booming in relative terms (even if they “slow down” to 7% growth in the near future) while USA … well, you all know. Perhaps USAians would do better to change their profile to match China’s. (The crossing point is at about 4x the average Guandong Province salary. My calcs are for Shenzhen.)

    @ rq/Giliell (previous incarnation of lounge)

    The whole bracket problem relies on an honest use of accurate data to adjust properly. Obviously this is not in the governments best interest. The best, IMHO, is to make it less relevant by instituting a BIG (Basic Income Grant) and letting that push people into higher brackets. (The biggest advantage accrues to those who most need it.)

  56. broboxley OT says

    #97 theophontes you are showing a US tax of approximately 5% on approximately $4800 income. Where did you get that from?

  57. says


    When I said “real dialog” with reference to black characters on The Walking Dead, I wasn’t referring to “ebonics” or whatever. They don’t have T-Dog walking around going “dat is wack!” and “Aww, hell no!” to an excessive degree. He really just doesn’t say much of anything most of the time. He had one interesting conversation at the start of Season 2 with Dale, where he basically says what I’m saying: “I’m the black guy, you’re the old guy, everyone else is young good-looking white people, who do you think is going to get out of this alive?” Other than that, 99% of T-Dog’s dialog is “Something’s happening over there!” and “Quick, somebody lock that gate!” and “Do you hear that noise?”

  58. Portia says

    Happy (US) Veteran’s Day (observed), everybody!

    It’s winter today, fifty degrees (F) colder than it was on Saturday. I haz a sad. Moar chai.

    late to the kitty discussion but,

    When I was 11, I had a beloved gray striped cat. I also had a cousin who lived across the street. She had a birdfeeder that attracted lots of birds, and she had a large black labrador. My kitty went hunting for those birds, and I ran across the street after him, because that big dog was not friendly to cats. I caught Tigger, and waited patiently for a speeding car to go by. Tigger freaked out at the car, jumped out of my arms, right into the car’s path. I screamed so loud my mom thought I’d been hit by the car. My sister and I sobbed while Mom went to get Dad to pick the cat up off the pavement. Dad had been showering, so he took a few minutes, as cars whizzed back and forth along that country road. He finally came out with a box and a shovel. He knelt down by Tigger…who sat up and looked back at him. Somehow he had made it out without *actually* being run over by the car’s tires, but had been banged up badly. He survived another year, and was a little daffy after that. But he was our beloved “miracle cat.”

  59. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says


    A similar story. Before we even owned our dog (we were acting as “dog fosterers”, and her then-owner was in hospital), my wife took her out for a walk. She slipped her collar, which was much too big, and ran across the road, right under the wheels of a huge truck. It went right over her, and all she got was a minor knock, although this wasn’t immediately clear. She never has developed the slightest hint of road-sense, and on another occasion caused one car to rear-end another when the one in front slammed on the brakes to avoid hitting her, after her lead broke and she dashed out.

  60. says

    PS: Data points shown. (I get 10% on $4800 using the calculator, but the graph has averaged this to fit a smooth curve. There may be allowances and deductions etc allowed for low income earners that pull down the effective rate. But this complicates the system, rather than (as I would suggest) fixing the basic flaw. )

  61. says

    Regarding the gradual slope everyone is calling the “Fiscal Cliff” and the measures necessary to avoid sliding down it, it seems Republicans are failing, once again, at reading comprehension. They have latched onto the meme of all-will-be-well-if-President-Obama-adopts-Simpson-Bowles.

    In one of the presidential race debates, Mitt Romney even mentioned Simpson-Bowles as one of Obama’s failures. None of this right-wing doofuses know whereof they speak. Simpson-Bowles is far to the left of what Obama has proposed, and Republicans opposed it before. Now they like it simply because Obama didn’t sign it. If Obama questioned it, then they are for it. But they don’t friggin’ know what’s in it. Don’t these guys ever read the proposed plans?


    Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said that Democrats and Republicans should agree to a framework for raising revenue that follows the recommendations of the Simpson-Bowles commission in order to bypass the fiscal cliff…

    “Say yes to Simpson-Bowles, Mr. President. I’m willing to say yes to Simpson-Bowles,” Graham said. Graham said Washington needs more revenue, but that the revenue should come from closing tax loopholes and deductions for the rich, not from raising tax rates. “Mr. President, if you will say yes to Simpson-Bowles when it comes to revenue, so will I and so will most Republicans.”

    Republicans on the panel hated the recommendations and refused to sign on to the proposal. Why? Because among other things, it raised taxes — even more than President Obama’s debt-reduction plan — and slashed defense spending. It also allowed all of the Bush-era tax breaks to expire on time at the end of this year….

    …Republicans have decided they like Simpson-Bowles as some kind of bizarre knee-jerk reaction — Obama hasn’t embraced it, so it must be good….

    David Brooks wrote just last week, “When people say they wish Obama had embraced the Simpson-Bowles deficit-reduction plan, they don’t mean the specific details of that proposal.” But this isn’t a serious approach to policymaking — political players, especially sitting U.S. senators, can’t say they support a specific debt-reduction plan if they actually oppose that specific debt-reduction plan.

  62. rq says

    I laughed at your story, but got a bit sad. The tom (going by the glorious name of Vovo – our parents let us name him) that I mentioned previously didn’t have any miracles working for him. :( My dad scraped most of what was left of him off the pavement, after getting totalled by an 18-wheeler (we lived beside a fairly busy transit-road for a while). The cat did serve as a warning to us kids about crossing the road and looking both ways, though, so I suppose some good did come out of it all.

    Our dogs, though, characters, all of them – we had the Houdini lab (could get out of any fence, leash, collar etc. invented by humans, and would be calmly found a few neighbourhoods away, watching tv on the couch of the friendly folk who’d ‘found’ her – always the same family); then we had Nanouk, the husky-golden retriever mix, who would escape to go visit the fertile girls down at the cow farm just down the road (and he was clever about it, too – when we’d leave to go somewhere, he’d wait until the car was far enough away before he’d make his escape, and he would manage to get home on time, so my parents never suspected that anything was up; two things tipped them off: once my dad forgot something, and returned to the house early, and saw the dog racing back to his enclosure along the roadside – and when the local cow farmer called to say that our dog had been at it again, and what should he do with the puppies?)… Then we had the old German Shepherd that we found (as a puppy) abandoned one winter, who took herself for walks and stole donuts from the construction workers when development moved in. And finally there was Loki. The name kind of says it all, but she was one incredible indomitable outdoot-winter dog (she’d refuse to come in even at -30C).

  63. says

    @ broboxley

    Your chart might look a little kindlier on the poorest folk.

    True. My chart is just the underlying scenario, without taking into account deductions, exemptions etc.

    Why do I find this important? Well, the current tax regime does tend to complicate things. And this leads to all manner of patches and fiddling. If the US was to continue to adopt a progressive system, I would suggest going more the way the Chinese have done. Ease up on the poor from the get-go and avoid a whole Rube Goldberg rigmarole to remedy the basic problem.

    (There is a lot to be said for a flat-rate/BIG combination. I don’t want to geek out in the lounge though.)

  64. Portia says


    I wonder why some animals seem to have “road sense” and some just don’t.


    Sorry I brought up sad memories. : / Those moments when I thought Tigger was done for were a little traumatic.

    I had one dog in my life (she was a rescue, gotten as a consolation for my parents’ divorce). When it thunderstormed, she ran away. In one place she lived, she ended up about four miles away at the groomer. Not sure why she chose to go there, as she wasn’t a big fan of bathing and trimming.

    The next place we lived was out in the country, a quarter mile from a biker bar. She would run over there and hang out, I think she just wanted company in her trembling and terror. They would call the number on her tags at about 4 a.m. when they closed. Mom asked how long the dog had been there, and they’d say “Oh, maybe since 10. Everybody likes having her.” Then mom would go to get the dog, and find her sitting on someone’s lap on a barstool. (This was a Samoyed, she was about 55 lbs.)

    My stepdad had her put down while I was away at college (which was 35 minutes away). Nobody told me, even when I came home and couldn’t find her. She was a wonderful dog who was my friend through some very tough adolescent times. Be right back, I need some cheering up now.

  65. says

    Roger Ebert weighs in with advice for President Obama. Ebert would like to see an “emergency education program” implemented.


    Reading is the key to self-education. Let me give an example that has been obsessing me. Nearly 50 percent of all Americans reject the Theory of Evolution and believe Man was “created” pretty much in his present form some thousands of years ago. Anyone who believes that hasn’t been paying attention.

    Some of these people are fundamentalists, but by no means all of them….

    Another example is how so many people believed Nate Silver, for example, was “biased” in his famous analysis of the Presidential polls. Silver was perfectly transparent about what he was doing and how he was doing it. He may have been right, he may have been wrong, but no well-educated person could have believed he was biased….

  66. says

    Just a few of the Republicans at the top of the propaganda pyramid who did not go to college. This may, in part, account for the poor quality of their propaganda, and for Karl Rove’s disability when it comes to math:

    Karl Rove
    Governor Brewer of Arizona
    Glenn Beck

  67. Crudely Wrott says

    \awakes from a whole two hours of painful sleep and finds this\

    ‘Destroy the idols,’ Egyptian jihadist calls for removal of Sphinx, Pyramids

    “Murgan Salem al-Gohary, an Islamist leader . . . with self-professed links to the Taliban” is actually calling for the demolition of the monumental monuments of Egypt. I guess tourist dollars aren’t funneled into the manufacture of his doctrine or the bombs that he is so fond of. Fondlebombs?

    While I realize that the Sphinx and the three best known pyramids could be reduced to rubble much faster than they were created, whaaat the flop does he intend to do with the piles of rubble that would be left? Perhaps he envisions a public works program to benefit the otherwise unemployed acolytes of his preferred perversion of humanity? Perhaps they could build another large cube at which to throw stones?

    Gohary, 50, is well-known in Egypt for his advocacy of violence, Egypt Independent reported.

    He was sentenced twice, one of the two sentences being life imprisonment. He subsequently fled Egypt to Afghanistan, where he was badly injured in the American invasion. In 2007, he traveled from Pakistan to Syria, which then handed him over to Egypt. After Mubarak’s fall in early 2011, he was released from prison by a judicial ruling, the newspaper added.

    Egypt is becoming much more scary than it was when Karloff was The Mummy. When will Zahi Hawass do something about this?

  68. rq says

    Sorry, Portia and Improbable Joe, didn’t mean to bring up bad pet memories. :(
    Yes, some cheering up is in order. Luckily, dinner is ready. :)

  69. says

    Oh, no! The honorable name of “Poopyhead” has been soiled. Grover Norquist told CBS today that Mitt Romney was portrayed as a “poopy head” during the election campaign.

    PZ is the one, the only, the top-of-the-heap Poopyhead. Mitt Romney doesn’t know poopyheadedness from his ass …. wait.

    Talking Points Memo link.

  70. says

    Whoops. I should have provided Pharyngulites with the exact Norquist quote:

    “The president was elected on the basis that he was not Romney and that Romney was a poopy-head and you should vote against Romney,” Norquist said on CBS’s “This Morning.”

    Sounds a lot like Karl Rove’s argument that Obama won by suppressing the vote.

  71. Crudely Wrott says

    @ 106, rq,

    The dogs you have told us about sound like wonderfully clever persons. I’ve known a couple that were like them. They could plan ahead. I wish I coulda known your pups.

    On another end of the spectrum, my father once has an accomplished Border Collie who worked herding cattle for his keep. Despite his keen ability as a stock dog, a flock of magpies would con him out of half of his morning meal every day, day after day. We would watch and just chuckle. I’d give him leftover pancakes to make up for his loss. Ol’ Pete thought that I was way cool to do that.

    \sniffs and dabs eye in memory\

  72. says

    Portia, rq,

    It is OK… I love my own furry kids so much, and I know exactly what it feels like when you lose one. My cats want to go outside more or less constantly, and I don’t let them… I tell them and myself that they can continue to be annoyed with me for the rest of their hopefully long but assuredly safe, secure, and well-fed lives.

    And as I typed that last, one of my cats unsuccessfully attempted to jump on top of the bookshelf next to me and did a backflip onto the keyboard… so “safe” is a relative term in this case.

  73. Richard Austin says

    Lynna, OM:

    Just a few of the Republicans at the top of the propaganda pyramid who did not go to college. This may, in part, account for the poor quality of their propaganda, and for Karl Rove’s disability when it comes to math:

    … Erm, careful with that (I’m reasonably sure you didn’t mean that the way it may come across, but…). A good portion of the people here (myself included) never graduated college. And I assure you, my math skills are just fine (and, probably, my propaganda skills, though I rarely employ those – marketing jingo makes my skin crawl, but it has legitimate uses).

  74. broboxley OT says

    People who did go to college and appear to be too stupid to pour piss out of a boot
    Maxine Waters
    Sarah Palin
    Steve Ballmer
    GW Bush
    an unamed PHD chemist that I had to work with
    to name a few. College does not ensure common sense or brilliant thinking. It is a measure that one was successful in hitting the bar required by the named institution.

  75. Crudely Wrott says

    Lynna, there is the generic “poopy-head” as per the Norquist quote and then there is the exalted “poopyhead” or, more properly but infrequently seen, “Poopyhead” which is quite singular and specific.

    Might I suggest that from now own we make it a proper nym with capitalization, sans hyphenation and both spoken and written with a generous dollop of giggling? Just to set it unmistakably apart there might also be a gregarious milling about and a sub vocal chant:

    Bwupehad, bwupehad, there is only one. Bwupehad, bwupehad, whose work is never done.

    I’ve tried a few repetitions and it seems to have that quality of “it’ll grow on you”.

  76. fastlane says

    Coming into this late, hope you see this, improbable Joe.

    We put Softpaws on our cat. It’s a safe, humane alternative to declawing. We order the caps directly from, and then use get superglue (I find the liqued works much better than gel for this application).

    You might want to get your vet to show you how to do it first, and it takes a few times for the cat to get comfortable with it, but be patient and you’ll hopefully have good luck with it. The hard part (for us) is noticing when the Softpaws shed, and putting new ones on.

  77. Portia says

    Appropos of nothing, it apparently was a spider I felt crawling on my neck as I fell asleep last night. I have the bites to prove it.

  78. Beatrice says

    Appropos of nothing, it apparently was a spider I felt crawling on my neck as I fell asleep last night. I have the bites to prove it.

    I will never sleep again.

  79. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    I will never sleep again.

    on the bright side, maybe you’ve gained some additional skill at climbing walls and sarcastic retorts!

  80. Beatrice says

    on the bright side, maybe you’ve gained some additional skill at climbing walls and sarcastic retorts!

    I haven’t, but Portia might have ;)

  81. Portia says

    Those could be some useful skills. If only this spider infestation came with such a side benefit! Beatrice, if you don’t now, I would recommend against living near bodies of water. It’s the river that draws them here. Doesn’t help that I kill all the centipedes, I’m sure. They are nasty creatures as well, but they do kill spiders.

  82. Crudely Wrott says

    @ 120, theophontes:

    I blame Sayyid Qutb (sock puppet of Rebecca Watson).

    His words describing his sojourn in America during his days as a traveling scholar as quoted in the Wikipedia entry:

    The American is primitive in his artistic taste, both in what he enjoys as art and in his own artistic works. “Jazz” music is his music of choice. This is that music that the Negroes invented to satisfy their primitive inclinations, as well as their desire to be noisy on the one hand and to excite bestial tendencies on the other. The American’s intoxication in “jazz” music does not reach its full completion until the music is accompanied by singing that is just as coarse and obnoxious as the music itself. Meanwhile, the noise of the instruments and the voices mounts, and it rings in the ears to an unbearable degree… The agitation of the multitude increases, and the voices of approval mount, and their palms ring out in vehement, continuous applause that all but deafens the ears.

    Damn. That sounds just like what my father and many of his contemporaries were saying well into the later half of the last century. So, Qutb’s thoughts are not original nor do they deserve credit beyond the lengths that people will go to justify their fear of people who are different from their own preferred prejudices.

    In the interest of full disclosure, I find most Middle Eastern music to be atonal aural assault. Culture, go figure.
    \yawns and tries to focus on the good stuff that people I don’t even know can do while simultaneously considering the harm they can do in an off-handed way without even knowing me\

  83. rq says

    Uy, spiders. *shudder* While I can handle insects with no real second thoughts, spiders still freak the bejeezus out of me. Centipedes, too. I think it’s because insects still have the appearance of two main eyes, while spiders and centipedes are just… Who knows what lies behind that thick shell of chitin???

    Portia hopefully you do get some awesome powers and skills. That would be so cool.

    Crudely Wrott, I am often amazed by an animal’s apparent intelligence, when superimposed on an animal’s obvious lack of it. While our cat looks quite smart when sitting on the sofa or lying across my book, he loses a lot of his credibility when he tries to jump through the window at the birds flying by, or like that one time he literally climbed the wall when I walked into a room more loudly than expected, running into the open door on the way out. Hard.
    Dogs, well, I find the smart, good-hearted ones seem to be easy to dupe sometimes, and magpies are intelligent, for birds… So I hear. :) Or. Maybe he gave his breakfast away, knowing he would get pancakes…

  84. Beatrice says

    No water nearby, but I destroy centipedes too.
    Most of the spiders and bugs come here with the veggies and fruit from the garden. I have managed to stop fearing those thin leggy house spiders, but those are rarely seen anyway. The ones that hitch a ride from the garden all always small, thankfully, but I’m a coward. :)

  85. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    My wife refuses to kill spiders that make their way into the house. She corrals them and takes them outside.

  86. Crudely Wrott says

    The inestimable Robert Jeffress, senior pastor at the First Baptist Church in Dallas, is at it again. On Sunday before the election he told his flock:

    “I want you to hear me tonight, I am not saying that President Obama is the Antichrist, I am not saying that at all. One reason I know he’s not the Antichrist is the Antichrist is going to have much higher poll numbers when he comes,” said Jeffress.

    “President Obama is not the Antichrist. But what I am saying is this: the course he is choosing to lead our nation is paving the way for the future reign of the Antichrist.”

    Jeffress would go on to say that “it is time for Christians to stand up and to push back against this evil that is overtaking our nation” and to do so via “the ballot box.”

    He wasn’t telling people that Obama was in league with or an avatar of any sort, oh, no. He was just sayin’.

    For as long as I can recall, and that’s a long time, the preachers have been saying

    it is time for Christians to stand up and to push back against this evil that is overtaking our nation.

    Either they are not standing up hard enough or their sky daddy is deaf. Either way it makes them silly and ominous all at the same time.


  87. Crudely Wrott says

    @ 132, rq:

    Dogs, well, I find the smart, good-hearted ones seem to be easy to dupe sometimes, and magpies are intelligent, for birds… So I hear. :) Or. Maybe he gave his breakfast away, knowing he would get pancakes…

    Lol and grins!

    @ 133, Beatrice:

    I destroy centipedes too

    You should have seen the one that came out from under my bathroom vanity last week. Its legs were feathery and arched high above its very slender body. It moved with a sinuous, snake-like motion.
    I placed a glass over it, slipped a piece of paper under it and took it outside. When I flipped it out on the walkway it sought out the first crack in the concrete and has been missing ever since. Pursuing a more arachnoid lifestyle out there, I presume. :^>

  88. Beatrice says

    *whimpering in the corner*

    Oh no, what if something crawls from the wall onto me?

    *whimpering in the middle of the room*
    *glancing up occasionally and monitoring the floor around me*

  89. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    Threadrupt, but:

    Don’t these guys ever read the proposed plans?

    What makes you think republicans can read?

  90. Portia says

    Crudely Wott, I think I’m going to be sick. Centipedes are the worst offenders when it comes to triggering my phobias. (I know, it’s totally their fault).

  91. Portia says

    I once had a centipede that lived on my bedroom ceiling for two weeks. My ceilings are 12 feet high. I couldn’t reach it. Then it fell into my bed.

  92. Beatrice says

    I was joking, but that really isn’t as outrageous scenario as it sounds. There’s been occasions when I’ve gone into full panic mode after seeing a really freaking big spider next to my bed.

  93. Beatrice says



    Once, it fell into the bed while I was in it. Thankfully, I’ve been monitoring the thing, so I jumped off immediately.

  94. Portia says


    *shudder* and *hugs* back. Ick. I have definitely gone into full panic mode because of extra large spiders or centipedes. One day last week I encountered three centipedes. It was not a good day. One of them was in the sink and I hit it so hard there were legs all over my dishes.

    Ok. It’s ok. The bugs are smaller than me. It’s ok. My hand only swelled a little when a centipede bit me. It’s ok. Hee, hoo, hee, hoo.

  95. Crudely Wrott says

    From the It Had to Happen Someday files comes this news of the creeping, slinking, centripetal “Church” of Scientology.
    Seems they’ve taken possession of a 1930s art deco movie theater in Jaffa, Israel and reduced its seating capacity by over 50%. They had to make room for a life sized diorama of L. Ron’s office, among other things.

    It’s amazing the kind of shit I find on the execrable Drudge Report.

  96. says

    Erm, careful with that (I’m reasonably sure you didn’t mean that the way it may come across, but…). A good portion of the people here (myself included) never graduated college. And I assure you, my math skills are just fine (and, probably, my propaganda skills, though I rarely employ those – marketing jingo makes my skin crawl, but it has legitimate uses).

    Good point. I should have been clearer when I presented the top-of-the-heap Republicans who never attended college. These Republicans have also dissed education in general, are disgusted by “intellectual elites” and by “snobs” who elect to pursue higher education.

    Most Pharyngulites seem to be always learning. No matter what their level of formal education, they continue to learn throughout their lifetime.

    Rush Limbaugh and his ilk voice disdain for learning as much they voice disdain for “cold facts” that don’t warm their reactionary hearts. Experts like Nate Silver don’t have “common sense” in their view.

    It’s likely that they held their high school education in contempt as well. It’s possible, however unlikely, that had they been encouraged to attend college their resistance to the usefulness of education may have at least cracked a bit. Some ability to read for comprehension, or to vet sources, or to evaluate facts may have seeped in. They seem to have chosen a narrowed perspective, and to have protected that narrow perspective by staying away from any scary extended learning experiences, whether formal or informal.

    On the other hand, Mitt Romney is an absolute champion when it comes to maintaining his close-mindedness no matter how much education he gets.

  97. Beatrice says


    We’re fine now. Everything is ok. Those spiders are gone now. Centipedes too.
    Take deep breaths. Everything is going to be all right.

  98. Portia says

    Thank you, Beatrice. I’m gonna be ok. I feel silly for getting so panicky about bug encounters, ha.

  99. Beatrice says


    I was comforting myself as much as you :)

    This fear might seem silly, but it feels very serious when you’re panicking and can’t go back to sleep half the night.

  100. Portia says


    You do that, too?!?! I feel better somehow. I’m embarrassed the number of hours I’ve lost. And the electricity I’ve wasted leaving the light on in hopes it would somehow protect me.

  101. ImaginesABeach says

    GirlChild has dyslexia, and has trouble spelling the most basic words. The first word she learned to spell consistently correctly was S-P-I-D-E-R so that she could alert me to the terror in the house without letting them know that they had been spotted.

  102. Beatrice says


    *high five*

    (every thing you’ve ever done in fear of little creeping/fast, possibly slimy monsters… you can be pretty sure I’ve done it too)

  103. dianne says

    I like spiders. They kill the mouse sized cockroaches that used to scurry all over the house when I lived in Texas. At least they didn’t fly like they did in Louisiana (the roaches, not the spiders.)

  104. rq says

    That is so CUTE! (And I hope she’s doing well with her reading!) Because spiders are crafty little boogers.

    Portia, Beatrice – Then I won’t bring up my own freaky-spider story, about seeing one crawl up the front of my sweater while practicing piano…
    OOOOH I don’t like hornets, they’re just too big. Almost* had some infest the balcony, but we got rid of the queen right fast.

    *By ‘almost’ I mean that once, when going out to hang the laundry, it almost flew into the house at me, so I shut the door and I never saw it again.

    Anyway, the fever seems to have me in its grips, so I’m going to call it an early night, as long as the munchkins co-operate. Three cheers for spider/centipede-attack survivors, and a good (attack-free) night to all!

  105. Portia says

    Thanks for the good wishes, rq, and I hope you feel better soon : / warm tea with honey, and rest well. *offers lots of distracting toys to munchkins*

  106. Tony–Queer Duck Overlord of The Bronze– says

    dianne @157:

    I like spiders. They kill the mouse sized cockroaches that used to scurry all over the house when I lived in Texas. At least they didn’t fly like they did in Louisiana (the roaches, not the spiders.)

    I think I’ll stick with my cats as the resident roach killers.

    Speaking of those vile, gross flying ones-several years ago, I was chatting with coworkers outside in the early morning hours after we’d gotten off work and in the middle of the conversation, a flying roach landed on my face.

    I shrieked-loudly-and jumped back several feet.


  107. dianne says

    I think I’ll stick with my cats as the resident roach killers.

    Now there’s an argument for getting a cat! Although personally I want to domesticate bats so that they’ll get the mosquitoes too. Or would big eyed, friendly bats just be uncanny valleyish?

  108. Tony–Queer Duck Overlord of The Bronze– says

    Those in the UK:

    A 19-year-old man has been arrested after posting an image of a burning poppy on Facebook.

    I’d never heard of this before. I had to do a little digging to even find out the significance. Is it correct to say that burning a poppy on or around Remembrance Day is similar to burning a US flag (perhaps not to the same degree)?

    I find it ridiculous that the man was arrested. What he did could be (and was) criticized and condemned, but to arrest him for offending people? Not cool.

  109. Tony–Queer Duck Overlord of The Bronze– says


    Although personally I want to domesticate bats so that they’ll get the mosquitoes too.

    Whoa. Hold up. If I get a bat, I won’t have to worry about mosquitoes??!!! Done.

    (don’t worry kitties, I’m not getting rid of you, you’re just going to have a new playmate)

  110. Beatrice says


    Until I read your comment, I thought you misspelled and actually meant “burning puppy” which would make the arrest understandable.

  111. Tony–Queer Duck Overlord of The Bronze– says

    oh dianne, when I was a kid and got my first cat (Cleo; and without my parents’ permission…), I would *almost* feel sorry for the roaches when she would get hold of them. Cleo would bat them around, pick them up in her mouth and drop them back. I actually couldn’t watch for very long.

  112. Tony–Queer Duck Overlord of The Bronze– says

    Beatrice, chigau:

    Trust me, if I hear of a story involving someone burning a puppy, I’ll be first in line to arrest the fuckwit who did it.

  113. Crudely Wrott says

    I’m not sure if cats will actually eat cock-a-roaches, never observed them doing so. What they will do, however, is disable them sufficiently enough for you to pick them up with a bit of paper towel or tissue and, on the way to the toilet, squeeze them beyond being able to do the roach paddle. Then, the old flusheroo and you’re both though!

  114. Richard Austin says

    The poppy thing –
    He was arrested for violating the Malicious Communications Act, which makes it illegal to “send or deliver letters or other articles for the purpose of causing distress or anxiety” in the UK. I think it’s a case of a well-intentioned law being fuzzy enough to get abused, but hopefully some limits on it will be enforced.

  115. Crudely Wrott says

    From Tony’s link above, this:

    Freedom-of-speech campaigners accused the police of using the law to effectively arrest a man for causing offence. Leading human rights lawyer John Cooper QC offered to represent the teenager free of charge should the matter come to court.

    Tim Minchin was among the comedians to speak out in favour of the arrested man’s right to cause offence. He said: You’ve a right to burn a (fake!) poppy. Whether I agree with the action is utterly irrelevant. Kent Police are out of line.” Mr House’s arrest was dubbed “poppycock” by many discussing the issue online.

    I am now imagining a world in which it would be that easy to arrest people for things that I find offensive. It would certainly make for a boon for the private prison industry! But upon reflection, I see how big a target it would make me.

    \light bulb appears above my head — but not all heads, I see\

  116. says

    Pretty threadrupt, but:
    Caramel update: I can’t get the damn things out of the pan. Hopefully L will have more luck.

    Hugs for those troubled by bugs.

    Like Joe, I can’t read stories of losing pets, but *hugs* for all those telling them. A former housemate had a cat named Ginsburg who was the godfather of the neighborhood pets. All the other cats around would step aside for him, as would most of the dogs. The one exception at first was the pitbull belonging to the neighbor behind us; she jumped the fence one day and came after Ginsburg. Less than 30 seconds later, she jumped back over the fence with about 20 lbs of cat firmly attached to her head and savaging her face. After that she left him the hell alone too. Some time later, when we had a new kitten, we watched Ginsburg escort him around the neighborhood, introducing him to the other cats (We like to think it was along the lines of “Hey, the kid’s with me, so don’t mess with him, right?

  117. ImaginesABeach says

    rq – GirlChild is now (at 13) a voracious reader, well above grade level, thanks to some excellent teachers in her public school. She still can’t spell her way out of a paper bag and spellcheck only works if you get close to the correct spelling. Fortunately, she has an excellent vocabulary, so if she can’t figure out how to spell “voracious”, she can change her word choice to “gluttonous”. She still points out the S-P-I-D-E-R-S in the house.

  118. Tony–Queer Duck Overlord of The Bronze– says

    Crudely Wrott:
    Oh believe me, some cats *do* eat roaches. Been there, seen that.

  119. Tony–Queer Duck Overlord of The Bronze– says

    Ginsburg sounds awesome!
    I’d love to have watched him in action!

  120. says

    We’ve talked before about the anti-science GOPers on the the House of Representatives Science Committee. Now we will be stuck again. Todd “legitimate rape” Akin, was a committee member and will no longer be because he was defeated, but there are three anti-science Republicans waiting to take his place.

    Science Magazine reports that Reps. Lamar Smith, Jim Sensenbrenner and Dana Rohrabachrer are three House Republicans who have so far announced that they are vying for the top spot on the committee, which focuses on science, space and technology….

    …. Rohrabacher [re global warming] argued: “We don’t know what those other cycles were caused by in the past. Could be dinosaur flatulence, you know, or who knows?” And, David Malakoff of Science Magazine reports, “[Rohrabacher] has a been a ferocious critic of the Obama administration, and has gone to the House floor to attack U.S. government programs that fund research and environmental programs overseas, particularly in China, calling such projects ‘insane.’”

    Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., has alternately dismissed “scientific fascism” and called climate change research part of an “international conspiracy.” He wrote in announcing his candidacy that he would increase oversight on the federal government, because “The Obama Administration has shown its willingness to manipulate science for political ends and threaten our domestic energy production and our economy in the process.”…

    That’s not to say that current chairman Rep. Ralph Hall, R-Texas, is much better: In 2010, Hall pushed a bill to cut off billions in funding for scientific research and math and science education. He also once said of global warming: “I’m really more fearful of freezing. And I don’t have any science to prove that. But we have a lot of science that tells us they’re not basing it on real scientific facts.”

    Hall is stepping down at the end of the year because of rules limiting chairs to six-year terms.

    Salon link.

  121. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    Threadrupt again, but based on the discussion of arthropods…

    This seems like it might be relevant.

  122. Portia says

    So, Azkyroth, what I’m getting from this is that my high-pitched shrieking is actually a very productive mechanism for overcoming my fear? Excellent.

    (I’m not on board with the exposure-therapy, or whatever it’s called, though. Those things *do* bite, ya know!)

  123. Tony–Queer Duck Overlord of The Bronze– says

    The United States came in at 5 inches; Australia came in at 5.2 inches. At the top of the list were the Congo, whose men boasted an average of 7.1 inches. Closely following them were Ecuadorians at 7.0 inches, Ghanaians at 6.8 inches;and Colombians at 6.7 inches.

    Follow us

    In Europe, Italians were at the top of the list, with 6.2 inches. Next was Greece, at 5.8 inches and Germany at 5.7 inches. Britons measured in at 5.5 inches, beating out the French, who measured 5.3 inches. Rounding out the list were North and South Korea, who both measure, on average, 3.8 inches.

    At first glance, this seems interesting. Until:

    The paper was written by Richard Lynn, who mainly based the information from his study on a website. The website had ostensibly collected data on penis size from 113 countries, but it had not been verified by academics. Lynn is a professor emeritus at Ulster University in Northern Ireland and is a controversial figure in science, particularly due to his thesis which claimed that certain races have evolved to be more intelligent than others.

  124. Beatrice says

    If I drift back and forth between “This is a scary spider and I want to go sleep in the bathtub (but what if a centipede crawls out of the drain) *whimper*” and “This scary spider isn’t really that big and besides, it can’t really harm me because it’s not poisonous”… that means I’m unable to make a decision in this case just as in anything else in my life?

  125. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    So, Azkyroth, what I’m getting from this is that my high-pitched shrieking is actually a very productive mechanism for overcoming my fear? Excellent.

    My take on it is that being honest with yourself about your feelings and discussing and formulating them explicitly helps one to process and cope with them. I gather/expect there’s a difference between, for instance, “I feel threatened” and “this is a threat” though.

  126. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    …..aaaaand just realized that was probably a very easily misunderstood example. Uh, let’s try again: a difference between “I feel like this spider is dangerous to me” and “this spider is dangerous to me.”

  127. Crudely Wrott says

    @ 177, Lynna,

    Like rats from a sinking ship, eh?

    In a similar vein, I think, is this from

    Already ad buyers are scrambling to recast their fourth-quarter projections as three of the four major broadcast networks — CBS, ABC and Fox — fall short of their guarantees to advertisers. NBC, which has been last in the ratings race for years, is the only network that is up so far.

    Could it be that the population is getting marginally smarter? Or a bit more bored or jaded? All I know is that programs that feature immaculate young “professionals” existing in immaculate apartments and offices, keenly, if not painfully aware that they are on camera, delivering committee written lines and pausing for the laugh track, have no drawing power for anyone who really thinks. I am heartened by such news.

    Since I’ve broached the bland yet apparently popular subject of pervasive TeeVee, Microsoft has reportedly applied for a patent that must surely have George Orwell spinning madly in his grave. This from The Register:

    Microsoft has been granted a patent on a content distribution system that uses cameras built into televisions, PCs, and mobile phones to act as a “consumer detector,” to enforce DRM licensing terms.

    “A fee can be charged for each viewer of the content for each view,” Patent US20120278904 reads. “Viewers may be uniquely identified and a count of the viewers determined, with the licensee then charged for each viewer accessing the content. Age and identity restrictions can be applied in this embodiment as well.”

    See this link:
    Submitted without comment except to ask if you can trust your Kinect, and do your really have to have that new XBox?

  128. Beatrice says

    I hope this crap series romanticizing sexual slavery will finish already, it’s making me sick.

    (Magnificent Century – Turkish series about Suleiman the Magnificent and his harem, mainly Hürrem. Admittedly, she turned out pretty badass, having a large influence on his ruling. Court intrigues and murders could be interesting, but this series is basically cat fighting (with extra murders) and slave women panting over the hot sultan. They all luuuuve him. *blech*)

  129. Beatrice says


    Oh, so that’s probably that Durex campaign.

    If I remember correctly, these measures were self-reported, so they possibly tell us more about cultural expectations and assumptions about masculinity (as measured in penis size), than anything else.

  130. says

    For the geeks among us who like to delve into the “backstage” aspects of investigations that rely on technology, here’s an interesting detail from the case that brought about U.S. Army Gneral David Petraeus’s downfall:

    … the distinguished career of CIA Director and former Afghanistan war commander David Petraeus appears to have come unhinged after authorities traced the location of the sender of threatening e-mails that were written from an anonymous Gmail account and sent to a woman in Florida.

    Authorities say the location data connected to the e-mails and the Gmail account from which they were sent, helped them identify the sender as Petraeus’ biographer, Paula Broadwell. This helped them search other Gmail accounts owned by Broadwell, which led them to the affair with Petraeus, according to The Wall Street Journal….

    Wired link.

    Location data is associated with your Gmail e-mails. Remember that if you are walking a line too close to criminality.

    … The affair began to unravel after the Florida woman, Jill Kelley, contacted an FBI friend after receiving threatening and harassing e-mails from an anonymous person who accused her of flirting with a man who was not identified in the e-mails. Kelley is a volunteer social planner for events at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida, which is home to the military’s Central Command. Petraeus was commander of CENTCOM from 2008 to 2010, when he left to take his position as head of the CIA.

    The e-mails, between 5 and 10 of them, began arriving last May, and reportedly told Kelley to “back off” and “stay away” from the unnamed man.

    Kelley’s FBI friend launched an investigation to determine if the threatening e-mails constituted a cybercrime….</blockquote?

  131. Crudely Wrott says

    @184, Broboxley OT,

    Sheesh. The article says McAfee wanted to synthesize psychedelics from chemicals sold on the InnerTubes.

    Why the fuck didn’t he just walk through a cow pasture!?
    Ok, I’ve got it. He was already psychotic from chemicals available in his own brain. Shit. Sad.

  132. dianne says

    Excuse me, but I’m going to have a little first world problems tantrum…I am so tired of insurance company shit I’m ready to quit work and go volunteer with MSF for the rest of my life. We’re expected to comply with every bit of ridiculous crap the insurance companies come up with because they (eventually) pay (a portion of) charges (if they feel like it.) Well, having money doesn’t justify being a bunch of psychotic assholes whose only purpose seems to be to deny people health care. I wonder if refusing care to health insurance executives would be ethical…after all, they do it to other people…Sigh. It’s probably not. But one could at least wait a bit while the ruling from the ethics committee came in…

  133. says

    I think this belongs in the category of “Never let a bad idea die,” a specialty of right-wing frayed minds.

    The man who created “Dreams From My Real Father,” the anti-Obama film that argues that the president’s real father is late Chicago communist Frank Marshall Davis, told BuzzFeed on Monday that he believes the film was a success despite Obama’s re-election.

    “The DVD continues to sell well and has discredited the mainstream media even further as liberal political partisans, rather than public trustees and watchdogs for the American people,” said Joel Gilbert in an email, calling the movie an “important historic document.”…

    “The publicity campaign of sending some free DVDs around the country was very helpful in getting media attention…,” Gilbert said on Monday.

    Gilbert said that there’s more in the works — theatrical distribution and a sequel to the original film.
    “The marketing campaign for Dreams from My Real Father continues,” he said.
    “We are seeking theatrical distribution, and a sequel is in the works.”

    BuzzFeed link.

  134. says


    Threadrupt, but I have a point of curiosity I’d like to ask anyone who’s familiar with radfem thought on (anti)BDSM. Note that this isn’t a request for a general debate on the topic, just that I’d like to know the philosophy’s answer to a specific point I wonder about.

    If I understand the viewpoint correctly, the idea is that kinky women only think we’re attracted to BDSM because patriarchal culture primes us our whole lives to be submissive and masochistic. There’s other stuff, including “trauma bonding” and so forth but that’s the core of it, yes?

    In which case can anyone tell me what the anti-BDSM response is to this question: why isn’t every single woman submissive and/or masochistic? I know, for instance, that my sexual proclivities put me way outside of the crowd, but I didn’t grow up in a more overtly patriarchal environment than the obvious.

    Sure, I read about Rapunzel and Snow White, and I saw TV commercials and ads at the mall, but so did almost every other girl in the country and yet it is demonstrable and objective fact that the majority of women don’t identify with the BDSM subculture. What would the radfem explanation be for why I turned out a bottom, but not the rest of the little girls on my street with the same upbringing?

  135. says

    Several states have joined Texas in petitioning the Federal Government to be allowed to secede.


    North Carolina

  136. Beatrice says


    Have no idea on answers, but I would like to add a question:
    How does this theory explain dominant women in BDSM subculture?

  137. says

    Beatrice, I’m not sure how the radfem theory explains it, but as a not-rad feminist moving in kinky circles I’ve observed that dominant women are in demand by a LOT of submissive-identified hetero men, who essentially want a cipher to get them off while performing a dominant act to titillate them (the men). I would expect the radfem explanation would heavily involve this (and completely disappear dominant-identified hetero women who have no desire to be made ciphers and a sexual agenda of their own).

  138. dianne says

    It seems like submissive hetero men would also be difficult to explain in the framework you mention.

  139. Esteleth, Elen síla lúmenn' omentielvo says

    I had a lengthy debate with my dental hygienist today.

    She completely refused to admit that I did not need a new retainer.

    I said that I’d never had braces, or a retainer, so if I needed a retainer, that was one thing, and I would be willing to accept such a judgement, but it would hardly be a “replacement.”

    She refused to believe that I had never had braces, because “everyone” has had braces, and how else could my teeth be mostly straight?

    I won, ultimately, by citing my dental records. Which she had. Seeing how she’s my dental hygienist.

  140. says

    dianne, see my #197 — I have a feeling the radfem theory would trade heavily on the idea that submissive hetero men have no substantive desire to actually feel submissive or make their sex partners feel dominant. (Of course the submissiveness of hetero submissive women and the desire for dominance on the part of hetero dominant men is totes real, which makes it totes bad. Heads I win, tails you lose.)

  141. says


    Several states have joined Texas in petitioning the Federal Government to be allowed to secede.

    No, they haven’t. A few thousand dipshits in those states have used a useless feel-good survey site provided by the White House to whine a lot.


    She refused to believe that I had never had braces, because “everyone” has had braces, and how else could my teeth be mostly straight?

    I never had braces because my teeth are mostly straight…

  142. Esteleth, Elen síla lúmenn' omentielvo says


    I never had braces because my teeth are mostly straight…

    Me too. Newsflash, huh?

  143. dianne says

    kristinic, I’m sorry, but I’m having trouble parsing that statement. Not your fault-I suspect that either I’m being dull or it just doesn’t make sense. Submissive men have no desire for their partners to be dominant? What?

  144. Tony–Queer Duck Overlord of The Bronze– says

    Ok, the election may be over, but everyone has *got* to see this image.
    While it *is* suitable for most workplace environments, it might not be if you work in a Mormon stronghold somewhere.

  145. says

    dianne — I think radfems would cast hetero femdom as one more way for men to force women into performing sexually for the benefit of men, in other words, all a sham. In order to do this, of course, they would have to erase the existence and voices of actual dominant women who actually enjoy being dominant (and submissive men who actually feel submissive).

  146. Crudely Wrott says

    @ 195, Lynna,

    No surprise that they are all southern states. I wonder what’s taking Idaho so long.

    I also wonder what would happen if the did successfully secede and then found themselves cut off from federal assistance and funds for highways, infrastructure, health care, education, law enforcement and stuff like that there.

    It would be an enlightening moment to be present when a foreign country sharing state borders with the remainder of the nation asks to be readmitted. I wonder, would they want to keep their previous names? How humble, or ‘umble, as some old timers like to pronounce it, would they be? What astonishing compromises would they be willing to accept? Would they design a new state flag?

    Such novelties would be most entertaining, as would be those presented if they remained separate. Such things as international trade agreements, import and export tariffs, establishment of embassies and protocols. I doubt much thought has been given to such issues but, if I’m wrong, I’ll bet the farm that their brand spanking new legislation would make for great party entertainment.

  147. says

    Good evening

    A) Many of you would not like #1 who loves to pick up insects of all kinds and regularly gets into discussions with me about the dung beetle staying outside

    B) College tried to kill me today. First my Spanish lecture was extended to two full hours so we could pick up on time we missed last week which then meant that I had to make the 15 min walk to the next lecture in 10. There the lecturer tried to make my brain explode by explaining the concepts and math of standard deviation and correlation in about 30 minutes. I think if I hadn’t already known the concepts before my head would have exploded.

    C) You can call me The Grinch. Today I kindly invited my parents and assorted grandmas for the second day of christmas to our place and said that we would only pay a short visit on Christmas Eve at noon and then spend the day ALONE.
    My grandmas don’t like anything evening anymore anyway and after the St. Martin’s fiasco I’m not giving my mum a chance to ruin the kids’ christmas eve apart from my desire not to ruin my christmas eve, thereby denying my mother her divine right to have her grandchildren on christas eve.
    Yes, I’m officially back in the position of worst daughter in the universe!

  148. dianne says

    The parchment paper recommended by the recipe for lining the pan has bonded to the caramels and can’t be removed.

    I initially read this as “parchment paper…bonded to the camels”. It didn’t make a lot of sense but was quite an interesting mental image.

  149. Esteleth, Elen síla lúmenn' omentielvo says

    I am grumpy.

    Went to Target yesterday, and there was Christmas shit everywhere. C’mon! It is MID-NOVEMBER.

  150. Beatrice says


    Hm. I am tempted to pass judgment on women who would support this kind of erasure and generalizations, so I will keep my mouth shut and wait for more information.


    I wore braces. Unnecessarily, I believe. My teeth weren’t perfectly straight, but they looked fine. Now, I have gaps between my 5s and 6s, where food gets stuck after every fucking meal that isn’t yogurt (without fruit chunks). I would have to floss after every meal if I wanted to keep my teeth healthy, which is a bit of a bother.
    Honestly, I’m pretty sure I would have better teeth today if it wasn’t for those braces. But nooo, everyone whose teeth didn’t align to the point of perfection got them in those times.

  151. Nutmeg says

    *does the “My paper was just cited!” dance around the lab*


    I love days when there are no classes. The campus is lovely and quiet, I can park wherever I want, and I have the lab to myself. Bliss. I’m already looking forward to doing labwork over the Christmas holidays, all by myself in peace and quiet. With the added bonus of avoiding my relatives!

  152. Tony–Queer Duck Overlord of The Bronze– says

    Lynna @195:
    Montana seems like odd person out in that list of states…

  153. Portia says

    A)Hey, #1 is free to play with all the bugs she wants. Just keep ’em away from me. :)

    B)Sorry college sucked today. You’re pretty good at persevering.

    C)My mom asked me to start thinking about the holidays today, and to broach the subject with my siblings. They don’t like her as much as I do, and are less willing to commit to any times or places, so we’ll see how this goes.

  154. dianne says

    I think radfems would cast hetero femdom as one more way for men to force women into performing sexually for the benefit of men, in other words, all a sham.

    I’m sure that happens, but don’t see any evidence that it’s the only thing that ever happens. Radfemism can take on a paternalistic air at times. It’s the whole “we know what’s right for you and if you disagree you must be brainwashed” thing, I think.

  155. Beatrice says


    Yeah, they have already started decorating the streets here. I’ve also noticed little chocolate Father Christmases have already started appearing in the stores.

    The moment I dread is the beginning of Christmas songs season. In every store, all the time, the same twenty (at most) songs.

  156. dianne says

    The moment I dread is the beginning of Christmas songs season. In every store, all the time, the same twenty (at most) songs.

    FSM, NO! Sometime about the second week in December, I start listening to the lyrics and trying to make them make sense or at least have a coherent message. It’s like reading the Necronomicon. Cthulu eat me now!

  157. Beatrice says


    At some point I usually have a meltdown and start belting out Last Christmas while cooking.

  158. Tony–Queer Duck Overlord of The Bronze– says

    Dear Esteleth:

    Deck the halls, with boughs of holly…
    Rudolph the red nosed raindeer, had a very shiny nose…
    On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…


    Too soon?

    Bah humbug.

  159. Tony–Queer Duck Overlord of The Bronze– says


    I’m already looking forward to doing labwork over the Christmas holidays,

    ::blinks, wide eyed, in disbelief::
    you look forward to labwork?

  160. says

    I have a terrible confession to make: I like christmas season. I hate November so I’m quite sympathetic to starting it early (but not as early as September). So, next Monday we’ll bake a hell lot of cinnamon waffers :)
    And now my bed is calling

  161. dianne says

    @224: It’s different in Germany. The Christmas season in Germany involves time off. In the US, it’s just more pressure to buy stuff and be lectured on the importance of Christianity. Plus, we have this other holiday to get out of the way first…

  162. Tony–Queer Duck Overlord of The Bronze– says

    A)Hey, #1 is free to play with all the bugs she wants. Just keep ‘em away from me. :)

    ::on cue, Tony offers Portia a nice chocolate covered cricket…::

  163. says

    If I understand the viewpoint correctly, the idea is that kinky women only think we’re attracted to BDSM because patriarchal culture primes us our whole lives to be submissive and masochistic.

    I know you asked about radical feminist thought specifically, but still. the quoted phrase is nonsensical, and oddly assumes that some environmental influences create “authentic” personality traits, while others create “fake” ones.
    More sensibly phrased, the phrase would be “submissive women are submissive in part because that’s our cultural priming for women anyway”. or maybe even “there are more submissive women than dominant ones because the priming women receive from society is towards submissiveness”

    why isn’t every single woman submissive and/or masochistic?

    for the same reason not every woman is Betty Draper (nor was in the 1950’s)

  164. Ogvorbis: broken and cynical says


    Threadrupt (normal).

    Panic night (bad (very)).

    Wife and I went for a drive (good).

    Lunch at Popeyes (good).

    Suicidal White Tail Deer (bad).

    No injuries (good).

    Car drivable (bad).

    $500 deductable (bad).

    Can afford to fix it in two weeks (meh).


  165. Tony–Queer Duck Overlord of The Bronze– says

    What’s a “cinnamon waffer”?


    Again, though we’re post election, this condom advertisment is hilarious.

    The Romney rubber is advertised as being “great for any position,” while the Obama condom has the tagline, “Won’t break as easily as his promises.”

  166. says


    I have a terrible confession to make: I like christmas season.

    Me too! I’ve even been known to climb a ladder and hang lights on the outside of the house. :)

  167. Tony–Queer Duck Overlord of The Bronze– says

    Glad to see there were no injuries.
    Sorry to hear about the financial strain.

  168. Tony–Queer Duck Overlord of The Bronze– says

    Joe @233:

    I’m in the Pro Christmas crowd too. I have all these nostalgic, positive feelings with regard to Christmas. In fact, I think I’m going to put up lights this year (something I haven’t done in maybe 10 years).

  169. Ogvorbis: broken and cynical says

    I used to really enjoy the Christmas/Solstice/Saturnalia season. The Canadian Brass or Bing Crosby doing Christmas Carols, the Grinch, the smell of cut pine boughs, all of it. But 30 years of ‘Jesus is the Reason for the Season,’ and ‘Keep Christ in Christmas,’ and the fictitious ‘War on Christmas,’ I have decided that I really do not like this season at all. Getting yelled out for saying, “Happy holidays,” to someone. The bullshit about Christ’s birthday. Not anymore.

  170. says

    Christmas season in Germany is warm-fuzzies-inducing*; Christmas season in the US is all negative aspects of US culture concentrated and set to horrible music.

    Also, Gluhwein > Eggnog, which may explain the experience of German Chrstmas season as more pleasant
    – – – – –
    *or was, back when I actually lived there; back then, german Christmas season didn’t start until Dec 1st, no cue if they’ve expanded it since

  171. Beatrice says


    Lights are the only thing I like. But then again, I put them above my desk and often turn them on instead of the lamp, keeping them there for months after Christmas.
    So really, I don’t really count those as Christmasy, since they sometimes stay in use around the year.

    ((unrelated to Christmas) In a series I watched, a guy had these little lights hanging all over one of the huge windows in his living room. It looked soooo pretty when turned on.)

  172. broboxley OT says

    Got the usual call from my side of the family, but as I explained I will be working Thanksgiving and Christmas so visits there or here are out.

  173. Crudely Wrott says

    Hi, Oggie. Too bad about the deer and your car.
    I hit one once NW of Casper, Wyoming and the repair bill was 900 dollars of which nearly 200 was just for the plastic grill insert alone. My deductible was 250. Most expensive piece of 12 by 30 inch plastic I ever hope to buy.
    I saw the deer from about a half mile away, middle of the afternoon, and backed off the gas. Was doing 70, slowed to 50. The doe was standing in tall grass off to the right so I eased over into the left lane. I started blowing the car horn as I approached. That must have pusher her over the edge.
    Just as I drew abreast, she leapt. My Honda caught her just below shoulder level, me leaning right over the center console. I saw her levitate and fly over the car.
    Stood on the brakes, got pulled over and exited the car. Ran quickly back to where I thought she had landed, pulling out my jack knife on the way; I was ready to dispatch her if she was broken.
    Found her about twenty feet off the road bed, lying on her side, breathing heavily and looking right at me. Just as I bent over her, looking into her wide, bright eye,
    A moment that imprinted itself deep in my memory.
    I spent a while with her, stroking her neck and whispering words I don’t recall.

    Ever since then (26 years ago) I adopted the habit of scanning the borrow pits and road sides; up the right and back the left. Since then I have only hit one more, its fate unknown due to a steep drop on the side of the road where it flew. On several other occasions, though, I was able to avoid impact, though by slim margins.
    If I spot any animal on the road ahead I start flashing my high beams on and off and playing a staccato on the horn. That will often freeze them until I pass.

    One of my greatest pleasures is driving highways in wild places. It strikes me that such pleasure contains the possibility of great sorrow when an animal suffers from my passage.

    Hope you can put your ride back together.
    Eyes open, head on swivel.

  174. Ogvorbis: broken and cynical says

    Wife and I do like to go out in the evening during the runup to solstice and look at all of the lights. Some are very pretty. However, some are funny (and not intentionally funny) — like a huge cross lit with blue Chanukah lights.

  175. Ogvorbis: broken and cynical says


    I hit a moose up in Montana while on a fire. The Ford pickup I was driving took about $3500 damage but was still legal to drive. I loved the look on the rental agent’s face when I dropped it off and handed her the accident report and safety officer’s investigation.

    This buck came tear-assing out of a driveway at high speed. I swerved into the divider lane and I did not hit him full on. He dented (and his antlers gouged) my rear quarter panel and pulled part of the bumper loose. He got up and wobbled away into the woods. I did report it to the State Troopers (who contact DCNR) but I have no idea how bad the injuries were.

  176. Ogvorbis: broken and cynical says

    Just heard this on the local news:

    “This year, Pearl Harbor Day falls on December 7th . . . ”

    Fx [sound of a needle scratching all the way across a Steely Dan LP] (You kids can ask an older relative about needles, LPs and Steely Dan.)

  177. Nutmeg says


    ::blinks, wide eyed, in disbelief::
    you look forward to labwork?

    Depends on the labwork, I guess, but often I do. Most labwork is repetitive, so once I’m good at a particular technique, I can put my brain into low gear and just listen to podcasts and get stuff done. Holiday labwork is the best because it’s quiet and I don’t feel obligated to do anything that isn’t important. And I’m learning a new procedure that will (hopefully) give me exciting results and allow me to finish my thesis. The end might be in sight after the holidays.

    ::on cue, Tony offers Portia a nice chocolate covered cricket…::

    I actually ate a barbecue-flavoured cricket at a departmental event last year. It was tasty, but dry.


    I am in the I-Hate-Everything-About-Christmas crowd. Too many Christmas seasons working retail. And my mom gets really worked up and tries to make everything perfect, which just creates a bunch of stress for everyone.

    Christmas baking is nice, I guess.

  178. says

    As to the parchment paper, the solution is water. Literally. Dunk the paper-caramel in shallow plain water, just a few mm depth. You will lose a little caramel as it dissolves, but you’ll be able to peel the paper off after only a short time – a minute, perhaps. Hot water will be faster. Check it carefully, try peeling some off after 30secs. The longer you leave it, the more caramel you’ll lose. (And next time oil the paper.)

  179. Beatrice says

    My thoughts about Christmas might be different if I had ever had a nice family Christmas. But we were never that kind of family.

    My grandmother very Catholic, my father very antireligious, me mostly being interested in decorating the tree, mum…. dunno. Just decorating the tree at some point became too much of a battle, so I gave up. Father would grumble if there were no cakes, but would get angry if we called them Christmas cakes or talked about Christmas.
    It’s just not worth the annoyance.

  180. Beatrice says

    But I still make cookies and/or cakes. It’s a good excuse to try new recipes and eat delicious stuff. And this year, a variety of cookies will probably make a couple of Christmas gifts for friends.

  181. Crudely Wrott says

    You must have been eyes wide and head on swivel, Oggie. Good thing you didn’t hit that moose full on. They have a nasty habit of coming right over the hood and through the windshield. I know of at least two collisions in Wyo. where death/serious injury to driver and passenger ensued.

    I am a bit of a sucker for Christmas because as a child, that was really the most wonderful day of the year. How my parents managed to stack so much wonderful stuff under the tree remains a mystery to me to this day.
    The holiday also gave me my first taste of nerdtech. My job each year was to haul the old wooden box full of lights and ornaments down from the second floor of the barn and go through all the strings of lights. They must have dated from the 1920s; wired in series. Finding the single burned out bulb that rendered the whole string dark was a job that I took very seriously. Great pride was my reward when the tree was regarded by the whole family in glorious, multicolored illumination.
    The most fun is when my brother and I would sneak down the creaky stairs just before dawn on Christmas morning. We’d tiptoe through the living room and stop at the doorway to the dining room where dwelt the tree and all its surrounding wonders. Our breaths nearly stopped as we saw what awaited us.
    Then back up the stairs, believing that our footsteps didn’t penetrate the parents bedroom (an illusion they willingly promoted).
    What I would give for just a moment of one of those splendid days . . .

  182. says

    I like Xmas in general, but it can be a strain. I feel so envious of Tim Minchin’s relationship with his family. (Go listen to White Wine in the Sun if you don’t know what I’m talking about.) Mine and the Bloke’s are both, well, ranging from difficult to toxic. This year we have a reprieve, though. We can just be on our own and chill out.

  183. Ogvorbis: broken and cynical says

    You must have been eyes wide and head on swivel, Oggie. Good thing you didn’t hit that moose full on. They have a nasty habit of coming right over the hood and through the windshield. I know of at least two collisions in Wyo. where death/serious injury to driver and passenger ensued.

    I did hit him head on.


    I was working night shift at a fire and was sleeping during the day at an old scout camp. Every morning, at the briefing, someone would mention the moose. He was a young bull and he liked to challenge vehicles. When we drove past the bog, he would sometimes jump out onto the road and run* up the road in front of the vehicle. If you tried to pass, he would block. He did this for about a half a mile and then dove off into the shrubbery to await the next vehicle.

    We had a snow storm which ended the fire. Almost the entire fire camp demobed over the next few days. I was left behind for three days waiting for the contractor to collect all the yurts (which meant that I was on duty 24 hours a day for a little under three days). Finally, the tents were gone and I could head for the airport. But I had left some stuff back at the scout camp. And I forgot the moose.

    When I hit him, he fell. I was worried I had injured or killed him. But he stood up, looked at me over his shoulder, and gave me a look that said, “Are you some kind of a fucking idiot? I’ve been doing this for three months and you’re the first one to hit me. What is wrong with you?”

    I radioed the local Forest Service office, they sent out their SO and and LEO do write up the accident. And went home.

    * If you have never seen a moose run, you need to. And if you are able to watch it from behind, that is even better. They have way too many knees.

  184. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    Hm. I am tempted to pass judgment on women who would support this kind of erasure and generalizations, so I will keep my mouth shut and wait for more information.

    …what’s wrong with passing judgment on people who support erasing and generalizations?

    Personally, Christmas is okay but I really enjoy Christmas lights. My parents could never be bothered to put up more than one old string around the eves when I was growing up and it always made me sad, so I’ve made a point of un-disappointing my daughter starting with the year we were renting a house.

  185. Portia says

    But I still make cookies and/or cakes. It’s a good excuse to try new recipes and eat delicious stuff. And this year, a variety of cookies will probably make a couple of Christmas gifts for friends.

    I discovered this joy last Christmas. I made so many fun things. I invented a recipe for bacon fudge that got rave reviews. One other thing I think I’ll make again is candied orange peels.

  186. Beatrice says


    More precisely, I am passing judgement in my head, but I will refrain from doing so here in writing, in case kristinc’s interpretation doesn’t really reflect attitudes of an average radical feminist.

  187. broboxley OT says

    hated christmas as a kid, ma would always find a way to destroy the tree screaming and wailing then wailing on us. Never celebrated christmas as an adult until I got married. My own family I tried to keep it simple, caring, sharing and good food. One can get drunk every night so take a break on the holidays. Still get the sad’s over folks no longer here at this time of year.

    Today was my birthday. Quiet at work until I was ready to leave early. Left late, stop by the grocery store to buy a cake and ice cream. Saw eldest male child (20 almost 21)with friends. He was high.
    “whats the cake for?”
    my birthday. Have you been home lately?
    “was there earlier, will be around tomorrow” gives me a hug
    head home
    finished cooking dinner. 2 Nice cards, slippers and a pair of jeans and a pint of courvoisyer cognac (yes I spelled it right) hopefully I still have a Churchill around to soak in it later.

  188. mildlymagnificent says

    We’ve had our Xmas pageant already. Big deal here in Adelaide. For me as a kid, it all started on that day.

    We had country and interstate relatives who’d send gifts. So we had a fake tree that we’d decorate in the afternoon when we got home from the pageant and my sister and I would have six weeks of shaking, sniffing, prodding and poking at the gradually increasing numbers of smallish parcels accumulating under the tree. I might add that we didn’t even open them on Xmas morning. Kids got stuff from Santa that was opened in the morning. All other gifts had to wait until after lunch was cleared and we had an orgy of grandpa and dad handing out stuff and ribbons and wrapping flying everywhere.

  189. Beatrice says


    Candied orange peel is quite expensive here, so I was thinking of making my own too (I need it for Gugelhupf, and probably some cookies). Probably will this year.

  190. Tony–Queer Duck Overlord of The Bronze– says

    bacon fudge?

    Thou hath piqued the interest of the Queer Duck…

  191. Tony–Queer Duck Overlord of The Bronze– says

    Oh, and I didn’t know people at the orange peel. Hmmm.

    One of the things I like about Christmas is the smell of a real tree combined with the lights. A decorated (though not overdone) Christmas tree brings a room to life.
    Of course I can’t get a real tree, because with 4 cats and 3 dogs, there’s no way in *hell* it-or the ornaments-would stay in one place (or one piece). I learned my lesson years ago, when Cassie was but a kitten. I’d bought a real tree and decorated it (I love playing with garland). After I finished, I sat down to watch tv. For a short time, I kept hearing a rustling in/around the tree. I found a few ornaments on the floor and was thoroughly confused. Upon taking a closer look, Cassie had crawled up in the tree and playing with all the decorations!
    Maybe they make xmas trees that hang from the ceiling…

  192. cicely says

    It was when the cockroach dropped from the ceiling into The Husband’s mustache that we fled my mothers house in the dead of the night…and haven’t been back there since.

    GirlChild has dyslexia, and has trouble spelling the most basic words. The first word she learned to spell consistently correctly was S-P-I-D-E-R so that she could alert me to the terror in the house without letting them know that they had been spotted.


  193. Portia says

    Happy Birthday broboxley!!!

    Re: bacon fudge

    Take your favorite standard chocolate fudge recipe. Make a pound of bacon. Replace whatever the fat is in your recipe with equal amount of bacon grease (or more, if you’re me…) Crumble crispy bacon onto the bottom of a wax-paper lined pan. Pour fudge over top, cool, cut, enjoy. It is best fresh.

    SO’s brother in law literally ran out of the room to hide the tin of fudge when he realized what he had received as his Christmas present.


    Candied orange peels are not difficult to make, and don’t require much supervision, though they do take a while. They’re worth it. I haven’t seen them much for sale commercially around here. I recommend dipping them in chocolate. And, though I never actually tried it, I bet the resultant orange syrup would be good in mixed drinks or however else you would use syrup.

  194. Portia says

    /blasphemy alert

    I should add that you might find the whole pound of bacon to be overkill, add crumbles to cover the pan or to your taste.

    /end blasphemy

    I’m off for a rousing board game evening. Til later!

  195. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Cooking up some cheap pork slices for dinner. Half in chipolte marinade, half in BBQ (Jim Beam) sauce. Hope the Redhead enjoys the flavors.

  196. Beatrice says


    Yeah, the cookie recipe I’m aiming at is an orange peel cookie dipped into chocolate.

    I know of only one German brand that sells candied orange peel here, and for that price (for just a tiny package), I could buy two kilos of oranges during peak season.

  197. Ogvorbis: broken and cynical says

    Just had two shots of Jack Daniels. Much better than I expected. I am now more than slightly tipsy.

  198. Ogvorbis: broken and cynical says

    What kind of cigar?

    (I had a Gurkha Nautulus this afternoon (and it was good))

  199. Crudely Wrott says

    To Boboxley,

    Another full circuit you have made. If you haven’t a happy, may you have a thoughtful that starts the next circuit with reasonable expectation. Anyway, happy on you anyhow.

    To those for whom Christmas brings no cheer,
    Keep on returning here.
    There is love freely offered
    Good advice that is proffered
    Things you might not too often hear.
    Plus, the words that you say,
    Counterpoints to my day
    Makes you all so refreshingly dear.
    It’s all willfully given
    And willfully taken
    At a price that’s much less than a beer.
    If you’d still like a sip
    Please take this free tip
    Bring a cold one and be glad you’re here


    No shit. I’ve found sweetness and compassion right here on this blog at least as frequently as I’ve found it in RL.

    I’ve been extra garrulous today; I chalk it up to sleep deprivation which makes me a bit silly but also more ploddingly serious. (say what?)
    I like to tell my stories. I like to listen to yours. I covet the refuge here. You are good company. I am grateful. \grins widely\

    I’ll take a powder now because I gotta catch a ball game. Celtics vs Bulls. Just because and plus it’s a family tradition.
    I might roll funny but, boy howdy, I do roll.

    Love, CW

  200. Nutmeg says

    Hmm. I wonder if one could make candied lemon peel. I’m always on the hunt for something that is sufficiently lemony for my tastes.

    Bacon fudge is intriguing. I’m kind of intimidated by candy thermometers and such, but maybe I’ll have to give it a try. Normally I just make cheater’s fudge with chocolate chips and condensed milk.

  201. FossilFishy (Νεοπτόλεμος's spellchecker) says

    Happy birthday brobroxley!

    I have a friend who ran into a bison with her bicycle. It had jumped out of the ditch in front of her and she said it was like hitting a furry brick wall. One minute she’s riding along and then next she’s on the ground with a broken thumb and a shin skinned down to the bone, looking up and thinking “Yup, that’s a male.” She got up, hobbled away from it dragging her broken bike and freaking out about what she would do if it charged. Just then a van came around the corner and they threw the bike in and got her out of of there. Unfortunately her riding partner, who had been a ways back, had a trailer with her dog in it. No way to get that in the van. She had to ride alongside the van for several K with the bison pacing them on the other side. Scary.

    Years later I arrived on my bike at the same national park. I was sweaty and tired after dragging all my camping gear 100+k. Looking around I couldn’t see any sign of the campground so I asked at the interpretative center.

    “Oh, it’s another 15k in.” they said.


    “Are you riding a bike?”

    No, I just wear this stuff to make me look good.

    “Yes, yes I am.”

    “Okay, you better be careful. The bison like to chase cyclists.”


    “Yeah, they probably see them as predators. You know, low to the ground, smooth and fast.”


    “Don’t worry, they haven’t actually caught one, yet.”


    “Well, the people we get out here tend to be pretty keen cyclists. Good luck.”

    “Thanks so much.”

    So I get back on the bike and set out. The sun is going down and the shadows are stretching out. Around every corner I’m sure a killer bison is in wait. I’m scanning the ditches and the tree line and wondering if I really have the legs left to outrun a couple of thousand kilos of enraged pointy headed wildlife.

    Suddenly something huge and black explodes out of the ditch to my right. I’d been tootling along at maybe 20km/h with tired legs and a continual sub-vocal muttering about why isn’t the campground next to the highway, they’re ALWAYS next to the damn highway… Next thing I know I’m up around 45km/hr and everything is rushing past me in a blur. My acceleration was so great that I lost a water bottle out of the cage. Heart hammering and lungs bellowing I glance back and see that it’s a moose. A frickin’ moose. A moose who was just having a little kip in the ditch and was running away, perhaps more scared of me than I was of it. Damn.

    Never in my life had I had a scare like that, one where I got to use the adrenaline dump in a physical way. That shit’s rocket fuel I tell you, and the last few K to the campground flew by. Mind you, the next morning I woke up to find that I’d pitched my tent under a tree that was completely covered in what looked like spider webs. A different sort of adrenaline experience that… [does the heebie dance a decade later]

  202. Rob says

    rq @64

    Also, CSI and science. I work in the field; and I think it’s several decades until our eye-sight evolves to what it is in the show. ;) And yes, technology, too. I find the show depressing, since (a) everyone always confesses in the end, in the crappy ‘It’s not really my fault!’ way; and (b) everything EVERYTHING happens way too fast – like they have one case, no backlog, and perfectly functioning machinery.
    Maybe I’m just jealous. ;)

    I worked in a research lab many years ago. There were lots of biotech types and we used to hang out with the forensic scientists from another part of the organisation. Always much wailing and gnashing of teeth about the fact that analysis times were ridiculously short, far to precise etc etc. I’m picking not too many forensic technicians get involved in car chases and gun fights either. Certainly don’t in this part of the world.

    Thanks for the book recommendations I’ll look into them.

  203. says

    Happy bday broboxley

    Yes, one absolutely can. Follow the same procedure described above for oranges, but use lemon peel. L recommends Meyer lemons for the purpose; he says they have the most flavor in his experience.

  204. Tony–Queer Duck Overlord of The Bronze– says

    Janine, your link @279 has comments that are a breath of fresh air. For the first time in a *long* time, the comments don’t represent the dregs of humanity.

  205. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    Tony, how many times do I have to tell you, when I link to a song on YouTube, listen to it if you like it. But never read the comments.

  206. mildlymagnificent says

    Candied citrus peel? I buy the normal chopped stuff we use here for cooking. But for a treat, nothing beats making your own.

    I remember once carefully doing a batch of candied orange peel sticks and carefully dipping them into dark chocolate – sent them along with other goodies with #2 for the school fete. And they never made it to the table. It was all bought by the staff before anyone else got the chance.

    I’ll admit it’s a bit tedious leaving them to dry out between each step up in the steadily concentrating syrup. But it’s not difficult.

    And a tip for anyone with an open fire or charcoal pit. Leaving orange peel to dry out to shrivelled brownness might look a bit odd. You finish up with superb firelighters with a wonderful fresh smell – especially if you normally use those smelly things impregnated with kero.

  207. carlie says

    (tw: inappropriate contact with minor)

    Fuckin’ hell. This story about Kevin Clash makes me so depressed. No, the person being just barely above the age of consent doesn’t really matter much when you’re 30 years older than that person. I really hope this turns out not to be what it looks like, but damn.

  208. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    Carlie, when the wingnuts are done being stunned by Obama’s reelection, I expect them to use that story as a club to beat up on PBS and the permissive culture it stands for.

  209. Tony–Queer Duck Overlord of The Bronze– says

    Janine @285:

    I was referring to the entertaining comments from your link @279 (To Joe.My.God.)

  210. broboxley OT says

    Cuban Crafters Cigars Churchill came as an extra with a 25 pack of maduros for $37.00
    Like the maduros better it turns out. my 18yo turned me onto the site

    usually one slobbers over the cigar’s tobacco wrapper to get an even burn. Dipping it in cognac or rum gives it a better flavor. Especially if the chew more than smoke the cigar

  211. Tony–Queer Duck Overlord of The Bronze– says

    I’m still suprised that you can eat lemon or orange peels. They always seemed somewhat inedible to me when I was younger.

  212. Portia says


    orange peel cookie dipped into chocolate

    That sounds awesome. Recipe?


    I wonder if one could make candied lemon peel.

    Yep. I’ve seen recipes for this as well. Candied citrus peel comes out sort of like a potent gummy candy. I may try lemon myself : )

    Bacon fudge is intriguing. I’m kind of intimidated by candy thermometers and such, but maybe I’ll have to give it a try. Normally I just make cheater’s fudge with chocolate chips and condensed milk.

    I haven’t used a thermometer for mine. I think my favorite fudge recipe has heavy cream in it. *drool*


    Leaving orange peel to dry out to shrivelled brownness might look a bit odd. You finish up with superb firelighters with a wonderful fresh smell – especially if you normally use those smelly things impregnated with kero.

    Thanks for the tip!


    In other news, I beat my über-competitive cousin at her favorite board game tonight. She, of course, had a comment to minimize my victory, but it’s a victory nonetheless!!!

  213. carlie says

    Janine – I worry about that too. How terrible is it that I thought well, at least this didn’t come out before the election? :(

  214. Portia says


    That video is funny, but there’s something about it I can’t put my finger on that makes me uncomfortable…

  215. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    Tony, I know what you meant. I was trying to make a joke.

    I guess I failed.

  216. Nutmeg says

    Man, you folks are making me want to rush to the kitchen and start baking. Good thing the grocery stores are closed, so I won’t be tempted.

    FossilFishy, what national park did those bison/moose encounters happen in? In Canada or NZ? (Are there even bison in NZ?) Sounds kind of like Riding Mountain National Park here in Canada, but I’m sure it could be lots of other places.

  217. Portia says

    Holy crap!
    Thanksgiving is next week!
    Where did the time go?!
    This time last year I had an extensive menu prepared!

  218. FossilFishy (Νεοπτόλεμος's spellchecker) says

    Moose, meece, mooses, mice? Anyway, they’re a tricksy bunch, much like horses. I wouldn’t put it past that moose to have strung up those cobwebs as revenge.

  219. chigau (棒や石) says

    Thanksgiving was a month ago.
    Canadians are just now eating the last of the turkey left-overs.

  220. cicely says

    *high five* for Nutmeg.

    Ogvorbis, *hug* and sorry about the bad night and the suicidal deer.

    I can ignore or enjoy most things about Christmas, most of the time.

    Except the music.

    The really bad covers of The Classic Christmas Songs.

    Progressively taking over more and more of the air-time on my radio station, until finally there’s nothing but Christmas music, ads, and morning show crap.


    Happy b-day, broboxley!

  221. FossilFishy (Νεοπτόλεμος's spellchecker) says

    chigau, yup. Much later I figured that it had to be something like that. At the time I wasn’t about to look close enough to tell…
    [scrubs face and arms furiously in a futile effort to stop the phantom crawling]

  222. ImaginesABeach says

    For the past 6 years, my kids and I have made cookies in December for all their teachers and much of the staff at their schools. I can’t afford to give gifts to everyone that teaches and supports my kids, but a box of cookies lets them know that they are appreciated. Each box has 2 dozen cookies, and there have been years when we have made 30 boxes. Over time, we have learned that we need to make the cookie dough well in advance and freeze it. We mix it, roll it into balls or press it or cut it into shapes as appropriate (we favor elephants, rinos, bears and the like), freeze it on cookie sheets, then move it from sheets to bags. When it comes time, we spend an entire weekend baking and boxing. We had a particularly industrious weekend – we made 6 different kinds of cookie dough, around 4 dozen of each kind. I’m a little afraid we got carried away, as we had done some a few weeks ago too.

  223. Tony–Queer Duck Overlord of The Bronze– says


    That video is funny, but there’s something about it I can’t put my finger on that makes me uncomfortable…

    Perhaps it was all the stereotypes of gay men that they trotted out…

  224. Tony–Queer Duck Overlord of The Bronze– says


    Progressively taking over more and more of the air-time on my radio station, until finally there’s nothing but Christmas music, ads, and morning show crap

    Have you thought about satellite radio?

  225. Portia says


    Yeah, that. And the attendant gender policing and stereotypes. I think it might also be the touch of “Women are ours for the taking, no agency for them!” But maybe I’m reading too much into it.


    That sounds like a fun activity, as a bonus. I made treats for all my friends and family last year for presents, for the same reasons. Pre-cutting roll-out cookies is a new one to me, though. I may have to do that :) I usually just freezes whole hunks of cookie dough.

  226. Nutmeg says

    Elk Island National Park looks like a fun place to go. I’m thinking about doing a road trip to various national parks in Canada and the States after I graduate. Maybe I’ll get there.

  227. chigau (棒や石) says

    I ♥ Elk Island!
    I think I was working there during one of the Great Tent Caterpillar Infestations.
    Nothing beats digging square holes in 30°C whilst wearing a hoody because the caterpillars are falling out of the trees like rain…

  228. Tony–Queer Duck Overlord of The Bronze– says

    What type of cookies do you and the spawn fix?

  229. FossilFishy (Νεοπτόλεμος's spellchecker) says

    chigau…I…er….fuck no! Sure they don’t bite, but bloody hell, I could not handle that.

  230. Tony–Queer Duck Overlord of The Bronze– says

    Thus endeth all talk of creepy crawling creatures (especially any and all talk of them on ceilings dropping near open mouths). It doth appear that such things gross out *everyone* in The Lounge.

    Dislike of peas could not unite us.
    Dislike of horses divided us.

    But critters like spiders and centipedes have done the impossible. I do believe we’ve found something we can all agree upon, no?

  231. chigau (棒や石) says

    I like spiders and the only centi-milli-pedes I encounter are in the garden eating the things that eat my veggies.
    Ticks, however … if we want to all hate ticks, I am on side.

  232. says

    Orange peel is pretty much inedible unless candied. But lemon peel is much less bitter; it’s possible to eat raw. You can use thin shaved lemon slices in a salad, for instance, with lots of parsley and olive oil. It’s not for the timid, but I like it.

  233. says

    And now my work is being a bit clueless at me. “You know SQL, right? So can you use MS SQL server to create a deduplicated copy of this database?” Umm, sure. Never used it before in my life, but how hard can it be? Lucky for me I has teh programmer hubris. *googles it*

  234. chigau (棒や石) says


    ticks are fine

    I take it that you have never had to remove one from a nipple?
    [your own nipple]

  235. Nutmeg says


    I take it that you have never had to remove one from a nipple?
    [your own nipple]


    Thanks for that image. Even with my personal 81-ticks-in-one-day record, I’ve never had one anywhere delicate. But then again, my fieldwork generally involves being in chestwaders in flowing water. I get the impression that yours doesn’t. :)

    And with the cheery thought of ticks in delicate places, I’m off to bed.

  236. says

    Good morning
    Way too early *yawn*

    I’m glad you’Re OK.*hugs* Sorry about the car.

    Cinamon waffers. Not my picture, I should say. As you can see you need a special iron and it’s a regional speciality. Also, the one with the bird and the tree tastes best.

    Christmas season in Germany
    It starts earlier nowadays, most folks object to doing any of it before Death Sunday. Since I don’t care about that I’m not throwing a tantrum if November gets a bit lighted up. It’s not too christian infested.
    But if you have to keep christ in christmas, do you also have to keep Ostera in Easter?
    Also, I’m planning to make 8 different sorts of cookies. Might end up making 10

    I used to love that song. Then I broke up with my mum and realized that my “blue eyed baby girl” won’t be able to come where her gran is waiting. Since then I can’t hear it anymore.

    Happy Birthday, broboxley

    candied orange
    I made some whole candied orange slices for decoration last year and the great thing was that I also ended up with delicious bitter orange syrup.
    Also, you can grate off the peel (works for lemons, too, let it dry out a bit and then mix with sugar and have flavoured sugar around for baking or tea. Also makes a wonderful gift.


    I take it that you have never had to remove one from a nipple?

    Former friend of mine got one on his little Hobbit. He removed it and then passed out.

  237. Rey Fox says

    Luckily when I last encountered bison, they were fenced off from the road. It was the middle of a very hot and dry summer, so even when I was on their side of the fence, I don’t think they were much inclined to bother me.

    Plus their pizza sucks asswater from dead rotting donkeys.

    Hey now, hey. They’re not Little Caesars.

  238. says

    Giliell, you delight me! Death Sunday? Seriously, what is that? And “his little hobbit” *snorfle*.

    I’m sorry about your Mum. I find the song bittersweet for similar reasons – my family is not at all like that, either. Though I have no children to have proxy regrets for. And I haven’t 100% broken up with my Mum, though I’m strictly on politeness level with her.

  239. Tony–Queer Duck Overlord of The Bronze– says


    You can use thin shaved lemon slices in a salad, for instance, with lots of parsley and olive oil. It’s not for the timid, but I like it.

    Ooooh, I’m intrigued. I love adding different ingredients to salads. Do you need to balance the lemon with something sweeter?
    I find the best salad for me incorporates mixed greens, carrots, red onions, crumbled blue cheese as a good starting point. From there, I’ll add whatever is handy–>edamame, bacon, red pepper flakes, parmesan cheese, boiled eggs.

  240. rq says

    Good morning!
    More responses from me to follow; I have taken to taking down notes, when doing the overnight review.
    At the moment, must provide breakfast for the younger ones, who are, in fact, not asleep anymore, as I thought when logging on.

  241. Beatrice says


    We agree on the mosquitoes.

    (the most delicate area I had a tick on was right under the corner of my eye, was freaked out that it might move inside)

  242. Tony–Queer Duck Overlord of The Bronze– says

    I now have the answer as to who rides My Little Pony–>My Little Hobbit.

  243. says

    Tony, that literally is all that it is! I would recommend Meyer lemons, which are sweeter than some. And definitely treat it as a relish or small side dish rather than a big bowl’o’salad meal. Here’s a recipe:

    I’ve seen some others with beans, baby spinach, radicchio etc, but this is a pretty purist thing that I found in a middle eastern cookbook ages ago. This more solid meal salad here might also inspire you – it uses much less lemon, but still peel & all.

  244. mildlymagnificent says

    Lemon in salad? For those who are brave and have a Middle East type grocery supply, preserved lemon can be excellent.

    But you must, absolutely must, rinse off the salt before you taste them or use them in any way. Mrmagnificent disgraced himself once by chucking out the contents of the 3 litre container packed to the gills with my home made salt-packed lemons. He’d taken out a piece, stuck it straight in his mouth and declared them inedible. Didn’t wait, just chucked them. My visions of a summer of chicken salads enlivened by slivers of slightly salty lemon vanished without trace. Then the lemon tree died. Never did it again.

  245. opposablethumbs says

    Happy circumnavigation day, broboxley.

    Car commiserations to Ogvorbis (glad you weren’t injured, though!)

    Nice Cups of Tea/hugs if acceptable, ad libitem, in celebration or in condolence – I’m all behind again …

    xmas is pretty … difficult around here. I grew up in a household of atheist scientists, and we always had a tree and presents and decorations and loads of extra special food and a big family meal, with no religious nonsense even crossing anybody’s mind, and that’s how I assumed we would always do it. My atheist OH grew up in a much more religious country in a mildly (I think) religious family and can’t conceive of celebrating without it being all tainted by religion. So we get no tree, no decorations, no celebration. The kids DO get presents. And yet … there has to be a slightly special-ish meal, and presents must be opened at midnight on the 24th. It’s not quite so difficult now the kids are older, and used to it, but … they have to be here (not like they have much choice yet). It’s like walking on eggshells and I hate it and can’t wait for it to be over.

  246. rq says

    Alors, en order hronologique:

    Portia back @159:
    I don’t know what you put into those toys for the munchkins, but thank you – they in fact co-operated, and I got a better night’s sleep than I have in a while. Fever gone, rest of me – nearly well! :)

    Crudely Wrott @169, re: cats eating roaches.
    Cats will eat anything. Even wasps. Which is why we don’t really worry about houseflies or wasps in the summer – we stick the cat in the room, and they’re gone in the space of about 5 minutes. Moths, too.

    ImaginesABeach @173 re: reading
    I have nothing but amazement at your daughter’s wya of coping. Gluttonous instead of voracious? Wow. :D

    Azkyroth @178 re: article about dealing with fear
    Very nice article, and supports what I have often felt from personal, anecdotal experience – once you say something (i.e. admit to it), it becomes more real, and thus easier to deal with. I forget what they call it – the recitation effect or something? Why wedding vows, while spoken, are still an actual event that changes reality kind of thing…

    Giliell @208 re: kids and bugs
    Don’t get me wrong, I love insects – that means beetles, flies, butterflies AND moths. It’s spiders I can’t stand, even though I try to be indiscriminatory, and every so often I’ll have a ‘hey kids this is so COOL’ spider for them, too. But there is definitely a morarotium on bringing insects (in whatever stage of development) home. Even though, sometimes, those giant shiny blue-black beetles are so pretty, I’d love one for a brooch.

    Tony re: lab work
    Lab work is the BEST PART of science. I am not kidding. I love lab work. I love doing lab work. I love having lab work. I don’t like it when it fails, but damn, it’s awesome when it all works. Plus, when you’re doing labwork, you don’t have to write reports, and THAT is the best part of all!

    Ogvorbis @231 and @252
    (a) I’m very glad everyone, inlcuding most of the car, but especially you and Wife, are ok after that encounter with deer. :/ The deer here are surprisingly polite, and will actually stop at the edge of the road, even at night. Or, they run across in places where you can see them coming a mile away; considerate of them.
    (b) Funny moose. Thanks for the giggle on that!

    FossilFishy @280
    Thanks for THAT giggle, too!!! You write some good words. Put lots together and bind them and I’ll buy them for you.

    Rob @282
    I should warn, Mervyn Peake is more fantasy than sci-fi, except for the 3rd book (and the short story) which delve into slightly more scientific aspects. Just in case you start on the first one, and wonder where the hell is the science. (He creates a whole entire world, though, a very interesting one…)


    I like Christmas for the most part, mostly because of the lights, the cookies, the snow, and the christmas tree. Ooooh more story later on that. But at least now I’m caught up!

  247. rq says

    I feel for you. Mine did something similar once – “But it tasted like it had gone bad! And you weren’t home!” Yes. We straightened that out with a few explanations about how things are supposed to taste…

  248. Tony–Queer Duck Overlord of The Bronze– says

    Ok, of all the whiny rants Romney supporters have gone on since last Tuesday, *this* one is the most bizarre:

    7. But Mitt Romney Is the REAL Winner Because Chocolate Milk.
    The Blaze:

    The morning after the election, as conservatives everywhere were still trying to come to terms with the reality of another four years of President Barack Obama, the now former GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney was busy being a dad, husband and grandfather. A winner.

    …The Romney clan can be seen drinking a gallon of chocolate milk.

  249. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says


    Thanks for that link! I liked the graphic of the elephant holding a gun to its head, but in broader terms I strongly object to the insult to that noble and highly intelligent beast perpetrated by the Rethuglican Party.

  250. says

    Well, don’t think that Death Sunday is something fun and amazing as the Día de los Muertos. It’s the day when you remember all your dead (in the Lutheran church) and are very, very sad, sorry and silent. It’s the last Sunday before the first advent Sunday. It’s protected by law, so, no pub music that night you have to mourn!!!.
    20 years ago the radio would only play sad songsbut that’s thankfully over and traditionally you mustn’t put up any christmas decoration before the Monday afterwards because if not that’s disrespectfulfor the dead.
    Now, since I’m not Lutheran, christian or worried about the dead (seriously, if my relatives who already died could have an opinion on this they would think me stupid for trying to make my life unnecessarily miserable) I’ll start making Christmas decoration this week.

    I think that unless frogs are present we can all hate mosquitos.

    I like spiders. Only not in the bathroom and not in the bedroom. Last year I spent half an hour watching the little spider that lived on my kitchen window sill fight and kill a bug.

  251. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    Well, it turns out that the federal agent who launched the Petraeus investigation is now under investigation himself for sending shirtless photos to the woman who received harassing emails from Petraeus’s side-boo, Paula Broadwell

    Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? (attrib. Juvenal)

  252. rq says

    Sometimes I forget that Germany is so Lutheran.
    I mean, Latvia is too, but not as officially – that is, we don’t have obligatory mourning days. :P There is a Day for Remembering the Dead (Death Day is as good a name for it as any), but radios aren’t required to play mournful music (Really, that is odd – how do they decide what counts as mournful enough? And what would have happened if a song deemed too happy gets played?).

    I like watching spiders from a distance, but it takes a considerable amount of effort not to run away in disgust. I’m thinking a class in arachnology might help, since entomology helped with the dislike of insects.

  253. says

    Oh, radio stations aren’t officially obliged to play saaaaaad music (on a tiny violin), but they did that voluntarily because duh, offending people. But it’s officially forbidden to host a public music and dance event. Same on Good Friday.
    And get yourself to the churchyard and make the florist rich!
    Crap, all of it.

  254. Beatrice says

    I’m not a florist, but I partly disagree. For most florists, remembrance of the dead holidays (November 1st, here) probably make for the biggest earning of the year, but that is hardly enough to let anyone make a living, let alone get rich.

    There are always a couple of big florists who own a lot of stalls around the city, and they do earn a lot, but that is a minority. And it comes to the same problem as with most other big fish vs small fish merchants: big fish dominate the market while the little ones can barely cover the costs.

    (sorry, I seem to be in a disagreeable mood today)

  255. rq says

    Around here, most of the florists camp out at the entrance to the Old Town, and also near churches/graveyards. I’m pretty sure even the little ones (as long as they have decent flowers) make a pretty good killing during festivals.
    But then, Latvians love their graveyards, and every parish and county (and sometimes village) has Cemetery Festivals throughout the year, for people to gather, meet, socialize, and clean up relatives’ gravesites. It’s usually a very social event, with general landscaping and caretaking of the cemetery territory also occurring. Since these events are quite popular, florists have a pretty good year-round income. The big events, though, yes, I’m pretty sure they help to make some of the rich richer, but the little fish also get their share, since they usually have more competitive prices.
    Don’t know about Croatia, but Latvia in general has a very developed culture of flowers (what’s with all the reproductive organs??). It’s lost a bit of its ubiquity now, but used to be, every time anyone arrived at the airport (train station, bus stop) for a visit, they’d be greeted with flowers. Flowers are always brought when visiting, even if it isn’t a birthday. EXTRA flowers are bought for birthdays, name days, chidlren’s birthdays, graduations, confrimations, baptisms… EXTRA extra flowers are bought on weddings and funerals. Especially funerals. They’re like their own flower festivals, even when attendees are relatively few.

  256. Beatrice says


    We used to have a similar flower culture, but it seems to have dwindled lately. I think the dead get most of the flowers, first at funerals, then at the yearly celebration. And yes, on November 1st, huge amounts of flowers (and candles) are sold.

    I agree that the yearly celebration makes a nice earning, but I’m taking into account how little most can earn from growing flowers the rest of the year. Most house plants or garden flowers sold here are imported.

    The family of a friend of mine grew flowers for some years, so I heard a bit about how much time it took, and for how little reward.

    Ok, honestly, I don’t know what’s with my defense of florists today. I don’t even know why I’m arguing. *headdesk*

  257. rq says

    Alright, I’ll agree with you and see if that takes the contentiousness out of you. :) (I’m not really seeing it as arguing, though.)
    I know it’s a lot of hard work throughout the year; some distant relatives had I think about 3 or 4 large greenhouses for flower-growing and two shops in the closest large city, but when the financial crisis came around, they had to declare bankrupcy. Just couldn’t maintain the greenhouses (heating/water bills). Now, starting up again, would be too difficult.
    My points above were mostly for the capital, where there are lots of graveyards and lots of tourists and lots of things happening. For the cemetery festivals, which happen out in the (far poorer) country, there’s usually only one florist around, who gets all the business from those coming from the city – because the rural folk grow some (if not most) of their own.
    Also, I don’t think I know any rich florists, even those who import, unless they’re part of an even larger grouping, of which floristry is only a part.

    Damn, that sucks! Holding more thumbs for better luck next time. :(

  258. Beatrice says


    Nah, you don’t have to agree, I just have to put myself under some control.


    I’m sorry. If we ever find out who it was, they’re going to pay.

  259. rq says

    Beatrice will use her psychic powers, while I gaze deeply into a crystal ball, to find out who it could have been. And we’ll make them pay, yes, we will.

    Some days you just have to disagree, even when you know you shouldn’t. Just because.


    I bought a book about math in chemistry recently, thinking (from a quick browse in the bookstore and from the back cover) that it would be a more-or-less technical-but-little-math overview for people who have a vague but not specific or advanced grasp of math.
    Boy, was I ever wrong.
    My brain hurts. Trouble is, it’s interesting, but it’s like reading a textbook. Which isn’t always bad, just quite a bit more complicated than I had expected.
    Oh well, learning is never easy.

  260. Beatrice says

    Book festival started today. I’ll go tomorrow morning, but try to restrain myself to only riffling through boxes of used books.

    Hold thumbs/cross fingers that I find some cheap Pratchett books in English (although I probably will need a miracle for that).

  261. Socio-gen, something something... says

    Good morning (or part-of-day where you are!). Advice: avoid the flu. Become a hermit. Invest in a hazmat suit. Use fire to decontaminate.

    Naturally, because I have just that kind of luck, I managed to pick up a strain other than the one I was immunized against in early October. Missed 5 days of classes and 6 days of work and got to spend two days in the local hospital – just what I needed with slightly over a month until the end of the semester with the utility bills and four major papers coming due! Oh joy! At least I have insurance.

    Still dealing with exhaustion and muscle/joint pain, as if someone strapped a 100-lb sack to my back and made me climb Mt. Everest — twice — but I’m finally cleared to walk amongst humanity again. If I ever find the energy…

    Congrats and condolences, as needed.

  262. FossilFishy (Νεοπτόλεμος's spellchecker) says

    Condolences and Congrats to you too Socio-gen, welcome back to the land ‘o the living. I hope the rest of your recovery is swift and complete.

  263. birgerjohansson says


    See story: “Why the Grand Bargain Is One-Sided and Totally Unfair”
    Now that the Big Liar is defeated, can we please stop sucking up to the Smaller Liar? (that the Republican congressmen are corrupt should go without saying, but the Democrats apparently are little better)

    — — — — —
    I heard the same complaint about teste carried out by Scully in “The X-File”. But many of those episodes were at least marginally feasible, even if they were stretching the envelope a bit (which can be expected considering the genre).
    For a crime seriers that claims realism, I don’t think CSI is credible. I prefer “Cracker” with a gambling-obsessed Roger Coltrane.

  264. birgerjohansson says

    Tpyos, Lord of bda speling strikes again. “Tests”, not “teste”, the keys of “e” and “s” are close together. I doubt Scully carries testes (but if she does, that is none of my business).

  265. Portia says


    I’m sorry : ( Hope you can feel better soon.


    I woke up this morning with a spider bite

    And poison ivy on my chin.
    Nature is taking its revenge for my groundskeeping assault on it last weekend.

    And I just killed a small centipede. It reminded me what skeeves me out the most about them…it always seems that they know when you’re looking at them.

    Nope, just couldn’t let the bug discussion die, I guess.

    I will join in on the mosquito-hate, as well. And ticks.

  266. birgerjohansson says

    Hokan Colting, canadian-Swedish airship pioneer has launched a project of airship/boat hybrids using ground effect to keep a yatch running 30-90 m overseas. I will seek out more info.
    — — — —
    I see some consider an ultra-fast futuristic train by building a “pipeline” and pumping the air out, allowing very high speeds at ground level.
    It would be safer to have ambient pressure, but replace air with a lightweight gas -argon would be much more abundant than helium. I make the assumption that with a density per volume one third that of ordinary air, friction would be small, but without the risks of pressure leaks in the case of vacuum “tubes” for rails.

  267. opposablethumbs says


    I prefer “Cracker” with a gambling-obsessed Roger Coltrane.

    Robbie. Yes, he was pretty good.

    I like what I’ve seen so far of Inspector George Gently. Mind you, that’s almost totally off-topic in the current context!

    Argh, Sociogen – recovery and energy would be coming your way if I only had the power. You have my condoling-and-get-well wishes, anyway, and my hopes that you can get an extension on your work!

  268. Mr. Fire says

    Hey there, Horde

    Just wanted to drop in out of nowehere and leave a load of hugs here on the Lounge floor for everybody.

    For those who remember me: there is a one hundred percent chance that I either will or will not start making comments again around here.

  269. broboxley OT says

    not only religion hides in between the cracks some Science also
    from my inbox

    Supersymmetry is a sad chapter in science history.

    The world’s particles come in two sorts – bosons and fermions. The bosons are integral spin (0,1,2..) – intrinsic angular momentum – while the fermions are integral and a half (1/2, 3/2 etc). Bosons can be in the same quantum state, leading to macroscopic quantum states such as superconductors and superfluids (not the same “super”), while fermions must all be in different states. So there is no “classical limit” to the idea of fermionic exclusion (Pauli principle). The latter is what gives structure to atoms, in that the organization of the electron shells is determined by the exclusion principle.

    In basic physics, the fundamental bosons (photon, W, Z,..) are the mediators of interaction between the fundamental fermions (electron, quark..).

    There was never any good reason to invent a symmetry operation involving these two families, nevertheless it was done in a sad attempt to tackle one of particle physics most basic mysteries – why the strength of interaction is so different from one type to the other (hierarchy problem). The theory is ugly and had unphysical aspects from the beginning. It predicted “superpartners”, new particles from the other family corresponding to the known bosons and fermions – thus bosonic “squarks” and “selectrons”, fermionic “photinos” and “gluinos”.

    As accelerators have become more energetic and capable, the allowable regimes (“parameter space”) where these superpartners should be seen has been gradually whittled down, and now all that’s left is for the s-partners to be extremely massive. Needless to say, they are not going to be found.

    An extraordinary amount of effort has been piled into this bad idea, all in vain. I was fortunate to avoid it. I wonder what future generations will say about mine – 30 to 40 years of ceaseless effort on two ideas that are really nothing but utter bullshit, string theory and supersymmetry. Nothing at all has come of it – well I’m told some good math emerged.

  270. Mr. Fire says

    Hey Chigau,

    How’s the babby?
    She must be getting big.

    She’s great! She’s wonderful.

    And now she’s telling me that my time at the keyboard is up.

  271. says

    @ Mr Fire

    argon is significantly denser than air.

    Who wants to be a billionaire? There is a problem in the steel industry. You have to cut off the molten iron from the surrounding air. This can be done with Argon, but this is expensive. But what is the alternative?

    (If any of the horde can find a solution, and become billionaires, please send me a “finders” cheque for posing the question. (Sadly my tastes excede my current salary.))

  272. Therrin says

    I haven’t hit anything large, but I swear squirrels around here have an almost magnetic attraction to car tires. They run out into the road with less than 10 feet of braking distance and stop right in the middle, wait till I’ve skidded to a complete halt, then go back the way they came.

  273. Esteleth, Elen síla lúmenn' omentielvo says

    *confetti* and *hugs* for broboxley on Solar Circumnavigation Day!

    Re: Christmas: It isn’t that I dislike Christmas (in fact, I’m rather fond of it), it is that I dislike Christmas shit being up in mid-November. That, and I hate the modern schlocky style of Christmas decorations and music.

    Lab work is the best goddamn part of science!

  274. Esteleth, Elen síla lúmenn' omentielvo says

    However, I have relented.

    I am listening to Christmas music on my iPod right now. But it is Baroque music that happens to be about Christmas, not “Christmas music.”

  275. says

    Rev. BDC @89:

    Getting really sick and fucking tired of the conservative people I know placing blame on Obamacare for assholes like Pappa Johns owner John Schnatter saying he’s cutting hours to avoid the costs from having to provide health care.

    This guys is just looking for an excuse to fuck over workers, that’s all it is.

    My thoughts exactly. Applebees, Pappa Johns, Murray Coal and others are going to get some push back on this punish-the-employees tactic. They are already getting some bad PR.

    The ED Show produced a great segment on this issue. Link.

  276. Beatrice says


    I caught myself singing some Christmas church songs. I blame all the Christmas talk from yesterday.

  277. cicely says


    Have you thought about satellite radio?

    Don’t think it’d work well at work, which is where I primarily listen to radio.

    (Damn, that sentence has a whole lotta double-ewes!)

    Ticks, however … if we want to all hate ticks, I am on side.


    As everyone knows, Horses are the force behind ticks, Lyme disease, etc.

    Also, mosquitoes.

    kristinc, I’ve gotta go with Nutmeg, here. Moths may be fuzzy and cute, but they laid their nasty eggs in the boxed pasta, leading to the discovery of their even nastier larvae pouring into the boiling water.

    Very unappetizing.

    can we agree on mosquitoes at least?

    Only if we’re agreeing that they are an Abomination Unto Nuggan.
    <grumbling>nasty little flying hypodermic needles…</grumbling>

    *careful hugs* for Socio-gen.

  278. says

    Mr. Fire! [returns hugs, full force] I suppose you think taking care of the Little Spark is more important than endless blathering on Pharyngula.

    You might be right. I suppose she is smart enough to outfox you at every turn now.

    Change of subject: Paul Ryan is so surprised.

    In an interview with WISN 12 News in Milwaukee on Monday, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) admitted that he and Mitt Romney were indeed caught off guard by the results of last week’s election, claiming that the campaign’s internal polling all pointed to a triumph for the Republican ticket.

    Dear Paul Ryan,
    All of your internal data is confirmation-biased shit. And you still don’t know that.

    Ryan also said that he hopes President Obama shows some leadership this time around.

  279. says

    So, you all remember how I am all “no pink shit” for DarkBaby? Yeah… that goes out the window pretty damned quick when: 1) she has grown out of her infant (5-8 lbs) clothes within the past couple of days and 2) she’s pissed on all of her larger sized outfits, forcing me to dig in the bottom of the drawer for any set of pjs that are clean and fit her (which happen to have a huge pink floral pattern, thanks to DarkNana).

  280. dianne says

    Hi, horde. Terribly extremely completely hypothetical question for you:

    If you were the only woman at your workplace and your more or less boss kept oh so accidentally making changes that made your life more difficult and made his easier would you:
    1. Assume he wanted you to resign
    2. Assume he was being sexist (consciously or otherwise)
    3. Assume that it really is accidental
    4. None of the above, the obvious answer is…

  281. birgerjohansson says

    Yes, yes, I confused Neon with Argon. And forgot it has as many neutrons as protons. So it weighs about 2/3 of ordinary air.
    — — — — — —
    I have started buying chocolate boxes for Xmas.
    And cards.

  282. Beatrice says

    Unconscious sexism?
    These changes wouldn’t affect a man, so he doesn’t even consider that you might be affected.

    … or maybe it’s deliberate, since I’m not sure how “unintentional” these changes look.
    Have they started all of a sudden? Are they all inconveniencing you, or is he making a lot of changes, and only some are are bad for you?

  283. Matt Penfold says

    Hi, horde. Terribly extremely completely hypothetical question for you:

    If you were the only woman at your workplace and your more or less boss kept oh so accidentally making changes that made your life more difficult and made his easier would you:
    1. Assume he wanted you to resign
    2. Assume he was being sexist (consciously or otherwise)
    3. Assume that it really is accidental
    4. None of the above, the obvious answer is…

    Well 2 is not really an assumption. Which leaves him either clueless about what he is doing, or he is being quite deliberate. There is not enough information to decide which.

  284. says

    The entire David Petraeus scandal is explained, sort of, by Mother Jones. What a frickin’ soap opera.

    Turns out that the woman to whom Paula Broadwell sent threatening emails, Jill Kelley, enlisted the help of the wrong FBI agent. That FBI agent turned out to be a right-winger high on anti-Obama crap. He spilled the beans to Eric Cantor, of all people. First he sent shirtless photos of himself to Kelley, then he alerted Eric Cantor.

    The agent, who was not identified, continued to “nose around” about the case, and eventually his superiors “told him to stay the hell away from it, and he was not invited to briefings,” the official said. The Wall Street Journal first reported on Monday night that the agent had been barred from the case. Later, the agent became convinced — incorrectly, the official said — that the case had stalled. Because of his “worldview,” as the official put it, he suspected a politically motivated cover-up to protect President Obama. The agent alerted Eric Cantor, the House majority leader, who called the F.B.I. director, Robert S. Mueller III, on Oct. 31 to tell him of the agent’s concerns.

    New soap opera, “Fever Swamp.”

    Coverage from WIRED

  285. rq says

    Yes, #2 plus #4.

    A lot of best intentions about baby clothes and their colour go out the window when they do exactly what DarkInfant has done… Pee all over everything, or grow out of it way too quickly.
    (Besides, a floral pattern here or there can’t do THAT much damage. Right?)

    *Speaking from boys-only experience. :P

  286. says

    Audley, wrap the kid in old rags and call it good. Dark Infant does not discriminate when it comes to liberally spreading pee and shit and drool, and Dark Infant does not yet have a fashion sense.

  287. rq says

    Lynna – Haha, there were times when we were ready to resort to this… Especially when between diaper sizes – they’re too small for the next one, but they poo too much for the smaller one. Too much laundry and not enough baby clothes.

  288. Mr. Fire says

    I suppose you think taking care of the Little Spark is more important than endless blathering on Pharyngula.

    You and I both know Lynna that it’s because I find it hard to concentrate on my work when I know you’re around.

    So, you all remember how I am all “no pink shit” for DarkBaby? Yeah… that goes out the window pretty damned quick

    Yeah I hear you. The Spark likes pink, and that’s fine, since she seems to like other colors about the same. I don’t know if it helps, but I wear pink whenever she does so she can understand that it’s for cis-hetero males, too. But the princess industry is rich, it’s ruthless, and it’s yelling at her all the time. I mean, sorry if it’s done the rounds already around here, but have you seen this?


  289. Tony–Queer Duck Overlord of The Bronze– says

    re: flowers–>I don’t have any particular affection for them. Nor do I dislike them. The events (weddings, birthday parties, etc) that I’ve been to that use flowers for decoration always throw them away at the conclusion of the celebration. It seems so wasteful. Likewise, getting any type of flower as a present-which has never happened to me, and I’m not certain how I feel about getting flowers-also seems like a waste. A nice gesture, I suppose, but that flower will wither and die in a short amount of time. I realized some time ago that-by and large-I prefer gifts to have some utility. If I’m going to get some largely decorative, I’d like that something to have some other purpose. Years ago, my mother got me a Christmas present that was the most useless thing I’ve ever received. Two battery powered stuffed frogs, that when place in close proximity to one another, banged their hand held cymbals together. I mentioned to my mother at some point in the following year that I preferred presents with some utility.
    Also with regard to presents, I’m of the mindset to get people something they actually want or need. I try to pay attention to my friends and family to get a feel-throughout the year-of things they might desire or have need of. I’m not a fan of gift cards. I know they allow people to buy what they want, but they lack a personal touch to me.

  290. broboxley OT says

    Not really enough info. It may be just making life easier for himself without realizing the hardship to you. It could be any and all of the other choices. It may come to the “is there a reason that this change is happening now?” conversation with him. Start looking in any case as if you are not job satisfied why stay?

  291. rq says

    Your link doesn’t seem to be working.


    re: Link @378 (from jose)
    I would love to hear Rebecca Watson’s speech on evolutionary psychology. I hope it will be up on the interwebs soon.
    And yeah, too bad about all those people not having fun at conventions with harassment policies. I feel
    so terribly bad for them.

  292. says

    Having been Catholic while in Germany, I actually had to look up when the Sunday of the Dead actually is :-p

    I guess I could live with a 5-week Christmas season.

    And on that topic, one of my favorite tweets from a little while back:

    If there’s a war on Christmas, maybe that’s because Christmas has already invaded and conquered Thanksgiving and is advancing on Halloween.


    On another topic, I got a response to that questionnaire: blah blah, very concerned blah blah you can continue talking to us anonymously, or you can call to make an appointment.

    I’m this close to strangling someone.

    When I feel less like telling them to go fuck themselves, I’ll try to use that anonymous communication thingy to explain to them that calling is not a thing that will happen and they need to figure out a different way to give me an appointment.

  293. rq says

    Mr. Fire
    With links like that, you make me grateful to have only boys…
    Until I remember all the other things I’m supposed to teach them.

    The Husband rarely gives me flowers (even though I love them) for mainly the same reasons – the cut ones wilt quickly, and potted ones need lots of space and also (sometimes) effort. So far, the hardiest ones are African violets. Also, some cut flowers last longer than others, and still others look nice dried out – but if you don’t like decorating with flowers, well, they kind of get in the way and gather dust, once the initial colourful bloom dies off.
    Useful gifts are the best, even though sometimes they’re tough to select (even with keeping an ear to the ground). I much prefer gettign something useful and tailored to me, rather than a random thing that you could buy for anyone at all.
    Gift cards are ok, as long as they’re for bookstores, because there are only a few people I trust to select books for me that I like. And I prefer the experience of going to the bookstore and browsing all over (*sigh* it’s been a while).

  294. says

    And now to continue on with my whirlwind of productivity* while the little DarkOne is still snoozing.

    *So far: I fried up some chicken fingers to pack in Mr Darkheart’s lunch tomorrow (and burnt the hell out of my thumb), did dishes (and burnt the hell out of the other thumb), and now I’m going to try to get a load of laundry done. Wish me luck!

  295. Beatrice says


    Someone is being fuckwitted. Hopefully, they’ll accept this strange new notion of making an appointment via email after you explain your anxiety about calling.
    What’s the difference, really? Someone else could make a fake call just as much as someone could send a fake email, it’s not like this affects anonymity. Unless they have some really good voice recognition equipment.

  296. Portia says

    Good luck Audley!

    Hoping it works out, Jadehawk : /


    My printer isn’t working to let me send out letters to clients, so I think I’ll allow myself to paint instead. I mean, that conceivably profitable, too, so…

    Yup, I’m fully rationalized. Gonna get more ink tomorrow, and paint today.

  297. says

    Why are the news so obsessed about this general guy and his life that is falling apart anyways?

    That is a very good question. A good case can be made, and has been made, that there was so little there that the FBI investigation should never have been started. They should have refused to take so thin a case. Once they took the case and basically found no criminal activity and no leaks of classified material, it should have been dropped.

    The right-wing fanatic FBI agent (still nameless) who couldn’t leave it alone, who reported the affair to Eric Cantor, was trying to lob a massive dirt ball at President Obama right before the election.

    Right-wing pundits have now latched onto this story and are humping it for all they’re worth. They think that the Obama administration sussed out the incriminating emails in order to blackmail Petraeus and force him to resign, therefore allowing him to escape from testifying before Congress about the Benghazi attack.

    The other conspiracy theory is that Obama knew before election night, but hid the dirty laundry until after the election. Corruption, dontcha see? Weakness, stupidity, lack of leadership. No MORALS! Limbaugh and Hannity at a fever pitch.

    I know, I know, it makes no sense. But what right wing conspiracy ever does? Remember the telegram from Kenya that placed Obama’s birth notice in the Hawaii newspapers? That’s your guideline for making sense.

    Congress can damn well call anybody to testify, retired heads of the CIA included. You cannot escape testifying by retiring. Having an affair while working for the CIA is frowned upon, but not illegal. Fucking your colleagues in acts of adultery is illegal for active duty military personnel. The General had left the Army before he started the affair with Paula, his biographer, and a poor writer at that. Her legs are lovely.

    Basically, the news is obsessed because of the feverish humping on the part of the right-wing, and because more responsible media must now prove them wrong and/or fight their way through the noise to find the facts.

    Also, slow news days are upon us. Election is over. Right-wingers are afflicted with depression that only be lifted by finding another cudgel with which to beat the Obama administration.

  298. Beatrice says

    Rev. BigDumbChimp,

    I’m still angry about Hobbit being divided into three movies.

    *grumbles about greedy fuckers* and *better be worth it*

  299. Tony–Queer Duck Overlord of The Bronze– says


    Beatrice will use her psychic powers, while I gaze deeply into a crystal ball, to find out who it could have been. And we’ll make them pay, yes, we will

    $3.99 for the first minute. $.85 each additional minute? Reasonable payment, no?


    Erulora @363:

    I think I’ve finally recovered from Skepticon. If I go next year, I’m taking off at least the Monday morning afterward, if not the whole day.

    What was exhausting about Skepticon (I’ve never been to any of these conventions)?


    Portia @364:
    I didn’t realize that you have to deal with bugs on a regular basis. Yeesh. A bit on your face?


    Esteleth @376:

    That, and I hate the modern schlocky style of Christmas decorations and music.

    Is there an old school style of decorating or music that you’re more fond of?

    from jose’s link @378:

    Assuming the absence of problematic behavior (intimidation, following, inappropriate physical contact, etc.), criticism or disagreement regarding an attendee’s belief structure will not be construed as harassment. Participants asked to stop any harassing behavior are expected to comply immediately.

    I’m happy to see this included. ISTR at some point during the Thunderf00t debacle, seeing comments from some people that merely criticizing someone’s beliefs could constitute harassment. It’s good to know that isn’t necessarily the case. After all, if we can’t talk openly about our beliefs, and yes, criticize them where necessary, then it will become immensely difficult to persuade people out of their wrong headed beliefs.

  300. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    Hokan Colting, canadian-Swedish airship pioneer has launched a project of airship/boat hybrids using ground effect to keep a yatch running 30-90 m overseas. I will seek out more info.

    Want. O.O

  301. broboxley OT says

    #414 Beatrice LOTR was 3 movies and they left a shitton stuff out. 3 full length movies of the hobbit may be a better representation of the book. Although I too will be pissed if there is made up shit in there.

  302. Portia says


    I didn’t realize that you have to deal with bugs on a regular basis. Yeesh. A bit on your face?

    Yeah, it’s not so good. The neighbor who lives in the basement apartment has it even worse. Which is why he called the exterminator. Who was supposed to come like three weeks ago. No sign of him or his wonderful wonderful pesticides. I should check in on that…

    At least the bite on my face isn’t so itchy. The ones on my neck, from the night before, are itching like crazy.

  303. rq says

    Beatrice @414
    FINALLY someone who agrees with me!!!
    Although my reason was more for the children, who love the book, who have read it 298472984 times already, and can recite it by memory, and who have seen the old movie… I wanted a nice, single-movie event for them. Now I have to stretch watching the Hobbit over three separate movies, which pisses me off because it’s not like 1 night = 1 movie, more like 1 week = 1 movie (bits and pieces).
    Also, I like The Hobbit because it’s short. It’s a nice, easy read that’s a whole lot of fun. And as much as I ‘trust’ Peter Jackson, I don’t trust him to be able to make three whole (probably looooong) movies just as much simple fun. I don’t want to watch 3 movies every time I want to see the hobbit kick everyone’s ass.
    So we’ll see, but I have serious doubts (and besides, The Hobbit was meant for children anyway, and making it into 3 adult movies kind of defeats the point…).

    Tony @315
    How do you think I make my living?? I’d like to be a bit more exorbitant, but, you know, competition and the free market and all that.

  304. says

    You and I both know Lynna that it’s because I find it hard to concentrate on my work when I know you’re around.

    Yeah, yeah. I’m betting the shrine in the basement is dusty from lack of use.

  305. Beatrice says

    broboxley & rq,

    I’m one of the people who grumble about important scenes being left out whenever I watch movies based on the books I’ve read. But I never expect everything I’ve read to be translated onto the screen. Some scenes are just better in writing than on screen, some can be shortened into only a mention in the movie.
    And really, Hobbit is tiny, especially compared to LOTR. If there were three movies made out of it, it’s going to be either too dragged out or there will be a lot of shit made up. In fact, I’m certain there will be shit made up, I just fear how much.

    And I resent the fact that at least one of the reasons (if not the main one) this has been done, is because they know fans will pay to see all the movies, no matter how many there are. I don’t like when someone takes advantage of me. Especially when it’s really obvious, and we all know what’s happening, but we all also know that we will go along with it.

  306. Tony–Queer Duck Overlord of The Bronze– says

    Lynna @379:

    My thoughts exactly. Applebees, Pappa Johns, Murray Coal and others are going to get some push back on this punish-the-employees tactic. They are already getting some bad PR

    Do they even have a valid leg to stand on? Or it is more a case of these rich people are screaming that they’re going to lose lots of money?
    It reminds me of the people saying once the ACA is fully enacted that people in the healthcare industry are going to lose their job. I don’t understand this fear.


    cicely @381:

    Moths may be fuzzy and cute, but they laid their nasty eggs in the boxed pasta, leading to the discovery of their even nastier larvae pouring into the boiling water.

    Ok. Yuck. Just so much yuck.

    nasty little flying hypodermic needles…

    I heart you for this!

    Lynna @383:

    Ryan also said that he hopes President Obama shows some leadership this time around

    I just heard him say on CNN that the government is right back at the same impasse it was two years ago with Democrats and Republicans unwilling to work together.
    This fuckwit really thinks if he and Romney were in charge, with a little jig and some big magic *WHAMMY*, they would get both sides to work together?


    dianne @385:
    This probably isn’t what you wanted to hear, but I’m not sure I’d assume anything. Granted I’m not in your shoes, but is it possible to talk to your ‘boss’ about this?

  307. ibyea says

    Dividing the Hobbit into three movies is a bit too much. I would understand if it is two, but three?

  308. ibyea says

    right wing conspiracy plot=Bond villain plan

    Seriously, compare them side to side, and you can’t tell the difference.

  309. says

    Do they even have a valid leg to stand on? Or it is more a case of these rich people are screaming that they’re going to lose lots of money?

    No, they do not have a leg to stand on. Pappa John’s owner lives in a $40 million mansion, with a 22-car garage. His Pappa John’s budget is over one billion dollars per year. The $5 million (approx.) that it would cost him to provide healthcare for his employees is small potatoes, and just might work out as a wash considering that his trained employees would stick around longer, have less health problems, etc.

    Republican business owners have made “Obamacare” into such a Satan-like myth of anti-capitalist evil that they feel they have to do something to defeat it. Romney isn’t going to defeat it for them, so they are in a panic.

    More details on the financial aspects:

    [Republican business owners say] they need to reduce costs because of the burden Obamacare places on them. But that’s where they’re wrong: … Obamacare has barely anything to do with it.

    The cost of the Affordable Care Act to employers is only one of several expenses associated with full-time, rather than part-time, labor. Even before the law’s provisions kick in, many companies offer their own versions of health care to full-time employees. Then there are the other costs, such as retirement benefits, taxes, sick leave, and so forth.

    The fact is that employers always have an incentive to avoid paying these costs whenever possible, which is why chain restaurants were relying increasingly on precarious part-time workers before any of Obamacare’s provisions even kicked in. As Mortin Zuckerman recently reported in The Wall Street Journal, ”Over the past two years, the food service, retail and employment-services industries have added a total of 1.7 million low-wage jobs, fully 43% of America’s net employment growth.”

    The costs associated with Obamacare may account for some of that rise, but it’s hardly the only factor. You might recall, for example, that there was a little bit of a global financial apocalypse back in 2008: that put the squeeze on corporate profits back when Obamacare was little more than a twinkle in president-elect Obama’s eye. In December of that year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics noted a sharp uptick in involuntary part-time employment [PDF]—meaning work done by part-time employees who would rather have a full-time job somewhere.

    The BLS attributed this trend to a “softening in the demand for labor since about mid-2006,” meaning that more and more Americans were seeking work even as companies were becoming less eager to staff up. In that kind of situation, potential employers have the bulk of the leverage: struggling Americans will take work where they can get it, even in precarious part-time gigs.

    If the Affordable Care Act means anything for this trend, it means a little bit more of a safety net for previously uninsured part-time workers. The increased cost to large chains will be negligible—about 4.3% more added to their total spending, according to the Urban Institute[PDF]. If involuntary part-time work continues to rise, that will hardly be a leading cause. It’s just a convenient boogeyman that bosses … can use to justify shedding decent, stable jobs from their companies.

    Some business owners are trying to protect the status quo, which is huge economic inequality. More money for them, less for the workers. They prefer a feudal structure.

  310. Portia says

    All I have is “apple cider vinegar reduced with water to 5% acidity” but so far it’s pretty effective. Based on 100% of resultant data, I’d say it’s 100% effective.

  311. Richard Austin says


    And really, Hobbit is tiny, especially compared to LOTR. If there were three movies made out of it, it’s going to be either too dragged out or there will be a lot of shit made up. In fact, I’m certain there will be shit made up, I just fear how much.

    One of the the things I’ve heard they’re adding is all the stuff that took place with the “necromancer” (who, in LOTR, turns out to be Sauron). I can easily see that being 20-30 minutes of stuff that gets glossed over in a few paragraphs in the book.

  312. Tony–Queer Duck Overlord of The Bronze– says

    Portia @428:


    That was good!

    I’m almost crying it was so funny.

  313. Tony–Queer Duck Overlord of The Bronze– says

    Are you feeling exceptionally snarky today?
    I likes it.

  314. Portia says

    Tony @434

    Apparently I am! I’ll try to keep stocked with fresh snark to sprinkle in now and then.

  315. says

    For economists interested in the blow-by-blow over Obamacare, here are some links to articles containing shitloads of math:


    Huffington Post link.

    … by simultaneously investing in “Employer-Based Wellness Programs,” as encouraged by Section 4303 of the ACA, employers can minimize the fiscal effect of this new policy on their businesses. In fact, a 2010 report produced by economists at Harvard University showed that for every dollar spent on an employee wellness program, medical costs decreased by about $3.27 and costs related to employee absenteeism dropped by $2.73.

    A more detailed look at employer-employee medical costs — the total amount spent on health care by both employer and employee — was published this month in the journal Health Affairs. The authors followed a group of 92,486 employees for an average of approximately three years, administering a 47-question survey, as well as record some basic biometric data, such as their blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and so on.

    After adjusting for age, gender, and industry, among other things, the findings indicate that nearly a quarter of all employer-employee medical costs are related to a handful of characteristics that can be changed by employer-based wellness programs. The biggest offenders, according to the report, were having a body weight below or above normal limits, which raised an employee’s total health cost by 27.4 percent; high blood pressure, an increased cost of 31.6 percent, high blood sugar, an increase of 31.8 percent, and most significantly, depression, which increased employer-employee health costs by an astounding 48 percent….

    Policymic link.

  316. Cannabinaceae says

    Hello, I’m just logging in to make sure I remember my password. Second guess done it. Whew! I find that participating in blogging and/or social networking takes up more time and emotional energy than I’m willing to commit, though I do check in here from time to time on an (obviously, mostly) read-only basis. I used to be on Facebook, but managed to extricate myself therefrom.

    However, while I’m here, I just thought I’d mention that PBS is airing a “Duckumentary” Wednesday. 8:00 here in Multibore IIRC. If you fancy yourself a worshipper of the Great Feathered One, I’m sure you’ll be happy to watch it.

    If you are a Google Plusser, I invite you to search for my ‘nym there, and re-share, +1, or comment on any of my posts (I make a few per week, on average). I provisionally* encircle anybody who does that sort of thing, which means I will see your posts (if you encircle me I will show up in your stream because I make mostly public posts). By now I have encircled enough interesting posters there that I hardly ever check my news feeds any more.

    As it turns out, we’ll be having 20 people over for Thanksgiving. None of you know me IRL, AFAIK, but we have a pretty small house, so it’s going to get interesting. We weren’t going to have quite so many folks, but found out that some of our circle have nowhere else to go, so we’re happy (truly!) to oblige. This year the turkey (the one I cook – I’m guessing there will have to be a second one now!) will be done on the Weber instead of at 500F in the oven. I’ll actually have drippings for gravy rather than going the giblet-gravy route.

    *Provisionally, because if you then post nothing but pictures of food you’ve cooked or cute cats, or videos of music or antics, etc. (not that I hate any of this stuff; it’s more for attention conservation), I will then un-encircle you, nothing personal blah blah blah.

  317. broboxley OT says

    the acid in vinegar helps quiet the histamine reaction that causes the itch, witch hazel, lime juice can also help

  318. Portia says

    Ok, the fine print on my $50/oz vinegar-based itch relief ointment will say

  319. rq says

    Your success is only because it’s apple cider vinegar. That stuff works all kinds of wonders – a tablespoon before meals, and you’ll have perfect digestion, forever.
    Next time, try it with balsamic, and let us know how that works out for you. Worst comes to worst, you’ll have a salad dressing ready for the next time those suckers come for a bite out of you.

    Tony @434
    That’s not snark. That’s the spider poison slowly taking effect.

    I’m also pretty sure they’ll be going through a lot of the back/side-story (the bits where Gandalf goes wandering off all the time). But that makes it more adult-friendly, rather than the more light-hearted children’s fare it’s supposed to be.
    That’s the only part that gives me hope, though- that they do those parts well enough to pull it all off. Because Movie #1, after all, goes right up to where they reach Lonely Mountain (or right before that). And that’s way more than half the book (I know, we just finished it again).

  320. Portia says

    the acid in vinegar helps quiet the histamine reaction that causes the itch, witch hazel, lime juice can also help

    Ah. That makes sense. Probably why I need more than 5% acidity. This sounded like one of those things that was plausible. (As opposed to other natural supplements).

  321. ImaginesABeach says

    Jadehawk –

    Assuming I remember correctly the name of your school, I have e-mailed you contact information for the administrative secretary of the counseling department. E-mail her and ask to make an appointment via e-mail, explain that phone is not an option for you.

  322. Portia says


    You have me giggling over here. I will be tasty and delirious when the spiders come for me tonight.

  323. Tony–Queer Duck Overlord of The Bronze– says

    broboxley for the win.

    Don’t worry Portia, your snarkiness is still much appreciated :)

  324. Beatrice says


    Aha! So Rev. was right, those spider bites have affected your sarcasm/snark abilities.

  325. broboxley OT says

    from one of your links

    The increased cost to large chains will be negligible—about 4.3% more added to their total spending,

    in a fast food franchise 8-10% profit is considered good. Cutting that profit from 1/2 to a 3rd isn’t going to make that employer happy. Heck even a giant like exxon only has a profit of 8% I would rather see the folks receiving the benefits pay the freight. A 2.2% rise in the medicare tax should be enough to handle single payer. I would grumble but pay it.

  326. Tony–Queer Duck Overlord of The Bronze– says

    Portia @446:
    Is there a site for effective natural remedies? From what I’ve read at Quackwatch and Skeptic’s Dictionary, many of the so-called natural remedies aren’t effective at all, so that leaves me wondering which ones are actually useful.

  327. Tony–Queer Duck Overlord of The Bronze– says

    Portia @448:

    I will be tasty and delirious when the spiders come for me tonight.

    Hopefully they won’t lay eggs in your hair…

  328. broboxley OT says

    Portia, the next time you are in a drugstore look at a small tube 1/2 oz maybe? of insect bite itch relief. It should cost about $1 look at the ingredient. You just paid $1 for a 1/2 oz of bleach :-)

  329. Portia says


    Ya know, I’m not sure. But I think that would be a great idea. For instance, I know that activated charcoal has useful applications. It dries poison ivy and other rashes right up. My forearms were black for half the summer. It’s also good for stomach aches, because of it’s absorbing qualities. (not sure the right term for that). I have known of doctors using charcoal for stomach issues, but I can’t recall where… now I’m gonna have to look. :)

  330. Tony–Queer Duck Overlord of The Bronze– says

    Peter Parker: I got bit by a spider and gained super strength, agility, reflexes and a danger sense.

    Portia: I got bit by a spider and all I got was extra snark.

  331. Portia says

    Hopefully they won’t lay eggs in your hair…

    BAD TONY. BAD. That’s just intentional infliction of emotional distress!!!


    interesting! I would take benadryl but I was allergic to it a couple decades ago and I don’t want to find out if I outgrew the allergy.

    Me too :) (Except Tony! We’re in a fight!)

  332. Tony–Queer Duck Overlord of The Bronze– says

    Earlier this year, I bought some charcoal treats for the dogs at a local pet store. Shocked as I was at the thought of feeding dogs charcoal, I looked it up and sure enough, it’s a treat for them. I also found out that charcoal “shakes” are given to people who’ve O.D.’ed on certain drugs.

    Ugh. I hope I never OD. I don’t want to drink a charcoal shake.

  333. rq says

    Tony @454
    Someone recently posted this , which might have some information on all those folk remedies you’re thinking of (not only those involving vinegar).

    Charcoal is great, when necessary. Otherwise, it just looks weird and squeaks against the teeth. Ick.

  334. ImaginesABeach says

    Portia – there is a product called AfterBite which promises (and often delivers) relief from itchy insect bites. The active ingredient is Ammonia 3.5%. This product, and probably vinegar, work best if applied soon after the nasty little things bite – if I get it as soon as I start itching, I usually have almost total relief and it’s often an almost complete cure. The longer you wait, the short the relief. YMMV.

  335. Beatrice says


    Whenever I think of spiders, them laying eggs in my hair is the least of my worries. They might find some more… sheltered space.

  336. Portia says

    Peter Parker: I got bit by a spider and gained super strength, agility, reflexes and a danger sense.

    Portia: I got bit by a spider and all I got was extra snark.

    Ok, you made me guffaw, we’re cool again. Apparently “mood swings” should be added to the list of things I got ;)

    re: Charcoal. Yeah, it’s not as bad as it sounds. Just tastes sort of chalky. Makes a nice paste for topical application. And it comes in capsules for ingestion. But, I do hope you never O.D. for any reason.

  337. rq says

    Yes, Portia, I noticed you and Tony fighting. What with the armies of centipedes and spiders all over the thread (but I think he’s winning – you’ve been bit twice now!).

  338. Portia says


    That actually sounds familiar, I think it’s something my aunt keeps handy. She’s uber “natural” with her remedies.

  339. Tony–Queer Duck Overlord of The Bronze– says

    AfterBite works quite well. When I worked at an outside bar years ago (on the water here in Pensacola), I would routinely get bit by mosquitoes (on my bald head, between the eyes, in the crotch-and I always wear pants-it didn’t matter. I’m sure they could have found a way to bite my brain). Eventually one of my coworkers discovered AfterBite. While it didn’t stop them from eating me alive, at least I could apply the stuff and not play the “rub, don’t scratch” game.

  340. Portia says

    *gives Beatrice a very stern look*

    You don’t have to hide. Just know you’re responsible if I never do sleep again. I may go to SO’s tonight just to flee the bugs. It’s happened before, halfway through the night!

  341. Tony–Queer Duck Overlord of The Bronze– says

    Watch out Beatrice, I think Portia can handle both of us. I’m really just trying to look out for all the oppressed arachnids in the world :)

  342. says

    Phony school “reform” propositions were defeated in three states. I’m actually really impressed by these rejections of profit-driven fraud disguised as education reform.

    The issues are relatively complicated, and the “reform” propagandists spent a lot of money putting out their misleading ads. Voters rejected the scam even in ultra-conservative Idaho. (Colorado and Indiana are the other two states.) The prime scammer in Idaho, Tom Luna, is also a mormon, so there are lots of opportunities for schadenfreude here.

    If your only source of news about American education came from docu-propaganda like “Waiting for Superman,” Hollywood politi-schlock like “Won’t Back Down” and elite-focused national news outlets in Washington, D.C., and New York City, you might think that the so-called education “reform” (read: privatization) movement was a spontaneous grass-roots uprising of good-old-fashioned heartlanders generating ever more mass support throughout the country. You would have no reason to believe it was a top-down, corporate-driven coalition of conservative coastal elites trying to both generally undermine organized labor and specifically wring private profit out of public schools, and you would similarly have no reason to believe it was anything but wildly popular in an America clamoring for a better education system.

    In other words, you would be utterly misinformed — especially after last week’s explosive election results in three key states….

    Republicans in [Idaho’s] Legislature rammed through a slate of laws that would have limited teachers’ collective bargaining rights, tied teacher pay to standardized test results, raised class sizes and replaced teachers with computers in schools (the latter a $180 million boondoggle to the high tech industry without any substantive proof that it would actually improve student achievement). The legislative initiative was led by State Superintendent of Schools Tom Luna, a former Bush administration official whose own election campaign had been financed by firms who stood to make money off his policy agenda.

    Kudos to the true grassroots organizations in Idaho that gathered enough signatures to put veto propositions on the ballot. We vetoed that lunacy.

    … backing the measures was ultraconservative Idaho businessman Frank VanderSloot who “put $1.4 million of support behind the propositions.”

    VanderSloot is the owner of Melaleuca, and he is a homophobic mormon who once tried to sue Rachel Maddow for defamation. He failed.

    Inveighing against a political culture that too often demonizes teachers, the Idaho Statesman’s editorial board said the election results were a clear message about the education “reform” movement’s overall anti-teacher agenda….

    Mitt Romney was anti-teacher’s unions.

  343. cicely says

    Whenever I think of spiders, them laying eggs in my hair is the least of my worries. They might find some more… sheltered space.

    Those pictures of spiders in ear canals do not help at all.

  344. Portia says

    I’m thinking I could have my own series of sub-par movies.
    SpiderWoman, SpiderWoman, does nothing a spider does,
    just snarks a little extra

  345. says

    From journalist David Sirota at Salon:

    If the 2012 election only delivered one of these outcomes, or if these results happened in a vacuum, it would be easy to write it all off as a fluke. But taken together in the context of such a well-funded and aggressive “reform” movement, these results are a political earthquake proving that the anti-public-schools coalition of billionaire moguls, millionaire Wall Streeters and anti-union ideologues cannot dictate education policy without serious opposition.

    That these results have been largely ignored by the same media and political establishment demonizing teachers, promoting technology as a panacea, and championing privately run charter schools only underscores their importance. Simply put, the election outcomes are ignored because they so powerfully expose the lies behind all the “reform” propaganda coursing through the media and treated as unquestioned fact in our politics. Indeed, just as the larger national election results exposed conservative news outlets as prioritizing ideologically driven wishful thinking over reporting on what was actually happening on the ground, so too do these results expose the “reform” coalition for what it really is: not a popular mass movement, but another profit-driven… scheme….

  346. Beatrice says


    *gathers herself*
    I will bear that cross.


    I’m reasonable. As long as they stay away from my bed (or any nearby surfaces), they won’t be (op)pressed.

  347. Tony–Queer Duck Overlord of The Bronze– says

    This one time, several years ago, I stayed the night with a guy I was dating. At some point shortly after we tried to go to sleep, he and I awoke to being bit by something. Upon climbing out of bed and turning on the lights, we discovered that the bed had made the acquaintance of a *lot* of ants. We didn’t go back to sleep for a loooong time.

  348. rq says

    Portia – I’ll be in tomorrow to monitor your condition. If you have any more spider bites, I recommend changing your tactics against Tony.

    Beatrice – I’m with you, ‘in hair’ is not particularly worrisome… ‘In ear canal’ or ‘crawling down throat while asleep’ are far bigger concerns of mine. I had a friend in high school who would sleep with her head under the covers/in the sleeping bag, even in +30 and more (C) weather, because she was afraid of the spiders just waiting to crawl down her throat.

  349. Portia says


    I’ll up the snark to dangerous levels if necessary.


    Once, I got out of bed for a fire call at about 1am. I returned an hour later, turned on my bedroom light, and a large centipede crawled over the edge to take shelter in a shadow. I did not sleep til the sun came up.

    Where’d the ants come from?

  350. Tony–Queer Duck Overlord of The Bronze– says

    We discovered a trail of ants coming from his balcony. Yeah. The little fuckers crawled up to the second story to get in bed with us…

  351. rq says

    No need, Portia, no need.


    I wish a spider-and-other-arthropod-free night to all!
    Good night, and good luck!

  352. says

    Something fucking bit me too! On the side of the head of all places! Doesn’t seem to have been radioactive or poisonous or anything though, it is just annoying.

    Time for Scotch.

  353. says

    broboxley @451:

    in a fast food franchise 8-10% profit is considered good. Cutting that profit from 1/2 to a 3rd isn’t going to make that employer happy. Heck even a giant like exxon only has a profit of 8% I would rather see the folks receiving the benefits pay the freight. A 2.2% rise in the medicare tax should be enough to handle single payer. I would grumble but pay it.

    Alas, poor Exxon Mobil! Snark aside, your figures may be off a bit. Exxon’s quarterly profit, that’s profit!, of $15.9 billion, that’s billion!, was a profit margin of 12%, reported in July 2012.

    Exxon Mobil reported a quarterly profit of nearly $16 billion … the highest ever for a U.S. corporation.

    The number beat out the previous quarterly record of $14.83 billion set in the third quarter of 2008, also by Exxon. …

    Exxon’s quarterly profit of $15.9 billion came on revenues of $127.4 billion, giving it a profit margin of just over 12%….

    Also, alas poor Papa John Schnatter! Photos of his mansion may be viewed here:

    In addition to the other amenities, Schnatter’s digs include a gigantic motorized turn table-driveway to help park stretch limousines.

  354. Rob says

    rq @339 – no worries I’ve been known to cross over into SF and Fantasy as long as it’s a good read. You might like to try Patrick Rothfuss – The Name of the Wind. Trilogy with only two parts written so far. Longish books though.

    birgerjohansson @360 – Cracker was fantastic. As a gross generalisation British television is much better at delivering flawed and compromised characters in a way that makes you able to identify or at least feel some sympathy.

    I better get back to work. Love of my life has a job interview today. Fingers crossed please!

  355. Portia says

    ‎”Yes, I need to speak to an attorney. Is Mr. PortiasLastName there?”
    What I said: “I’m an attorney, how can I help you.”
    What I should have said: “There isn’t one yet. How can I help you?”

  356. Tony–Queer Duck Overlord of The Bronze– says

    rq @488:
    You’re evil :)
    ImaginesABeach @487:
    Ok, I ant gonna talk about spiders and centipedes any longer. If it ant kittehs I ant gonna talk about it.
    Kitten talk is much better anyway. Of all those at your link, I think the last one is my favorite. Of course if I had a farm, I’d take *all* the kittens.

  357. says

    broboxley and Lynna… is that profit percentage before or after executive compensation and bonuses and such? Because we’ve seen in the past few years companies claiming low or no profits, but only after paying the executives some rather large portion of the revenues.

  358. says

    is that profit percentage before or after executive compensation and bonuses and such?

    profit is what you have left over after paying all employees, and CEOs etc. are employees. So most likely the ridiculously huge executive pay is WHY it’s “only” 12%