[Lounge #484]


This is the lounge. You can discuss anything you want, but you will do it kindly.

Status: Heavily Moderated; Previous thread


  1. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Been a long day. Finally completed a report and sent it off to my boss for review. Did my end of the year self-evaluation. I rated myself as “meets expectations”, as I don’t want to be promoted or fired. Had a doctor’s appointment, but when I arrived, found I had to reschedule due to emergency surgery the doctor had to perform. Ran off to MegaloMart (King of the Hill reference, but near the doctor’s office) for some goods. Got home, and nobody told me milk was on the list. *thanks* Back to a closer store. Did I mention, I’ve been officially on vacation through the end of the year since yesterday? And I’m chairing a meeting next Tuesday? *sigh*

  2. says

    Saad @500:

    Coincidentally, Jónsi, the singer for the band, is gay, but not a historically significant figure so my recommendation would be to maybe do one on Virginia Woolf. You may have done a piece on her already since she was also a feminist.

    I’m going to start on the ‘T’ entry sometime tonight, so the ‘W’ is a few days away. I should have mentioned that I’m ideally looking for people who aren’t as commonly known, but perhaps should be.

    On a related tangent, out of all the women I’ve featured, I’m noticing the most traffic on the post for Frida Kahlo de Rivera. Each day I see that multiple people are viewing the post, and boy I’m curious why it’s so popular.

  3. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    The Redhead wants her favorite fish dinner (from a Cajun place at Gurnee Mills owned by Koreans) for must be fish Friday. Talapia, redbeans and rice, carrots and broccoli, and tostones (refried plantinos, or a banana). Tostones frying.

  4. says

    Oh this is delicious!


    Every time a state’s same-sex marriage ban is ruled unconstitutional and government officials unleash their lawyers to demand stays and file appeals, we shake our heads in disbelief and remark on what a waste of taxpayers dollars such legal Hail Marys are. What you might not have realized is, it is not just the defense case that the taxpayers may be on the hook for. The very same taxpayers who are paying to defend their state’s marriage ban may also be responsible for the legal bills of the gay couples who successfully challenged it.

    There is a federal law that requires the losing party in cases involving basic constitutional rights to pay the legal fees of the winning plaintiffs. The law was passed because it was deemed unfair for citizens to have to hire private attorneys to enforce their constitutional rights. And South Carolina just got its first bill.

    Seven private Charleston attorneys who successfully challenged South Carolina’s same-sex marriage ban have filed a petition in federal court seeking $152,709 in attorneys’ fees. According to The State, the 25-page fee petition, submitted late Wednesday night, says the lawyers worked approximately 446 hours at hourly rates ranging from $175 to $400. That $152,709 covers only the lawyers’ fees as of Wednesday. Since South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson chooses to continue to defend South Carolina’s same-sex marriage laws in several other cases in both the state’s federal district courtsn those plaintiff’s lawyers can ask to be reimbursed for those costs too.

    If Attorney General Wilson loses all those cases, all the way to the Supreme Court, the taxpayers could be on the hook for a large chunk of change – effectively paying for both sides of the fight.

    The state has until January 7 to respond to the plaintiff’s plea petition. Then, Federal Circuit Court Judge Richard Gergel, who ruled against the state’s marriage ban, will decide on how much to award the winning attorneys. But here’s the very best part of this story. Whatever amount they are awarded, the attorneys have decided not to accept the money themselves. They have announced they plan to donate their fees to the gay rights groups that hired them to sue the state, including Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund and the South Carolina Equality Coalition. So, in a delicious irony, the harder South Carolina fights against them, the more they will be supporting LGBT groups.

  5. Rob Grigjanis says

    Tony @4:

    I’m going to start on the ‘T’ entry sometime tonight

    I don’t have time to read every post, but from context I’m guessing this is about LGBTQ folk? Do you have Lisa Harvey-Smith under H? She’s pretty awesome.

  6. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says


    Sorry for the meltdown. Our rent is indeed 165 higher starting next month, which we can do but it’ll be really tight. Thank fuck Roomie was kept on and is actually making 40 hours per week or we would be truly screwed. There’s another place a hundred bucks cheaper than the new rent but we have no money for moving. We’ll survive with Roomie’s job now but we were hoping to actually have a bit to enjoy this month. It was going so well until the owners changed. *sigh* Cross your fingers for me, there’s a job working with books I’d actually like to get that I applied for yesterday.

    Finally got Little One her own library card and checked out books. But I forgot proof of address so she could only get 3. So we’ll be back next week so she can return those and get the full amount. I’m so proud of her for reading chapter books in a day but I’ve only got a little saved for bus passes so we can’t go that often. I was hoping to make it a once a month thing but damn the luck. She was so excited and happy to go though. I loved it. I pulled it off with using my bus pass for an interview that day and her pass is only $2. It really sucked when she found out we couldn’t go so soon again.

    She’s also going to have Christmas thanks to some awesome Horde members. Considering how I’ve had to dampen the season with reality, I’m more excited than her for Christmas at the moment since she doesn’t believe she’s getting one yet. I mean I still fucking hate Christmas but I just want to see her happy again.

    Mother was supposed to get an apartment this month but things fell through. But she said she’d pay if I worked for her, taking things over dealing with the system and shit. Considering how flaky and vulnerable she is, I’m not sure I’ll get money for it but I’ve always been willing to help her. The only reason I haven’t lately is due to how mobile they’ve been and the fact her husband needs to stay the fuck away from me. She hasn’t given me anything to do yet and is back to being out of contact for days so I’m not even sure I’ll get to help again.

    So we’re alive at the knife’s edge and things suck but it could be worse. Same shit, different day.

  7. rq says

    I’m sorry about the rent situation, and I hope you get your christmas for Little One! That’s fantastic about her love of reading, is there anything she particularly loves to read?
    Good luck with the job, I’ll hold many, many thumbs for you!!


    *little happy dance*
    Take that, world of skeleton – charging out of the gate, they are.
    (And tonight I have to watch 4-person bobsleigh, less in support of the Latvian teams than for the two women-piloted teams. Also, I want to hear what the local commentators have to say about it, because it may not be pretty.)

  8. K.R. Syncanna says

    So I scheduled an appointment for an IUD next month. Hoping it will stop my periods. But I just hate even going in for it, I hate going to “women’s centers” when I am not a woman and being treated accordingly. I’d love to have a hysterectomy, but I’m too afraid to approach doctors with my gender identity, and since it is non-binary I am afraid they will not take me seriously. I also do not want to go on T because I don’t identify as a man either and don’t want to exchange one set of sex characteristics for another. It’s just frustrating. At least I almost certainly will avoid pregnancy, that would be even worse of an experience.

    Oh, and the place does not even have local anesthetics as an option. Since I have a small, crampy uterus this is gonna suck. This better be worth it!

  9. K.R. Syncanna says

    Thanks, Caitie. The one saving grace I have is that my state acknowledges trans* healthcare on paper, in practice though I know it’s going to be difficult.

  10. rq says

    Good luck with the appointment, Ī also hope it goes less terribly than expected. And that results (i.e. no periods) are exactly as you wish them to be. :)
    If you like, I have some *hugs* or *[other preferred gesture of comfort]* on standby, plus requisite snacks and warm drinks.

    Allo, Cait. :)

  11. says

    TW for rape on college campus.

    Dealing with rape and sexual assault on college campuses is already difficult, but Christian universities in the USA make it far worse.

    For decades, officials at Bob Jones University told sexual assault victims that they were to blame for their abuse, and to not report it to the police because doing so would damage their families, churches and the university, according to a long-awaited independent report released Thursday.

    Bob Jones, an evangelical Christian institution in Greenville, S.C., displayed a “blaming and disparaging” attitude toward abuse victims, according to 56 percent of the 381 current and former students and employees who replied to a confidential survey and said they had knowledge of how the university handled abuse cases. About half the 166 people surveyed who identified themselves as abuse victims said the university actively discouraged them from going to the police. […]

    New York Times link.

  12. says

    TW for rape and sexual abuse.

    This is a followup to #19, about the inappropriate response to sexual abuse cases at Bob Jones University.

    “I was abused from the ages of 6 to 14 by my grandfather,” one respondent said. “When I went for counseling I was told: ‘Did you repent for your part of the abuse? Did your body respond favorably?’ ” The person reported being told by a university official that going to the police “tore your family apart, and that’s your fault,” and “you love yourself more than you love God.”

    Link in comment 19.

  13. says

    Glad to see someone is fighting this good fight:

    […] Maryland and six other states still have articles in their constitutions saying people who do not believe in God are not eligible to hold public office. Maryland’s Constitution still says belief in God is a requirement even for jurors and witnesses.

    Now a coalition of nonbelievers says it is time to get rid of the atheist bans because they are discriminatory, offensive and unconstitutional. The bans are unenforceable dead letters, legal experts say, and state and local governments have rarely invoked them in recent years. But for some secular Americans, who are increasingly visible and organized, removing the bans is not only a just cause, but a test of their growing movement’s political clout. […]

    NY Times link.

  14. says

    This doesn’t sound like it is just Tea Partiers changing dress codes for Republican legislators in Montana, it sounds like mormons. Must be a lot of mormon Tea Party types in the Montana legislature because they are forbidding bare shoulders for women. Cowgirl blog link.

    […] Montana’s GOP took steps to make Montana’s dress code even more stringent than Wyoming’s. [snipped out section on bolo ties]

    Montana GOPers also removed an item from the Wyoming dress code allowing sleeveless dresses–IF and only if they were worn under jackets that is. Apparently however, the thought that some woman might be sleeveless underneath her suit coat was too much for MT Republicans, so they took it out.

    Finally, although Wyoming lawmakers have generously been allowed to wear knit dresses–if sufficiently covered by a jacket. That language is also removed from the MT dress code. […]

  15. rq says

    How do they verify sleevelessness, anyway? Make women remove their jackets in public (in which case, they [ the people asking women to remove their jackets ]’re inflicting bare arms on everyone and should be at least fined for this)? Or do they insist on long sleeves that poke out the ends of the jacket sleeve?

  16. rq says

    Don’t give them any ideas! *shudder*
    Especially since all the menz is also nekkid under their clotheses, which means NEKKID MENZ AND WIMMINZ MEETING EACH OTHER ALL THE TIME!!!!!!! CAN WE GRASP THIS HORROR?

  17. says

    Montana legislators need a Truth and Virtue squad of female inspectors to make certain that no bare shoulders are lurking just one clothing layer away from nakedness.

    Here’s some news about one of the male Montana Legislators.

    And, as far as I can tell there is one mormon woman in the Montana legislature.

    Looks like the House of the Addlepated.

  18. says

    The dress code from Montana legislators includes other rules:

    […]The Montana House of Representatives last week imposed rules banning jeans, open-toed sandals, and excessive cleavage for all members. “Women should be sensitive to skirt lengths and necklines,” the code states.

    Female members of the legislature bristled at the change, with House Minority Whip Jenny Eck saying it suggests [women] can’t be trusted to get up in the morning and dress appropriately.” But House Speaker Austin Knudsen said the code was merely aimed at ensuring formality, and insisted he never imagined it could be construed as sexist.[…]


  19. says

    Coverage of the mormon-ish dress code in The NY Times.

    […] Ms. Eck said she was leaving a health care forum in Helena, the capital, on Monday when one of her Republican colleagues peered at her and told her that he was glad to see she was dressed appropriately.

    “It just creates this ability to scrutinize women,” Ms. Eck said. “It makes it acceptable for someone who’s supposed to be my peer and my equal to look me up and down and comment on what I’m wearing. That doesn’t feel right.” […]

  20. says

    Oh, FFS.

    U.S. District Judge Frank Magnuson issued an injunction against the federal government, enabling Hastings Automotive’s primary owner Doug Erickson to remove contraceptives from his company’s plan without facing penalties.

    “It’s long been by conviction to run these businesses according to my faith, and I really believe I’m stewarding these businesses and operating them as God would have me operate them,” Erickson told KARE.


  21. K.R. Syncanna says

    Thanks all for the support.

    Just in case you A) it doesn’t work and B) haven’t encountered them, there are hormonal birth control options that reduce or prevent menstruation as well.

    I have already been on the pill, the problem is that method works horribly with me. Going through my digestive system is just a disaster with hormones, if anything will work it has to be the IUD or nuva ring and I hate the idea of the nuva ring.

  22. says

    Good evening
    What a day. Grandma celebrated her 93rd(!) birthday and as usually I made dessert. Only that when I started that tradition the celebrazion used to be in the evening and I had the day for preparing it. Now it’s at midday and I was away yesterday, so I got up at 6:30.
    I made:
    -chocolate and spicy orange cake
    -roasted apple cake
    But both of them not as cakes but in small glasses. Ikea sells tealight holders cheap, 4 for a buck and they’re really great. It’s not more work, less prone to accidents (since you’re putting everything into a glass anyway it’s not too bad if your cream is too runny, something that would ruin a cake) and looks great. It also means that you can try more things.
    -and Santa’se hat cupcakes. Chocolate cupcakes with cassis butterbream

    K. R. Syncanna
    I feel with you.
    *supportive gesture of choice*
    (dunno if you like virtual hugs)

    I also had a textbook example of entitled creepy guy being a victim of evil feminazi (aka me) on Twitter yesterday.
    A German newspaper had published a horrible article how feminists just have no sense of humor (citing among others a hashtag that we feminists found hilarious). I tweeted (in German) “If women don’t find sth funny it’s cause they have no sense of humour. If men don’t find sth funny it’s because it’s not funny”. This got some retweets and then a guy jumped into my mentions schooling me that there was no such thing as “all men” and “all women” (in German with article) and that I should stop stereotyping people! You know, us who notice that people get treated differently according to how our gender is perceived are the real sexists.
    I told him he’d missed to point completely. He told me I was overreacting (how? I don’t know…) I told him that “woman overreacting” was what had been missing on my Bingo card and have a nice day.
    So, by all rules of communication, I told him I was done.
    So he tweeted “why are you cutting off communication???”
    Me: “Because I want to and you’re not entitled to my communication. Bye.
    That’s me telling him off TWICE
    He: why are you so defensive? This is my argument (repeats strawman)
    Me: Apparently you canot read. Fuck off! (Verbatim)
    That’s the third time, right? How can you make it any clearer that you want t be left alone?
    He keeps tweeting.
    “I can read very well, especially your insults! + some more tone trolling” (Well, “fuck off” is certainly rude, albeit NOT as rude as keeping tweeting at you when you told them to stop, but it is NOT an insult, because what am I insulting? )
    At that point I blocked him. he probably ran off claiming to be prosecuted because a woman did not give him her time. Jesus Haploid Christ on a pogostick…

  23. Portia (aka Smokey the Advocate) says

    Good for you resisting the re-engaging he was trying to do…I hate those, that won’t quit. Urg.

    Last night, at another law firm’s Christmas party, one of the grouchy old prosecutors was drunk and letting his unapologetic misogyny and racism fly. (He said he knows people think he’s a misogynist, I asked ‘Does that bother you?” He said no, because it’s true, then this happened…)

    Him: “There have been lots of girls, they were born in the 80s, and their parents told them they could be whatever they wanted to be, so they decided to be lawyers, then they joined our office, and they realized they didn’t want to do the work being a lawyer requires.”
    Me: “You mean like me? Born in the 80s, encouraged, and now look at that, I decided I wanted to be a lawyer. You just described me.”
    Him: “…”

    Two of my slightly older than me lady liberal lawyer friends were there to skewer him a bit, so it wasn’t all awful, it was almost fun. But yeah…really effing sad that he’s got so much power…

  24. carlie says

    K.R. – I feel for you – I hope you’re treated well and with respect. I’m sure you’ve done all your research, but yes, IUD insertion can be painful. Take a good amount of the painkiller of your choice before you go (if you can take painkillers), and if you can, don’t schedule anything big for the next day or two after. Some people have no trouble at all, but for some it can be really sore for quite some time, especially the first one.

    Are you contraindicated for Essure? That might be an option too if you have that possibility, but it is permanent so you might not want that route, and might have more trouble getting a doctor to ok it. It’s also still not very common, so your doctors might not be familiar with or trained for it.

  25. says

    Gads, that’s nasty, Superhero Lady.

    Giliell, hilariously clueless. What an asshole.

    I have a yay! and an oh, crap! to report. Yay! Through judicious mixing of work and rest periods, I got my bathroom mostly clean, and tidied the main room, and took out two giant armloads of recycling. Then I tried to vacuum, and we got to the oh, crap! part.

    Cause after a bit of the good kind of sucking (of dirt off my floor!), and went into a sort of meta-sucking state, where the sucking part billowed out in unpleasant grey smoke.

    Net cleaning effect, then: apartment cleaner, but now reeks of burnt rubber and hair. And the people who were coming over will be here in an hour.

    Ah, well, small crap and big yay. :)

  26. Portia (aka Smokey the Advocate) says


    Hooray for getting things done and feeling accomplished :D :D

    Boo for the vacuum, how rude of it to not cooperate.

  27. K.R. Syncanna says

    Are you contraindicated for Essure? That might be an option too if you have that possibility

    I would love to be sterile, but I will take nothing less than a hysterectomy (I am kind of a hard ass about this due to my gender dysphoria). My gyn does, in fact, provide consultation and referrals for essure though. So that’s good for other people female assigned at birth with a uterus that want to get sterilized.

    By the way, anyone know what is up with the comments delaying to post?

  28. rq says

    Those damn vaccuums. Never co-operate with your plans (currently ours is out of commission too). Ah well, yay for the yay!, it’s great to feel productive!!!! *hugs*

    I want a Giliell Sanda cupcake, honestly, chocolate with cassis buttercream (I’m assuming icing)? That’s just evil to post up here.
    Well done with the attempted disengagement, though he’s a total asshole for not getting it. Tone trolling, indeed – fuck off isn’t a tone argument, it’s a FUCK OFF. People are so dense sometimes.

  29. rq says

    K. R.
    I have no idea what’s up with comments, since I’m not seeing the delay, but it might have to d owith PZ currently not being on the internet.
    I think.
    But I’m reading you just fine, so maybe it’s just a minor glitch on your end?

  30. K.R. Syncanna says

    Rq – it appears to happen when I am not logged in. When I am logged in, everything functions fine. So strange.

  31. says

    I’m not certain if it’s the same thing, but a few times recently I’ve gotten new comments in my email from my subscription, but I can’t see them on the site for like half an hour.

  32. K.R. Syncanna says

    Dali – although I do not have subscriptions sent to email, I think this is similar. Maybe the site just hiccups here and there.

  33. rq says

    So many falls in 4-person bobsleigh today. The Brazilians didn’t even make it past the finish line. Though they all walked away, which is pretty good, considering they spent most of the second half of the track on their heads.

  34. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Cleaning day here at Casa la Pelirroja. Between bending over to clean the bathtub and to clean the Redhead (the bed lacks the final 6″ of lift to make it ergonomic for me), my back is cranky. The Redhead is doing fine, and appears headed for an after-cleaning nap.

    The local PBS station is in begging mode, and was a showing a series The African Americans, Many Rivers to Cross during the night. Looks like a fine six part series.

  35. says

    UK stoners love their cheeseburgers, nachos, and chips:

    It seems regular cannabis users in the UK are living up their “munchies” stereotype.

    Nachos, chips and cheeseburgers are revealed as some of their favourite foods in new research, released Friday by polling company YouGov.

    The research displays some of the key characteristics of Britain’s regular cannabis smokers, giving us an insight into who they are, what their interests are and what they do for fun.

    Aside from snacking on junk food, the data tells us that the majority of regular cannabis smokers hail from central Scotland, drink Red Bull, wear Ted Baker clothes and drive BMWs.

    Somewhat unsurprisingly, their top niche interest is “sitting around and doing as little as possible,” followed by “Amsterdam,” while they’re more interested in sex and relationships than they are politics or international news. They also like Cheech and Chong and Wikileaks.

  36. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    UK stoners love their cheeseburgers, nachos, and chips:

    No different from the stoners during my university days.

  37. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    No different from the stoners during my university days.

    Well, instead of being monied middleagers, the poor college students tended toward peanut butter, which was cheap.

  38. says

    Bill Nye says some reasonable stuff … again.

    The biggest danger creationism plays, according to Bill Nye the “Science Guy,” is that it is raising a generation of children who “can’t think” and who “will not be able to participate in the future in same way” as those who are taught evolution.

    Speaking on MidPoint, Nye said he blames an older generation of evangelicals “who have very strong conservative views” and who are “reluctant to let kids learn about evolution.” Their presence on school boards leads to debates over curriculum, Nye argued, which further inhibits schools’ ability to teach facts.

    “Religion is one thing. People get tremendous comfort and community with their religions,” Nye said. “But whatever you believe, whatever deity or higher power you might believe in, the Earth is not 6,000 years old.” […]

    “They will not have this fundamental idea that you can question things, that you can think critically, that you can use skeptical thought to learn about nature,” Nye told MidPoint. “These children have to suppress everything that they can see in nature to try to get a world view that’s compatible with the adults in who they trust and rely on for sustenance.” […]


  39. says

    About one day after Michael Brown was shot, Meagan Kelly voiced the opinion on Fox News that “this will all blow over.” She thought the protests wouldn’t last a week. She was wrong. Kelly was wrong about the protests taking special note of Garner as well.

    Thousands of protesters marched through the streets of Washington and New York on Saturday to protest recent police encounters that have claimed the lives of unarmed black men across the country. […]

    The march is the latest in a series of near-daily protests nationwide since a grand jury declined to indict a New York City police officer in the death of Garner, an unarmed Staten Island man who died when the officer applied an alleged choke-hold while arresting Garner, who was believed to be illegally selling cigarettes.

    LA Times link. Some good photos and video at the link.

  40. says

    We’ve all heard Right-wing fucknuggets claim that waterboarding isn’t torture. Tell that to David Hicks who was held at Guantanamo Bay for 5-and-a-half years. He was subjected to waterboarding (as well as other forms of torture) during his imprisonment.

    Australian former Guantanamo Bay detainee David Hicks has heckled Attorney-General George Brandis at the Human Rights Awards ceremony over his prolonged torture within the prison.

    The incident occurred at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney on Wednesday night as Brandis was exiting the stage after a keynote address to the audience.

    “Hey, my name is David Hicks!” Hicks yelled at Brandis from the back of the room. “I was tortured for five-and-a-half years in Guantanamo Bay in the full knowledge of your party! What do you have to say?”

    He then told reporters Brandis, who served under the Howard government who was in power at the time of his detainment, was a “coward” for not answering his questions.

    Hicks was convicted by United States Guantanamo military commission for providing material support to a terrorism organisation after he was captured in Afghanistan in late 2001. He has always maintained his innocence, denying he was fighting for Osama bin Laden with al-Qaeda and did not know the Taliban, who he undertook training with, was in anyway affiliated.

    Held in Guantanamo Bay in Cuba by the U.S. military until 2007, Hicks has detailed claims of abuse such as beatings, drugging and sexual assault. In 2012, the United States Court of Appeals ruled the terrorism charge against Hicks was invalid.

    In a disturbing U.S. Senate report released this week, it was revealed waterboarding, sexual threats and sleep deprivation were all tactics used by the CIA following 9/11 to torture suspects. Hicks claims the Australian government was aware of such tactics, and he is demanding answers.

  41. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Rebecca Watson is ok with doxxing under certain circumstances.

    Reading the comments, its apparent a few people missed that her support of doxxing is context dependent.

    Of course, the MRA contingent doesn’t grasp the idea of context, just that there may be consequences for expressing their vile opinions….

  42. Rivendellyan says

    Hey guys, check this out: This guy is the worst person ever. Warning: he’s a rape apologist. AND an officially elected member of the Brazilian Senate. AND he’s proud of it all. This is one of the main reasons I’m disgusted by my country’s sense of justice and decency. May I add, 17,000 people rallied on an online petition to defend the guy? This is ridiculous.

  43. Tapetum says

    Well, it’s been a fun weekend so far, but it looks like we’re going to make it on catching Sprog2 up with his math. We’ve done 11 pages of make-up work so-far (got the packet Thursday), with 3 more to do tomorrow. Turns out the kid has pretty much learned nothing since they hit graphing, and he started panicking because he can’t draw graphs. So in the last three days we’ve covered: basic graphing with coordinates and slopes, intercepts, slope-intercept form, standard form, point-slope form, parallel lines, perpendicular lines, determining linear relations, plotting best-line, and finding 2 equation solutions via graph. Tomorrow is solving 2 equation problems via substitution, and then via elimination, and then graphing and solving inequalities. Sprog2 has been alternating between learning all this stuff at nearly superhuman speeds, and having complete meltdowns because there’s SO DAMN MUCH.

    I’m really proud of him, except when he’s in the middle of a meltdown. Then I’m torn between feeling sorry for him and wanting to start shrieking with him.

    Also, I realize that the odds are that she’s long dead, and even if she’s alive she’s undoubtedly not not reading this, but OMFSM THANK YOU Ms. Philbin, for drilling algebra into my head so hard I could do it in my sleep. Because if I didn’t know it so well, there’s no way I could teach it at this speed to my brilliant, fragile, stressed-out-of-his-mind son when I’ve had 8 hours of sleep – over the last five days.

  44. says

    Aaaaaaah!!!! Twitter is such a firehose. I am subscribed to too many feeds and I keep adding them. Maybe it’s me. I’m trying to keep up with Twitter feeds from, like 100 people. Maybe it’s impossible.

    Also Later This Morning…. I really want to add thanks to Pteryxx and Tony! to those for rq for all of the work all of you have put into the Ferguson threads. But I have, like, 120 open tabs and probably twice that in saved tabs. This was easier when I was on medical leave!

    Re: Ferguson and the reinforcement of privilege. I was watching our local Philly protests unfold on the news and thinking that “wow, the police are doing a great job of keeping the protestors safe and not arresting them. I’m glad Philly police aren’t like Ferguson police.” And then I saw a study about how white—but not black—attitudes towards their local law enforcement have actually improved since Ferguson. Not so much a lightbulb moment as seeing a glimmer of light off in the distance. And I figured I needed to check my privilege. I really don’t want to decide that the problems in Ferguson don’t exist in Philly based on a few high-visibility events.

    So Why Philly Can’t Breathe Either helps me understand that no, it isn’t just Ferguson. It really is everywhere.

    For a Philly WTF moment:

    But the drug war’s most basic problems run deeper than a few bad apples hatching outlandish criminal conspiracies, as University of Pennsylvania anthropologist Phillipe Bourgois learned in 2008 while researching the local drug economy. When police conducted a raid on a corner, Bourgois says that police clubbed him to the ground, kicked him in the ribs and charged him with possessing two bags of heroin. The police later apologized, and noted that Bourgois had been dressed like a poor person.

    Dressed like a poor person?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

    So. What I’m really interested in is what interventions toward justice and equality will work, and what interventions I can do. Still doing my homework on that. I’m trying now to pick out the reading material that focuses on possible solutions instead of trying to read everything.

    * ** *
    I’m loving this link from 2011 that showed up on Twitter recently: lower IQ correlates with more conservative and prejudicial beliefs. Something to throw at trolls. =P I have the original paper in PDF form if I need it.

    * ** *
    Oy I hated when self-evaluations were implemented at work. If only they would implement supervisor evaluations.

    I have a tendency to get so anxious when I get behind that I freeze and avoid even looking at whatever it is. I did this a lot in school, but my parents never had the patience or time (I’m the oldest of five) to help me get caught up. So I’m following along with your tale of your helping your sprog and just melting. Good luck!

    * ** *
    Yikes, it’s after 2 am here. ‘Nite all!

  45. says

    I feel for your son. When we did this 3D graph stuff (don’t ask how that’s called in English) in highschool, I kinda missed the beginning of it. Simply didn’t pay attention. And then my homework was wrong and that was a completely novel experience to me. Unfortunately, this didn’t lead to me sitting on my arse catching up with stuff but me paying less attention ’cause I didn’t understand it anyway. And then I didn’t even try to do my homework because I didn’t know what this was about and it really became a vicious circle over the next 4 weeks. Then I realized that I would have to write a class test and didn’t know the first thing about the topic, so I called a friend to help me with that stuff. The poor guy managed to teach me 4 weeks of classwork in one afternoon, constructing rooms out of water bottles and oranges.
    In the end I’m grateful for the experience, because it showed me how small difficulties can build up to huge problems and make students feel like a complete failure even though they’re perfectly able to do this.

    Ahhh, we were talikng about mummy issues, right?
    So, every year the kids get taken their picture in late autumn and then everybody gets a cute kiddie pic for christmas. Except for grandma, who gets hers for her birthday on the 12th. So far, so good. So yesterday was gran’s birthday dinner and she got her picture. My mother came to me, clutching the frame, tears in her eyes, asking if she could have a picture, too, putting up a performance that would have put Oliver Twist to shame.
    What a cruel bastard I am, giving everybody pictures for christmas, but making an exception for my 93 yo grandma!
    Mr later said “Well, since you’Re doing it wrong no matter what you do, you can simply stop trying”

  46. opposablethumbs says

    Tapetum, I take my hat off to you on the maths catch-up front, that is very impressive (on both your parts).

    Giliell, ugh – my sympathies, and I suspect your Mr. has got it completely right. If someone has such a well-established routine for painting you in the wrong light no matter what you do … eh, might as well put your energy and effort into more productive and happier things! But I know how that shit hurts anyway. There are things that send my stress levels through the roof in a split second; I kind of see it as my now having learned to be pre-stressed where these people/issues are concerned! Unfortunately, pre-stressed people are not like pre-stressed concrete; it doesn’t (seem to me to) make us stronger :-\

  47. blf says

    K.R., I have also been seeing a weird pseudo-delay with the comments (but only here at poopyhead’s?): When I am logged-in, no problems. When I am not logged in, I sometimes cannot see comments I can see when logged-in, or which are listed in the “Recent comments” column, even if I use the exact URL for the comment. Eventually, after an unknown and possibly variable amount of time, the problem clears up. I do not know if it clears up on a comment-by-comment basis, or all at once. What I do know is that if I logout, I cannot see some (recent-ish) comments, if I then re-login I can see the comments, but then after logging out again, I again cannot see them.

    It does not seem to be any browser- or other local-cache at my end (albeit this is not definitive). Also, whilst I didn’t notice the logged-in / not-logged-in distinction until some time after it started happening, I suspect (but obviously cannot confirm) that that defining characteristic has always been the case.

    It is possible the “clear up” event isn’t time so much as something like number of comments made since the semi-invisible comment, or the semi-invisible comment no longer appearing in the “Recent Comments” column. But that is just speculation.

    Yeah, something odd is happening, and has been happening, here at poppyhead’s (only?) for awhile now (multiple weeks).

  48. K.R. Syncanna says

    Blf – that sounds exactly like what happens on my end. Glad to know it’s not just me.

  49. blf says

    Apropos of nothing much, I once had a meltdown, rather more of a flareup, at my then-boss over graphs: She had been to some freely-goody conference / training session on group working dynamics (I don’t know how much of it was woo-woo but I am obviously rather skeptical), and so was discussing some of the ideas during a meeting. At one point she drew this X-Y graph with a typical L-ish shaped curve from lo-X/hi-Y to hi-X/lo-Y and said it represented something woo-woo–ish.

    I interrupted, and asked what the X- and Y-axis were: Desire for another beer (Y) versus pints of beer drunk (X), or what? I like to use “beer” as an analogy in my examples of missing information since it usually, it seems, gets the point home: “What is this ‘size’ measured in? Pints of beer?”

    She said it didn’t matter, the graph was true.
    Cue rant on my part…

    If my recollection is correct, she never did explain what the X- and Y-axis were. I do recall sitting fuming through the rest of the meeting thinking up amusing, or nasty, interpretations. Such as Y is the number of living neurons in my brain and X is the duration of this meeting.

  50. Nick Gotts says

    The research displays some of the key characteristics of Britain’s regular cannabis smokers, giving us an insight into who they are, what their interests are and what they do for fun.

    Aside from snacking on junk food, the data tells us that the majority of regular cannabis smokers hail from central Scotland- Tony! The Queer Shoop@50 quoting Mashable

    Unlikely the majority are in central Scotland, given that Scotland as a whole has less than 10% of the UK population. Perhaps it has the highest [sic] proportion of stoners? I can reveal that there was a strong smell of weed in the tunnel under Dunfermline station on a recent occasion.

  51. Nick Gotts says

    Must be a lot of mormon Tea Party types in the Montana legislature because they are forbidding bare shoulders for women. – Lynna OM@22

    Well someone’s got to say it: what about the constitutional right to bare arms?

  52. blf says

    The quote says “from central Scotland”, not “in central Scotland”. That nit-pick aside, it does seem a bit odd…

    The alleged survey results are presented in this impossible-to-read manner as a Ghastly slide animation, but before I gave up in frustration, there was another oddity I spotted: Supposedly they have c.£125/month extra to spend, and drive BMWs. Yeah. Sure.

    Someone is pulling someone’s somethings with lots of bells on it.

  53. blf says

    what about the constitutional right to bare arms?

    No, no, it’s rare bams. Not sure what “bam” is, but there is this fundamental right (unless yer 3/5ths of a person, female, not xian, or otherwise annoy the Kochroach brothers) to having rare ones.

  54. consciousness razor says

    Nick Gotts:

    Unlikely the majority are in central Scotland, given that Scotland as a whole has less than 10% of the UK population.

    I’m surprised you didn’t note that the conjunction of all this is even less likely:

    Aside from snacking on junk food, the data tells us that the majority of regular cannabis smokers hail from central Scotland, drink Red Bull, wear Ted Baker clothes and drive BMWs.

    Somewhat unsurprisingly, their top niche interest is “sitting around and doing as little as possible,” followed by “Amsterdam,” while they’re more interested in sex and relationships than they are politics or international news. They also like Cheech and Chong and Wikileaks.

    Their reporting is total crap, in other words. This is a massive clusterfuck of stereotypes lumped together, not a majority of anything.

  55. David Marjanović says

    Can’t stop laughing after comments 71 and 72. :-)

    Meagan Kelly

    Ha, that would be almost etymologically correct! Naaah. She’s Megyn. Meg-random-vowel-letter-here-n.

    Paul Krugman: “Mad as Hellas

  56. says

    I interrupted, and asked what the X- and Y-axis were: Desire for another beer (Y) versus pints of beer drunk (X), or what? I like to use “beer” as an analogy in my examples of missing information since it usually, it seems, gets the point home: “What is this ‘size’ measured in? Pints of beer?”

    Ask and you shall be given

    Aprospos of nothing
    I was chuckling about this tweet and showed it to Mr.
    He read it aloud and overcorrected, pronouncing “bear” like “beer” (which is really weird ’cause they’re almost identical in German), taking the whole thing to a completely new level of hilarious.

  57. David Marjanović says

    Gah, Exodus is a monumental movie straight from the 50s, just with big explosions and even bigger CGI instead of big scenery.

  58. says

    Well, the Senate passed the $1.1 trillion funding bill that the House had passed earlier.

    Ted Cruz failed to shut down the government, but Republicans did get some of their favorite, evil “riders” attached to the bill.

    Here’s a partial list.
    – Abortion: federal funding for abortion is banned again, and this includes federal dollars for abortions for federal prisoners. Healthcare plans will have to be more explicit about saying if they cover abortion services.
    – Affordable Health Care Act: no new money to implement the law. Also some hard-to-understand rules that may benefit Insurance companies, but not the insured.
    – Campaign Finance: wealthy donors can give mucho more moola to candidates (10 times as much as previously allowed)
    – Clean Water: not in farm ponds and irrigation ditches, which are now exempt from EPA regulations
    – Dodd-Frank: weakened, banks now able to gamble again with taxpayer-insured deposits
    – EPA: budget cut by $60 million
    – Guantanamo: nope, you still can’t transfer detainees to facilities in the USA
    – IRS: budget cut by $345.6 mullion
    – Joe Biden: pay freeze for Joe
    – Libya: not U.S. aid until it confirmed they are investigating the Benghazi tragedy
    – Light bulbs: Michele Bachmann wins. Less efficient incandescent bulbs may still be sold
    – Marijuana: No legalized maryjane for D.C.
    – Portraits: no government funds may be spent on official portraits of anyone in the Executive Branch
    – Pensions: cuts to pension benefits of current retirees
    – Potatoes: white potatoes get WIC subsidies
    – School Lunch: nutrition guidelines lowered
    – Trucking: less sleep time required for truckers
    – U.N.: nope, no funds for renovation of headquarters in NY

    The partial list above was culled and summarized from a Washington Post article by Ed O’Keefe, and other sources.

  59. says

    I see the winner of Mr. Dubai 2014 has a soul patch, and that one of the photo captions identifies a contestant as “she.” Oddities all around.

  60. says

    Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana has eliminated state library funding. He’s just one of the many Republican politicians in the USA who have seriously cut library funding. We are defunding institutions that support literacy. But those damned libraries are hotbeds of liberal socialism, dontcha know.

    Here’s an article that goes into more detail.

  61. says

    The article about libraries (link in #86) makes a point about the Ferguson library:

    he Ferguson public library after being underfunded for years as a public good recently received $350,000 in donations from the public. So it’s clear that even if the city of Ferguson municipal government doesn’t see the Ferguson public library which had only one paid staff member as a public good, this is an analysis that the public in America does not share.

  62. says

    Dick Cheney just gets worse and worse:

    Former Vice President Dick Cheney on Sunday continued to fiercely defend the harsh interrogation techniques employed by the CIA under the Bush administration after 9/11.

    On NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Cheney said he would use the questionable interrogation methods “again in a minute.”

    Host Chuck Todd asked Cheney to respond to the Senate Intelligence Committee report’s account that one detainee was “chained to the wall of a cell, doused with water, froze to death in CIA custody.”

    “And it turned out it was a case of mistaken identity,” Todd said.

    “Right,” Cheney responded. “But the problem I have was with all of the folks that we did release that end up back on the battlefield.”

    “I’m more concerned with bad guys who got out and released than I am with a few that in fact were innocent,” he continued.

    Todd pressed Cheney, asking if he was okay with the fact that about 25 percent of the detainees interrogated were actually innocent.

    “I have no problem as long as we achieve our objective. And our objective is to get the guys who did 9/11 and it is to avoid another attack against the United States,” Cheney responded.


  63. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    There are things that send my stress levels through the roof in a split second; I kind of see it as my now having learned to be pre-stressed where these people/issues are concerned! Unfortunately, pre-stressed people are not like pre-stressed concrete; it doesn’t (seem to me to) make us stronger :-\


    Also, some people clearly possess a spoon-melting aura.

  64. rq says

    Pilot-waves and probability: Have We Been Interpreting Quantum Mechanics Wrong This Whole Time?
    Very interesting.
    Also, see historical photo of many white men (and one woman).

    The idea that pilot waves might explain the peculiarities of particles dates back to the early days of quantum mechanics. The French physicist Louis de Broglie presented the earliest version of pilot-wave theory at the 1927 Solvay Conference in Brussels, a famous gathering of the founders of the field. As de Broglie explained that day to Bohr, Albert Einstein, Erwin Schrödinger, Werner Heisenberg and two dozen other celebrated physicists, pilot-wave theory made all the same predictions as the probabilistic formulation of quantum mechanics (which wouldn’t be referred to as the “Copenhagen” interpretation until the 1950s), but without the ghostliness or mysterious collapse.

    The probabilistic version, championed by Bohr, involves a single equation that represents likely and unlikely locations of particles as peaks and troughs of a wave. Bohr interpreted this probability-wave equation as a complete definition of the particle. But de Broglie urged his colleagues to use two equations: one describing a real, physical wave, and another tying the trajectory of an actual, concrete particle to the variables in that wave equation, as if the particle interacts with and is propelled by the wave rather than being defined by it.

    For example, consider the double-slit experiment. In de Broglie’s pilot-wave picture, each electron passes through just one of the two slits, but is influenced by a pilot wave that splits and travels through both slits. Like flotsam in a current, the particle is drawn to the places where the two wavefronts cooperate, and does not go where they cancel out.

    De Broglie could not predict the exact place where an individual particle would end up — just like Bohr’s version of events, pilot-wave theory predicts only the statistical distribution of outcomes, or the bright and dark stripes — but the two men interpreted this shortcoming differently. Bohr claimed that particles don’t have definite trajectories; de Broglie argued that they do, but that we can’t measure each particle’s initial position well enough to deduce its exact path.

    In principle, however, the pilot-wave theory is deterministic: The future evolves dynamically from the past, so that, if the exact state of all the particles in the universe were known at a given instant, their states at all future times could be calculated.

    At the Solvay conference, Einstein objected to a probabilistic universe, quipping, “God does not play dice,” but he seemed ambivalent about de Broglie’s alternative. Bohr told Einstein to “stop telling God what to do,” and (for reasons that remain in dispute) he won the day. By 1932, when the Hungarian-American mathematician John von Neumann claimed to have proven that the probabilistic wave equation in quantum mechanics could have no “hidden variables” (that is, missing components, such as de Broglie’s particle with its well-defined trajectory), pilot-wave theory was so poorly regarded that most physicists believed von Neumann’s proof without even reading a translation.

    More at the article about the potential comeback of the theory (or at least, further development until more rejection). Very interesting stuff! Esp. for fluid dynamicists.

  65. rq says

    Also, some people clearly possess a spoon-melting aura.

    Colloquially known as the ‘energy vampire’.

  66. Rob Grigjanis says

    rq @90: From the article;

    More than 30 years would pass before von Neumann’s proof was shown to be false

    Another woman gets ignored. Grete Hermann found flaws in the proof three years later, but her work was ignored. John Bell (of Bell’s theorem fame) rediscovered the result in 1966, but Hermann’s work wasn’t noticed until 1974.

  67. says

    Moments of Mormon Madness, censoring the internet category.
    Ground-breaking patent-pending Web Filter from LDS Router Inc.
    Oh, holy fuck. That’s one scary YouTube video. The banality of evil.

    At LDS Router we have a driving passion to create tools to protect families from harmful Internet content. To achieve that, we offer products based on the most advanced filtering technology on the market today. Along with LDS-specific filters our automated servers identify and block over 10 million pornography related Websites and counting.

    LDS Router blocks pornography, anti-Mormon sites and Mormon hate speech sites. The term anti-Mormon is used to describe a person or group that actively opposes and seeks the destruction of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

    We should get one of these routers and see if it blocks PZ.

  68. Rob Grigjanis says

    rq @90:

    In principle, however, the pilot-wave theory is deterministic

    Poor old “in principle”, always carrying so much weight. It usually means “ignoring a whole bunch of inconvenient stuff”.

    Anyway, de Broglie–Bohm theory has been alive and kicking for a while, and I believe we even have a local champion for it.

  69. says

    My mother has superpowers. She can ruin my day and my mood with just one phone message. I mean, how could I not be home when she called to ask what her bank balance was? Never mind that I checked it for her a few days ago, I was out when she needed me today, oh woe. And of course she couldn’t possibly call the bank’s automated system to check her balance herself.


  70. carlie says

    Portraits: no government funds may be spent on official portraits of anyone in the Executive Branch

    Every time I think they can’t get any more petty, they find a way to do so.

  71. Tapetum says

    My mother’s been behaving herself reasonably well this week (actually since shortly after Thanksgiving, for which I am duly thankful). At least I haven’t had any 3am phone calls demanding that I fix her living situation for her. A living situation I will note, that she has failed to get herself out of for the last 56 years, but that I ought to be able to fix from four states away in some unspecified, but short, time frame.

    The last make-up worksheet has been finished! Sprog2 is officially caught up! He’s still a little shaky on some concepts – to be expected when you learn algebra from basic graphing through beginning polynomials in four days – but he’s chugging through problems with only minor prompting, mostly to remind him to take one step at a time, rather than trying to leap over several steps at once.

    I was a little surprised. He struggled mightily with substitution – which seemed very intuitive to me – but got the notion of elimination on the first shot, and was doing the problems entirely on his own within three examples when I was dreading another long stuggle for him to grasp the concept.

  72. says

    Tapetum @97:

    A living situation I will note, that she has failed to get herself out of for the last 56 years, but that I ought to be able to fix from four states away in some unspecified, but short, time frame.

    What is she hoping you can do for her?

    rq @81:
    I’ll see your Mr. Dubai contestants and raise you DNA’s ‘Mate of the Year’ contest. Although the men are dressed, it’s probably NSFW.

  73. Tapetum says

    Tony@98 – Ideally, I think she would love me to find some way of having Dad tossed in jail for something, and then find her an awesome divorce lawyer and hand-hold her through the divorce process.

    Failing that, she wants me to move her into the assisted living facility two blocks from my house (Cold day in hell), and somehow separate “her” assets from “Dad’s” assets, so that she can have complete control of her money again, even without a divorce. Since Dad won’t give her one without a competency hearing, which she would be very unlikely to win.

    The probable ultimate compromise will be her moving into an assisted living facility about 10 miles or so from here, which, since she can’t drive, will mean I at least have some control over when I see her. I still have some forlorn hope of talking her into moving into a place near her brother, so the two of them can spin their fantasies at each other, instead of at me. At the least, I’d like her to not move up here until the husbeast is done with his current round of experimental immunotherapy (June). ASD kid, husband with cancer, mother with dementia is a little much all at once.

  74. consciousness razor says

    Anyway, de Broglie–Bohm theory has been alive and kicking for a while, and I believe we even have a local champion for it.

    *looks around*

    I’ve been a Bohmian for a long time, but I’m no champ. It’d be nice if it is actually becoming more popular.

    Also, I must insist that, although I am local, the evolution of the positions of my particles is demonstrably nonlocal. ;)

  75. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    What is she hoping you can do for her?

    If it’s anything like the 3 AM demands-to-fix-situation I used to endure, the demander not only has not thought that far ahead but is a little bit puzzled by the suggestion that they might have.

  76. consciousness razor says

    Sure, Rob. Well, maybe “Would Bohr have been borne…” is a correction to your correction. I don’t know. But come on, he’s from Croatia. Give him a break.

    Besides, this is quantum physics we’re talking about after all: your classical, archaic notions of English are not applicable here.

  77. says

    Apparently there is a hostage taking in a Syndey cafe. Here’s hoping for a peaceful resolution. I also hope that all of our Australian Horde members are safe; I don’t recall anyone who’s stated they’re in that area, but my memory for that sort of thing is notoriously bad. (Coincidentally, my aunt actually is in that area right now, but she’s safe and well).

    K.R., blf
    I have confirmed that my delay has the same behaviour; when I log in, I can see the posts that have been emailed, but that I can’t see otherwise.

  78. rq says

    Define ‘local’ on the internet. :P

    Yay for Sprog2, on getting hte concepts! Here’s hoping it all sticks with him and that further catch-up sessions of this magnitude are not necessary.
    Re: the parental / family situation, well, I can only wish you the best of luck. :(

  79. says

    Good morning
    I really need a break.
    So the little one is sick, which meant lots of cuddling but hopefully no contamination of yours truely. It also meant little sleep.
    I dropped her off at my MIL, went to the doctor to have some bloodworks done, then drove to college because I thought I had a report due in hours. Well, checking matters here I noticed that no, there’s no reading report due this week, something I could have found out at home but was too busy to do…
    But, since I’m here anyway I finally corrected the sign one of the lecturers has over his desk (yes, in the library. No, at our university not all lecturers get an office. That would cost money). I put a post-it with “Chelsea” over his “I am Bradley Manning” sign. I’m interested in seeing if it will remain there…

    Yay for Sprog, nah for mother. By now I’ve come to the conclusion that my parents deserve each other and that I deserve neither of them…

  80. rq says

    We may be doubling our population of cats soon. A bit hesitant because I’m not sure how OriginalCat will feel about it.

  81. FossilFishy (NOBODY, and proud of it!) says


    So very threadrupt…

    I’ve been trying to remember any Sydneysider Hoard members, and all I can think of is Rorschach, maybe? They must be out there, it seems at times that most of Australia lives in Sydney.

    Anyway, everyone I know is okay as far as I can tell.

    In closer to home worries, we’re experiencing waves of thunderstorms at the moment. There’ve been three bushfires started, and fortunately also doused, within 10 kms of us in the last few hours. It’s all a bit nerve wracking. The next band looks set to give us a good soaking so hopefully I’ll be able to get some sleep tonight. I used to so enjoy thunderstorms….

  82. rq says

    Good luck, and maybe build an ark? I heard it worked out well for this one guy a few thousand years ago. :P Oh, that kind of lightning-thunderstorm. Eek! Stay safe, hope the rain pours down!

  83. FossilFishy (NOBODY, and proud of it!) says

    Thanks rq, it was a bit of a bust rain-wise, the problem is that the cells keep grazing us? Two more fires started in that last wave, but they’re 40ish K away so no immediate worries.

    It’s been a wet early summer, but not that wet,…mind you, I’ve always wanted to try my hand at boat building, gopher wood, that’s a type of eucalypt isn’t it?

    How are things in your land of ice and snow?

  84. FossilFishy (NOBODY, and proud of it!) says

    Thanks Giliell. I just checked outside and the grass is finally damp down to the roots, I guess that last shower had more in it than I thought.

    I hope you get the break you need soon. Hugs if you want them.

  85. FossilFishy (NOBODY, and proud of it!) says

    Oi, the anticipation is killing me Giliell….

    We now have a piano. It was given to us by folks moving away. It’s old, creaky, out of tune, has no low A# (the hammer broke off) and is generally a bit shabby, but hey, it’s a free piano.

    Ms. Fishy and the Small Fry have taken to laying in wait for me. They sit at the piano, stifling giggles, and wait for me to walk through the door. At which point they hammer as many keys as they can reach: FFF. I jump every fricking time and they laugh every fricken time. Aussies, they’re a cruel people. :)

  86. Tapetum says

    Thanks, Azkyroth, rq, and Giliell. Azkyroth – I wouldn’t have thought to phrase it that way, because I’m so used to translating my mother’s vague demands, but you’re right. She’d be quite puzzled by the idea that she ought to have sorted out what she wants me to do before she demands that I do it.

    Giliell – you absolutely don’t deserve them, and if they’re anything like mine, then they probably do deserve each other. Good luck with not catching whatever the little one has!

    FossilFishy – stay safe. Also, enjoy the piano – we have a couple of them, due to the tendency of people in my family to wish to leave their pianos to “someone who can use it properly”, and me being the only person in my generation who plays. Personally, after the first one, I think they’d do more good with someone who can put them to their real intended purpose – learning how to play in the first place – but maybe I’m weird that way.

  87. birgerjohansson says

    Santa Claus deniers: why do they get so much airtime? http://www.theguardian.com/science/brain-flapping/2014/dec/12/santa-claus-father-christmas

    — — —
    “Why Germany has it so much better than the US” http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/12/why-germany-has-it-so-much-better-than-the-us/

    Excerpt: Terrence Mc Nally; “Americans don’t know how things actually work in European countries. For many people the fact that Germany is *neck and neck with China* as the number one exporting country — give or take the rise and fall of currency – must be mind blowing.
    Even progressives in America don’t look overseas for models that work. I find it almost pathological that our exceptionalism infects even those who assume they don’t believe in it.”
    (I am repeating this in capital letters:
    (And they have six weeks paid vacation)

  88. FossilFishy (NOBODY, and proud of it!) says

    Thanks Tapetum. Another band of rain is passing over just now and this one is lacking any Zeus action. Excitement is done for the night it seems. All I have to do now is find my hat, check that the intake on our water tank hasn’t clogged and go to bed.

    I’m not much of a piano player, guitarist by education and temperament, but noodling around on one is one of my favourite things to do. I love how obvious harmonic structure is on a piano. I can spend hours playing with voicings, inversions, and additions just hear how they sound.

    My seven year old daughter has also expressed an interest in taking lessons, so we’re going to have to get the thing tuned. Here’s hoping it’s stable enough for that.

    Night all.

  89. rq says

    Yay for the piano!! Ours is a Soviet make that has only 85 keys, because they cut corners where they could. And has a low survivability rate – although ours is the brown variety, which can be salvaged (says the tuner), whereas the black varieties are perfectly hopeless.
    I’m of the opinion is one of the better instruments for children to noodle around on (as you so nicely put it), as there’s no frets to learn, chords to tangle fingers – just notes and notes and notes. Good luck with the tuning!
    This land of ice and snow is suspiciously bare of ice and snow so far… we had a winter windstorm, which brought down some trees and a warm front in, so I have to say winter’s been disappointing so far.
    Better than than freezing our bums off, I suppose…
    The Husband’s granny died last week, so that’s been on our plates, too, but things should settle into something resembling normal by January.
    I think. :P

    Good night to you!

  90. opposablethumbs says

    Also yay for the piano, FossilFishy! And please stay safe (ridiculous thing to say, but you know what I mean. I hope you and yours stay safe)

    And Huge Commiserations to all those of us who have (some) horrendous, demanding, soul-destroying relatives; may they stay far away from us as much as possible …

  91. Portia (aka Smokey the Advocate) says


    Ugh…mom issues. I’m sorry you’ve got to deal with that. Sounds like your boundaries are in working order, though.

    Hi hi hi! Glad you and yours are ok.

    For once, I went to work on Sunday afternoon. I usually avoid the hour round trip drive when I can, but boy getting my desk organized a bit before the week started …that felt good. I might do it more often. The boss can see when I mark down billable hours on Sundays, too, so that’s a bonus.

    I’m not sure i’ve bragged about it yet, but I learned to knit socks. I was very intimidated, and SO has been asking for …years…for a knit sock. So…if I can manage to secretly knit the rest of the pair before Christmas, he’s gonna be so happy.

  92. rq says

    Haha Portia well if he’s been asking for a knit sock, I say knit him just the one. :D He can use it as a stocking for christmas.

  93. Portia (aka Smokey the Advocate) says


    haha Well, in fairness, he always uses the plural. However, if I only get the one done in time, you’ve given me a great idea :D

  94. Tapetum says

    Portia Congratulations! The first sock is such an accomplishment! Be warned, the little suckers are addictive. I have a pair for the husbeast on the needles now. I’d like to complete them before Christmas, but this is being complicated by the fact that I haven’t quite spun enough yarn yet, so I need to go back and spin about another hundred yards before I can finish. Also by minor diversions in algebra.

  95. says

    If you read Krugman, Germany’s trade balance – particularly within Europe – isn’t anything to celebrate, especially with the morality preaching Merkel’s underlings are doing about it. In short, Germany’s leaders are saying, in effect, that all the rest of Europe has to do to fix their economy is for everyone to do what Germany does: run huge trade surpluses. If everyone did that, the German ‘Very Serious People’ assure us, then they’d all be as well off as Germany.

    Laundry and packing this morning, flying from Buffalo to Baltimore for Cthulhumas With My Fambly this afternoon. Yes, I am once again going into the home of the Unblinking Sauron. I’m hoping to get to take part in some protests while I’m in Maryland. Then we’ll be driving home after the Day of Overeating, the Evening of Groaning, Digesting,* and Sleeping it Off, and the Day of Lazing Around Moaning About Getting Back to Work Tomorrow.

    Anyone on the path between Baltimore and Rochester, or Rochester to Hamilton after that, who’d like to indulge in a hot bevvy as we pass, please get in contact. :)

    * Take that, Scalzi! Oxford Comma Forever!

  96. Portia (aka Smokey the Advocate) says

    I’m already hooked! I bought some washable wool with plans to warm the toes of all those in my life who will properly appreciate the effort :D

    Spinning your own yarn, that is so cool. It’s something I would love to try someday (one of those “someday” hobbies, y’know). I’m very impressed.

  97. says

    Tapetum, huzzah you and your offspring! Also, wow, you spin and knit? I am very impressed indeed – spinning is one of those things I’d like to learn in the far off distant Someday.

    In re: Aged Parental Units – I fear I may have achieved full “don’t care, somebody else fix it” with mine. Or maybe I just wish it were so… I do care, I just can’t take any more excitement on that front.

    Hugs for all in need/want of same. Cuppa hot tea anyone? It’s Yorkshire Gold this morning.

  98. Portia (aka Smokey the Advocate) says

    Sounds like you’re happy, that makes me happy. I hope you have a great time on your trip :D

  99. Portia (aka Smokey the Advocate) says

    (Did I mention I went with bulky yarn to knit my first sock, so that I wouldn’t get discouraged by too fine a yarn and too slow of progress? This is a delightfully thick sock. :D)

  100. carlie says

    Ours is a Soviet make that has only 85 keys, because they cut corners where they could.

    Somehow that’s the funniest thing I’ve read in weeks.

  101. chimera says

    I’m very sick today. Waiting for doctor to come. In the meantime, tweeting for journalist whistleblower Barrett Brown whose sentencing is tomorrow. The media won’t cover stuff until it hits X million tweets, media wasteland.

    2 years ago a journalist REALLY upset a bunch of acronyms:FBI,DOJ,CIA,USA.The acronyms got SO mad they vanished him!Bring him back?#FreeBB

    You can join the twitter blitz if you are so inclined.

  102. Esteleth is Groot says

    Please check your email.

    *kermit arms*
    Good news, everybody!

    In the past 48 hours, I have consumed:
    (1) 500 mL ginger ale
    (2) 2 Jell-O cups
    (3) 1 bagel
    (4) 3 tablets of Zofran.

    I have viral gastroenteritis! *kermit arms*

    The kermit arms are because my antecubitals are bruised from the IV rehydration.

  103. Yellow Thursday says

    ‘Rupt Rant: My STBEH (soon-to-be ex-husband – it’s all over but the paperwork) has been harassing me about not being able to pay the mortgage on the house we jointly own (and which I’m trying to sell before it’s foreclosed). He’s been refusing to pay the mortgage because he doesn’t live in the house, even though he has more than twice as much income as I do. He told me in email that I should prioritize the mortgage over heat, food, gas, phone, and internet. So basically, he wants me to freeze, starve, not be able to get to work, and be cut off from the outside world, just so that the house won’t be foreclosed on (which will affect his credit just as much as mine). And that’s what it would take – the mortgage payment is 2/3 of my monthly take-home pay.

    I try to ignore his emails, but he knows exactly what buttons to push.

  104. rq says

    Yellow Thursday
    I’m pretty sure if you ignore your job, you won’t be able to pay that mortgage anyway. His logic is broken. I have this awesome curse. Can I use it on him?

  105. rq says

    OH and chimera Feel better soon!!! *hot tea with lemon and ginger*
    You too, Esteleth, have some of that tea, too (BTW I emailed you).

    Have a safe trip!! And *hugs*! And good luck with the plans, and *high five* for the Oxford comma.

  106. blf says

    Ours is a Soviet make that has only 85 keys, because they cut corners where they could.

    I read that the first time, and the second time, as “Ours is a Soviet nuke…” — and was so puzzled I did a search for “soviet piano nuke”. There was, apparently, a USAlienstani sub-critical test named “Piano” in 2003(!), but it quickly became rather clear I didn’t understand what the feck you were going on about…

    Then I read it the third time. Lightbulb moment!

  107. rq says

    Yes, I happen to keep several Soviet nukes (in the shape of a piano, of course) in the shed that also serves as a hiding place for the zombies. They have 85 keys to complicate ignition and to basically eliminate any chance of reversing the countdown. Boy, am I ever in trouble if the police search my property!

  108. blf says

    Are the individual nukes piano-shaped, or is it the collection (pile, atomic) as a whole which is piano shaped?
    And are we taking grand piano shaped, or upright piano shaped, or digital piano shaped, or one of the other wacky (and sometimes strange) shapes a bit of Generalissimo Google™ finds?
    Or is it just another TARDIS with a very confused Chameleon Circuit?

    (Actually, if I recall correctly, in one of the Jon Pertwee stories, the TARDIS did disguise itself as something like an upright piano. In a junkyard. So you might be lucky…)

  109. rq says

    It’s a giant piano-shaped nuke with 85 smaller piano-string-shaped nukes on the inside. And 85 keys for the combination. It’s very well-disguised, it even makes piano sounds sometimes, but I haven’t yet deciphered the code.
    Alas, no, no TARDIS.

  110. cicely says

    *hugs* for JAL, and best wishes for employment.

    Oof, K.R. Syncanna; that all sounds most-and-unnecessarily unpleasant. Best wishes with the appointment; I hope it all goes well, and if I haven’t Welcomed you In before, then Welcome In!

    CaitieCat, Nature Abhors Vacuums; I thought everybody knew that!

    Bill Nye is Made of Awesome.
    That is all.

    Tapetum, have we met? If not, Welcome In!
    In any case *hugs, or other acceptable gestures of non-intrusive support* for your problems with your mother.
    Hell would need to spontaneously come into Being, then immediately freeze solid, before I’d be willing to live within 100 miles of mine.

    Nick Gotts:

    Well someone’s got to say it: what about the constitutional right to bare arms?

    Conservatives are only die-hards on the Sacred Inviolability of the Constitution where certain issues are concerned.
    I’m also fairly sure that they are dead against Arming Bears. Shooting them, yes.
    Fish inna barrel, bears inna wood….

    Giliell, for your graph at 77, I give you the graph in this comic.
    For your family woes, I give you *hugs*.

    Anne, *hugs* and much sympathy.
    My mother has similar day-and-mood-ruining superpowers.
    Why, just last week, I deliberately and maliciously wasn’t at home to take her four calls that boiled down to, she was bored and wanted me to be bored, too; it’s just barely possible that I actually could care less about her church-related doings—but not without a special effort on my part.

    Congrats on the free piano.

    *hugs&chikkensoop* for chimera.

    *gentle pouncehug* for Esteleth.

    *hugs* and sympathies for Yellow Thursday. Sorry that your STBEH is being such an asshole.

  111. chimera says

    Thanks rq!

    Yellow Thursday – sounds like maybe you should move too. Hope the house sells quickly!

  112. says

    Leaders of radical anti-government groups and a few hundred activists converged on Olympia, Washington, this weekend for an armed protest against a successful state ballot initiative requiring background checks for nearly all gun purchases. The “I Will Not Comply Rally” was organized by Gavin Seim, an activist who had spent time at the armed standoff at the Bundy ranch in Nevada earlier this year, and drew several speakers who had also spent time with the Bundys, including “constitutional sheriff” Richard Mack and Three Percenter leader Mike Vanderboegh. (Cliven Bundy’s son Ammon was scheduled to speak as well but was a no-show.)

    Vanderboegh, who gave a notorious speech at the Bundy ranch promising “civil war on a vast scale,” was similarly unrestrained in his remarks to the Olympia rally, calling supporters of the background checks initiative “domestic enemies of the Constitution” and suggesting that “Second Amendment remedies” may be necessary to combat them if political negotiations fail.

    Promising to “win this or die trying,” Vanderboegh warned that “when democracy turns to tyranny, the armed citizenry still gets to vote! So be careful what you wish for or you may get it.”

    Right Wing Watch link.

  113. chimera says

    About Barrett Brown by Marcel Berzy

    I don’t quite remember the initial allure of Barrett Brown. Perhaps the idiosyncrasy of an ever-present cigarette constantly flicked into an ashtray- but rarely smoked. Maybe the prose like manner in which he easily converses, and the poetic embellishments of phrase that he seemingly pulls from the ether. It could be the merciless way in which he skewers his opponents, much to my amusement.

    In whatever fashion that he has pulled myself & countless others in to his world of intrigue and dark investigations, we are here to stay. The world will never look quite the same, as innocent or as straightforward as it once did. The cover has been ripped off of the phone box and we will never forget the hideous, pulsating mass of wires revealed beneath. We will never forget, but we can of course, be persuaded not to care. We need the Barrett Brown’s, the Glenn Greedwald’s, et al- of this earth to remind us of this personal invasion, and to swim closer to the maelstrom on our behalf. But we also need to help pull them back when they need us.

    I don’t want to bask in too much hyperbole or dramatics, no more than necessary anyway. The intent of this message is to highlight that in a few hours, Barrett Brown will be sentenced in court for what amounts to “routine journalism practices.” Barrett Brown copied and pasted a link (to sensitive documents that he played no part in acquiring) to forward onto his peers at Project PM. That was his crime. That is why he was originally threatened with 105 years in prison, now reduced to “8½ years maximum.”

    The official reason for such a harsh sentence is…

    Read the rest here

  114. blf says

    [I]f I recall correctly, in one of the Jon Pertwee stories, the TARDIS did disguise itself as something like an upright piano. In a junkyard.

    Rather badly off, I’m afraid. It was Colin Baker, in Attack of the Cybermen, and a small pipe organ. In a junkyard.

  115. chimera says

    We could really use some help on Twitter getting the word out about Barrett Brown’s sentencing tomorrow. In particular, it’s hard to get journalists to respond. You’d think they’d be the first interested as his sentencing concerns-threatens them directly. I managed to recruit one, but he’s eminently recruitable, young, mobile, enraged, not famous yet. Glenn Greenwald has only sent out one tweet so far. Haven’t been able to get a response from Amy at Democracy Now and many others. No response from any French journalists either (bunch a deadbeat copycats).

  116. rq says

    I’m sorry, I’m at work and thus have no access to Twitter.
    I know Anonymous has been tweeting about Barret Brown for quite some time now. To little (no) general response in mainstream (and not-so-mainstream) media.
    Keep the signal alive.

  117. chimera says

    According to French news site, Médiapart, a new independent Russian media outlet has just made its home in Latvia’s capital, Riga, after having suffered last winter’s Kremlin crackdown. It’s called Meduza and will be carrying on work formerly conducted at the site lenta.ru. Check it out.

  118. rq says

    Unfortunately, I don’t speak or read Russian, but it’s good to know re: independent Russian media surviving.

  119. chimera says

    Thanks rq I really appreciate your response. You could always tweet tonight if you wanted to. Brown’s trial is Tuesday morn at 9 a.m. Texas time (I assume that’s more or less PZ-Minnesota time, something like that). So for us Europeans that will be Tuesday afternoon.

  120. rq says

    I’ll make an effort to at least re-tweet something, though honestly, the vast majority of my 20 or so (I think even less?) followers are also members of the Lounge. :P

  121. carlie says

    [I]f I recall correctly, in one of the Jon Pertwee stories, the TARDIS did disguise itself as something like an upright piano. In a junkyard.

    Rather badly off, I’m afraid. It was Colin Baker, in Attack of the Cybermen, and a small pipe organ. In a junkyard.

    No, it was Mrs. Plum, in the library, with the candlestick!

  122. Yellow Thursday says

    Thanks for the *hugs*, rq, cicely, and chimera.


    I have this awesome curse. Can I use it on him?

    Curse? Care to share the details? *grin*


    sounds like maybe you should move too. Hope the house sells quickly!

    Thanks! I hope it does, too. I’ve been kicking around moving, and right now my thought is that I’ll wait until I either sell the house or the mortgage company kicks me out due to foreclosure. I have at least 6 months before the foreclosure is complete. I’ve been keeping the mortgage company informed, which mostly consists of telling them about once a week, “Yes, the house is still on the market. No, I haven’t had any offers. No, I don’t have a phone number for STBEH [he changed it after he moved out]. Yes, I’ll let you know if anything changes.” Since I’ve been keeping them informed, they’ve been pretty good about working with me. They know I’m keeping the house clean and heated, since I’m trying to sell it.

  123. rq says

    … Though I am intrigued as to how one goes about snuffing someone with a small pipe organ. Even when small, they’re rather bulky.

  124. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    As long as we’re on the subject of mothers, mine, recently and very seriously, pointedly informed me that it is her understanding that home brewing is difficult and may require practice.

    As if it never would have occurred to me.

  125. chimera says

    rq, I know. I have no fucking followers at all. Just people who followed me so I would follow them and who followed hundreds of people at a time to obtain that. And they’re all “brands” more than they are people, I mean they act like brands. By “brand” I mean uni-dimensional, a single theme or concern, lots of flash and splash and no substance. ‘t so very weird life these days.

    Business memes have taken over everyone’s consciousness. No matter how hard I tried and argued with myself, I could never make myself into a brand.

    But my Brand-Followers never last very long once they see what i tweet at them.

  126. chimera says

    As per the tweeting, it is to get other people interested but it is also to increase number of tweets, so that media might pay attention. Just number of tweets. Numbers. So every tweet with the hashtag #FreeBB counts.

  127. rq says

    Yellow Thursday
    Short version:
    1 part gin, 3 parts tonic, slice of lime, ice optional. This I consume, then I go outside, shake my fist at the sky, and curse rather loudly until I either (a) lose my voice or (b) the neighbours start wondering.

    Long version:
    First I take a small pipe organ, and the rotten innards of a small bluebird (a chickadee will do), a string of frozen peas at or below 0 degrees Fahrenheit and the clippings from the near forehoof of three black half-Friesian horses. Most importantly, I would need a lock of the STBEH’s hair – old clippings scrounged from, say, the couch or the corners under the bed will do (this is why results may vary, as I have no access to this most vital ingredient). Then I coax the cat(s) into the room while chanting your STBEH’s name in a low, raspy voice. Then I make sure the clock is set at 3 minutes to 9 – I mean, it’s best if this is the actual time, but the magic can be convinced of the real time if I set all my clocks to curse-time – and set out at least twenty seven and a half bowls of water filled with as many floating candles as will fit (better fire safety).
    Once all doors are closed and I have drawn 7 pentagrams in a broken circle around my feet, I throw the hair into the nearest candle (collecting the ashes), feed the cat(s) the bird innards and play a slow requiem on the pipe organ. And I must always remember, whatever I do, DON’T EAT THE PEAS. Once I have completed the requiem, I may also play a lively Irish jig, for better results. Then I take the peas and the hoof-clippings to the kitchen, and boil them up together in a large pot with the ashes of your STBEH’s hair, reducing to a horribly smelling puree-like green-tinged glue while chanting various creative epithets specific to your STBEH. This mixture must then be painted on the lintels of all the doors in your house (preferably his new place, but alas, information seems to be lacking), as a ward against his further presence (I see a few issues with this step as well). As the smell of the pea-and-hoof-and-ash mixture lingers in your kitchen over the next few days and potential buyers are turned away by the odd aura of magic they feel in the air, curse his name as often as needed.

    I know, it’s all rather complicated and convoluted, and I can’t guarantee results, but this curse can be YOURS for a mere $599.99 (CAD, please) – incl. shipping and handling of all ingredients; does not incl. airfare for my personal presence on location, without which results may vary.

  128. says

    Hugs to Yellow Thursday
    I hope the house sells quickly and the paperwork gets done even more quickly.

    Yay for socks. I can’t knit to safe planet earth.

    Mr’s christmas gift isn’t done yet. Because once again I had ideas. Why must I always have them?
    But it’s coming along nicely (after my machine gave me a heart attack by suffering one of its rare cases of dementia. That’s when, somewhere in the middle of a design it forgets where it is and moves everything around…). Really worth the extra time I invested. It’s going to be a blue hoodie (store bought) with an owl design and some additional feathers.

  129. chimera says

    Well rq sounds like you should market your services to retirees in Florida. You could sell youth potions.

  130. rq says

    I actually have a couple of brands following me, but actual-people-wise (I follow NASA, the ESA, NatGeo, things like that), yeah… But then, I’m not on Twitter to make a loud splash for myself, it’s mostly to acquire information, and so far, I can’t complain.
    It is a weird world, though. I kinda like it.

  131. rq says

    (I can’t knit either. Tried learning three or four times, but obviously just didn’t apply myself well enough. :P Oh well!)

  132. Tapetum says

    cicely Thanks for the welcome. Hugs are always welcome. Particularly with regard to my parents.

    Yeah – it’s worth noting that I live 900 miles away from my parents, and I am the nearest child to them by a large margin. One of my brothers went so far as to move to another continent – and is currently very grateful for this, as the lack of the local language is the only reason he isn’t on Mom’s list of people she could move near to.

    Mom’s situation right now, is the very epitome of “family are the people where, when you HAVE to go there, they HAVE to take you in.” None of us kids are quite to the point where we’d be willing to wash our hands of them completely – we just want as little to do with them as possible. And as Mom hunts for somewhere to move to away from Dad, I seem to be the one running slowest and screaming least. Also the youngest, nearest and only girl, which is why I’m feeling a little doomed.