1. rq says

    I don’t feel well. I can’t tell if it’s just the post-holiday low or an actual attack on my organism.

  2. says

    I liked Monsterous Regiment a lot. It also seemed much deeper than the usual Discworld novels where Pratchett tackles things more humerously. But the stuff about the industrial school and sexual abuse was different.

    Lighthearted: I’m learning to do a milkmaid’s braid. On my own head. It’s getting better. But my hair is actually a bit too long for such styles…

  3. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Made Brazilian pao de quiejo (cheese bread) yesterday. It was delicious and turned out well for a first attempt.

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

    I hope you feel better soon, whatever it is.

    Could be lack of cheese. You did say MDP was back.
    Speaking of cheese….


  5. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    I just followed one I found on the intertubes–you just mix tapioca flour (or starch), preferably, sour, but not necessarily with milk and oil, allow to cool, mix in a couple of eggs. Add about 1-3/4 cups of hard cheese (or cheddar) and mix it on high speed with a mixer. Bake @350 deg. F for 20-25 minutes. There are lots of recipes on line–all similar. And if you are into the whole gluten-free think, no wheat or other grain.

  6. blf says

    Hadley Freeman at The Grauniad applies a trebuchet-full of peas and horses, with added flamethrowers, napalm, and rationality, to one of the new orbit’s dieting fads, Gwyneth Paltrow’s detox or the Red Carpet diet: can celebrities make you fitter?:

    Here’s a healthy tip for the new year — ignore the deluge of food advice from self-appointed experts

    As it’s January, I have been considering a detox diet. Which one should I go on? — All media, all western countries

    Ahh, don’t you love January? The dead Christmas trees rolling in the street, the black nights that start at 4pm, and all the newspapers, magazines and lifestyle websites bellowing about how you need to TOTALLY CHANGE YOURSELVES ENTIRELY BECAUSE IT’S JANUARY SO YEAH THANK YOU FOR YOUR CUSTOM!

    […] The journalist describes those who ascribe to [yet another woo-woo diet] eating plan as “tribes of self-possessed twentysomething women who know how to do non-wobbly eyeliner as well as what they want for lunch and why. ‘I know, they’re amazing, aren’t they?’ says [the creator of the diet.]”

    Women who know how to order food and put on makeup? And these creatures move among us, you say? Oh blessed, blessed times in which we live! But perhaps it’s not such a surprise that a coiner of another detox should have such low expectations of women, considering these diets are predicated on the belief that women are so daft they’ll follow the frankly loopy guidance of a person who has never had any professional training, just because they drop some celebrities’ names.

    Or maybe I’m looking at this the wrong way round: maybe it’s the creators of the detoxes who are lacking in mental faculties because what they are actually detoxing is their own brain cells. This would explain the nutritional suggestions advocated by Gwyneth Paltrow[…:] it is “possible during our annual cleanse to not only drop some accumulated weight, but to get rid of some of the heavy metals, fire retardants, and pesticides in our systems, too”. How proud the science department at Spence — the private school in Manhattan where she was at least nominally educated — must be to have produced the American Gillian McKeith [a notorious UK quack that Ben Goldacre has been hammering for years], one who frets about “the heavy metals and fire retardants” in her bowels.

    […T]he reason I keep returning to this subject is because it is downright enraging that national newspapers promote these kinds of irresponsible, pointless and quite possibly dangerous diets, thought up by people without a smidgeon of medical or nutritional qualification.

    Eating is more than a physical necessity — it’s a life skill and quite a few of us do it pretty poorly, myself very much included. Sometimes it’s because we’re short of time, money, choice or energy, and sometimes it’s for more complicated reasons. These latter issues, although as varied in motivation as they are in manifestation, often stem from two specific factors: ignorance of nutrition and how our bodies actually work, and a conflicted relationship with our bodies and food due to all too obvious social factors.

    It is remarkable how obsessed the western media is with food, and how much it fetishises both the eating of it (endless coverage of recipes, restaurants, etc) and the avoidance of it (diets, detoxes, diets and more detoxes). It’s not original to point out the correlation of the near blanket coverage of food in the media and the rising rates of obesity and eating disorders in the west, but it is, nonetheless, pertinent. […]

    Most people, thank heavens, will never suffer from an eating disorder, but plenty will go though at least a period of disordered eating, which encompasses everything from obsessive calorie counting, emotional overeating to starving and bingeing. These kinds of detox diets are similarly disordered: they do not teach healthy eating — they advocate obsessive and unrealistic eating and therefore contribute to the problem. They combine nutritional ignorance with weight obsession and are therefore morally repellant. Any diet that suggests cutting out food groups or components of food — such as gluten or actual solids — for the purpose of losing weight is, unless prescribed by an actual doctor, absolute nonsense. It does no one any favours other than food manufacturers [&helliop;]. Eat healthily, by all means, but you know what would make everyone feel a lot better? If detoxes were detoxed from our world.

  7. blf says

    Could be lack of cheese. You did say MDP was back.

    If it’s a lack of cheese caused by the mildly deranged penguin, there would be no doubt. Look for the footprints in the cake frosting, the penguin-shaped holes (usually in the walls, but also check the floor, ceiling, and other dimensions), and an empty cheeseboard.

  8. blf says

    Africans urged to back continent’s first moon mission:

    Africa2Moon to use crowdfunding for first phase, with organisers hoping to inspire next generation of engineers and scientists

    “The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena,” wrote the astronomer Carl Sagan. “Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors, so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot.”

    Africa has had its fair share of self-important generals and emperors who failed to comprehend the bigger picture. Now the continent is being asked to gaze upward and unite for a common goal: its first mission to the moon.

    Organisers of Africa2Moon hope to inspire and educate a new generation of engineers and scientists, as well as shattering prejudices in the rest of the world that often paint this as a hopeless, dependent and scientifically illiterate continent.


    The ultimate ambition, which could take a decade, is to put a probe on the lunar surface or in orbit around it, then beam back live pictures via the internet to classrooms all over Africa. It will also be a platform for experiments proposed by scientists. But Weltman believes the journey is as important as the destination: every year there will be a related project inviting mass participation.


    In a recent blogpost, headed “Doesn’t Africa have bigger priorities than going to the moon?”, [manager of the project Jonathan] Weltman wrote: “I was spurred into writing this post after hearing a seriously bright, well qualified and well respected young man, from a very humble and typical rural African upbringing, remark on reading negative comments on stories about Africa2Moon: ‘HOW DARE THEY’.

    “By that he meant how dare anyone tell him what he is and is not allowed to aspire to. How dare anyone, who has not walked in his shoes to get where he has gotten, diminish his achievements by telling him there are more important priorities.”


    Some commentators wish for a second space race to the moon or Mars, with the US stirred into a spending frenzy by Chinese successes. This could be disastrous. The last thing that the exploration of space needs is another unsustainable injection of cash for a short-lived, grandstanding victory.

    Let us hope that this new space race proceeds as it has started: with each country or group of countries developing a sustainable programme to match its individual aims and needs – and with members of the public fully involved, helping to choose those missions.

  9. Brony, Social Justice Cenobite says

    @ opposablethumbs 483

    That article lines up so closely with things I have been hearing around here. It’s almost like a culture that makes rape easier, a “rape culture” if you will, creates certain attitudes and behaviors. And people who have to worry about such a culture are able to describe it.

    Imagine that.

  10. says

    Mormons are stalkers, more or less officially, of their own members, including those who no longer attend a mormon church.
    Excerpt below:

    […] To find members, visit the last known address:
    Talk with neighbors, a building supervisor, manager, or owner, if known or available.
    Contact other family currently living at the member’s last known address.
    Contact the new individual or family living there.
    Contact neighbors adjacent to the member’s last known address.
    Or use the telephone:

    Call the member’s last known phone number. It may be a cell phone that they still have or the member may have notified the phone company of their new number.
    Contact known relatives in the area.
    Contact the phone company information service or operator and ask for new phone listings in the area that may not have been published to online phone directories.

    Within the ward:
    If the member was in the ward or area for some period of time, seek information from other ward members who may know the member.

    Via the postal service:
    Send a letter to the member’s address asking for their new address and expressing your concern for their welfare. In the United States, to find whether the member has given the United States Postal Service (USPS) a forwarding address, add the words Return Service Requested to the envelope. This instructs the USPS to not forward the mail, but return it to the sender with the forwarding address attached. (This is one of four different phrases the USPS uses; for complete details, see Special Address Services.) Postal service practices vary from country to country. Some countries prohibit the postal service from disclosing change of address information. […]

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

    Return From The Stars…. I wish I’d skipped that one. Maybe it turns better, but I’m not sure I want to finish it.

    Men have returned from a space mission to a changed world where people don’t know and can’t do anything violent. An egalitarian society. Robots do most of the work. You don’t have to pay for most things (food, accomodation). Astronauts hate it.
    At the moment I’m at the part where main character informs a woman that caught his fancy that he “will take her away” whether she lilkes it or not. SHe can’t resist thanks to the proceedure that eliminates capability of doing violence. (he already kissed an unwilling woman on another occasion, but that turned out to be ok because she was hot for bad boy who can do violence when others can’t)

    What the hell??
    I thought Lem’s was another kind of SF. Yeah, yeah, a product of his time, but still.

    Maybe there’s some great revelation and change of heart in the end? Because right now it looks like brave heroes are supposed to be the good guys.

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

    Thanks for the recipe.
    Unfortunately, I don’t think I can get either of the two recommended types of flour here, but I might try it with something else.

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

    That rape was kind of the last drop and I’m done with this story. I think it might have ruined Lem for me before I even started reading him properly.
    Tales of Pirx The Pilot were amazing, but this is so so bad.

  14. opposablethumbs says

    rq, hope your organism is hale and that you feel OK again now/very very soon!

    Brony, yes. Imagine that, indeed. But people who talk about rape culture are all hysterical feminazis!!1!!1!!!elebenty!!!!!1!!

  15. says

    Our household has been colonized by an evil microorganism of some kind that’s left us both completely without energy. I keep starting posts on various threads, but running out of steam after a sentence or two. Not as rupt as this post may indicate, but I probably will be before I respond thoroughly again.

    Lynna #13
    Yeah, L has stories to tell about leaving the Mormons. After he threatened legal action if anyone ever contacted him on behalf of the church again, they finally left off.

  16. carlie says

    Is it bad that I’ve thrown up every time I’ve eaten today? Seems like that would be bad.

  17. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    Is it bad that I’ve thrown up every time I’ve eaten today?

    Maybe try an hour at a time, rather than eating the whole day all at once? ;/

    Yeah, that doesn’t sound good.

  18. says

    carlie, that’s the kind of thing that made me lose weight this Xmas: eight straight days of being unable to keep anything inside. Not meds, not food, nothing but water, and then only by ice cubes – drinking water directly even sometimes set off the heaves. Anecdotally, I’m hearing this from people all over the place.

  19. Portia (aka Smokey the Advocate) says


    Um…ginger tea? Wait, no, peppermint tea?
    *hugs* :(
    My nurse cousin told me if you can manage to keep water in your stomach for ten minutes, that’s how long your body takes to absorb some of it. In the interest of hydration.

    I hope you and L feel better :( Yuck yuck.

    The snow is pouring down. Fingers crossed that everyone drives nice and slowly and patiently and that keeps them all on the roads and I don’t have to go out in this myself.

    it’s the perfect time of year to knit a tea cozy.

  20. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    -15 here in Chiwaukee. Expecting some snow from the WSW, I have the window on the East side of the car cracked open to equilibrate the humidity. Should be interesting in the morning.

  21. carlie says

    Thanks – water works fine, mostly. And no fever. I have a friend I spent some time with last week between when she got the superflu and found out that’s what it was, so I’m hoping this is weirdly psychosomatic because of same. CatieCat – that sounds awful. :(

    Portia – wouldn’t the tea leak through the holes in the knit? ;)

  22. says

    Today’s high was 80° F, with nasty hot winds. It’s supposed to be warmer tomorrow, but 20° cooler with a chance of showers by next weekend. So we had just enough rain to make the grass grow back; now it’ll dry out and burn at the smallest spark.

    All of you in the frozen zones, stay safe and warm and drive carefully. I know all of you will, it’s the people around you who worry me.

  23. says

    Yeah, we had wildly different reactions in the house where five of us got sick. Mine was gastric, achey, and very fatiguing. MM’s was three weeks long, heavy cough, bronchial, slight nausea, the others were various other combos. The only pattern we could discern was that stronger immune systems got more gatstric and less cough, and it was much shorter; the more compromised the immune system, the longer and more pulmonary it was.

    My sympathies to all suffering, it really is a knockdown thing.

  24. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Ugh, one of the Redhead’s caregivers had the crude, but came here, but not to work. At least she wore a mask.

  25. rq says

    Oh no, hope it passes quickly- hope the fluids, at least, attempt to stay down for at least 20 minutes! :( Feel better soon!

    Ew, that sounds like a terrible way to spend festive holidays. :( Glad everyone’s on the mend!

    Sympathies to everyone else suffering. I’m still unsure on the exhaustion/lurgi connection, but at least I don’t feel worse today.
    And the backyard that is the skating rink is well on its way to becoming an actual skating rink. Whee! Now we’re just expecting more snow for the bobsleigh track.

  26. rq says

    Oh, and we’re supposed to get the century’s second strongest storm on Sunday. I suppose they’re leaving some room for the strongest…?

  27. carlie says

    I just woke up in the middle of the night to throw up. *sigh*
    What’s creeping me out is that the nausea comes on so fast – I’m getting a minute or two’s notice at best that I need to reach a suitable destination. I can’t remember being sick like that since I was a little kid. If only it had been during break instead of the day we come back from it, but at least I still have this week as kind of cushion before the real fun starts back up. Child 1 has been running a fever for two solid weeks now, so I’m going to assume he’s had the same virus with different symptoms and will be somewhat immune. Child 2 almost never gets sick nowadays, so hopefully he’s got a strong enough constitution to hold it off. Spouse, though… he’ll get it, get it worse than me, and be insufferable ;)

  28. says

    Good morning

    Get well soon, carlie
    In Germany we swear on coke an pretzels for this kind of stuff

    I hate those superlatives. The biggest/strongest/coldest/whatever of the century (it’s only year 15) or even better, all times (dude, is it the Apocaplypse? If not, there are plenty of times to still come)

    Cold but really ok for January. My family, inspired by Mr, has taken to complaining about the fact that it’s not spring yet. Ehm, no. It’s January. You don’t get any sympathy for your perma-whining about the fact that the weather is pretty normal for your place and time.

  29. rq says

    Here’s hoping that Spouse escapes it, by some freak of luck.
    And you, get well soon!!! ♥

  30. bassmike says

    Happy New Year everyone!

    Sounds like there’s a lot of sickness around at the moment. I hope everyone who is suffering gets well soon.

    I’m glad that rq has cleaned the lounge. Don’t worry, I can take care of the washing up. Though, with the re-appearance of the MDP, I’m guessing that there may not be a lot left to wash up once the penguin has passed through.

    I had a decent break. My daughter’s toilet training has started to take shape: there are more voluntary visits and less accidents. On the downside, she seems to have something against me, and going to nursery. I can’t really explain why.

    Anyway, it’s great to catch up with everyone again. *hugs*

  31. opposablethumbs says

    Hugs and flu/lurgi commiserations to Dalillama and L, carlie et al, belatedly to CaitiCat and to everybody else where appropriate and acceptable. Still got the tail-end of the cough from our local version which breezed in just before Presents-and-Food day, though it’s now abated to the point of mild annoyance; it was the worst I’d experienced for a few years at least. I hope you all get shut of yours – also voting for sips of ginger tea (possibly followed by dry toast when ready, at a later stage) to help get through the nausea bit. Ugh. Lots of sympathy.

    And oh the 24/7 business that is having a very young child, bassmike … dog, but it’s a relentless job for a time! Glad you’re enjoying some progress there :-) and hopefully, re any recalcitrance, “this too shall be grown out of”?

    I believe the appropriate thing is to knit the cosy out of tea. Tea bush fibre is bound to be knittable … well, to the experts around here anyway. This works by sympathetic magic, of course, to keep the teapot focused on its mystical duties, the saucers flying and the milk on the right Way.

  32. carlie says

    rq and Dalillama, are you feeling better at all yet?

    Just got up for the morning and feel ok, maybe it was a fluke? Or food poisoning? Had a handful of crackers, will see how that goes.

    In Germany we swear on coke an pretzels for this kind of stuff

    Ok, that settles something for me. I remember when I was a kid we used to use Coke syrup for nausea – we’d buy it from the pharmacy. But I seem to be the only person I’ve met who had even heard of it, and was starting to wonder if I had dreamed it up or if my family was really weird. But no! I shall now assume Coke is commonly known as a stomach settler.
    (also makes sense that people found that out about the syrup’s medicinal properties, given that sodas started out as a pharmacy side product)

  33. says

    Giliell, carlie, my mother swore by cola syrup for nausea – they still sell it in drugstores here, next to the Dramamine. It’s probably why I can’t stand cola.

    carlie, don’t be surprised if you run a fever tomorrow or the next day, that’s how my plague went. I hope your husband and child who is not yet sick stay that way.

    Everybody who’s feeling under the weather, take care and feel better soon.

  34. says

    Fuzzy blankets to everyone feeling under-the-weather.
    I myself am just expelling the remaining alien embryos from my sinuses from my latest sickness. I’ve been very lucky to (so far) not have a full-blown flu, but a string of colds. I blame the petri dish that is my little nephew.

    I have a question for the English-speaking loungers. (I speak American, not necessarily English.) What does “biscuit” refer to? I always thought it meant a sweet baked thingy, what I’d call a “cookie.” But I saw an English baking show where they made unsweetened “biscuits,” or what I’d call “crackers.” So “biscuit” refers to any smallish unyeasted baked thingy, regardless of sweetness?

  35. bassmike says

    awakeinamo in the UK biscuits are indeed ‘smallish unyeasted baked thingies. However, if someone offers you a biscuit, it is generally the sweetened kind. I always think of biscuit as equivalent to the American cookie. But I guess this excludes savoury ones. Anyway, if my memory serves, my local supermarket has a ‘savoury biscuit’ isle and a ‘sweet biscuit’ one. Confusing ain’t it?

  36. rq says

    My knowledge of ‘biscuits’ comes more from reading, and centres around hardtack.
    But according to definition, yes, ‘biscuit’ is unyeasted baked thing, while the American version is like a scone but without the sugar (I believe). Perhaps something like a crumpet. Or an English muffin.


    I am about even with the weather today, so it’s just a matter of returning to work/school schedules rather than any particular bacterium or virus. I believe all your good thoughts may have helped stave off a worser illness. ;) Thank you for the kind thoughts, and I continue to extend many of mine for anyone else still somewhat under the weather, may improvements come quick and relieving.

  37. says

    Get Well wishes for all those now suffering from what I had last Saturday. Sorry if I gave it to you.

    carlie 46

    I have also heard of Coke for nausea, but not since I was a kid (I just turned 48 last week). In my house, we used ginger ale, back when there was actually enough ginger in the soda to actually matter.

    awakeinmo 50

    “Biscuit” to me means the slightly dense and crumbly dinner and sometimes breakfast (see Biscuits and gravy) roll. I didn’t know other things were called biscuits until I came across tea biscuits at some point.

    I caught a commercial for that movie, “American Sniper” starring Bradley Cooper (who I like) and directed by Clint Eastwood (who I like as a director despite the other stuff) a few weeks ago. I saw the book a few days after and picked it up. The commercials make it look like he is thoughtful or reflective about his experiences.

    Not so much on the reflective is this guy. And it’s not because of what happened to him in the war — he went into it that way. I wanted to feel bad for the guy for having to go to war and having to do all those things to get himself and his fellow soldiers through it, but he just plain gloried in it all. He looked forward to going to kill the enemy. He worried that his helicopter was going to get shot down on the way in to Iraq and he wouldn’t get “to smoke anyone”. They played games with new ways to kill “the savages”. He was annoyed that the Rules of Engagement wouldn’t let him kill more.

    It was partly fascinating, and largely frightening, look into what that blind patriotism the right-wing is always talking about leads to.

  38. says

    Dalillama @19

    Lynna #13
    Yeah, L has stories to tell about leaving the Mormons. After he threatened legal action if anyone ever contacted him on behalf of the church again, they finally left off.

    Yeah, I know ex-mormons who have called the cops on them. Mormons basically force one to be rude and/or to take legal action.

    Another tactic that sometimes works is to start asking questions about Joseph Smith pressuring 14 year old girls to marry him.

  39. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    Fuck. With everything else going on, I’d almost forgotten about the Sidestabbing Lickspittle wing of the atheist movement. But they’re still out there, it seems. :(

  40. Saad says

    Zaid Ali, a YouTuber popular among Indians and Pakistanis who does short funny videos about Desi culture broke from his normal routine to make a video speaking up against the harassment of women.

    It’s great that he used his channel to address the topic, but it doesn’t seem quite like the right message: Don’t harass a woman because she could be someone’s sister or mother. On top of that, I think the idea is that someone would be a man.

  41. says

    About those door-to-door religious types – my late father would talk their ears off, in the friendliest way. Elder Daughter asks questions about the Bible or the Book of Mormon, as applicable. Once they find out she knows more about their sacred texts than they do, they run away. A friend of a friend invites them to join her in her rituals, which, she tells them, involves dancing naked around the fig tree in the back yard. I just tell them we aren’t religious and shut the door quickly.

  42. Saad says

    Oh, I didn’t realize there aren’t subtitles. The guys are first talking about how they did on a science exam, then one of them brags about getting a girl’s number. They then see a woman leaving the building and decide to catcall and follow her and harass her. She turns around and Zaid’s character realizes it’s his sister.

    I do like the title of the video though.

  43. says

    Rachel Maddow just buried Steve Scalise last night, and David Duke while she was at it.
    Maddow link #1.
    It’s a 19 minute video, but so worth the time. Best coverage I’ve seen, by far.

    Maddow link #2. Video with follow up interview.

    One point Maddow made was that Republicans kicked Cantor out and that got rid of the only Jewish Republican in Congress. Now they are keeping a guy with ties to neo-nazis.

  44. Nick Gotts says

    However, if someone [in the UK] offers you a biscuit, it is generally the sweetened kind. – bassmike@51

    Unless you’re a dog ;-)

  45. rq says

    Happy belated birthday! :)

    I hate the ‘someone’s sister’ or ‘someone’s mother’ deterrent – like it doesn’t matter that they’re people. You (menfolk prone to catcalling in a general sense) don’t catcall your man friends or other guys on the street in order to meet them and perhaps set up a manly movie night or something, why would you do it to women? Who happen to be people? It’s nice that Zaid is speaking out about it, but…. yeah. That ‘someone’s this-or-that’ has got to go.

  46. rq says

    ‘Kay, I realize my headphones at work are crappy, but the fact that the left side shuts off randomly is making me freak out that I’m getting an ear infection (as per the friends I visited recently were getting over a similar type infection).

  47. Saad says

    Anne, #61

    I wish I had the confidence or off the cuff humor to do something like that. I also just say “not interested and close the door”.

  48. cicely says

    I don’t feel well.

    Peas. It’s always the peas!

    Except when it’s the Horses.
    In either case, moar *napalm!* is probably your best bet for treatment.
    Srsly, though, get wellest soon!

    Best of luck and Medical Science in repelling the invaders from your household, Dalillama.

    Oh, dear.
    carlie, too?
    *proffering the barf bucket*, and readying the *chikkensoop*, for when Normal Digestive Processes have resumed.


    You don’t get any sympathy for your perma-whining about the fact that the weather is pretty normal for your place and time.

    But my toooooooes are so coooooold….

    *hugs* for bassmike, and hurray for the toilet training progress.


    This works by sympathetic magic, of course, to keep the teapot focused on its mystical duties, the saucers flying and the milk on the right Way.


    We always went with 7-Up and crackers when vomitously unwell. Result: I now have little interest in consuming either. I’m thinking there might be some kind of conditioned association, here….

  49. blf says

    It’s the peas!
    It’s always the peas!!!1!
    Even the biscuit, door-to-door or telephoning kook-a-loons, and especially the the rather annoyed reindeer stuck in the chimney (who had to hide someplace when the peas snowed down, so quickly built a chimney and jumped in).

  50. blf says

    But my toooooooes are so coooooold….

    You seem to have some *napalm* at hand. Try it at foot.

  51. cicely says

    My toes are simultaneously too close, and too far, for accurate targeting. It’s the bifocals.
    Additionally, there’s the collateral damage to be considered; I suspect that a *napalm!*-ing thorough enough to drive the cold out of my toes, would do my knees no good at all.
    And the world revolves around the condition of my knees. It would therefore be an unconscionable risk to everyone…at least, until we have a suitable replacement planet lined up.

  52. rq says

    Me, though, I’m not going to complain about this wonderful January cold (at least until the car stops starting). It means we can finally get the skating rink in order. Husband’s been looking forward to this since November, when he put the boards up. Please, Nature, let me have a happy Husband!
    That Second Largest Storm of the Century looming for Sunday should bring in some wonderful amounts of snow to accelerate and facilitate the process. With perhaps enough of the frozen precipitation to put up the bobsleigh/skeleton track as well. Double-whee!!! (Perhaps if I build it, they will come…)

  53. blf says

    [T]he world revolves around the condition of my knees.

    The crank that turns the world, making it revolve, was disconnected some time ago. The motive power now comes from a cleaver system of pulleys, banana bread crumbs, and wannabe zombies spinning in their graves.

    The blueprints I’ve seen for the crank don’t indicate it was supposed to be turned by the knees. In fact, it wasn’t really meant to do a full 360° turn. You were supposed to hold with your elbow on one side and nose on the other side, and jump up-and-down.

    The motivating power for jumping up and down, vigorously and often, was the floor was covered in peas.

  54. blf says

    I’m not going to complain about this wonderful January cold…

    Skyfaerie Weatherbrewery has just reported the storm’s been called off. Apparently, it would interfere with plans for building staking rinks and bobsleigh tracks.

  55. cicely says

    blf, it’s the condition of the knees, i.e., just how much they suck on any given day. It’s one of those quantum-entanglement thingies.
    And it’s not going to matter how deep you heap the peas, these knees won’t be motivated to allow for jumping.
    Clearly, I’m going to kneed a stunt double for that part.

  56. says

    Now that we have more Republicans in control here, there and everywhere in the USA, brace yourself for lots of restrictive laws aimed at women’s reproductive rights.
    Mother Jones link.

    […] Next year, Republicans will control 11 more legislative chambers than they did in 2014. […] there are no major elections to take up lawmakers’ time or cause them worry about war-on-women attacks. […]

    […] this list only covers states where bills have actually been submitted. In other states, abortion foes are still scribbling away.

    In Iowa, […] a bill that bans physicians from giving instructions on abortion-inducing drugs by webcam or phone. […]

    Arkansas Republicans want to ban telemedicine abortions and stop government money from going to an STI prevention program run by Planned Parenthood because of the group’s affiliation with abortion services.

    Republicans in Wisconsin will push a 20-week abortion ban and an audit of Planned Parenthood to investigate whether the group is overbilling Medicaid.

    […] New Hampshire Republicans have started drafting two abortion acts, one “relative to banning abortion after viability” and the other “prohibiting the use of public funds for abortion services.”

    […] in Ohio, the state’s Right to Life president has promised that his group will help lawmakers draft a “rather large and robust” slate of anti-abortion laws next year.

    […] women who want abortions in Missouri must listen to their providers read a medically inaccurate script describing the risks of the procedure. This bill instructs the state’s health department to turn that script into a video that women must watch on top of hearing her doctor read the information. The video would tell women that fetuses 22 weeks and older can feel pain and that there are “adverse psychological effects associated with abortion.” Mainstream medical organizations reject both of these assertions. The video will also tell women that “the life of each human being begins at conception. Abortion will terminate the life of a separate, unique, living human being.”

    […] This legislation would prevent towns or counties from passing laws that regulate crisis pregnancy centers. In the past, lawmakers have used legislation to rein in crisis pregnancy centers’ deceptive practices.

    […] , if the father of a child tried to coerce the mother into having an abortion, a court may deny him custody. […] A measure that would force women seeking an abortion to get “written, notarized consent” from the man who impregnated her. […] a minor who wants an abortion must have the consent of one parent […]

    South Carolina […] ban abortion 20 weeks after fertilization, based on the scientifically discredited notion that fetuses at that age can feel pain […]

    Tennessee: Mandatory ultrasound […] Voters in November approved constitutional language that paves the way for new abortion restrictions. The speaker of the state House of Representatives is drafting three anti-abortion bills for 2015: One measure would set up a mandatory waiting period between a woman’s first visit to an abortion clinic and the time of the procedure. A second would force women to undergo counseling, known as informed consent, before an abortion. And a third would add new, unspecified inspection requirements for abortion facilities. […]

    Texas: Banning Planned Parenthood from sex ed […] Mandatory adoption seminars […]

  57. says

    Phyllis Schlafly said some stupid stuff:

    Distraught that women are outpacing men in college enrollments, Eagle Forum founder Phyllis Schlafly took to WorldNetDaily this week to float the idea that colleges should enforce a gender quota to even out admissions to the benefit of men. […]

    Schlafly also called for colleges to stop enforcing Title IX, which prevents sex discrimination in education, as a way to attract men, alleging that the anti-discrimination measure “removes a primary motivation for young men to go to college, many of whom want to try out for a sport even if they are not good enough to make the team.”

    All of this, the right-wing activist insists, would actually benefit women because it would give them more available men to date. […]

    Right Wing Watch link.

  58. says

    This is a followup to my comment #80. Some legislation in that list provides protections and support for so-called “crisis pregnancy centers.” And, yes, rightwing religious doofuses are really into increasing the number of these deceptive centers, and they are into protecting them with big government laws that discriminate against legitimate pregnancy centers.

    […] Operation Rescue’s Troy Newman described his group’s work targeting abortion providers as a “remove and replace” operation to shut down abortion clinics, which he equated with Satan, and replace them with anti-choice crisis pregnancy centers.

    “We’re saving over 600,000 babies a year by removing these horrible death centers and replacing them with Christ-centered pregnancy help centers,” Newman boasted to McManus. Operation Rescue, which keeps thorough records of abortion providers in its efforts to shut them down, recently reported a 23 percent drop in surgical abortion providers over the past five years, the result of a variety of forces. […]

    Uh, yeah, Christ-centered pregnancy help. Nightmare.

  59. rq says

    Lynna @81
    Well, the primary reason I went to college (university) was to find more available men to date, but for some reason all that education and academic studying got in the way of that, even with the abundance of young, available, marriageable men. Weird how that works. Was I in the wrong program, or at the wrong university altogether?
    (Also, isn’t women dating multiple men kind of anathema to right-wing acivists? Or is dating okay, as long as they don’t go beyond first base with any of them?)

  60. Saad says

    Lynna, #81

    From the article:

    But when colleges eliminate men’s sports, women are hurt by the resulting gender imbalance in enrollment.

    My face was stuck in the David Silverman expression for a good 10 seconds at this one.

  61. says

    rq and Saad, Phyllis Schlafly deserves all of the sarcasm and all of the “are you serious” looks we can send her way. My theory is that Schlafly’s helmet hair has negatively affected her brain. We need to put cheese in there and have the MDP break the helmet.

    As for rq actually studying at university instead of focusing on dating, we have seen this tendency to value the intellect from her before. I’m afraid she is a lot cause. Mormons also would not approve as they send their daughters to BYU solely to find a husband. This works so well that Utah has a terrible graduation rate for women. They drop out and get married.

    Female students can date multiple men if they engage Phyllis to accompany them on each date.

  62. rq says

    I was trying to figure out what a ‘lot cause’ is. Perhaps a variation on the ‘Lot cause’?
    (Also, I’ll have to spread the word that marriage is incompatible with studying at university. I have some friends who need to be seriously taught. *side-eyes Giliell*)

  63. blf says

    [I]t’s the condition of the knees, … one of those quantum-entanglement thingies.

    Sounds a lot the orking. Didn’t yer cow even tell you you shouldn’t orking?

    My face was stuck in the David Silverman expression…

    That sounds like a rather painful orking, especially for Mr Silverman.

  64. blf says

    There were (a) So few cootie-carriers, (b) All of whom were quite serious on that studying thing, that no MRS degrees were awarded (where I did undergraduate studies). Most of the majority half were also so into that studying thing I don’t think they’d know what a date was, excepting perhaps Radiometric, Palms, and computer commands. I certainly didn’t.

  65. blf says

    My theory is that Schlafly’s helmet hair has negatively affected her brain. We need to put cheese in there and have the MDP break the helmet.

    A Schlafly is surrounded by such an incredibly dense field of oblivious antireality unfactrons it can deflect two peas at once, usually at increased velocities via a set of previously-unknown Laws of Physics. This field is measured in Schlaflies, defined as one Phyllis is surrounded by a field of one Schlalfy. Due to its obliviousness, denseness, and factfree nonreality, measuring Schlaflies is quite difficult, and there is no reliable instrument or test. Hence, it is a matter of considerable debate what the Schlafly-value of an Andy is, albeit Professor Richard Lenski did demonstrate that the Andy field is very dense, exceptionally oblivious, devoid of all identifiable reality, and comprised only of antifacts.

  66. says

    . *side-eyes Giliell*

    Now that you mention it, some folks today presented some exercises. One was a sorting exercise. You should bring the items into the chronological order. Items were: start school, get married, get engaged, get divorced, graduate, die.
    I was thinking that if I really hurried I could get a divorce in before “graduated”. Which would mean the sequence “graduate – die” would be correct.

  67. blf says

    Oh… and since it’s impossible to get close enough due to the Schlafly field, no cheese could be put in, on, or near the helmet. Excepting, of course, British Industrial Cheddar, but that is not going to attract the mildly deranged penguin.

  68. blf says

    Chronological order, eh? First, obviously, is cheese. Then get divorced. Several times, just to make sure. Moar cheese. Graduate. Lots moar cheese. Also, cheese. Die. Avoid stakes, garlic, silver, and mirrors. Moar cheese instead. And MUSHROOMS! So good, do the whole dying thing again. Then marry. And finally, engage the cheese to start the school.

  69. says

    I like the idea of measuring anti-fact force fields in “Schlaflies.” I think I have some neighbors who might rate a 10.

    Here’s a Schlafly quote for us to ponder: “The imbalance of far more women than men at colleges has been a factor in the various sex scandals that have made news in the last couple of years.”

  70. carlie says

    Made it through the day without puking! Although there was much nausea. Once when I was walking across campus the jostling of walking almost put me over the edge, but I made it through most of the day at work and a few errands. Now, after getting dinner ready, I shall relax on the couch and watch the last Parks and Recreation season finale again on tv, in preparation for the last season starting next week. *sniffle*

    If we’re all talked out on the subject of biscuits, can I throw in “what is a dumpling?” :) *runs away cackling*
    *stops running because tummy hurts*
    *should have known better*

  71. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    Made it through the day without puking!

    Don’t look immediately upthread.

  72. blf says

    Ten ton mound of dinosaur bones

    That’s what happens when you bait the mildly deranged penguin with some cheese, but do a switch so all she finds is British Industrial Cheddar. And don’t even think to use a pea…

  73. rq says

    Because women are like desserts in the eyes of men.

    Any of them have warm chocolate brownies with whipped cream on top..?

  74. says

    Apartment lease approved. Provided utility hookup doesn’t get delayed, I should be able to start hauling all my stuff down there on Friday.

  75. cicely says


    Apartment lease approved. Provided utility hookup doesn’t get delayed, I should be able to start hauling all my stuff down there on Friday.


  76. rq says

    Outsourcing to science-y folk in, preferably, Europe, but the rest of the world welcome, too:
    For work, I (and all my colleagues) have to internet-search for work-related seminars at little-to-no-cost to go to this year. Specifically, this should be DNA analysis, but more generally, anything vaguely forensics / crime scene / evidence collection / database maintenance would do, as well.
    So, two things:
    1) suggestions on where/how to start looking?
    2) anyone already know of anything particularly wonderful (preferably for cheap at a prime holiday location)?

  77. birgerjohansson says

    “I thought Lem’s was another kind of SF. Yeah, yeah, a product of his time, but still.”
    Return from the stars is a bit of a pot-boiler, and yeah, he was old-fashioned in his outlook on gender as well as sex.
    I recommend you read his other novels, like Peace on Earth or A Chain of Chance.
    — — — —
    What the hell. Has Hotmail imploded into a black hole? I hav been unable to log in for almost a week.
    North Korea, I am looking at you :(

  78. A. Noyd says

    birgerjohansson (#109)

    Has Hotmail imploded into a black hole? I hav been unable to log in for almost a week.

    It let me log in just now. The only issue I had was how it immediately tried to mug me for another email address or my phone number in case anything happens to the account. But I told it to fuck off and got to my inbox just fine.

  79. says

    Good morning!
    Hmmm, my fruit pie filling for breakfast cereal experiment is coming along nicely. Question will be how well does it keep. So, if you’re fond of the fruity nutty breakfast ceral varieties but don’t like the insane amounts of added sugar and price increase, go for this (though mine is not quite as cheap as I used an entire pound of walnuts. But it’s also a lot, so I expect it to last for a few weeks).

    Yay carlie!

    Yay gworrol
    In case you have lots of books: I found that cheap cotton totes were perfect for transporting them: They don’t get too heavy and you can carry one in each hand, making for a nice balance.

    Language quirks
    A) How do you people pronounce “schlepping”?
    B) Cosmetics companies are trying to make Germans change words. For probably historic reasons, make-up in German is “Schminke”, but the word “Make-up” refers to what you call foundation. They’re obviously trying to sell it as “Foundation” here, too.
    C) John Scalzi seems to think that German is a super-language with a word for everything (he frequently tweets stuff like “There must be a German word for…”) Dirty secret: We don’t have a word for everything. BUT we can easily make one :)



    Please don’t judge the title, just read it: Why We Didn’t Vaccinate Our Child. Read the whole thing.

    There’s an old joke in German:
    -What did you do in school today?
    -How do you say “hello” in Algebra?

  80. carlie says

    Ha! Dawkins sez: “I apologize for the tone of some of my tweets. Incredulity at those who took ‘Atheists are a race’ literally aroused my inner elitist demons.” Dude. Your inner elitist is a surface elitist.

    Shlepping – I pronounce it with an “eh” for the e (as in “wet”),

  81. says

    Oh fuck, there’s been an attack on the French magazine Charlie Hebdo with at least 10 dead.

    I was more interested in the start: sh as in shit or sch as in school?

    Re: Dawkins
    There must be a sub-rule to Poe’s law: When people are so used to you tweeting completely horrible, bigotted, irrational shit that nobody, neither friend nor foe notices when you’re “making a joke”.

  82. says

    I was wondering. It’s a common German verb (for example peope will call a laptop a Schlepptop ’cause, you know, you schlepp it everywhere). And if the English language has shown one thing it’s that you can never be sure how you people actually pronounce anything.

    I need a nap.
    The events in Paris are horrifying enough, but my usually cool Twitter timeline answering with “everybody draw Mohamed” when nothing is known about the killers and motives yet is too much on a Wednesday.

  83. rq says

    With the ‘sh’ as in ‘shit’. Though I’ll have to attempt ‘sklepping’ for a while, might be interesting.

    rE: Paris, I just got in from outside and I am horrified, death toll so far at 12, incl. 2 police officers. :(


    Shooting Chauvet: Photographing the World’s Oldest Cave Art. I’ve seen Werner Herzog’s Cave of Forgotten Dreams on these cave drawings, and it is amazing artwork whether photographed or recorded on video. Absolutely stunning – and 22 000 years old.
    Also in France. Were people as horrible back then, too?

  84. says

    I’ve got to do an interview for BBC radio this morning, so updates around here might be a little delayed. Also…5 days until classes start up again. Busy busy busy.

  85. carlie says

    Oh – “sh” is always sh, it only gets the hard k sound if a c is inserted for sch (but not always even then)

  86. says

    Giliell, one thing learning four orthographies has taught me is what a heartless chimeric mongrel it is that English speakers use as a cobbled-together shitty excuse for a written system of expression. It’s hideously difficult to master, even for monolingual native speakers. So I totally get wanting to check. :)

  87. says

    Other fun news: I seem to have a tiny touch of frostbite in the tips of my toes. They were painin’ me all night after I was outside for all of two minutes to gas up my wife’s car. Yes, I was wearing shoes and socks.

    When the weather service tells you that it’s dangerously cold, with -40 windchill, you really ought to pay close attention.

  88. says

    *Ouch* PZ
    Maybe next year we should give you those socks you can heat uo electrically for christmas?

    Which one is your favourite?
    Mine’s Spanish, which is very regular, followed by German, followed by French (that works at least from reading to speaking). English is the worst one I know. While the rules to Gaelic seemed pretty weird, there seemed at least to be rules

  89. carlie says

    Ouch, PZ! Our forecast is for minus real temps with colder windchills tomorrow – I assume that the schools will go on a 2 hour delay, and if not I’ll be driving them. Nobody should be walking around in that.

  90. says

    It’s only -30 wind chill here.

    Spanish is lovely and very regular, Giliell, and Japanese has a basically clean system outside kanji – they have their own logic, but they’re a monster to learn. The kana are clear and consistent.

    Russian has fairly clear orthography, but it has its oddnesses (-его, -ого; о/а substitution, e.g.) that can make transcription tricky.

    German’s way more regular than French, at least. French is about half as bad as English – we’ve got the Angle/Saxon layer, plus our Greek and Latin fetish, but they keep borrowing from our mongrelsy too.

    So I’d arrange them Spanish, Japanese, Russian, German, French, and English. :)

  91. birgerjohansson says

    PZ, if you want to get rid of necrotic tissue, I recommend adding maggots to your toes. They are quite specific about only eating dead tissue.

    — — — —
    Holy Benedict Arnold, Batman! I just saw the video for “Anaconda”. I watch “Family Guy” on a regular basis…. and even so I think this was gross.

    — — — —
    “I’ve got to do an interview for BBC radio this morning” (PZ, please mention Svante Pääbo and his Neanderthal DNA as a possible choice for their next celebrity interview, hint,hint)

  92. birgerjohansson says

    More effective diet pill (fexaramine): ‘Imaginary meal’ tricks the body into losing weight

    — — — —
    This sort of issue is a target-rich environment for sceptics: “Four healthy ageing diet myths busted”

    — — — —
    Why living longer is actually good for economic growth.

  93. David Wilford says

    I swear by heavy wool socks in our Wisconsin winters and boots that can handle the snow and cold, fashion be damned.

  94. Brony, Social Justice Cenobite says

    Sorry this is so long. I have some complicated things I’m thinking about.

    Dawkins, Dawkins, Dawkins.
    I would think he was convenient if not for the people he is actively insulting. He is not entitled to the useful emotional connections that he is trying to make between atheism and race. I seriously doubt that he would conflate subtle physical differences with learned behavioral reactions within any other species.
    Atheist and race are not comparable categories. A lot of important information and distinctions are obliterated by such a connection, but of course that is why social drama bullshit is so useful. There is the sales pitch that appeals to the emotions of one’s in-group, and the hidden attack on the social tools of what they see as a competing group.

    Blaming his demon is interesting since the “demon” (impulsive, immature, childlike cognitive element that it is possible to control) is what led him to this to begin with. The ways that “demons” always take the place of human beings when it comes to blame and responsibility is quite fascinating. If people like him were more honest about emotion and behavior they would have the tools they need for self control and precise use of emotion. But then they would lose the ability to use emotion to manipulate. I suspect that it’s a cognitive “catch-22”, but might just be wishfully thinking that no one could be THAT consciously dishonest about reality.


    @ rq, Dalillama, cicely, carlie
    I hope you feel better today.


    There must be a sub-rule to Poe’s law: When people are so used to you tweeting completely horrible, bigotted, irrational shit that nobody, neither friend nor foe notices when you’re “making a joke”.

    Did he say it was a joke? I’m curious because his non-literal reference could just mean he was again trying badly to use an analogy.
    I’m curious because I’ve been trying to pay a lot more attention to the use of jokes since I started reading things like this, and it’s been really fascinating so far.
    Emotional structure of jokes: a corpus-based investigation.
    I’m being really careful about how I the information I find right now (it is incomplete science), but the principles have very useful implications in dealing with encountering racist, exist, ablest jokes and more. Many jokes suppress negative emotion. At the very least jokes are meant to shift emotions between negative and positive versions, or between intensities within negative or positive.

    The mere existence of this research allows one to say that jokes are very important and worth paying close attention to (especially in this supposedly science respecting community). The use of jokes that are obviously meant to be jokes allow the opportunity to discover what emotions are being shifted and what is found is often very useful in challenging jokes. It is also useful in interpreting “it was just a joke” because you can try to figure out what they are trying to suppress or shift. You can also rhetorically point out that there is always a mirror image to all jokes so it’s always worth looking at it, unless they are trying to hide something.

    I’ve been better. I was wondering if anyone is familiar with something I have been experiencing?

    I’ve been having some issues with emotions because I’m trying to reinsert myself back into an old community and stay active here at FTB (on top of trying to balance emotional issues in figuring out this blog that’s slowly progressing). It’s been difficult because it feels like I’m “emotionally partitioning” myself and it is a ‘chan community. Even the best of them are like Mos Eisley in Star Wars. I have to act very differently in that place. Acting in both communities is like tearing a part of myself in two and learn things from the ragged edges.

    It’s not that I have to behave like an insensitive jerk. Quite the contrary I have been thought of as a jerk by people there because I call out things there similarly to how I do so here. Heck, they asked me to be a moderator of their serious discussion forum a month after I let the tourette’s rage open the “mouth of hell” against sexist and misogynistic asshats (thought that was not why they hired me). I am mostly known for being nice and helpful though.

    I have to act differently because it’s a different cultural mode of being, I am perceived as an authority figure and that matters psychologically. Culture is social tools. It does things and taking it into account is useful even if the culture is normally one that people here encounter under bad conditions (the bad outlook is understandable). I have to have a nuanced persuasion toolkit because maximum persuasion for everyone around me is my goal when I do get into a discussion or argument. Sometimes rage and calling out is the best choice, sometimes being approachable lets you sink concepts and perspectives in deeper.

    It’s a strange place because a bunch of people from 4chan tried to start a community based around friendship and ponies after being expelled from 4chan. Some really meant it with respect to the kindness and friendship angle, some were just being ironic. Between one and two years after it was founded they had a schism too. There are really really good people there I want to go back for. As well as people I wanted to provide some assistance to if I could, though I have to be careful about it because it would not be asked for. For example trans individuals convinced they are basically pesticide derived developmental freaks. I’m in a very strange place right now.

  95. says

    He claimed that people just didn’t understand it was ironic or sarcastic or something like that.
    Here’s him doubling down.
    Yeah, it takes a fucking privileged white asshole to deny the intersection of racism and islamophobia (which he doesn’t think exists, those people just had it coming), ignoring the fact that people have been murdered for appearing muslim, i.e. looking like they are of Middle Eastern descent, appropriating each and every discrimination on planet earth.
    Relatedly, I just can’t anymore. This terrorist attack has left me raw. Actually not so much the terrorist attack itself, which is horrible enough, but how quickly everybody was shouting “muslims” and how I just know this is going to be used to stir hatred towards muslims, when fucking 99.9% of the victims of islamist attacks are, indeed, muslims. I fear that it will fuel the godsdamn Pegida fascists in Germany. Yes, I fear for the lives of all who look “conceivably muslim”. Just yesterday I read an article by the German feminist Alice Schwarzer where she claims that since most muslim women in Germany never wear a headscarf it’s not anti-muslim to say that teachers should not be allowed to wear one and that since 81% of muslims feel welcome in Germany the problem must lie with the 19% who don’t. They probably need to take off their headscarves.
    And now #1 is freaking out because I told her to pack coloured pencils for school tomorrow and that she has to choose from the about 500 coloured pencils we have and wont get a new pack.

    So, yeah. I’m over there in the pillow fort.

  96. Brony, Social Justice Cenobite says

    I’ll respond more fully later, but I’m hoping that my comment did not look like it was in any way trying to make any excuses for Dawkins. Rather I’m looking at this the same way a molecular virologist might look at something like rabies. The different possibilities suck but they are still different. The distinctions might make for more effective responses.

    Either way if I am providing you an opportunity to vent your frustrations I consider that a good thing. I like getting feedback on how I’m helping but want to be respectful to how tired many of you are.

  97. says

    hmmm, didn’t work, just turned into a link…

    It’s supposed to work anywhere that embedding normally works, and don’t youtube videos properly embed in our comments? So maybe I did something wrong…

  98. says

    I was recorded for a program called “More or Less”, with Tim Harford. He asked hard questions! Very entertaining for me, maybe not so much for an audience, but we’ll see.

  99. carlie says

    I subscribe to the More or Less podcast! Always interesting. Awesome that you’re on it. :)

  100. says

    “Je suis CHARLIE” is showing up all over my Instagram account, and I approve. Having terrorists attack the staff of a magazine that was publishing satirical cartoons and articles about all religions … well, that is very bad indeed.

    In other news, remember “I am not a witch” Republican candidate Christine O’Donnell? She is being sued by the FEC. Schadenfreude.

    Christine O’Donnell, a former Senate candidate and Tea Party favorite, illegally used at least $20,000 in campaign contributions to pay rent and utility bills at a townhouse where she worked and lived, according to accusations in a federal lawsuit.

    The lawsuit, filed Monday by the Federal Election Commission, involves payments at the Greenville townhouse that served as Ms. O’Donnell’s headquarters in the 2010 Senate campaign. Ms. O’Donnell, her campaign committee and her former committee treasurer, Matt Moran, are named as defendants.

    The lawsuit seeks reimbursement, civil penalties and a permanent injunction against conversion of any other campaign funds. Ms. O’Donnell, who defeated Michael N. Castle, a longtime congressman and former two-term governor, in the 2010 Republican primary but lost the general election to Chris Coons, the Democrat, accused the F.E.C. of harassing her and abusing its power.

    NY Times link.

  101. opposablethumbs says

    Did they say when it was going to be broadcast, PZ? (It’s currently showing as “not scheduled”, which probably means it won’t be aired right away?)

    (Dara O’Brian’s School of Hard Sums is the first go I’ve (personally) seen at making maths funny and attractive on TV; I certainly fancy having a listen to this. That is, I take it that “how numbers affect daily life” is the common thread running through all the episodes … ?)

  102. says

    Arrrghh, this is such bad news! Especially for the elderly and/or disabled:

    Republican opponents of Social Security have not wasted even a single day in their plan to dismantle Social Security brick by brick. What should be a dry, mundane exercise — the adoption of new rules by the newly convening House of Representatives — has turned into a stealth attack on America’s working families.

    Huffington Post link.

    As one of their first orders of business, the House Republicans approved a rule preventing routine reallocation of Social Security funds to those men, women and children who receive Social Security Disability, unless such a reallocation is accompanied by either benefit cuts or tax increases […]

    Because the Republicans will never agree to raise taxes (specifically on high-income earners or corporations), what that does is set the stage for benefit cuts in the coming two years. Because the disability trust fund is set to run dry next year. In real-world terms, that means those eleven million people who receive SS Disability will likely see their benefits cut as much as 20% by the Republican Party. […]

    The “demonization” of those receiving Disability payments is part of the broader overall GOP strategy of shifting money out of Social Security to pay for the Republicans’ main priority–tax cuts for corporations and multi-millionaires. It’s telling that both the new rule effectively preventing reallocation of Social Security Funds was included in the same piece of legislation that favorably altered the way the GOP’s tax cuts for the rich can be scored and accounted for in the budget process.

    Either way, it boils down to the Republicans declaring war on middle class Americans, to pay for tax cuts for the wealthiest.

    And anyone who doesn’t think this sets the stage for further cuts to retirees is whistling past the graveyard […]

    Daily Kos link.

  103. says

    rq @143, It’s heartening to see cartoonists all over the world taking those guys that attacked Charlie Hebdo to task. Even the mormon cartoonist that works for the Salt Lake Tribune.

  104. says

    The Charlie Hebdo offices were firebombed in November, 2011. At the time, the bombers explained themselves this way: “You keep abusing Islam’s almighty Prophet with disgusting and disgraceful cartoons using excuses of freedom of speech. Be God’s curse upon you.”

    So that’s their logic, or lack of logic. Total misunderstanding of “freedom of speech.”

  105. Owlmirror says

    Re: Schelp (Shlepp. shlep) — everyone does know that Yiddish is a [group of] dialects of German, right?

    Anyway, the OED says:
      Pronunciation: /ʃlɛp/
      Etymology: < Yiddish shlepn, < German schleppen to drag.

    The first English citation is from James Joyce’s 1922 Ulysses.

    🌠 The more you know . . .

    I’ll have to remember to use “schlepptop” more often.

  106. says

    As expected, Republicans jumped on the anti-abortion wagon immediately.

    […] On Tuesday, the very first day of the 114th Congress, two lawmakers introduced a measure to ban abortions after 20 weeks, in direct violation of the protections afforded under Roe v. Wade. Reps. Trent Franks (R-AZ) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) reintroduced the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, the same legislation that successfully passed the House last year. […]

    Franks referred to 20-week fetuses as “innocent and defenseless children who can not only feel pain, but who can survive outside of the womb in most cases, and who are torturously killed without even basic anesthesia.”
    In fact, doctors agree that fetuses cannot survive outside the womb until about 24 to 28 weeks of pregnancy, which is considered to be the legal point of viability. At less than 21 weeks, no delivered baby has ever survived. Plus, scientific research has repeatedly confirmed that fetuses cannot feel pain until after they are viable; indeed, even the researchers who are trying to learn more about fetal pain don’t want their findings to be used to justify abortion bans.

    Nonetheless, 20-week abortion bans have become increasingly popular on the state level. According to the Guttmacher Institute, which tracks reproductive rights policies, nine states currently cut off legal abortion access at 20 weeks based on the assumption that fetuses can feel pain at that point. […]

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

    re: Dawkins’ tweet
    Fine it’s a joke…. I don’t get it.
    Fine then, it’s a metaphor… For what?

    What a brilliant communicator, that man.

    re: Charlie Hebdo
    My heart goes out to families and friends of the dead and the wounded.

  108. says

    Ridiculous Catholic leaders, or should we say catholic fascists, are threatening to fire employees who express support for same-sex marriage:

    […] On Tuesday, the Archbishop of Miami, Thomas Wenski, sent a letter to his employees lamenting the arrival of marriage equality to the state and warning staff members that they could lose their jobs if they post anything to social media to express support for same-sex marriage. […]

    Think Progress link.

  109. says

    Head meet desk time, courtesy of Fox News. Those fools at Faux News are blaming the attack in Paris on France’s strict gun laws, and on too much political correctness in France. Sheesh.

    […] national security analyst KT McFarland said that “really strict gun control policy” in France contributed to the attack and claimed that France’s “politically correct ” policies that treat everyone equally were also to blame. Host Elisabeth Hasselbeck echoed support for law enforcement policies that treat people unequally and added that New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio threatens security by demoralizing the New York Police Department and painting the NYPD with “a racist brush” when officers act on that principle. […]

    Oh, yeah, bring in Mayor de Blasio and blame him for not supporting unequal enforcement policies. [more head/desk time]
    Media Matters link.

  110. blf says

    France’s … polic[y to] treat everyone equally

    The Roma would very probably like to have a word with you.

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


    the last on that topic that I read was just a couple of days ago, about a mayor refusing to let a Roma baby be buried because the parents weren’t paying taxes.

    Fuck life. Everything is horrible.

  112. rq says

    Yes, for sure!!! Thanks for the heads-up, I haven’t opened the Pharyngula main page yet.

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


    I want to join you and I have only seen our thread here on Pharyngula, which I assume is just about the “best” you can get right now online, regarding the shooting.

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

    I think I’ll have to bow out soon, I don’t think I’m capable of being calm or reasonable right now.

  115. rq says

    Ugh. I want to get more involved over there, but what with maintaining Later This Morning and the horribleness that regularly pops up there, I don’t think I can take it. Plus you (Giliell, Beatrice, others) seem to have a pretty good lid on it.

  116. A. Noyd says

    Giliell (#115)

    I was more interested in the start: sh as in shit or sch as in school?

    Wait, there are weirdos who pronounce it “sc” instead of “sh”?

    Also, I once backed up a mother who was trying to convince her incredulous adolescent kid that “schlep” was a real word. Kid went so far as to look it up on her phone and was not pleased at having to admit the adults were right.


    CaitieCat (#128)

    [Kanji] have their own logic, but they’re a monster to learn.

    Sort of. It’s a pretty hectic logic what with nanori (名乗り), jukujikun (熟字訓), yutō-yomi (湯桶読み), jūbako-yomi (重箱読み), and the mess that is go’on (呉音) vs kan’on (漢音) vs tō’on (唐音) vs kan’yō’on (慣用音). Also, inconsitent omission/retention of okurigana (送り仮名) in nouns (eg. torishirabe as 取調 instead of 取り調べ), unmarked omission/retention of morae in compound verbs (eg. mi-idasu written as 見出す), pronunciations that change based on context (eg. 入る read as iru or hairu), and so on. And that’s just for modern, postwar kanji. Prewar and classical kanji systems have their own chaos.

    Honestly, I think Japanese teachers don’t mention most of this shit just to keep students from flipping tables and then quitting out of despair.


    Beatrice (#155)

    Fine then, it’s a metaphor… For what?

    He’s trying to say it’s silly to characterize anti-Muslim bigotry as racism by swapping atheists in for Muslims. Only, it doesn’t work that way because whiteness and racism are largely arbitrary concepts and anti-Muslim bigotry is highly, if not always, racialized.

  117. rq says

    In other news, chamomile tea, like, totally cures everything. See, last night I was driving home from work, and being all ‘Day-um, but that is an EAR ache!’ and it was. An earache, not just some vaguely slightly swollen-and-sore lymph nodes, but like an actual earache. So I came home and made up some chamomile tea, which I didn’t drink right away, right, because it was too hot and because it was like 2AM, and I was too tired to wait, so I went to bed, but I totally woke up in the night thinking ‘Man, that ear really hurts, I’m thirsty!’ so I drank the chamomile tea. And when I woke up in the morning to take Eldest to school, that darned ear still hurt like crazy, but I knew I had the chamomile tea already, so I took an ibuprofen and then the chamomile tea kicked in cuz the ear hasn’t hurt at all for the rest of the day (except for some vaguely annoying pangs every now and then). So there you have it, folks, chamomile tea cures EVERYTHING!

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


    Hah, when I was little my grandma and mum would cook chamomile tea whenever I didn’t feel well (if I was sick, they gave me actual medicine, of course – the tea was just for liquids intake and/or to soothe my throat).

    But whenever my stomach hurt, it only hurt worse after drinking chamomile tea. Especially when it came to menstrual cramps.

  119. blf says

    [T]he last on that topic [discrimination against Roma in France] that I read was just a couple of days ago, about a mayor refusing to let a Roma baby be buried because the parents weren’t paying taxes.

    Broadly, yes. There is some argy-bargy, and (I assume) lying, about just what happened. The Grauniad reports French mayor in racism row after dead Roma baby refused cemetery place: “Christian Leclerc, mayor of Champlan, says quote given to journalist that graveyard was ‘for those who pay taxes’ was taken out of context”. I confess I haven’t been paying too much attention to this particular story, and so cannot offer any further insights or details.

  120. blf says

    Tony@183, Oops! Yes, thanks. I just got back from possibly the best restaurant in the village — it’s normally impossible to get a table without a reservation, but I guessed, correctly, that mid-week in early January would not be a problem — so the vin and friends is still heaving an effects…

  121. cicely says

    :( :( :( :( :( :( :(


    Can I just hide until the world stops being shitty?

    But then we’d never see you, ever again.


    “Supporters of [Da’ish (DAESH)] praise attack, but many Arabic Twitter users point out magazine also satirised Jews, Christians and Buddhists”.

    But…but…but…nobody would have the nerve to attack Islam the way they do Christianity!!!1!

  122. chigau (違う) says

    A. Noyd
    入る read as iru or hairu
    or, without the る, 入 as nyū
    As I mutter to myself, daily, ‘Bloody language!’

  123. says

    Neil deGrasse Tyson will be the host of a late night series on the National Geographic Channel

    The astrophysicist and TV personality, who fronted Cosmos in 2014, has nabbed a late-night series on National Geographic Channel called Star Talk.

    “Cosmos allowed us to share the awesome power of the universe with a global audience in ways that we never thought possible,” said Tyson. “To be able to continue to spread wonder and excitement through Star Talk, which is a true passion project for me, is beyond exciting. And National Geographic Channel is the perfect home as we continue to explore the universe.”

    “This is kind of low-risk, I think, for National Geographic,” Tyson told the crowd at the Television Critics Association press tour. “Star Talk exists as a thriving podcast right now.”

    Star Talk will indeed follow a similar format to Tyson’s podcast, which marries science and popular culture and feature interviews with celebrities, comedians and scientists. He’s still sorting through all of the elements that he’ll add to the television iteration, but he does intend to give Bill Nye a platform for a minute-long rant in each show, much as Andy Rooney had for many years on CBS’ 60 Minutes.

  124. rq says

    I think Saad and Giliell deserve from extra hugs for dealing with Azuma on that other thread. I’m reading here and going ‘wow, that is not how I wanted to start my morning!’ I’m sorry you have to deal with such bullshit – esp. you, Saad! And yet you do so so gracefully. Here, I made y’all a pyramid of chocolate for to the enjoyance of.

    So in the spirit of encouragement, I dedicate this song, a long-standing, rather insufferable part of the Latvian choir repertory (for many reasons), but I like it: The Broken Pines, as sung by several thousand people (not an exaggeration. The words:
    The wind broke the tallest pines,
    Which stood in the dunes by the sea
    They sought distant lands with their gaze,
    They could not hide, nor bend their backs.

    – You broke us, hateful counterforce,
    The fight against you is not over.
    Yearning for the distance fills the last sigh,
    Unremitting hate hisses in each branch.

    And the tallest pines, after breaking,
    Rose from the waters as ships,
    Proudly raising their breast against the storm,
    Renewing the struggle against the storm.

    – Toss waves, you hateful counterforce,
    We will reach distant lands, where happiness lies.
    You can split us, you can break us,
    But we will reach the distance, where the sun rises!

    Forgive the rather poor translation, as it is still early and I froze my brain walking Eldest to school.

  125. rq says

    To be fair, chigau got called ‘boy’, but has already been drinking rum for years (that’s a manly drink, right?). So I’m not sure what to do there.
    But chocolate (esp. dark) goes well with beer! Really. :)

  126. rq says

    A kid on the other side of the world, mind, but still.
    Oh but wait, we’re not adults, either! Or at least, not mature/old enough to participate in conversation at the adult table, so perhaps we’re safe, because we’re minors, too!

  127. says

    Well, when I’m not a guy I’m a miss. What are misses allowed to drink? Probably sweet stuff. Or do I have to drink booze now until my liver bursts to show those muslims that they’re gojng to pry my alcohol from my prematurely cold dead hands? I don’t know, I’m so confused. Dinner tonight’s vegetarian and tomorrow it’s chicken. Mandatory bacon? Maybe I should make sure and eat the ham even though I think it’s off. Goodness, proving I’m at least not muslim is hard…

  128. rq says

    Martinis. When all else fails, Martinis.
    And you could still be Muslim, you’re just a bad Muslim if you eat that bacon. :P

  129. says

    I’m giving up on That Book.
    I don’t think it will be useful for my thesis in any way and I just can’t.
    Seriously, there’s nothing Americans won’t claim as their own. First it took them quite a while to mention that “oh, did we mention that when we say “feminism” we mean US-feminism and that when we say “literature” we’re talking about Anglo-American literature?”. But then they really had their cake and ate it, because there were a few authors they’d like to name-drop and include into their canon so they quickly added Nadime Gordimer and Arundhati Roy to their list, claiming that since they write in English and come from former colonies they totes qualify. Congratulations, Ms. Roy, you’ve been declared an Anglo-American author.
    And since I notice how they strawman people’s position when I actually know what they’re talking about I cannot take them serious when it’s new stuff.

  130. rq says

    It’s so hard being an individual person. So difficult to fit in to all the required stereotypes. *sigh*
    You might as well not bother.

  131. azhael says

    Jesus fucking christ, i just read Azuma’s “How to do humanism wrong” thread and i fucking need a shower…what the ever loving fuck is wrong with hir? At one point they even went with a bit of misandry, for that “completion” feeling, i’m sure.

  132. azhael says

    @192 Tony
    xDDDDD How…i say, HOW is it possible that no 80s band ever thought of that name?
    By the way, when Ireland does get equal rights, and it will, i’ll do a cheery little dance and symbolically flip off the pope.

  133. opposablethumbs says

    Holy shit that thread is bad. I’m … a bit surprised by the bullshit from Azuma Hazuki :-(

  134. carlie says

    How is everyone doing? I’m on the upswing, I think – got off lucky.

    Temp this morning is -15F. I drove the kids to school so they wouldn’t have to stand out for the bus, since the stupid superintendent didn’t call a delay. Car was not happy about starting.

    Kudos to everyone on that other thread – I couldn’t even follow it properly, let alone jump in.

    There are beaders here, yes? Can I ask a couple of questions? I’ve been wanting to make myself a watch for a few years now. I just had the breakthrough yesterday that duh, I could use one of my old watch faces from one with a broken band (finding a watch face I liked for cheap enough was the catch this whole time). So, I might be ready to jump in. I have the most basic of skills – I have the tools from one of those cheap “all inclusive” kits, I took a 2-hour class once, and I can follow video directions on the internet fairly well. I’ve done a few small things with jump rings and such. Questions:
    1. Is Fire Mountain Gems a good place to buy from? It seems to be the largest online, but I have exactly what I want in mind and if it comes in significantly different than the picture, I will have major disappointment.
    2. I want to have 2 strands of beads, each just single beads connected with wire loops. I would prefer wrapped loops, but given my novice status, would that just end in tears? I’m guessing I’d have to make, what, 40 loops total? Would simple loops hold well enough that I should not bite off more than I can handle?

  135. says

    The Hoarders doing all that good work on the Automatic rifles thread? You are amazing, and I salute you. Tea and chocolate over here, by the pillow fort. Real men drink tea and eat chocolate, at least, the one who lives here does. :)

    carlie, Fire Mountain Gems is a good place, yes. I haven’t needed anything from them in a couple years, but they’ve always been reliable. As far as wrapped loops go, I suggest you buy some copper wire from a hardware store in the same gauge as the wire you want to use and practice/play/experiment with that until you’re happy with the design. Do make sure you have a good pair of flush-cutting wire cutters, it’ll make things a lot easier. I did a beaded watchband once, but I used beading wire – tigertail, Softflex, whatever it’s called these days.

    *refills basket of hugs, fluffs up pillow fort to prepare for incoming Horde*

  136. ledasmom says

    In case this may be useful to anyone: Red velvet cake is not a fun thing to throw up. Everything was red.
    Night before last, post-younger son’s birthday dinner. Nobody else. Just me.

  137. rq says

    That’s the kind of trick you have to pull on Halloween.
    More seriously, though, I hope it’s a short-lived thing!! *peppermint-ginger tea* :(

  138. Saad says

    rq, 193

    I think Saad and Giliell deserve from extra hugs for dealing with Azuma on that other thread. I’m reading here and going ‘wow, that is not how I wanted to start my morning!’ I’m sorry you have to deal with such bullshit – esp. you, Saad! And yet you do so so gracefully. Here, I made y’all a pyramid of chocolate for to the enjoyance of.

    Many thanks. I shall sacrifice Miracle Whip atop this most structure. :P

    rq, 199

    And you could still be Muslim, you’re just a bad Muslim if you eat that bacon. :P

    Actually, in her bizarre world, she considers reformist Muslims “bad Muslims” for not following the evil parts of the Quran. She’s saying the “good Muslims” are the ones that are bad for the west. Wut.

  139. Saad says

    Esteleth, #214

    I feel that standardized exams always feel like they’re really difficult while you’re taking them, but the result ends up being pleasantly surprising. I think you’ll do great! :)

  140. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says


    Licensing exam?

    Oh yeah, another Horde-member rocks another milestone.

    Can’t wait for the licensure agents to send you some mail.

  141. rq says

    Extra thumbs on stand-by for you!!!

    Incidentally, during my nap this afternoon that I was forced to take in order for Youngest to nap himself, I had this terrible dream that I was trapped in a giant labyrinthine shopping mall that was being attacked by terrorists – and even my dreambrain wouldn’t default to ‘MOOSLIM!!!’ But, sadly, the death-toll was rather high, and it ended with me discovering that you (yes, you, Saad) had been shot, leaving behind a tiny baby, and I was preparing to adopt her.
    So, I guess, your children will be in good hands – contingent upon your good opinion of me, of course?
    Or something… :P It was a strange dream, since I was clearly a member of a highly-trained military rescue team, yet also just going shopping. Huh.

  142. birgerjohansson says

    Owlmirror et al,
    what does “Plotz” mean?

    — — — —
    NB! -New antibiotic could work for 30 years – if used right–if-used-right.html – the problem with bioprospecting has been to *grow* soil bacteria.

    — — — —
    Perovskite solar cell reaches record efficiency

    — — — —
    China political arrests and prosecution rising, rights group says

  143. birgerjohansson says

    The case for mocking religion, by Christopher Hitchens

    — — — —
    Woman killed when Iowa police officer tries to shoot her German Shepherd

    — — — —
    Rock art draws scientists to ancient lakes After the end of the ice age, there was a period when rainfall extended the savannah north up into what is now Sahara and southern Egypt.

  144. birgerjohansson says

    How did a single Florida detective manage to botch 82 child rape and senior abuse cases?
    (excerpt) “A shocking 82 “high liability” criminal cases — mostly involving sexual assaults on children and abuse of seniors — were botched by a single Florida detective, a report revealed this week.
    According to the Florida Bulldog investigative blog, the cases were reviewed as part of a larger investigation of Coconut Creek Police Chief Michael Mann, which the Broward State Attorney’s Office quietly ended in October. Each of the 82 cases had been assigned to then-Detective Tammy Kilgore Alois, who was accused mishandling evidence, failing to interview victims and witnesses, and failing to present cases for prosecution.”

  145. says

    Fingers, tentacles, and toes crossed for you!


    Saad @ 219

    Blah, that should be “most holy structure”

    I figured the original was a typo of some sort, but I thought you’d intended to write “moist structure”.

  146. Portia (aka Smokey the Advocate) says

    Little bit rupt but adding my vote of confidence in Esteleth’s success! Go you! Rock it!

    I feel bouncy and positive today, not sure why ^_^ And my headache went away! My boss told me he is going to make us a pot of tea with his electric kettle this afternoon, after we go have lunch , so I said “Are we also going to have elevensies?” so I got to introduce him to that glorious Hobbit tradition.

    SO and I are gonna try yoga tonight. Hope my energy keeps up, I don’t normally feel like doing anything after work.

  147. Saad says

    rq, 224

    Incidentally, during my nap this afternoon that I was forced to take in order for Youngest to nap himself, I had this terrible dream that I was trapped in a giant labyrinthine shopping mall that was being attacked by terrorists – and even my dreambrain wouldn’t default to ‘MOOSLIM!!!’ But, sadly, the death-toll was rather high, and it ended with me discovering that you (yes, you, Saad) had been shot, leaving behind a tiny baby, and I was preparing to adopt her.
    So, I guess, your children will be in good hands – contingent upon your good opinion of me, of course?
    Or something… :P It was a strange dream, since I was clearly a member of a highly-trained military rescue team, yet also just going shopping. Huh.

    Believe me. As someone who gets anxious in crowds, if I found myself in a shopping mall, getting shot just might sound like welcome relief.

    But I think you’d make a fine adoptive parent to my non-existent baby daughter. :)

    I wonder how I looked in the dream. Can one dream about people they haven’t seen? I wonder if I have dreamt about a person I know exists but don’t know what they look like. Does your brain just come up with a sketch based on what you do know about them? A beard. I had a beard, didn’t I?

  148. opposablethumbs says

    Burglary attempt on flat underneath us a couple of hours ago. OH could give description of burglar (white, 20s, grey hoodie in case you see him). Unfortunately no idea he was a burglar until later, after the event. Attempted only; he didn’t get in. These events are getting a bit frequent lately; glad that the neighbours are all at least trying to look out for one another. Aaand I had another phone scam attempt made yesterday, from a person claiming to be a police officer …

    Crossed tentacles for Esteleth! Hope you ace it!
    Extra hugs for Saad and Giliell.

    Eh, thinking of exams … Spawn #1 has exams just coming up. Panic is getting really bad :-((((((((

  149. says

    Ouch damn.
    I hope things get better quickly


    I wonder how I looked in the dream. Can one dream about people they haven’t seen? I wonder if I have dreamt about a person I know exists but don’t know what they look like.

    My brain is not god on dreaming up people, but I’m always amazed at the elaborate architecture and landscape, especially cities it can come up with. My waking brain is not half as capable as that.

    Also, I salted the bechamel
    Thankfully, I salted it lightly both times. Salvagable, though a bit thin.

  150. says

    “Are we also going to have elevensies?”

    If I remember correctly, there’s breakfast, then second breakfast, then elevenses.

    When I’m camping in the wild I always get up just before sunrise. This nice habit fits really well with the breakfast and second breakfast routine.

  151. says

    Right-wing media claims that homophobic Atlanta fire chief was fired over his religious beliefs, FOX News’ Erick Erickson says “the terrorists won in Atlanta”

    A publisher published something that offended. It mocked, it offended, and it showed the fallacy of a religion. It angered.

    So the terrorists decided they needed to publicly destroy and ruin the publisher in a way that would not only make that destruction a public spectacle, but do it so spectacularly that others would think twice before publishing or saying anything similar.

    The terrorist wants to sow fear. The destruction of an individual is not just meant to be a tool of vengeance, but a tool of instruction. It shows others what will happen to them if they dare do the same. It is generates self-regulating peer pressure. Others, fearing the fall out, will being to self-police and self-regulate. They will silence others on behalf of the terrorists. Out of fear, they will drive the ideas from the public square and society will make them off limits.


    So they demanded the Mayor of Atlanta fire the Chief of the Fire Department for daring to write that his first duty was to “glory God” and that any sex outside of heterosexual marriage was a sin.

    And the terrorists won in Atlanta.

    Someone doesn’t understand that freedom of speech doesn’t mean freedom from the consequences of that speech. The fire chief wrote a book that put his homophobia and misogyny on display for the world to see. Holding such views would make for a not-so-friendly work environment for TBLG people and women, as well as their allies. Given that he was going to continue making anti-gay statements at work, it makes sense to remove him from his position.

  152. blf says

    [rum]’s a manly drink, right?

    I’m looking at a (sadly, almost empty) bottle of The Kraken Black Spiced Rum right now (which perhaps explains the even worser typing than usualer). There’s a strangely binocular visioned squidly-thing with lottsa tentacles, some of which are holding a tiny sailing ship. But no penises, cooties, or peas that I can see. Also, no crew being eaten, so we knows it isn’t a proper Kraken, or at least has had too much rum. Therefore, we can conclude that rum is a cephalopodly drink, hence quite suitable for poopyhordes.

  153. blf says

    put mushrooms in

    Yes, it’d be better with MUSHROOMS!, moar cheese, extra cheese, omit the macaroni (to make room for the additional cheese), and moar MUSHROOMS!
    Add cheese to taste.
    Consume in a penguin-proofed room. (You’ll have to invent this first, so allow an extra few minutes preparation time.)

  154. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Esteleth: licensing exam.
    Giliell: despairing with “post-feminism” and at that stage of research where reading one book leads to two more you still need to read…


    Giliell! Me daft brains go’ me thinkin’ like a ship-beastie!

    An’ jus’ finishin’ me first Pratchett novel, The Wee Free Men, has goon a’ go’ me typin’ goin’ all agley!

  155. says

    Love that rock art! Link in birger’s post #226.

    The detective described in #227 should have been a Congressman. They get paid to go to work and do nothing. Sometimes they pay themselves to NOT go to work.

  156. says

    birgerjohansson, perhaps a usage example is the best way to illustrate ‘plotz’:

    “When I told him that not only was his car stolen, but that the thief had crapped on his leather seats, he totally plotzed!”

    Teh Google says:

    collapse or be beside oneself with frustration, annoyance, or other strong emotion.

    That sums it up. Think flailing Kermit arms, but with the (popularly-known) face from Munch’s Skrik instead of happiness.

  157. rq says

    I’m up for some of that! Can I bring bacon rolls, or is it vegetarian/vegan night?

    Unfortunately, while in the dream I knew what you look like, I never actually saw you. But there was no beard included in my mental almost-image. I just found your baby being tended to together with another small crowd of lost children and the caretaker did the meaningful ‘stare-and-nod’ to let me know you were gone. :(
    There was an odd mix of people present throughout the dream, though – people from high school, uni, the Lounge, Canada and Latvia… I don’t usually mix my life categories like that. Ha.
    I have also previously seen Azkyroth in dreams (very tall and darkly handsome, in case you were wondering), as well as Tony (though I have some idea of what he looks like), and Portia, Crip Dyke and CaitieCat have also had featured roles in various nocturnal escapades of my mind.

  158. blf says

    Me daft brains go’ me thinkin’ like a ship-beastie!

    Yep, there’s a ship, and a beastie, and we’ve just found where all the rum’s gone (which eases my mind as I don’t recall drinking it…).

  159. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    all the rum’s gone (which eases my mind as I don’t recall drinking it…).

    What is wrong with the world when any innocent person could break the door, push the bar away, shove in past the lintel, smash the cabinet glass, and down the rum by simple accident?


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

    Azuma Hazuki didn’s surprise me. This isn’t the first time she was being horrible when it comes to religious people. The last time, there were graphic descriptions and wishes of torture for Christians, I think.

  161. rq says

    Any ideas we can steal off him? (I can’t access that site currently as Work Computer insists it is ENTERTAINMENT!!!, not education. :P)

  162. says

    rq @249:
    You can’t access Scalzi’s blog from work bc it’s considered entertainment, yet Pharyngula isn’t? How peculiar.

    And no, he’s keeping the secrets of his Compound close to the vest. All he says is:

    No school today because of cold (and likely no school tomorrow, since it will be even colder), so what better day for Athena to run about in Unreal Tournament 2004, killing bots? None! None more better, I say!

    Also, Unreal Tournament 2004: Still the best arena shooter, especially if you don’t actually want to play against other humans, because they are usually irritating butt monkeys.

    In fact the last couple of days, when I’ve not been writing on The End of All Things, I’ve been playing video games, which explains my scarcity here (I’ve most recently been playing Dishonored, if you’re curious). I’m probably going to give games a couple night’s rest, however, because my wrist is reminding me that mice aren’t actually good for it, especially when I play obsessively for hours at a time. RSI, man. It’ll get you.

    How are you?

  163. says

    Giliell, mac and cheese with ‘shrooms? The Doctor’s gone off with the TARDIS and my transporter’s in the shop, or I would be right over.

    Hey, I ran away from home this morning and only went where I wanted to go. No useful errands at all. I did take a bag of books to donate to the library, but I was going there anyway, so that doesn’t count.

  164. rq says

    Are you planning on going back home eventually? [/just wondering]
    Good for you, though. :) It’s nice to not do anything particularly useful once in a while.

    Speaking of which, I have finished all three of my new christmas books, and I get paid tomorrow. Time to visit the bookshop again! Oh, hello, bills, back so soon? But I haven’t been missing you at all!

    Yep, Pharyngula makes the cut, though I have issues commenting on FtB in general while at work. I can comment on Pharyngula posts and ETEV posts, but no others while at work. It’s a weird little pocket of non-entertainment I have reserved for myself. ;)

  165. says

    Starkville, Mississippi recently made some surprisingly progressive moves. The aldermen of the city passed an anti-discrimination resolution and they extended health benefits to all domestic partners of city employees.

    Then the local, intolerant dunderheads, otherwise known as religious leaders, started lobbying the board of aldermen. You can guess the result. Back to “Judeo-Christian” policies immediately. And without community input.

    […] On Tuesday, in a closed-door executive session, the Starkville alderman voted to repeal both the new anti-discrimination statement and the policy providing health benefits for same-sex couples. Mayor Parker Wiseman says the aldermen behind the repeal provided no notice that they intended to hold those votes or any explanation for doing so. […]

    The Mayor summed up the situation nicely:

    “There’s no question in my mind that this sends the worst possible message to the outside world about our community,” Wiseman said of its repeal. “My biggest worry right now is the message it sends in our city and to our workforce. It says members of the LGBT community are not worthy of discrimination protections.”

  166. says

    One woman has found a way to offer safe abortion services, she took her clinic to sea.

    […] Dr. Rebecca Gomperts […] took to the sea in search of that space for the women who lack reproductive health options.

    Gomperts […] made international headlines after launching the organization Women on Waves, which relies on the use of offshore spaces to advance abortion access. She and her colleagues traveled to countries like Ireland, Poland, Portugal, and Morocco to help women use abortion-inducing pills called misoprostol — also referred to simply as “miso” — to safely end an early pregnancy. They administered miso in a clinic aboard their ship, which was registered in the Netherlands. There, under the jurisdiction of Dutch law, they were able to bring safe abortion to countries where the procedure is otherwise illegal. […]

    The pills also have an incredibly important benefit for women who live in countries where they risk jail time for having an abortion […]

  167. carlie says

    Thanks, Anne! Much appreciated. Also, practice is one of those common sense things that I never even think of, so that was a VERY good reminder. :)

  168. thunk: divided opinions on cats says


    Still at home, but family just got a bit more taxing. Whatever, enjoying myself and biding time before classes start next week is always productive. Good news and bad news abound in the world, as I’m sure you all know.


    I have dreamed of horde-ers before. There was one dream several years ago in which I was with a whole bunch of Horde people in a private jet heading to somewhere (the commune?). Alas, I don’t remember what they looked like.

  169. rq says

    For the record, I understood what you said just fine. So much for mankind, though. Seems like you’ve missed the boat again.
    Also, someone needs to put out better online courses in reading comprehension. (I know there are times and days when I could use some myself.)

  170. says

    carlie, I got that from a class I took with Sharilyn Miller, back when I was taking classes at the local bead store. It seemed like such a good idea, I felt embarrassed that I hadn’t thought of it myself.

    This is also a good resource: – check out the Basic Wire Skills section.

    I printed off most of the wireworking tutorial PDFs a while back. I see she’s added videos, too. Get some copper wire at the hardware store in different gauges, and mess around with it. It also makes for good jewelry, if that’s the color you’re going for.

  171. rq says

    Watch out, she’s going for it again!
    Thank goodness *hugs* are a renewable resource.

    That tweet you posted over there on Making Excuses? That one. That’s the one that made me cry today. Because I thought about it.

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


    This has all the more layers, but even in more benign circumstances, it bothers me how these kinds of things are reported about. Attacks or accidents.
    There are dead who matter, whose names we will remember, whose family photos and occupations and interests we will soon be familiar with… and then there are the others. The … and two others were shot dead or [Insert 10 paragraphs]. A woman was killed before he went on the rampage.

  173. Esteleth is Groot says

    I return, cautiously triumphant. I’ll be notified if I passed or failed on Monday.

    And a little drunk. There was a bar near the test center, advertising 2-for-1 margaritas.


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


    I salute you, even if only cautiously triumphant.

  175. rq says

    Uh, you went to the bar after the test, right? ;)
    Yay for getting it done, though!! Will keep thumbs on hold until Monday.

    Well, if there’s one thing I have learned, i’t’s that there are people whose lives matter, and people whose lives don’t matter. The former seem to be rather exclusively white and male (though not always), while the latter are a mix-n-mash of everybody-else.
    I wish there was some easy way to change that.
    (Because, to be honest, it’s that second group that I find so much more fascinating.)

  176. cicely says

    carlie, I’m glad to hear that you are upswinging.
    I’ve ordered a few things from Fire Mountain Gems in the past—when I had moar money—and been entirely satisfied with their products and customer service.
    Let me know how the watch works out; I’ve long been tempted to try doing one, myself.
    I’m not competent to advise you, though. If there’s a “sub-novice” level, I’m sitting on it.

    ledasmom, I hope the throwing up was a one-off.
    Red barf would freak me out pretty good.

    *tentacles crossed* for Esteleth.

    I feel guilty that I cannot bear to look in on That Thread.
    *hugs&medals&chocolate&boozes* for all of you who can, and do.


    Can one dream about people they haven’t seen?

    Pharyngulites I’ve never met swim through my dreams all the time.

    Crip Dyke, you made me laugh!
    Thanks, and *hugs*.

    *dumping a metric fucktonn of hugs into the communal basket*

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


    I realize the interest of the public in the prominent cartoonists who have been targeted already. But still, it made me terribly sad every time last night, while I was scrolling through various articles, when titles listed the great four and barely mentioned the rest, where we didn’t even learn what the rest of the people were doing there..

    I understand the impulse, and yet…

    When Joe Cocker died the other day, I mourned his death and didn’t even think of any other Joe or what’s-their-name who died on the same day. Of course, I’d be unable to function otherwise.
    But when it comes to things like this attack…. when there’s a collective death you can’t publicly mourn some and forget the others. It’s cruel. It’s horrible.

  178. toska says

    Your comments on the attacks over the last couple days (especially on the Automatic rifles vs. cartoonists thread) have echoed a lot of what I’ve been feeling (and fearing); though more articulately stated, of course. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and for battling bigots. I’m sorry you’ve had so much hate thrown at you in the process.

    Additionally, I’d like to thank Beatrice for providing so many relevant links the the Automatic rifles thread. I really appreciate that you didn’t let the thread be exclusively about the obligatory xenophobic response that every terrorist attack on western soil inspires.

    You all are amazing.

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



    That’s two for one, meaning two for one hand. Which would of course mean four altogether, so as not to leave that other hand sad and lonely.


  180. rq says

    That’s the thing, though, eh? There’s a few figures deemed interesting, and the rest – not so much. You’d think that death would be the great equalizer, but no. Still some are more worthy of attention than others. What about the poor janitor who was slaughtered along with the rest? I would think that he deserves a place in the public eye, too – for a little longer than just another name on another list.
    (And yes, I would say there’s a difference between all the people dying on the same day and all the people dying in that one [incident]. Not sure why, though.)
    Speaking of which. Was it you who posted the list of victims? If so, thank you. Thank you.

  181. says

    Ach folks, you’re the best.


    Uh, you went to the bar after the test, right? ;)

    well, there was this one semester where I took an Irish literature class and in the last session the lecturer served us Irish Coffee. I went to the fucking translation exams afterwards (and I swear, the people who chose the texts must have been drunk at that time. “The dead parrot beats its wings” Yeah, one translation was about Monty Python, only that it was the German-English one…)
    I totally aced it and it had an 80% fail rate on both, German-English and English-German

  182. rq says

    Changing the subject, I really like how our current Prime Minsiter, in her great speech on the wonderful occasion of the inauguration of Latvia as EU President for the next 6 months, spoke about defending the basic rights of the EU such as equality for all, etc. While this same person has, several times, refused to even contemplate the idea of re-legalizing same-sex marriage, or to even recognize legally long-term partnerships, in just our very little country, this wonderful bastion of christian morals. “Unity and co-operation in the defense of the fundamental values of the EU” I think is a phrase she used (not sure in which language, that’s my translation of the Latvian version). She uses a lot of other pretty words quite at odds with several of her professional statements made until now. *sigh*
    Go Europe, you have some truly awesome people at the helm right now.

    All or some of the above may be influenced by a touch or more of snark, sarcasm, and disapproval.

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


    Yeah, the janitor was equal enough in front of the gun, but as soon as the deed was done he was put back in his place.

    Frédéric Boisseau, married with 2 children (10 and 12)

  184. Morgan!? the Slithy Tove says

    Horde, I’m sending over a truck load of hugs and other gestures of support. I wish I had the brains and skill to fight the good fight like so many of you. Also soup. You gotta keep your strength up.
    Giliell, you go girl!

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

    Speaking of local politics.

    While having a coffee with colleagues after work yesterday, we noticed there were many more people in the bar than usual. It turns out the right-wing presidential candidate was having her last gathering before second round of elections in the nearby sports hall.

    Ew, ew, ew, there were righters and conservatives all around me. ew

    We did have a rather loud conversation about how horrible she is and how we’d never vote for her. That does make me feel a bit better. I hope her fans were offended.

  186. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @Esteleth is Groot,

    I am groot.

    That’s great! I’m sure your self-assessment is on target. You’re a smartie, and they don’t make those exams to keep people out of the profession, just to make sure that they actually learned in school what they were taught in school.

    I am groot.


    I actually like margaritas, or I have on occasion, but I never make mixed drinks at home and don’t generally drink out, so I have had like, one in the last 10 years. Next time I drink a margarita, I’ll have to make sure it’s 2-for-1 day.

    Or next time it’s 2-for-1 day I’ll have to make sure I drink a margarita?

    I get so confused! Ach!

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

    All this talk about alcohol is making me crave a drink.

    Mmmm, a martini.
    And no sugar on the rim!

  188. says

    Beatrice 278


    I borked the drink special like it was blockquotes. Thanks, Beatrice. I’m glad someone was thinking ahead.

  189. Esteleth is Groot says

    Having decided that I’d had enough boozes, I am now sipping tea.

    Ginger peach tea for the win!

  190. says

    My lovelies, I have a short question:
    Have you ever felt betrayed by a character in a book?
    You know, somebody you related to, identified with and then they did something and you were like: “How could you do that to me???”

    Ginger peach sounds lovely.

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

    It’s past my bedtime again, but at least I’ll sleep a bit more than yesterday. Had a bad case of SIWOTI then.

    I’ll leave a song for good night:
    Yasmin Levy – Adio Kerida

  192. says

    Well, I found images of 10 of the 12 victims. Couldn’t find one of Frederic Boisseau or Franck Brinsolaro (the second murdered police officer, who was assigned to protect Charb after the latter received death threats).

  193. says

    If you’re ever in Pensacola, my restaurant serves .99 margaritas all day every Tuesday. Due to the volume of margaritas we make (it is a Mexican restaurant after all), we premix several in huge batches. That said, I hand-make margaritas for friends or bar regulars.
    (In case there’s any doubt, if you were ever to sit at my bar, I’d hand make you one :)

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

    And if you look at the selection of recommended videos and start listening to Buika, you won’t regret your choice.

  195. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Ugh, discovered a very low tire while driving to work this morning. Weather around zero F. The air pump wouldn’t work right when I got home. I don’t blame it, my hands weren’t happy with what little time I was trying to get the pump to work. I suspect some ice somewhere in the pump. At the least the other car can get out.

  196. says

    I have Buika!
    But thanks for that link.
    Funny thing, i couldn’t make sense of the title you posted, but understood the words perfectly (most at least) since it’s a variety of Spanish. Need to get that stuff for my students.

  197. rq says

    Well that was a nice drive through a snowdrift. Not going to internet to wind down tonight, going straight off to bed for once.
    * This single comment does not apply to the above-mentioned internetting. ;)