1. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I’ve been putting most gifts into festive bags. It’s easier than wrapping.

    Shopping on-line, and having each purchase sent to the recipient. Fun watching the tracking for the Redhead’s sister packaged headed to Oregon, with a delivery date for a package sent to Ohio, arrive in Ohio on the deliverly day, but still had a huge number of miles to go. Delivered today, probably into the hands of the niece/nephew who was at home.

  2. says

    Lynna, I was just going to suggest gift bags, too.

    I was really into fancy wrapping and fancy handmade bows and all that for a while because I like the crafting. But nobody stopped to admire my work before ripping things open, and it’s too hard for my mother to untie ribbons now. So I go with gift bags, or furoshiki (just a square of fabric, really) or scarves, or those nice boxes shaped like books that Michaels sells, which can be used for storage afterwards.

  3. says

    Anne, I use some fabric bags too. It always reminds me of Katherine Hepburn in “The Lion in Winter.”

    I’m going to look for plain, but sturdy paper bags for next year. I want to draw on them, stick stuff to them like a collage etc.

    I save large department store bags and reuse them too. Kind of cheap, I know, but hell, I’m poor.

  4. carlie says

    Odd thought of the day: I’ve read a lot about anachronistic icons (like a floppy disc for save), but
    just discovered the term skeuomorph, which is a fake design element that mimics something older and familiar to make people more comfortable with it. It’s similar, but with the idea that it’s deliberate anachronism, not accidental.

    And then there’s gestures – we have anachronistic gestures now, too. How do you mime to ask what time it is? Tap your wrist. But everyone keeps time with phones now. How about “roll down your car window”? All button pushes now. Even the “stop” hand signal isn’t encountered as often now that there are lights instead of traffic cops. Now I’m trying to think of others.

    Christmas spirit watch – there was about an hour yesterday when it felt like Christmastime. That was nice. Today, not so much. But tomorrow I will clean and decorate some more and maybe that will help. Also, both children are getting a single large gift each this year (like “pool all money from all avenues together to make it” gift), and Child 2 just noted this means no Christmas Eve gift opening tradition, so I’ll have to run out and get something little for each so they can have something to open.

    A friend is divesting herself of her household (there was a wedding merger and her house finally sold), and I ended up with a few really awesome and useful things. My “problem” now is that one of those things is a lovely little half-height dresser, and after we picked it up today, it got placed in the living room until we can figure out where it goes. The problem comes in because it’s in a spot where I have always thought a small foyer table would be perfect, and of course it looks perfectly at home there and I’m right and a table would be great there. Unfortunately, a) the dresser itself is kind of silly and a little too large to have there, and b) we have no tiny table to put there, and c) Spouse does not share my opinion of wonderful tableness in that location. So the problem is that I am now TOTALLY convinced that I am right but have nothing I can do about it. ;)

    Hugs to everyone – I wish we could all huddle down in the Horde Commune Bunker until the holidays are over.

  5. says

    Lynna, these days using embellished store bags is called upcycling, and it’s all the rage. You’re just ahead of the curve.

    Cool. I was cool and didn’t know it.

  6. Scr... Archivist says

    Wait. What happened to the previous version of Lounge #485? Did Sisyphus stumble? Shouldn’t this be #486?

    Yes, seriously, we lost about eight days of messages, including a conversation I was having. I want to know if I passed my quiz….

  7. says

    Scr… Archivist
    It’s one of the quirks of the new FTB; when a thread passes 500 comments, the new page restarts the count from one. There’s a link at the bottom that says ‘older comments’ that’ll take you back there.

  8. Scr... Archivist says

    Dalillama @8,
    Thanks! I had no idea. But I followed the link and Professor RQ has not yet posted my results.

    I’m hoping for a good grade, because if I don’t pass this lounging class I’ll have to take remedial loitering. And who has time for that?

  9. rq says

    Scr… Archivist
    What I don’t git about you yunguns is why you don’t think of us in alternate timezones.
    Your results have been filed along with th rest and will be examined in due course in the search for right answers. (There are right answers to each question, but alas, nobody has yet discovered quite which ones they are.)
    And a good morning from north-eastern Europa to you too.

  10. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    4 days off… I hope there’ll be someone around otherwise I’ll have to clean the house for something to do.

  11. says

    Good morning

    Abaj 47
    Good luck for the goose dinner.
    My in-laws always meet on the 25th. My FIL has 4 siblings and he and my MIL, his sister and his middle brother and wife alternately host the dinner. I like that.

    When I really shook my head was when I saw a probably 30 years old worksheet for the kids who start school next year. There were items which always had one part missing which the kids were supposed to draw in. Only that there was a phone, with a dialing wheel and they were supposed to draw in the speaker. Of course, all adults knew what was missing, but the kids have never seen anything like that…
    So today is the big day here in Germany. I prepared the basis for the soup. We cleaned. Gifts wrapped. In retrospect thekids are getting a lot of presents. Nothing really big, but somehow I bought like 6 or 7 small things for each kid. I already have my big gift, aka the armchair.
    Later we’ll put up the tree.
    Merry whatever!

  12. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    One part looks like it slides along the other…is that a blade inthe middle? If it has teeth it could be something to do with fabric. Maybe?

  13. blf says

    There’s only been one reported murder by goons. This is progress. I assume their trigger finger is sore at the end of the year.

  14. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Ooh! I don’t have access to this paper right now, but the abstract is very promising. :-)

    Very interesting abstract.

  15. blf says

    But everyone keeps time with phones now.


    How about “roll down your car window”? All button pushes now.

    Doubly wrong.

  16. carlie says

    blf – I mean the majority, and most certainly the majority of young people. When we were shopping for a used car recently, it was almost impossible to find any with roll down windows. Finally gave up on that one.

    Christmas update – I am a horrible mother who only realized this morning that Child 1 had nothing to unwrap for Christmas, either for Christmas eve or Christmas day. So I became one of those people who shop on Christmas eve. Found two little things as accessories to the Thing Which Has Been Ordered And Will Not Be Here Until Tuesday.

  17. says

    My daughter sent me a gift that won’t arrive on time. Doesn’t bother me at all. I like extending the gift-giving over the entire holiday , from December 24 to January 1 — whatever suits you.

    Doesn’t work for children, though.

  18. says

    I finished wrapping All The Gifts* and sorting all the stuff for the stockings (some of which also had to be wrapped) and the jars of cranberry cherry relish are cooling on the counter. I still have to set up a plate of cookies to take to Aged Mum’s, and there are piles of laundry to put away (mine and Husband’s, the daughters take care of their half of the house). I’m sure there are other important things I’ll remember at the last minute, as usual.

    I’m tired. Is it bedtime yet?

    *Just the ones I bought – everybody does their own, which means Husband will be stuffing things into gift bags at midnight.

  19. carlie says

    Thanks, Anne and Lynna. Child is 16, so in that in-between state. I had been operating on the “he knows it’s coming” mindset, but it just struck me today how empty that would still be otherwise. 16 is still enough of a kid to want a present. :)

    Giliell – oh no! I was thinking about trying to make some after you wrote about it. Were they at least unfilled, or was it pretty messy?

    Still haven’t started the Dayful of Cleaning that should happen today. Child 1 has had a fever and been listless and grumpy for the last couple of days (thank goodness it was on vacation and not during school). But I just swallowed and half of my throat really hurt….

  20. says

    The last couple of years, Lemony Snicket had a new book out a few weeks after the Daughters’ birthdays (they’re three days apart). Elder Daughter got my pledge to drive her to Barnes & Noble the morning the book came out so she’d have it as soon as possible. Yes, we’re a family of book nerds. :D

  21. says

    I love the moss graffiti. (link in 35)

    Just discovered that I’ve been so busy getting things ready for a holiday dinner at my brother’s house, buying and sacking gifts etc, that I did not do laundry. Okay, so there’s nothing to wear tomorrow. Better tackle the huge mound of laundry. The weather is not conducive to going naked for holiday partying.

    Merry friggin’ holidaze to my fellow Pharyngulites. See you in the blanket/pillow fort next week.

  22. says

    Hi all. Totally ‘rupt, apologies, been sick as a parrot the last four days, some flu which seems intent on making me into a grim, disgusting living fountain. Three days without any pain meds was…brutal. Literally no sleep for that time, today’s been catchup time. Back on my meds now, at least, but still struggling with the nausea and…other effects.

    Been a nice trip to be with my USan family, tho, we don’t all get in the same place very often.

    I hope you’re all doing well, and that those having holidays or family time now are enjoying it. Can’t guarantee I’ll be back on this thread before Friday. Good luck, and I’ll be back as soon as I can.

  23. carlie says

    Spouse is fastidious about his menu planning and shopping lists. However, tonight’s dinner was cheesy potatoes, for which he neglected to buy a) cheese and b) potatoes.

  24. carlie says

    Hm, I like that moss thing – I could use it in class to discuss bryophyte reproduction and metabolism. :)

  25. says

    This Lenovo laptop (G710) I bought in March doesn’t even try to live up to its rugged ThinkPad roots. A few drops of coffee and beer, and the keyboard is dead.

    Apparently a US/UK replacement keyboard is available, but I’d really like a FIN/SWE version. And that one just is not there. Lenovo’s page has shown a WE FUCKED UP; PLZ TRY AGAIN LATER error every time I’ve tried to search for the part, for more than two weeks. *grumble*

    (This whine has been grudgingly written by clicking on screen buttons with a mouse.)

  26. Ray, rude-ass yankee "I'd have gotten away with it if it wasn't for you meddling kids!" says

    So, I got home from work and decided to make a batch of cookies just for the family (last batch was for a party at my office a few days ago). Now the whole house smells like oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. Yum! Wish I could share with y’all.

  27. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    However, tonight’s dinner was cheesy potatoes, for which he neglected to buy a) cheese and b) potatoes.

    Massive *face-palm*

  28. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Squidmas eve dinner at Casa la Pelirroja, the Pelirroja, planned over pasty with beef gravy, with egg nog *hic*. Nerd, mac & cheese. Tomorrow is ham, sweet potatoes, potatoes, broccoli, and pecan pie (with or without ice cream).

  29. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    Weedless monkey:

    This came up in my search results. Uh, I can’t read it, but might any of the products there be of use?

  30. Ray, rude-ass yankee "I'd have gotten away with it if it wasn't for you meddling kids!" says

    Hi, chigau!,
    Merry Xmas to you as well.

    Mmmmm pizza.

  31. says

    Peeks at rq’s #464. Mouth waters at the thought of gingerbread. Somewhere in Florida, a shoop’s mouth salivates in the direction of Latvia.

    Giliell @472:
    How the heck did Mr kill the microwave?!

    Yellow Thursday @477:
    Sorry for the feelings of abandonment and loneliness.

    Browser text replacement
    By XKCD.
    In cicely’s honor :)

    Scr…Archivist @492:
    I see you’re a PEA person.
    Go get in line at The Spanking Parlor. Sheesh! The queue for you pea lovers grows ever larger.

    Have you ever had processed American cheese in individually-wrapped slices?

    Burger King and McDonald’s think processed American cheese in individually-wrapped slices atop a burger is good enough. What more can we expect?

    Plus dogs love ’em.

    Giliell @493:

    We do have Knecht Ruprecht, St. Nick’s helper who beats the naughty children.

    I wonder how long before Ruprecht’s hand begins to hurt from all the spankings…

    Lynna @494:

    There is no higher authority on earth.

    Did he help get the US and Cuba to relax relations?
    Has he helped criticize corporations?
    Has he called for an end to poverty?

    Until he’s done all the good deeds done by the current Super-Pope, he’s hardly an authority*.

    *This snark brought to you by someone who doesn’t think the Pope is all that.


    I’ve been putting most gifts into festive bags. It’s easier than wrapping.

    I wonder if there are Mormon rules for wrapping Xmas presents…

    ajb47 @499:
    19+ adults?
    9+ kids?

    Kitchen, family room, and bar need to be straightened and cleaned,

    That bolded word up there? With that much potential chaos in the house, here’s hoping you’ve got it fully stocked up.


    New Thread

    carlie @5:

    And then there’s gestures – we have anachronistic gestures now, too. How do you mime to ask what time it is? Tap your wrist. But everyone keeps time with phones now. How about “roll down your car window”? All button pushes now. Even the “stop” hand signal isn’t encountered as often now that there are lights instead of traffic cops. Now I’m trying to think of others.

    Wow. That’s really cool. I never thought about the everyday gestures people use as visual shortcuts. Nor how outdated some of them are. Now I’m trying to think of more too.

    (I wonder if the middle finger will ever get an update)

    Scr…Archivist @7:

    Wait. What happened to the previous version of Lounge #485? Did Sisyphus stumble? Shouldn’t this be #486?

    All iterations of the Lounge get two pages. Prior to the FtB wide upgrade earlier this year, the second page of the Lounge continued the numbering from the previous page (such that your comment @7 would have been 507). After the upgrade, the comment numbers reset for every new page (which could fool someone who tried digging into the Grenade thread, with its 4000+ comments, which is over 5 pages long).

    rq @12:

    (There are right answers to each question, but alas, nobody has yet discovered quite which ones they are.)

    Pardon me, but I came up with the correct answers a LONG time ago. I just don’t share them with anyone, bc I’m a stingy shoop.

    Beatrice @14:

    (There are right answers to each question, but alas, nobody has yet discovered quite which ones they are.)

    You too, huh?
    I wasted my entire first of four days off. I really ought to up my productivity over the next 3 days. Of course it won’t be hard to be more productive than laying in bed. All I need to do is a load of laundry or wash the dishes.

    Giliell @34:
    If you ever regain enough energy for murder, and need lessons, check out ABC’s‘How to get away with murder’. I hear it’s a killer show.

    CaitieCat @37:
    I hope the pain lessens significantly. ASAP.
    And I hope you enjoy your holiday season.

  32. says

    Aged Mum signed her rev mtg documents yesterevening and she should have funds in a few days. In other AM news, her PO is losing everybody’s mail and important bills are not getting delivered on time. I volunteered to pay any and all bills she can get mailed directly to me. I’m already paying her caregivers service bill, for just that reason, so a few more won’t be much trouble as long as our PO continues reliable.

    I’m beginning to think it’s a conspiracy to force everybody to either charge everything or put all our financial info all over the internet. Not happening in this household. The caregiving service is run by ninnies and nitwits; I don’t trust them enough to pay the bill online. They can take my checks in the mail and lump it.

    Besides, the bank wants to charge for online payments, the utility companies want to charge “convenience fees” for online payments, a check and stamp is much cheaper.

  33. says

    Speaking of ‘Bah Humbug’, one of the few Xmas movies I rather like are the ‘Scrooge’ ones. Not necessarily any specific one (although I really like the animated one with Scrooge McDuck), but the theme of the movies, which seems to be one of empathizing with those less fortunate. I get an anti-capitalistic vibe from the core theme.

  34. Scr... Archivist says

    Tony! @42

    I’d be curious to read about your experience at the ‘Brighter Than Today’ event.

    I’m still trying to finish my own notes on it. But maybe I’ll be able to write something (much briefer) in the next couple of days. Would the Lounge be a good place for it?

    In a nutshell, I think the event was a nice thing to attend even though I am not a joiner in rituals. I like the idea of setting aside time to acknowledge the struggles of people in the past and the present, and to encourage us to build a brighter future. And the winter solstice sets a great metaphor for all this. But I also have my doubts about the deeper politics of the community from which this event emerged.

    Oh, and welcome to the Lounge!

    Thank you!

    Tony! @48,

    I see you’re a PEA person.

    Try them whirled. All I am saying is to give them a chance.

    Go get in line at The Spanking Parlor. Sheesh!

    Not my scene, butt thanks anyway.

    (And genuine thanks for the technical explanation of how Lounge threads work. The comment numbers are indeed what got my attention. I thought there was an accidental deletion of the original thread.)

  35. says

    Scr…Archivist @55:

    I’m still trying to finish my own notes on it. But maybe I’ll be able to write something (much briefer) in the next couple of days. Would the Lounge be a good place for it?

    Oh, most definitely. No subject is off-limits in the Lounge. We just have to be kind to one another in our various discussions.

    Oh, and I gave peas a chance years ago. My attempt failed and I was forced to declare war on the vile green fuckers.

    Oh (part two)…butt thanks? Grooooooooooan!

  36. cicely says


    Hugs offered to all and sundry, and Bah Humbug Everybody!

    Which ones are the Bah Humbugs?

    I am competent to gift wrap cubical and rectangular solids.
    For all other shapes, there are gift bags.
    Other states of matter may require Special Containers.

    Scr… Archivist, it’s okay! Even people who approve of Horses and peas, and disapprove of Miracle Whip™, are welcome to hang out here in the [Lounge].
    We’re a pretty tolerant crowd.
    No Peas In Our Lifetime!

    *hazmat-suited low-impact pouncehug*
    I hope you are better soon, and I’m sorry you weren’t able to take your pain meds.

    “Iraqi Air Horses”???
    *hiding under bed*
    Tony!, you are a wicked, wicked Shoop.

    I wonder if there are Mormon rules for wrapping Xmas presents…

    Betcha there are.
    And I’ll betcha they involve Jello.

  37. thunk: divided opinions on cats says

    Hello all!

    There’s a christmas party downstairs, which I’m avoiding because Crowds and Lots of Talking and Drinking, and that old-time favourite, Russian Bigotry.

    Instead, I’m just sitting upstairs and playing harsh varieties of music. That’s more fun.

    Of course, I don’t even know what I want for the holidays. I can’t think of anything material I want to get. Of course, the best xmas gift for me is free– acceptance. But ya know, we can’t have that.

    Christmas is Bourgeois anyway. I’m probably just going to have to decide on something by New Years’ (so I can get it in the second round of gift giving). Or just use the julian calendar.

  38. says

    Home from work for the evening. We served up several hundred turkey dinners and have vast drifts of turkey, pie, and bread products filling up my walk-in and my freezer. My employer puts on a charity dinner every year for the homeless and/or just broke in the area, and this year we had considerable more donations than usual. A local soup kitchen will be by for the leftovers on Friday, I’m told, which will be a good thing, because I need to be able to get to things again Friday night when regular shows resume.

  39. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    Four candidates for presidency:
    1. is this an art performance or a joke? (also, some variety of libertarian, I think)
    2. current president – the only one taking this seriously and the only one anyone even remotely liberal can vote for
    3. the only woman candidate, but far from a feminist
    4. more conservative than 3, even though that’s hard to imagine

    Also, I thought we didn’t have (much of) a problem with abortion access. How wrong. It looks like whole fucking hospitals have signed conscientious objection clause (or rather, all the gynecologists at a given hospital). In Zagreb, that means one major gynecologist ward has no one to perform abortions, so the hospital signed an agreement with another hospital to be able to send all their patients who seek abortion over there.
    But now the other hospital is making waves, complaining about doing “other people’s job”. A weasel-out because they are anti-abortion or throwing women under the bus because inter-hospital arguments? Who knows. But women might soon have trouble getting abortions at the other hospital as well.

    War veterans camping in front of the Ministry of war veterans had a priest last night doing midnight mass say something like (paraphrasing).
    (He heard that in one town close to Serbian border doctors refuse to perform abortion) so “They are coming across Danube to kill our children for money. It was the same 20 years ago, when they were coming here to kill us (in the war)”


    Merry Xmas!… not so much

  40. opposablethumbs says

    Dear Horde, good morning and Merry All-Purpose Multi Winter-Type Holiday Or Something Resembling a Day Off.
    The Annual Vague Tradition of eating something a bit fancier than usual and playing games is over (late night 24th) and today is free with nothing pressing to do. Hopefully go for a walk (it’s nice and sunny and cold at the moment), maybe catch up on work a little …
    There have never been so few physical presents as this year. I’m helping each of the Spawn make a start on saving up for when their current laptops die and they need to replace them (I’d love to be able to give them each a laptop, but that’s way out of reach), plus they got one physical thing each (but which was not actually physically present).
    Here’s wishing you all good health (especially all those with either severe and/or chronic health issues and/or sick kids).
    Have yourselves a merry little squidmass
    And may all your tentacles be bright (well, may all your chromatophores dazzle in multicoloured profusion anyway)

  41. rq says

    *does some lazy cat-yoga stretches*
    I’d purr if I could, too.
    Did everything planned last night, then ate too much. Even with going to bed at 3, I woke up more rested than I think I’ve been over the past six months. The stress-less attitude is continuing today. The sprinkling of sparkly snow in the sunlight is helping.
    Greetings to all, and USB spice-cookies with walnut-and-chocolate topping. MM-mmmm good.

  42. carlie says

    There have never been so few physical presents as this year.

    Same here. A combination of both children deciding on one big present each (which of course haven’t arrived yet) and both sets of grandparents deciding they were sending money and nothing else (usually one set at least sends socks :) ) left us scrambling yesterday to find things to wrap up. Each child got one tiny trinket last night and one this morning, and then it was done. It was kind of weird.

    *hugs thunk*

    Hope everybody has an at least tolerable day today.

  43. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says


    Hope everybody has an at least tolerable day today.


  44. says

    Merry Happy Holidays Loungers!


    “What we think of as our culture’s foods — ketchup, or fish and chips — usually developed over long periods of time across many cultures,” says Dan Jurafsky.

    Jurafsky is a Stanford linguist and author of the fascinating new book, “The Language of Food.” In it, Jurafsky digs deep into the history of the words we used to describe our food — and uses it to show the winding, often surprising background of many dishes that feel utterly familiar to us. When I reached him in September to talk about it, he began by telling me about fish and chips — “the most surprising” of the stories he unearthed.

    You’ll have to click the link to learn the origins of fish and chips. The story behind ketchup really intrigued me:

    Ketchup, from the Chinese word for fish sauce

    “The word ketchup came from Chinese,” Jurafksy says. It’s a mixture of the word “tchup,” which means “sauce” in certain Chinese dialects, and “ke,” which refers to preserved fish. And there’s a reason for that. Ketchup began as fish sauce.

    “Go back thousands of years ago,” Jurafsky says. “How do you preserve food? You use salt. In Southeast Asia, people stacked fish with salt in jars. One method was you would layer fish and rice and it would ferment and get goopy, and then you’d wait a few years, scrape off the rice, and the fish would be preserved. Eventually people began doing it with fresh fish and vinegar. That’s the ancestor of sushi.

    “But people kept preserving fish and making these fish sauces. Eventually you have Chinese sailors colonizing the rest of Asia, and bringing fish sauce and soy sauce and distilling liquor. The British and the Dutch and the Portuguese sail to Southeast Asia looking to trade. But beer and wine go bad on those trips. So distillation really takes off. They begin buying thousands of barrels of liquor from the Chinese, and they buy a few barrels of preserved fish sauce on the side. Back home, it becomes this sauce. But it’s expensive. So people begin creating knockoffs. They do it out of mushrooms, out of walnuts, and then tomatoes arrive from the New World. Eventually, the fish die out of the sauce. So this is really the beginning of ketchup as we know it.”

    Meditate on that for a second: ketchup is the cousin of sushi.

  45. says

    The US’s descent into Orwellian madness continues:

    In just a few days, the Army will launch the first of two massive blimps over Maryland, the last gasp of an 18-year-long $2.8-billion Army project intended to use giant airships to defend against cruise missiles.

    And while the blimps may never stave off a barrage of enemy missiles, their ability to spot and track cars, trucks and boats hundreds of miles away is raising serious privacy concerns.

    The project is called JLENS – or “Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor System.” And you couldn’t come up with a better metaphor for wildly inflated defense contracts, a ponderous Pentagon bureaucracy, and the U.S. surveillance leviathan all in one.

    Built by the Raytheon Company, the JLENS blimps operate as a pair. One provides omnipresent high-resolution 360-degree radar coverage up to 340 miles in any direction; the other can focus on specific threats and provide targeting information.

    Technically considered aerostats, since they are tethered to mooring stations, these lighter-than-air vehicles will hover at a height of 10,000 feet just off Interstate 95, about 45 miles northeast of Washington, D.C., and about 20 miles from Baltimore. That means they can watch what’s happening from North Carolina to Boston, or an area the size of Texas.

    At one point, there were supposed to be nearly three dozen blimps. But after a series of operational failures and massive cost overruns, the program was dramatically scaled back to the two existing prototypes that the Army plans to keep flying continuously above the Aberdeen Proving Ground for three years, except for maintenance and foul weather.

    As soon the blimps are up, if you’re driving on the interstate north of Baltimore, you won’t be able to miss them. They are 80 yards long and their total volume is somewhere around 600,000 cubic feet. That’s about the size of three Goodyear blimps. Or over 3,500 white elephants

    “There’s something inherently suspect for the public to look up in the sky and see this surveillance device hanging there,” says Ginger McCall, associate director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), an advocacy group. “It’s the definition of persistent surveillance.”

  46. says

    “Ketchup is the cousin of sushi.”

    Makes sense, can’t abide either. :)

    In honour of Cthulhumas, I am slowly dragging my corpus ashore, hoping to encounter humanity (a tasty snack, soft on the outside with a delightful crunch in the centre!). Or become human again, something like that.

    Hope you’re well. I’m self-quarantining, with several old people coming by later (the 80+ set).

    Happy Cthulhumas! And remember to enjoy humanity – it’s the reason for the seizin’! :)

    ETA: went down to open prezzies. Ten minutes vertical, and I’m so tired I tried to convince everyone to let the Sherpas set up camp for the night on the landing, and face the second set of six stairs in the morning. Go poke your nearest religious and ask them to pray me strength. It won’t help, but being asked makes the little dears so happy.

  47. Nick Gotts says

    Season’s Greetings to you and your families, friends, companion animals, etc., PZ and Horde!

  48. Morgan!? the Slithy Tove says

    Happy festivities, dear Horde. I’m spending time with my honorary grand baby who is now 9 months old.

  49. rq says

    Tomorrow heading out to Land of No Internet, but I’m not stressed this time. I think this stressless attitude is turning into more ‘I don’t care’ than I can afford, but meh… I don’t care.
    This afternoon was nice, spent at my godfather’s house with as much my side of the family as is present in-country at the moment. Beat up my cousin in the snow (FACEWASH!!!), then knocked over the christmas tree, but it’s all in good fun (it was for a photoshoot, haha). :P The potatoes were delicious.
    Here’s more hugs, wrapped in chocolatey walnutty spice-cookie goodness.

  50. carlie says

    *sigh* I never research things enough. I always think I do, and it’s never enough. Child 1 has desperately wanted a bow for years. Finally said ok. Had looked up everything about the amount of space he’d need to safely shoot except… how much room on the sides. For some reason I was fixated on the length of space, not the amount needed to the sides in case of errant arrows. And even though it’s a light draw bow, it shoots further than I thought. This means that even though we have a big backyard with woods as far as the eye can see across the back, it’s not big enough in every direction. Which means that if he wants to keep and use it, we’ll have to exclusively use a shooting range, the nearest of which are a half-hour away, and all of the ones in driving distance are hunting-oriented rather than Olympic-style target. Not that this is the worst thing in the world, but it means that he has to decide whether to keep it and do weekends only at a range, or just return it due to the hassle. Poor kid. :(

  51. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Finally got the sideboards to my desk cut. I had to do the cuts outdoors, and we have had wet weather, or the Redhead’s changing schedule interfered. Now on to the ham and sweet/Idaho potatoes for dinner tonight. Don’t overeat too much all.

  52. rq says

    Merry Christmas.

    I hope you reach a decision that is mutually pleasing, but I hope the attraction is enough to keep the weekends-only option, if only to keep up the habit/hobby. Because shooting bows is awesome.

  53. cicely says

    Merry/Happy All-The-Holidays, everyone!

    *hugs* for thunk.

    rq could I tempt you to some *butter toffee peanuts*, in exchange for some of your *spice-cookies with walnut-and-chocolate topping*?

    May your day be more than merely tolerable, carlie>
    If you have a local SCA group, they may have useful suggestions as to where a bow can legally be shot in your area, cheap or for free.

  54. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    Fuck I hate pie. :(

    I actually enjoy eating pie (well, many varieties: I’m not that into fruit pies, in particular, or savory pies. Or pies that have less than a 3:1 filling to conventional pie dough ratio). And I would enjoy making it, since the fillings are mostly easy and I have a nice easy crust recipe variant which uses melted butter, flour, and cold water and then is chilled for an extended period before rolling out, which produces crust which has identical physical properties to well-regarded restaurant/bakery/relative-made crusts and tastes better due to being made mainly from butter rather than hydrogenated palm oil. And all would be well, except that my immediate family, meals shared with whom it is apparently my Tartarian sentence to do nearly all of my not-just-for-myself cooking for, since thus far I’ve been unable to find much of anyone who’s interested in having me cook for them (most of my compatriots, unfortunately, are either pretty much stuck on the “burgers and barbecue” level or incapable of recognizing food which does not contain flesh as a main course), maintain a delusional belief that crust made by torturously working feather-thin slices of ice-cold butter and/or shortening (which I use for nothing else ever) into flour over half an hour or so is in some way intrinsically superior to crust made any less masochistically (the go-to explanation is something something “flaky” but see “identical physical properties” above), and whine like mules if I let slip that I used a technique that at no point in the baking process caused me to contemplate throwing the whole mess on the floor and stomping off, thus ruining the whole fucking thing.

    As a result of that particular bit of spoiled asshattery and their ultra-belated (yesterday late-afternoon) transmission to me of the actual recipe for A) the pie they requested for today as of a month ago and B) their preferred style of crust, they’re getting butter-based crust that wasn’t even chilled (and OH HEY ROLLED OUT JUUUUUUST FINE) and they’re bloody well eating it.

    Merry dead-Jew-on-a-stick-to-be Day.

  55. says

    Pretty nice day at Aged Mum’s, except – her memory is worse than I thought. A lot worse. As in, she asked first Elder Daughter, then me, to find her box of special valuable earrings. I knew exactly where the box should be, since I’m the one who put it there. So I got it out she said yes, that’s it. We decided to put it on her dresser instead of back in the hiding place with the other good jewelry. I went to tell Caregiver E where the good jewelry is, for future reference. Caregiver E told me that she and AM had the box out last night; in fact, AM had chosen the earrings and necklace she was currently wearing from those very boxes.

    So my mother’s short-term memory is completely shot. I feel sick. I guess it’s just as well I’ll be taking over paying as many of her bills as we can persuade the utilities to send my way.

    Aside from that, it was a pretty nice day.

  56. chigau (違う) says

    *enthusiastic applause*
    That was the best piecrust based rant I’ve ever read.

  57. cicely says

    I’ve always wondered how that whole “working feather-thin slices of ice-cold butter and/or shortening” thing works.
    Of course, my pie crusts are made entirely out of Suck…and—as the old commercial goes—you can really taste the difference!
    The Husband, on the other flour-covered hand, is an excellent baker.
    I say, if your asshat relatives don’t want to eat your pie crust, then let them eat cake…and let them bake it themselves.

    *hugs* and sympathies for Anne.

  58. carlie says

    Azkyroth – I do make pie crusts with the tiny flaky hand-mushed bits, and it turns out awesome if I do say so myself, but… I don’t like pie crust! I’ll take a graham cracker crust over a traditional crust any day. I even prefer slightly puffed tart crusts. Pie crusts can go fly a kite. So if it tastes the same, who cares how it is made?

    Child 1 has had a fever for 3 days, and it is now up to 102. He couldn’t even eat Christmas dinner. :( I’d rather him be sick now than during school, though.

    Thank you for the nice thoughts. You all make me happy. :)

  59. says

    I tend to use this day just because all my kids’ friends know it as the day for the celebration. Perhaps when my kids are older, I’ll try to move it to the actual Winter Solstice, or maybe I’ll just go all week-long Saturnalia. Anyway…

    Happy Axial Tilt-Newton-Winter Solstice-Saturnalia-mas to all. You know who you are.

    Final count, Tony, is 21 adults and 11 children, though some of those I once called children are probably moving out of that designation. The division is mostly so I know how much hotdogs and macaroni and cheese to provide for those not eating the goose and many sides.

    The bar is quite well-stocked, with more stuff than will ever be drinkened (drank? drunk?). We never get to the after dinner drinks, so I have a few Godiva liqueurs and such that will probably never get consumed. Bourbon, vodka, gin and rum are plentiful and renewed, however. Goose dinner mostly requires champagne, beer and just a touch of cocktails, then wine with the meal.

    Anne I have some hugs if you would like them.

    Going back, though, Freberg is a friggin’ genius. St. George and the Dragonet. Little Blue Riding Hood. Banana Boat. Great Pretender. Yellow Rose of Texas. My dad had the 45 with The Lone Psychiatrist and The Honeyearthers on it and that was my introduction. I now have Tip of the Freberg collection of his stuff.

  60. says

    Also, if anyone is wondering, Chateau Neuf du Pape is supposed to be the main wine for goose, though Pinot Noir and other burgundies are very good with roasted poultry.

  61. cicely says

    carlie, I hope your ailing offspring recovers soon.
    What I like, piecrust-wise, is the ready-to-use shortbread crusts, usually found hanging on the racks next to the graham cracker crusts. Particularly awesome for chocolate pie!

  62. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    So, I’m now eating a piece of the pie I reserved at home, which I’m assuming is the one that had the crust that didn’t have quite all of the butter, due to the amount (~1tbsp) of frozen butter that got stuck in the fucking Slicer-Shredder attachment for the fucking Kitchenaid mixer, which apparently works on (medium to hard) cheese and nothing else (the current winner: it pulped the celery I was trying to slice, and wrapped the central fibers around the slicer cone), on account of the fact that the pie crust shield stuck to the crust on this one, and this crust would in fact be perfect if there was slightly more butter. Apparently baking it at a lower temperature (315F instead of 350F) to compensate for glass pan weirdness helps. O.o (Actually, that makes perfect sense: glass has a higher specific heat than metal and is frickin’ *opaque* to infrared radiation, whereas metal reflects a moderate amount of it).

    With a glass of Kirkland Signature 10 Year Tawny Porto, it’s good enough to nearly let me forget that everything else got fucked up with dinner.

    Specifically, A) the soup (which my relatives determined I should make, to go alongside enchiladas for a main dish (!) instead of the macaroni and cheese I wanted to make, and then “suggested” I make curried squash-based soup instead of the beer-and-cheese soup I would have wanted to make if it had to be soup) Did Not Come Out Well due to my blender being a POS and me being distracted with the pie, and then B) while I was over here, my idiot relatives decided to open the two 22oz bottles, which I had thoughtfully brought over earlier and left in their refrigerator to chill, of special limited edition beer I had told them was intended to accompany dinner, which was not to my knowledge still available anywhere at this date, and which I’d been looking forward to an occasion to enjoy some more of (having had a bit on tap on the day of purchase) since last January, because they felt that “they had to offer something to” my brother’s mother-in-law (who, establishing character moment, holds a grudge against my now-ten-year-old daughter for a thoughtless comment made at the age of three) and her boyfriend, who were invited over for dinner to please my brother’s wife, who apparently barely noticed the favor.

    In spite of my having provided two other 22oz bottles of beer that weren’t intended to be a pairing to either the meal or dessert, AND the aforementioned port, AND a limited edition bottle of whiskey I’d hoped to have a slug or two of with my brother later in the evening and which I’d have had some level of territorial impulse about the opening of, but which they would have been comparatively WELCOME to get into since there’s no way they could finish it, AND my brother and his wife having brought wine.

    And they drank it all, apparently deciding that it wouldn’t be worth saving any for me since it would be flat by the time I got there. I could have dealt with that, frankly…

    And were pretty much “yes, yes, we’re sorry, now can you come in so we can serve dinner?!” about it. And didn’t even ask after me when I decided making a meal out of the disappointing soup wasn’t viable and made a quick trip home (thankfully, it’s a 5 minute drive) to make a couple of bagels. When I got back, the inlaws had already left, my brother and his wife left shortly after, and no one actually ate any of the damn pie I brought.

    Total Wine may possibly still have a bottle for sale somewhere, but their website only lets you search at one store at a time, so tomorrow I’m going in and making them use their computers to search all the stores. And calling Great Basin, just in case.

    ….is it really necessary for every single thing I ever look forward to to get anywhere-from-tarnished-to-demolished somehow?

  63. chigau (違う) says

    I’m not joking.
    For the next Family Event, have you considered spending a couple of days in a hotel?
    Without telling any of Them where you are.

  64. rq says

    Wow. At least it’s over now. :( *hugs*
    Also, I’d love that crust recipe, since I currently use one with oil that I don’t like at all, even though it tastes decent.

  65. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    Today in stupid questions:
    Can I use that same crust for quiche? It’s almost kinda a savory pie anyway, right?

    seconding chigau about the most awesome pie crust rant and rq’s question about sharing the recipe.

  66. says

    Good morning
    Oh dear, we’re already at the stage when the kid goes to be after us and then sleeps in (though I have to admit that we were so fucking tired we went bed at 9 pm)
    Had a nie example of how middle class privilege gets mistaken for intelligence. My aunt in law’s inlaws showed up for coffee. Her sister in law and husband enjoy scuba diving and spend their holidays in locations far away. The little one had her plush shark with her and then told them about lots of differnt sharks and fish and they were very impressed what a smart kid she is. And yeah, you need some brains to remember all the different fish you saw when you were three and four years old, BUT you need parents who can take you to see those fishes in the first place.

    There are catching nets you can put up on the target range. At least in Germany that is what most people do who practise archery at home (yes, I want an archery range, too!)
    I’d recommend going to a shppting range where somebody can teach him some basics first anyway (unless he already knows them, of course). Not only are there things you should know to increase success and avoid hurting yourself, there are also a number of things newbies are prone to and that shorten the life of a bow drastically.

    Seconding (or whatever) chigau
    People are allowed to ask me to bring food. I am more than happy to bring food. But I decide how I prepare it.

    Yes, but you need to bake it twice, first time witout any filling but with peas or something like that to weigh it down
    Oh and in more “families are weird”: My FIL has 4 siblings and he and my MIL and 2 of those siblings take turns at hosting the christmas dinner (lunch). Youngest brother and his wife never host though she’s been about how she’ll host the dinner once they get the house renovated, how she’s going to host next year, which is something by now nobody believes anymore. Last week she called my MIL to tell her how they won’t be at this year’s dinner cause the youngest brother (works for the city) is on atnd by alert should there be snow. Not very credible because
    -there was 0 chance of snow
    -the location is 10 miles from his work
    They did NOT call the sister who actually hosted the dinner to tell her.
    He showed up alone some time after dinner.

  67. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    Mmph. For this round, I more or less did this, which I believe was the original recipe I started with for my variant, with butter that had been in the freezer for a couple hours, for one crust cut into ~1/8-3/16-inches-on-a-side cubes and worked in with a spoon and then a whisk…and for the other, large irregular globs formed by butter reconglomerating in the process of removal from the slicer/shredder (no indications, other than the ~10% less butter that wound up in the dough for the latter, of much of a difference between the methods). I may have been using white-whole-wheat flour – the kind that’s actually white and not just regular whole wheat flour in a different bag (I poured the last of that into my “whole wheat flour” container, on top of the flour already in there, in frustration…there is no recognizable transition line). I didn’t have time to chill it, so I didn’t; the edges came out a little rough and uneven because I was hurrying but it was quite good and crumbly in a fashion I appreciated.

    What I’ve done in the past is take the same ingredients – 1 1/4 (level) cups flour, 1/2 cup (IE, 1 stick) of butter, and 4 tbsp cold water (I’ve tended to omit salt in the past as a matter of course, but I think it may help here), with the butter half-melted in the microwave and then mixed into the flour with a spoon, the water added, and then the dough chilled for four hours before rolling out. It’s always been quite satisfactory to me, except when overbaked, which I think it will be less prone to with the 35 F reduction in cooking temperature to go with the glass pan.

  68. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    Oh, and the pies themselves were made as follows (note this is for two pies):

    -Mold pie crusts somewhat roughly into 9in pie pans, put in refrigerator for half an hour or so
    -Preheat oven to 350 F, or 335F if using glass pans
    -Melt 2 sticks (1 cup) of butter partway in a medium-large saucepan, over medium heat
    -Crack four eggs into a bowl and beat with a whisk
    -Get impatient and start adding sugar before the butter is more than halfway finished melting, adding a total of two cups sugar
    -Vigorously stir/spoon-stab the results until the butter is all melted, probably caramelizing the sugar to a slight degree
    -Add about 1/2 cup bourbon whiskey (Evan Williams is well-aged but affordable)
    -Stir in 1/2 cup cornstarch, after attempting and failing to mix it with about 3 tablespoons water, with some difficulty
    -Transfer contents of saucepan to blender, follow exact words of original recipe to “blend” in cornstarch
    -Return concets of blender to pan, cook and stir until smooth and a little bubbly, another minute or so
    -Pour in two cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips and two cups of pecan halves, then mix thoroughly
    -Pour about half of the resulting mixture into each pie shell, and place a crust shield on each
    -Notice the bowl of beaten eggs sitting on the counter and remember it was supposed to go into the pie filling
    -Pour half onto each filled pie and gingerly whisk into filling, resulting in a generally successful pie, a little bit being slopped onto the crust, and a thin layer of gooey chocolate deliciousness into which no egg was whisked between the congealed filling and the crust
    -Bake for 50 minutes, or slightly longer since it took me a moment to remember to start the timer after having it pre-set – maybe 53?

  69. blf says

    Poutine Burritos

    I shall avoid showing that to the lovely Mexican couple who run the local Mexican restaurant, and to the hilarious guy who runs the local “French foods from around the world” shop. He has some frozen poutine, and is known to eat at the restaurant…

  70. blf says

    …knocked over the christmas tree, but it’s all in good fun (it was for a photoshoot…

    I first read that as potatoeshoot, and started to wonder what calibermass tree was used.

  71. blf says

    Or pies that have less than a 3:1 filling to conventional pie dough ratio

    Surely you mean π:1 ratio.

  72. blf says

    Yes, but you need to bake it twice, first time witout any filling but with peas or something like that to weigh it down

    However, before the second baking, to sterilize it and otherwise remove any traces of the pea, you need to either autoclave it or, simpler and more effective, rocket it into the sun.

  73. rq says

    Well, I’m off. Back on Sunday. Taking all three new books along. Not planning on doing anything worthwhile or productive, sorry folks but not sorry at all.

  74. opposablethumbs says

    Have a good weekend, to rq and indeed to all the Horde who are still or about to be enduring/enjoying various bits of family. DaughterSpawn will be leaving on Sunday :-(
    I love seeing her and will miss her lots; ditto SonSpawn, though he’s still here for quite a bit longer yet – I love having them here and miss them hugely when they’re gone, while at one and the same time absolutely bloody loving the relative peace and quiet.

  75. Portia (aka Smokey the Advocate) says

    Hello lounge
    Commenting on my phone so forgive my offerings to tpuos.

    Had migraine from 5am to midnight on Christmas. Really put a damper on things, especially given I couldn’t keep anything down on the Day of Deliciousness. Feeling muh better today, still some tension and headacheyness but moving past it. Determined to move past it. I am newly resolved to see an MD about the migraines, and now I realize I may need to see one about the underlying anxiety, as well. I definitely worried myself into this migraine, with family stress that I mostly stirred up inside myself over small things that are Symbolic and Important in my head.

    My niece turned yen yesterday. Wondering how many more of her birthdays I’ll miss before my brother gets his head out of his ass. My dad says at least he sounds more happy than he did a few months ago. So that’s something.

    I’ve been following the lounge but it’s hard to track what j wanted to reply to when I’m on my phone. Consider yourself commiserated with, and cared for, and

    I might meet up with a childhood friend today. We grew apart because I really didn’t fit the Good Christian Girl mold, while still being very conformist in terms of society at large. I don’t think she fits the mold either, but she’s better at playing the part than I am. I’m going to meet her youngest spawn, which should be an adorable experience.

    Hugs all around, and happy boxing day.

  76. says

    Hugs and hot beverages for all and sundry. We got frost in the backyard, and the birdbath is frozen over. It’s winter for reals.

    Thanks for the kind thoughts re my Aged Mum.

    Since it’s Boxing Day, I think I’ll find a couple empty boxes and sort the salvageable wrapping materials from the bags and paper that have been reused one time too many. Although, the fluffycat had such a lovely time last night with one of her foil crinkly balls and some tissue paper she found under the tree, I may leave her some to enjoy for a while longer. I spent quite a while playing catch with her; it was quite adorable. World’s biggest senior kitten.

  77. says

    Tony @48

    Lynna @494:
    There is no higher authority on earth.
    Did he help get the US and Cuba to relax relations?
    Has he helped criticize corporations?
    Has he called for an end to poverty?
    Until he’s done all the good deeds done by the current Super-Pope, he’s hardly an authority*.
    *This snark brought to you by someone who doesn’t think the Pope is all that.

    The mormon apostles call themselves “The General Authority,” among other longish titles. And the head dunderhead of all the dunderheads, the Prophet, is the highest authority, the only man on earth that speaks for God, or through whom God speaks.

    Of course, this is all ridiculous. Prophet Monson does less good than the Pope, and much less good than PZ Myers. I was being ultra sarcastic with the “no higher authority on earth” comment. Although, keeping the bare shoulders of mormon women out of sight is quite the accomplishment. And now he has saved us from the sin of patterned tights.

  78. says

    Giliell, you do beautiful work.

    Back in the day, I made my share of clothes and accessories for the stuffies, including crowns for Mr Growly the t-rex and his spouse Mrs Deinonychus, a cape for Bunnicula, and a pinafore and bloomers for Pussycat that matched the Younger Daughter’s, not to mention the mini quilts made from dinosaur and cat fabrics respectively. It was fun. I used to be a lot more creative, even with small children underfoot. Where’d all that energy go?

  79. Yellow Thursday says

    Greetings, Lounge Denizens. I’m glad to see most everybody survived holiday gatherings with their families.

    I’m still close to my ex’s nieces, so I had Christmas dinner at my elder niece’s place. She told me I didn’t need to bring anything, but I didn’t want to eat her dinner and not contribute anything, so I put together a small gift basket of homemade candles. She loved them. :)

    It was a short evening, which was good, since I was having trouble biting my tongue around my ex’s sister. OTOH, she was so high on pain killers and wine that I don’t think it would have mattered, anyway.

    Besides cookies and candy, the only present I got was a Kindle gift card from my brother. It was perfect. It allowed me to reset the Kindle I inherited from my mom, which my ex had registered in his name. (I probably should have seen that as a sign of his controlling nature, but at the time it didn’t phase me.) It was so nice to see “[Thursday]’s Kindle” in the upper corner of the screen. Then I used the gift card to re-buy the few books that I’d bought for it. It wasn’t quite enough to re-buy Greta’s Bending, but I’ll get that soon enough. :)

  80. says

    ‘Saved By the Bell’ star arrested for possessing a switchblade

    Dustin Diamond, the actor best known for playing Screech on Saved by the Bell, was arrested in Wisconsin early this morning for possession of a switchblade.

    Police arrested Diamond in Ozaukee County and charged him with possessing a switchblade, recklessly endangering safety, and carrying a concealed weapon.

    He should have carried a gun instead. He’d have been applauded for exercising his constitutional rights, rather than viewed as recklessly endangering safety.

  81. says

    If you missed MSNBC’s All In with Chris Hayes Tuesday night, you’ll want to see this provocative round table discussing about the changes our country has undergone in the last year.

    One of Chris’ guest pundits, Sam Seder, mentioned attitudes about gay marriage as one of the things most rapidly changing.


    “It fell like dominos. There seems to be a concession on some level from long-time opponents. Almost to a point where you see it leveraged about in places. You know, ISIS, you should see the way they don’t allow gay people to get married.’

    Chris Hayes took Sam Seder’s words and ran with them, musing that how one feels about marriage equality has become “an indicator of moral depravity.”

  82. Portia (aka Smokey the Advocate) says

    My cousin just posted to facebook an article titled…
    Science Increasingly Makes the Case for God

    I just can’t…

  83. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Science Increasingly Makes the Case for God

    Don’t even bother, other than to say Science ignores imaginary deities….

  84. Portia (aka Smokey the Advocate) says

    but but but what about the low odds of a livable planet?!
    (That’s what her commentary indicates is the punchline, I couldn’t summon the masochism to click through)

  85. cicely says

    Safe travels, rq, and I hope you have a good time!

    *gentle hugs* for Portia, and I’m sorry to have to say that *napalm!* doesn’t do a thing to ward off or banish migraines.

    Return-Seasoned-Greetings for Serendipitydawg, and may your 2015 be filled with Awesomeness.

    Giliell, your craft-works are lovely! I especially like the sea horse.

    Lynna, that is some ugly wrapping paper!

    Congrats, Yellow Thursday, on reclaiming your Kindle!

  86. Portia (aka Smokey the Advocate) says

    Thanks for the tip! I got a set of surlyramic buttons for the toddler sweater I just started knitting. Makes it all the more fun to look forward to the finished product

    I hope you ate your preferred pie off the table before flipping it. *hugs*

  87. thunk: divided opinions on cats says

    Hello all!

    I hope your holidays are going smoothly… and if not, may they be smoother from now on.

    I will be leaving to frolic in the snow with my family for a week (and enjoy more drinking and Russian Bigotry). I will most likely be threadrupt for then, trying to find something constructive to do. Good luck, me.

  88. says

    Christmas is finally thankfully over.
    I like it, but by day 3 it’s simply too much and the kids are a barely controlled pack of wolves with fire-crackers tied to their tails.
    It’s snowing here and we built a snow penguin
    BTW, this is what the world looked like yesterday. Greetings from Pünktchen, too!

    Also, I didn’t get a present from my parents. Not a fucking box of chocolates. It’s not the presents as such, but the blatant “fuck you” while I’m supposed to be the good daughter who plays happy family.

    Thanks, cicely & Anne

    Yellow Thirsday
    When my uncle and his wife announced that they would seperate we decided that we’d like to keep her. They never divorced and are still in a sort of relationship I have no name for, but seriously, I would NOT have cut contact with her.

    And to treat myself, I asked Amy to make me a “No Gods No Masters” Surly. I’d so love to have the “Surly of the Month”, but shipping to Germany is prohibitive.

  89. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    What do English speaking people call dough fried in oil and covered in powdered sugar? It’s uštipci or fritule here. Made the version with apples. Mmmmm.

    250 g flour
    1 package of baking powder (~12 g)
    1 package of vanilla sugar (~10 g)
    200 ml yoghurt
    2 eggs
    1 big apple (or 2 smallish ones or more if you assess the dough can take it)

    + lots of powdered sugar

    Mix eggs and yoghurt, add vanilla sugar.
    Mix flour and baking powder, add to the first mixture.
    Let it rest for about 15 minutes.
    Add grated apple(s).

    Heat oil in a deep pan. Keep on medium.
    Final product is supposed to look like small balls, so the easiest way is to use two teaspoons. Dip them in hot oil, take the dough out of the bowl with one and “help” with the other. Take care to leave enough room in the pan so the balls can turn by themselves.
    Dry them on some paper towels and use all the powdered sugar :)

  90. says

    Beatrice 143

    I call it delicious.

    Depends on what the finished product is. I don’t know what small balls would be, but New Orleans has beignets which are probably bigger than what you are talking about, and in the Philadelphia area towards the New Jersey shore, they make long thin tangles and call it funnel cake, since they use a funnel to “pour” the dough into the oil.

  91. blf says

    What do English speaking people call dough fried in oil and covered in powdered sugar?

    Aahhhhh… um um Yum YUMMarrrgh! Auuhooahhhhh… “Eeek!”… “Hello! We need an ambulance! …looks like a heart attack to me! Please hurry.”

    (The mildly deranged penguin would point out it doesn’t have enough cheese. Or sufficient cheese. And it also needs some moar cheese!)

  92. blf says

    [T]he kids are a barely controlled pack of wolves with fire-crackers tied to their tails.

    I’m happy to see the fad for docking long piglet’s tails is going out of fashion.

    (Trigger Warning: If you don’t know what “tail docking” is, I’d advise you to not look it up unless you have a strong stomach.)

  93. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    They are talking about all the snow that’s going to fall tomorrow so much, I’m pretty sure by now I’ll wake to exactly 0 (zero) cm of snow.

  94. blf says

    but but but what about the extremely low odds of a livable planetany magic sky faeries?!

    Fixed. Changing “extremely low odds” to “zero probability” is another improvement.

  95. blf says

    I’m pretty sure by now I’ll wake to exactly 0 (zero) cm of snow.

    You expect a precise (non-zero) number of metres? Or kilometres?

  96. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says


    Oooh, I like the variety that just covers a slice of apple with dough. Some of them look like what I’d call jabuke u šlafroku or apples in dressing gown.
    A bit of a crunch, then fluffy dough and all the apple in the middle… mmm.

  97. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    I take it back about the snow. It’s like I called it wimpy in front of everyone and now it’s all “I’ll show you who’s wimpy”

  98. Rob Grigjanis says

    Beatrice @143:

    What do English speaking people call dough fried in oil and covered in powdered sugar?

    I’m English speaking, and I call them Pączki, because I bought them in a Polish shop. I also call them doughnuts, because that’s what my (Latvian) mum called them when she made them.

  99. says


    What do English speaking people call dough fried in oil and covered in powdered sugar?

    Fritters, donuts, beignets, elephant ears, funnel cake, churros, frybread, doughboys, beaver tails, hushpuppies, fried dough, sopaipilla, puftaloons, Jersey Wonders, or bannock depending on the precise recipe, the shape of the finished product and where in the English-speaking world you are.

  100. blf says

    I take it back about the snow. It’s like I called it wimpy in front of everyone and now it’s all “I’ll show you who’s wimpy”

    Ah, kilometres. Thou shall not insult Ye Snow, Ice, & Tailbacks on the M4 Faeries. (With apologies to Terry Pratchett.)

  101. says

    cicely @136:

    Lynna, that is some ugly wrapping paper!

    Oh, yeah. The worst. They have other selections in the mormon wrapping paper category, but they are all that bad. An affront to the holiday spirit. Secular or religious, doesn’t matter, that wrapping paper will hurt your eyes.

  102. says

    Over at Comic Book Resources, Kelly Thompson wrote a column about her difficulty in defining what “superhero” means:

    For the purpose of the column in question – which is a column about superheroes on film – my major stumbling block seems to be between action hero and superhero – where does one draw the line?

    I have had some wonderful help from whip smart CSBG commenter Dean Hacker (thanks Dean!) and without him I would not even be this far along. Right now my in-process definition looks a bit like this:

    “Superhero is a fluid term. It does not HAVE to come with clear cut superpowers or even a costume, though it should be said that costumes come in many shapes and forms beyond the traditional (i.e. is Ripley’s flight suit a costume? If not, why not?). While a “superhero” does not HAVE to come with the aforementioned superpowers or costume, a superhero does have to come with actions that are “super” in what they attempt – scope, breadth, intensity, etc., and perhaps with a “magical” solution of sorts to solving the huge problem they face.”

    But in this age of incredible special effects…even “totally human” action stars, those that may not have begun as intended “superheroes” do things that are easily quantifiable as “super” and even “magical.”

    So I say again where does one draw the line between simply action star and definably superhero? I would honestly love to hear your thoughts on this issue, and perhaps your thoughts and the ensuing discussion can help me suss out or definitively land on my own definitions on which to build this forthcoming column (and future columns).

    In the interests of showing you where I’m coming from specifically, I’ll put forth some ladies (yes, this is a column about “women in comics and related things” so we’re going to be using women in film for our examples) that I’ve been considering as well as some of those firmly in the grey area…hopefully this will help drive the discussion in a productive way, but I’ll try to keep it brief so we can make this more about discussion than “essay.”

    So let’s start with an easy one: Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow (Iron Man 2, Avengers, Captain America: Winter Soldier), clearly, a superhero. Though she technically has no superpowers, she wears a costume, has technology that simulates superpowers, and not only actively fights the kind of villains only superheroes would fight, but also is on an actual literal team of superpowered individuals. Incredible gifts that feel magical (even if they are not technically superpowers) repeatedly allow Natasha to defeat her enemies.

    Here are some other easy ones:

    Zoe Saldana’s Gamora (Guardians of the Galaxy): Costume? Check! Superpowers? Check! Fighting a massive evil? Check! On a super-team? Check! Performs epic/intense/magical feats? Check!

    Emily Blunt’s Rita (Edge of Tomorrow): Costume? Check! Superpowers? Check! Fighting a massive evil? Check! On a super-team? Sorta, not always superpowered, but definitely a team. Performs epic/intense/magical feats? In the past, yes.

    Anne Hathaway’s Catwoman (The Dark Knight Rises): Costume? Check! Superpowers? Mmmm. Not technically. Extensive Basically Impossible Skills? Check! Fighting a massive evil? Check! On a super-team? No way. Actually a hero? Debatable, but firmly in the “anti-heroine” camp. Performs epic/intense/magical feats? Check!

    Mila Jovavich’s Leelo (Fifth Element): Costume? Check! Superpowers? Check! Fighting a massive evil? Check! On a super-team? Eh, not super, but definitely on a team of sorts, bizarre as it is. Performs epic/intense/magical feats? Check!

    Some might find Jennifer Lawrence’s Katniss Everdeen (Hunger Games, Catching Fire, Mockingjay Part 1) to be grey area, but along with feeling decidedly important when you talk about female heroes in fiction, she does pretty well on the questionnaire. Costume? Check! Superpowers? Not really. Like Black Widow and Catwoman she doesn’t technically have superpowers but she does have an almost unbelievable skill set (a “the best she is as what she does” kind of thing). Fighting a massive evil? Check! On a super-team? Though decidedly a loner she does unwittingly end up on “teams” of a sort in every film. Performs epic/intense/magical feats? Hell, yes.

    She then goes on to talk about those women in movies who are in the grey area between action hero and superhero (such as Uma Thurman’s character in ‘Kill Bill’ and Sigourney Weaver’s ‘Ripley’ character from the Alien franchise). She’s looking for feedback.

  103. says

    If this endorsement doesn’t make you want to see The Interview, then nothing will:

    Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus, who previously pledged to send a note to GOP donors urging them to go see Seth Rogen’s The Interview if theaters would screen it, today tweeted his support of the movie’s release online and upcoming screening in indie movie theaters.

    I’ll be rushing to see this movie now!

  104. says

    Mmm…beavertails on the Canal in January, one of the best things in Ottawa. The Canal (Rideau) freezes most winters, and can be safely skated/walked/ridden upon. They set up little huts on the ice selling beavertails (large flat version of Beatrice’s fried dough, covered in crystalline sugar) and hot chocolate.

    When I spent my first year at uni in Ottawa, I lived on Bank St, and used to skate to and from class on the canal. I’d walk three blocks south from my apt, and skate up to the locks, where the uni also sat on the bank. Hard to believe it was 27 years ago…or that the Canal probably won’t freeze enough for skating, in a few more years. :(

  105. says

    The Governor of Louisiana, Bobby Jindal, recently sent out an invitation that seems to ask religious leaders to ignore/destroy the concept of separation of church and state:

    “As we make an appeal for leaders of faith to rise up and engage America in the public square with Biblical values, we are trusting you will hear God’s call on your life for this mission…. The time has come for pastors to lead the way and reset the course of American governance.”

    And Jindal also seems to be prepping for a 2016 run as a presidential candidate. Bleh.

  106. says

    CNN reporter Don Lemon makes it on the list of 2014’s worst journalism

    When life gives you Lemon
    As one of the most recognizable anchors on CNN, Don Lemon has helped lead the cable network’s coverage of the biggest stories of the year. Live television is exceedingly difficult to produce, of course, but Lemon’s gaffes this year offer a case study in how to choose words wisely — or not.
    On March 20, he asked guests whether Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 could have been swallowed by a black hole: “I know it’s preposterous, but is it preposterous?” He later compared spanking children to training dogs and probed similarities between the release of US Army POW Bowe Bergdahl and the Showtime series Homeland. When an alleged Bill Cosby rape victim appeared on his show on Nov. 18, he lectured, “You know, there are ways not to perform oral sex if you didn’t want to do it…Meaning the use of teeth, right?” Less than a week later, as protests turned violent in Ferguson, MO, he described the scene: “Obviously, there’s a smell of marijuana in the air.” Lemon’s job isn’t easy. But he’s earned a DART for going there. Obviously.

  107. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    President Obama just tied Reagan in public opinion polls

    *snicker* I notice the Bush dynasty is down in the numbers.

  108. says

    Billionaire couple become pioneers of philanthropic philosophy of “effective altruism”

    Tuna and Moskovitz were in their mid-20s in 2010 when they became the youngest couple ever to sign on to the Giving Pledge, the campaign started by Bill Gates and Warren E. Buffett to encourage the world’s billionaires to commit to giving away most of their wealth.

    They had little experience with philanthropy, but they believed that the bulk of the money Moskovitz had made — estimated to be $8.1 billion by Forbes — should be returned to society in their lifetimes.

    The question was how.

    With Moskovitz working crazy hours at his new start-up, Asana, a collaboration and messaging company, the primary responsibility for figuring out how to give away the money fell to Tuna.

    Their Silicon Valley peers had advice. What Tuna heard the most was to pick a worthy cause she believed in such as poverty, education or oceanography and go from there. Others recommended she look into problems that affected her personally.

    They noted the splash Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, made in 2010 with their $100 million donation to the Newark school system. And they pointed to the advances Google co-founder Sergey Brin, who has a gene that puts him at higher risk for Parkinson’s, has brought to the field with $150 million in donations.

    But those approaches didn’t quite resonate with Tuna.

    What she wanted to do was the most good they could in any area — which sounded simple enough but turned out to be incredibly difficult to execute.

    “The conventional wisdom is to say, ‘What am I passionate about?’ and go for something in that area,” Tuna said. “That can be a great way to do things, but at the same time, I think that by just going with that, you’re leaving a lot of opportunity for impact on the table.”

    She points to iodine deficiency, which has been linked with low IQs in children in the developing world. It’s “not a super-sexy topic,” she says, but its remedy can have a major impact on a community and can be in­cred­ibly cheap and easy to implement.

    As Tuna and Moskovitz, now 29 and 30, respectively, began to compare one possibility with another and then another, they have become pioneers in an emerging philosophy of philanthropy known as “effective altruism” — which applies evidence and reason over things like emotion and intuition to determine where one can do the most good.

    The duo are emblematic of a new generation of millennial philanthropists seeking to give far beyond their own communities and experiences.

    Americans have traditionally focused their donations on organizations such as schools, churches and cultural centers close to home. But with the rise of social networks that connect people the world over instantaneously, many millennials have a broader view of charity.

    After three years, several hundred interviews and trips that took them from Washington think tanks such as the Brookings Institution to health clinics in Burma and rural villages in Kenya, they have narrowed their interests to four major “buckets”: U.S. policy, global catastrophic risks, international aid and science. They plan to announce their first major gifts in early 2015 and eventually hope to scale up to give away hundreds of millions of dollars a year. Tuna said she is excited to get started.

    “I came to this work without a really fixed worldview as most philanthropists do that are coming to this after highly successful careers in other fields,” said Tuna, who serves as president of Good Ventures, the couple’s foundation. “I have a blank slate, and I’m trying to use that as an advantage.”

  109. says

    So, Goose Dinner. Very well done this year. It was the ninth year my wife and I have hosted after close to 30 for my parents. I have in the past overcooked the goose, not that there were complaints those years because at least half the reason for the gathering is that we love each other.

    This year, I was only 10 minutes over the cooking time because the butternut squash soup course came later than I was expecting and I lost a few minutes while serving folks at my bar. And we needed to go out this morning and get a third goose because we had 20+ adults and the geese we had were not up to the task.

    Perhaps an explanation is in order. Geese should weigh between 10 and 12 pounds for roasting. They get very gamey and tough when larger, and braising works better. But a 12 pound goose only serves maybe 8 people. We had 22 adults and two 10 pound geese. We needed something else. We knew we could get a duck or two locally, but it turned out that we could get another goose. Yay!

    So… (what? another so?) We had garlic mashed potatoes, apple cranberry wild rice dressing . There was a blend of root vegetables — some mixture of beets, turnips, parsnips, sweet potatoes, rutabagas this year — that really was just whatever we has on hand. A broccoli and carrot side, and the best cranberry sauce recipe ever.

    And wines. And beer. My uncle, who brews his own beer, brought an American Cream Ale, which is not necessarily an “ale”. But it was perfect for this situation. Very drinkable.

    Maybe I am biased, but this was frigging great.

  110. says

    Latvia-born singer and model Viktoria Modesta released her first music video on Channel 4, in which she gorgeously struts her bionic-looking leg. Being the first widely-known leg amputee pop star, she is a true inspiration to many.
    The singer was born with a dislocated hip and leg, which greatly affected her social life at school. Enduring 15 ineffective surgeries back in Latvia, she moved to London, hoping for a better treatment. After even more failed procedures she finally convinced her doctors to amputate her leg, which eventually freed her of her complexes and boosted her self-confidence.
    Now Viktoria is proud of what she went through, encouraging everyone to always follow their dreams, no matter the obstacles.

  111. says

    Tony 172

    After posting about how great the dinner was, I kind of feel bad saying that I haven’t had a “good” holiday since my mom was taken by cancer in early December 2011. Every holiday since has been tinged with the fact that my mom is gone.

    It’s a frustratingly horrible oxymoron. I love the gathering and the feeding (food is love — I really think this). I despise that my mother is no longer part of it. A terrible tautology.

    I should check out Greta’s book, I guess.

  112. says

    Good morning

    I understand your ambiguity. My grandpa died 4 years ago at the start of December, so each year this time I miss him more firecly than ever.
    But, how do you roast 3 geese? I once roasted one and that was all that would fit into the oven…
    Unfortunately, Mr doesn’t like roast birds. Meat courses are notoriously difficult in this house. I don’t like beef, Mr doesn’t like lamb, poultry or any kind of game. Leaves us with pork, which isn’t my favourite either. For New Years Eve I’ll simply turn the normal order of courses around and serve the soup as a main course (seafood chowder) because it’s OK if he misses out on the starter (Irish stew). Because the other 6 people really like lamb.

  113. blf says

    It’s still snowing. I’m not happy.

    Since confidently asserting there would be no snow didn’t work, try confidently asserting the current snowfall is not even close to an adequate amount.

  114. blf says

    Mr doesn’t like roast birds. Meat courses are notoriously difficult in this house. I don’t like beef, Mr doesn’t like lamb, poultry or any kind of game. Leaves us with pork, which isn’t my favourite either.

    Hum… Sounds like you might want to avoid doing it the French way (well, I learned this here in France, for all I know, it could be very common): Roast an ex-dinosaur stuffed with sausages made of assorted other beasties (lamb, pork, boar, baby, …). Some salami or other cured meats, and/or some whole olives, can also be added.

  115. says

    Giliell 176

    My sister and I bought two pans for my mom many years ago specifically for roasting the geese. They fit side by side in our oven. There isn’t room for much more than that. ( This is a picture from 2012 showing how they fit.) The other one we put in a separate stand-alone roasting oven. A quick Google without looking for the specific one we got (I think it’s Oster, but it might be Rival) shows this as a likely candidate. The roasting oven doesn’t necessarily get the skin crispy, but it gets the job done.

    The biggest geese we’ve ever done were 13 pounds and that is too big. They get very gamey when they get over 12, so we usually go with 10 to 12 pounds. When my wife and I were asked to take over because all the work involved got to be too much for my parents to handle when they got to their mid-60s, we decided to do one the way my mom had always done hers — basted with honey-orange peel and the drained off goose fat — and we do one using Emeril’s recipe with a Ruby Port glaze and a Tawny Port gravy. This year, the third one was just rubbed with Chinese 5 spice. Truthfully, the seasoning doesn’t get through the skin very well, but oh my is that skin good. Bad for you and full of fat, but delicious.

  116. birgerjohansson says

    My apologies if one or more of these links is a doublet posting.

    The top 101 astronomical events to watch for in 2015
    -Svalbard and the Faroe Islands will get a total solar eclipse on March 20th.

    — — — —
    The ‘Breaking Bad’ Syndrome? UCLA anthropologist exposes the moral side of violence

    — — — — — —
    Study Confirms Myth of In-Person Voter Fraud. Again.
    Justin Levitt, a law professor at Loyola University with a specialty in election law, has just completed a massive study of voter fraud by impersonation, the only kind of voter fraud that a photo ID law could conceivably prevent. Out of a billion votes cast over the last few elections, he’s found 31 such cases. That is 0.032 of a millionth of the votes cast.

    — — — — —
    A Message From a Protestor and Former Cop: We Are Not Anti-Cop. We Are Pro-Life.

  117. rq says

    Dough in oil in powdered sugar? Donuts, or žagariņi. :)

    I’m back, everyone! Survived Husband’s family onslaught. And it snowed. 3 cm. That’s like… teasing. Horrible teasing. It Was -19 overnight, though. And considering that the bathroom is neither properly insultaed nor properly heated (though it does have running water), that, is… an experience.

  118. birgerjohansson says

    Diverse autism mutations lead to different disease outcomes

    — — — —
    Researchers propose ballistic capture as cheaper path to Mars (best used for sending unmanned vehicles to the planet)
    More information: Earth—Mars Transfers with Ballistic Capture

    — — — — —
    Lightweight skeletons of modern humans have recent origin

    — — — —
    Researchers take ‘first baby step’ toward anti-aging drug

  119. birgerjohansson says

    Tony: “Prepare for splodey conservative heads!”

    Fox News and the other chesspool media will simply not mention it. Remember how the hurrican just before the last presidential election simply didn’t happen, since it would show Obama doing something good?

    Rq, we got plenty of snow for Xmas but now it looks like we are due for a thaw in North Sweden…. (and after that we will of course get cold again, just to create icy streets and fill the ERs with leg fractures).

  120. Brony, Social Justice Cenobite says

    A Message From a Protestor and Former Cop: We Are Not Anti-Cop. We Are Pro-Life.

    Is that some theft of political language that might weaken assholes and simultaneously drag in the attention of those sensitive to the term?

    Now that’s awesome!

  121. says

    rq, I’m glad to read that you survived All Things Being Relative and the cold bathroom, brrrrrr.

    Husband and Elder Daughter left early this morning to go birding at Newport Back Bay. Younger Daughter is in her room, probably playing the most current version of Pokémon. I have a short list of household usefuls I should slay at some point today, but right now I’m working hard on having a nice cup of tea, listening to NPR, and rereading some of my favorite Discworld novels.

    In other words, I’m giving myself a nice morning. So there, life.

  122. says

    Glad you’re back!
    We had at least 10 cm of snow Friday to Saturday and more is supposed to be on the way. Our housing compay is getting at least 2 phone calls because of non-working winter service. They’ve hired a company to clear the snow on the footpaths. German law is quite firm, snow has to be cleared by 7:30 at the latest on Saturdays, but they only showed up today at noon.

  123. says

    It’s been a while. I need to remember to come here more often.

    Insane holiday season is mostly over, though with everyone getting gift cards and our post Christmas sales, there’s been a bit of a boost after things calmed down just before Christmas. Not hearing Christmas music at work is strange.

    Applied for an apartment lease. Should get it. I clear the monthly income requirement(3x rent) by a few hundred USD, and while my credit score is rather bad, I do clear their requirement on that front. If it goes quickly enough, I could possibly even move in before the end of the year- though I’m expecting Jan 1 or 2 for logistical reasons of getting my crap down there. It’s only 30 miles away, but still time consuming and at least one of my parents will have to use at least one of the trucks to get my bed and other furniture down. Small one bedroom, but it’s cheap, close to work, the highway, a grocery store, and other places I’d want/need to go. And I’ll be a Springfield resident and able to vote in the referendum to defend the LGBT nondiscrimination ordinance.

  124. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    It appears Casa la Pelirroja is infested with a low level virus. Main symptoms are feeling cold, achy, and very slight chest congestion. So the Pelirroja is sleeping in, and I went to bed early last night, and even had a nap this morning. I suspect another nap may be in the offing.

  125. Brony, Social Justice Cenobite says

    I have a weird arts and crafts related question that I’m wondering if anyone can help me with. Does anyone have any advice?

    I need a safe way to quickly heat up a jump ring (small metal ring used in jewelry making), grip it safely, and push it into a plastic surface.

    One idea is to replace a woodburner tip with an alligator clip or similar. But I’m stuck on how to safely and quickly release the ring by opening the clip.

    Another idea is to mount the woodburner safely, replace the tip with some sort of screw-mounted cavity (like a bolt, partially on) and pile rings in it. But I’m not sure they will stay hot enough when grabbing them with some forceps and pushing them into the plastic.

    Any ideas?

  126. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says


    I’m glad you had an ok weekend.
    We had about 20 cm of snow. Which has already turned into 10 cm of sludge.

  127. carlie says

    Brony – I may be missing something, but could you grip the jump ring with pliers and heat it with the woodburner tip with the other hand? I don’t think the pliers would heat up in that amount of time, esp. if they had rubber handles.

  128. rq says

    Ugh, this whole manually-applied-fuel heating system really leaves a lot to be desired when returning from several-days-away trips in the winter.

    Hope everyone in the Casa feels better soon, and that everyone has a chance to get some rest and warm/hot, healing drinks!!!

    *hugs* for everyone, by the way. :) The snow is super-sparkly right now, but we’re also being warned about potential above-0 temperatures in a couple of days. :(

  129. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    Presidential elections going into the second round as expected. But the results for the leaders are uncomfortably close (around 37% and 38% at this point). It looks like we could actually get our first woman president. Unfortunately, there isn’t enough feminist sentiment in the world to make me glad about the possibility in her case.

  130. says

    Nerd, I approve of all the extra sleep, especially the naps. I find that’s the best way to help one’s body fight off a virus. Hope you are better soon.

  131. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says


    Not great, but the best we’ve got right now. Less nationalist than the other.

  132. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    ChasCPeterson is making some odd comments in the “Things to do in LA in February” thread

    He seems to think PZ’s talk is about bad science, whereas I see it as the misuse of science by certain people, like bigots, misogynists, and similar scum.

  133. rq says

    I really have wrong feelings about this kind of coffee. Because it seems a lot like a White Saviour story, and I wonder what he means by paying them ‘extremely well’, especially considering the scale of what their daily pay was previously – even if currently they can make that in an hour. Anyway, it seems a very colonial, “I rescued these people so they are my resources” type of scheme. Am I just looking at it wrong?

  134. says

    I’m taking a break from shoveling snow. Spent most of the day doing just that. Not quite done, but I can only take so much shoveling before my knee and my back start to hurt. I’m going to sit around, drink tea, and eat holiday leftovers for awhile.

  135. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says


    He pays people to sift through elephant shit so that rich people could drink shit flavoured coffee at ridiculous prices. I find the whole story off-putting and I don’t think your gut feeling is wrong.

  136. rq says

    Can Minor Languages Make Revolution?

    Free online services like Google Translate have made it possible for activists from many parts of the world—most notably, from repressive state like Iran, China, Russia and Bahrain that use non-Latin alphabets—to convey their message to an international audience. But this is not true for activists from all parts of the world. The languages unavailable through online translation services are often spoken in the countries least covered by the international media and the countries that practice the most severe domestic censorship.

  137. rq says

    You said it. Though the thought of shit-flavoured coffee for rich people is downright appealing.
    If they bothered to pay for the manual labour a similarly-exorbitant salary. :P

  138. Portia (aka Smokey the Advocate) says

    Helllloooo Loungers.
    I want to join the party. ^_^ I’ve got my knitting handy and a cuppa coffee queued up.
    Nerd: I hope whatever it is passes quickly. *hugs*

    I finally have a gripe with Obamacare. Well…a sort of gripe. When it first came out, I signed up through the marketplace. Then my employer’s plan went into compliance with the new law (mainly the “you can’t charge women more than men” part) and the work option was a better choice for me. Then I tried to cancel the first plan, and was told I couldn’t do it through the insurance company, because I had to cancel through the marketplace. That was awful and bureaucratic, so I just stopped paying, and when they called to see why I wasn’t paying, I explained. They said they’d cancel it, and I wouldn’t be charged for the time I hadn’t paid, as long as I had made no claims. So now I’m still getting demands for payment…may also have something to do with my doctor’s staff using my old insurance info. Rarg.

    I still feel a lot of residual muscle tension from the migraine, but a relaxing evening with the SO last night and then a lazy half-day with him turned out to be really healing for me emotionally. KidsMom’s boyfriend sprung a surprise trip on her, during a week when she was supposed to have the kids, with about 18 hours notice, so SO has the kids this week unexpectedly. It cuts down on our time together dramatically, but he always loves having the kids more. Ah well. He said that KM at least felt apologetic…

    I feel like I’m whinier than my actual mood. I finally just got to my own house, and I feel pretty good about that. Doing a little laundry, sitting around and resting.

    …my mom just emailed me on accident…complaining about me to her friend. Apparently my aunt thinks I’m “stand off ish” …well when you corner me and ambush me and pry into things that you have no right to ask me about maybe yeah I’ll be a bit standoffish. Jesus H. Christ.

    Deeep breaths….

  139. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says


    re. your mum
    Ouch. That hurts. Especially when you don’t think it’s deserved. My mum once started complaining about me at work immediately after (she thought) we had finished a conversation over the phone…. if only she’d pressed the off button first.

  140. Portia (aka Smokey the Advocate) says

    Thanks. I know she thinks I’m mean…I wish she could see that she hasn’t left me many tools to enforce my boundaries…
    I’m reminding myself of what my therapist once told me about enforcing boundaries (specifically with my family) “No one’s going to throw you a party, no one’s going to like it.”


  141. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says


    If your boundaries slam down on anyone’s toes it’s because their toes were too bloody close for their own good.

  142. Portia (aka Smokey the Advocate) says

    Perfectly put. Thanks for the validation. It’s damn hard to keep perspective and not feel like I’m the total jerk without any redeeming qualities in the situation…

  143. rq says

    It would be great if we actually had a portcullis we could slam down on people’s toes. I’d overuse it, of course, but it would be fun. A lot of evil, toe-smashing fun. *mwahahahahahahaaaaaaa!!!*

  144. says

    kind of ‘rupt. Best wishes for improving health for all (including the head cold L and I are fighting off), and *hugs* all ’round.

    *hugs* Your boundaries are your own, and you don’t owe anyone an apology or even an explanation.

    rq #203
    That story makes me all kinds of ragey, frankly. Not just the ‘white saviour’ garbage, which the article does indeed reek of, but the idea that selling bullshit (or elephant shit, as the case may be) to rich assholes is actually economic development in any meaningful sense, with the further implication that economic development is only possible through the benevolent intercession of the same rich assholes. Fuck.

  145. Brony, Social Justice Cenobite says

    @ Anne, Lurking Feminist Harpy & Support Staff 193

    Brony, could you use the woodburner tip to soften the plastic where you want to insert the jumpring instead?

    I tried that. The plastic came away with the tip in strings that got everywhere and making the properly shaped slot was too awkward.

    @ carlie 194

    I may be missing something, but could you grip the jump ring with pliers and heat it with the woodburner tip with the other hand?

    Maybe. The benefit to having them in a bowl or grabbed by a clip is that I don’t have to keep holding it if there is not enough contact for a fast heat transfer. But I’m not sure if that’s a problem yet. I should experiment with that before shopping for random supplies tomorrow.