An open thread – if he’s really gone, that is. Unlike the last two days. When he, like, suddenly showed up.

Yada, yada, Khan out on the steppes, you know the drill, etc and so on. Chat amongst yourselves! I am rather amazingly slammed with work today/for the next five weeks, so if you get stuck in moderation, I can only promise to fish you out as quick as I can. (Don’t do anything stupid like use a new account or user name – that’s the kiss of moderation DEATH around these parts. Or, at least: It’ll put you in moderation, even if you’ve posted here a gajillion times already).

Standard FYI clause: My rule of thumb is that I wait for 2 hours after Ta-Nehisi would usually open a thread (roughly noon, EST), and if none is forthcoming, I put one up here.

160 Comments

  1. I accidentally dressed for yesterday’s weather. Brrrr.

    • David L

       /  February 16, 2012

      I did the same. We went from 78 yesterday afternoon to 40s this morning, and I walked outside with short sleeves and them promptly walked back in to put on a sweater.

      • Because I drive to work, and because i was in a hurry this morning, I did not notice how underdressed I was until I got to work.

        • David L

           /  February 16, 2012

          if it makes you feel any better, I’m about to deliberately go out underdressed — I’m headed to a follow-up on my knee and it’s not quite cold enough to justify shorts under long pants.

    • There’s weather? That’s… outside, isn’t it?

      I’m fairly certain the entire world has been reduced to this computer, my cell phone, and a cat.

  2. mythopoeia

     /  February 16, 2012

    Thursday music: find your streaming music player of choice, and hunt down the version of “The One I Love” from R.E.M.’s “Deep Cuts” release. Unplugged beauty.

    • selenesmom

       /  February 16, 2012

      Hi all! So happy to see all my friends here! Hello!

      I will check out this song. There was a time long ago (“Olde Alma Mater” to you, Jordan) when everyone I knew liked R.E.M. — a time before “Shiny Happy People.” A time when all that was needed to slip backstage and talk your way into a beer with Michael Stipe was a press credential from the respected college newspaper, The Quest. Best R.E.M. collection from this era: “Dead Letter Office.”

      And then they buried Verna’s eyesore of a non-running MG, which had been in the parking lot since ever, under the extension of the library. (OK, OK, it was not ALL the same people, and Michael Stipe did not get involved with the MG.)

      In this distant day, everyone I knew — including people I didn’t like but knew from seventh grade — also liked the English Beat.

  3. I wrote up some quick reviews of a couple rather nice whiskies from the western end of Scotland:

    http://cocktailchem.blogspot.com/2012/02/whisky-review-talisker-distillers.html

    • David L

       /  February 16, 2012

      My father is not a fan of peaty whiskeys, and compares Talisker to liquid peat smoke.

      • aaron singer

         /  February 16, 2012

        I’m a bourbon lover, and have always been skittish about getting into Scotch for that reason. ‘Tis a tad silly, I know.

        • David L

           /  February 16, 2012

          Try the lowland scotches, then. They burn old barrels rather than peat for smokiness.

        • I was in exactly that same position about six months ago. There are a lot of unpeated scotch whiskies. In fact most of the Speyside whiskies (Glenlivet, Glenfiddich, Macallan, etc.) have little to no peated malt in them. Additionally, a lot of scotch distilleries actually own cooperages in America and loan the barrels to bourbon distillers, then reuse them for aging the scotch.

          My starter suggestion would be Glenmorangie 10 Year, which is unpeated and aged exclusively in ex-bourbon barrels. It’s solid stuff and displays a lot of the classic malt whisky characteristics without being too hard on the wallet. If you can find the Discovery pack, it also has minis from their ‘extra-matured’ range where they same spirit going into the 10 Year gets an extra two years in various casks that previously held fortified wines (sherry, port, sauternes, etc.). Usually doesn’t cost anything more than the 10 Year on its own as well.

          • aaron singer

             /  February 16, 2012

            My sister’s fiance loves Scotch, and I think my sister got him that pack for Christmas. I’ll look into it–thanks!

            Is it the type of malt used that gives it that peaty taste? While I like bourbon, I drink beer a lot more often and am more familiar with it, and I tend to go for very malty beers (not a big fan of hops).

            • Here’s a review I did of the basic Glenmorangie expressions:

              http://cocktailchem.blogspot.com/2011/10/whisky-reviews-glenmorangie-vertical.html

              Yeah. Historically malt was dried using kilns that were fired with peat, because that was obviously cheap and abundant in Scotland. These days there are lots of ways to fire the kilns that don’t require peat, so it’s only added if that’s a characteristic that the distillery wants for their whisky. There are also a few whiskies that use water that has run through peat bogs, which tends to add a more vegetal peat flavor rather than smoke.

      • Probably depends on which one you try. The Distiller’s Edition has some extra aging in sherry casks which mellows the peat smoke out a bit. It’s more than Highland Park, but not as much as, say, Ardbeg of Laphroiag.

  4. caoil

     /  February 16, 2012

    I am very happy that you have work! Even if it’s just for that time frame! Is it something we’ll be able to see, when you’re done?

    Also also…JHarper2, if you’re reading here today, your music project is underway but not yet complete. I am hoping, depending on input from more people this weekend, to maybe be able to get it to you towards the end of next week?

    And anyone who wants to submit something: email the file to me (or a youtube link, if you find a good copy of it there, because I did find an online tool yesterday that will extract the music as an mp3) tindomiel {at} gmail {dot} com, along with your online name, the song title, artist, and why you thought he should hear this excellent piece of music. Please feel free to send more than one, if you are having trouble deciding! Right now I don’t think I’ve quite made the 20-song mark, and I’d love to be able to quadruple that. Plenty of room in my gmail inbox, yadda yadda, so email away.

    Was anyone else taking part in the Month of Letters project? I am, and I can’t believe I’ve stuck with it this long. I have the attention span of a 2 year old some days, so I’m proud of myself for having written to my new pen friend in Massachusetts 17 times so far! I had about a dozen penpals when I was a kid/tween, but since most everything is via email and FB now, I’d forgotten how much fun it can be to write an actual letter. Though I’m miffed at how hard it is to find proper writing paper.

    • mythopoeia

       /  February 16, 2012

      caoil, do you know if there are any particular genres JHarper2 likes? I’d like to send him something and want to make sure it will be at least somewhat to his taste!

      • caoil

         /  February 16, 2012

        I’m gathering he has somewhat of an affinity for folk, but I think he’ll be glad to hear anything you think he’d enjoy or a piece that means something to you that you’d like to share.

    • Bookwoman

       /  February 16, 2012

      “I did find an online tool yesterday that will extract the music as an mp3”

      Excellent! Now I’ll be able to send you something.🙂

    • I have a really stoopid question… how do you find music on line.

      I’m pretty sure it can be done. I just don’t know how. ;P

      • caoil

         /  February 16, 2012

        I guess it depends what you’re looking for! I mean, obviously there are all the usual pay-per-song (or album) iTunes and Maple Music kinds of places. I get most of mine (soundtracks) in various…other ways on some communities I belong to on a journalling site. Some folks here say they just listen to things on YouTube. Sometimes I just google a string of what I’m looking for, say “Mychael Danna +mp3” and see what comes back. You do just have to be careful what links you follow as a result. Do you want to look for something in particular? Email me & I can have a look too.

      • Bookwoman

         /  February 16, 2012

        The easiest way is to go to youtube.com and type what you’re looking for in the search box at the top.

        If you want to stream music (as opposed to having it on your hard drive), you can use these:
        http://www.pandora.com
        http://www.spotify.com

        I’m sure the youngsters here will have other suggestions.

        • mythopoeia

           /  February 16, 2012

          Just to clarify what Bookwoman said: YouTube and Spotify let you find and play a particular song you’re looking for. Pandora lets you make up your own radio station: you tell it a song or an artist you like, and it plays you a lot of things that are similar, but it won’t let you play a single track on command.

          • Thanks, guys. Pandora doesn’t work in Canada, but it looks like Spotify will let me put together a small collection for JHarper2

  5. Okay, I’ve got two things for the Student Lounge today. One, I’ve finally got an Australia post up. Sydney’s super cool, you guys. http://inthecountryofheaven.wordpress.com/2012/02/15/in-the-land-of-oz/
    Two, it’s amazing how much *stuff* you can accumulate in six months and how it just won’t go into the same bags you brought everything in. (They’re shipping us scholarship students accross campus to the old dorm buildings. No one is happy about this.)

    • aaron singer

       /  February 16, 2012

      How lucky you are–I am jealous!

      When I was 14 my mom (who worked 3-4 jobs when I was growing up, now she’s retiring) somehow scrounged up enough money to send me on a peer trip (People-to-People) to Australia and New Zealand. 13 years later now, I still think a lot of that trip. As a group of 38 chaperoned teenagers, we mostly did only really touristy stuff, but I loved it anyway. Sydney looked gorgeous, although we were only there one day. When we were in the Blue Mountains I couldn’t help but think of the Aussie classic The Man From Snowy River, even though the Snowy Mountains are a good deal south of there, at least I think. I remember being wowed by Fraser Island and the little bit I saw of the Great Barrier Reef.

      One of my bucket list trips that I will never go on is driving around all of Australia; by that I mean seeing the coast from Sydney to Melbourne to Adelaide, across to Perth and then somehow baring the vast empty north, across to Darwin and over to Cairns, before going back down to Sydney. Australia seemed like a more reasonable, less crowded California.

      As for New Zealand, another bucket list dream is the Milford Track. I dream of it as a honeymoon destination, although I would have to find the right woman to agree, I suppose.

  6. There comes a time towards the last days of fashion week where you start to run out of things to say about the endless little black dresses and the evening frocks. Just as you give up hope and start to feel hackish, you find the show where the designer sent down a girl where a unicorn.

    And suddenly everything is beautiful again.

    • and by “where” I mean “wearing.” I seem to have used up all my words typing.

    • caoil

       /  February 16, 2012

      Which designer?

      (I’m reading the Marc Jacobs one, and holy cow, those hats! They kept getting bigger and bigger!

      • Jeremey Scott. It’s scheduled to go up Saturday–I just went through and loaded the pictures into the post–I’ll write the copy tomorrow–and yeah, when I got the the unicorn, it made me effing day.

        • caoil

           /  February 16, 2012

          I think I’ll send myself an email at home so I remember to check your blog on Saturday. I don’t think I can go without seeing that, now.

    • I’m sorry, I must have read that wrong. A *unicorn*?

      What.

    • I’ve so enjoyed fashion week with you.

      And from my own little corner of the fashion world, I’ve put up two new patterns or ravelry and craftsy, both. You’ll recognize this one:
      http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/pillow-scarf

      Sadly, there’s so much on Ravelry now that things get lost in the cloud.

    • aaron singer

       /  February 16, 2012

      I am a guy who knows nothing about fashion, but saw Diana Von Furstenberg (with one artist and a fashion critic) on Charlie Rose last night, and found their conversation fascinating. It sounds like Von Furstenberg has led quite the life, and has a very interesting family.

  7. David L

     /  February 16, 2012

    So, just a few minutes ago, I was stopped to get lunch on my way from work to the doctor’s office in time for a 2:00 appointment when I noticed a printout saying that my appointment was at 3:00.

    So now I’m at home for an hour with nothing to do, since I’ve already said that I was taking the afternoon.

    • stupid disqus, cutting me off as I was typing my log in information. YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN!

    • David L

       /  February 16, 2012

      F-y’all’s-I: Update from the doctor is basically “Keep up the good work, see you in a month.”

      But I had kind of a headdesk moment when my mother mentioned this morning (while saying that she didn’t think she needed to come with me today) that she’d been seeing herself as there to make sure I caught and understood everything. Outside of the couple of day-after-surgery appointments where I was still on the good drugs, I’d been seeing her mostly as my source of transportation.

      • Bookwoman

         /  February 16, 2012

        Moms. It’s what we do.

        Glad all is progressing well!

  8. doginajacket

     /  February 16, 2012

    Hi there Horde. I mostly lurk, but I think I need to beg a bit of Horde sympathy today if you don’t mind. Our 12 y.o. dog is having neurological problems that interfere with her ability to walk. We built her a ramp for going outside last weekend, we have taken her to the vet & she is on pain meds, but the problem seems to be getting worse. We are having to think the hard thoughts about her quality of life.

    • MightBeLying

       /  February 16, 2012

      Lots of sympathy. I had to put my cat to sleep on Friday and, while it was difficult to think about in the abstract, when the time came it was very clear what needed to happen. It made a hard choice just a little bit easier.

      Hoping your dog’s pain is managed well and that you’re able to find ways to help with mobility so that you can enjoy more quality time together.

    • caoil

       /  February 16, 2012

      Well, of course your vet is the only one who can say for sure if this would help, but both of our dogs had hip dysplasia as they got older (malamute x husky and shepherd x elkhound). They both took Meloxicam/Metacam for the last several years of their lives and it helped immensely – the elkhound in particular got probably another 5 years of semi-sprightly life. What pain meds is she getting?
      (and I’m sorry to hear this about your pup – it’s hard when they age)

      • doginajacket

         /  February 16, 2012

        I have, unfortunately, forgotten the names of her new meds & don’t have the list with me. I remember that one of them is an opiate and one of them is actually a muscle relaxant. She’s to start Prednisone next week once the Rimadyl she’s been taking for the past year or so clears her system. The vet thinks that something is pressing on her spinal cord, can’t tell exactly what without an MRI, which would cost about $1500. If it turned out to be something operable the surgery would be 4-5k and even then the vet is not very optimistic about the outcome.

        • caoil

           /  February 16, 2012

          Prednisone…funny that should come up. My coworker’s dog just had to go on that for several weeks and basically tried to eat everything she could get her mouth on. Mind your cupboards!

          Oh goodness, MRIs are so expensive. :-/ It’d be good if you at least knew the source of the problem, though. But I’m seconding Ian, you know how to read your dog and her behaviour. We put our elkhound on the medicine because everything else about her was in excellent shape, it was just the hips that needed some help.

    • Ian

       /  February 16, 2012

      You know your dog, so just try to be honest with yourself about when the suffering becomes too great. Some dogs have an incredible capacity to enjoy themselves despite pain and discomfort. So ask yourself if her mind is still there and if she’s happy and all of that. If you reach the point where the dog doesn’t recognize you or seems to be snapping at nothing, you’ve waited too long and should get to the vet quickly.

      I’m really sorry about this.

      • doginajacket

         /  February 16, 2012

        Thank you.

        • Ian

           /  February 16, 2012

          We’ve lost an old dog in each of the last two winters, and it’s really hard. Do not feel bad about not wanting to put your dog, at that age, through major procedures with questionable outcomes. Just try to have fun with her and make her as comfortable as you can.

          • doginajacket

             /  February 16, 2012

            Last night we played “old lady” laser for a little while. By this I mean that instead of sending her running all over the house chasing the little red dot I wiggled it around within inches of where she was sitting and she was able to slap it with her front paws & chomp at it until she got tired.

    • Sending good thoughts your way.

      Our rotten but beloved cat got an X-ray yesterday that shows the bony growths on his spine have definitely gotten worse. And his kidney numbers aren’t great either. I think he’s got some time left, but… yeah. It’s really hard to think about.

    • doginajacket

       /  February 16, 2012

      Thank you all. Your comments have really helped. We’re going to do all we can to keep her pain-free & comfortable and try to make the call at the right time.

      We are having a good evening. The vet made an adjustment to her meds. She was happy to see me when I came home. She still loves her dinner, which tonight is real gravy over her usual kibble and gimme lean “meatballs” to hide her pills. She was doing well enough to slowly explore the yard, sniffing here and there, and did not need me to spot her while she did her business. Right now she’s napping on the couch, right on top of the wool crocheted afghan which used to be off-limits to dogs because it’s a pain to wash.

  9. MightBeLying

     /  February 16, 2012

    Time for the academic version of blog-flogging!

    I’m beginning recruitment for the last (!!!) phase of my dissertation study. The Horde has provided lots of suggestion, insight, and participants for the research that led up to this project! I’m currently recruiting women who are either pregnant with their first baby (12-36 weeks) or who gave birth to their first baby within the past 6 months. The study is completed online, takes approximately 20 minutes to complete, and participants are eligible for a raffle for $150 in compensation. Please pass on the link to anyone you know who might be interested!

    https://sasupenn.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_23GjWkVPSwJzQe8

    • caoil

       /  February 16, 2012

      I don’t know anyone directly, but I do comment at a message board where I know there are some new & soon-to-be parents, so I’ll share it there for certain.

  10. Dex

     /  February 16, 2012

    From the department of trends that I’m ok with:

    According to the Census, 8.4% of all marriages in the US are interracial, and ~15% of couples married in 2010 were of mixed race. Anecdotally, it still seems to be kind of a big deal here in Illinois, where the rate of miscegenation is less than a half of a lot of other states. Linkage:

    http://yourlife.usatoday.com/sex-relationships/marriage/story/2012-02-16/US-rate-of-interracial-marriage-hits-record-high/53109980/1

    Which reminds me of a story. Awhile back, my wife and I went out to get groceries. We hopped a really crowded bus and were standing for awhile until my wife was able to grab a seat. In order to avoid hitting people with the bags, I put them on her lap. As the bus continued, the bus emptied slightly and I worked my way to the back, eventually snagging a seat. Several minutes later, my wife makes her way back with the bags and plops them in my lap. I see this guy staring at us (he was black, but its Kind of a Big Deal to white folk here, all the same). Looking at me, then my wife, then me, then my wife. He’s not doing anything, just apparently very interested, possibly puzzled. And I have no idea why.

    Several minutes later, the guy suddenly exclaims loudly: OH! I get it, you guys are married!!! It’s cool, it’s cool. You guys are married! Oh wow, I mean, you guys look great together! Then he looks at me and says: I guess she’s the tough one, huh? It’s cool, it’s cool.

    I finally realize why the guy was so shocked. As an observer, it looked to him that some random Asian woman had just dropped her shopping bags on some random white dude’s lap, and the white dude didn’t even react. I think there’s little doubt that if we were the same race he would have assumed that we were together, but I’ll never know. We were tired after a long day of shopping and the bus was loud, so we weren’t really talking to each other, which probably added to the confusion. I can only imagine what the guy was thinking. I resisted the temptation to explain to him, in response to the “tough” comment that no no no, it’s not how it looks, i carried the bags, I gave her the seat first… yadda yadda yadda defensive cakes.

    • Dex

       /  February 16, 2012

      And suddenly I realize just how dependent I am on disqus’ edit function.

    • Ian

       /  February 16, 2012

      That’s hilarious. Makes me want to work up a series of “strange couple behavior” skits for mass transit. If we only had mass transit.

    • baiskeli

       /  February 16, 2012

      That’s hilarious.

      “Anecdotally, it still seems to be kind of a big deal here in Illinois, where the rate of miscegenation is less than a half of a lot of other states. Linkage:”

      It is here too. My wife is white, I’m black, we’ve had situations where we’re together but somehow oblivious to some people.

      We even had a cop come to a screeching halt while driving by, glare at me and ask my wife if she was O.K. SInce we were walking hand in hand, I can only assume he thought I was the world’s most courteous mugger.

      • Oh brother.

        I remember when I was a teenager, a girl my age was at our Meeting (church) one day visiting from Oklahoma (I believe). We hung out for the afternoon and went walking down Yonge Street (Toronto). Once we got back she said, “I LOVE Toronto! I saw 14 (or whatever number) interracial couples. That’s SO COOL”. I was dumbfounded. I had noticed exactly one couple, and it wasn’t so much because they were interracial as because they were having an argument in the middle of the sidewalk and we had to go into the street to get around them. It never occurred to me that I should be checking out if people were in interracial couples or even that they were couples at all. She just about fell over laughing when I said that.

        Huh, it really *is* a different country down there…

    • I like this story, I don’t know why. It’s just so *Chicagoan* to blurt that shit out once the lightbulb goes off.

    • aaron singer

       /  February 16, 2012

      Maybe Evanston is different (and Evanstonians certainly like to think that they are), and maybe it is just anecdotal, but I know quite a few interracial (black-white, that is) couples, including my sister. Evanston has a rather interesting racial history; when my Jewish grandparents first moved here in 1960, there were only two neighborhoods they could move into, one subdivision (actually in Skokie, but in the Evanston school district) had so many Jews at the time that my grandfather sneered that he didn’t want to move into the ghetto (that term having a different meaning then than it does now). Also, Evanston had a separate ‘black’ YMCA, as African-Americans weren’t allowed into the white YMCA (neither were Jews, for that matter). There was a great documentary recently about that, and my sister also has a copy of a fascinating book/oral history on Evanston’s African-American community (which stretches back to it’s founding in 1872.

  11. OH MY EFFING GOD.

    Someone left a comment in the “Police Department Buys Tanks” thread replying to my “that’s what Israel does [destroys the homes of the families of terrorists]” that opens with, and I am not making this up: “*shrugs*”

    SOMEONE ON THE INTERNET IS VERY VERY WRONG. And I just told him so. Oh my fucking God.

    • Ian

       /  February 16, 2012

      Dude, I gotta check this out before it gets deleted.

      • Well, it’s reasonable in its way. It’s just – dismissive of human suffering, is all (!).

        And I did the trick that Craig taught me and looked at the profile before I replied. The person doesn’t comment a lot, but he (I think) does comment, and reasonably, so….

        • Ian

           /  February 16, 2012

          It really isn’t reasonable at all, but your response was admirably temperate.

    • Like I have time for this shit.

      What do I think is going to happen exactly when the Daily Beast thing goes live? “*Shurgs*” will be the least of my worries!

      Where’s my Picard/Reiker WTF/facepalm when I need it?

      Update: HERE it is!

    • baiskeli

       /  February 16, 2012

      I just read it, and then read it again. And then barfed in my mouth.

  12. David L

     /  February 16, 2012

    Today in “Phew, that’s not my state making a fool of itself”:

    A New Hampshire state representative claimed that hormonal birth control is responsible for prostate cancer. Yes, prostate cancer.

    http://www.bluehampshire.com/showDiary.do?diaryId=14107

    (via @LizzWinstead on Twitter)

    • Dex

       /  February 16, 2012

      I think the important issue here is whether the state representative believes that men or women have prostate glands, and which of those two choices would make the belief stupider.

      • chingona

         /  February 16, 2012

        This goes places that are way worse than trying to break down Whitlock’s Jeremy Lin tweet. … Cause, see, the estrogen gets in the women’s urine and then the women … wait, what?

    • Today in “Phew, that’s not my state making a fool of itself”:

      unfortunately, every time i play that game i’m reminded that my state is ALWAYS making a fool of itself, whether it gets mentioned or not.

      happy centennial, arizona…

    • socioprof

       /  February 16, 2012

      And a new entrant in the “how damn dumb and insulting can the GOP get? category” arises: A Santorum supporter is reported as saying: “This contraceptive thing, my gosh it’s such [sic] inexpensive. Back in my days, they used Bayer Aspirin for contraception. The gals put it between their knees and it wasn’t that costly,” (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/16/foster-freiss-rick-santorum-contraception_n_1282466.html)

      • Dex

         /  February 16, 2012

        Andrea Mitchell’s reaction was just absolutely priceless. Long, some might even say pregnant pause then, “Um, excuse me, I’m just trying to catch my breath from that.”

        I can never know if there’s a line of blatant idiocy beyond which it becomes funny for a woman to hear sh!t like that but, seriously, I couldn’t even get angry over that comment. It was just so savant-like in its epic fail performance art that it was pure funny-sad-awesomeness. WATCH ME WHILE I GRAB THIS METAPHORICAL CAN OF GASOLINE, POUR IT ON MYSELF, AND LIGHT IT AFIRE!!!

      • chingona

         /  February 16, 2012

        Damn dumb and insulting enough to hold a hearing on the contraception requirement and only invite men to testify.

      • Darth Thulhu

         /  February 16, 2012

        In fairness, that’s pretty obviously a statement that the only contraception he thinks is needed is “Ladies, keep your legs together.”

        And … in anger, that’s pretty obviously a statement that the only contraception he thinks is needed is “Ladies, keep your legs together.”

        Ugh.

        • caoil

           /  February 16, 2012

          To which I say the only proper rebuttal (to these sorts of people) is, gents, keep your pants zipped.

          • Why does no one ever, EVER say that? I’m faceplaming here that I’ve never thought of it myself. To the Twitter machine!

            • Ian

               /  February 16, 2012

              Because men can’t be expected to control themselves, obviously. So the only logical solution is to tell women to control themselves. I thought everybody knew this stuff!

              • selenesmom

                 /  February 16, 2012

                This is a lot like the several times in my life when a woman has been raped in a park, and immediately a hue and cry has gone up for women to stay out of the dangerous park.

                Instead of the far more logical demand that men stay out of the park so that women don’t have to worry that one of them may be the rapist.

              • I’ve just tweeted Foster Friess the following bon mot:

                Dear @FosterFriess: Even cheaper than aspirin? Men keeping their pants zipped. Take responsibility for your penis.

                I mean to say!

                • caoil

                   /  February 16, 2012

                  *like*
                  Mostly I have to h/t to that woman on FB I linked you to the other day (the one about the what would you do if your daughter wanted to go out dressed all slutty).

              • caoil

                 /  February 16, 2012

                And therein lies the piece of the puzzle that makes me completely incoherent with rage. (don’t worry, I get your sarcasm, Ian!) People thinking men have no ability to not assault someone is offensive on so many levels, strips men of any agency and reduces them to…well, I don’t even know what kind of living being. I guess something without a frontal cortex, for one. To that I say, fnck that noise.

                • Ian

                   /  February 16, 2012

                  It’s terrible even if you don’t apply it to rape. Of course men cannot be expected to abstain, ladies, so you’ll have to abstain for the both of you! What the fuck is that?

        • doginajacket

           /  February 16, 2012

          Like.

          Well, not “like,” but, well, you know…”button”

    • dave in texas

       /  February 16, 2012

      You’re probably just not looking hard enough. Has Louie Gohmert said anything today?

  13. dmf

     /  February 16, 2012

    http://www.kqed.org/a/forum/R201202151000
    talk with writer Nathan Englander about his acclaimed new collection of short stories, “What We Talk About When We Talk About Ann Frank.”

    • chingona

       /  February 16, 2012

      So I want to check this out and thanks for linking it and can’t listen to it until I get home from work, but gaaaah!!!! the first two comments. Zionist Zionist Zionist Khazars! Sometimes I just don’t even want anything about anything Jewish to be on the Internet because gaaaahah!

    • Bookwoman

       /  February 16, 2012

      Thanks for the link. I really liked his previous book of short stories, “For the Relief of Unbearable Urges.”

      I notice, though, that one commenter has brought up the “Eastern European Jews are all descended from the Khazars” canard. Oy.

      • A couple of years ago I got into an argument with another commenter who seemed to accept some version of the Khazar theory. I was winning the argument, but TNC told us to quit it. The commenter identified himself as the novelist Will Shetterly. By coincidence I had negatively reviewed one of Shetterly’s books on my blog several months before, in which I used it as an example of bland prose. I do like the writings of his wife, Emma Bull, but I have to admit hearing his opinions on this matter, assuming he’s the real guy, has sickened me a little bit about what both of them may think.

        • aaron singer

           /  February 16, 2012

          Can someone enlighten as to what that is?

          I was a Jewish Studies minor (well, almost, I never wanted to take the 101 prereq) and am fascinated by my people’s history, but have never heard of that before.

            • aaron singer

               /  February 16, 2012

              Thanks. Sounds like just another strange twist to the long-running saga of bizarre anti-Semitism.

              As a corollary, one of my favorite classes in college was a seminar on the Crusades. My professor was an expert on various Medieval middle east history topics. I remember her telling us that two things she was researching closely at the time were Karaite Jews, a group I had never even heard of before; and the translation of Greek (and Latin) scholarly works from Arabic back into Latin, via Hebrew, in Sicily and nearby.

              • aaron singer

                 /  February 16, 2012

                And both of those topics involving the Cairo Geniza.

              • chingona

                 /  February 16, 2012

                It’s entirely possible there’s a certain amount of selection bias at work, but anti-Semitism often seems weirder to me than other kinds of racial/ethnic prejudice.

                • aaron singer

                   /  February 16, 2012

                  A couple thousand years of history means it manifests itself in so many different ways!

                  • I think part of what makes it seem to have almost a laughable quality is that it’s so incongruous in the modern world. When you look back at things like the moneylender trope or the blood libel, you can understand how they developed within the context of medieval Christendom, and it doesn’t look altogether different from the history of other minority groups who were feared, resented, and persecuted in the societies in which they lived. But nowadays Jews are kind of like a boogeyman who come out of nowhere in the minds of anti-Semites. President Nixon doesn’t like the latest employment report put out by BLS, so he concludes, with impeccable logic, that it’s because the Jews are after him. (My father, who has worked at BLS since 1973, just two years after this incident, says that BLS doesn’t really have that many Jews. So it’s not like bashing Hollywood or something.) I can’t think of any analogue in other types of bigotry. Yes, there’s the Scary Black Man, but even he doesn’t usually suddenly show up in scenarios that have nothing whatsoever to do with him. What’s uncommon about anti-Semitism, compared to other prejudices, is the way the same themes have persisted across totally different religions, totally different societies, totally different centuries. It’s evolved in some ways, but it often feels like anti-Semites are still stuck in the Middle Ages.

        • I used to think Shetterley’s novel Dogland was a masterpiece. Then I encountered him on the Internet a couple times and . . . it’s still a great book, but I do wonder about him. In other words, I don’t know what he thinks about the Khazars but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was the real guy. He did hang out at TNC’s for a little bit, but it seemed unlikely that he would be allowed to stay.

          All of his other stuff I’ve read is mediocre at best. Generally I do like his wife’s books better, especially Bone Dance.

          • What kind of things did he say that would make him unlikely to be welcome there?

            I never read Dogland. Maybe I’ll take a look at it. On my blog I reviewed his “Elsewhere” and “Nevernever” from the Borderland Series, a series of novels and short stories by various fantasy writers. His wife wrote the third novel, Finder, and I immediately noticed the superiority of the writing. But then, I’m a little prejudiced against prose minimalism.

            • cofax

               /  February 16, 2012

              What kind of things did he say that would make him unlikely to be welcome there

              See my reply below.

              BTW, pretty much everything I say is documented, via screenshots & whatnot. He’s unhinged.

            • What cofax said – although I wasn’t aware of all of that stuff. And yet Dogland is not what I would expect from someone like that. I did read some Borderland book by him – and also came across an earlier work which is just astonishingly bad.

        • cofax

           /  February 16, 2012

          I hate to disillusion you, but pretty much everyone in online SF fandom now acknowledges that Sh*tterly is a troll. He is increasingly unhinged on some issues — specifically identity politics, feminism, and anti-racism; he fixates on (primarily female) interlocutors and bullies & cyber-stalks them incessantly; he once announced that his life would not have been any different had he been born black (I am NOT kidding); he claims to be working class despite attending Choate via a trust fund; and he once came into a thread over at TNC’s place and called President Obama “a house n****r”.

          He is less stable than a bag of weasels. Even his friends (the few he has left) think he needs to step away from the keyboard. And the only people willing to associate with him online nowadays are the ones you would approach with a very long stick, and bleach your hands afterwards–people who make rape threats, and who avow some distinctly uncomfortable opinions about issues of race and gender.

          To cap it all off, he considers himself a socialist and the friend of the lower classes. It’s a remarkable display, and would be entertaining if he weren’t terrifying in his obsessive fixations. I know people who have called the police on him, and who have shut down basically all online communications.

          So, consider yourself lucky you got away.

          • Ian

             /  February 16, 2012

            I remember that guy! His profile picture had opaque glasses. Couldn’t see his eyes. I’d feel creeped out even before I started reading.

            • cofax

               /  February 16, 2012

              Oh, and I should warn Emily–he’s an inveterate self-Googler.

              If the comment threads here get indexed, look out. He’s quite likely to show up and start yelling at me.

              • I once wrote a review in which I ridiculed a fairly obscure book called The Word by Isaac Mozeson, a literature professor who believes he can demonstrate that every word in English comes from Hebrew. (The thing it reminded me most of was the character of Gus from My Big Fat Greek Wedding who thinks that every word in English, even “kimono,” has a Greek root. But the book was first published in 1988. I got a falling-apart copy of it from Baltimore’s Enoch Pratt library, mostly for my own amusement.) In the commenting section, Mozeson himself actually showed up and lobbed a stream of insults at me. I am pretty sure it was the real guy, because certain things checked out.

                On another occasion, I reviewed a book on the history of the political parties for Daily Kos, and a few hours later I received an email from the author (Lewis Gould) thanking me for the nice review. The email address checked out, being the same one on his university page.

                • cofax

                   /  February 16, 2012

                  Yeah, I once reviewed the first novel of an up-and-coming SF writer (who went on to win the Campbell award) on my LJ. She came into my comments and told me I was wrong in my subjective opinion of what she had done. Even though my general review was positive (if not glowing), she then went back to her own journal and put up a link, with some language about how much I had clearly hated it. I was both astonished at the misrepresentation and pissed off at her behavior, since she already at that time had thousands of followers.

                  Ever since then, I’ve been disinclined to buy any of her work: bullying readers and reviewers is bad form, no matter how many fans and awards you have. And arguing with a reviewer almost never ends well…

                  • What kind of a writer is so insecure she cares what some blogger thinks of her work? That’s someone badly in need of learning xkcd’s First Principle.

                    • cofax

                       /  February 16, 2012

                      All writers are insecure! It’s why we write, so that other people can tell us how awesome we are!

                      /joke–well, mostly. Sort of.

              • I HAVE A BAN HAMMER!! (For him. Obvs).

          • When you say he’s a troll, do you mean he’s an impostor pretending to be the novelist, or do you simply mean the real guy happens to be a nutter? Or do you not know?

            • cofax

               /  February 16, 2012

              He’s the actual guy. He’s just unhinged on issues of race and gender and class.

          • LizR

             /  February 16, 2012

            Was he the one who outed a fan he disagreed with during racefail?

    • dmf

       /  February 16, 2012

      he was on fresh air the other day and was a real pleasure.
      that will teach you folks to read non-horde comment sections
      http://www.npr.org/2012/02/15/146920283/nathan-englander-assimilating-thoughts-into-stories

    • I loved the title story. It was in the New Yorker a few weeks ago.

  14. I just want everyone to know that whatever happened to Colbert, his family is in my thoughts.

    • Bookwoman

       /  February 16, 2012

      Amen to this. It’s very worrisome.

    • wearyvoter

       /  February 16, 2012

      From what I’ve seen online in the past hour or so, his mom is not doing well.

      • That’s heartbreaking. I’ve only had the chance to meet him a couple of times, but he’s such a sweet, soft spoken man when out of character.

        • wearyvoter

           /  February 16, 2012

          Per Huff Post, his mom is 91.
          I like what he does with Donors Choose and his other ways of trying to give back.
          (Almost hate to ask, but when did you meet him?)

          • Ran spot at the 06 WHCD, catholic charity function in ’08, was a backstage runner at the rally on the mall in ’10.

            • aaron singer

               /  February 16, 2012

              I’ll never forget the clip of him on Wild Chicago.

              I really miss that show. Where I first learned of Neko Case…le sigh…

  15. dmf

     /  February 16, 2012

  16. Recovering from something. Even the weight of blankets was painful the last two nights, despite the fever chills.

    Low energy. But I so want to go out for a walk in the sunshine.

    And my son is moving back home from CA. I’m relieved and apprehensive all at the same time.

    • Sorry to hear that. But – spring is coming, the bulbs are poking up, and I saw a camellia blooming today in my walk downtown in Seattle.

  17. corkingiron

     /  February 16, 2012

    Everyone should read Charles Pierce. That’s just kinda standard “apple a day” advice. But particularly – no! No really! PARTICULARLY!! – this one:

    http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/virginia-ultrasound-bill-6655944

    Good question Charles. Where the fnck are the Doctors!!!

    • dmf

       /  February 16, 2012

      they will get paid for the procedures right? that’s all the AMA needs to know

      • corkingiron

         /  February 16, 2012

        Seriously? A Doctor will willingly accede to the State demanding they inflict a medical procedure on their patient that is intrusive, punitive and unnecessary – just for the bucks?

        • dmf

           /  February 16, 2012

          they regularly do it for insurance companies, welcome to capitalist medicine want to trade?

          • corkingiron

             /  February 16, 2012

            Truthfully? I want to see a Million Woman March (I’ll happily babysit). I want to invade your country long enough to impose an ERA. I want to wrap you all in the bosom of our Socialist “reproductive choices are between a woman and her Doctor and all the State does is guarantee access to safe procedures and pay for it” Medical System.

            But at this precise moment, I want to tear somebody’s face off. And I only said “face” cuz I didn’t want to be rude on Emily’s blog.

            • dmf

               /  February 16, 2012

              yep, that copper-tinged bile in the back of your mouth is the taste of american exceptionalism, now you know why someone as sweet as ee has rage against the machine playing in the background of her head space.

            • Rude away man. I’ll join you.

              • wearyvoter

                 /  February 16, 2012

                Seconding Emily wrt rude away. That probe thing is damned intrusive, and I’m assuming it could do some harm is wielded incorrectly.

  18. I’ve done a post dissecting Rubio’s claim that most Americans are conservative:

    http://kylopod.blogspot.com/2012/02/americas-liberalism-and-gop-propaganda.html

  19. dmf

     /  February 16, 2012

    if you haven’t already check out: http://snapjudgment.org/

  20. So the House of MisRepresentation refused to let women testify at their hearing on Planned Parenthood.

    Shame.

    • jcalchemist

       /  February 16, 2012

      “So, if you guys know so much about women, then why are you here, at this Congressional hearing, on a Wednesday afternoon, with no women, anywhere?”

      “It’s a CHOICE, man!”

  21. I’m totally having a “who am I kidding, I’m not a real writer” kind of afternoon.

    I blame Oscar de la Renta.

    • Darth Thulhu

       /  February 16, 2012

      You are a real writer.

      Also: somewhat awesome.

      • I finally fought through the writer’s block. But it sucked, and I’m not sure that line review is any good. But then again, I’m not sure any of them are any good.

        Busy recapping idol. Not real writing, but whatevs.

  22. Ian

     /  February 16, 2012

    Japanese musher Yuka Honda has nearly finished this year’s Yukon Quest (it’s a 1000-mile sled dog race, harder than the Iditarod). She’s entered four times, and this will be the first time that she’s finished. In 2006 she was caught up in a nasty storm and was helicoptered out, along with several other teams, by the National Guard. In 2007 one of her dogs died in an accident (she lost her sled–it was every musher’s nightmare scenario). She carried on a bit longer but ended up scratching. In 2009 she made it through 900 miles but had to quit when she couldn’t get over Rosebud Summit.

    This year we saw her at the start in Fairbanks. She was running around making last-minute adjustments to her dogs’ equipment while the handlers and a snowmachine held the team in place. The race starts on the Chena River, and we were standing on a bridge looking down as she passed below. My wife wished her luck in Japanese, and she looked up and smiled at us (her hands were decidedly not free). It was a nice moment. Anyway, it looks like she’s about to cross the finish in 15th place. Here’s her live tracking page:

    http://trackleaders.com/yukonquesti.php?name=Yuka_Honda

    • aaron singer

       /  February 16, 2012

      I have only read about that race, and I can’t imagine many competitive activities more difficult. “Just” finishing the race seems an incredible accomplishment.

      It’s been unusually cold this season, too, no? I thought I remember something–from you?—about the race being delayed.

      • Ian

         /  February 16, 2012

        No, it’s been unusually warm, which brings its own set of problems. It was insanely cold for the month before, though. I tend to ignore the frontrunners and follow the also-rans. I feel like these races have gotten too fast and the leaders are pushing their dogs (and themselves) too hard. I’m not comfortable thinking about the decisions that exhausted people might make when they’re sincerely trying to win a race like this. I tend to follow people like Honda who are just trying to get through it, or Michael Telpin, who is bringing up the rear right now. He’s from Russia, a Chukchi native, and he’s running his hunting team of 9 dogs. They weren’t bred for racing. They’re just slow, tough dogs, and he’s running them at the pace he would if he were hunting. He’s the only musher left in the race who hasn’t dropped any dogs, yet.

        • Dex

           /  February 16, 2012

          I know little of mushing culture, but are there different kinds of dogs/tactics where a person has a dog or two where they run the crap out of a certain type of dog at the start knowing that they’ll drop them somewhere along the line as part of their strategy? (I don’t even know if that’s possible.) Put another way, would it be unusual, even disappointing among the fastest mushers to finish with a complete team? I mean, it’s clear that almost all the teams drop dogs, but I’m wondering whether it’s intended strategy, or just bad luck that drives it (e.g., injuries).

          • Ian

             /  February 16, 2012

            It is rare for a leading team to finish with all fourteen dogs. A thousand miles is such a long ways, and if you have any questions about a dog when you reach a checkpoint, it’s dangerous to try to run it to the next one. So you’re almost guaranteed to drop dogs, but you never really want to drop a dog. Strategy has more to do with how long to run and how long to rest, whether to camp on the trail or in a checkpoint, etc. The most impressive strategic move in recent years was by Lance Mackey in the 2008 Iditarod. Jeff King had the stronger team, but Mackey tricked him into thinking he was setting up camp. King fell asleep, Mackey took off, King never caught up. Usually it’s not that dramatic.

            There are different roles within a team, but not like you’re suggesting. Good lead dogs are rare, and different lead dogs are good for different things (running through overflow, running in the dark, going uphill, etc.). You also want big, strong dogs in the back, nearest the sled, because those dogs are stressed the most physically. And of course you need a whole team of dogs that can comfortably run at the same speed as one another for hours at a stretch.

            • aaron singer

               /  February 16, 2012

              The name Lance Mackey rings a bell, because a few times I’ve caught myself watching ‘Flying Wild’, which I’m guessing you’ve probably heard of. I think he showed up in one episode where the main couple’s daughters go to the finish line in Nome to cheer on a young kid who one of them clearly had crush on. I want to say the kid was Mackey’s son or nephew or something.

              • Ian

                 /  February 16, 2012

                Heh. Era Alaska has its own reality show. I had no idea. We fly with them a ton. Mostly helicopter stuff based out of Valdez and Yakutat. They lost one of their pilots (we flew with him a lot) last fall on a flight from Nome to Iliamna. One of his last jobs before retiring. Really sad.

                • aaron singer

                   /  February 16, 2012

                  It’s not bad as far as reality shows go.

                  Gives this midwestern flatlander and chance to see the stunning terrain a peak at life in Alaska, as warped as that may be by a reality tv show.

                  • aaron singer

                     /  February 16, 2012

                    A chance to see, bah
                    And a peak, bah

                  • Ian

                     /  February 16, 2012

                    Sounds better than Ice Road Truckers, for sure. There must be some fantastic aerial footage. Bush flying really is crazy. We have one station that we’ll go to in winter sometimes where the pilot basically stalls his Supercub right on the mountaintop. He takes off again by going over the edge and skiing up to speed. I haven’t been to that site. Frankly don’t want to. We have other stations where you’ll get there with a new pilot and he’ll flat-out refuse to land. Just really marginal spots. We blow a ton of salary just waiting for conditions that allow us to make an attempt.