Oh come all ye Commies, Horde, & Black Republicans – Open Thread

As Steve used to say on Blues Clues: You know what to do!

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.

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271 Comments

  1. chingona

     /  May 3, 2012

    This is from a few years back, but I heard it for the first time a few weeks ago. For This American Life, Dan Savage talks about leaving the church, why he can’t go back and being an atheist who wants to see his mother again in heaven. I found it really moving, and I suspect some of the ex-Catholics and estranged Catholics (and probably even the sticking-it-out Catholics) among us might relate to it.

    http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/379/return-to-the-scene-of-the-crime?act=3

    • dmf

       /  May 3, 2012

      • chingona

         /  May 3, 2012

        So what did you think of that? I had heard about the controversy but hadn’t actually watched it yet. It was actually a lot more measured than I had expected, based both on his reputation and what I had heard about this event.

        • dmf

           /  May 3, 2012

          not a great way to win hearts and minds, I understand why he might lose his way on some matter that cuts so close to home but why take it out on highschoolers?
          I agree with him on the principle at hand but would have walked out too.

          • Lizzou

             /  May 3, 2012

            I’m not so convinced that they were all walking out in protest. Some of them look really relaxed and jolly about it!

          • chingona

             /  May 3, 2012

            In the “taking it out on high-schoolers,” did you mean the “pansy-ass” comment or the whole thing? Cause I really wish he hadn’t said the last bit, but everyone had already walked out of the room at that point. People started walking out as soon as he said he was going to talk about the bible, without even knowing what he was going to say. Do you think he shouldn’t have brought up religion at all or just the way he did it? I think his point that there are all kinds of things we don’t follow in the bible is pretty much essential. I don’t think you can talk about homophobic bullying without addressing it.

            • cofax

               /  May 3, 2012

              The walkout was pre-coordinated, not reacting to the content of what he had to say–which I frankly thought was pretty uncontroversial. Certainly the Bible has a lot of stuff in it which is unpleasant, and which we choose to ignore in order to focus on the positive stuff. I don’t see how this is a surprise, or even really offensive–but then I didn’t grow up in the community that believes in Biblical inerrancy, either.

              • chingona

                 /  May 3, 2012

                I wondered about that. Both with their facial expressions and how quickly they started to leave.

                • dmf

                   /  May 3, 2012

                  I think calling someone’s sacred text 9and by extension their ways of life) “bullshit” is kind of a nonstarter.
                  cofax do you really not see how these would be offensive or do you just not care about offending these people?

                  • chingona

                     /  May 3, 2012

                    Except that he didn’t call their sacred text “bullshit.”

                    People often point out that they can’t help it. They can’t help with the anti-gay bullyings because it says right there in Leviticus, it says right there in Timothy, it says right there in Romans that being gay is wrong. We can learn to ignore the bullshit in the Bible about gay people the same way we have learned to ignore the bullshit in the Bible about shellfish, about slavery, about dinner, about farming, about menstruation, about virginity, about masturbation. We ignore bullshit in the Bible about all sorts of things.

                    He could have made the exact same point without using the word “bullshit” and probably should have just to avoid the distraction. Nonetheless, I’m going to give Christians the benefit of being smart enough to understand the distinction he’s making. Indeed, many Christian commenters on this incident have done so. And indeed, if those things he mentions are the “bullshit” in the Bible, by extension one might assume the rest of the book is NOT bullshit.

                    • enstar

                       /  May 3, 2012

                      actually, i’m with dmf on this one. i’m just trying to imagine myself, as an adult and as a teacher, saying what savage said, to a group of students; and even though i agree with his overall point, i find the way he went about saying it to be out of line.

                      i think there’s room to ask whether being out of line is something necessary, or not–there certainly is a distinguished history of offending established norms for the sake of striving toward justice–but i certainly would challenge the notion that the best way to get kids to listen to you is to be antagonistic. here, maybe it’s warranted; but i a) certainly wouldn’t talk to my students that way, and b) would probably have walked out of the assembly myself if i were them.

        • Savage has apologized for using “pansy-assed,” but not “bullshit” and not the gist of his comments. I agree with that. Calling the kids “pansy-assed” is not okay. Nothing else he said was wrong, and I’m a blunt person who prefers blunt language when discussing these things.

          http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archives/2012/04/29/on-bullshit-and-pansy-assed

          • That should say “BUT I’m a blunt person…”

            • dmf

               /  May 3, 2012

              might you curtail that bluntness when addressing kids?

              • No. I think kids deserve bluntness more than other people. They are inexperienced. It’s important to lay stuff out bluntly for them.

                • dmf

                   /  May 3, 2012

                  don’t see how offending people helps to change their minds, I think he was supposed to be teaching all of the audience in this circumstance.

                  • I don’t agree. Mormons were offended by the harsh pushback they got after Prop 8, but it has caused them to stay out of battles on marriage equality.

                  • That should say “other state battles on marriage equality”

      • chingona

         /  May 3, 2012

        I also just want to note for the record that the piece I linked to has very little to do with this event. The piece I linked is a eulogy to his mother and a meditation on why he found himself sitting in church a few times a week after she died.

        • dmf

           /  May 3, 2012

          I think these experiences led to his later actions, in some ways ee’s blog, for me, has been a long reflection on the admonition relating to not turning into a monster while fighting monstrous things. How we achieve our ends shapes those ends.

          • Calling something “bullshit” is hardly monstrous. It’s an opinion, not an assault.

            • dmf

               /  May 3, 2012

              words can’t be weapons?

              • chingona

                 /  May 3, 2012

                He called an idea “bullshit.” Words can be weapons, but they aren’t in this case. He made an argument. It is an argument that some people won’t want to hear. I don’t consider that remotely monstrous, and I think it’s a gross false equivalence to imply that what he said in that audience is similar to people who beat and taunt gay teens to their deaths.

                • dmf

                   /  May 3, 2012

                  it would be a gross false equivalence if someone, other than you, had written any such thing.

                  • chingona

                     /  May 3, 2012

                    What type of monster do you think he has become?

                    • dmf

                       /  May 3, 2012

                      in danger (as we all are) of becoming a person shaped by his hurts, if a conservative authority figure had told kids that their belief in political equality was bullshit would you really not see that as an attack?

                  • chingona

                     /  May 3, 2012

                    Responding a little out of order because apparently the comment system here doesn’t let me get any skinner (shakes fist!). I don’t measure the offensiveness of a position by the language that’s used to describe it. I think opposition to gay political rights and opposition to the full humanity of gay people is offensive no matter how polite the language is. Yet this is part of our current political discourse and gay people – including gay high school students – have to hear it and be exposed to it, including in formal settings and in settings where those comments are endorsed by authority figures. Part of living in a pluralistic society is dealing with ideas that are offensive to you. To me, focusing on the word “bullshit” is kind of beside the point, though I understand why some people might feel differently and I think using it ultimately led to a distraction from the point he was trying to make. The kids are certainly within their rights to walk out, just as anybody is. I also think people have a right to defend themselves, even when that defense upsets some people. When I read you, I am not sure what room you would give people to defend themselves. There is no way to say that the Bible is wrong about homosexuality that won’t offend someone, yet it needs to be said.

              • FWIW, I don’t think “bullshit” was wise, or considerate, or terribly helpful. But neither do I think it was monstrous.

                • dmf

                   /  May 3, 2012

                  hi ee, i didn’t say it was “monstrous” i said it was “not a great way to win hearts and minds” and an unnecessary attack on some peoples’ fundamental beliefs, he would have been better off just telling them that moving story about his mother than spitting venom at them.

                  • You said “monster,” specifically. I don’t think he was spitting venom. To answer your question above, calling “bullshit” is not an attack. It’s harsh criticism, but it’s not an attack and it’s not “venomous.” If someone told my kid that he was full of shit or that something he said was bullshit, I would not see that as an attack.

                    In fact, something similar has happened to my atheist kids and my response was along the lines of “horse shit.”. When my 5 year old was in preschool, a little girl in his class advised him not only was he wrong, but that he was going to go hell and his mom and his dad and his Uncle D. and his brother were all going to go to hell and burn forever because we don’t believe in God. (The kid has Missouri Synod parents.) We explained to a crying 5 year old that they were wrong and that hell doesn’t exist. When we couldn’t convince him, I think we finally said in exasperation that the doctrine of hell as eternal punishment is horse shit and completely inconsistent with the idea of a loving God. I’m pretty sure that he told the kid at his school that his mom said “The concept of hell is horse shit.”

                    I not only agree with Savage, I’ve said something similar to my kids and let them repeat it.

                    • chingona

                       /  May 3, 2012

                      I think this influences my take on it, as well. As a Jewish kid, I was told I was going to hell, and my son has heard the same thing from his classmates in kindergarten. I told him there is no hell. I’m pretty sure that’s offensive both in a religious sense and in the sense that I’m telling him to tell the other kid that her parents are wrong. So be it. If “you’re going to hell” is part of our polite discourse, then “hell doesn’t exists” or “the bible is wrong” also need to be part of our polite discourse. I really disagree with the idea that one side gets to say whatever they want, and if you defend yourself, you’re just like them.

          • chingona

             /  May 3, 2012

            I posted what I thought was a very touching piece about his mom and his faith and his lack of faith. In response, you posted an example of Dan Savage being a jerk (just to cede the point). He’s definitely a jerk sometimes. This would be one of the lesser examples if we were to make a list of times Dan Savage was a jerk or was wrong about something. So … A guy who is a jerk sometimes wrote something about his mom and death and religion that made me laugh and made me cry.

            • dmf

               /  May 3, 2012

              your post, in the context of this blog, reminded me of the video it wasn’t more than that.

    • Makovnik

       /  May 3, 2012

      This one hits close for me. My mother died the same week Dan’s did, under similar circumstances–years into lung disease, to an end that we knew was coming but hadn’t realized would come so quickly. We were in the middle of a meeting with a hospice nurse discussing Mom’s post-discharge care when word came that she wasn’t going home. You couldn’t get much more Catholic than Mom & Dad, but out of their seven kids only a couple of us were still Catholic, and just barely so. One of the reasons I drifted away was that I couldn’t square what the church was saying about gays with what I knew and loved about my brother. And he, who had brushed the church’s dust from his shoes long before, and whose partner my parents loved like a son, was the one who stood over Mom’s bed reassuring her about seeing Dad again, about hanging out with Mary and the saints. Within a year one of my sisters would cite this moment as the one that inspired her return to Catholicism, only this time to the hyper-orthodox right wing variety. Families are strange and surprising.

      • dmf

         /  May 3, 2012

        families are indeed strange and surprising and hospice tends to heighten everything, there really are so few rules about how things will turn out and yet we can’t seem to help trying to make predictions and reading events backwards, odd critters we be, sorry about your loss.

      • chingona

         /  May 3, 2012

        Thanks for sharing that. I’m sorry for your loss.

      • That’s a beautiful story. I’m so sorry for your loss.

        • Makovnik

           /  May 3, 2012

          Thanks for the condolences, all. You’re very kind.

    • being an atheist who wants to see his mother again in heaven

      Well if that isn’t something right there. ‘Scuse me, the screen’s gone a little blurry.

      • You really need to listen to the podcast of that show. I heard it about 3 months after my mom died and I cried like the Snot Queen of the Western Universe.

  2. cofax

     /  May 3, 2012

    If you google “Morrill Hall”, you will get a LOT of results, mostly at public universities. This is because many US public universities were funded by the Morrill Act, which granted states land in the western US to be used to support the public university system. Charlie Pierce points out that this year is the 150th anniversary of the Morrill Act.

    So, you know, if you got a public university education in the US, thank the Morrill Act.

    • Captain Button

       /  May 3, 2012

      150 years of socialist giveaways to to the Liberal Conspiracy!

    • SWNC

       /  May 3, 2012

      Very interesting! There’s a Morrill Avenue on my alma mater’s campus. Now I know why!

    • socioprof

       /  May 3, 2012

      As a proud alumna of the University of Illinois, YAY, Morrill Act.

      • wearyvoter

         /  May 3, 2012

        Michigan State University alumna over here. I love the Morrill Act.

    • Darth Thulhu

       /  May 3, 2012

      Fun fact: The Morrill Act was one of the acts passed in the mammoth waves of legislation accomplished by the Radical Republicans while the South was in rebellion and absent from the Congress to gum things up.

      The Republicans got so much infrastructure and nation-wide development legislation passed during those years that it isn’t even funny.

      • JHarper2

         /  May 3, 2012

        The railways, the homestead acts…
        The Civil War wasn’t all tragic.

      • cofax

         /  May 3, 2012

        The horror of using the federal government to develop infrastructure! How un-Republican! Didn’t they know only private industry should do such things?

        The irony, of course, is that a lot of that development went hand-in-hand with massive giveaways to private entities: railroad development involved giving the railroads every other parcel along the line, to encourage the investment. I suppose that would be considered acceptable to the current GOP, now that I think about it…

    • SWNC

       /  May 3, 2012

      As a proud alumna of two public universities and a current student at a community college, hurray for the Morrill Act! Hurray for public education!

  3. cofax

     /  May 3, 2012

    In other news: SF writer Mur Lafferty is giving away her entire catalog in ebook form for the next two months.

  4. Yesterday there was a thread on the need to write wills, durable power of attorneys, etc. This morning I stumbled on a new one: “a social media will”.http://blog.usa.gov/post/22261234875/how-and-why-you-should-write-a-social-media-will

    The idea is to designate someone to close down your life online: email accounts, etc. Makes sense I guess.

    • helensprogeny

       /  May 3, 2012

      Thanks for the reminder. I’ve been meaning to make a comprehensive list of all my accounts and various passwords, etc. I mean, my partner knows a lot of them but it’s still not a bad idea to have them in a safe place in case we both exit stage left together.

    • I missed that but am currently scheduling lawyer meetings to figure out how to protect my relationship with my partner. TOO MANY THINGS.

    • Electronic_Neko

       /  May 3, 2012

      This is EXCELLENT advice. When my mom died, I knew that she had message boards that she had frequented for many years, but none of us had any idea where they were or what e-mail address and passwords she used. Mom didn’t do a lot of socializing, and I knew she had corresponded with these people for years. It was horrible to know they were out there and I couldn’t give them any closure. It bothered me for months and months, and I still feel bad when I think about it, actually. I’m sure they must suspect that something happened to her, but it makes me sad to think that she just inexplicably disappeared from their lives, and they’ll never know the reason.

      • JHarper2

         /  May 3, 2012

        When I had my surgery last year, I gave my sister Emily’s email and my disqus password.

      • helensprogeny

         /  May 3, 2012

        I’m so sorry about your mom. And I think about that with the Horde too, that people will have misfortunes befall them or will die and the rest of us will never know what happened to them.

        • Electronic_Neko

           /  May 3, 2012

          Thanks. It’s sad by-product of the way the internet has expanded people’s social circles. You meet all kinds of people you never would otherwise, but you also are less likely to be in the news-chain if something happens to them.

  5. caoil

     /  May 3, 2012

    Alright, ever-so-wise Horde. I wonder if any of you have digital camera recommendations (or, conversely, things to stay away from). Our two cameras are on the way out, and I’m going to need to replace. Of course I have impossible parameters, because I’d really like something with a full body (that feels like a camera) vs. compact, but I can’t afford a full $500-2000 dSLR.
    A friend’s dad has offered to sell me his Olympus EPL1, which is not a bad model, but I just can’t tell if I’m missing something closer to what I want? I’ve been reading cnet reviews for a few days and I’m a bit dizzy.

    • Dex

       /  May 3, 2012

      I’ve generally found CNET fairly unhelpful when starting a search. It’s okay from a review standpoint, but not until you’ve narrowed it down to a few choices and want to look up specific reviews before purchase.

      I’m something of a camera nerd. Can you give any other parameters?

      Things that would help me narrow it down:
      What’s your budget?
      Would you consider buying used?
      Do you want to be able to swap lenses?
      What types of pictures would you use it for?
      Would you like to be able to capture video with your camera as well?

      • caoil

         /  May 3, 2012

        Budget – would rather keep it below $500 if I can manage it (having just dropped money on a new tv…). If it’s a model I can get at Dunne or Black’s or even Sears, that’ll be better, as I can use my gift certificate..
        Used – yup, if the model fits, I’m okay with that.
        Lenses – not a distinct need. I got spoiled with our Sony Cybershot, because it had an amazing lens (though not switchable), but I know I won’t manage to get that again.
        Pictures – by far it’ll be scenery shots (around the city; photos while hiking), some macro, and too many pictures of the cats …. or did you mean something else by types of pics?
        Video – some video capability would be good, as we take short (15-20 second) videos of the cats at the shelter to put on their petfinder listing.

        Batteries would be my biggest issue. The last compact we bought was terrible with battery drain, even if you weren’t doing large pictures or video. The Sony was good because it had a rechargeable that didn’t take long to charge up, and lasted a good stretch.

        • Dex

           /  May 3, 2012

          We actually have a Sony P&S that takes great pictures, but which has TERRIBLE battery life. I think it varies a lot from camera to camera, so you’ll have to depend on reviews.

          Based on the way you talk about photos, I think you’d get frustrated with a camera that doesn’t have interchangeable lenses, even if it is of high quality (e.g., Canon G10, S90, etc.)

          Given that you care about feel of camera, I would definitely go to a store to get your hands on a few to see if you like the feel. I have a dSLR (Canon Rebel XTi) and generally find the micro-4/3 to be caught in no-man’s-land. It’s too small to feel comfortable for me to shoot with it when loaded with a lens, but way too big for me to stuff in my pocket as I would with a compact. That said, two of my friends who are serious photogs have gotten into mid-sized/mirrorless cameras. It’s a personal thing.

          The one great thing about the Olympus is that it has in-camera image stabilization. This will drastically decrease the amount of blurring in your photos and will improve your ability to take photos in low light. It also makes the lenses a bit cheaper, as most other camera systems have the image stabilization on the lenses themselves (or not, in which case, those lenses are much less forgiving). The thing that would make me steer clear of Olympus and the other mirrorless systems at this point is that you’re generally going to be paying a lot more for capabilities that are comparable to those of regular dSLRs. Prices will come down over time, and third party support will develop, but the options are pretty limited right now. Yes, you can get an adapter that will let you use old lenses on those cameras, but you almost always lose a bunch of functionality in doing so (e.g., super-slow focus, no autofocus at all, etc.).

          All of that being said, if you see yourself taking a lot of pictures over time and buying more equipment, I would generally stick with either Canon or Nikon.

          In terms of lens quality, the kit lens of most all cameras tends to be pretty fantastic, so you should still be able to take great pictures that will likely surpass those of your Cybershot. Scenery, macros, and kitty portraits would demand at least two lenses. I don’t know the type of macros that you take, so I would lean toward a wide angle zoom for scenery and outdoors and some sort of fast prime (meaning no zoom and thus fixed focal length) lens for indoors (fast means a large aperture, which means that it has the lowest minimum f-value that you can get; 2.8 or smaller is generally considered fast). you may find that you don’t really need the macro lens after all, but I’d first get a handle on the focal length that you need for the macros, as they tend to be less versatile than a wide angle zoom or a fast portrait prime).

        • Dex

           /  May 3, 2012

          My two tomes aside, and forced to narrow it down to a single recommendation, I’d say that you could pick up a Rebel T1i or XSi complete with an 18-55 standard kit lens and some accessories for $300-$400. If you like the EPL1 or similar, you can get those cameras used with a kit lens for something in the ballpark of $300. Keep in mind that I’m a Canon user; someone else will have to talk specific Nikon models. You can get body-only for not much over $250. My walkaround lens is 17-85, which gives you slightly wider angle (good for landscapes) and considerable more zoom than the standard kit lens. I have a 50mm f1.8 II, which is a fantastic lens for the price (~$118 brand new). Even by pro lens standards, it takes amazing pictures and is a good, cheap way to get used to shooting in low light and without a flash. Personally, I HATE flash. The only time I use it would be to light up people who are badly back-lit.

          • caoil

             /  May 3, 2012

            Thank you for this, Dex. I’m going to read more closely when I get home.

            I can get the Olympus for $250, as he’s migrating up to the newer model. I like the sound of the image-stabilizing feature, given the propensity for blurring that the current compact has (even if I lean it or me against something).

            Also – what does ‘body only’ mean? Just the camera, no lenses/accessories?

            • Dex

               /  May 3, 2012

              If it comes with a lens, that’s pretty good.

              You’re right that body only means just the camera with no lenses.

              Unsolicited advice: blurring in photos is caused by movement while the shutter is open (I’m sure you know this, but I’m setting the stage here). There are two primary ways to correct this problem without buying new equipment. Generally speaking, you want to keep your shutter speed below 1/50th of a second in order to avoid blur. There are techniques to doing better than this, but it takes a lot of practice. Anything longer and the typical person will shake the camera. To get a bright picture without going above that 1/50th threshold, you can do two things: (1) increase your ISO to up the sensitivity of your camera’s sensor, and (2) open up your aperture (counterintuitively, this means moving to a LOWER f-number) to let more light go into the camera. Both techniques have their down sides. Wide apertures mean that less of the picture will be in focus (something that may or may not be attractive). Higher ISOs will mean that there is more grain/noise in the image.

              Oh, how much I wish I had spent more time learning low-light techniques before we went on our honeymoon. I messed up so many wildlife shots that it keeps me up at night.

              • Dex: wow, a nature camera geek! Just what I need for my fox kits video diary! Do you have any suggestions for taking pictures during sunset with a video camera?

      • Can I ask you about this too? I’m looking for an entry-level dSLR kit; I’d like to be able to swap lenses in the future, when I get more lenses. Mostly I want to be able to take pictures of animals and people who are moving quickly, and pictures of landscapes that look more like what I see. Video would be nice but is low priority.

        • taylor16

           /  May 3, 2012

          Our camera is awesome with landscape photos and in-motion photos. Awesome. We bought it expressly for our cross-country road trip, knowing that we would be taking a lot of pictures of scenery from a moving car. It did not disappoint. And while I haven’t done much with it as far as adding lenses or trying to mess with the settings, it appears to have a lot of options for people who are more photography-savvy than me.

          I know it is a Fuji brand, but I do not remember what the model is. And I just searched my Amazon order history, but apparently I didn’t purchase it there. But if you check back here later tonight, I will look when I get home and let you know what model it is. We bought it back in 2009 so you may not be able to find the exact model now, but perhaps there’s a newer version or you can at least find something similar by searching on the specs of ours.

          Anyway, I’ll drop back by later to leave the info!

        • Dex

           /  May 3, 2012

          Quick answer first: I take a lot of landscape stuff. The two things that will make the biggest differences there will likely be filters. A circular polarizer will make pictures of sky, clouds, water and foliage absolutely come alive. I was completely blown away when I started using one for the first time. The other thing that can help is an ND (neutral density) gradient filter. Essentially, this filter has a gradient on it that ranges from dark at one side of the filter to virtually clear at the other side. What it allows you to do is to capture the detail on buildings and people in the bottom of the frame while avoiding blowing out (or over-exposing) the much-brighter sky (or, conversely, avoiding having the people and buildings be completely black and underexposed while doing a good job of capturing the sky). I don’t use one of these, as it’s not something that comes up in the type of photos that I take, but it’s something that may be worth exploring to you.

          I would stick to Canon or Nikon if you want a dSLR. They have the widest variety of lenses and both companies are good about letting the third party ecosystem of lenses and accessories develop. Sony is terrible in this regard, so comparable equipment will often be either unavailable or somewhere around double the price.

          Video is something that’s only been a thing on dSLRs in the past couple of years. If it’s not a priority for you, you can easily scoop up a used entry- or even mid-level dSLR kit that is still a fantastic camera but is lacking in the video department. I would recommend buying a full kit (lens, bag, strap, etc.) and working with it for awhile before buying many extras. That way, you’ll get a good feel for where you get frustrated with your camera. For me, I found I tended to want wider angles and to have better clarity, so that drives the types of lenses that I will buy. Other people may want to take photos at short distances (i.e., macros) and so that will push them in a different direction.

          The sensors and processors on both companies’ cameras are insanely good at this point, even at the entry level. In general, you pay more money these days not for better pictures, but for things like better video capability, faster burst rate (i.e., taking a bunch of pictures back to back, which might be important to you for sports), and higher ISO (which allows you to take good pictures in lower light).

          Lenses will generally be your second-biggest obstacle to taking good pictures, the first being you as the photographer. I’m not saying that to say that you suck, but rather that spending a lot of money on a camera isn’t going to help much in terms of picture qualitty. It took me ~10,000 pictures to get to the point where I had outgrown and became frustrated with my walkaround lens (Canon 17-85). I have many pictures around the house and my office and people always rave about the pics, asking me what camera I shoot with. People are often shocked to find that many of the pics were captured with an old 2.3 MP Canon point and shoot (~20% of the photos in this collection were taken with the P&S,including the picture of the moving train, which is the best photo I’ve ever taken): http://www.flickr.com/photos/hollyandderek/sets/72157625080749034/

          • Thanks! This is super helpful. I do care about burst rate a lot mostly because of the difficulty of capturing dogs and people. I was thinking about one of the Canon Rebel kits (preferably used) — any thoughts on T3i vs T2i?

            • Dex

               /  May 3, 2012

              They both have the same sensor and processor, so should take virtually identical pictures. As far as I know, the burst rate is the same on both cameras, somewhere just under 4 pix per second. Generally speaking, that’s actually not very great and, iirc, Nikon has a model in the same price range that has a significantly higher burst rate (I can’t remember which one, though).

              Advantages for the T3i are fairly limited, but possibly important. The T3i has a tilt out, rotatable LCD viewfinder, which can be useful for tripod work, self-portraits, or taking shots while the camera is over your head (e.g., if you’re taking shots at a concert or parade). The other big difference would be for video, as the T3i allows autofocus to work while you’re doing video.

              • The Nikon D5000 and D5100 are in about the same price range and get 4 fps, which didn’t seem like a big difference to me but maybe is?

                • Dex

                   /  May 3, 2012

                  No, you’re right, it’s not much of a difference. Thanks for the stat. I must have been mistaken.

          • BTW my own capacity is totally a limiting factor, and I am absolutely going to look for those two filters. One of the things that I can see all over the place is gorgeous deep sky that is a huge part of why things look beautiful, and that I can’t capture AT ALL.

            • Dex

               /  May 3, 2012

              btw, the one time were I use flash is when I’m taking a picture of someone in front of a landscape (<1% of my photos use flash). Especially if it's bright outside, the person will almost always end up under-exposed (i.e., too dark). Force the flash on and you can often get a good balance of landscape and person (this technique is called fill flash). You can soften the harshness of the flash by covering the flash with a sheet of paper, napkin, or covering part of it with your finger.

            • Byrk

               /  May 3, 2012

              The best tip is to get a program like Lightroom and edit your photos. It can’t correct every mistake, but it does seem good at correcting over-exposing the sky on a blue sky day.

              • I have Photoshop (free via school) but am totally intimidated by the process of learning how to use it.

              • Dex

                 /  May 3, 2012

                As long as you are very careful about exposure, you can probably replicate a lot of what an ND filter does. If you over- or under-expose the photo, though, you won’t be able to recover lost information. I actually don’t do any post-production on my photos, but my understanding is that software is a very poor substitute for the polarizer. Since it effectively removes reflected light, it ‘reveals’ the non-reflected light ‘underneath’ that can’t otherwise be seen. In that way, you can take a picture of a lake or stream and see through the reflections to capture the fish or rocks or plants underneath. The polarizer also helps to see through the light reflected by smog, mist, car bumpers, foliage, glass. If you don’t have the polarizer to filter out that polluting light, that reflected light will in effect cover the details ‘underneath’ and you generally cannot recover this detail via software because the details are covered up by the reflected light. You can certainly make a uniform blue sky a deeper color with software, but it’s generally very difficult to reproduce many of the polarizer effects using software.

          • FYI I just friended you on flickr.

    • I had an Olympus and hated it. I have a Nikon point and shoot and it’s good.

      The specific problem I had with the Olympus may have been a single issue for that camera, but basically the screen went dead randomly and I couldn’t take pictures because there was no external focus mechanism.

      My Nikon Coolpix is pretty great and about $200 for the most current version. I have never had a problem with Nikons and I think this is the third or fourth one purchased by me or another member of my family.

      Oh, and their dSLRs are great. My sister has a full-blown dSLR with the multiple lenses and everything and she takes great pictures with it.

  6. New blog post about the divided nature of the American left, and those crazy Anarchists: http://testudomeles.blogspot.com/2012/05/violence-and-divided-american-left.html

    Bonus track: a cut from Against Me!’s first and best LP.

    • Neocortex

       /  May 4, 2012

      I don’t agree with your generalizations about anarchists.

      I am far from being an anarchist (registered Dem, Obama voter), but I work with some of them in Occupy. If anything, the anarchists that I’ve worked with have done more than almost anyone else to keep my Occupy functioning and nonviolent. I don’t agree with their vision for how society should be structured, but I’ve been proud to stand side by side with them.

      Are there some violent and crazy anarchists? Yep. But if we’re going to talk about extreme tactics and the people who use them, let’s talk about that, and not about “anarchists”.

  7. I wrote up the most bizarre head-to-head review ever, of Highland Park 15 Year and Grant’s Blended Scotch. Otherwise known as my last trip to one of the best whisky bars ever, the Highland Stillhouse:

    http://cocktailchem.blogspot.com/2012/05/whisky-review-highland-park-15-year-and.html

    • JHarper2

       /  May 3, 2012

      Love your reasoning when the commenter complained about you drinking and reviewing the Grant’s Blended Whisky.

      The drunk guy got the pour of Grant’s for free. Unfortunately, as with any bar, there were still people ordering vodka-based monstrosities, so drunk guy was still ahead of the pack by a hair. As for me, it seems a shame to waste whisky, even not very good whisky, and it’s good to occasionally be reminded why I pay more for the good stuff.

    • NealH

       /  May 3, 2012

      Any good suggestions for a non-Margarita Cinco de Mayo drink? Tequila’s not my favorite, but for some reason I ended up with two bottles, so I might as well try to get through them to keep them from taking up space . . .

  8. Bookwoman

     /  May 3, 2012

    I am eating Dark Chocolate Peppermint Moose Munch. Someone stop me before I go into sugar shock.

    • caoil

       /  May 3, 2012

      Here – send some to me, and some to helensprogeny, and that way you will be saved from eating too much. I don’t even know what that candy is, but I’m willing to take the leap to help you out.

      • helensprogeny

         /  May 3, 2012

        My kingdom for a DCPMM app! We must save Bookwoman!

      • Bookwoman

         /  May 3, 2012

        You’re all so noble! But maybe if I describe it you’ll back away: it’s caramel popcorn, with a few nuts thrown in, accompanied by other pieces of caramel popcorn that have been dipped in dark chocolate and drizzled with peppermint. (The original Moose Munch didn’t have the peppermint, but they’ve now got many flavors.)

        Really, on second thought, you wouldn’t like it at all so….HEY, GET YOUR HANDS OFF MY MOOSE MUNCH!

        • caoil

           /  May 3, 2012

          Hm. I think the popcorn part would make it less appealing. So please give my portion to koolaide!

        • socioprof

           /  May 3, 2012

          There is also a milk chocolate peanut butter Moose Munch that is divine.

          • Bookwoman

             /  May 3, 2012

            I have had this. You speak the truth.

          • Ian

             /  May 3, 2012

            What is this Moose Munch? Some kind of chocolate coated alder snack?

    • koolaide

       /  May 3, 2012

      Whatever amount of that candy you don’t pass to caoil & helensprogeny, I’ll take off your hands.

    • Captain Button

       /  May 3, 2012

      Over my recent trip I was introduced to “Powerberries”:

      They’re dark chocolate covered acai, pomegranate, cranberry & blueberry bits.

      Or perhaps just pure concentrated evil joy.

      • socioprof

         /  May 3, 2012

        Kiddo #1 used to like this until he figured out that not only were there some health benefits to eating these, he also didn’t develop any superpowers.

        • helensprogeny

           /  May 3, 2012

          Was he hoping for any specific superpowers?

        • Electronic_Neko

           /  May 3, 2012

          I still feel betrayed that carrots never improved my vision.

          • caoil

             /  May 3, 2012

            And that spinach never did anything for my arm muscles.

      • My friend who’s getting married in June used to eat gooseberries with me; we called them “powerberries” and pretended to fly around afterwards.

    • gimme
      gimme gimme gimme gimme
      share
      omg WANT

      • Bookwoman

         /  May 3, 2012

        *groans, rolls over, and hands KCox the bag*

  9. koolaide

     /  May 3, 2012

    May 8 is election day in NC and for the proposed “marriage is the only domestic partnership” amendment. We’re getting closer to closing the gap in the polls. And there have been some crazy stuff this week. But GOTV is incredibly important.

    Please consider phone banking this weekend. Thank you.

    http://www.couragecampaign.org/page/s/call-for-north-carolina

  10. Marketing has advised that instead of “Thursday,” going forward today will now be known as “Pre-Friday.” Thank you for your cooperation in this matter.

    (Sadly, it is not making today suck any less.)

    • Captain Button

       /  May 3, 2012

      Not “Hump Day: The Quickening”?

      • chingona

         /  May 3, 2012

        That made me laugh. Thank you.

        • Captain Button

           /  May 3, 2012

          You’ll get my bill.

  11. stephen matlock

     /  May 3, 2012

    I’m replacing a WinXP box with a laptop. Price range – <=$600. I do mostly writing and blogging now – no video or graphics work any more.

    Suggestions?

    • helensprogeny

       /  May 3, 2012

      My computer guy turned me on to an ASUS laptop which I’ve had a couple of months now and just love. It’s pretty loaded (according to him; I know nothing of these things), 17″ screen (because I stream stuff a lot) and was just over $600 (like, $635) on Amazon.

      • I got an Asus this Christmas too, and I’m surprised at how much I love it. I did spend a bit more, but I also got an i7 core, which I needed, considering I run a ton of programs at once. I’m pretty sure most laptops have a model in the $600 range, unless you go with a “name” brand, like Sony Vaio.

        I do most of laptop shopping at Microcenter. If you have one near you, they’re amazing.

        • aaron singer

           /  May 3, 2012

          I got an Asus with an i7 this past thanksigving for slightly more than $500, at a TigerDirect store. Love it thus far.

      • scone

         /  May 3, 2012

        Thirding Asus. I bought a slightly more upscale one (after saving up) in January, and I like it lots! (My one complaint is that the screen only goes back so far, which can occasionally cause odd viewing angles when I’ve got it on my lap on the couch. This is pretty minor, though).

    • caoil

       /  May 3, 2012

      My unhelpful reply is…I’ve had good luck with my HP! It’s not in front of me so I can’t tell you the model #…

    • Dex

       /  May 3, 2012

      I’ve been pretty thrilled with my Asus, though it’s a couple of years old at this point. Pound for pound, I found that none of the other manufacturers could compete a value standpoint. Since you’re on a relatively limited budget, I’d start there. Plug in Asus, battery life, and laptop and you’ll get a variety of options. The one piece of advice I have for you would be to maximize your battery life, whatever laptop you end up choosing (things may have changed, but Toshiba in particular was terrible for battery life when I was last doing research). I use my laptop 12-18 hours per day, 6+ days per week and I can still get 7+ hours of battery life while listening to music, browser open, and 2-3 other applications going at the same time.

      btw, my laptop has no optical drive. I was nervous about this in the beginning, but am glad I went without. I bought a USB optical drive for software installation for ~$30. I used it a fair amount in the beginning and then most recently when I digitized our entire CD collection. Beyond that, I don’t think I’ve used the drive in more than a year. As a result, the laptop is about half the thickness.

    • taylor16

       /  May 3, 2012

      My husband and I have both had Toshiba Satellite models, and have been very happy with their speed, reliability, battery life, durability, etc. Mine is about 5 years old and the only problem I’m having is that it appears a video cable is loose, so that if I tilt the screen in a certain direction it goes black. Tilt it a millimeter, and everything’s fine. And the rest of the computer works great even after all of this time.

      (This is for standard usage, by the way – internet surfing, MS Office work, a little bit of casual video streaming or game playing and whatnot).

    • Byrk

       /  May 3, 2012

      Right now if you go to http://www.dealnews.com there’s an Acer laptop with the Intel i5 processor and 4GB of RAM for $499 with free shipping. This is certainly powerful enough to do anything you want, and won’t be obsolete for a while.

    • Re Asus: One possible tiny caution: I had occasion (trying to figure out a desktop problem for someone by IM) to look at the ASUS support site. It suffered by comparison with Dell’s and Toshiba’s. Did not go one step further and deal with their live support.

    • enstar

       /  May 3, 2012

      a few years back, there was a pretty big look at the hardware failure rates of the major laptop sellers–and asus came out as the most reliable, followed by toshiba, and then sony, apple, dell, and on all the way to the worst, which was hp.

      now, having said that, i find that laptops are mostly a crapshoot when it comes to their longevity. i’ve had tremendous success with toshiba (my freshman toshiba laptop lasted 5 years before i retired it, and my current model is pushing 2 years and running strong still), but they have the all time worst customer service ever. i’d go with asus, toshiba, or even dell (as long as you spring for the 3 year warranty).

      also keep in mind that you will probably need to replace the battery after about a year and a half, and expecting it to last longer than 3 years is a bit optimistic.

      • blakejo

         /  May 3, 2012

        My experience bears the finding about HP out. I replace the hard drive TWICE on my wife’s HP laptop soon after purchase on warranty. The second time they shipped the HD without a preloaded OS or disks. Had to do the phone dance and wait for them to ship the disks (Vista! Worth Waiting For). Would not go with HP again, thanks.

    • Honestly my last couple of laptops have just been me going to NewEgg and getting whatever the highest-spec, non-refurb machine available for under $500 is. And they’ve both been fantastic. Current one is a two-year-old Acer, works like a charm.

      Though if you’re going to be on-the-go a lot, it may be worth shelling out the cash for an ultrabook (the one I wish I could get right now is about $750 on Amazon). Had I known I was going to end up being a full-time writer and reporter when I bought my laptop, I probably would have gone for the ultra lightweight with the full-size keyboard, instead of for the 17″ full-size behemoth.

    • stephen matlock

       /  May 3, 2012

      Thanks to everyone for their suggestions. I think $600 is a good price point based upon what I hear and what I need. I hadn’t considered ASUS. I got my kids HPs, and they lasted a long time (>5 years for both laptops in heavy used getting banged around in backpacks and classes).

      And thanks for the tip about the CD drive. I really don’t need a CD drive since most of my content comes from the internet.

  12. Bookwoman

     /  May 3, 2012

    anibundel’s comment has reminded me: do any of you like Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next novels? I’m reading the most recent (One of Our Thursdays is Missing) and they are just so much fun.

    • Bookwoman

       /  May 3, 2012

      And even more fun with fewer italics!

    • Love them. LOVE THEM.

      And I had no idea there was a recent one. TO THE LOCAL, INDEPENDENT BOOK STORE!

      /whoosh

      (Also? I would fix the extra italics, but I like your follow up too much, so you’re out of luck).

      • Bookwoman

         /  May 3, 2012

        So glad to find another fan! And the rest of you who love fiction, you must read them! They have a cute Dodo that goes *plock*. And people jumping in and out of the BookWorld, rearranging the plots of your favorite tomes. And the Toast Marketing Board, because toast is very, very important. And cheese. Black market cheese.

        (Emily, BTW, Mr. Bookwoman and I leave for Israel on Monday, and City of Oranges is going in my bag to be read on the trip.)

        • Oh that is most excellent!

          If you have a chance to help pick a restaurant in Jerusalem, ask to go to Misedet Ima (Mom’s Place) and have one of the kubeh soups – kubeh is kinda-sorta like Middle Eastern wantons and the soup is sooooo gooood.

          The last time we were there (June/July) I actually bought 40 kubeh to bring home. I transported them in a cooler bag with ice-packs and they made the voyage pretty well! They weren’t very discrete, necessarily, by the time I put them in my Chicago-area freezer, but they still tasted good when I made soup! : )

  13. David L

     /  May 3, 2012

    I blame TNC and/or the horde for waking up feeling a little bit like a rapist this morning.

    I’m not quite a lucid dreamer in that I’m aware that I’m dreaming, but my conscious mind will engage in my dreams just before I wake up. In my dream, I was having sexytimes with an active NFL player, but in the middle he just kind of went dead behind the eyes, and I let everything keep going while simultaneously realizing something is very wrong with the entire situation and I should stop immediately.

    OTOH, it was at least somewhat more pleasant than the dream the previous morning where a couple of broken bones were rendered in graphic detail and I woke up depressed about yet another orthopedic issue.

    • chingona

       /  May 3, 2012

      I’ve had some seriously wrong, wrong, wrong sex dreams in my life. And some wrong, wrong, wrong non-sex dreams. Once, after getting in a fight with a boyfriend that was frustratingly reminiscent of disagreements I’d had with my previous boyfriend, I had a dream in which I kept trying to murder my previous boyfriend, but every attempt would fail. And he just sat there passively, with an odd smile, while I did increasingly brutal things to his body. Dreams are weird. I hear you on the way they can leave you with creepy feelings that linger throughout the day, but I really think it’s just your neurons sort of off-gassing.

      • David L

         /  May 3, 2012

        To be honest, in a normal sex dream, a guy going all impassive in the middle probably wouldn’t even register as a negative thing. But football player plus all the talk of head injuries, etc, etc just made it add up to too much. Which is too bad, because Rob Gronkowski is teh hotness and it started out not just pleasurable but fun.

        Aside: While trying to find that picture, I came across a link to a video where he talks about wanting to take Tim Tebow’s virginity. Gronk… Tebow… I’ll be in my bunk.

        • enstar

           /  May 3, 2012

          didn’t gronk get in trouble for doing the dirty with a porn star during the playoffs, or something? i seem to remember the talking heads on espn getting all turgid over something of the sort last year.

          regardless, i guess it means you know he’s dtf. tebow, on the other hand, might be a tougher one to convince.

          • enstar

             /  May 3, 2012

            oh, right–you linked to it. that’s what i get for not checking.

    • taylor16

       /  May 3, 2012

      That sounds … disturbing.🙂

      I had a dream last night where I found out my husband had been cheating on me, and woke up really mad at him. Similar to the creepy feeling following you around all day – for me at least – is the feeling that I’m mad at my husband or a friend for something they did in a particularly vivid dream. I have to keep reminding myself all day long that I’m not *actually* mad at him.

      Anyone else have those kinds of dreams?

      • Not since I got switched to the new meds.🙂
        Before that I used to have terrible vivid stress dreams of being yelled at at work, or my neicilings getting lost, or R dying.
        The last one would usually end up with me downstairs wrapped around his waist while he attempted to play video games while petting me on the head.

        • Oh, man, I had a really, really awful dream about M and a car wreck about a month ago, I kept running up to him and hugging him for dear life at random moments for a solid week after. That sucked. (I mean, not the hugs. Hugs are the foundation of our marriage. But the mental bit.)

      • SWNC

         /  May 3, 2012

        In real life I am quite conflict-averse. I don’t yell, and I don’t often express my anger towards people. As a result I have recurring dreams where I scream curses words at strangers for very relatively minor stuff like cutting ahead of me in line.

      • Darth Thulhu

         /  May 3, 2012

        The dreams where your husband is cheating on me *are* particularly upsetting, agreed.😉
        My remembered dream-fragments tend to be bizarre but really pleasant, and reality comes across as a complete letdown afterward.

        One recent one: I was crowdsurfing through the mall (being held aloft by countless thousands of people’s arms and passed along) after work and then crowdsurf-commuted home. Random arms popped up all around the home helped with all the household chores in the ultimate manifestation of “many hands light work” and then made me dinner, cleaned up, and helped brush my teeth and hair.

        Having to make breakfast and tea after waking up from that felt so dang unfair.

        • taylor16

           /  May 3, 2012

          Actually, if you look downthread, it’s pretty obvious why I had a dream about unfaithful spouses on this particular night. So it was doubly disturbing. This morning I was like “…just promise me that if you ever do cheat on me, it will be with an age-appropriate person who is not directly subordinate to you at work, okay???”🙂

          In real life, my husband and I don’t fight all that often and I’m not, like, secretly mad at him, so the dreams are super-weird.

          • Darth Thulhu

             /  May 3, 2012

            Glad there’s at least a good reason for why the subject matter came up in Dreamland. Otherwise you’re second-guessing yourself and asking yourself if you are trying to tell yourself some unpleasant suspicion subconsciously.

            Here, you can just directly conclude, “Beloved, please don’t ever be a creepy, hormone-addled skeeze like my friend, because it is just so déclassé.”🙂

            • David L

               /  May 3, 2012

              Yes. As someone who remembers his dreams frequently and clearly, the nights when I have something really odd/upsetting but can point directly to a reason for having that topic on the brain (see also the initial comment in the dreams discussion) are nice rather than having to puzzle out whether there’s something going on that my subconscious has figure out but I haven’t.

              • taylor16

                 /  May 3, 2012

                Yeah, exactly. My husband and I actually had a good laugh about it this morning, since we both had just learned the story about our friend yesterday so it was totally obvious why I’d had such a dream.

                Any other day, I probably would’ve spent the morning thinking “…hmmm. Has anything seemed off lately?”

    • A dreams thread, people? Really? What’s next, a covers album?

      • helensprogeny

         /  May 3, 2012

        Aren’t you supposed to be teaching?

        • taylor16

           /  May 3, 2012

          STAY AWAY FROM YOUR STUDENTS!!! THEY ARE NOT POTENTIAL MATES!!!

          (Sorry, I’m a little gunshy today.)

      • Ian

         /  May 3, 2012

        Craig is jealous because he doesn’t have sex dreams.

        • Remember that one time that someone told you about their dream and you were like, what a fascinating story? No? THAT’S BECAUSE THAT HAS NEVER HAPPENED.

          • Ian

             /  May 3, 2012

            I’m actually with you on this. I had this one cool dream where I got cut in half by a motorcycle, but that was 25 years ago.

      • Of course. I think our median age comes out to about Counting Crows-ish, doesn’t it?

    • enstar

       /  May 3, 2012

      i almost never, ever dream lucidly. i’m sure i do dream, but in the entirety of my life i can only remember a handful of times waking up and knowing what i was dreaming about.

      the worst part: all of those dreams i remember are extremely boring. i almost wish i could remember the crazy, fucked up ones–because then i’d have stories to tell.

      • David L

         /  May 3, 2012

        What’s weird is being awakened by something and realizing that you had worked it into your dream for a while before whatever it was finally woke you up. When I lived near a busy railroad crossing, I had a lot of dreams where I suddenly found myself waiting for a train and I could hear the horn in the distance.

        • When I was in high school, my alarm clock had an uncanny similarity to the school’s fire alarm. I’d have five minutes of sudden fire drills or fires at the end of nearly all my dreams.

  14. In case you were wondering, Agnes Grey is pretty rubbish but The Tenant of Wildfell Hall is very good. It’s like a romance novel gone horribly wrong.

    • Lizzou

       /  May 3, 2012

      I love me some Brontë sisters!! Could never really warm up to “Tenant,” tho.

      • It is very different from the works of her older sisters. The characters act like normal people, for example.

    • Some romance novels go horribly wrong. From the start, even. I remember one an ex tried to get me to read that somehow involved time travel and Vikings. I seem to remember that it’s not the only one with those themes.

      • helensprogeny

         /  May 3, 2012

        Because, really – what’s more romantic than Vikings?

      • Lizzou

         /  May 3, 2012

        I’m a sucker for Vikings. I have a few Viking books that are really good – very far from horribly wrong romance novels.

        • snailspace

           /  May 3, 2012

          Do you have any suggestions for good Viking books? I’d love to read something that didn’t start with an author going, “Hm, I like horned helmets and dragon-head boats and Immigrant Song” and going on a wince-inducing cliche-fest from there.

          • Lizzou

             /  May 3, 2012

            My current favorite is “The Long Ships” by Frans G. Berntsson. Fantastic, historic, and sprinkled with some really sly laugh out loud moments.

            • cofax

               /  May 3, 2012

              I have The Long Ships on my Kindle, haven’t read it yet. But it’s supposed to be excellent.

              • Lizzou

                 /  May 3, 2012

                Go for it! I can’t remember when I enjoyed a book so much.

          • Captain Button

             /  May 3, 2012

            Poul Anderson, better know as a science fiction author, wrote a bunch of historical, fantasy, and timetravel stories with Vikings in them. Too lazy to look them up, but there was a trilogy The Last Viking about Harold Hardrada (sp?) and a co-authored fantasy The Demon of Scattery (sp?).

    • Yeah, I wonder if it’s one of the earliest portraits of alcoholism in a novel. Anyone know?

      • I don’t know, but it is certainly a stunning and detailed portrait. Not just the alcoholism, but the manipulativeness that goes along with it.

        • Oh yes, she definitely knew at least one in real life. (One suspects Bramwell.)

  15. Jetamors

     /  May 3, 2012

    Happy Dracula Day! If you’d like to follow along with the world’s most famous Romanian travelogue in real-time, you can add Dracula Blogged to your RSS, which posts the novel in chronological order from May to November.

    • Captain Button

       /  May 3, 2012

      Thanks.

      The women looked pretty, except when you got near them, but they were very clumsy about the waist.

      Since this is from a Victorian, I assume this means not deformed by a corset?

    • JHarper2

       /  May 3, 2012

      Bram Stoker’s obit from The Irish Times, Apr 23, 1912. Apparently it was thought that his best literary output was his biographies; the sensationalist trash would be forgotten.
      http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/opinion/2012/0423/1224315048171.html

      • JHarper2

         /  May 3, 2012

        forgot the quote:

        In 1906 he brought out his Life of Henry Irving, which was one of the books of the year, and financially and in every other respect proved a huge success. As a biographer dealing with the life of a man he knew so intimately, he did better work than as a novelist. There was a demand for his books, however, and from 1882, when he published Under the Sunset, until 1905, when he wrote The Man, he brought out eight tales, which were readable, though they were not marked by any originality. Before attempting fiction he published a valuable work on The Duties of Clerks of Petty sessions in Ireland, which is a standard authority on the subject.

    • Liked!

  16. chingona

     /  May 3, 2012

    First time trying to embed video. Hope this works.

    Priscila y Sus Balas de Plata (Priscilla and Her Silver Bullets) cover “Heart of Glass” – cumbia style. She plays the accordion while dancing on top of a bar, and we get the Debbie Harry oooo aaaaa. It’s awesome. I hope it’s awesome even if you don’t speak Spanish.

    • chingona

       /  May 3, 2012

      Okay, so embed didn’t work, but you can at least get there if you want to.

    • helensprogeny

       /  May 3, 2012

      Loved it!

  17. dmf

     /  May 3, 2012

  18. Lizzou

     /  May 3, 2012

    I just want to shout out to the wonderfulness that is North America. Really, being on a different continent has it’s perks, but you never truly appreciate what you have until you don’t have it anymore. I had lunch today with a fellow expat (Mexican), and the bond we felt while living in Europe gives me hope that our differences are, in fact, not that different. I hope that makes sense…

  19. Oh, did I tell you guys to go check out the Lego GoT video on my blog? because you should check that out. Also the Dr Who thing. And the Rock of Ages thing. And even the Idol thing.

    • JHarper2

       /  May 3, 2012

      I would so buy a lego dire wolf.

    • koolaide

       /  May 3, 2012

      100% agreed. Leggings are NOT pants.

      I do know multiple people that store their phone in the front of their bra. I’m w/ you on the pocket under the armpit, though. Need a waterproof (well, sweat proof) otter phone case.. ick.

  20. Neocortex

     /  May 3, 2012

    Hey Emily, I’m going to be in Chicago in a couple of weeks (arriving late on the 17th, leaving on the 22nd). I’ll be pretty busy, and I’m sure you will too, but I’d love to meet you in person if possible!

    • That would be great! Shoot an email to elhauser [at] hotmail [dot] com and we’ll make a plan. : )

  21. JHarper2

     /  May 3, 2012

    Oh come all ye Commies, Horde, & Black Republicans

  22. wearyvoter

     /  May 3, 2012

    Got back from my conference in Long Beach. Had good fortune with the flights in both directions. Good conference in the middle. Committee meetings went well. Convention center staff set up a foot massager kit in our staff decompression room yesterday. Part one is a contraption that you slip your stockinged feet into, hit the button, and these mechanical magic fingers work your feet into a state of blissful relaxation. The second part is just a vibrating surface. (I should have looked at the box to see the brand and model.) That was just perfect for what happens to your ankles between riding an airplane, and then standing on your feet for a several hours at a time.

  23. taylor16

     /  May 3, 2012

    So apparently one of my former grad student colleagues (now a professor at a university elsewhere) is sleeping with one of their barely-former students. My friend has announced that they are “in love” and that my friend is ending their current marriage for this person who is 12 years their junior and not yet graduated from the undergraduate program where my friend teaches. Although the student is no longer in any of my friend’s classes, so “it’s okay.”

    Um, no it’s not. I think I just threw up a little in my mouth.

    There are no kids involved (other than the student — kidding, I’m kidding) – so it’s probably for the best, but ….. ugh.

    Since when are my friends living out the plots of bad porn films??? My god.

    • taylor16

       /  May 3, 2012

      Oh, important edit: by “probably for the best” I should have said “…that Spouse finds out Professor is a creepster now rather than in ten years.”

      Nothing about this is for the best. Ew.

      • Ian

         /  May 3, 2012

        No kidding. I have a good friend going through a divorce right now because her husband “fell in love” with one of his advisees. He kept it a secret until after she defended and he helped her get a job, but it’s public information now. She’s only a couple years older than their oldest daughter. Unbelievably creepy, and my poor friend has to completely rebuild her life on a teacher’s salary at age 50. I hate that guy.

        • koolaide

           /  May 3, 2012

          yeah. I’m pretty much of the view that when the age gap is such that the new sig other is < 10yrs older than a person's child. the two people shouldn't be dating. ick.

          • Ian

             /  May 3, 2012

            Actual thing he said to his wife when he told her: “She’s just so young and pretty and thin!” I want to set this man on fire.

            • koolaide

               /  May 3, 2012

              mouth reflexively drops open in surprise that some is that stupid & unfeeling & not-self aware

              I think I have some matches in my bag. Hang on a sec while I dig around to find them.

            • Bookwoman

               /  May 3, 2012

              Oy. And that bodes so well for the relationship down the line, when she’s not so young and pretty and thin anymore….

              • Ian

                 /  May 3, 2012

                I’m hoping she ditches him when he starts to get creaky. He’s got to be around 55, and he’s a dick, so I could easily see her taking off for greener pastures.

                Meanwhile, my friend is having no trouble dating. Single, attractive, intelligent woman in a town packed with middle-aged divorced people. So she’s doing fine there, but the financial side of it is rough.

                • Bookwoman

                   /  May 3, 2012

                  but the financial side of it is rough.

                  It often is for the woman, particularly middle-aged ones. I have a couple of friends whose husbands left them for younger women, and in both cases the men made a lot more money. The men both did deliberately nasty things with that fact: hiding some of their assets, using money as a weapon vis a vis my friends and the kids, etc. In other words, they were complete pricks.

                  Ladies, let this be a lesson to you: always have some money that’s in your name only. You just never know.

                  • Ian

                     /  May 3, 2012

                    Definitely.

                  • You would be surprised at how many people give me shit about this. Although we have a family account that we pay all the common expenses out of (and most of our salaries go into it), I still keep a separate account, too. Because, you know what, my Mom got completely screwed over in her divorce over money and I’m never going to let that happen to me. Just on sheer principle, even. I work full time, and if I want to go out and spend money on whatever I want to spend money on…I should be able to do that (and so should my husband) without having to explain it or make excuses.

                    I really worry about my friends who stay at home, have been out of the workforce, etc. I know we all think nothing like that will ever happen to us…but it does. [/soapbox]

            • helensprogeny

               /  May 3, 2012

              That is seriously low. I hope she gets a massive divorce settlement, or at least something that will hurt him financially too.

              On the plus side, painful as the process may be now, she is very lucky to be rid of that asshole and not have to waste one more minute of her life with him.

            • taylor16

               /  May 3, 2012

              Wow. Wow.

              Perhaps I’ll tell Spouse this story. Because at least my friend wasn’t THAT callous and cruel about confessing it.

              Ugh. I hate people.

          • Lizzou

             /  May 3, 2012

            My dad married a woman who is 4 years older than my sister. Granted, my mother had passed away, so it wasn’t as bad as if he left her for a younger woman. But. Still not quite over the fact. My parents were married in 1970. My “step-mom” was born in 1974. icky-ick.

    • I heartily endorse your judgmentalism. Fucking gross.

      • dmf

         /  May 3, 2012

        yep that registers on the gag reflexometer

      • taylor16

         /  May 3, 2012

        Yeah. I can’t wait until my friend is all “hey, meet my new significant other!!”

        Um, sure. Maybe in like fifteen years. Until then, no.

        • koolaide

           /  May 3, 2012

          I know a couple of couples (um, prolly a better way to say that) where there is a significant age difference. And I’m ok w/ that. But they didn’t meet/start dating when the 10-14 yr younger one was an undergrad. Nor did the couples I know break up any previous marriages for each other. But I agree that as someone in my mid-thirties, I am not interested in someone sub-mid-twenties.

          • taylor16

             /  May 3, 2012

            Yeah, the age difference only creeps me out a bit at this specific point in time, with the student just about to graduate. Sizable age differences don’t really creep me out on their own, but if it’s a situation like this where exact timing and power differentials and subordinate/supervisor issues are coming into play, I just feel all skeeved out. It’s not really any one thing that’s doing it – it’s just the whole package.

            • koolaide

               /  May 3, 2012

              We’re in agreement.

              Your poor friend’s former spouse😦

              • caoil

                 /  May 3, 2012

                Agreed. I would like to offer a comforting mug of tea to that spouse, and the use of a baseball bat and a dummy.

                • taylor16

                   /  May 3, 2012

                  Thanks. The next time I see Spouse, I will pass along the sentiment.🙂

                  • caoil

                     /  May 3, 2012

                    Having been cheated on more than once, my sympathies and solidarity are always with that party. I can’t even watch movies where someone is messing around on or dumping their significant other (as an example, ‘Serendipity’ makes me want to throw things at my tv and then set it on fire).

                    • Yeah, while I’ve thankfully never been in that situation, it’s one of the absolutes for me in the dating world. It doesn’t matter how ‘swept away’ you are, you owe it to your significant other to be a decent human being and break things off before starting another relationship (open relationships and poly, with all parties consenting, excepted).

    • SWNC

       /  May 3, 2012

      Ewwwww. That’s just…not cool.

      I work at a college. I like almost of our students, and I recognize that many of them are good-looking, but I don’t find them attractive. They’re like puppies. Cute, but not sexy.

      (I mean, back when I was in college, I found other college students attractive. But I’m a grown-ass woman now. What would I want with an undergrad?)

      • Darth Thulhu

         /  May 3, 2012

        Once installed properly, they make delightful conversation pieces for house parties! Or you can rebuild them into charming snapdragon and rhododendron planters!

      • taylor16

         /  May 3, 2012

        I taught college for four years! Like I was just saying to my coworkers (I’ve felt the need to vent about this a bit over the last 24 hours) … when I was teaching while in my late 20s, sometimes I’d have good-looking students. And I’d say something to my husband or friends like “awww, I would’ve SO tried to go out with so-and-so when I was 21, he’s so cute!!!” And then I would laugh it off because, clearly, the idea that I would go for said person NOW was so ludicrous that it was laughable.

        But apparently I should’ve waited a few more years. It’s when you’re in your mid-30s that you’re supposed to start pursuing the undergrads. How could I not have known?

        Excuse me, I have to go vomit again. Bleeccchhhh.

      • David L

         /  May 3, 2012

        I still go to the occasional event with my old fraternity. There’s the occasional guy who’s a nontraditional student and closer to my age, but as the age difference between myself and the guys I might otherwise drool over starts to hit the 8-10 year range, I start to feel very aware of just how young they are.

    • Darth Thulhu

       /  May 3, 2012

      Hey, it’s not your friend’s fault that the young boytoy / girlthing was a pizza-delivery-person cum pool-repairperson who showed up to class sweaty and sore and in need of massage and help with their clothes after every class. Clearly, they had no other choice!

      • Captain Button

         /  May 3, 2012

        Digressing, there is a website out there somewhere that critques the contents of the blackboards in porn videos set in schools.

    • koolaide

       /  May 3, 2012

      It sucks. And is a story that is all too common.

      Back in the day when I was an undergrad, a prof that had been generally liked got divorced and started dating/sleeping with a barely former student. The undergrad gossip mill never fully decided whether or not the sleeping with began before the divorce or after. Said gossip mill also generally disproved of the situation b/c said student was still in the same dept as the prof.

      • koolaide

         /  May 3, 2012

        Also, my particular grad program was hell on marriages. At least 3 divorces and several other long term dating relationships ended.

      • taylor16

         /  May 3, 2012

        The big unanswered question out of all of this is what my friend’s department thinks. I don’t know. My friend did not tell me exactly WHO it was that they had begun to date. I heard that nice little tidbit from the estranged spouse, and haven’t had the heart to ask “…so have you called the department yet to report it???”

        Because, damn. I would. Does that make me petty? I don’t care.

        • koolaide

           /  May 3, 2012

          It does not make you petty.

        • koolaide

           /  May 3, 2012

          I think the fact that your friend left off a mighty big detail in their story is good evidence that they know it is a major red flag.

          • taylor16

             /  May 3, 2012

            Oh, most definitely yes. All of the rest of us have taught at the college level, of course. We’ve all had students and advisees. We’ve all talked crap about that one guy in our department who always creeped on the young female students. My friend most definitely knows how we’d all take this.

            Which somehow makes it worse, in a weird way. Initially, I was kind of sympathetic. “Well, if you really think this person is perfect for you then I guess it’s good that you and Spouse ended things now rather than in ten years when kids were involved.”

            Now it’s all I can do not to email and say “I TAKE ALL OF MY ADVICE BACK, YOU JERK. YOU DID NOT TELL ME THE WHOLE STORY.”

    • Last year I was talking to one of my old chemistry professors and somehow we ended up on the subject of how my alma mater used to be well known for professor/former thesis student relationships. She mentioned that not long after she was hired, back in the late 80s or early 90s, there was an all-hands faculty meeting to discuss the acceptability of those kinds of relationships. All of the old guard just kind of shrugged, because to them it was pretty much normal. All of the newer professors were just horrified. There are still a small handful of current professors who are still married to their former thesis students, but in another generation at most, I’m hoping that chapter of history will be closed.

      • koolaide

         /  May 3, 2012

        At my undergrad institution, there were a batch of profs that had married former students. Or people that had been students at their previous institution. And there were multiple students during my time that were interested in a particular newly single prof. But he had the decency to NOT date any undergrads. But had he been like the other prof I mentioned upthread, he, too, could have dated/slept w/ students. It was interesting to see the two different roads taken there.

      • taylor16

         /  May 3, 2012

        I’ve heard similar stories about my former grad program – prof/advisee relationships were all the rage in the 70s and 80s, and all but forbidden now.

        I think it’s a positive change, needless to say.🙂 I fully agree that there are probably a few isolated instances where a prof/student really would be a perfect match for each other. But I think it is an overall good that such relationships are discouraged or forbidden. There is just too much room for abuse.

    • Byrk

       /  May 3, 2012

      At my high school one of the teachers started dating a former student, on the Senior Trip. When he was one of the teachers supervising said trip. I mean, she wasn’t a student anymore and was 18 and he was 25, but still creepy.

      • koolaide

         /  May 3, 2012

        To me, this is worse than a (single) prof dating an undergrad. Could he not wait until after the sr. trip? d@mn.

  24. NealH

     /  May 3, 2012

    Baby Falcons!

    http://www.1201third.com/falconcam.aspx

    A pair of falcons nests on top of my building and the eggs just hatched two or three days ago (and I just discovered yesterday the falcon cam is online–the whole time the falcon has been nesting, the video has been displayed on monitors at the security desk in the lobby).

    • dmf

       /  May 3, 2012

      cool, not so cool on my morning walk was a male swan killing the neighboring canadian goslings, his mate is sitting on her own nest so I get the big picture but takes some of the majesty out of seeing swans

      • Lizzou

         /  May 3, 2012

        I’ve been attacked on numerous occasions by swans. We have some in our river, which I enjoy admiring… from afar.

      • Electronic_Neko

         /  May 3, 2012

        I used to live near a lake that kept swans specifically to get rid of canadian geese and ducks. They’re nasty. During spring, you would find dead ducklings all along the path. Totally exploded all my mental images about swans. They’re definitely best viewed from afar.

        • Ian

           /  May 3, 2012

          My grandfather saw a swan kill a grown dog once. Swans are savage.

          • chingona

             /  May 3, 2012

            A few weeks ago, a man in Illinois was killed by a swan. It attacked him while he was in a kayak and he drowned.

            • Ian

               /  May 3, 2012

              That’s…really an embarrassing way to go. I refuse to put all of the blame for that on the swan. Unless it was Zeus.

              • chingona

                 /  May 3, 2012

                It is embarrassing, but I wonder if maybe it shouldn’t be quite so much. As you said, swans are savage.

                • Ian

                   /  May 3, 2012

                  Dude had a paddle.

                  • He was also already in the water. The swan kept attacking him, which made the whole treading-water business a bit tricky.

                    • chingona

                       /  May 3, 2012

                      I also think that if you start out in a kayak, you’re at a serious disadvantage. If you’re in a canoe, you can at least stand up and whack it, but if you’re in a kayak, the bird’s beak is right at face level and you can’t use your lower body for leverage.

                      That settles it. Ian, you are wrong!

                • Byrk

                   /  May 3, 2012

                  Ian’s from Alaska, if it wasn’t death by moose, polar bear or grizzly bear you should have been able to fight off the animal.

        • dmf

           /  May 3, 2012

          yep he shook them like my old pitbull used to shake his rope-toys, not a pretty sight, bloody out there in tooth, claw and apparently beak.

      • NealH

         /  May 3, 2012

        I don’t know. I think that is part of the majesty. The floor that I sit on has a 8 foot or so ledge with a 2 – 3 foot parapet and these falcons will occassionally land on the ledge or parapet with their kill. I think it is immensely cool to see the falcons pecking at their lunch right outside my window. The time a falcon was squawking non-stop when I was trying to have a conference call was a different matter . . .

        • dmf

           /  May 3, 2012

          ah but falcons are made for killing, swans not so much, like using a blunt tool for cutting

    • Makovnik

       /  May 3, 2012

      That’s a really good view. I love that mantling posture, where the adult is trying to keep the wriggly chicks under its wings. And while I realize my cleanliness standards mean nothing to falcons, I want to wash that nest.

    • koolaide

       /  May 3, 2012

      watching the falcon cam now! tiny fuzz ball chicks… squeee

  25. Damn it, my boss just told me I’m not allowed to apply for a dishtern ship.

    He’s on to me.

    • Awww… what a shame. Most of Andrew’s interns seem to be less crazy than he is, so you’d be in good company.

  26. I enjoy the fact that Mittens’ recent meeting with the Shortbusnoscenti of the right-wing internet gives everyone a chance to link to supposed alpha male Ace of Spades’ post about how he’s squicked out by the pussy again.

    http://obsidianwings.blogs.com/obsidian_wings/2007/04/scary_monsters_.html

    • chingona

       /  May 3, 2012

      I really enjoyed the link, but I don’t understand the excuse/content part of it. Help, please.

      • Ian

         /  May 3, 2012

        Replying down here because we were getting skinny up there. I am willing to test this. Put me in a kayak and send me the biggest, meanest swan you can find. I will not be defeated.

        • GET OUT OF MY THREAD DICKHOLE!

          • Ian

             /  May 3, 2012

            I DON’T KNOW OR CARE WHAT “SHORTBUSNOSCENTI” MEANS!

          • Ian

             /  May 3, 2012

            ALSO YOU’RE A DOUBLE DICKHOLE AND NOBODY LIKES YOUR THREAD ANYWAY!

          • chingona

             /  May 3, 2012

            You don’t want to talk about dreams. You don’t want to talk about cover albums. You don’t want to talk about the ease of defeating a vicious swam from a kayak versus a canoe. All you want to talk about is how Ace of Spades doesn’t like pussy. Geez.

        • chingona

           /  May 3, 2012

          That would be a really embarrassing way to go. Taken out by a vicious swan that you promised you could defeat, even from a kayak. I’ll bookmark this thread.

          • Ian

             /  May 3, 2012

            Let me know when you’ve got the swan trained up. I’m ready now.

            • I love you too much. As hall monitor I declare: THERE WILL BE NO HUMAN-SWAN GRUDGE MATCHES.

              But Ian and Craig can go at it hammer and tongs if they need to.

              • Ian

                 /  May 3, 2012

                Come on. I can win this thing without killing the swan.

                • I’m so confused. I think there’s a typo here, but I’m not sure. “Can win”? “Can’t win”? WHAT.

              • Is that what you meant by letting the elves have their tools?

              • chingona

                 /  May 3, 2012

                UNLEASH THE SWANS!

  27. efgoldman

     /  May 3, 2012

    I’m so disappointed, had to share it with the Horde.
    Remember last week, when I wrote about mrs efgoldman going to a Girl Scout awards banquet, to receive her 50-year pin?
    And how she dug out the vintage green dress, and it still fits?
    She dug out white ankle sox and white gloves, also too. The whole vintage “formal” outfit.
    Well, I just came home, and she had gone.
    But the green dress and accesories were still here.
    I’m pretty sure she didn’t go nekkid, so I guess she wore normal clothes. Too bad. She would have been the hit of the banquet.

  28. Dunno if anyone’s warned you all yet, but this Saturday May 5th is also FREE COMIC BOOK DAY! Check your local comic book stores for awesomeness!
    http://www.freecomicbookday.com/storelocator