Pharyngula

A Date with Pharyngula

Somehow, listening to John Waters reading the liner notes to an album he’s putting out sounds an awful lot like the never-ending thread. I think he’d feel right at home here, someone invite him over for a date.

Comments

  1. #1 Rorschach
    February 20, 2010

    Ehm, BoSOM, who got closest and gets extra credits now???

  2. #2 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 20, 2010

    Dang, tried to post on the other thread but PZ closed it.

  3. #3 WowbaggerOM
    February 20, 2010

    Awesome – I got the last pre-PZ-closing post of the previous thread.

    John Waters is indeed excellent, if for no other reason than he guest-voiced on one of my favourite Simpsons episodes, Homer’s Phobia.

  4. #4 blf
    February 20, 2010

    Unfortunately, I woke up this morning (I prefer sleeping in), and having skimmed the zillion comments since dinner, totally agree with the suggestion for using spices—and that does not imply spicy hot (but like others, do like very spicy hot foods (surprising rare in this area of France ;-( (or I don’t know the (local) secret for finding the stuff ;-( )))—and am willing to concede that will the proper application of spices and lots of real food it might be possible to disguise a pea. But I doubt it, you cannot even hide the feckers under a mattress.

  5. #5 'Tis Himself, OM
    February 20, 2010

    Our lord and master is awake and closing threads. He must still be on Irish time since it’s only a little after 7AM in Minnesota.

  6. #6 blf
    February 20, 2010

    He must still be on Irish time since it’s only a little after 7AM in Minnesota.

    Nah, it’s one of the leprechauns he brought back with him. Or maybe one of the daemons snuck over from Poland. Professional Poopyhead Little Pee Zed probably doesn’t know he’s infected.

  7. #7 Paul W.
    February 20, 2010

    Leigh, Silent Moose of Doom:

    I’ll tidy up some of my spicy veggie recipes, post a couple, and email some more to Leigh.

    BTW, I’m surprised that none of the biologists here has remarked on the science of mushroom yumminess.

    Mushrooms have free glutamic acid in them; they’re a natural flavor enhancer, doing basically what MSG does, which may be especially important for people who like meat but “don’t like veggies.”

    So even if you don’t like the taste or texture of mushrooms themselves, you may like the way they make other things taste.

    Glutamates give food a sort of subtle meat-like flavor called umami, which is hard to recognize consciously as a flavor. (It’s one of the 5 basic flavors your tongue can detect, along with sweet, salty, bitter, and sour.)

    Soy sauce and fish sauce and various fermented bean sauces also have free glutamate in them, which is one reason why they’re used a lot in Asian cuisine. (I often use soy sauce for the saltiness, instead of adding salt, and get some umami flavoring in the bargain.)

    A lot of Japanese food is based on either mushroom stock or kombu stock—the water that dried shiitake mushrooms or dried kombu seaweed were rehydrated in. You soak the mushrooms or kombu and use them in one dish, saving the water to use in another.

    If you’re like me, and like meat but want to eat less of it, or if you are cooking for meat-eaters who don’t usually like veggies, you want to take that into account. A little umami may make the veggies more satisfying in a way that’s hard to put your finger on.

  8. #8 PZ Myers
    February 20, 2010

    No, I’m miserably sick. Woke up at 4am to the unpleasant sensation of my brain melting and oozing down the back of my throat.

  9. #9 'Tis Himself, OM
    February 20, 2010

    We need some music. Luka Bloom and Christy Moore:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WxLTuzx82XM&feature=grec

  10. #10 'Tis Himself, OM
    February 20, 2010

    Sorry to hear that, PZ. Hope you feel better soon.

  11. #11 Rorschach
    February 20, 2010

    No, I’m miserably sick. Woke up at 4am to the unpleasant sensation of my brain melting and oozing down the back of my throat.

    Oh !!
    Sounds like the bug my kid caught !
    Regular fluids, Panadol, Nurofen, and maybe consider a Moritz style soaporizer !!
    Get better soon !

  12. #12 Paul W.
    February 20, 2010

    Paul’s double-spiced Niter Kebbeh (Ethiopian spiced butter, but vegan) recipe

    This is a variant of a recipe I got off recipezaar; there are several variants of it floating around.

    Niter Kebbeh is common in lots of Ethiopian vegetable dishes. It’s a good thing to have around for yummifying non-Ethiopian veggies and starches, too. (For example, I sometimes toast a multigrain tortilla in the toaster oven until it’s crispy, spread a little NK on it, and it tastes like some cool exotic African or Indian flatbread thing. Nice for a snack, or with something else.)

    I doubled the spices, because I usually use much less “butter” than is probably authentic for Ethiopian food. (Which often contains LOTS of butter.) You can also use it half-and-half with butter/margarine/oil to get the usual density of spices for other people’s recipes.

    I usually double the quantities below and make a big batch that lasts for months at the rate i use it.

    1 lb margarine, Earth Balance, or whatever (or if you want to be authentic and nonvegan, clarified butter)
    1/2 cup onion, chopped pretty fine.
    4 tsp grated fresh ginger root
    4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
    2 cinnamon sticks
    1 tsp turmeric
    4 whole cloves
    1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
    1/2 teaspoon ground fenugreek
    2 tablespoon fresh basil, or 2 teaspoon dried basil

    Yield: 12-14 fl. oz.

    Directions:

    1. Chop onions, grate ginger, mince garlic if you don’t have a press.
    2. Heat the margarine until it bubbles a little.
    3. Add everything else.
    4. Heat to bubbling again, then turn heat to low and cover pot.
    5. Simmer for 45 minutes to an hour.
    6. Strain into heat resistant container; let strainer drip a while.

    Put the liquid in a jar, store in fridge for months.

    Keep the solids—they’re good to spread thinly on toast, or to jazz up a sandwich. Pick out the big hunks (cinnamon, cloves) and use the rest as a tasty topping or condiment.

  13. #13 blf
    February 20, 2010

    No, I’m miserably sick. Woke up at 4am to the unpleasant sensation of my brain melting and oozing down the back of my throat.

    Probably daemons then.
    Take three gods and call a real doctor.

    p.s. Sounds awful! Please get better. Soon.

  14. #14 Paul W.
    February 20, 2010

    Paul’s Gomen (Ethiopian Greens)

    (I usually double this recipe)

    1 1-lb bag frozen collard greens, thawed
    2 tbsp (1 oz) Paul’s double-spiced Niter Kebbeh (Ethiopian spiced butter)
    1 1/2 cups chopped onion (most of a medium onion, diced)
    5 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
    1 roma tomato, chopped or 2/3 cup diced tomato
    2 jalapenos, deseeded and minced
    1 1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger
    1/4 tsp ground cardamom
    1/2 tsp ground black pepper, more or less, to taste
    1/2 tsp salt, more or less to taste
    1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar

    1. Heat Niter Kebbeh over medium heat.

    2. Saute onions a few minutes, until translucent.

    3. Add garlic, and saute another minute or two.

    4. Add tomatoes, jalapenos, ginger, and cardamom, and saute another couple of minutes.

    5. Mix in collard greens.

    6. Cook over low heat, covered, 15 minutes or so, stirring occasionally.

    7. Mix in black pepper, salt, and vinegar; cover, cook over low
    heat another 20 minutes or so, stirring occasionally.

    Serve with tortillas heated in a dry skillet or toaster oven, so that the surface is a little toasty but they’re still flexible. Tear off hunks of tortilla, pinch a wad of gomen with it, and pop it in your mouth. If you want to be authentic, use injera (thin, spongy Ethiopian sourdough pancake-like flatbread) instead of tortillas. (A lot of people prefer tortillas, especially if the injera is authentically sour. I use Southwestern-style tortillas which my neighborhood grocery store makes fresh in the store.)

  15. #15 David Marjanovi?
    February 20, 2010

    Urgh. He keeps droning on… I had to stop at 2:50.

    I’ve never understood why someone would have their own name tattooed on their body. Are they afraid they’ll forget what they’re called?

    I suppose it might be a “talk to the hand” phenomenon… :-/

    You have no idea just how few people will care if I publish those papers. I can say that preliminary stuff was well received at conferences, though.

    I sense a contradiction :-)

    “There are old mushroom hunters and there are bold mushroom hunters, but there are no old, bold mushroom hunters.”

    :-D

    * Yet another thing that’s aggravated by living alone.

    Very wise.

    What’s wise ? my insight that meatspace in general and time in particular are social phenomena for me, so that, living alone, I basically have to consciously remind myself of their existence several times every day (and sometimes fail, naturally)? Maybe, but that doesn’t help me any. Being alone isn’t something I can simply switch off by using wisdom ? and I already don’t want to be alone for other reasons; I didn’t need any wisdom to figure that out.

    <deep breath>

    <span lang=”cz”>Ach jo…</span>

    Because in RL I’m sweet and bubbly. Sweet and fucking bubbly. Anyone want to make something of it? I thought not.

    Most or all good people, except maybe Type III antiheroes, are sweet and bubbly as long as they aren’t confronted with (as my sister likes to say) how bad the world is.

    http://www.xkcd.com/703/

    Awesome.

    “People that are really very weird can get into sensitive positions and have a tremendous impact on history.”

    Is that supposed to be funny or stupid or something? It’s entirely true. In fact, I just put it into my quote collection.

    it’s hilariously, obliviously self-referential.

    It is self-referential, but are you sure it’s oblivious? There are people who describe themselves as weird. And Quayle did joke about himself after the potatoe incident, as far as I’m informed.

    Ooh! Cheesiest, most formulaic TV opening ever:

    Urgh. That needs an antidote.

    Unfortunately I can’t find a better version of the opening scene of Django than this. The resolution is so bad that you can only see in the puddles from 1:00 to 1:10 that it’s supposed to be raining throughout (it’s very well visible on TV); ignore the crappy song (which unfortunately foreshadows Keoma), or just turn the sound off altogether; and for the best effect only start watching at 0:19.

    my ex-bitch mother in law […] my first hissband

    :-D

    Perhaps the safest thing to do at the outset, if technology permits, is to send music. This language may be the best we have for explaining what we are like to others in space, with least ambiguity.

    What utter bullshit. That would work on Star Dreck Humans From Another Star, but what makes anyone think it would work on Life As We Don’t Know It?!?

    (Sorry, Jadehawk. In this context I had to say it. <wince> Spock is less probable than a human-artichoke hybrid, to say it in IIRC Carl Sagan’s words.)

    I went to Memory Alpha to check on one little thing, and the damn wiki sucked me in. The passionate love/hate relationship I have with my favorite wikis is entirely because they are the ultimate time sucking devices. Go on to Wikipedia to find out the average life-span of ducks and you’ll end up, hours later, reading about the history of model trains.

    I can sympathize, and so can a certain Randall Munroe

    but like others, do like very spicy hot foods (surprising rare in this area of France ;-( (or I don’t know the (local) secret for finding the stuff ;-( ))

    The supermarket?

    Have you got any idea what kind of curry I bought maybe 3 years ago in what was then an ATAC? Unbelievably good, but so hot I could only eat tiny amounts of it; I passed it on to my dad and bought a less fancy kind of curry. The company is Albert Ménès; they sell lots of other spices, too.

    BTW, I’m surprised that none of the biologists here has remarked on the science of mushroom yumminess.

    Because I had no idea about it! :-) :-) :-)

    Paul’s double-spiced Niter Kebbeh (Ethiopian spiced butter, but vegan) recipe

    Sounds awesome. I’m not going to try making it anytime soon, but that’s just laziness lack of time.

    What do you think would happen with, say, rapeseed oil instead of clarified butter?

  16. #16 Rorschach
    February 20, 2010

    Damn you David, I love Django !!! Just awesome…..

  17. #17 David Marjanovi?
    February 20, 2010

    Argh. Multiple blockquote fails in just over 4 laptop screens. Something is wrong with me today other than complaining about the “science” of Star Trek.

  18. #18 Leigh Williams
    February 20, 2010

    Paul, thanks so much for the recipes. I’m looking forward to trying them.

    But now, I need to try to sleep some. Last night was a big FAIL for shuteye.

  19. #19 Leigh Williams
    February 20, 2010

    Thanks again, Paul, for the food chemistry tip about mushrooms. I did not know that!

  20. #20 Leigh Williams
    February 20, 2010

    Jadehawk, SpriteSuzi and I left lime pie tips on the humungous fungus thread, #s 743 and 744.

  21. #21 Paul W.
    February 20, 2010

    What do you think would happen with, say, rapeseed oil instead of clarified butter?

    I suspect that it would be good, but probably not as good, at least for some things where the butteriness is a plus. I use Earth Balance because it’s a margarine-like thing that tastes fairly buttery, but doesn’t have as much of the Bad For You kinds of fats as either butter or regular margarine. (As I understand it.)

    Many recipes for NK call for unsalted butter or margarine. I just use regular, and it doesn’t generally end up making things too salty because I double-spice it and use less of it.

    (I do often use 3 tablespoons of NK in the gomen recipe above, rather than 2, if I want it extra yummy and am not worried about it being low fat.)

    BTW, for USAmericans, rapeseed oil = “Canola oil” minus the offense to delicate sensibilities about “rape” (Many USers don’t know there’s also a plant called “rape.”)

  22. #22 Sili
    February 20, 2010

    I just can’t keep up. I fear we’re approaching the Threadularity.

    So I’d better get in this response to Bojangles quick.

  23. #23 The Silent Moose of Doom
    February 20, 2010

    Paul W #12, #14

    Very excited about trying these recipes out.

    Is there an Australian equivalent to ‘collard greens’, or is it just a name for something obvious and I’ve missed it?

    (I’ll take as many recipes as you can spare. I’m at silent DOT moose DOT of DOT doom AT the Google email.)

  24. #24 blf
    February 20, 2010
    [I] do like very spicy hot foods (surprising rare in this area of France ;-( (or I don’t know the (local) secret for finding the stuff ;-( ))

    The supermarket?

    Well, ignoring the fact I dislike supermarkets and abhor hypermarkets, I was really referring to sit-down restaurants (as distinct from, say, kebab shops). I agree I wasn’t clear and also was slightly out-of-context (on the endlessly wandering thread?). Sorry for any confusion.

    Fresh chili’s can be hard to find (albeit I did find some organic habaneros recently), as can a wide selection of spicy sauces, but with perhaps those two exceptions, yes, I can and do find adequate ingredients. Not as wide a selection I was used to in California, or even in England, but findable without too much effort.

    Have you got any idea what kind of curry I bought maybe 3 years ago in what was then an ATAC? Unbelievably good, but so hot I could only eat tiny amounts of it; I passed it on to my dad and bought a less fancy kind of curry. The company is Albert Ménès; they sell lots of other spices, too.; they sell lots of other spices, too.

    Offhand no, and I’m embarrassed to say this, but the name Albert Ménès isn’t ringing any bells. (That doesn’t mean much—I have a poor memory for names (and no, mine is not tattooed on me!).) I’ll keep an eye open—thanks for the tip!

  25. #25 Sili
    February 20, 2010

    Posted by: Carlie | February 19, 2010 7:25 PM

    Pygmy Loris – if it helps any, you’re not alone; there are people I can barely handle the thought of facing because I’ve been such a letdown in the research arena. They might even not hold anything against me, but then I’m not sure which would be worse: to be a disappointment, or to think that they never thought I would amount to much anyway. :(

    GAH!

    Get out of my head!

  26. #26 Sili
    February 20, 2010

    That link was great. (I have zero interest in younger guys.) What does it have to do with Ben Goldacre?

    He led me to it.

    I now I has a sad.

  27. #27 'Tis Himself, OM
    February 20, 2010

    So I’d better get in this response to Bojangles quick.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j3YMyW0SqmU

  28. #28 Dahan
    February 20, 2010

    I like Bacon!

  29. #29 Paul W.
    February 20, 2010

    SMoD:

    Is there an Australian equivalent to ‘collard greens’, or is it just a name for something obvious and I’ve missed it?

    Good question. Wikipedia suggests that not everybody has collard greens, by any name.

    The recipe should work pretty well with various kinds of greens. Authentic Ethiopian gomen is made with different kinds of greens, and usually not colllards. (IIRC, something called “bitter leaf” is common; I can find that in the local afro-caribbean store, but not in regular grocery stores.)

    You might try using fresh spinach, or beet greens, or maybe kale, or pretty much whatever greens you like. I suspect any of those would be pretty good fixed that way.

    BTW my recipe calls for frozen collards, not fresh. Fresh collards are pretty bitter, and I’m not sure how or how much to cook them to get most of the bitterness out. The frozen ones I use work fine.

    Using less-bitter greens, you wouldn’t have that problem, and fresh greens of most sorts would probably be pretty good.

  30. #30 OurDeadSelves
    February 20, 2010

    … will you still love me tomorrow?

    Yes, John Waters. I will love you until the end of time.

  31. #31 'Tis Himself, OM
    February 20, 2010

    Is there an Australian equivalent to ‘collard greens’, or is it just a name for something obvious and I’ve missed it?

    Collard greens are similar to kale. The plants are grown in Kashmir under the name of haak, so you might find it in an Indian grocery. You could substitute kale, chard, or even spinach.

  32. #32 RickR
    February 20, 2010

    Yes, John Waters. I will love you until the end of time.

    I feel so honored, and Josh will be thrilled! I think we may have inspired the theme of this incarnation of teh Endless Thread?!!

    *yawns and rubs sleep out of his eyes*

    So who won the bet?

    And PZ, get well soon! That bug sounds nasty….

  33. #33 RickR
    February 20, 2010

    Oh, and I just watched “Moon”, with Sam Rockwell. Good movie! If you haven’t already, it’s worth checking out…

  34. #34 The Silent Moose of Doom
    February 20, 2010

    Thanks, Paul W and ‘Tis Himself.

    I’ll go hunting greens tomorrow.

  35. #35 SteveV
    February 20, 2010

    blf #24

    Try this (but not until July) or grow some.
    I have grown chillies on the office window ledge.
    Well that’s what I said they were anyway.

    http://www.peppersbypost.biz/

  36. #36 SC OM
    February 20, 2010

    Renew!

  37. #37 'Tis Himself, OM
    February 20, 2010

    Fresh collards are pretty bitter, and I’m not sure how or how much to cook them to get most of the bitterness out.

    The traditional way to cook greens is to boil or simmer slowly with a piece of salt pork or ham hock for a long time (45 minutes to an hour) until they are very soft. This tempers their tough texture and smooths out their bitter flavor.

  38. #38 David Marjanovi?
    February 20, 2010

    Speaking of French supermarkets… the company that makes liter packages of fully blended, creamy vegetable soups, such as the cress soup and potato-leek soup I buy, has now come out with broccoli soup. :-) :-) :-) There’s also cauliflower and spinach in it, which may not be a good idea, but I’d put some butter in it anyway… Have to buy some next time. I didn’t today, because I still have 3 packs of cress soup.

  39. #39 Carlie
    February 20, 2010

    Depending on the greens, one can also boil for a shorter time (5-10 min) and then sautee (works for turnip greens), or even just sautee straight (kale). Keeps a little more of the texture and color, but also depends on how much bite you want in the taste.

  40. #40 RickR
    February 20, 2010
  41. #41 OurDeadSelves
    February 20, 2010

    I feel so honored, and Josh will be thrilled! I think we may have inspired the theme of this incarnation of teh Endless Thread?!!

    Ha ha! That’s ‘cos you guys are waaaaaay more fun to read than that Hyperion shit-bitch.

  42. #42 Paul W.
    February 20, 2010

    The traditional way to cook greens is to boil or simmer slowly with a piece of salt pork or ham hock for a long time (45 minutes to an hour) until they are very soft. This tempers their tough texture and smooths out their bitter flavor.

    ‘Tis, do you know whether this reduces bitterness by breaking down the bitter-tasting compounds, or by diffusing them out into the water where they can be poured away?

    I don’t really like boiling/simmering all the nutrients and other flavors out of my food, so I’m wondering if steaming would work to break down the molecules, without leaching most of the veggie goodness away too.

  43. #43 blf
    February 20, 2010

    SteveV@35, thanks for the link!

    My ability to grow things seems limited to watching them die in mysterious ways. I don’t have an antigreen thumb (since I haven’t annihilated when meeting people who obviously have green thumbs), but I do seem to radiate a field which kills all plants I’m trying to care for. When I do nothing, they grow in wild exuberance. Sadly, I fear planting a pot (or planting pot) is doomed to failure, albeit neglecting (a) pot planted by someone else will be an embarrassing success.

  44. #44 The Silent Moose of Doom
    February 20, 2010

    The traditional way to cook greens is to boil or simmer slowly with a piece of salt pork or ham hock for a long time (45 minutes to an hour) until they are very soft. This tempers their tough texture and smooths out their bitter flavor.

    I’m wondering what the active ingredient here is. Is there a vegetarian option or an alternative method?

  45. #45 SC OM
    February 20, 2010

    Great recipes, Paul! I’ll be passing them along.

    What’s wise ? my insight that meatspace in general and time in particular are social phenomena for me, so that, living alone, I basically have to consciously remind myself of their existence several times every day (and sometimes fail, naturally)?

    The insight that our perception of time in general [and how (much) we think about the future in particular] is a social phenomenon. Perhaps I should have said “Very insightful.”

    Maybe, but that doesn’t help me any. Being alone isn’t something I can simply switch off by using wisdom ? and I already don’t want to be alone for other reasons; I didn’t need any wisdom to figure that out.

    Uh…

    He led me to it.

    Ah.

    I also enjoyed his favouritest university press release (a couple/few below that one):

    …According to the team of scientists led by Professor Les Baillie from Welsh School of Pharmacy at Cardiff University and Doctor Theresa Gallagher, Biodefense Institute, part of the Medical Biotechnology Centre of the University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute in Baltimore, the humble cup of tea could well be an antidote to Bacillus anthracis ?more commonly know as anthrax….

    The parts about milk and the Boston Tea Party are classic.

    I now I has a sad.

    Oh, no! Sorry! I take it back!

    Hope you’re feeling better soon, PZ!

  46. #46 'Tis Himself, OM
    February 20, 2010

    ‘Tis, do you know whether this reduces bitterness by breaking down the bitter-tasting compounds, or by diffusing them out into the water where they can be poured away?

    What! You dump the cooking liquid? Ain’t ya never heard o’ pot likker?

    The font of all knowledge, wikipedia, has this to say about pot likker:

    Collard liquor, also known as pot liquor, sometimes spelled potlikker or pot likker is the liquid that is left behind after boiling greens (collard greens, mustard greens, turnip greens). It is sometimes seasoned with salt, pork or turkey. Pot liquor contains essential vitamins and minerals including iron and Vitamin C. Especially important is that it contains a lot of Vitamin K, which aides in blood clotting.

  47. #47 'Tis Himself, OM
    February 20, 2010

    blf #43

    I don’t have an antigreen thumb (since I haven’t annihilated when meeting people who obviously have green thumbs)

    Have you tried pressing your thumb against their’s? Do the experiment and let us know if you both annihilate. :)

  48. #48 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 20, 2010

    SMoD, a little salt and a little bit of vegetable oil would work in place of the salt pork. (The salt pork is a very cheap piece of meat, and could be all a very poor family could afford.)

  49. #49 blf
    February 20, 2010

    Speaking of French supermarkets… the company that makes liter packages of fully blended, creamy vegetable soups, such as the cress soup and potato-leek soup I buy, has now come out with broccoli soup. :-) :-) :-)

    Looks blank. Sounds interesting, but I’ve no idea which company/brand you are referring to.

    About the only package soups I get in the (rare) occasions I find myself in a French supermarket are is New Covent Garden Food Company which (seems to be) fairly easy to find. It’s been awhile since I’ve bought/had any, but their equivalents of the above soups are quite good. However, I’ve never seen anything but the small packages in France (or, for that matter, Ireland), only in England. Can’t now recall what the exact volume of either package is…

    Having said that, I do make my own leek/onion/shallot, potato, and MUSHROOM soup (sometimes with bacon and/or some chili’s).

  50. #50 Sili
    February 20, 2010

    I now I has a sad.

    Indeed it looks as if I was so sad as to lose my innate universal grammar …

    I have 2 kg of (organic) carrots, two aubergines and some bell peppers. What should/can I cook for dindins?

  51. #51 blf
    February 20, 2010

    What should/can I cook for dindins?

    Sashimi? (Certain adjustments to the word cook may be necessary here.)

    You didn’t say anything about using the ingredients you listed…

    (Returns to his lair and throws out a few more peas.)

  52. #52 maureen.brian#b5c92
    February 20, 2010

    blf,

    Can’t remember where in Ireland you are but former Somerfield shops in the – ssh! – North should have Co-op own brand soups, now that they are part the same chain. Currently in my fridge – carrot/coriander and tomato/basil.

    Look out also for Yorkshire Provender brand – marginally more expensive but pretty good. I get those from the Co-op too but have seen them elsewhere.

  53. #53 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 20, 2010

    I’m wondering what the active ingredient here is. Is there a vegetarian option or an alternative method?

    The ham hock is purely for flavor. You can cook greens with out it. Though, if you aren’t a vegetarian I wouldn’t have a clue why you’d want to.

  54. #54 Dust
    February 20, 2010

    Thanks for the vodeo PZ, Jon Waters, he’s teh awesome. And what a way to ask for a date!

    Feel better soon!

  55. #55 Paul W.
    February 20, 2010

    Nerd:

    SMoD, a little salt and a little bit of vegetable oil would work in place of the salt pork. (The salt pork is a very cheap piece of meat, and could be all a very poor family could afford.)

    This is one of those places I’d probably try soy sauce rather than salt, to get umami and saltiness together.

    Cured pork is has hydrolyzed proteins (and thus free glutamate), which is one reason it’s so dangerously yummy. Fermented soybeans are rather similar, though sadly not quite the same.

  56. #56 'Tis Himself, OM
    February 20, 2010

    Sili,

    If you have some tomato sauce and parmesan (or romano) cheese, you could make eggplant parmesan.

    1-1/3 cup (150g) breadcrumbs
    1 cup (80g) parmesan or romano cheese
    1 eggplant (aubergine) cut into 1/4″ (.5 cm) slices
    2 eggs beaten into 2 tbsp (60 ml) water
    3 cups (700 ml tomato sauce)
    2 tbsp (60 ml) olive oil*
    1 tsp (5 gm) basil
    1 tsp (5 gm) oregano
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    salt and pepper
    1 cup (115g) shredded mozzarella cheese

    Preheat oven to 350°F/175°C (Gas 4). Put the tomato sauce into a small sauce pan and add basil, oregano and garlic. Bring the sauce to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes (longer won’t hurt). Add salt and pepper to taste.

    Heat the oil in a frying pan. Combine breadcrumbs with half the parmesan cheese. Dip the eggplant slices in the egg mixture and then coat with breadcrumbs. Arrange eggplant slices in single layer on an oiled baking sheet. Bake 25 minutes or until eggplant is golden.

    Evenly spread 1/3 of the tomato sauce in 13 x 9-inch (330mm x 230mm) baking dish. Layer 1/2 of the baked eggplant slices, then another 1/3 of the sauce and 1/2 of the remaining parmesan cheese; repeat. Cover with alumininininium foil and bake 45 minutes. Remove foil and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Bake uncovered an additional 10 minutes or until cheese is melted.

    Serves 4.

    *Extra-virgin olive oil is best. I use super-extra-virgin, raised in a convent olive oil.

  57. #57 nigelTheBold
    February 20, 2010

    Hungarian Mushroom Soup

    Ingredients

    * 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
    * 2 cups chopped onions
    * 1 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
    * 2 teaspoons dried dill weed
    * 1 tablespoon paprika
    * 1 tablespoon soy sauce
    * 2 cups chicken broth
    * 1 cup milk
    * 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    * 1 teaspoon salt
    * ground black pepper to taste
    * 2 teaspoons lemon juice
    * 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
    * 1/2 cup sour cream

    Directions

    1. Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Saute the onions in the butter for 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and saute for 5 more minutes. Stir in the dill, paprika, soy sauce and broth. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.
    2. In a separate small bowl, whisk the milk and flour together. Pour this into the soup and stir well to blend. Cover and simmer for 15 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
    3. Finally, stir in the salt, ground black pepper, lemon juice, parsley and sour cream. Mix together and allow to heat through over low heat, about 3 to 5 minutes. Do not boil. Serve immediately.

  58. #58 Paul W.
    February 20, 2010

    More about food chemistry…

    In French cooking there’s a classic thing/technique called mirepoix, which makes a base for various soups and sauces.

    You take diced onions, carrots, and celery (in about 2:1:1 proportions) and you slowly fry them in oil, hot enough to gas off the water and replace it with the oil, but not hot enough to brown the veggies. That takes about half an hour.

    Then you cook something protein-rich with that, e.g., simmering a chicken carcass to make a chicken stock.

    Turns out what’s going on is that cooking the veggies that way breaks down starches to release reactive sugars. When you combine that with the proteins and cook it some more, the reactive sugars break down some of the proteins, and free up glutamate.

    So you get umami that way, rather than from seaweed or mushrooms, or by fermenting soybeans or fish or whatever.

    Various cuisines have rough equivalents; in Italian cooking, you make a mirepoix-like thing involving bell peppers called soffrito, and in South America you have something similar called sofrito; in Cajun cooking you have the “holy trinity” of bell peppers, and onions.

    So it turns out that in lots of cuisines, some traditional cooking methods are largely a way of breaking down proteins to free up glutamates and make things umami-yummy.

    If you look at ingredients on packaged foods, and see “hydrolyzed vegetable protein,” that’s basically the same thing done industrially. They’ve broken down plant proteins to free up glutamate.

    It’s not quite that simple, because there are a couple of other chemicals that matter, which make glutamate work better—less glutamate makes the same amount of umami due to some synergistic thing I don’t pretend to understand, when you have a little bit of those other chemicals, too.

  59. #59 Paul W.
    February 20, 2010

    That should have been

    […]in Cajun cooking you have the “holy trinity” of onions, bell peppers, and celery.

    A Trinity with only two parts would be especially mysterious.

  60. #60 nigelTheBold
    February 20, 2010

    Paul W,

    Thanks much for the epicurean instruction. This is the kind of stuff that makes cooking (and home brewing) fun.

  61. #61 Lynna, OM
    February 20, 2010

    Hey, it’s a casual Saturday morning in the wild west of the USA, and I enjoyed catching up with the previous chapter of the endless thread over breakfast.

    ‘Tis Himself, I didn’t know that you buffed your head (not needing a comb and all), but I’m very pleased to hear it. You are, no doubt, a good buffer, having had all that practice on boats. I would slap Josh Official SpokesGay around for making fun of you, but I’m afraid he would enjoy it.

    See what we miss by going to bed at a reasonable hour — teh gayz take over the thread and flirt via John Waters quotes. I don’t get much of that here in the morridor, so I appreciate the entertainment.

    The mormon gayz are talked into marrying women as a “cure” (or as a stopgap to assure one doesn’t live a gay lifestyle), and that is more tragic than entertaining, though some have tried hard to make it entertaining.

    I am being bombarded by folks asking what it means to “live a gay lifestyle?”. Apparently I have set myself up as the Anne Launders of MoHos, the heavyweight-sumo-ski-bum of Mormon-SSA-dom, the Dr. Ruth for the…really gay people….
         I am a Mormon Man. I have a temple recommend. I am homosexual in orientation. I do not, however, have sex with anyone but my lawful spouse. I am married to a woman. She knows of my orientation and of my past

    On the plus side, some mormons have gotten a clue and have formed an organization for gay marriage. Huzzahs for them. Then there are those that kill themselves — somebody needs to let the pressure off (do you hear me, church authorities?).

  62. #62 nigelTheBold
    February 20, 2010

    (do you hear me, church authorities?)

    Oh, they hear.

    They just don’t care.

  63. #63 Lynna, OM
    February 20, 2010

    David M. @17

    Argh. Multiple blockquote fails in just over 4 laptop screens. Something is wrong with me today

    I think you just wanted to break my blockquote fail record.

  64. #64 Sili
    February 20, 2010

    Thanks, ‘Tis!

    Sounds like just the thing. A(a un)holy mix of mousaka and lasagne.

    I do indeed have parmezan. No mozza, though – will Gouda (I think it is) do? Tomatosauce will be out of a box.

    What exactly do you understand by breadcrumbs? I have have some ground/rasped dry bread, but do you mean crumbed fresh bread? (That would require me to bake first, or go shopping.)

    I’ve adobted olive oil like most everyone else. I don’t think it’s even possible to buy anything but virgin. I’ve read, though, that it’s not good for frying because of the unsaturateds, so I wonder what I should get instead. (I just got some cold-pressed rapeseed, which seems to be the next fad, but apparently that have the same problem).

    Now what to do with the carrots? I don’t think my remaining apples are good for anything but sauce after two solid months of frost, so not shredded carrot/apple salad.

  65. #65 Matt Penfold
    February 20, 2010

    I think you just wanted to break my blockquote fail record.

    I think I might hold the record for that.

    I once block quoted an entire thread, which at the time was several hundred posts long.

  66. #66 Sven DiMilo
    February 20, 2010

    re: the previous sT: Maniacs. The shortest (1.96 d, first to bust the 2-d barrier) and commentingest (384 comments/d!) subThread in Thread history.

    catching up:
    Ich, I have nurtured my closet Yes obsession for 35 years. Saw them many times BITD. Going for the One was the soundtrack to much of my senior year in high school (a nondescript suburban cluefarm of no prestige whatsoever). I have recently *koff* obtained a number of excellent bootlegs, btw.

    Holy shit, Brad Mehldau and Sonny Sharrock in a row! One way to wake up.

    Go on to Wikipedia to find out the average life-span of ducks and you’ll end up, hours later, reading about the history of model trains.

    The internetz have merely made this kind of knowledge-trap easier, bigger, more portable, more exhaustive, and more difficult to avoid. Is all. Same thing used to happen to me as a kid with the damn World Book Encyclopedia or a decent dictionary. (They made such things of paper then, can you believe that?)

    [subThread turnover]

    Thanks, Paul W. for the umami treatise[s]. Did not know that about mushrooms (though I knew about umami; glutamate is also an important CNS neurotransmitter, and the postsynaptic neurons of glutamatergic synapses use more-or-less the same receptor proteins (among others) as your tastebuds, which is pretty cool from an evolutionary-tinkering perspective.)
    OK, but IMO they (mushrooms) still taste like shit, and that is a comparison, not a metaphor, if you know what I mean.

    What utter bullshit.

    Harsh, dude. Ever read Lewis Thomas? OK, it’s a little poetic for sure, but it’s emphatically not ‘utter bullshit’. Think about it. All of our Earth languages are arbitrary symbolic systems and of zero meaning to Spock and LAWDKI alike. (There is some chance that we could use mutually-understood logic and reason to communicate once we had a common language, but Thomas is explicitly talking about the initial advertising-our-presence stage.) What can be broadcast? Video, and really any visual imagery depend too much on details of the sending and receiving protocols.
    Mathematics is much more likely to be both easily transduced from broadcast and a common understanding from the get-go, and music (particularly Bach) is of course highly mathematical, in fact nearly reducible (esp. with reference to broadcast) to pure mathematical pattern. Did you watch that vid of the D-minor Toccata and Fugue that the Spokesgay posted last subThread? Do. Any civilization would find those mathematical patterns intriguing.
    Now the mind-blowingly cool thing is that to we humans, the mathematical patterns of music can communicate emotions when transduced through the auditory system (which, as you know, orginated as a fish’s ability to sense water currents). Of course no alien will get that part, which I take as your point.
    It was not Thomas’s.
    It is of course true that I conflated the points by posting the quote in that context. But I did that on purpose because, like Thomas, and for the same reasons, I love Bach.

    Star Dreck

    Oh, and also, you can fucking bite me. You have “never watched an episode.”
    *ok…sorry…more coffee?*

    And just for that:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJQwHwP0ojI

    *let’s see…uh…cooking, cooking…recipes…cooking…*

    cooking the veggies that way breaks down starches to release reactive sugars. When you combine that with the proteins and cook it some more, the reactive sugars break down some of the proteins

    All good, but this part is too vague. What is this proteolytic effect of “reactive sugars” of which you speak?

    26797

  67. #67 Rawnaeris
    February 20, 2010

    So I’m watching the second episode of Carl Sagan’s Cosmos (I got the box set for xmas). And I realized that I recognized the background music. Mozart’s K. 622 Clarinet Concerto 2ed Movement. Now my fiance is making fun of me for this realization.
    >.<

  68. #68 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 20, 2010

    A Trinity with only two parts would be especially mysterious.

    A definite WTF moment. Glad you cleared it up.

    The food threads are interesting. But greens *makes sign of crossed tentacles*. One of my few dislikes.

  69. #69 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    February 20, 2010
  70. #70 'Tis Himself, OM
    February 20, 2010

    Sili #64

    What exactly do you understand by breadcrumbs? I have have some ground/rasped dry bread, but do you mean crumbed fresh bread? (That would require me to bake first, or go shopping.)

    Dry, rasped bread is exactly what I meant by bread crumbs.

    I’ve adobted olive oil like most everyone else. I don’t think it’s even possible to buy anything but virgin. I’ve read, though, that it’s not good for frying because of the unsaturateds, so I wonder what I should get instead.

    The main problem with olive oil is it has a lower flash point than most other cooking oils. I use it when browning meat or cooking onions. It will not work for deep-fat frying, i.e. pommes frites (aka frites de la liberté). I use canola oil for that.

    I’ve never used rapeseed oil so I can’t comment on its frying abilities.

  71. #71 Carlie
    February 20, 2010

    Sili – Carrots are good coated with olive oil, roasted, and then mixed with quinoa and some onions, or cooked with a load of brown sugar and/or maple syrup. Other than that, they’re just filler. :p

    If you’re going to parm the eggplant, be sure to slice it and drain it first to get the moisture out, or you’ll have a gooey mess when it hits the oil. Salt the slices a bit and press between a few layers of toweling with some weights (a baking pan usually works nicely) for an hour or so.

  72. #72 Paul W.
    February 20, 2010

    All good, but this part is too vague. What is this proteolytic effect of “reactive sugars” of which you speak?

    Beats me. I’m a chemistry doofus. I just read that somewhere—though except for that phrase, it’s similar to stuff I’ve read a couple of places.

    “Reactive sugars” doesn’t sound right, does it?

    A little head scratching and googling makes me think this is where I got it—some “food writer” called “Luc H” at cheftalk.com, quoting a newspaper article he wrote, in comment #14 in this thread:

    http://www.cheftalk.com/forum/thread/49652/mirepoix

  73. #73 otrame
    February 20, 2010

    @68
    Nerd, honey, let my daughter-in-law cook up what she called “ghetto greens” for you and she will change your mind.

  74. #74 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    February 20, 2010

    So, any other chile-heads out there? I love hot peppers. Last year, we tried to grow some Peruvian Aji peppers–with mixed success, as nothing grew really well last year. Still, what we harvested was VERY good.

    I also grew some Bolivian wild peppers and some others. I haven’t been quite brave/foolish to try Bhut Jaloka just yet. Habaneros are about as hot as I can stand.

    My wife thinks I am absolutely nuts, but OTOH, she really loves the hot sauces I make and freeze in the fall. Ahhh. Late Winter: The time when the promise of spring beckons while the pain of weeding in the garden has faded.

  75. #75 'Tis Himself, OM
    February 20, 2010

    If you’re going to parm the eggplant, be sure to slice it and drain it first to get the moisture out, or you’ll have a gooey mess when it hits the oil.

    I once asked a chef about salting and draining eggplant. He said it should be done if you’re frying eggplant but is not really necessary if you’re roasting eggplant, which is what’s done in the recipe I gave.

  76. #76 Aquaria
    February 20, 2010

    (I have zero interest in younger guys.)

    [perk!]

    It depends on the definition of young, but if we’re talking the 20-30? If you don’t want ‘em, that means more for me!

    Woo-hoo!

    Seriously, I’m doing some weird reversal thing. In my early adult years, I was attracted to men 45+ (yeah, probably some daddy issues). Oldest age difference? 44. I know, I know.

    What broke me of that was when I was about to go out with a guy in Dallas, and learned he was the dad of with a girl I’d known since 5th grade, although not well. That was bad enough, but worse, was her learning about the meeting and then pushing me to go out with him! “Dad really likes you! Let me give you his phone number! Won’t it be funny if you become my stepmom?”

    That was the nail in the coffin of my attraction to older men. Stepmother to someone I’d gone to school with? Or what about some other man, with kids my age or older? Heck, the 64 year old guy had had a son my mom’s age! Somebody my mom’s age or older could become my stepchild? OMG–No! Oh hell no!

    Now, I’m glad I got out of that rut. Now, the last thing I want to hear from a guy is about the ex-wife, the mortgage(s), the kids, the braces, the dog, what friends are gone now, omg, the heart, the prostate, cancer y;know, can’t hear, can’t see–

    Been there, done that.

    DO NOT WANT!

  77. #77 Sven DiMilo
    February 20, 2010

    I use canola oil for that.
    I’ve never used rapeseed oil so I can’t comment on its frying abilities.

    joking, right?

    right?

  78. #78 Pygmy Loris
    February 20, 2010

    The History Channel hates me. Why else would they be showing a marathon on Life After People when I have too much to do?

  79. #79 'Tis Himself, OM
    February 20, 2010

    All these years using canola oil and I didn’t know it was rapeseed oil. I knew canola stood for “Canadian oil, low acid” but I didn’t know what it was made from.

    No, Sven, I was not making a funny.

  80. #80 Carlie
    February 20, 2010

    Tis – good to know. I’ve always drained eggplant regardless of how I cook it, but it’s a pain in the butt so if I can avoid it sometimes, all the better.

    I use canola oil for that. I’ve never used rapeseed oil so I can’t comment on its frying abilities.
    joking, right?
    right?

    I skimmed right over that! equals

    I had never heard it called rapeseed before I was heavily into botany, though. I was led to believe it’s a Canadian thing?

  81. #81 hznfrst
    February 20, 2010

    John Waters is the man, or a close approximation.

    He wanted to know what life was like for a child molester once, so he went to see the Care Bears movie alone. All the mothers with their kids moved away from him and he had a large section of the theater all to himself.

  82. #82 David Marjanovi?
    February 20, 2010

    I don’t have an antigreen thumb (since I haven’t annihilated when meeting people who obviously have green thumbs), but I do seem to radiate a field which kills all plants I’m trying to care for.

    ROTFL!

    What’s wise ?

    The insight that our perception of time in general [and how (much) we think about the future in particular] is a social phenomenon.

    Oh, that holds for neurotypicals, too? I never noticed. Must be a lot less extreme.

    BTW, is there any photographic evidence of your flower-child hair? :-)

    Do the experiment and let us know if you both annihilate. :)

    We would notice. Trust me, we would notice.

    Sounds interesting, but I’ve no idea which company/brand you are referring to.

    Liebig Pur Soup’. Should have mentioned that. Two empty packs are lying next to me… :^)

    Most supermarkets carry some soups of this brand, but most don’t have all sorts.

    New Covent Garden Food Company which (seems to be) fairly easy to find

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen it.

    music (particularly Bach) is of course highly mathematical, in fact nearly reducible (esp. with reference to broadcast) to pure mathematical pattern.

    Of course, but that pattern doesn’t make any sense. It’s just beautiful ? if you’re a human or close enough.

    Did you watch that vid of the D-minor Toccata and Fugue that the Spokesgay posted last subThread?

    No. I’d appreciate a direct link, given how long and confusing that subthread was.

    Any civilization would find those mathematical patterns intriguing.

    That’s what I’m not sure about.

    Oh, and also, you can fucking bite me. You have “never watched an episode.”

    :-)

    There’s a lot that’s good about ST. I even watched the latest movie (XI) in the cinema and liked most of it. It’s just sooooo easy to make fun of… the pun was invented when I was, like, 8 years old, and I can’t get rid of it. =8-)

    Raumschiff Entenscheiß

    ST:TOS Plot Generator

    Star Trek: mark two ? it’ll take a while, but read through all the way to section 9. It’s actually interesting.

  83. #83 Blind Squirrel FCD
    February 20, 2010

    Ha! negentropyeater and I sure nailed that bet!

    The snow plow is currently stuck at the end of my driveway. I have been isolated for 6 days here. The first glimpse of a human form is the plow driver with his snow shovel. The paycheck is at this end of the driveway, buddy.

    Greens. How I wish it were spring. First the nettles come up, and then it’s hog heaven with the lamb’s quarter. Just as good as spinach and it is an abundant weed around here. I practically live on it. (I hear you can OD) Problem is, the farmers spray for it, and I am always finding my favorite patches dying from Roundup ™.

    BS

  84. #84 SC OM
    February 20, 2010

    By the way, did anyone else watch this?

    http://www.pbs.org/thebotanyofdesire/

    I thought it was very well done over all.

    Bolivian wild peppers

    That sounds like one of those code names – “Jack’s plane crashed on its way from Mexico. He was flying in a shipment of ‘Bolivian wild peppers’ *wink*.”

  85. #85 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 20, 2010

    Otrame, my mother and maternal grandparents are from Tennessee. Greens were served at the table, cooked as described above. Never found the taste/texture the least bit appealing. The Redhead does greens occasionally for herself, but has another veggie for me.

  86. #86 'Tis Himself, OM
    February 20, 2010

    Canola oil is high in omega-three fatty acids.

  87. #87 David Marjanovi?
    February 20, 2010

    A short film about corporate logos in a hostage situation. Yes, Ronald is the madman.

    “Reload the page” ? technical difficulties, it can’t be shown. Refreshing several times didn’t help.

    Other than that, they’re just filler. :p

    Carrots belong into soup.

  88. #88 David Marjanovi?
    February 20, 2010

    That sounds like one of those code names – “Jack’s plane crashed on its way from Mexico. He was flying in a shipment of ‘Bolivian wild peppers’ *wink*.”

    :-D :-D :-D

  89. #89 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawncr0FDc8gdl7yJBz0SJ15D0etcTIOtL0s
    February 20, 2010

    ?I have a poor memory for names (and no, mine is not tattooed on me!)

    Someone has already mentioned that the tats were for corpse identification, right? While I’m spreading cheer: Frying beef in olive oil, like other suspicious habits?cleaning the house on Friday?could get you burned at the stake in the good old days in Spain. The book’s called A Drizzle of Honey; I forget the authors’ names but it’s findable. Interesting spice combos, pre-Columbus.

    I’m snagging those Ethiopian recipes PDQ though the easy solution for the craving here is to pick an Ethiopian restaurant at random. BTW, for a real rush, try making Gomen with mustard greens. I think one of the Ethiopian groceries sells premade niter kebbeh but I’m not sure.

    We can buy locally-made clarified butter in a jar and I hear it’s pretty good, but the guys who make it follow some woony procedures about moon phases and chanting at it or somesuch and it just makes me feel tired to think about.

    If you’re a North American food-chem novice with a wonky streak, consider subscribing to Cook’s Illustrated. They use spice like the New Englanders they are but they explain how it works after they roast 29 turkeys in various configurations so you don’t have to. Plus they have a slot where people send in mysterious old kitchen gadgets and they ID them.

    Ron Sullivan
    http://toad.faultline.org

  90. #90 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawncr0FDc8gdl7yJBz0SJ15D0etcTIOtL0s
    February 20, 2010

    OH OH OH!

    You wanna grow hot peppers? Get seed from Native SeedSEARCH in Tucson.

  91. #91 Blind Squirrel FCD
    February 20, 2010

    and really any visual imagery depend too much on details of the sending and receiving protocols.

    Naw, just send the picture in packets consisting of a number which is a perfect square. Let ET arrange the pixels in a square with sides = square root.

    BS

  92. #92 'Tis Himself, OM
    February 20, 2010
  93. #93 Knockgoats
    February 20, 2010

    And playful men in their 60s are adorable. – SC,OM

    Damnit! Five years too young! :-p

  94. #94 Aquaria
    February 20, 2010

    Unlike Nerd, I can do most of the greens, and I’m okay with a a lot of vegetables. But the ones I don’t like, I really don’t like.

    There’s no way to make those to palatable to me–no matter how they’re made, I’ll taste what I hate about the item. Don’t try slipping it into a dish and think i won’t notice. I will.

    Turnips. The greens are awesome, but the rest of the plant? No fucking way. They always smell like the old folks home to me–urine and sickness covered up with industrial strength cleaner.
    Brussel sprouts
    Lima Beans
    Beets
    Most olives; they’re usually way too salty, and I like salt.
    Parsnips
    Fresh tomatoes by themselves or in salad. But I like the sun-dried and cooked ones, and fresh is bearable in pico de gallo–go figure.
    Sweet potatoes. I don’t like the way they feel in my mouth, and the taste is off somehow to me.
    Radishes. Vile little things.
    Water Chestnuts
    Alfafa sprouts
    Overcooked English peas or lentils.

    I don’t mind cabbage. cauliflower and mushrooms, but I’ll usually pass them up at a salad bar or buffet.

    It took moving to San Antonio to get me to stop hating avocados. Then again, most places don’t make it like La Fogata–theirs is almost avocado mousse.

    Like potatoes, I’m allergic to capers, so I don’t eat those, either. Unlike potatoes, this sucks, because I like capers. I wish they liked me. :(

  95. #95 Rawnaeris
    February 20, 2010

    I’ve grown up in TX and I still haven’t developed a taste for guacamole. My Puerto Rican roommate made her mothers recipe for salsa once, and it had avocado in it. It’s the only thing I’ve ever had that avocado was bearable.

    Hmm. I should get that recipe from her now that I think about it.

  96. #96 blf
    February 20, 2010

    maureen.brian@52,

    blf,
    Can’t remember where in Ireland you are…

    I’m not. I’m now in the south of France. I did used to live in Dublin for some years some years ago, and still rather wish I was living in Ireland, but I haven’t even visited for a few years now… ;-\

  97. #97 Aquaria
    February 20, 2010

    I have my new MacBook up and running, but I’m having to get used to the different keyboard and the trackpad. If I’m making lots of mistakes, that’s what it’s about.

    Best thing about this new laptop: I can do all my computer stuff in bed! This is good, because I did something when I was out yesterday that’s made my ankle sore enough that even sitting is uncomfortable.. I didn’t twist it, but it started bothering me. Weird.

  98. #98 Alan B
    February 20, 2010

    #76 Aquaria

    Let’s just check this:

    The last thing I want to hear from a guy is about the ex-wife

    Check. Haven’t got an ex-wife (I might before the end of this message but OK so far)!

    the mortgage(s)

    Check. No mortgage.

    the kids

    Check. All grown up.

    the braces

    Rain Check. “Braces” can be many things. I wear trousers with a belt so perhaps I’m OK.

    the dog

    Check. No dog and I got rid of the pet green anaconda. One reason why there is no dog.

    what friends are gone now

    Check. No friends visit this basement room.

    omg

    Check. No longer a regular church attender.

    the heart

    Ah. Promise I won’t talk about it unless it stops.

    the prostate

    Check. I have no reason to believe that I am missing one of those but no problems to date so I won’t mention it ever again.

    cancer

    Check. No family history and no evidence to date.

    can’t hear, can’t see

    Eh? Pardon?

    Been there, done that

    Check. Not with me you haven’t!

    Heck, the 64 year old guy had had a son my mom’s age! Somebody my mom’s age or older could become my stepchild? OMG–No! Oh hell no!

    And now you go and spoil it. I’m devastated! You were (one of my) last hopes (assuming Lady B wasn’t around).

    Ah well …

    Lynna OM? Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM?

    Anyone???

  99. #99 blf
    February 20, 2010

    nigelTheBold@60 thanks Paul W,

    Thanks much for the epicurean instruction. This is the kind of stuff that makes cooking (and home brewing) fun.

    If this interests you, then run, don’t walk, run, to the bookshop and get a copy of On Food and Cooking by Harold McGee. He also has a blog, Curious Cook.

    (I’ve got both editions of the book, albeit neither is at hand at the moment.)

  100. #100 nigelTheBold
    February 20, 2010

    If you’re a North American food-chem novice with a wonky streak, consider subscribing to Cook’s Illustrated.

    Seconded. I’ve been a subscriber for almost 5 years now, and absolutely love it. I go through old issues looking for cool recipes. They seem to love turkeys, BBQ, and Thai food.

  101. #101 Carlie
    February 20, 2010

    Another hidden gem for recipes – the Penzey’s spice print catalog. They also now have a publication specific to recipes, but the catalog itself has several good recipes per issue, and the catalog is free, and their spices are of course awesome.

  102. #102 Blind Squirrel FCD
    February 20, 2010

    As an older man living and working with college aged people, I have to admit that occasionally one runs into ladies who have ah, unfinished business with daddy. Unfortunately, most of the time the business should have been concluded long ago with a large caliber handgun on a back county road. Just saying.

    BS

  103. #103 Knockgoats
    February 20, 2010

    Canola oil is high in omega-three fatty acids. – ‘Tis Himself

    The advert mentions DHA, but AFAIK, you get very little of this, or the other long-chain omega-three, EPA, in any source other than oily fish or the marine algae they get it from. The body can convert the short-chain into long-chain, but very inefficiently. There is evidence that the long-chain omega-threes have cardiovascular benefits, although a recent Cochrane meta-analysis, in contrast to earlier systematic reviews, gave mixed results.

  104. #104 Lynna, OM
    February 20, 2010

    Alan B, I stand by my offer to picnic with you on various hillsides in Britain while someone like Josh the Geologist/special forces dude scouts the area for suitable geological rock-hammering opportunities. Or, you could come here and I’d set you up in a tent at the mining site. You are welcome to circumnavigate the mountains of Idaho with me. Will that suffice, seeing as how Aquaria has struck you off her list?

    Change of subject: slaves and blacks in Utah, a history lesson.

    Listed on the Brigham Young Monument on Temple Square are the members of the first pioneer company to enter the Salt Lake Valley in July 1847. Three of the names are set just a little apart from the others under the subhead: Colored Servants. These are Green Flake, Oscar Crosby and Hark Lay….
         A trickle of blacks entered the state over the following years, both as freemen and in company with their masters.
    The real status of these “Colored Servants” became obscured over the years by apocryphal stories of blacks being offered their freedom, but devotedly choosing to remain with their “masters.”
         In reality, when offered freedom, most blacks grabbed their liberty with both hands and high-tailed it to California….
         In 1852, the Utah territorial legislature passed legislation that allowed ownership of human being. Called, “An Act in Relation to Service,” it detailed the rights and obligations of “master or mistress” to “servants of the African race.”
         After establishing fines for having sex with one’s slave, the act makes the master liable for feeding, sheltering and clothing his property. He is also free to “correct and punish his servant in a reasonable manner when it may be necessary, being guided by prudence and humanity.”
         The master was also obligated to provide a total of 18 months education to his slaves between the ages of six and 26 years old; high school, junior high and most of elementary education being deemed a waste of time.
         In fact, there was a two-track system of slavery in Utah. Not only were blacks being legally bought and sold in the territory, Indians could also be slaves, though on different terms. The restriction on sex was not mentioned and Indians in bondage had the right to three months of education per year….
         Then there is the account of Green Flake’s owner dying in an accident in Utah in 1850 and his widow giving Green to the church as a tithing payment….

         Pat Bagley is The Salt Lake Tribune’s editorial cartoonist, and the excerpts above are from his article, Living History: Slaves arrived in Utah with Brigham Young

  105. #105 Alan B
    February 20, 2010

    #104 Lynna

    Thanks for renewing the offer. When can you make it over?? (Leave geological-Josh behind. I don’t mind competition but not of that calibre!!)

    Any offers from Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM?

    Anyone else?

  106. #106 Lynna, OM
    February 20, 2010

    Republicans exploit the muddle in the middle

    Kimball Rasmussen is an energy executive who travels the West with a slick presentation purporting to address concerns over climate change. CEO of Utah-based Deseret Power, Rasmussen downplays the threat of global warming with cute cartoons and a pickle barrel of plain talk. He ends by “debunking” the myths about global warming.
         The myths happen to be of Rasmussen’s own creation, carefully worded to misrepresent the findings of mainstream climatologists. And his sources include some of the more tainted global-warming “skeptics.” One of his scientific experts, Christopher Horner, is actually a lawyer at the right-wing Competitive Enterprise Institute. Another is Dr. Roy Spencer, whose calculations have been widely discredited by his peers and who, by the way, also questions evolution.
         At the end of his folksy talk, Rasmussen implores the audience to find a “sensible middle” in thinking about climate change. Well, if one side says that the moon is made of lunar rock and the other that it’s made of green cheese, is the sensible-middle position that the moon is half-green cheese.
         Switch to health care. After Democrats stripped the public option out of the Senate’s bill and deleted a plan to let those over 55 join Medicare — two things so-called conservatives opposed — Republicans cynically implored Democrats to meet them halfway on health care. Halfway from where?…
         Making up nonsense about government-run “death panels” is the level they’ve been working on….

  107. #107 Lynna, OM
    February 20, 2010

    Alan B, were you inspired by John Waters or something? I’m instructed to leave Josh behind, but you invite multiple women? I mean, really. :-)

    Seriously, if I had the money, I’d be up for a geological tour of Great Britain! Man, that would be great. If I had a choice, I’d bring my daughter. She’s a great traveling companion, curious about geology, and she’s got her own wellies.

  108. #108 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawmHzDpTLP2mp-qpt639sa9q2J8Wl4QREfQ
    February 20, 2010

    Until we had the ages discussion on the last subthread I only suspected that many of you were young, the discussion on food was the clue. Those of us who can remember the 1950?s and early 60?s in the UK clearly, will have eaten Cabbage, Brussels sprouts, Kale, purple sprouting broccoli and Brussels sprouts tops as regular (and only greens) during the winter. Root crops such as turnip, parsnip, swedes and carrots were the only alternative. Potatoes, by the end of February and in March were usually badly mouldy and plain rotten- we cut the bad bits out and boiled what was left. The first deliveries of new potatoes were manna; spring greens such as lettuce were welcomed as were radishes and spring onions. Until the arrival of early Pea crops, peas were of the tinned variety-Frozen peas came in in the mid 60?s as I recall
    People forget that historically the worst months of the year were not winter but early spring when starvation was very possible as the winter crops had been used and the spring crops were not ready.
    We were not poor by any means and times were not that hard but our diet was very boring at the end of winter.
    If that sounds like a four Yorkshireman sketch sorry- there are only 2 good things to come from Yorkshire,- The A61 south* and Ray Illingworth ( who captained Leicester County Cricket club to its only County Championship)

    *As claimed by the inhabitants of North Derbyshire

  109. #109 David Marjanovi?
    February 20, 2010

    Unfortunately, most of the time the business should have been concluded long ago with a large caliber handgun on a back county road. Just saying.

    And we’re back to Django!

  110. #110 David Marjanovi?
    February 20, 2010

    the business should have been concluded long ago with a large caliber handgun

    Or are there that many of them?

  111. #111 RickR
    February 20, 2010

    Aquaria-

    Best thing about this new laptop: I can do all my computer stuff in bed!

    Can I give a piece of friendly advice? Please please PLEASE don’t lay your laptop directly on the pillows/covers/blankets. Today’s fast processors have one downside- they run HELLA HOT! And they need space on the underside to dissipate the heat. Buy yourself a cheap stand that you can use that gives a few inches of breathing room on the underside. I know this from personal, painful experience. I lost a beloved Powerbook last year because I laid it flat on things like blankets and didn’t notice the heat buildup until it was too late. So now I’m extra extra careful….

  112. #112 DLC
    February 20, 2010

    So,PZ woke up feeling bad about the time I went to bed. and 5 hours later I woke up with the leg cramps from hell. Is someone sticking pins in a voodoo doll of a bearded man ?

    Meanwhile:
    Lynna, OM@ 106: The only death panels going on are at the insurance company headquarters, where they routinely decide to allow a patient to die rather than pay for a treatment.

  113. #113 David Marjanovi?
    February 20, 2010

    *peeks into glibertarianism thread for the first time since a few hours after it was posted*

    *sees the thread is still growing, and has 563 comments; no way of reading them*

    *sees Knockgoats is handling the glibertarians just fine, using things like fourteen-screeners*

    *pops out*

    The only death panels going on are at the insurance company headquarters, where they routinely decide to allow a patient to die rather than pay for a treatment.

    How stupid of me not to have thought of this myself!

    That meme needs to be spread.

  114. #114 Lynna, OM
    February 20, 2010

    Rachel Maddow talks about violence on the Right: Republican leaders saying, “If I don’t see a change, I’m cleaning my guns…”

  115. #115 RickR
    February 20, 2010

    “If I don’t see a change, I’m cleaning my guns…”

    “If mommy doesn’t give me another cookie, I’m gonna hold my breath and stomp my little feet and cry real REAL hard!”

  116. #116 blf
    February 20, 2010

    So,PZ woke up feeling bad about the time I went to bed. and 5 hours later I woke up with the leg cramps from hell. Is someone sticking pins in a voodoo doll of a bearded man ?

    If someone is, they missed. Nannher nannher nanOUCH! ARRGGJJJ!!

    (The lair shakes but no peas come out.)

  117. #117 Lynna, OM
    February 20, 2010

    Yes, to comments up-thread about “Death Panels” holding sway in current Insurance Company headquarters — and there are some in the “Naturopathic Doctors” realm as well.

  118. #118 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    February 20, 2010

    ZOMG! The silliness RickR and I indulged in may have inspired a thread? And here I was, thinking the Pharyngulite Whores Horde or the Overlord himself might be ready to call for my head. I’ll try not to push my luck. .

  119. #119 badgersdaughter
    February 20, 2010

    Speaking of the libertarian thread, I owe Knockgoats thanks for being persistent and cogent; he really helped me see some things I hadn’t thought of, thought through, or even known about. Makes me wish we could get together in person someday and sit down with a glass of wine. :)

  120. #120 Alan B
    February 20, 2010

    #110 David Marjanovi?

    Or are there that many of them?

    “Never take a knife to a knife fight!”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=anEuw8F8cpE

  121. #121 Lynna, OM
    February 20, 2010

    Knockgoats knocks the glibertarians on their collective asses.

    Ah, Josh, Official SpokesGay, I see you are up and about. My feelings are hurt because you did not take the bait here [pouts]

  122. #122 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 20, 2010

    Josh, OSG. The first rule of the Eternal Thread? is to have fun. And I think PZ sees these threads as the Trophy Daughter’s Tuition Fund.

  123. #123 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    February 20, 2010

    Lynna, my dear, it sounds like you rather enjoyed that . . . medical . . . procedure. I’m sorry for disappointing you; I just couldn’t take your challenge. My description would have been too naughty even for this crowd of dissipated libertines.

  124. #124 Alan B
    February 20, 2010

    #107 Lynna

    Touché.

  125. #125 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    February 20, 2010

    Josh, OSG. The first rule of the Eternal Thread? is to have fun.

    Nerd, I thought the first rule of The Thread was that you don’t talk about The Thread.

  126. #126 Knockgoats
    February 20, 2010

    Badgersdaughter, Lynna,

    Thank you!

    *Blushes*

    BTW, Lynna, glibertarians couldn’t possibly have collective asses (or arses, as we Brits say). Each one has his/her own individual, privately-owned ass – unless said ass has been exchanged, in mutually beneficial trade with another glibertarian, for a spare liver or whatever.

    Badgersdaughter, if we ever do meet up, we’ll split a bottle, if you drink medium-to-dry reds!

  127. #127 Alan B
    February 20, 2010

    #125

    And the second law was …?

  128. #128 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 20, 2010

    Nerd, I thought the first rule of The Thread was that you don’t talk about The Thread.

    Sven, ruling time.

  129. #129 badgersdaughter
    February 20, 2010

    Badgersdaughter, if we ever do meet up, we’ll split a bottle, if you drink medium-to-dry reds!

    Oh, my very favorite, yum. One of the rare good things about Texas is that it has passable wines, so maybe I’ll bring the bottle. :D

  130. #130 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 20, 2010

    I also thought it was a rule that each thread must call PZ a Poopyhead once. Already covered by blf #6

  131. #131 A. Noyd
    February 20, 2010

    Aquaria (#94)

    Radishes. Vile little things.

    Little? [Found the pic via Google, so no idea who that guy is.]

  132. #132 Lynna, OM
    February 20, 2010

    BTW, Lynna, glibertarians couldn’t possibly have collective asses…

    Yes, I knew that. The “collective” was meant as sarcasm. Next time I’ll flag my sarcasm. :-)

    Hmmm, now that I read your reply again, I suspect a sarcastic riff of your very own, Knockgoats style. Arse-trading.

    Glibertarians operate under the delusion that they do not have a collective ass upon which they may be knocked. Each glibertarian arsehole is unique, and no socialists may approach.

    Nerd, PZ said earlier that he prefers “Professional Poopyhead.” Show some respect.

  133. #133 Lynna, OM
    February 20, 2010

    I’m sorry for disappointing you; I just couldn’t take your challenge. My description would have been too naughty even for this crowd of dissipated libertines.

    Ah. I understand. All is forgiven.

    Would you like to meet Blake? I think he’s just about perfect, but he could use some pomade.

  134. #134 blf
    February 20, 2010

    The First Rule of The Thread is that The Thread has multiple first rules. Contents of said first rules, and applicability, vary depending on Teh Troll dah Jour (served best with some bacon). Intelligibility optional.

  135. #135 Dania
    February 20, 2010

    No, I’m miserably sick. Woke up at 4am to the unpleasant sensation of my brain melting and oozing down the back of my throat.

    Sorry to hear that, PZ, hope you get better soon.

    I woke up this morning with a cold and I’ve been sneezing all day, which usually gets me in a bad mood. Gah. I think I’ve had enough of winter already. (And I like winter. Sometimes.)

  136. #136 Alan B
    February 20, 2010

    #131 re radishes

    Doesn’t really matter who the guy is, although I am deeply suspicious of the moustache!

    What he is holding is a winter radish.

    http://mollikaseed.com/radish.html

    Without special treatment they can grow to 1-1.5 kg. If you were to take giant vegetable growing seriously, who knows how big they could grow.

    http://www.reimerseeds.com/sakurajima-radishes.aspx

    The Sakurajima daikon is a hot-flavored variety which is typically grown to around 10 kg (22 lb), but which can grow to 30 kg (66 lb) when left in the ground.

    (Source: Wiki “radish”)

  137. #137 Gyeong Hwa Pak, Pikachu para lang sa iyo.
    February 20, 2010

    My description would have been too naughty even for this crowd of dissipated libertines.

    Try us.

  138. #138 DLC
    February 20, 2010

    David Marjanovi? @ 113:
    I wish I could take credit for it, but I stole it from Keith Olbermann, who covered a story about a young boy who would die without an expensive cancer treatment that the company has covered before even though they considered it “experimental.”
    Apparently a second round was too much for the company death panel. Mom and Dad are broke, and went broke paying for the son’s cancer treatment.
    How do you tell a boy still in the single digit age bracket that he’s going to die because “We can’t afford it” ?

    I’m not a big fan of TV opinion/news shows, but I like Olbermann some and Maddow mostly.
    I might not always agree with them but they’re much more palatable than the stuff on Fox.

  139. #139 David Marjanovi?
    February 20, 2010

    meatspace in general and time in particular are social phenomena for me, so that, living alone, I basically have to consciously remind myself of their existence several times every day

    Part of this is that I have a real hard time guessing how long any activity will take in advance.

    Even if I’ve already done it 100 times before and haven’t outright clocked myself.

    Getting literally anywhere in time is difficult when I’m on my own. Except airports, because there I’m supposed to be there 2 h earlier anyway…

    might be ready to call for my head.

    You know the list of bannable offenses.

    “Never take a knife to a knife fight!”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=anEuw8F8cpE

    Aaaaaah. =8-) I’m so glad Harrison Ford had diarrhoea that day ? a long duel with sword and whip had been scripted.

    Those who live by the sword get shot by those who don’t.

    glibertarians couldn’t possibly have collective asses

    LOL!

  140. #140 'Tis Himself, OM
    February 20, 2010

    Knockgoats knocks the glibertarians on their collective asses.

    He has the patience for it. I don’t.

  141. #141 Knockgoats
    February 20, 2010

    Badgersdaughter, Lynna,

    Thank you!

    *Blushes*

    BTW, Lynna, glibertarians couldn’t possibly have collective asses (or arses, as we Brits say). Each one has his/her own individual, privately-owned ass – unless said ass has been exchanged, in mutually beneficial trade with another glibertarian, for a spare liver or whatever.

    Badgersdaughter, if we ever do meet up, we’ll split a bottle, if you drink medium-to-dry reds!

  142. #142 Epikt
    February 20, 2010

    Josh, Official SpokesGay:

    My description would have been too naughty even for this crowd of dissipated libertines.

    Who you callin’ dissipated, youngster?

  143. #143 Knockgoats
    February 20, 2010

    Sorry about the double post.
    Lynna,
    Yes, sorry I didn’t pick up the sarcasm – “their collective Xs” is such a cliche I’m afraid I assumed you’d written it without thinking!

    Badgersdaughter,
    I didn’t know there were Texas wines! We get Californian reds over here, some of them very good, but nothing from anywhere else in the States.

  144. #144 David Marjanovi?
    February 20, 2010

    went broke paying for the son’s cancer treatment

    What can I say? The simple headdesk has been somewhat overused.

  145. #145 Aquaria
    February 20, 2010

    Wow, step away to do some writing, and I find out I have an admirer. Goodness gracious, I’m blushing, and I’m getting too old for that.

    I think, though, that Alan thinks I’m younger than I am. Sorry if I shattered any illusions. :)

  146. #146 Aquaria
    February 20, 2010

    Knock: Where have you been, dude, not to know about Texas wines?

    I’ve had a few that were quite good (will look up the labels sometime). Most were average.

    Since my husband works at one of the local supermarkets that has a fairly good wine selection, he brings home all kinds of wines that the steward raves about. That guy goes to a lot of the tastings, and he’s mentioned that the Texas wines are getting there.

  147. #147 Rawnaeris
    February 20, 2010

    There was a winery in my Tx hometown and another one outside my University. Unfortunately, my wine palate is nonexistent, so I can’t tell you if they are good, passable or bad.

  148. #148 RickR
    February 20, 2010

    Unfortunately, I can’t drink wine, as it gives me immediate and acute acid indigestion. :(

    The most I can manage these days is the occasional beer. I’m pretty much a teetotaler otherwise.

  149. #149 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    February 20, 2010

    Aquaria, you have many admirers.

  150. #150 Aquaria
    February 20, 2010

    Knock:

    I’ve had a few Tx wines that were fairly good (will look up the labels sometime). Most were average.

    Since my husband works at one of the local supermarkets that has a decent wine selection, he brings home all kinds of wines that the steward raves about. That guy goes to a lot of the tastings, and he’s mentioned that the Texas wines are getting there in quality.

    I’m skeptical that Texas wine will ever have as many top quality wines as California. Our climate is probably a bit too hot for really good wine; last summer must have been murder on the crops. Even in the Hill Country (TX’s premiere wine-growing region), the lows lows would be 75-79 and the highs 95+ for months, although parts of it might have had cool enough early mornings. When I was there in August at about 6.30 a.m., it was 64 in the Medina Mountain pass south of Kerrville, and 68 in the valley below along Hwy 16. In San Antonio only 45-60 miles away, it barely got below 80 at night.

    My ex-husband’s mother grew up in Napa and her father owned a vineyard there. She mentioned once that wine grapes, especially, need cool nights. I don’t remember if scorching hot highs were okay or not. I suspect not.

  151. #151 Aquaria
    February 20, 2010

    Shit–what is with this Macbook?

    I may never get used to it.

    P.S. Thanks Ray–I saw that.

  152. #152 Antiochus Epiphanes
    February 20, 2010

    Rawnaeris: In the College Station area?

    I don’t have a palate for wine, either and I prefer it that way. I enjoy alcohol in all of its forms. If I started getting picky, I would also have to start spending money for better stuff.

    I just bought some Frenchy Jadot Beaujolais-Villages, which is cheaper than the local Texas wines and better (as far as I can tell).

  153. #153 SC OM
    February 20, 2010

    We need some music. Luka Bloom and Christy Moore:

    When Luka Bloom was fresh off the plane in the US, I was a pup hanging out at a bar in DC with my friends and my fake ID. It wasn’t really a music venue – more of a restaurant where local people/bands played while people ate and socialized (great place – long gone now). Anyway, Bloom played an open mic night, and the owner was so impressed he gave him his own dedicated night and also told my friend and me – who were probably their best customers at the time – about him. We in turn brought people to see him, so he would be encouraged by having a decent audience (IIRC it was a weeknight) and so they would have the opportunity to hear him. He was obviously going places, but I like to think I played a miniscule part in his success.

    :)

    [/Kw*k]

  154. #154 Aquaria
    February 20, 2010

    Is someone sticking pins in a voodoo doll of a bearded man?

    Hm. Mr. Aquaria hasn’t been complaining about pain today, or much of anything else. Must not be the beard.

  155. #155 Knockgoats
    February 20, 2010

    ‘Tis Himself@140,

    You’re far too modest! You handled the economic illiteracy and ignorance of economic history excellently.

  156. #156 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 20, 2010

    I think, though, that Alan thinks I’m younger than I am.

    Get out of my snowbanks you kids…
    ;)

  157. #157 Aquaria
    February 20, 2010

    I hardly ever remember the labels of wines. There are so many out there that I can’t keep them straight.

    I typically get monster headaches from the sulfi-whatevers put in wine in America. Red wine especially, but I drink it anyway. The way around this in the past was to have my mother bring back wine from Europe, or she’d bring some back from her monthly trip to Monterrey. She doesn’t travel like that anymore, so no more sulfi-free wine for me anymore.

  158. #158 Aquaria
    February 20, 2010

    Snowbanks?

    What are those?

    [ducks]

    :P

    I’m getting so hold that I almost can’t remember what they are for real….

  159. #159 badgersdaughter
    February 20, 2010

    Some of the better wines are private stock from small Hill Country wineries that are rarely sold anywhere but at the winery itself. Sometimes I get one I really like when I drive up to sweet little Fredericksburg for a weekend to myself. I’m not as much of a wine drinker as all that, but I’m teachable.

  160. #160 Gyeong Hwa Pak, Pikachu para lang sa iyo.
    February 20, 2010

    [/Kw*k]

    Kwok

  161. #161 Knockgoats
    February 20, 2010

    You had me worried for a second there, SC!

    Did I ever mention that I was at school with Mick Jagger’s younger brother, and that, as I was a few years younger than him, I never once spoke to him? Or that I used to go to a folk club at The Three Tuns, Beckenham, where David Bowie first performed in public; and that although this was at the time he was performing, I have absolutely no memory of ever seeing him, and like to think I had nothing whatever to do with his subsequent rise to fame?

    Hang on, though, this is quite weird (I’m not kidding here). The link has a photo in it, and the guy at the back, second from the right, faint moustache, chin on fist, could very well be me! (I never really liked sitting in clubs listening to music – I only went in an almost always unsuccessful attempt to at least talk to some girls – hence I’d probably have been bored and pissed off, so the pose fits.) That could be my friend BC sitting next to me – I’ll have to email him the link!

  162. #162 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 20, 2010

    I’ve noticed wineries popping up in various places in the US since the ’60s. They can make some decent wines if they stick to grapes that will thrive in the soil and climate. We usually stop and pick up some Michigan wines when we go around the lake to visit relatives. One of the wineries that made college rotgut in my university days now puts out a nice grade of wine. (As attested by the raves when the Redhead had some friends over, and served a SW Michigan white wine with some Blarney cheese.) When the Redhead visited her sister in Oregon, she had a few bottles of nice wine from there sent home, which were reds.

    When I heard of Texas wines, I immediately thought hill country, and reds.

  163. #163 Mr T
    February 20, 2010

    Did someone say Django?
    Blues for Ike

    And now for something completely different…

    Heitor Villa-Lobos – Chôro no. 1 (perf. Turbilio Santos)

  164. #164 Walton
    February 20, 2010

    Wow. This thread has nearly reached #200 without a single post from me. Or even a mention of me. *sulks* (Yes, I am narcissistic and self-obsessed enough to search for my own handle.) :-)

    As to the libertarianism thread, I’m too tired to get involved. I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s impossible to have a sensible debate about “libertarianism” per se, since there are significant divergences between what different people define as “libertarian”. It’s much more useful to discuss specific issues rather than nebulous ideological labels, IMO.

  165. #165 Carlie
    February 20, 2010

    Knockgoats – you look like George Harrison?

  166. #166 WowbaggerOM
    February 20, 2010

    In other news, Tiger Woods looks to Buddhism to turn his life around.

    Heh heh heh. That’s probably going to have more than one US Christian talking head frothing at the mouth. Suck it, Jesus!

  167. #167 SC OM
    February 20, 2010

    You had me worried for a second there, SC!

    It’s a true story!

  168. #168 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 20, 2010

    It’s much more useful to discuss specific issues rather than nebulous ideological labels, IMO.

    Sniff, our ex-zealot is growing up.

  169. #169 John Morales
    February 20, 2010

    Now and then, reading the news, I’m reminded we are in C21.

    School used laptops to ‘spy on students’.

    The school says the remote webcam function was simply a security measure that was installed in the 2,300 laptops given to students.

  170. #170 MAJeff, OM
    February 20, 2010

    I’ve noticed wineries popping up in various places in the US since the ’60s. They can make some decent wines if they stick to grapes that will thrive in the soil and climate.

    Some friends went to a “Pride of North Dakota” sort of thing where local businesses were hocking their wares. They said there were several local “wineries” there. Unfortunately, not a single one of their products was made with grapes.

    I live in food/drink hell.

  171. #171 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 20, 2010

    I live in food/drink hell.

    Well, like all good academicians, you need to find some way to use your profession to hide field trips for the appropriate food/drink. Do a survey in Michigan, New England, and California, for example, all on someone elses dime…

  172. #172 Rawnaeris
    February 20, 2010

    @Antiochus Epiphanes:

    No, northern Hill Country. The winery was in Bluff Dale, north of Stephenville. I’ve never had any of it. I doubt it gets sold in even local groceries.

    If any of you not from central Tx have heard of Bluff Dale I’ll be impressed.

  173. #173 Pygmy Loris
    February 20, 2010

    Unfortunately, not a single one of their products was made with grapes.

    The only wines I drink are made from things other than grapes. Honey wines are particularly tasty :)

  174. #174 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    February 20, 2010

    MaJeff – how you doing!

    Are you planning to be back in New England any time this year? If so, I’m trying to put together a Northeast Pharyngula Feast at my house near Burlington, VT. SC and Carlie may be tentatively in. If you’re interested, email me at spokesgay at gmail.

    Oh, and I’m a great cook, veggie or meat (and sooo modest!)

  175. #175 Thunderbird 5
    February 20, 2010

    @163 Mr T

    Love it.

    Djangology was the ‘first’ music I remember hearing – my dad played to us kids everything from his record collection which was eclectic but small, so we got to know the records very well. Some 78s like The Mills Bros and Inkspots and early Little Richard, assorted mod and Motown 45s.

    I was just watching another treasured music memory (a teenaged one by then) on Youtube – the impromptu duet bt Larry Adler and Itzhak Perlman (on the BBC Parkinson show in 1980)
    I can’t find a way to correctly link stuff (I’m thick, basically)but just enter the names there. Recommended.

  176. #176 Stephen Wells
    February 20, 2010

    @173: isn’t that mead?

  177. #177 John Morales
    February 20, 2010

    Ah, I see PZ is Phlegmatic, for now.

  178. #178 Gyeong Hwa Pak, Pikachu para lang sa iyo.
    February 20, 2010

    Good news, element 112 is now copernicium.

  179. #179 'Tis Himself, OM
    February 20, 2010

    The problem with most wine grown in areas where it gets cold is that varietal grape vines are grafted onto concord grape rootstocks. Concord grape vines have good cold resistance. However they give the wine a goût à welchs that I find very off-putting.

    Note to Europeans, Australians and other furriners: Welch’s Grape Juice® is made from concord grapes and has a foxy taste I dislike.

  180. #180 Aquaria
    February 20, 2010

    Somebody from TX submitted a raisin wine to a competition. I have no idea how that would taste–and I don’t want to know. Anytime somebody makes wine out of something other than grapes I think of:

    1) Boone’s Farm and TJ Swann

    2) Tom on The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin and his turnip wine, although the thought of the nettle really made me want to puke.

  181. #181 Blind Squirrel FCD
    February 20, 2010

    From the link posted by WowbaggerOM @166:

    Woods? comments reflected the Buddhist belief that ?life is suffering.

    Cheery bunch, what?
    I saw your tiger Woods’ link and raise you one, complete with tears.

    BS

  182. #182 Knockgoats
    February 20, 2010

    Carlie@165,

    Well, not now I don’t! For a start, most of the hair now grows out of the lower part of my face. But a lot of youths and young men looked like that then, so it may well not be me – it’s partly the chin-on-fist pose and the guy beside me that lower the odds. Anyhow, I might see if I can get a better image of the photo.

    SC,
    Sorry, I’d actually misread your #153 as saying the owner was “so impressed” by you and friend – I’m not sure how; then when I came to the “[/Kw*k]”, assumed the whole thing was a joke. Probably not helped by the fact that I’ve never heard of Luka Bloom!

    *slinks off to bed in embarrassment*

  183. #183 MAJeff, OM
    February 20, 2010

    MaJeff – how you doing!

    On the tenure track, so sacrificing too much of my life for bureaucratic nonsense. (They might prepare grad students for the publish-or-perish world, almost, but the bullshit pushed by the people filling up the educational bureuacracy….they don’t prepare us for those idiots who continually justify their job by making the rest of us do meaningless reports).

    Are you planning to be back in New England any time this year?

    In about three weeks. Eastern Soc. Society mtgs are in Boston.

  184. #184 Aquaria
    February 20, 2010

    Is that what i hate about Welch’s? That’s some nasty stuff. Doesn’t Mad Dog have a Concord variety that will take paint off walls?

  185. #185 SC OM
    February 20, 2010

    Probably not helped by the fact that I’ve never heard of Luka Bloom!

    :) That’s what made it funny that you would think I was making it up – he’s no Bowie. Honestly, for whatever reason I haven’t really followed his career since then.

    Hmm. I just tried to check his web site and it’s down. That’s kind of…worrying. (Great – ’cause I really need another person to worry about.)

  186. #186 'Tis Himself, OM
    February 20, 2010

    Aquaria #184

    Doesn’t Mad Dog have a Concord variety that will take paint off walls?

    You might appreciate BumWine.com. Here’s their review of MD 20/20:

    As majestic as the cascading waters of a drain pipe, MD 20/20 is bottled by the 20/20 wine company in Westfield, New York. This is a good place to start for the street wine rookie, but beware; this dog has a bite to back up its bark. MD Stands for Mogen David, and is affectionately called “Mad Dog 20/20″. You’ll find this beverage as often in a bum’s nest as in the rock quarry where the high school kids sneak off to drink. This beverage is likely the most consumed by non-bums, but that doesn’t stop any bums from drinking it! Our research indicates that MD 20/20 is the best of the bum wines at making you feel warm inside. Some test subjects report a slight numbing agent in MD 20/20, similar to the banana paste that the dentist puts in your mouth before injecting it with novocain. Anyone that can afford a dentist should steer clear of this disaster. Available in various nauseating tropical flavors that coat your whole system like bathtub scum, but only the full “Red Grape Wine” flavor packs the 18% whallop.

  187. #187 'Tis Himself, OM
    February 20, 2010

    Every time I think I discover a musician, particularly a folk singer, that nobody’s heard of, it seems like everyone’s heard of him or her. I came across Gordon Bok and mentioned him to a couple of friends of mine. They loaned me four of his CDs.

    Bok’s “Old Fat Boat”:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G2vm9Pvmqes

  188. #188 strange gods before me ?
    February 20, 2010

    Alan B, you crack me up sometimes. (I’m not going to say when.)

  189. #189 Mr T
    February 20, 2010

    Thunderbird 5, #175:

    I assume you mean their rendition of Summertime.

    Here’s a recording of Djangology … It’s amazing what he could do, even with two of his LH fingers being burned and somewhat paralyzed. I’m truly awful at guitar in comparison.

    If I’m to believe Radiohead, then Anyone Can Play Guitar.

    (By the way, it may not look quite as nice, but it works to simply copy/paste links into a comment)

  190. #190 Mental
    February 20, 2010

    True story. Our daughters boyfriend lived on an estate here in Virginia. His parents are the care takers for the place, the owners being mega rich types. For Christmas, the owners gave out bags of wine to the hired help from their wine cellar.

    In a clueless reflex action, the boyfriend’s parents gave four bottles of wine to our daughter to give to us (they drink bud).

    It turned out these bottles of wine are VERY expensive. During the snowstorm we had here in the DC area I got pissed off on day three of no power and drank a bottle of Chateau Margaux Premier Grand Cru Classe 2001.

    To stick it to the man, I drank it out of a plastic cup.

    To be honest, I would have preferred peppermint schnapps.

  191. #191 Pygmy Loris
    February 20, 2010

    @173: isn’t that mead?

    I guess. They call it honey wine here, though.

  192. #192 Mental
    February 20, 2010

    The bottle I drank is availible online. For 500 bucks.

  193. #193 Gyeong Hwa Pak, Pikachu para lang sa iyo.
    February 20, 2010

    I think Welch’s grape juice is okay. But I’m not much of a grape drinker. I like OceanSpray cranberry and Treetop apple juice more.

  194. #194 'Tis Himself, OM
    February 20, 2010

    To stick it to the man, I drank it out of a plastic cup.

    Live dangerously, man.

  195. #195 Sven DiMilo
    February 20, 2010

    sticking it to the man: you’re doing it wrong

  196. #196 OurDeadSelves
    February 20, 2010

    Hey, guys! Movie recommendation time: I just saw Shutter Island and it was pretty damned good.

    (And Ted Levine is a totally underrated actor.)

  197. #197 Mental
    February 20, 2010

    Heh heh…It tasted like red wine. Take that MAN!

  198. #198 Butch Pansy
    February 20, 2010

    I don’t drink anymore; I tended to wake up in jail. It took years of practice to be as libertine while sober as I had been while under the influence, but I have mastered it. Yes, even karaoke is possible. Sticking it to the Man is one of my favorite games, almost as much fun as having the Man stick it to me!

  199. #199 OurDeadSelves
    February 20, 2010

    170:

    I live in food/drink hell.

    Upstate NY has some pretty decent (and cheap!) wines to be had, so I’ve been pretty spoiled. However, a couple of years ago my sister visited Tennessee’s* oldest winery while she was down there to see friends. (Mind, the brochure didn’t say exactly how old this place was.) She brought me back a case of “table red”…

    … And it was perhaps the most disgusting thing I have ever put in my mouth. Sweet and bitter and vinegary all at the same time. It was so bad that after I had two glasses, I barfed.

    *Spelled that right on the first shot! Sometimes I amaze myself.

  200. #200 Sven DiMilo
    February 20, 2010
  201. #201 Rawnaeris
    February 20, 2010

    Wow, no one has said anything for over 30 min.

    Did everyone hit the sack?

  202. #202 OurDeadSelves
    February 20, 2010

    Not yet. Ran to the supermarket to buy bagels for b’fast tomorrow morning. (It’s sad that the only place to buy real bagels around here is in the market.)

  203. #203 Pygmy Loris
    February 20, 2010

    Rawnaeris,

    Did everyone hit the sack?

    Naw, they probably have real lives. It is Saturday night after all. I, OTOH, have been working on the results section of a paper. All I really need is a set of tables, but I’m supposed to be writing about the results. Why the hell can’t I just say, “Results: see tables three through six.” Actually spelling it out in prose is just pointless.

  204. #204 Rawnaeris
    February 20, 2010

    @ Pygmy Loris, I agree. I hate having to be that redundant when my tables explain /exactly/ what’s going on.

  205. #205 Pygmy Loris
    February 20, 2010

    Rawnaeris,

    Aren’t we supposed to be concise, too? I hate reading results sections too. Tables and graphs are just so much easier to read. Unless your graph is complicated, why do I need two pages explaining everything that’s in the graph?

  206. #206 Sven DiMilo
    February 20, 2010

    You are not writing for you, you’re writing for me (or, actually, some reader like me but who probably gives a shit about what you’re writing about). I am not nearly as close to your data as you are, I don’t know what they mean, and I’m not 100% convinced yet I care. You’d better tell me what to look for there in all your tables or I probably won’t look at all. It’s not my job to look at every fucking one of your pitiful numbers. Hold my hand. Show me the good parts. Or I’ll walk, and blow off your Discussion, and I’m not kidding.

  207. #207 Blind Squirrel FCD
    February 20, 2010

    Did everyone hit the sack?

    No, I’m just sitting here thinking how everyone else probably has a life and are out whooping it up.

    BS

  208. #208 Blind Squirrel FCD
    February 20, 2010

    Also, the Richard Feynman web page is pretty interesting. He would be 91 if he were alive. Gell-mann is still alive! He’s only 80.

    BS

  209. #209 Antiochus Epiphanes
    February 20, 2010

    Pygmy Loris: What Sven said. I’m a text guy. Use the test to point to the salient results that form the basis of the discussion. Especially with that many tables, there must be some figures that are much more telling than others. Then, rock the discussion. That’s the best part.

    Good luck with that.

  210. #210 Pygmy Loris
    February 20, 2010

    Sven,

    It’s not my job to look at every fucking one of your pitiful numbers. Hold my hand. Show me the good parts.

    Then the results section should say: “For important results see table six and read the caption.” :)

    Seriously, I didn’t put in a bunch of stuff. I have four small tables and they’re pretty interesting on their own. The really interesting stuff is in the introduction and the methods.

  211. #211 Pygmy Loris
    February 20, 2010

    Antiochus Epiphanes,

    I’m a text guy.

    I think this is my problem. I’m a visual gal. Reading text about the results annoys me when it’s so much more concise to look at a table or a graph. Mind you, I will tear your graph or chart apart if it’s poorly done or a poor way of representing the results.

  212. #212 Rawnaeris
    February 20, 2010

    As far as concise goes, I got an A on a 2 page to short english paper because I was just that friggin’ concise from all the P-Chem papers I’d just finished writing.

    But back to the results thing. My professor always had us combine results and discussion for P-Chem, which made writing that section more bearable. For me that made everything easier to explain. I got stuck with a bad research advisor my senior year, so I never actually got to write a publication.

  213. #213 Pygmy Loris
    February 21, 2010

    Damn, blockquote fail in #211. Only “I’m a text guy.” should be in the quote. The next paragraph is me.

  214. #214 Pygmy Loris
    February 21, 2010

    Sven,

    How do I make the results section grab someone’s attention?* It’s basically “I did this, this and this. Results were this, this and this. This result and this result were significant at x level of probability. The principal coordinates look like this. etc. etc.”

    *I’m not getting any good advice from my advisor and friends. It’s mostly, “just write the results.” Not helpful. >:(

  215. #215 Pygmy Loris
    February 21, 2010

    Wow, two and a half hours between posts and they’re both me.

    Topic, topic, topic…hmm…

    Anyone here follow Itsjustsomerandomguy on youtube? I love the Marvel/DC parodies.

    One with Deadpool.

  216. #216 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawncr0FDc8gdl7yJBz0SJ15D0etcTIOtL0s
    February 21, 2010

    BS @ 208: [Feynman] would be 91 if he were alive. Gell-mann is still alive! He’s only 80.

    Clearly there are fates worse than death.

    For once, we got all social on a Saturday night: walked over to the Freight & Salvage’s new digs for a Martin Hayes & Dennis Cahill concert. Listening was more aerobic than the walk.

    I keep hearing that the new Freight doesn’t have the soul of the old one. Having survived at least two former Freight venues, we’re both old enough that we’re OK with trading “soul” for better acoustics (the last one’s weren’t too bad), sightlines, and seats that didn’t paralyze our asses after half an hour.

  217. #217 cicely
    February 21, 2010

    blf, I also have what I call a black thumb. I once killed mint plants by meticulously following the ‘care and feeding’ instructions; one day, near the end, I was listening to the radio telling me about how mint was intrusive, and would have to be ruthlessly cropped back, as I stared at the few remaining pitiful, leafless stalks.

    Sometimes, when I’m feeling a bit sadistic, I’ll loiter around the garden section at Walmart, pretending that I’m going to buy one of the plants. My husband claims that they all quail in fear, and start dropping leaves.

    ***
    Surely, the Second Law of the Thread is that we cannot harm the Thread, or by inaction, allow the Thread to come to harm?

  218. #218 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    February 21, 2010

    Random late night covers.

    Heartbreak Hotel-John Cale, Shawn Colvin and Richard Thompson

    I Wanna Be Your Dog-Sonic Youth

    I am sorry about the obnoxious ad you will get first.

    Teddy Bear-The Residents

  219. #219 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    February 21, 2010

    Hold On, Hold On-Marianne Faithfull

    Soul Love-Marti Jones

    I Can’t Make It Alone-Maria McKee

  220. #220 Aquaria
    February 21, 2010

    As an older man living and working with college aged people, I have to admit that occasionally one runs into ladies who have ah, unfinished business with daddy. Unfortunately, most of the time the business should have been concluded long ago with a large caliber handgun on a back county road.

    Funny you mention that–I got over my daddy issues after I told mine that two short visits in 19 long years, no phone calls, no letters, not even a crummy birthday card didn’t make a man a father, and if he thought he could be daddy to me now, I had a shotgun that had ammo with his name on it.

    The fucker couldn’t run away (again) fast enough. Again. Imagine that. I mean, honestly, you wait until your daughter is 22 years old to take responsibility for her, and you think she’s going to be so grateful to have your sorry ass around again that she’ll welcome you with open arms.

    If he’d been around me more, he would have known that was never gonna happen. I can hold a grudge with the best of them. I will wait years to get even, if you piss me off enough. YEARS. I’m not proud of it, but that’s how I am.

    Of course, once that little coward realized I was serious, that was the last I heard of him. No loss. He died sometime in the late 90s. When my mother told me, I said two things: 1) “Good, one less son-of-a-bitch in the world.” and 2) “Tell me it was a miserable death, like he deserved.”

    It was.

    And my black little heart did a happy dance.

  221. #221 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    February 21, 2010

    Oh Well-Fleetwood Mac

    Mas Y Mas-Los Lobos

    Calvery Cross-Richard Thompson

  222. #222 SteveV
    February 21, 2010

    Oh yes , ‘Oh well’
    I use it as a ringtone sometimes
    *blushes*

  223. #223 scooterKPFT
    February 21, 2010

    Tis Himself @ 186

    You might appreciate BumWine.com.

    I’m disappointed that BumWine.com did not review my old favorite chemical Wine, Tiger Rose. A full quart of 20% alchohol mixed with doG knows what, and the coolest labels ever.The stuff was under $2.00 a bottle and was a good start before hitting the keg parties and laughing at the frat boyz.

    I guess their winery mixing plant went out of business. Used to buy it at the State Store in PA.

    This guy used their label for an album cover

    http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/5101R1W3X4L._SS500_.jpg

    oh, and they had a delightful white wine with a sort of diesel fruity afterflavor for the ladies. Same 1 quart price, it was called White Tiger, for a more delicate vomitting experience.

    Sexxy!!

  224. #224 'Tis Himself, OM
    February 21, 2010

    And my black little heart did a happy dance.

    Damn. I had a reasonably happy, intellectually stimulating, emotionally satisfying relationship with my father. My only regret when he died was I couldn’t tell him I loved him one last time.

    I cry for you, Aquaria.

  225. #225 SteveV
    February 21, 2010

    Aquaria #220
    Miss M’s father a was shit of the first water. Rascist, violent, spouse rapist, gambler etc etc.
    Miss M’s mother , however was the the most remarkable person I have ever met. Almost totally uneducated, she worked in menial jobs for well over sixty years and ‘put up’ with the shit at home for her childrens sake. When (before we met) Miss M was severly injured in an accident 3000miles away, she, whithout the least help from the waste of space, took 2 more jobs, saved the air fare, got her passport and got herself to her daughters side. Actions for which I will be grateful for the rest of my existance.
    The shit had left instuctions about his funeral (he had had several heart attacks) He hated the thought of cremation, wanted flowers and hymns etc. When he did die, however, Miss M’s mother had him burned as cheaply and quickly as she could arrange and spent the surplus on a long coveted fur coat. She lived another 20 years and said they were the happiest of her life.

    ‘And my black little heart did a happy dance’

  226. #226 Knockgoats
    February 21, 2010

    Aquaria,
    That’s really tough for you – you had such a raw deal. Those of us who have or had only parents who loved us and whom we could love, should never forget that many do not.

  227. #227 Pygmy Loris
    February 21, 2010

    Aquaria,

    Damn, what a piece of crap. There’s nothing wrong with holding a grudge. I’ve got one against a family member. If I ever see her again, I’m going to raise all sorts of hell, and when she dies my black little heart will do a happy dance*. Some people deserve it (the happy dance, not death).

    SteveV,

    Sounds like another piece of crap. I’m glad Miss M’s mother got herself the coat she wanted. It sounds like she really deserved something nice for herself.

    *I am not the only one.

  228. #228 Pygmy Loris
    February 21, 2010

    My parents and I have our differences, but they are wonderful people. One of the best ways to guarantee I’ll carry a grudge against you all the way to my grave is to treat my parents poorly.

  229. #229 SteveV
    February 21, 2010

    Thanks Pygmy Loris
    I too had my differences with my parents but they were wonderful people, a fact I failed to fully appreciate until I saw the contrast with Miss M’s father.

  230. #230 SteveV
    February 21, 2010

    On a lighter note:

    ‘FINALLY, pharmaceuticals company Bayer Schering Pharma is to make a series of online films to “tackle the sensitive subject of erectile dysfunction”, Ronnie Somerville notes.

    And what better-named company could it choose to produce them than the award-winning Aardman Animations?’
    New Scientist 20 Febuary 2010

    Yeah, Bristol Rules!
    BAAH, BAAH, BAAAAAH

  231. #231 Paul W.
    February 21, 2010

    Another spicy veg recipe…

    Paul’s Korean Barbecued Tofu (Tubu Kui)

    Modified from a recipe in Flavors of Korea

    I make an almost 2-lb batch of this every week or so, and use it in other recipes (in stir fries, in place of paneer in saag paneer, etc.) as well as using it like sandwich meat or just by itself, maybe with some sauce or dip.

    It’s not meat, but it tastes good.

    This recipe uses gochujang, which is great stuff that I use in various other recipes. I use Wang brand, made in Korea, from my local grocery store. (You may have to find an asian grocery.) It’s labeled “Hot Pepper Paste, Fermented” and doesn’t say gochujang on the label. (It’s “Pate de Piment Rouge, Fermentee” in French, which amounts to the same thing.) Warning: it has MSG in it, in case you’re worried about such things. I’m not, much.

    Marinade:

    1/2 cup soy sauce (I use low-salt soy sauce)
    1/4 cup rice vinegar or cider vinegar
    2 tablespoons gochujang (Korean “Hot Pepper Paste, Fermented”)
    1 tablespoon sesame oil (any kind, e.g. light, dark, or chili)
    2 teaspoons sugar
    3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
    (optional) 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke

    2 14- or 16-oz packages of firm tofu, sliced about 3/8″ thick. (The 14 oz blocks I buy cut neatly into 8 slices by cutting them in half, cutting the halves in half, and cutting the quarters in half.)

    1. Mix the marinade ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil briefly, stirring to dissolve the gochujang and sugar. Remove from the heat and let cool.

    2. Place the tofu slices in a large, plastic sealable bag. (I use a 1-quart double-zip freezer bag; 2 14-oz packages worth of tofu fit just right, in two layers.) Pour the marinade over the tofu, coating all the slices. Place in the refrigerator and marinate for 8 hours or overnight. Drain; discard the marinade or keep it around to make a sauce.

    3. Preheat oven to 350 F. Place tofu slices on parchment paper-covered baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes on one side, then flip slices and bake another 10-15 minutes on the other. Check to see if they’re done—they should be distinctly darker than when you put them in, on both sides, and mostly dryish on the surface, developing a slightly tougher skin. If they’re not done, give them another 5 to 10 minutes. (Note that they cook about as fast on the bottom as the top, sometimes faster, so check the side that’s down, too. If they start to bloat up because the “skin” is trapping steam, they’re done.)

    Variations: Tofu slices can also be pan fried grilled. Before frying or grilling, lightly brush the slices with oil.

  232. #232 Sili
    February 21, 2010

    Somebody from TX submitted a raisin wine to a competition. I have no idea how that would taste–and I don’t want to know. Anytime somebody makes wine out of something other than grapes I think of:

    Errr – rasins are grapes, aren’t they? At least it wasn’t raisin dates.

    Anyway, making wine from raisins isn’t at all uncommon.

  233. #233 windy
    February 21, 2010

    How do I make the results section grab someone’s attention?* It’s basically “I did this, this and this. Results were this, this and this. This result and this result were significant at x level of probability. The principal coordinates look like this. etc. etc.”

    How do the results relate to the hypothesis/es you are testing? Were they expected or unexpected?

  234. #234 Paul W.
    February 21, 2010

    A couple of comments on the recipe above.

    If you’re looking for gochujang, look for a dark red paste with these three characters displayed prominently on the label, maybe preceded by one or two others: ???

    Also, despite being called fermented chili paste, gochujang isn’t actually that hot.

    The marinated tofu from the recipe is not particularly hot—just tasty. If you want it hot, you have to put hot sauce on it.

  235. #235 triskelethecat
    February 21, 2010

    Geez, I miss the Endless Thread for 24 hours for family duties and come back to tons of recipes I am going to just HAVE to try (now, just have to figure out if I should highlight and print recipes only or the entire endless thread…) and a sick PZ. Makes me glad I wasn’t anywhere near PZ in the last 3 weeks. I had the same thing, and I am still trying to expectorate my lungs on a regular basis (all other disgusting sypmtoms, over 3 weeks, have finally cleared up)

    My sympathies, PZ. Get better soon. Lots of hot fluids and rest DO help.

  236. #236 badgersdaughter
    February 21, 2010

    Hmm… I have gochujang. I have fresh garlic. I have some excellent winter daikon (they grow it around here), winter cabbage, and I just bought green onions. What’s that spell… kimchee! Hooray!

    For some reason I can only eat the stuff in a fresh or semi-fresh state. The point at which I give up on it is usually the point at which one of my friends asks, hopefully, “Do you have any leftover kimchee?” And then he takes it home and forgets about it for another week, by which time he pronounces it perfect.

  237. #237 Miki Z
    February 21, 2010

    Paul W.,

    I was wondering what ??? was called. The grocery store here has it labeled (translated) “Korean, Hot, Red”. I picked some up because it looked right, when it smelled right I cooked with it.

  238. #238 blf
    February 21, 2010

    [I] come back to tons of recipes … and a sick PZ.

    Right. Which recipe is the lethal one?

  239. #239 Alan B
    February 21, 2010

    #220 Aquaria:

    … I had a shotgun that had ammo with his name on it.

    1) “Good, one less son-of-a-bitch in the world.” and 2) “Tell me it was a miserable death, like he deserved.”

    Am I glad you ditched me!

  240. #240 Alan B
    February 21, 2010

    While I have some sympathy for those who think wine can only come grapes, it is only some!

    I have had some totally aweful wine from grapes (as well as some good wine).

    Equally, I have made some superb wine from elderberries and from elderflowers (separately). Also, I have tasted some dreadful homemade wines that made me look around for the aspidistra! Or to work out if I could sneak the glass into the kitchen or a loo, or outside – anything, anywhere to get rid of it without having to imbibe any more. Trouble is, if you do it too quickly they think you like their prize creation and offer you another glassful and a couple of bottles to take home. Mind you, it can work quite well as a paint stripper.

  241. #241 MrFire
    February 21, 2010

    Jesus. I’ve been away for a week, and already three incarnations have passed me by. Or upwards of 2,000 comments.

    You people can hustle!

  242. #242 Knockgoats
    February 21, 2010

    Oh, PZ, get well soon! You’re having a rough time of it; try to slow the frantic travel schedule.

  243. #243 Sili
    February 21, 2010

    Alan B,

    You need a still. If there’s alcohol in it, surely it can be recovered.

    I’ve heard of elderflower wine. Perhaps I should try it this year. I usually ‘settle’ for cordial.

  244. #244 Paul W.
    February 21, 2010

    There’s a wikipedia article on gochujang

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gochujang

    (The article has a picture that looks just like one of the gochujang jars I have here. I have another that’s the same brand, same size and shape jar, but has a red label and different characters preceding the ???. Tastes the same to me.)

  245. #245 SteveV
    February 21, 2010

    I’m not sure how well


    this
    goes with scones and clotted cream, but I like it.

    I want to paste a link for Ian Dury’s ‘Poo Poo in the Prawn’ for PZ on his sickbed. Seems appropriate on so many levels, but I can’t find it – anyone help?

  246. #246 Alan B
    February 21, 2010

    #243 Sili

    In the UK it is legal to produce wine and beer without limit but you sell any of it or if you distil a drop then the full weight of the law will descend on you.

    You need a licence (which will cost you an arm and a leg) and you will have to pay enough to make sure you make little or no profit. You will also have Inspectors descend on you and you will have to fill in so many forms that you will wish you never thought of the idea (which, of course, is the objective).

  247. #247 SC OM
    February 21, 2010

    Speaking of UK law, I was just reading the article linked to here:

    http://metamagician3000.blogspot.com/2010/02/ac-grayling-on-new-puritanism.html

  248. #248 Lynna, OM
    February 21, 2010

    Janine @218: Thanks for the “Heartbreak Hotel” cover. I enjoyed that enough to play it twice.

    It’s a little odd, though, to catch up on the thread in the revealing light of sunrise — all that darkness that went on at 3 AM is out of place. Heartbreak Hotel is a great late night/darkness-before-dawn song.

  249. #249 Sven DiMilo
    February 21, 2010

    How do the results relate to the hypothesis/es you are testing? Were they expected or unexpected?

    mmm, this kind of explicit interpretation of the data properly belongs in the Discussion, not Results. However, they’re good things to know when writing the Results, because you’ll want to draw the reader’s attention to the data and relationships you’ll be emphasizing later.

    You don’t need to make it literary or stylish; just point to the good stuff. It’s hard to get specific without knowing the data and the questions being asked. If you compare groups or variables, you have statistical results to report. If not, are there trends or patterns that you can identify verbally?
    For example (just making shit up):

    RESULTS: Hindlimbs (Table 1) were generally longer (tdf = x.xx., P = 0.014) but more variable (F= P =) than forelimbs, with an average difference of 3.2%. The variables were strongly corelated (r=0.932). In constrast, head size (Table 3) did not correlate to hindlimb (r=0.23) or forelimb lengths (r=0.03). Three individuals had particularly humungous heads (Table 3).

    I haven’t repeated any data that appear in the Tables, and I haven’t done any interpretation; these are just the facts. But I have set eveything up for my Discussion by pointing out the important features and relationships of the data, and I have savced the reader the trouble of even looking at the Tables if she doesn’t feel like it right now.

    Even if I had just one variable, measured over time, it is preferable to say “The comment count increased with time at a variable rate (Fig. 1)” over just “FIgure 1 presents the comment-count data.”

    hth

  250. #250 Lynna, OM
    February 21, 2010

    Speaking of wine: Idaho is prime wine country. Some Vineyards are located 3,000 feet above sea level in elevation?higher than any others in the Northwest. Volcanic ash in the soil, combined with warm days in the growing season and cool desert evenings, produces high quality wine grapes. Or so the vineyards advertise.

  251. #251 Alan B
    February 21, 2010

    #243 Sili

    Well made elderflower wine has a similar flavour to Gewürztraminer (without the ulaut in French, according to Wiki …). Gewürztraminer has similar flavouring chemicals as lychees and “floral notes”.

    Badly made elderflower wine smells and probably tastes of cat’s pee. (Since I have never drunk cat’s pee I cannot confirm this from experience.)

    From experience not all elderflower bushes give good wine (as is true also for elderberries) but since the flavouring is free it’s worth experimenting. Indeed, I have found from experience that 5 gallons of wine last at least twice as long as 1 gallon.

    You are aimimg for a light, dry wine. I can’t remember the recipe I used but:

    the flavour was elderflowers, as small an amount of stems as possible. If picked exactly right the petals can be stripped off with a fork or finger tips. Check with a recipe for quantity.

    the body was sultanas (raisins are a bit heavy for a light wine). Again, check quantity.

    enough sugar to produce a bone dry wine at the end, about 2.5 lb to an English gallon. Remember you’ll get a bit more from the sultanas.

    juice of a couple of lemons (or citric acid to provide the acidity)

    Ferment right out to below SG = 1.

    Bottle.

    Drink in quantity, chilled, young and fresh. Restrict driving.

    Despite fermenting right out, you sometimes get a little extra fermentation in the bottle (a definite improvment – Brut sparkling wine).

    Best of luck. If you try it let us know how it works out.

  252. #252 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 21, 2010
  253. #253 Lynna, OM
    February 21, 2010

    Aquaria’s little black heart doing a happy dance was refreshing. My father and mother were good parents … mostly. My mother became a bad parent as Alzheimer’s Disease accentuated her bad qualities and eliminated her good ones. I couldn’t help smiling when she died. I smiled both for her sake and for mine.

    My father taught me to love the still wild parts of the western USA, and how to survive there — and he did that by example. I didn’t even realize I knew that stuff until I looked around and noticed that other people had a hard time being alone in the great unsigned back country. Well, that’s odd, I thought.

    A friend of mine, who had parents more like Aquaria’s father, said that people expected her to be sad when they died, but those people forgot that everyone, even your closest relatives, earn your respect by what they do, by how they live, not by virtue of giving birth to you.

  254. #254 Jessie
    February 21, 2010

    Can someone please make me a few gallons of Puligny Montrachet? I have only had it once and can’t afford it again.

  255. #255 blf
    February 21, 2010

    [T]he Richard Feynman web page is pretty interesting.

    Without having read the site too closely, a lot of that material seems to be from Surely You’re Joking, Mr Feynman, which is a great book to read when you’re stuffedstrapped into an airplane bucketseat.

  256. #256 Lynna, OM
    February 21, 2010

    Nerd @252: LOL. Steve Martin removing the bottle cap was a nice touch. And, of course, it should be a fine Idaho wine “for 95 cents.”

    Steve martin looks good in lederhosen. :-)

  257. #257 Alan B
    February 21, 2010

    #247
    #247 SC OM

    I like that quote – there is much discussion on British blogs on what freedom and state control mean. Let me quote the link direct and I’ll ask some Qs at the end:

    The law has no place in the private lives of consenting grown-ups, whether they are playing scrabble or having sex, and whether they are doing the latter for cash or for the long-term project of building a home and family together. When the cycles of moral fashion swing back towards prohibition, criminalisation, and the interference of law in private lives, and when this results in Canute-like efforts to stop people doing, seeing or being something that the moralisers themselves happen not to like, and which makes them wish to stop everyone else doing, seeing or being it, we need to oppose them vigorously. We must challenge them on the facts and argue the case for keeping a level head.

    Anthony Clifford Grayling, FRSA, FRSL (born 3 April 1949) is a British philosopher and author. He is Professor of Philosophy at Birkbeck, University of London and a supernumerary fellow of St Anne’s College, Oxford. He has an MA and a DPhil from Oxford, and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and the Royal Society of Arts.

    Question:

    Do you still agree if the freedom being talked about involved:

    Excessive consumption of alcohol
    Use of street drugs or over-use of prescription drugs
    Smoking tobacco
    Sponging off the State
    Possessing hand guns
    Is there anything at all where the State should not be involved?

    Briefly justify your answers.

    Note to PZ.
    I don’t want to start a flame war. I you think it would descend into one then please delete.
    I am genuinely interested in seeing what people here think and how it compares with libertarian views in the UK.

  258. #258 Sven DiMilo
    February 21, 2010

    After reading Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine as a kid, I endeavored to make some (as I recall, a recipe was included in the book). At the public library, I found a delightful little book perfectly titled An Essay on Brewing, Vintage and Distillation, Together With Selected Remedies for Hangover Melancholia: Or, How to Make Booze, by John Festus Adams, a complete witty and knowledgable joy from front to back. I still haven’t actually made anything in there (except maybe one of the hangover remedies), but I have now read the book several times. It’s apparently way out of print.

    Recommended, if you ever see a used copy.

  259. #259 Alan B
    February 21, 2010

    Quiz Question:

    Where was sparkling Champagne “invented”?

    France – a priest in the Champagne area
    France – but not in the area of Champagne
    Germany
    Austria
    England
    USA

    A short explanation, perhaps?

    (Anyone can use Wiki so try it without …)

  260. #260 scooterKPFT
    February 21, 2010

    Sven @ 258

    PIHKAL and TIHKAL
    best cook books EVAR

  261. #261 SC OM
    February 21, 2010

    Do you still agree if the freedom being talked about involved:…

    “Involved” is far too broad. You’ll have to be a lot more specific.

    Is there anything at all where the State should not be involved?

    Do you mean “should be”? And again, “involved” is just extremely general. The example he offers of NZ is one in which the government is “involved,” but in a different way AFAICT.

    Briefly justify your answers.

    Briefly explain your questions. :)

  262. #262 Sven DiMilo
    February 21, 2010

    I[f] you think it would descend into one then please delete.

    C’mon. Teh CO would never do anything like that. Even the greasiest, slimiest Nazi fuckhead ban-without-further-notice comments are not deleted.
    Disemvoweled, maybe.

    If you don’t want to start a flame war, don’t post controversial shit; once it’s up, it’s up.

  263. #263 scooterKPFT
    February 21, 2010

    Where was sparkling Champagne “invented”?

    Yes

    A short explanation, perhaps?

    succinct

  264. #264 Alan B
    February 21, 2010

    #257

    I got tied up in drafting with some double negatives. The last line in the question should read:

    Is there anything at all where the State should or should not be involved?

    You know what I mean (I hope).

    Obviously, I am an Englishman. When I talk about “the State” I am not referring to US issues of Federal vs State rights & jurisdictions. Unless you really think that is essential to make your point.

  265. #265 Sven DiMilo
    February 21, 2010

    PIHKAL and TIHKAL
    best cook books EVAR

    tee hee
    You’re hard core, man.

  266. #266 SC OM
    February 21, 2010

    You know what I mean (I hope).

    No, I have no idea.

  267. #267 strange gods before me ?
    February 21, 2010
  268. #268 scooterKPFT
    February 21, 2010

    Sven go to
    http://acksisofevil.org/contact.html

    and drop me a line on my e-mail, I have a hard drive full of sound boards. 69-78

  269. #269 strange gods before me ?
    February 21, 2010

    Allah willing, but I’m afraid the state is with us for a long time.

  270. #270 Lynna, OM
    February 21, 2010

    Oh, the beauty of original sources! Joseph Smith admitted he was a fraud. The info from original sources (below) was gathered up by ex-mormon, Deconstructor:

    Did the “religious genius” Joseph Smith know he was a fraud? One one documented occasion, Smith did admit that his seer stone act was a fraud.
         Testimony of Smith family neighbor and friend of Joseph Smith:
         ”In the month of August, 1827, I was hired by Joseph Smith, Jr. to go to Pennsylvania, to move his wife’s household furniture up to Manchester, where his wife then was. When we arrived at Mr. Hale’s, in Harmony, Pa. from which place he had taken his wife, a scene presented itself, truly affecting. His father-in-law (Mr. Hale) addressed Joseph, in a flood of tears: “You have stolen my daughter and married her. I had much rather have followed her to her grave. You spend your time in digging for money — pretend to see in a stone, and thus try to deceive people.” Joseph wept, and acknowledged he could not see in a stone now, nor never could; and that his former pretensions in that respect, were all false. He then promised to give up his old habits of digging for money and looking into stones.”
         ”Joseph told me on his return, that he intended to keep the promise which he had made to his father-in-law; “but,” said he, “it will be hard for me, for they will all oppose, as they want me to look in the stone for them to dig money.” And in fact it was as he predicted. They urged him, day after day, to resume his old practice of looking in the stone.”
    – Peter Ingersoll Affidavit, Palmyra, Wayne County. N. Y. Dec. 2, 1833, http://www.solomonspalding.com/docs2/1914Shk1.htm#pg016a
         Isaac Hale, Joseph Smith’s father-in-law testified:
         ”Emma wrote to me inquiring whether she could have her property, consisting of clothing, furniture, cows, &c. I replied that her property was safe, and at her disposal. In short time they returned, bringing with them a Peter Ingersol[l], and subsequently came to the conclusion that they would move out, and resided upon a place near my residence. Smith stated to me, that he had given up what he called “glass-looking,” and that he expected to work hard for a living, and was willing to do so.” – Affidavit of Isaac Hale, given at Harmony Township, Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania on 20 March 1834, http://www.xmission.com/~research/about/docum3.htm
         Ingersoll’s testimony also includes an episode of how Smith’s family wanted to see the plates:
         ”One day he (Smith) came, and greeted me with a joyful countenance. — Upon asking the cause of his unusual happiness, he replied in the following language: “As I was passing, yesterday, across the woods, after a heavy shower of rain, I found, in a hollow, some beautiful white sand, that had been washed up by the water. I took off my frock, and tied up several quarts of it, and then went home.”
         ”On my entering the house, I found the family at the table eating dinner. They were all anxious to know the contents of my frock. At that moment, I happened to think of what I had heard about a history found in Canada, called the golden Bible; so I very gravely told them it was the golden Bible. To my surprise, they were credulous enough to believe what I said. Accordingly I told them that I had received a commandment to let no one see it, for, says I, no man can see it with the naked eye and live. However, I offered to take out the book and show it to them, but they refused to see it, and left the room.” Now, said Jo(esph Smith), “I have got the damned fools fixed, and will carry out the fun.”
         ”Notwithstanding, he told me he had no such book, and believed there never was any such book, yet, he told me that he actually went to Willard Chase, to get him to make a chest, in which he might deposit his golden Bible. But, as Chase would not do it, he made a box himself, of clap-boards, and put it into a pillow case, and allowed people only to lift it, and feel of it through the case.”- Peter Ingersoll Affidavit, Palmyra, Wayne County. N. Y. Dec. 2, 1833, http://www.solomonspalding.com/docs2/1914Shk1.htm#pg016a

  271. #271 blf
    February 21, 2010

    Oh good grief. The banner ad on the latest Ken ?Piglet Rapist? Ham post is for some scam called http://www.christianchatcity.com/ to ?chat with people who care?. This banner ad claims to be from Generalissimo Google™.

  272. #272 Alan B
    February 21, 2010

    It is abundantly clear from SC OM and Sven DiMilo that I have dropped a cod here.

    I APOLOGIZE.

    Please ignore posts #257 and #264.

    (Be kind and remember everyone makes a fool of themselves for 5 minutes in a day – it’s the wise man who can keep it to 5 minutes! Unfortunately, I think I’ve had most of this week’s ration.)

  273. #273 Lynna, OM
    February 21, 2010

    Alan B @272: Lovely apology. One of the best I’ve seen. [amusement factor is high, considering the mildness of the offense] Using up a week’s ration of foolishness in one day happens to be a skill I also possess, but my results tend to be more spectacular.

  274. #274 Aquaria
    February 21, 2010

    Gee, Alan, I didn’t know you’d offered to be dumped. ;) You didn’t even give me the chance to make an exception to my younger men only rule!

    As for my dad–forget about it. I was just venting. I don’t want to scare anyone further by listing the things he did that were even worse than I listed. (Mutters to herself about sorry sons-a-bitches…)

    To the weird wine crowd:

    I know that raisins are grapes, btw, but it’s just weird to make wine out of them. Or maybe it’s that I’m no big fan of raisins.

    Anyone who offers to make me homemade wine is gonna have to overcome my aversion to it. Homemade wine was very popular in East Texas, with its widespread ban of liquor sales, so I’ve had my share. They all sucked. Badly. If you can make it well, great. Convince me, though.

    Same thing with fruit wines. A lot of people make them, but I’ve yet to have a good one. Again, if you make it well, convince me.

  275. #275 Aquaria
    February 21, 2010

    Do you still agree if the freedom being talked about involved:

    Excessive consumption of alcohol
    Use of street drugs or over-use of prescription drugs
    Smoking tobacco

    If you want to poison your own body, cool, as long as it’s not harming another person.

    Sponging off the State
    Loaded language much? I suppose you’re going to be a rugged individualist when you’re an old fuck and reject Social Security, so that you don’t sponge off the state that way? No, paying in doesn’t matter. You don’t reap the benefits of free health care that your tax dollars give to soldiers–why would you take Social Security, which is supposed to be for people who need it, not greedy fucks who’ll take anything they can?

    For the record, we all sponge off the state, to some extent.

    Possessing hand guns
    The genie is long gone from the bottle for America on this one to stop it. One question though: Why should people have to pass a test to drive a car, but not to walk into Wal-Mart and buy a gun for the hell of it? Never mind the background check and the rest. Name someone buying just a gun having to present proof of being able to operate one.

    Is there anything at all where the State should not be involved?

    Who I choose to fuck, because I’m an adult and I deserve the privilege of being one. How is it in the state’s interest to force me to fuck someone I don’t want to? What purpose does it serve?

    Briefly justify your answers.

    Justify asking those moronic questions, or fuck off if you expect justifications for anything on an internet forum.

  276. #276 Lynna, OM
    February 21, 2010

    Is anybody else squeamish about the texture of that jacket John Waters is wearing in the video that introduces this chapter of the thread?

    Re gun laws — The laws definitely need work in the good old U. S. of A., but I see one hopeful sign: more states are sponsoring gun education classes. At least safer handling of firearms is being addressed (though more of that is needed too). In Idaho, if a person wants a concealed-carry permit, they do have to offer proof of having been instructed in gun safety. There should be a “No Assholes” rule for gun ownership, but no one has come up with a reliable test for degree of assholiness.

    Then we have Republican leaders saying at the recent CPAC conference that they wanted to see significant changes in the political landscape in 2010, and if they don’t see enough change, they’re going to start cleaning their guns. That’s not funny.

  277. #277 Aquaria
    February 21, 2010

    So far, to my knowledge, the only people required to have gun safety courses are those applying for concealed-carry permits. I have yet to see a state require that for those just wanting a gun.

  278. #278 strange gods before me ?
    February 21, 2010

    There should be no problem with having to present proof of firearms safety before buying one. That sounds like a useful law.

  279. #279 SC OM
    February 21, 2010

    My parents / immediate family (especially), extended family, friends and ex-friends, and even ex-boyfriends have all been great. My childhood was lovely. It’s almost embarrassing. It makes me feel guilty that others weren’t so lucky.

    :|

  280. #280 Alan B
    February 21, 2010

    #275 Aquaria

    I can’t say I didn’t deserve that.
    My questions were badly thought through and badly phrased.

    Anyone got any sackcloth and ashes?

  281. #281 negentropyeater
    February 21, 2010

    Where was sparkling Champagne “invented”?

    Did you mean sparling wine ? Because Champagne was obviously “invented” in the Champagne.

  282. #282 blf
    February 21, 2010

    There should be a “No Assholes” rule for gun ownership, but no one has come up with a reliable test for degree of assholiness.

    Wanting to own a firearm? Or at least one whose primary purpose is to be used on a human?

    Less snarky, requiring safety training with refresher courses (and hence periodic renewal) isn’t stupid: And yes, that easily becomes a license to operate a gun. That’s similar to what’s needed for driving licenses, with specialist licenses needed to operate certain classes (broadly, buses, trucks, et al.) for sound reasons. (Ignore the wingnuts who claim driving is a right—albeit this is where the kerfuffle starts, with the alleged right to own and operate guns supposedly making operating a multitonne motor vehicle somehow different from a machinegun.)

  283. #283 Aquaria
    February 21, 2010

    Sackcloth and ashes?

    Look, I’ve had some Catholic boyfriends who could get off to that in the metaphorical sense, when done the right way, but I didn’t know atheist guys were into it too.

    Maybe that’s TMI…

  284. #284 David Marjanovi?
    February 21, 2010

    Pygmy Loris, I recommend a “Results and Discussion” section, too. That would take a lot of burden off presenting the results and leave almost only explaining what they mean. It’s fairly common in my field.

    although the thought of the nettle really made me want to puke.

    Nettles are, however, good to eat if prepared right.

    But daisy soup is better. :-) Only had any once, a month or three before my 6th birthday (in kindergarten), and I still remember it.

    Gewürztraminer (without the ulaut in French, according to Wiki …)

    They can get away with it because the French u is already pronounced like the German ü.

    Gewürz = spice. Derived from “root”, oddly.

  285. #285 Aquaria
    February 21, 2010

    Oh, and Alan–I knew you were teasing. That’s why I teased back.

  286. #286 Walton
    February 21, 2010

    In terms of public policy, I agree that owning a gun is comparable to owning a car. Both are inherently dangerous to the public, and consequently should be available only to competent adults who are able to pass a basic safety test.

    In the UK, we go much too far the other way; many classes of weapon (including handguns) are banned altogether, and it’s very difficult for a civilian to get to own a firearm, and self-defence is not considered a legitimate ground for owning one. IMO, firearms should be treated like cars – anyone who is a competent adult, has no history of violent crime, and can pass a firearms safety test should be able to own one.

    In a separate, though related, vein, we also have ludicrous laws in the UK when it comes to self-defence – a British man, Munir Hussain, was recently given a 30-month jail sentence for fighting back against attackers who invaded his home and tied up his family. Thankfully the custodial sentence was reduced on appeal to a suspended sentence, but his conviction was not overturned.

  287. #287 blf
    February 21, 2010

    Oh dear, I set Walton off… Sorry!

  288. #288 Walton
    February 21, 2010

    Oh dear, I set Walton off? Sorry!

    That’s not fair. What did I do wrong?

  289. #289 negentropyeater
    February 21, 2010

    It makes me feel guilty that others weren’t so lucky

    It prompts in me sadness and compassion, a desire to help, but why guilt ?

  290. #290 Sili
    February 21, 2010

    I hate technology! (And capitalism, I s’pose.)

    I think I’ve spent close to two hours trying to get my printer to print ‘Tis recipe for me to cook. But it refuses to do so until I replace the empty magenta cartridge. Despite my only wanting to print in black!

    ARRRRGH! I’ve tried everything I could find, I think. Including trying to reset the CMOS.

    Now I’ll just have to curry back and forth between kitchen and computer, I guess.

    By the way, ‘Tis, you say:

    Heat the oil in a frying pan.

    But I’ll be damned if I can figure out what to do with it then.

  291. #291 Blind Squirrel FCD
    February 21, 2010

    Walton:

    That’s not fair. What did I do wrong?

    Well, for starters, you didn’t read the article:

    Lord Judge said: “This trial had nothing to do with the right of the householder to defend themselves or their families or their homes.
    “The burglary was over and the burglars had gone. No one was in any further danger from them.”

    BS

  292. #292 Antiochus Epiphanes
    February 21, 2010

    Pygmy Loris: One thing that you could do to make the results section reach out and grab readers by the nose-hairs is to include some random allusion to intelligent design*. Here’s what you can expect. Everyone will read and discuss it. You will get a lot of e-mail.

    JK–haha.

    David’s suggestion is also pretty reasonable if the journal allows it. I offer this other alternative. Make the results section short and sweet. As a reviewer, I LOVE that.

    Regarding the Kanduc paper in Peptides…I decided to not push the argument on that thread, because the author didn’t seem to understand at all what the hubbub was really about. I’m curious to see if there will be a ruckus in the literature about this.

    *But wait until the thing is in proof, mmmkay? It might be easier to get this by a copy editor than a reviewer.

  293. #293 Aquaria
    February 21, 2010

    David, what variety of nettle is involved? We have a pretty one locally that we call southern nettle, but the smell doesn’t do anything for me.

    We also have an ugly little plant called a stinging nettle, and a really nasty piece of work known as the bull nettle, even though it’s technically not a nettle, but trying telling that to Texans who’ve made the mistake of getting too close to one. Ow!

    When most Texans think of nettle, it’s the bull nettle that first comes to mind, and the immediate reaction is–NO FUCKING WAY. Maybe this explains why?

    That’s probably why I can’t imagine eating nettle anything.

  294. #294 Walton
    February 21, 2010

    I hate technology! (And capitalism, I s’pose.)

    Ah yes… because computers produced by the People’s Commissariat of Technical Devices would work so much better than the products of those vile capitalist pigs at Dell, Microsoft, Apple and so on. Just like everyone would rather have a good old socialist Lada or Trabant than one of those infernal capitalist machines produced by Ford or Toyota.

  295. #295 David Marjanovi?
    February 21, 2010

    Note to self: never piss Aquaria off.

    Is anybody else squeamish about the texture of that jacket John Waters is wearing in the video that introduces this chapter of the thread?

    Isn’t it simply a fancy morning gown?

    There should be no problem with having to present proof of firearms safety before buying one. That sounds like a useful law.

    In the USA, as far as I can tell (cue Bill Frist’s tele-diagnosis of what was left of Terri Schiavo), the biggest problem is the huge black market for firearms. Over there, it’s true that “if you outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns”. Where I come from, firearms are so hard to get that most bank robberies are committed with fakes/toys.

    The second biggest is that everyone seems to be too stupid to amend the 2nd Amendment. The fact that it’s not blindingly obvious what it actually means proves that it must be amended. Yet people keep merely trying to interpret it over and over again.

    My childhood was lovely.

    I think it shows, and in very beneficial ways.

    Mine wasn’t. For starters, it was too short, and I was teased rather brutally for something like 6 years by a lot of different people…

  296. #296 Aquaria
    February 21, 2010

    Okay, Walton, what’s going on? You’re being libertarian jerk again, and that’s never a good sign with you.

  297. #297 SC OM
    February 21, 2010

    It prompts in me sadness and compassion, a desire to help, but why guilt ?

    Hmm. Good question. I guess I’ve always been prone to a kind of generalized version of survivor guilt. I know it’s not rational, but I always felt guilty, for example, talking about my father with friends who had fathers like Aquaria’s, even when I was sympathetic to and trying to help them. And just in general, it feels like guilt.

    I felt guilty about mentioning it now, too. :/ The only reason I did was that some things have been said about me in the past implying that I have some kind of personal issues or anger that transcend my individual dealings with people online. I really don’t. Which leads me to conclude, of course, that any difficulties I’ve had with specific people are entirely their fault.

    ;)

  298. #298 Blind Squirrel FCD
    February 21, 2010

    As a devoted nettle eater, if you will allow me to dip into your conversation, this is the nettle that is eaten. Only young plants are eaten,and the flavor changes dramatically overnight when the plant is about 4 inhes high. Then you start on the lamb’s quarter.

    BS

  299. #299 Walton
    February 21, 2010

    Okay, Walton, what’s going on? You’re being libertarian jerk again, and that’s never a good sign with you.

    I don’t see how pointing out the general superiority of capitalist over communist products, in the field of cars, computers and similar goods, constitutes being a “libertarian jerk”. One doesn’t have to be a libertarian to believe that cars and computers are, in general, best produced by the private sector; most mainstream political parties agree with this.

  300. #300 Sven DiMilo
    February 21, 2010

    any difficulties I’ve had with specific people are entirely their fault.

    But of course.

  301. #301 Lynna, OM
    February 21, 2010

    Aquaria, your nettle linkee in 293 is no workee.

    Horses love to bite the blossoms off nettles. Must be like horse candy.

  302. #302 Aquaria
    February 21, 2010

    Oh, man–none of you could piss me off the way my dad did.

    I’m really not all that violent, and I’ve never started a physical fight of any kind. Well, except when I was 6 or 7 years old and this bully pushed me into the deep end of a pool on the second day I’d been taking swimming lessons. After I quit being fucking freaked from nearly dying, I went nuts on her. The school and pool staff pretended not to see anything. Different age.

  303. #303 blf
    February 21, 2010

    That’s not fair. What did I do wrong?

    Fair question, and I suppose it’s more my unstated reaction to your opinions rather than anything you said. Sorry!

    To briefly explain, you said (paraphrasing (and therefore perhaps misrepresenting (inadvertently!))) that the UK’s gun control laws go too far, and that the analogy between licensing cars and guns can be extended so that passing the test is sufficient (along with age, not being insane, et al.) to obtain a license. I disagree.

    The UK’s laws are about right. And the analogy cannot be extended quite that simply; for guns, consideration should be given to having an additional requirement of need (albeit that rapidly gets very messy, and I concede needs to be thought out some more).

    Putting aside these issues, the trickier question may be how to move the USA from its current open promotion of murder to a saner policy—let’s say UK-like for sake of argument—a process which presumably must occur in steps, over a (considerable? (multiple generations?)) period of time, and is careful to deal with issues like the massive number of guns out there right now. And of course, must have sufficient popular support.

    I’ve no idea how to accomplish that. The current grass-roots incremental approach is better than nothing, and I think has accomplished significant things, but… I wish I had a better idea. I don’t feel comfortable in, or visiting the USA, admittedly over-estimating the risk of being blown away by someone on the street (possibly the police) for no reason. And if I survive, being bankrupted by the medical care.

    p.s.  I’ve no opinion on the UK’s self-defence laws. However, only in the most rare and extreme of cases would I consider self-defence a valid need for a gun; so rare and extreme, in fact, that off-the-top-of-my-head about the only situation I can think of is a rural family a significant distance away from the nearest police patrol who has a history of being violently threatened.

  304. #304 David Marjanovi?
    February 21, 2010

    self-defence is not considered a legitimate ground for owning one

    That makes a lot more sense that it seems at first glance.

    After all, the other guy probably draws faster.

    what variety of nettle is involved?

    Well, one of the four central European ones… I had no idea there even were 4 species of nettle there, but probably it was good old Urtica dioica which occurs in North America, too.

    Maybe this explains why?

    No, because the link doesn’t work :-]

    computers produced by the People’s Commissariat of Technical Devices would work so much better than the products of those vile capitalist pigs at Dell, Microsoft, Apple and so on

    To be fair, I have a hard time imagining they’d be seriously worse <smug, toothy grin>

    (Incidentally, Microsoft doesn’t make computers.)

  305. #305 SC OM
    February 21, 2010

    I think I’ve spent close to two hours trying to get my printer to print ‘Tis recipe for me to cook. But it refuses to do so until I replace the empty magenta cartridge. Despite my only wanting to print in black!

    Please don’t hit me…

    Did you set the printing preferences to B&W or greyscale?

    I think it shows, and in very beneficial ways.

    What an incredibly sweet thing to say.

    Mine wasn’t. For starters, it was too short, and I was teased rather brutally for something like 6 years by a lot of different people…

    That is so traumatizing. I’m sorry you had to go through that. I’m ashamed of the times I participated in teasing anyone, and proud of the times that I stood up to the teasers and/or befriended the unpopular (not that I was always superpopular myself – prep school wasn’t exactly a pleasure cruise…).

  306. #306 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 21, 2010

    Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

    Would you people please keep it down. I’m trying to watch Curling.

  307. #307 Aquaria
    February 21, 2010

    This stupid freaking MacBook–it’s so picky!

    Here’s the bull nettle I know.

    Walton, you jumped all over somebody who’s having a problem with computers and is a bit frustrated–no need to go into a diatribe about capitalist vs. communist economies over it. Lighten up. We don’t hate you anymore, okay?

  308. #308 davem
    February 21, 2010

    In the UK, we go much too far the other way

    No we f***ing don’t – it’s still too easy to own a gun. They end up stolen, and used in crimes, used to end domestic disputes for good, or used for suicides. Nothing good ever comes out of them.

    Guns are an attack weapon, not a defence weapon. In your example you pointed out, Mr Hussain almost killed his attacker with a cricket bat. He didn’t require a gun. If he’d had one, people would have died.

    IMO, firearms should be treated like cars – anyone who is a competent adult, has no history of violent crime, and can pass a firearms safety test should be able to own one.

    Define ‘competent adult’. Since it has been established that trained policemen get it wrong, I’m thinking maybe a 6 month course might be OK?

    My thinking is that if you want a gun, there’s something wrong with you, and you are not to be trusted with a gun.

  309. #309 Lynna, OM
    February 21, 2010

    My older brother, Robert, stood up for me throughout elementary school. He reserved the right to tease me for himself.

    Sorry you had to suffer, David M.

  310. #310 Sven DiMilo
    February 21, 2010

    Post # 269 above marks comment # 27000 on the Thread overall.
    With three days to go until the International Day of the Thread, it looks as though we should just exceed 28K by the one-year mark (22:28 Eastern Blog Time, 2/24).
    Hope everybody has their champagne, IPA, limoncello, single-malt, or sparkling brut elderberry wine chilled and ready to go for some toasts when the time comes. Ozians can substitute Irish coffee I guess, ’cause that’s kind of early for you all. Teetotalers can drink…whatever the hell it is that you people drink.

    Oh, and bacon.

  311. #311 MAJeff, OM
    February 21, 2010

    Okay, Walton, what’s going on? You’re being libertarian jerk again, and that’s never a good sign with you.

    It’s a constant, not a variable.

  312. #312 OurDeadSelves
    February 21, 2010

    @ 277:

    I have yet to see a state require that for those just wanting a gun.

    My older sister just got her pistol permit and not only did she have to go through a background check, but she had to take a safety class as well (she had to show that she could disassemble/resemble, they went over how to safely store firearms, etc etc.). But it differs county by county here, so I’m sure if you were out in the boondocks and were buddies with the sheriff, you could probably get a permit pretty easily.

  313. #313 davem
    February 21, 2010

    Re netttles – it must be the sort that these guys eat:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/dorset/content/articles/2005/06/17/nettle_eating_feature.shtml

    I’d rather swallow 50 scotch bonnet chilis at once, myself.

  314. #314 OurDeadSelves
    February 21, 2010

    P.S. I’m talking about NY.

  315. #315 Sven DiMilo
    February 21, 2010

    My thinking is that if you want a gun, there’s something wrong with you, and you are not to be trusted with a gun.

    Catch-23.

    I think we can make a useful distiction between handguns and other firearms. I do not own any guns, because I have never needed one. If, however, I lived with my family in some isolated rural area, I would think seriously about having a self-defense weapon around, but then it sure as hell wouldn’t be no handgun.
    If it’s me against x badguys, I’ll take a shotgun, please, every time.

  316. #316 blf
    February 21, 2010

    My thinking is that if you want a gun, there’s something wrong with you, and you are not to be trusted with a gun.

    That’s my thinking as well (in general), which I put a bit snarkily @282. I say “in general” since certain people, in certain situations, do legitimately need a firearm. As one example, a polar explorer, where firearms are the last defence against polar bears.

  317. #317 Sven DiMilo
    February 21, 2010

    …plus, when one is not self-defensin’, one can use one’s shotgun to bag dinner.

    (marinated tofu my ass)

  318. #318 SC OM
    February 21, 2010

    http://www.youtube.com/watch#v=eFWDGjL6jLY

    I don’t see how pointing out the general superiority of capitalist over communist products, in the field of cars,

    Why cars, and particular sorts of cars, dominate in certain places should be something for you to deal with.

    And did the person you were responding to say anything about Communist products? Or do anything other than make a joke?

    computers and similar goods,

    You might want to study this history a bit more.

    constitutes being a “libertarian jerk”. One doesn’t have to be a libertarian to believe that cars and computers are, in general, best produced by the private sector; most mainstream political parties agree with this.

    Who gives a shit what “most mainstream political parties” think about anything? That’s not an argument.

    This larger idea that capitalism drives technological progress in realms or ways that are beneficial to humanity is, I think, false, and dangerously so, and something I’m working to contend with.

  319. #319 Blind Squirrel FCD
    February 21, 2010

    There is a trick to eating them raw. You fold the leaf, which lacks stinging hairs, over the petiole. the stinging hairs are broken before they can penetrate the mucosa, and no discomfort results.

    BS

  320. #320 boygenius
    February 21, 2010

    Chill a single-malt? Blasphemer!

  321. #321 blf
    February 21, 2010

    marinated tofu my ass

    Now that is a recipe I don’t want!

  322. #322 Rawnaeris
    February 21, 2010

    I agree they are borderline useless for self-defense. I don’t agree that

    My thinking is that if you want a gun, there’s something wrong with you, and you are not to be trusted with a gun.

    Many of my friends who would never consider shooting a person have guns for hunting. I don’t think they own handguns, however.

    My fiance did receive a handgun from his father for this past xmas, on the stipulation that Fiance takes the concealed carry courses before he can actually have it.

    Unfortunately, what David Marjanovi? said,

    In the USA, as far as I can tell […], the biggest problem is the huge black market for firearms. Over there, it’s true that “if you outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns”.

    is true, at least here. I have heard of very little gun crime, to the point of I can’t think of a single instance, where a licensed gun owner has misused a gun. Most of the damage here comes from illegal guns. How do you outlaw something that is already outlaw?

  323. #323 Walton
    February 21, 2010

    Who gives a shit what “most mainstream political parties” think about anything? That’s not an argument.

    It’s not an argument for the correctness of my position, and I wasn’t using it as such. Rather, I was intending to respond to Aquaria’s accusation that I was acting like a “libertarian jerk”, by pointing out that I was expressing a view shared by most people, not just libertarians. Admittedly, I may not have been particularly clear or coherent (I’ve had a crazy week and my brain isn’t working properly).

  324. #324 negentropyeater
    February 21, 2010

    Walton,

    you’re not a libertarian for prefering capitalist computers to communist ones, but for mentioning it. Oh, and for comparing cars with guns from a public policy standpoint.

    Cars can sometimes be useful. Guns ?

  325. #325 David Marjanovi?
    February 21, 2010

    Which leads me to conclude, of course, that any difficulties I’ve had with specific people are entirely their fault.

    =8-)

  326. #326 Sven DiMilo
    February 21, 2010

    Chill a single-malt? Blasphemer!

    My, that was a gaffe!

    I was just trying to be inclusive of the local peatophiles. And instead I have offended same.

    embarrassing

    apologies

  327. #327 SC OM
    February 21, 2010

    It’s not an argument for the correctness of my position, and I wasn’t using it as such. Rather, I was intending to respond to Aquaria’s accusation that I was acting like a “libertarian jerk”, by pointing out that I was expressing a view shared by most people, not just libertarians.

    Yes, I realize this, and was on the verge of clarifying. But I think Aquaria’s suggestion was that you were being a libertarian jerk by bringing up the question of Communist products in response to Sili’s joke in the first place.

    Further, “most major political parties” (where?) is not the same as “most people.” And both groups could be propertarian jerks to the extent that they make the claim that computer technology should be left to capitalists.

  328. #328 blf
    February 21, 2010

    How do you outlaw something that is already outlaw?

    Indeed. That problem, and I concur, it’s a real problem, does not, of course, mean it shouldn’t be outlawed or regulated or whatevered. For instance, theft is illegal, yet thefts occur, hence theft should be legal?

    In the case of firearms, whether or not you distinguish between pistols and other firearms, or between weapons (designed/intended to be used on people) or other purposed firearms (for hunting, marksmanship, polar bear defence, et al.), or so on. there’s the problem that some ownership and operation has to be legal. (Unlike theft, unless you consider taxes theft.) I’ve no idea how serious a problem this “some will be legal” problem is, but it throws a complication into the mix. Unfortunately.

  329. #329 Aquaria
    February 21, 2010

    Lynna:

    I was the one who stood up for my brothers. Usually, I could do it with words, but, sometimes, I took a few punches for them, and returned the punches with a few of my own. Why? Well, if my brothers came home banged up, guess who took the blame for it?

    Yeah, me. There I was, a skinny little girl facing boys older than me who weren’t very nice, and who didn’t have a problem hitting a girl.

    But they all learned; I might get my ass kicked, but not a single one of them went home unscathed.

  330. #330 Walton
    February 21, 2010

    This larger idea that capitalism drives technological progress in realms or ways that are beneficial to humanity is, I think, false, and dangerously so, and something I’m working to contend with.

    I don’t quite understand what you’re saying here (again, the fault is probably mine and not yours, as I’m not at my sharpest right now).

    As I understand it, capitalism clearly does drive technological progress, in lots of ways. As I see it, most of these have both benefits and drawbacks. For instance, it is a result of capitalism that amenities like fridges, cars, computers, and the like are mass-produced at prices the ordinary consumer can afford; on the one hand, this vastly increases the average person’s quality of life, but on the other hand, it comes at a massive environmental cost, creating higher pollution and the danger of future scarcity of resources.

    Other economic systems drive technological progress too, but in different directions. The Soviet Union had plenty of technological progress, but most of its technical achievements were directed towards weapons and towards state-glorifying projects, such as the space race, rather than producing better consumer goods and appliances for the average citizen. As a result, the average Soviet citizen had a lower standard of living than the average American or Western-European citizen.

    At the same time, I’m certainly not saying that capitalist technological progress is always magically directed towards the good of humanity. Plenty of it is directed towards things that are useless or even harmful for the average person – developing new and more innovative ways to aggressively advertise products, for instance.

    This is, of course, a layman’s view, as I’m not an economist, so please correct me if I’ve totally misunderstood what you were talking about.

  331. #331 negentropyeater
    February 21, 2010

    My fiance did receive a handgun from his father for this past xmas

    I’m so glad I live in a country where people can’t get handguns for Christmas. Apart from the toy models.

  332. #332 Alan B
    February 21, 2010

    Several Comments

    Re – Munir Hussain

    There was quite a hoo-haa in England over this case. Unfortunately, in the emotional reaction a number of facts were ignored/forgotten/played down. A good summary is given in:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/philipjohnston/6822702/Was-Munir-Hussain-supposed-to-let-the-intruders-escape.html

    One of the things missed out is that the attempted robber and knife man is said to have suffered brain damage such that he was unable to plead when he was put on trial (according to his lawyer). However, the 50+ conviction serial crimial was still able to commit another robbery between the offense and his trial! This got lost in the sympathy for him when he was beaten up.

    Also, at least one report suggested there was more to this than meets the eye. Hussein is reported to be a millionaire and apparently had made enemies during his rise in success. That the actions of the attempted thieves and by Hussein and his brother was a continuation of a feud is a distinct possibility. Did Hussein take the opportunity to respond in kind?

    I suspect there was a lot more going on than the press (with their own axes to grind) and the public (fired up by incomplete reports in the MSM) really understand.

    To defend yourself and your family against armed intruders in your own home is one thing. To chase after them with a cricket bat and (according to at least one report) a length of iron is another. It takes quite a bit to smash a cricket bat into 3 pieces!

    There is a stage, IMHO, when it is worth considering that a Judge and Jury might have got it closer to being right than the instantaneous emotional reaction of the public mob.

  333. #333 blf
    February 21, 2010

    I’m so glad I live in a country where people can’t get handguns for Christmas. Apart from the toy models.

    I’m not terribly keen on the children’s toys, albeit replicas which cannot be converted and are not intended as toys are Ok-ish (especially if it’s obvious, from a distance, it’s a safe “replica”)…

    What I do wish is not so many police would carry guns, but I’ve no idea how practical that is here in France. It works in Ireland and the UK, but transporting that bit of culture et al., no matter how sensible, could be very difficult, or precluded by other factors (such as not being an “isolated” on an island?).

  334. #334 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    February 21, 2010

    Now, now Pharyngulites. Before we all veer off into a predictable rant between the Capitalist Scum and the Libertarian Bastards, let’s look at what happened up-thread. Sili said:

    I hate technology! (And capitalism, I s’pose.)

    I think I’ve spent close to two hours trying to get my printer to print ‘Tis recipe for me to cook. But it refuses to do so until I replace the empty magenta cartridge. Despite my only wanting to print in black!

    I’m betting Sili’s complaint was a humorous dig at something we all find frustrating – planned obsolescence. We all hate built-in software constraints that prevent us from using the remaining ink in a cartridge, just because the manufacturer decides it’s time for us to pay for more product. Is that the very definition of capitalism? No, but it’s one of its most infuriating manifestations.

    Now young Walton, though you’ve made admirable progress broadening your views in conversations here, you’re still on a hair trigger (and that Diet-Pepsi-as-Sleep-Substitute sure ain’t helping). Is it possible your emotional sympathies with libertarianism caused you to completely overlook the more charitable reading of Sili’s comment? I think so, since you immediately started talking about the People’s Commissariat, blah, blah, blah. I rather like you Walton, but I almost had to take off my silk dandy gloves and slap you.

    Turning a schoolmarmish eye to the other side of the class. . .now Ms. SC, you allowed yourself to get sucked into this and turn sanctimonious. As one of the top students in this class, I’ve come to expect more from you, young lady. I want you to write “I will work on my sense of humor” 100 times on the blackboard after class. Don’t tell anyone, but I’ll allow you make fun of other classmates while I grade papers, so long as you do so quietly.

    As for the rest of the class, that’s enough tittering (slaps ruler on desk and replaces glasses on tip of nose)!

    SpokesGay has spoken. And you if children don’t mind me, I’ll call in Locutus of Gay, and you don’t want to deal with him. Especially you, Walton – he speaks for The Collective.

  335. #335 Dania
    February 21, 2010

    In terms of public policy, I agree that owning a gun is comparable to owning a car.

    A car, when used right, harms no one (at least directly). A gun, when used right, kills. Isn’t that enough to treat them differently?

    My fiance did receive a handgun from his father for this past xmas…

    A gun as a Christmas gift? That’s some fucked up country you have there…

  336. #336 Alan B
    February 21, 2010

    Re-nettles

    Before the introduction of using hops, most beers were made using nettles to flavour the brew.

    http://www.brewuk.co.uk/store/index.php/recipes-nettle-beer

  337. #337 Sven DiMilo
    February 21, 2010

    if it’s obvious, from a distance, it’s a safe “replica”

    um, that would be a pretty crappy replica, no?

  338. #338 blf
    February 21, 2010

    slaps ruler on desk and replaces glasses on tip of nose

    sticks out tongue …No, crawls back into his lair and throws out a few more peas …No, goes off to fix dinner… Yea, that’s it, dinner (no fecking peas!) time!

  339. #339 Aquaria
    February 21, 2010

    Walton:

    FWIW, my questions about how you’re doing have been based on genuine concern. Something about your use of language today has indicated not being yourself.

    How about this: I take responsibility for being a jerk for calling you a jerk when you went off about something the way you did. We all have our jerk moments, and that doesn’t have to be the end of the world.

    P.S. Get some sleep–it’ll help.

  340. #340 Walton
    February 21, 2010

    There is a stage, IMHO, when it is worth considering that a Judge and Jury might have got it closer to being right than the instantaneous emotional reaction of the public mob.

    I agree that the emotional reaction of the mob should have absolutely no influence on the application of the law. (Most of the reader comments on that article are depressingly authoritarian, punitive and violent, with at least one deranged wingnut advocating the reintroduction of public hangings.) I’ve spoken out against populist punitivism repeatedly in the past, and will continue to do so.

    At the same time, one of the most fundamental amenities of human life is the right to the security and privacy of home and family life – recognised, inter alia, in Article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights. My personal view is that individuals should not have to rely on the state to enforce this right on their behalf. If someone breaks into your home, invading the security of your private and family life, I would argue that you should be able to use force against them, whether or not there is an immediate threat of violence.

  341. #341 Sili
    February 21, 2010

    Please don’t hit me…

    Did you set the printing preferences to B&W or greyscale?

    I never could. Unless you’re into that sorta thing – and even then I doubt I could.

    Yah, I tried that. Even made sure to check the “Use only black cartridge” option. Still no worky unless I replace the magenta.

    My complaint about ‘capitalism’ is that HP (and just about everyone else) gets away with selling me a printer below cost by forcing me to buy overpriced ink. And then in cases like this, make a product that cannot be overridden so that I can print out a fscking half-page recipe with the 75% full black cartridge because I have at some point of other printed out too much red stuff.

  342. #342 blf
    February 21, 2010
    if it’s obvious, from a distance, it’s a safe “replica”

    um, that would be a pretty crappy replica, no?

    Correct. Give that ape a banana. (That’s why I used “quotes”.)

    And I don’t consider the “replica” being crappy a problem. Arguably, the crappier the better, since then if some arsehole tries to disguise the real thing as a “replica”, you’d have concrete grounds for arresting/charging the guy with something meaning “planning to commit violence” or whatever is appropriate. Admittedly, if the disguise is good or carelessly-observed, you may not know it until too late…

  343. #343 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 21, 2010

    I had a similar obsolescence computer problem with my scanner. I bought it the same time as my previous computer (2001), and use it maybe half a dozen times a year, usually for the Redhead. My USB connections showed the scanner present, but none of the software would recognize it, rendering it unusable. Dug out my old computer, and it worked just fine.

  344. #344 SC OM
    February 21, 2010

    As I understand it, capitalism clearly does drive technological progress, in lots of ways.

    This is so vague as to be meaningless.

    As I see it, most of these have both benefits and drawbacks.

    Again.

    For instance, it is a result of capitalism that amenities like fridges, cars, computers, and the like are mass-produced at prices the ordinary consumer can afford; on the one hand, this vastly increases the average person’s quality of life,

    First, I hate the word “consumer” used in this general way. The figure of the consumer is a creation of modern capitalism, and one that should go. But who (and where) is this “ordinary consumer,” this “average person,” and how do you define quality of life? Also, you’re talking about the capture of certain technologies for mass production for individuals, which is by no means an unqualified positive, rather than about the historical development of the technology in general.

    but on the other hand, it comes at a massive environmental cost, creating higher pollution and the danger of future scarcity of resources.

    This isn’t a future danger. It’s a current fact. And destroying the planet for future generations does seem to counterbalance a few amenities for a segment of the population of certain countries for a brief time.

    Other economic systems drive technological progress too, but in different directions. The Soviet Union had plenty of technological progress,

    You’re the only one talking about other economic systems, and you’re only offering one example. No one here has championed Communism (state capitalism), so it’s silly to bring it up. Unless you’re saying that “there is no alternative,” with which I disagree, and I think history has shown and is showing that capitalism is quite bad for technology if by technology we mean that which helps to fulfill basic human needs and contribute to happiness (if you mean something else, then I’m not sure we can have a conversation).

    At the same time, I’m certainly not saying that capitalist technological progress is always magically directed towards the good of humanity. Plenty of it is directed towards things that are useless or even harmful for the average person – developing new and more innovative ways to aggressively advertise products, for instance.

    As I’ve said before, you really need to get away from the abstract “average person” and look at the real social history of technology.

  345. #345 Pygmy Loris
    February 21, 2010

    Sven,

    Thanks. That was helpful. I guess I’m just having problems differentiating the results and discussion.

  346. #346 Walton
    February 21, 2010

    No one here has championed Communism (state capitalism)

    Err… what? Your definition of capitalism includes Communism? I really hope I’m misreading you here.

  347. #347 Alan B
    February 21, 2010

    Some gun stories from Ga.

    A colleage in the US power industry has the same surname as me but preceeds it with Jo. He is a Southern Baptist in the outskirts of a small town of about 17,000 with 11,000 going to one church and 5,000 to the other – every Sunday. He came from a smaller township where there was a town ordinance that every household had to have a loaded handgun. Crime rate was almost zero – he couldn’t remember the last break-in. He painted the picture of a lady in her 80s with a 45 magnum – “Come on, punk, make my day …”

    Jo owned about 15 handguns (he wasn’t sure off the top of his head how many when I asked). Of these 4 were museum pieces and a couple were disabled. The remainder were fully operational, with 5 fully loaded, and distributed between his wife’s handbag, the master bedroom of his house and his pickup. He and his wife practiced regularly in the woods behind his house.

    He was driving me one day and he asked me how many guns I thought he had in the truck. Clearly, English grammar and usage requires “guns” to be a minimum of 2. He replied he wasn’t sure because it was his son’s truck but there were 3 that he knew of and possibly one or two more.

    To an Englishman all this was way beyond my experience. I found his attitude to it all and to the law in general was simply not what I would have expected of a Christian but I gather it was normal round that way.

    Strange world.

  348. #348 Lynna, OM
    February 21, 2010

    There I was, a skinny little girl facing boys older than me who weren’t very nice, and who didn’t have a problem hitting a girl. But they all learned; I might get my ass kicked, but not a single one of them went home unscathed.

    Excellent! I fought back a dog that was threatening one of my younger brothers once (using rocks), but for the most part, my younger brothers took care of each other, and my older brother took care of me. Luck of the draw.

    I was and am a tomboy, so I don’t require a lot of care and coddling. At age thirteen I remember thinking that girls, in general, were an alien race. They didn’t understand that climbing trees was more fun than painting one’s fingernails. Later, I came across like-minded females, but my early teen years were rough.

  349. #349 blf
    February 21, 2010

    Weird… When I submitted my comment @342, I got a new-to-me error:

    Movable Type
    An error occurred
    Can’t call method “remove” on an undefined value

    Nonetheless, the comment submission worked.

  350. #350 SC OM
    February 21, 2010

    now Ms. SC,

    That’s Dr. SC to you, young man. :)

    you allowed yourself to get sucked into this and turn sanctimonious.

    WTF? Where?

    As one of the top students in this class, I’ve come to expect more from you, young lady. I want you to write “I will work on my sense of humor” 100 times on the blackboard after class.

    Dude, I was responding to Walton’s serious response to Sili’s joke. He was not joking.

    But there are questions involved that are of importance to me. Seriously, piss off.

  351. #351 Pygmy Loris
    February 21, 2010

    blf,

    Wanting to own a firearm? Or at least one whose primary purpose is to be used on a human?

    I like shooting handguns. My dad has a few, and we like to go out and shoot at inanimate targets. We’re not assholes, and we have no intention of ever using them on people. I really don’t see any problem with enjoying firearms. It’s wanting to use them on people that’s the problem.

  352. #352 SteveV
    February 21, 2010

    Aquaria #274
    ‘For the record, we all sponge off the state, to some extent.’

    Now this is probably going to get me condemned as as libertarian jerk as well as an’ignorant engineer’
    BUT isn’t it the case that the State has no money of its own, only that which it collects from its citizens?
    Everyone sponges off the State? How?

  353. #353 Walton
    February 21, 2010

    First, I hate the word “consumer” used in this general way. The figure of the consumer is a creation of modern capitalism, and one that should go. But who (and where) is this “ordinary consumer,” this “average person,” and how do you define quality of life?

    Fine, let’s be more specific. Owning a refrigerator enhances a person’s quality of life in measurable ways. Under our present capitalist economy, far more people in the Western world (and an increasing number in many developing countries) are able to afford refrigerators than at any other time in human history. This is a benefit which capitalism has brought to the quality of life of actual, identifiable people. Ditto for other amenities – central heating, indoor plumbing, computers, television, microwaves. My grandparents, like most British people of their generation, grew up without these things. Like most British people of my generation, I grew up with these things. That is a measurable improvement, and one which can be ascribed to capitalism.

    The downside, as I have acknowledged, is the environmental cost. And that’s a major drawback to capitalism which I will not deny. But that’s an argument for limiting and regulating the operations of businesses in specific ways, so as to control pollution and conserve scarce resources; it’s not an argument for getting rid of capitalism altogether.

    You’re the only one talking about other economic systems, and you’re only offering one example.

    OK then. Give me an example of another form of socio-economic organisation, which has actually existed in an actual country in human history, which has been better than a capitalist-mixed economy at directing technological progress for the benefit of its citizens.

  354. #354 Lynna, OM
    February 21, 2010

    As I understand it, capitalism clearly does drive technological progress, in lots of ways.

    War also drives technological progress.

  355. #355 Alan B
    February 21, 2010

    #351 Pygmy Loris

    “Guns don’t kill people – people kill people”

    (Maybe guns make it easier, though!)

    UK used to be pretty good in the target shooting at the Olympics but now it is virtually impossible to practice in the UK with the gun control laws. I understand the UK team has to travel abroad to be able to work out.

  356. #356 Knockgoats
    February 21, 2010

    In a separate, though related, vein, we also have ludicrous laws in the UK when it comes to self-defence – a British man, Munir Hussain, was recently given a 30-month jail sentence for fighting back against attackers who invaded his home and tied up his family. Thankfully the custodial sentence was reduced on appeal to a suspended sentence, but his conviction was not overturned. – Walton@286

    No, he wasn’t convicted for “fighting back”. He and his brother chased the intruders down the street and one was given permanent brain damage by being hit over the head with a baseball bat. Morally, perhaps he deserved it. Legally, it was grievous bodily harm, and the extreme provocation was, rightly, considered only as a mitigating factor. Here’s a quote from your link, Walton, which you don’t appear to have read:

    Lord Judge said: “This trial had nothing to do with the right of the householder to defend themselves or their families or their homes.

    “The burglary was over and the burglars had gone. No one was in any further danger from them.”

  357. #357 SC OM
    February 21, 2010

    Err… what? Your definition of capitalism includes Communism? I really hope I’m misreading you here.

    It’s not particularly relevant here, but:

    http://www.infoshop.org/page/AnarchistFAQSectionH3

  358. #358 Pygmy Loris
    February 21, 2010

    Sven,

    If it’s me against x badguys, I’ll take a shotgun, please, every time.

    Shotguns are difficult to maneuver. What you would want is one with a short barrel (but still legal!) and a pistol grip. Pump action is also important since the sound of a shotgun being pumped is one of the most frightening to people who think you’re going to use it.

  359. #359 Walton
    February 21, 2010

    I should also make clear that I am not arguing for an unregulated, or even necessarily a less-regulated, form of capitalism. I’m simply arguing that the status-quo – a capitalist-mixed economy – is, despite its drawbacks, better for most people than any other form of socio-economic organisation that has ever been attempted. Within that framework, there’s plenty of room for reasonable debate about how much social spending, regulation, or redistribution of wealth is desirable. But advocating an end to capitalism, and its replacement with some other socio-economic system, seems to me to be pie-in-the-sky idealism which would, in practice, lead to massive human suffering. (I hasten to add that I would say exactly the same about “anarcho-capitalists” who advocate an end to the state.)

  360. #360 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    February 21, 2010

    Dude, I was responding to Walton’s serious response to Sili’s joke. He was not joking.

    But there are questions involved that are of importance to me. Seriously, piss off.

    SC – really, I was only trying to gently and humorously defuse the situation. It seemed to me Walton’s own stunted sense of humor caused him to overreact to what Sili said in the first place, and that’s what started the whole thing.

    Of course those issues are important, and I agree with your take on them. I’m a friend. . . you don’t need to gird up for battle with me:) Perhaps my own silliness was out of place, so I’ll slink away.

  361. #361 negentropyeater
    February 21, 2010

    BUT isn’t it the case that the State has no money of its own, only that which it collects from its citizens?

    Citizens also collect money from other citizens. Does that mean it’s not their own ?

  362. #362 Jadehawk, OM
    February 21, 2010

    1)In light of the gruesome fact that February 20th exists, and even sleeping through most of it doesn’t make it go away, the key lime pie had to be a cheesecake. I will try the lemonlime meringue version next time though.

    2)having been in the presence of both types for extended periods of time, I submit that Trabants and Skodas were in no way worse than some of the shit that came out of the factories of the Big Three in the 70’s. Those fuckers took planned obsolescence to truly epic levels.

  363. #363 David Marjanovi?
    February 21, 2010

    Regarding the Kanduc paper in Peptides…I decided to not push the argument on that thread, because the author didn’t seem to understand at all what the hubbub was really about.

    The author strikes me as utterly hapless. Barely a clue about the very existence of creationism; no clue about plagiarism; unable to explain what s/he wants to explain the first time around.

    Anyway, SC beheld the wonderfulness of the word ubiquitinylation on that thread (“ubiquitylation” doesn’t exist). It’s the process of attaching a chain or tree of molecules of the small protein ubiquitin to a protein that cannot be folded properly (which usually means it’s damaged). Ubiquitin is the tag for delivery to the proteasome, the protease-some, which is a tube the inside of which is an enzyme (well, several) that turns proteins back into free amino acids.

    The name comes from the fact that ubiquitin is ubiquitous in eukaryotes. I don’t know how archaea deliver stuff to their proteasomes; bacteria lack proteasomes.

    Latin ubique = “everywhere”.

    [Hussein] smash[ed] a cricket bat into 3 pieces!

    :-o

    Wow. I thought this kind of thing happened only in comics.

    …Ridiculously huge caveman clubs don’t actually break where they’re thickest, do they…?

    SpokesGay has spoken. And you if children don’t mind me, I’ll call in Locutus of Gay, and you don’t want to deal with him. Especially you, Walton – he speaks for The Collective.

    ROTFL!

    My personal view is that individuals should not have to rely on the state to enforce this right on their behalf.

    My personal view is that the state has a duty to protect individuals. That’s one of the reasons for having a state at all.

    Err… what? Your definition of capitalism includes Communism? I really hope I’m misreading you here.

    <inhale>MWA HA HA HA HAAAAAH!!!</inhale>

    Stand back while SC makes you feel conservative again. I’d go make popcorn if I actually liked popcorn.

  364. #364 negentropyeater
    February 21, 2010

    blockquote fail,

    SteveV

    BUT isn’t it the case that the State has no money of its own, only that which it collects from its citizens?

    Citizens also collect money from other citizens. Does that mean it’s not their own ?

    (btw, what you wrote is one of the things that annoys me the most about glibertarians)

  365. #365 Pygmy Loris
    February 21, 2010

    Walton,

    I hate to tell you, but this sentence

    Under our present capitalist economy, far more people in the Western world (and an increasing number in many developing countries) are able to afford refrigerators than at any other time in human history.

    is jibberish. The opportunity to own a refrigerator, at all, has only existed for a brief time in human history. Useful refrigerators have only been around for about a century.

  366. #366 Sven DiMilo
    February 21, 2010

    PL, does your father own handguns solely because they’re fun?
    Because if even one of the reasons he has them around is for defense of his family, property, and self, then he does indeed have intentions of using them on people–if deemed (by him) necessary.

    This does not, of course, make him an asshole–your implied dichotomy is false as hell–but be real.

    I do not, btw, deny in any way the fact that shooting handguns can be fun. It can. Also,target shooting is a skill that can developed with practice like any other, and it’s fun to get better at a precision activiy too.*

    The relevant policy questions deal with trade-offs like “fewer accidental deaths of children” vs. “loss of a recreational activity that some people enjoy.”
    I personally don’t find “it’s fun” to be a persuasive argument in that context.**

    *I have whiled away many an hour with a wrist rocket and some beer cans.

    **In fact, if I were king, a number of recreational activities that lots of people find to be good, clean fun would be outlawed and the ban enforced with prejudice. That’s because I am a tree-hugging liberal New York academic elitist, though, so cut me some slack.

  367. #367 Aquaria
    February 21, 2010

    BUT isn’t it the case that the State has no money of its own, only that which it collects from its citizens?

    So you want to live in Somalia.

    Got it.

    Seriously, name a civilized, First-World nation that doesn’t tax its citizens in any way, shape or form.

    I’ll wait.

    Everyone sponges off the State? How?

    I can’t even sigh that you’re seriously asking this.

    Tell me which of these you don’t use or haven’t used but like to have handy:

    Public schools
    Roads
    Public airwaves (radio, TV)
    Police
    Firefighters
    Social Security

    If you’ve used or liked having any of them in place, you’ve sponged off the state.

  368. #368 Pygmy Loris
    February 21, 2010

    Sven,

    PL, does your father own handguns solely because they’re fun?
    Because if even one of the reasons he has them around is for defense of his family, property, and self, then he does indeed have intentions of using them on people–if deemed (by him) necessary.

    The guns are never loaded unless we’re out target shooting, and both the guns and ammo are locked up at home. Does that answer your question?

    This does not, of course, make him an asshole–your implied dichotomy is false as hell–but be real.

    I was responding to blf saying that you can tell someone’s an asshole if the person wants to own a handgun. I was offering anecdata that this was not necessarily true.

  369. #369 David Marjanovi?
    February 21, 2010

    the gruesome fact that February 20th exists

    Don’t tell me it’s your birthday.

    some of the shit that came out of the factories of the Big Three in the 70’s. Those fuckers took planned obsolescence to truly epic levels.

    Is that where the interpretation of “Ford” as “found on road dead” comes from?

    <resists listing the 4 jokes about FIAT, because that’s not one of the Big Three>

  370. #370 blf
    February 21, 2010

    I like shooting handguns. My dad has a few, and we like to go out and shoot at inanimate targets. We’re not assholes, and we have no intention of ever using them on people.

    Fine. Just don’t own or operate working guns (or convertible replicas) which were designed for use on humans. You need a bloody good reason to own an attack weapon, and “like to shoot guns” (which I do not have a problem with) isn’t one.

  371. #371 Pygmy Loris
    February 21, 2010

    David M,

    Is that where the interpretation of “Ford” as “found on road dead” comes from?

    I’ve always heard Ford=Fix or repair daily :)

  372. #372 SC OM
    February 21, 2010

    Fine, let’s be more specific. Owning a refrigerator enhances a person’s quality of life in measurable ways. Under our present capitalist economy, far more people in the Western world (and an increasing number in many developing countries) are able to afford refrigerators than at any other time in human history.

    Wow, that’s dumb. When was refrigeration invented? When were refrigerators invented? Why do you think refrigeration is a capitalist product?

    This is a benefit which capitalism has brought to the quality of life of actual, identifiable people.

    Define quality of life. Are you sure a system in which a small portion of humanity is able to afford a redundant individual version of a technology contributes to it?

    My grandparents, like most British people of their generation, grew up without these things. Like most British people of my generation, I grew up with these things. That is a measurable improvement,

    Says who? You’re one of the least happy people I’ve ever encountered.

    The downside, as I have acknowledged, is the environmental cost.

    That is enough of a downside to completely cancel out any other presumed benefits. But it isn’t the only downside. If science and technology were organized differently – more cooperatively, more democratically – we would have made far more progress in increasing human well-being and happiness, and not just among a small group of people for a short period of time.

    But that’s an argument for limiting and regulating the operations of businesses in specific ways, so as to control pollution and conserve scarce resources; it’s not an argument for getting rid of capitalism altogether.

    There are other arguments for getting rid of capitalism, but that is an important one. And limiting and regulating in the long run will not stop the juggernaut of capitalism.

    OK then. Give me an example of another form of socio-economic organisation, which has actually existed in an actual country in human history, which has been better than a capitalist-mixed economy at directing technological progress for the benefit of its citizens.

    An anarchist organization of scientific and technological development has existed within the capitalist world system throughout the modern age (with or without the formal name), and arguably has been behind great technological gains – in agriculture, in medicine, in software,… – that capitalists forever seek to exploit. Further, many modern technological advances have come out of international warfare, not “markets.”

  373. #373 Aquaria
    February 21, 2010

    I’m waiting for the “I paid for that road!” argument.

    No, your 50 cents/yr contribution didn’t pay for a multimillion dollar road, dipshit. Millions of people pitching in paid for it.

    I’ve started calling these people who constantly bitch about taxes: CHISELERS.

    What else do you call people who go to such lengths to get something for nothing?

  374. #374 Aquaria
    February 21, 2010

    the gruesome fact that February 20th exists

    I’ve traditionally hated this day because it was the birthday of he who shall not be discussed again, but if it’s yours, I hope it’s a happy one for you. :)

  375. #375 Opus
    February 21, 2010

    My favorite version of the time-worn ‘Guns don’t kill people’ slogans, courtesy of a police officer friend:

    “Guns don’t kill people; they just make bullets go real, real fast. . .”
    For full effect it should be spoken while pressing a cartridge against the torso of the listener.

    For the record, the Grateful Dead 24/7 channel on satellite radio has been a welcome addition to my life. However, it’s no longer allowed in the car, except when I’m driving alone. Too much of a good thing, I guess :(

  376. #376 Jadehawk, OM
    February 21, 2010

    3)as for the bullying thing… well, I guess I got lucky, in the sense that the reason I first became a target for bullying/teasing also resulted in me being the tallest and possibly strongest kid in the entire school(and certainly one of the most aggressive, but that’s unrelated). After kicking a wannabe bully across the classroom a few times, and the stories spreading accordingly, no one dared to tease me anymore.
    not that it helped much. school was still a living hell for me. though, maybe if i had been teased and bullied on top of everything else, I might have never survived it at all.

    4)to say that people should have the right to defend their own property with violence is horrible; last I checked, theft, burglary, etc. are not offenses punishable by death, and “cruel and unusual punishment” isn’t just outlawed in the States; but that’s precisely the sort of punishment that results when people use guns and other weapons against intruders.

  377. #377 Pygmy Loris
    February 21, 2010

    blf,

    Just don’t own or operate working guns (or convertible replicas) which were designed for use on humans.

    emphasis mine

    In other words, don’t own any guns. Do you think shotguns and rifles weren’t designed to be used on people? They were.

    This discussion is going to devolve pretty rapidly, I think. I’m not anti-gun control. I support the assault weapons ban, testing and certification for gun ownership, and limits on magazine capacity for semi-automatic weapons, but I don’t support handgun bans or more severe bans on all or most guns. A good deal of the meat I eat is from friends who hunt with rifles and shotguns. I like it that way.

    That being said, I am not among the contingent of people who thinks that more concealed weapons will solve the problem of gun violence.

  378. #378 Paul W.
    February 21, 2010

    I posted the following in the moribund Templeton thread, but I don’t think anybody saw it.

    In an effort to stave off discussions of guns and capitalism, I’m reposting it here:

    Sastra,

    I don’t claim to be able to make Karen Armstrong’s position clear or consistent—that’s not possible, because she’s an inconsistent kook—but I do think it’s worth taking a shot at clarifying some central tendencies. Rather than talking about her position, we might talk about a probability cloud where her position might be, subject to Heisenberg effects—if you look too closely, it changes. :-)

    Or really, she has a couple of central positions which aren’t really consistent with each other.

    In The Case for God it seems to me the first central tendency includes the claims that

    1. the human mind has an intellectus in some ancient Greek sense not identical to modern western “intellect,”

    2. the intellectus has abilities higher than rationality—mere rationality cannot reveal the indescribable truths and wisdom that this amazing faculty can. This is the highest form of thinking or intuiting or apprehending or something.

    3. The higher faculty of intellectus reveals profound truth and wisdom that can’t be articulated in words, except when it can

    4. One of the things we can at least roughly articulate is that there is an identity between the operation of the intellectus thingie and the fundamental nature of reality.

    5. Mystics in all major religions, when they do mysticism right, realize these same deep truths. For example, the identity of intellectus and ultimate reality is the same thing Hindu mystics mean by their “discovery” (as she calls it) that the Atman (mind stuff) is the same thing as Brahman (everything stuff), and that this is basically the same idea as central stuff in apophatic Christian the theology from before about 500 years ago, as well as being related to Golden Age Athenian stuff with Platonic Ideals and so on.

    (Basically, all the wisest and most deeply insightful people in all major religions have always agreed with her, even if that sort of thinking was usually a minority view in each major religion. Religion is wonderful, except that most people do it all wrong.)

    6. What we call “God” is this intellectus/ultimate reality or Atman/Brahman thing going on, in some sense. Sometimes God appears to be the ultimate nature of reality itself, but often God seems to be the process of realization of the identity between Atman and Brahman, and the derivation of (otherwise unachievable) wisdom and solace from it somehow.

    7. Because of this, atheistic rationalism or “scientism” is mired in a lower-level understanding of reality. It ignores the highest faculty of mind, which is identical to the deepest reality of matter, and assumes that cool stuff doesn’t exist. It is therefore shallow, ignorant and stupid. People like her and the ancient mystics of all the major religions know better. (Except when they don’t, because many mystics in all major religions do mysticism wrong—i.e., not her preferred way—and generate bullshit.)

    When she’s expounding on these lines, she reveals some definite beliefs. (Whether she really believes them, or believes them consistently, is a different matter.)

    In particular, she thinks that properly-done mysticism reveals fundamental truths about the nature of minds and reality that science has no clue about—except that a few savvy scientists realize that things like quantum weirdness are evidence that she’s right. (So her views are unfalsifiable, except when they’re really not—she implicitly acknowledges that evidence is very relevant. Too bad she has no clue what the actual evidence is, or what it really implies.)

    Woven together with this, in a kind of crude and clunky counterpoint, is a whole different theme:

    1. Religion isn’t about beliefs, it’s about experience and practice

    2. To “get” religion, you have to do it, not think it out.

    (That has the very convenient implication that anybody who doesn’t do religion, and tries to criticize religion, “doesn’t get it.” Even many people who are religious and don’t agree with her about central issues of religion—and that’s most religious people—well, they “don’t get it,” because they do religion but they don’t do it right.)

    3. What you get out of this practice and experience nonetheless counts as knowledge and wisdom.

    4. Since the wisdom you get from doing cool religion is ineffable and unspeakable, the first rule of Cool Religion Club is Don’t talk about Cool Religion Club. (Except when you do, as she does all the time.)

  379. #379 blf
    February 21, 2010

    The guns are never loaded unless we’re out target shooting, and both the guns and ammo are locked up at home. Does that answer your question?

    That’s commendable and good sense. It could be better. Don’t store the ammo anywhere near the guns. Store the guns disassembled, with the parts locked in different places, using different keys. As as per other comments, none of the guns should be weapons (that is, designed for use on humans). The guns themselves should be registered with the local police. And alarmed storage is even better.

    Everyone living the house (who is of an age, sanity, et al. where gun-handing is both plausible and legal), or at least everyone who has access to the keys, or is allowed to handle the gun (parts), should have an appropriate certification and/or license. One that expires after a few years and requires refresher courses to maintain.

    I’ve got no problem with what I understand/recall is the requirement in the UK that the guns (not sure about ammo) is not, in fact, stored at home, but in a safe(? vault?) at a registered gun club with an alarm connected to the local police.

  380. #380 Pygmy Loris
    February 21, 2010

    SC,OM,

    Further, many modern technological advances have come out of international warfare, not “markets.”

    Don’t forget proxies for warfare. Everyone loves Tang and Velcro, both products of the Space Race.

  381. #381 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    February 21, 2010

    Homeowners who bitch about property taxes for schools have always annoyed me. When I was a renter, I resented the hell out of ignorant suburbanites complaining at town council meetings about how it was so unfair that they, the homeowners, shouldered all the burden. As if my landlord hadn’t factored in the cost of property taxes when he set my rent.

    I put this to the town manager when, as a reporter, I was working on a story about the upcoming budget. He stammered and yammered and said, “Um, yeah, that’s true.” Well then, why don’t any of you ever correct those silly statements when the ignernt homeowners make them, I asked. Got no answer.

    As a homeowner myself now for less than a year, I’m even more annoyed at the screeching about property taxes. See, school budget time is coming up, and us city dwellers are being asked to vote on it (yes, that’s typical in the US). To some degree, our property taxes will be affected.

    I pay $3,500 a year in tax on a very modest, 140-year-old 1,000 sq. foot house. I think that’s quite a bit, and I don’t like paying out taxes any more than the next guy, but I see it as my duty. I don’t like children very much, which is why I don’t have any. But I do think they’re entitled to a public education. I was a kid, and that’s how I got my education. And even if you’re the most selfish ass on the face of the earth, why would you not understand that educating the next generation of workers, businessowners, and public officials is in your own best interests?

    When I hear people say, “Well, I don’t have kids, so why should my taxes pay for the schools,” I want to fucking scream.

    It’s true that the common American system of funding town and city budgets – and public schools – based on property taxes is ridiculous, unfair, and unsustainable. It needs to change. But it’s not unfair and workable in the ways most of the carping homeowners believe. They don’t seem to understand that if we moved to a consumption-based taxation system (whereby higher-end, luxury goods would carry a higher tax), they’d still end up shelling out tax money for the bullshit, overpriced status symbol SUVs they feel they’re entitled to. Well, good. People who live more modestly and who are less wrapped up in showing off their material wealth to the neighborhood would have more money left over for things that really matter.

    /rant

  382. #382 Pygmy Loris
    February 21, 2010

    blf,

    Don’t store the ammo anywhere near the guns.

    Um, duh? The ammo has it’s own lock box, not that we ever have much around. Usually we buy ammo on the way to shoot, but now we’ve had to buy some kinds when we see them in stock. People are freaking stockpiling ammo because “Obama wants to take their guns away!” so it’s difficult to get ahold of some calibers.

    As for disassembling the guns, most of our hand guns are revolvers. There’s not much to disassemble, and it’s very easy to check if there’s still a round in the gun.

  383. #383 Paul W.
    February 21, 2010

    David M:

    [Hussein] smash[ed] a cricket bat into 3 pieces!

    :-o

    Wow. I thought this kind of thing happened only in comics.

    I suspect it usually happens when the person being batted is already lying in the road, and the (end of) the bat contacts the pavement before the battee.

  384. #384 SteveV
    February 21, 2010

    ‘Citizens also collect money from other citizens. Does that mean it’s not their own ?’

    Assuming no larceny in the transaction then citizen/citizen involves some mutually agreed value exchange (buying/selling of goods or labour for instance)which most people think they understand and, thefore, is ‘their own’.
    But the interaction with the State can(sometimes to some people)feel like the operation of a protection racket.

  385. #385 Pygmy Loris
    February 21, 2010

    Josh, OSG, #381

    I completely agree with you. Last year the city council voted down a property tax increase here, but passed a sales tax increase because “Everyone would have to pay and renters wouldn’t get a free ride.” Jackasses.

    Basing school funding on local property taxes is so unbelievable ridiculous that it makes me want to scream. Kids in poor districts who often need the most help get screwed while kids in rich districts get fantastic educations including high quality teachers. Grrr.

  386. #386 blf
    February 21, 2010

    Do you think shotguns and rifles weren’t designed to be used on people? They were.

    In general, yes. Especially handguns, machineguns, and the like, including some (most?) shotguns and rifles. However, I’m willing to consider certain shotguns and rifles, and a very rare class of pistols, as not having that intent in mind when designed; e.g., sharpshooting competitions, bird hunting, and so on.

    Intent, of course, doesn’t preclude usage or need, and does nothing to clarify the USA’s constitutional quirk. The subject can be an interesting one, and it is one (for the USA in particular) badly in need of sensible discussion (and, I’d argue, change). However, my feeling is we’re squirting dangerously close here to this discussion spiralling into something like a flamewar (in other words, I agree with you when you say This discussion is going to devolve pretty rapidly, I think), so I propose to close it here.

    Cheers! (Also, my dinner smells like it’s almost ready—or at least the chicken being roasted has stopped squawking!)

  387. #387 SteveV
    February 21, 2010

    Aquaria

    I have used all of those things.
    But I pay my taxes
    I’ve paid for them.

  388. #388 SC OM
    February 21, 2010

    Don’t forget proxies for warfare. Everyone loves Tang and Velcro, both products of the Space Race.

    :) I have a special place in my heart for Tang.

    But just to clarify, since I’m often misunderstood on this point: I’m not saying international warfare has produced bad stuff (though it often has). I’m emphasizing that cooperation in times of war has led to many important scientific and technological developments. So this is pointing out that cooperation has been central to technological development. Of course, this has often been in a larger context of warfare/states, which is not good, but the cooperation aspect still stands. I think science and technology are best based in transnational cooperation. I have nothing, though, against scientific competition (to be, e.g., the first to discover something or the most insightful about a phenomenon). I think the drive to find things out and build things exists, and can be encouraged, even without competition, but non-lethal competition isn’t necessarily bad. However, cooperation – within and across generations – is the way to go.

  389. #389 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    February 21, 2010

    Pygmy Loris:

    Josh, OSG, #381

    I completely agree with you. Last year the city council voted down a property tax increase here, but passed a sales tax increase because “Everyone would have to pay and renters wouldn’t get a free ride.” Jackasses.

    That’s beyond jackass behavior, it’s perverse. Unless you’re talking about rich people in big cities, most renters are far poorer than the average homeowner. Shifting the tax burden to a general sales tax is a regressive move that hurts renters and the poor disproportionately. So, now these “free-riding renters” (Christ, don’t these people understand basic economics?) will have to spend a greater proportion of their limited income on taxes, so comparatively richer homeowners can pay less. Fuck that shit.

  390. #390 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 21, 2010

    But I pay my taxes
    I’ve paid for them.

    Are you sure the amount of taxes you paid covers your usage? If not, still a leech.

  391. #391 'Tis Himself, OM
    February 21, 2010

    Basing school funding on local property taxes is so unbelievable ridiculous that it makes me want to scream. Kids in poor districts who often need the most help get screwed while kids in rich districts get fantastic educations including high quality teachers.

    Quite often industry and large businesses are major property tax payers. In my township the two largest property tax payers are Pfizer Pharmaceutical (they have a large manufacturing facility here) and Electric Boat (they make submarines). As a result, the property tax on houses is actually rather low but the school budgets are decent.

  392. #392 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    February 21, 2010

    I should clarify my post at #389. I do think taxes should be shifted away from an over-reliance on property taxes. This over-reliance hurts people like the elderly, whose income is fixed, but whose cost of owning their home goes up every year with increasing assessments and taxes. People like my next-door neighbors, working class all their lives with a small house like mine and little income save Social Security.

    But the tax cannot fairly be shifted to a general sales tax without disproportionately burdening the poor and those of modest means. Higher-end goods and services should carry a higher tax. Simply slapping a flat sales tax on goods and services across the board means poorer people pay a greater proportion of their income for basic supplies.

    Yeah, libertarian “self-made men”, I’m saying if you’re richer, you ought to pay out a little more. Suck it.

  393. #393 SteveV
    February 21, 2010

    Nerd of Redhead
    (that could be my handle – Miss M’s other name is ‘Red’)

    You’r right I can’t be sure – especially with size of the UK deficit!

  394. #394 frozen_midwest
    February 21, 2010

    Um, Velcro was invented about 1953 and preceeds the space race by a few years.

    On inventions and/or advancements from non-capitalist sources, how about good ol’ ARPANET (courtesy of the US Dept of Defense), the predecessor of the Internet?

  395. #395 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    February 21, 2010

    OMG. This is the first thread in which I’ve ever been sucked into the libertarian debate. Oh, dear. I feel like I’ve crossed the Rubicon.

  396. #396 Pygmy Loris
    February 21, 2010

    SC, OM,

    I think the drive to find things out and build things exists, and can be encouraged, even without competition, but non-lethal competition isn’t necessarily bad. However, cooperation – within and across generations – is the way to go.

    I like this, a lot.

  397. #397 David Marjanovi?
    February 21, 2010

    Wow, that’s dumb.

    Or maybe it’s just lack of sleep. How did that thing at 9 am go yesterday, Walton? Have you caught up on all the lost sleep of the week? Are you sure?

    I think you should use this Sunday evening to relax. Get something good to eat and drink, listen to the South African national anthem, and go to bed early.

    the reason I first became a target for bullying/teasing also resulted in me being the tallest and possibly strongest kid in the entire school(and certainly one of the most aggressive, but that’s unrelated).

    I don’t understand. What caused you to grow…?

    After kicking a wannabe bully across the classroom a few times, and the stories spreading accordingly, no one dared to tease me anymore.

    I win the self-pity olympics. Again. :-)

    (Right after I thought I was now finally too old to be bullied, I was bullied a couple more times. I ended this by kicking the bully in the belly; she flew a meter backwards, against the grid in front of the school gate. I just walked on. She followed me half a minute later and hit me on the back, but that was it… and I got 5 min of fame.)

    I posted the following in the moribund Templeton thread, but I don’t think anybody saw it.

    In an effort to stave off discussions of guns and capitalism, I’m reposting it here:

    Being surprisingly tired this evening, I thought “tl;dr”. I was wrong. That’s the most entertaining trouncing I’ve read in a long time!

  398. #398 SteveV
    February 21, 2010

    But even so we can’t ALL be leeches or there’s no-one left to leech ON.
    An ecolgy consisting only of parasites?

    Just heard of the death of Geoffory Burbage.

    We are stardust

  399. #399 Pygmy Loris
    February 21, 2010

    Damn, blockquote fail again! #396 should look like

    SC, OM,

    I think the drive to find things out and build things exists, and can be encouraged, even without competition, but non-lethal competition isn’t necessarily bad. However, cooperation – within and across generations – is the way to go.

    I like this, a lot.

  400. #400 Walton
    February 21, 2010

    Or maybe it’s just lack of sleep. How did that thing at 9 am go yesterday, Walton? Have you caught up on all the lost sleep of the week? Are you sure?

    Don’t worry. I slept for an extraordinary length of time last night and didn’t get up until 11 am, so have been feeling much better today (though still somehow tired).

  401. #401 Jadehawk, OM
    February 21, 2010

    Don’t tell me it’s your birthday.

    ok, i won’t.

    Is that where the interpretation of “Ford” as “found on road dead” comes from?

    yes

    resists listing the 4 jokes about FIAT, because that’s not one of the Big Three

    they are now ;-)

  402. #402 Pygmy Loris
    February 21, 2010

    frozen midwest,

    Damn, there you go turning over everything I learned in fourth grade ;) I forgot about ARPANET! I’ll just replace Velcro with ARPANET in future discussions.

  403. #403 Pygmy Loris
    February 21, 2010

    Josh, OSG,

    Unless you’re talking about rich people in big cities, most renters are far poorer than the average homeowner.

    Oh yes, I’m in Small Town, USA. The city council is run by insane conservatives who think we can fix the problems of job loss and rampant poverty by cutting property and business taxes. Fuckers.

  404. #404 SC OM
    February 21, 2010

    Get something good to eat and drink, listen to the South African national anthem, and go to bed early.

    Hee.

    [OK, it’s driving me to distraction. In the ’90s, some group in SA came up with a dance version of the national anthem, and people were playing and dancing to it in clubs. There was some silly handwringing about whether this was “proper.” As I recall, I thought it was fun. I’m sure I remember this, but I can’t find it anywhere online. If anyone can scrounge it up, I’ll be forever in your debt.]

  405. #405 Jadehawk, OM
    February 21, 2010

    I don’t understand. What caused you to grow…?

    being a year older + hitting puberty early = every kid’s nightmare

  406. #406 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 21, 2010

    though still somehow tired

    Actually, I always felt that way if I overslept my normal quotient by an hour or more. Counterintuitive, I know. I find going to bed early, but getting up at my normal time, gives very satisfying sleep.

  407. #407 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    February 21, 2010

    SteveV

    But even so we can’t ALL be leeches or there’s no-one left to leech ON.

    Perhaps the problem here is with leeches and leechees as metaphor. People who need economic help, or who don’t make as much money, aren’t “leeches,” they’re people. Those who are fortunate enough not to have to go on the dole, or who have to pay more in taxes because they own more aren’t being leeched from, they’re paying their share.

    Yes, there are no-good bums who take advantage. But that’s not most folks. Yes, there are instances in which taxes are probably unfairly high for even the more well-off, but it’s not nearly so common or unjust as those poor rich people would like to believe.

    Yeeeecch. The moralistic connotations of these conversations make me feel dirty. What the hell is it that can make some people feel so disconnected from their fellow human beings that they seem to have not one damned drop of empathy for them? Why do some people see others as part of their community, part of their sphere of responsibility, while others look at their fellow citizens as fucking parasites?

    I need a shower.

  408. #408 Pygmy Loris
    February 21, 2010

    blf,

    However, my feeling is we’re squirting dangerously close here to this discussion spiralling into something like a flamewar (in other words, I agree with you when you say This discussion is going to devolve pretty rapidly, I think), so I propose to close it here.

    Agreed. I hope you enjoy your dinner :)

  409. #409 Aquaria
    February 21, 2010

    Alan #347–

    That sounds like some of the scary people here in TX. You’d think that all of them lived in gang central, when they don’t.

    My brothers are gun nuts. They scare me.

  410. #410 Walton
    February 21, 2010

    SC @#372,

    Says who? You’re one of the least happy people I’ve ever encountered.

    I doubt it. I don’t blame you for getting that impression – I’m very good at melodramatic self-pity when I’m in a bad mood – but in reality, I’m OK most of the time. And I recognise the fact that, compared to the great majority of people in human history, I have a very good life.

    Define quality of life. Are you sure a system in which a small portion of humanity is able to afford a redundant individual version of a technology contributes to it?

    I don’t think I can give you an all-encompassing, objective definition of “quality of life”, but would you seriously deny that refrigerators, home computers, indoor plumbing, and the like contribute to most individuals’ quality of life? Do you honestly deny that Person A who lives in a hovel and cooks on an open fire has an inferior quality of life, compared to Person B who lives in a modern home with a fully equipped kitchen, en-suite bathroom and broadband internet? And do you seriously deny that capitalism has played a major role in the fact that most people in the developed world (and an increasing number of people in some developing countries) today live like Person B, rather than like Person A?

    An anarchist organization of scientific and technological development has existed within the capitalist world system throughout the modern age (with or without the formal name), and arguably has been behind great technological gains – in agriculture, in medicine, in software,… – that capitalists forever seek to exploit.

    Really? Please show me some evidence for this. The only major institution I can think of which comes close to an “anarchist organization of scientific and technological development” is the open-source software movement – which has certainly developed some good things (including Firefox, which I’m currently using). But that movement could not exist, if not for the large corporations which produce the bulk of computer hardware and software, and market it at affordable prices around the world.

    Further, many modern technological advances have come out of international warfare, not “markets.”

    True, of course. But it’s generally been private business which takes wartime technological advances and applies them to useful products for the general public. Modern computer technology was largely developed for military uses, for example, but it was private business which turned computers into a mass-produced product that the average person could afford and wanted to use. So too, in more recent years, with GPS navigation systems; the technology was developed for military applications, but now anyone can get one for their car.

  411. #411 negentropyeater
    February 21, 2010

    Assuming no larceny in the transaction then citizen/citizen involves some mutually agreed value exchange (buying/selling of goods or labour for instance)which most people think they understand and, thefore, is ‘their own’.
    But the interaction with the State can(sometimes to some people)feel like the operation of a protection racket.

    The citizen/state involves exactly the same : buying/selling of goods or labor (eg a share of the goods and labor reqired o build a road, or bild and operate a school, or etc…).
    But if people don’t understand this basic fact, and think that their interaction with the state only feels like the operation of a protection racket, then they are irrational ignorant childish incoherent glibertarians.

    They don’t understand that the state is made out of citizens, and that the citizen/state transaction is also a citizen/citizen transaction.

    The state is an abstract concept. Only humans own things. The state is composed of humans, those who are employed by government. They own things exactly in the same way as other humans do.

  412. #412 Walton
    February 21, 2010

    Oh, and happy birthday, Jadehawk. :-)

  413. #413 Walton
    February 21, 2010

    In the ’90s, some group in SA came up with a dance version of the national anthem, and people were playing and dancing to it in clubs.

    Which one? Die Stem, Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrica,, or the modern hybrid version?

  414. #414 SteveV
    February 21, 2010

    Josh #407

    It was Nerd of Redhead that used the ‘l’ word first, not me.
    I don’t consider that any significant number of my fellow citizens can be described as parasites and if this was what my post implied that was not my intent and I apologise.
    And for the record, I completly agree with your post.

  415. #415 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 21, 2010

    then they are irrational ignorant childish incoherent glibertarians.

    The three major features of glibertarians are: arrogance, ignorance, and arrogance. Nowhere in their inane and morally bankrupt politics/economics is real concern for their fellow man. As has been conclusively proven here since about 6 months before the 2008 election. Boring unfeeling idjits.

  416. #416 SteveV
    February 21, 2010

    negentropyeater #411

    I see what you mean, but the often repeated phrase ‘the government should pay’ usually misses your point about the abstract nature of the State, and so ‘the government should pay’ misses the point that ‘The state is composed of humans’

    Now I’m going watch a documentry on Indian State Railways.

  417. #417 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    February 21, 2010

    blf and Pygmy Loris, thank you for setting a good example for me. I’m pulling myself down off my high horse before I get stuck there for the rest of the day.

    Now to return to our regularly scheduled gluttony, I present SpokesGay’s Fried Tofu:

    1 lb. seriously firm tofu. I mean, put a brick on that fucker and drain the water

    1/2 cup flour

    2tsp. garlic powder

    1 tsp. onion powder

    1 tbsp. nutritional yeast

    enough salt (yeah, “enough” means “so that you can taste it”)

    1 cup buttermilk (sorry vegans. . .though you could substitute soy milk with some lemon for tartness)

    Cut tofu into 1-inch chunks. Salt the buttermilk, then soak the tofu for at least 20 minutes. As any southern cook knows, buttermilk is the miracle marinade and moistener, and yes, it works for tofu as well as meat.

    Meanwhile, combine dry ingredients. Tap off excess buttermilk from tofu, and coat in float mixture. ***This next step is important *** Leave the tofu to dry on a plate for at least 20 minutes. This firms up the coating so that it sticks to the tofu when frying. I learned this trick when making fried chicken.

    Bring oil to frying temperature – I don’t use a thermometer, I just “know.” It should be hot enough to brown the tofu in about three minutes. This is hot enough for crisping without burning and without soaking up excess grease.

    Fry til golden, then drain on paper towels.

    It’s so damned good you can eat it by itself, though if someone can come up with a great dipping sauce, I’d love to hear it. Even if you’re a meat-eater (I am), try this, it’s great. I’ve never understood the American prejudice against tofu. It’s so versatile, and Asian world uses it all the time, vegetarian or not. Objecting to tofu seems to me as sensible as saying, “Oh my God, I HATE potatoes. Ew.”

  418. #418 Aquaria
    February 21, 2010

    I have used all of those things.
    But I pay my taxes
    I’ve paid for them.

    Did I call this one or what?

    No, dipshit, you didn’t pay for the roads–not by yourself. TENS–HUNDREDS–OF MILLIONS of Americans paid, too.

    Your contributions to those things? I’ll give you a generous $5/year for each of them, because, don’t forget, those aren’t the only services that government provides you. There’s more. Lots more.

    Even if it’s a program that you don’t want, don’t use–well, you’re paying for it because our society as a whole has decided it’s to our benefit to do that: feeding the poor, for instance, kinda cuts down on crime–which means less need for you to spend money on police and courts and prisons–which benefits your almighty personal bank account.

    Sometimes, to get something good for people on a national scale, you have to put up some money for it. But you guys? Once again, you want all the benefits of civilization, but don’t want to pony up your share to have them.

    That’s what chiselers like you just don’t get You think it’s all for you you you when it’s for us us us.

    Fuck you and your self-serviing, selfish self-indulgence.

    To paraphrase a famous man:

    Why do people laugh at libertarians?

    Only libertarians don’t know why.

  419. #419 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    February 21, 2010

    SteveV:

    Josh #407

    It was Nerd of Redhead that used the ‘l’ word first, not me.
    I don’t consider that any significant number of my fellow citizens can be described as parasites and if this was what my post implied that was not my intent and I apologise.
    And for the record, I completly agree with your post.

    The burden to apologize is mine. I was so high up on that horse the thin air was getting to me. The “l” word conversation is so emotive, it gets out of control quickly. That doesn’t excuse me from responsibility for my rhetorical excesses, though. Cheers and peace.

  420. #420 negentropyeater
    February 21, 2010

    21 February :

    is the anniversary of the death of the first man to have openly published a book rejecting divine providence (ie God’s activity in the universe).

    Maybe not exactly the first openly atheist man, but almost.

    Baruch de Spinoza

  421. #421 Sven DiMilo
    February 21, 2010

    What’s all this I hear about banning ham gums? Now, I prefer spearmint, or sometimes, if feeling kicky, Juicyfruit, but what business is it of teh Government’s what flavoring I prefer in my chewin

    [aaa you get the idea.] Never mind. [/litella]

    p.s.blow yer lunch!

  422. #422 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    February 21, 2010

    coat in float mixture

    WTF? SpokesGay malfunctioning. End cooking subroutine. Replace . ..neeeurrralll. . .gellllpack. . . .

  423. #423 Aquaria
    February 21, 2010

    but it was private business which turned computers into a mass-produced product that the average person could afford and wanted to use.

    That’s not all the government did, Walton. Not in America.

    Most likely, most of the early computer pioneers got massive government research and development subsidies. They often got favored tax perks at the state and local level if they were an IBM or a Tandy, just to keep the company around.

    I doubt very many of the little guys got started with personal loans. Most of them probably got nice goverment-backed or even subsidized SBA Loans to get their businesses off the ground.

    On a more indirect level, it was the government who educated most of the people who came up with these ideas.

    And that’s just for starters.

    Everyone of those companies that have been successes have not done it on their own. Not in First World nations. They’ve gotten huge support from the citizens through government help.

  424. #424 blf
    February 21, 2010

    In the ’90s, some group in SA came up with a dance version of the national anthem, and people were playing and dancing to it in clubs.

    Gah! That does ring a (faint) bell, but fecked if I can recall any details…

    (Or am I being a complete idiot (highly possible) and confusing that with the utterly different dance remix of Yorba Yindi’s Treaty: Different band, song, continent, et al., except the same timeframe?)

  425. #425 Aquaria
    February 21, 2010

    In the ’90s, some group in SA came up with a dance version of the national anthem, and people were playing and dancing to it in clubs.

    Shit, mentioning 90s and dances, I’m still recuperating from being at the epicenter of the Macarena craze–when you guys learned about it, it had already been popular in the RGV for a couple of years. This means that I heard it–and heard it–and heard it for much longer than any human should.

    Pity me, please. ;)

  426. #426 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    February 21, 2010

    OK. So with all this talk about the South African national anthem, I went to Youtube to hear it for myself. Walton, what entrances you so about it?

    Musically, it’s, well, “pretty”, in that margarine-on-white-bread way that most Protestant hymns are (which is exactly what it sounds like to my ear). Plodding rhythm, and not one foray into a minor chord that I could hear. All major key, predictable cadences. Perhaps a more adventurous arrangement than the one I heard would make all the difference, but I found it kind of tedious.

  427. #427 Alan B
    February 21, 2010

    #417 Josh, Official SpokesGay

    I’ve never understood the American prejudice against tofu … Objecting to tofu seems to me as sensible as saying, “Oh my God, I HATE potatoes…”

    Try this then for a sensible reason, at least in the UK. Scientists in a WWF-sponsored study at Cranfield University have a prejudice against tofu because its production can harm the environment:

    … ?For some people, tofu and other meat substitutes symbolise environmental friendliness but they are not necessarily the badge of merit people claim. Simply eating more bread, pasta and potatoes instead of meat is more environmentally friendly.?

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article7023809.ece

    So, if you want to be seen to be environmentally friendly CUT OUT THAT TOFU! You are harming the environment, Josh OSG.

    That’s sensible, isn’t it??

    (Removes tongue from cheek but the report and study do appear genuine.)

  428. #428 blf
    February 21, 2010

    I hope you enjoy your dinner

    Thank you. An organic chicken spit-roasted au naturel (in an electric oven, alas…), with steamed organic broccoli, and a chilled organic Chardonnay.

    I timed the roasting to perfection, and hence wound up eating the whole fecking fecker (yum! BURP!), so no leftovers… Unlike the last few roasted birds, which where either over- or undercooked, albeit fortunately I got the Squidmass organic goose just right. No MUSHROOMS or garlic, I’m all out of both…  ;-(

    And definitely no peas!

  429. #429 Paul W.
    February 21, 2010

    Josh just reminded me about squishing the excelss water out of the tofu.

    I usually do that too—you can add this step to my recipe if you want to go whole hog:

    0. I usually press the tofu to squeeze out water. I fold a bath towel in two, then lay out the tofu slices on one half, and fold the other half over it, so there are two layers of towel above and below. I put a cutting board on top of that and weight it down with a gallon of whatever’s around in a gallon jug, and leave it for at least a half hour. If I’m not in a hurry, I press it for an hour or more, then leave it to air dry for a
    few hours. (I usually do all this the day or night before, marinate it overnight, and cook it the next day, so it’s no problem.)

    Another thing you can do with tofu is to freeze and thaw it. Freezing concentrates the water into crystals, and when they melt the water just runs out and leaves channels all through the tofu, making it spongy. A quick squeeze in your ands and it’s ready to marinate, and soaks up marinade (or whatever you cook it in) like a sponge. Once cooked, the sponginess gives it an interesting chewy texture.

    I don’t usually do that for tofu I’m going to bake, because it dries out too quickly.

  430. #430 David Marjanovi?
    February 21, 2010

    :) I have a special place in my heart for Tang.

    Which one do you mean? ~:-| The drink? …Oh, the article for the drink says: “It was initially intended as a breakfast drink, but sales were poor until NASA began using it on Gemini flights in 1965 (researched at Natick Soldier Systems Center), which was heavily advertised. Since that time, it has been associated with the U.S. manned spaceflight program, so much so that an urban legend emerged that Tang was invented for the space program.” :-)

    though still somehow tired

    Of course. Sleeping till 11 am once isn’t enough to catch up with a whole week of too little sleep.

    ok, i won’t.

    :-) :-) :-)

    *kisses on both cheeks*

    I hope it doesn’t sound cruel when I say I’ve been waiting for your birthday for months. That’s because I planned ahead what to sing…

    <sing voice=”choir:heterophonic”>
    Stoooo lat,
    stoooo lat,
    niech ?yje, ?yje naaaam,
    niech ?yje naaaam!
    </sing>

    <sing voice=”choir:childish”>
    Hoooch soll sie leeeben,
    an der Decke kleeeben,
    runterfallen, Popschi knallen,
    ja, so ist das Leeeben!
    </sing>

    <sing voice=”choir:drunk; accent:’12th district of Vienna'”>
    Wir singen der Jadehawk ein Lied,
    wir singen der Jadehawk ein Lied,
    Jaaaadehawk, du Aaaarschloch,
    warum lebst du immer noch!!!
    </sing>

    they are now ;-)

    <mouses over link>

    WTF! FIAT takes over Chrysler! What is the world coming to! Lenovo taking over IBM is one thing, but… but…

    *finally stops blushing, relaxes face, lowers voice*

    Oooookay. Here goes:

    Fix it again, Tony!
    Fehler in allen Teilen (mistakes in all parts)
    für Italiener ausreichende Technik (technology sufficient for Italians)

    I’ll just replace Velcro with ARPANET in future discussions.

    Al Gore invented the Internet, and Ted Stevens invented its tubes.

    (That’s right, there’s a Wikipedia article entitled “Series of tubes”.)

    being a year older + hitting puberty early = every kid’s nightmare

    Being a year older got you teased in Germany?

    What the fuck.

    Haven’t those barbarians grasped it that the teacher is the enemy!?!

    <knees trembling>

    That’s a culture shock. I hope the sheltered academic environment in which I’ll try to apply for postdocs in Germany will be just that ? sheltered. :-S

    I always felt that way if I overslept my normal quotient by an hour or more

    How do you manage to sleep more than necessary? ~:-|

    Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrica

    Not with C. That would be pronounced this way. :^)

    OK, it’s driving me to distraction. In the ’90s, some group in SA came up with a dance version of the national anthem, and people were playing and dancing to it in clubs.

    On the first page of YouTube results I found another version.

    I’ll go to bed and laugh myself to sleep :-)

  431. #431 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    February 21, 2010

    AlanB, #427 –

    Well, that just goes to show how complicated it is to determine just how our consumption decisions actually affect the environment. Lots of conventional wisdom turns out to be wrong when examined with nuance.

    But, I don’t even tofu for any reason other than that I like it. And I’ll thank you kindly to get up out of my kitchen and leave me to eat in peace:) And stick that tongue back your cheek, right now!

  432. #432 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawmHzDpTLP2mp-qpt639sa9q2J8Wl4QREfQ
    February 21, 2010

    Walton, before you get into a major flame war with SC,OM i recomend that you read Peter Marshall’s book”Demanding the impossible, A history of Anarchism”. You will at least know what Dr SC is talking about
    Sven whilst 24/2/2010 is the 1st aniversary of the thread it is also I belive the day of the General Strike in Greece in protest at the immoral intervention of the EU and the damage done to the Greeks by the Bankers and their political sidekicks.Support the Greeks-smash the EU and the banks Raise the Black Flag over the Barricades
    (Yes Prudhon and the others were right)

  433. #433 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    February 21, 2010

    Paul W – Awesome tip on freezing, then thawing tofu, thanks! Makes sense, since freezing many foods causes the same thing to happen, which usually degrades the quality. In this case, water running out is exactly what you want. I find that even the tofu labeled “extra firm” is just too unappetizingly mushy.

    I have much better luck with the bblocks of tofu I get at the food co-op from the bulk bin.

    Another method I’ve tried is dry-frying (Google it) the tofu. It works, but it’s a time-consuming.

  434. #434 blf
    February 21, 2010

    OK. So with all this talk about the South African national anthem, I went to Youtube to hear it for myself. Walton, what entrances you so about it?

    I cannot speak for Walton, but I suspect you listened to a either a poor arrangement, or one of the modern hybridised version. Here’s an a cappella version by Miriam Makeba, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, and Paul Simon.

  435. #435 Alan B
    February 21, 2010

    #425 Aquaria

    Sorry you have such a dislike of Macaroni.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YoseqOFj8pQ&feature=related

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OR2Ska_C5Xc

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XgRFYfur4F8&feature=related

    After all that, what’s not to like about Macaroni?

    Oh. Macarena? Macarena??
    Sure it’s Macarena you meant and not Macaroni?

    Ah. You did mean Macarena.

    As you were then.

  436. #436 Aquaria
    February 21, 2010

    Oh my God, I HATE potatoes

    But I do hate potatoes…

    Why expect people to like everything you like?

    I just don’t get this.

  437. #437 blf
    February 21, 2010

    Feck! Link fail. Try again: Here’s an a cappella version by Miriam Makeba, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, and Paul Simon.

  438. #438 Alan B
    February 21, 2010

    #433 blf

    Here’s an a cappella version

    Brilliant but the volume seems a bit low …

  439. #439 Aquaria
    February 21, 2010

    Mmmm–Macaroni. With lots of cheese, and ham. Yum.

    Just don’t mix it with chili. I have a lifelong aversion to it after watching my brother puke up a whole bunch of it when he had the mumps. Not a sight you forget. I haven’t and it was 42 years ago!

  440. #440 Alan B
    February 21, 2010

    #436/7

    Drat. Posts crossed.

  441. #441 Jadehawk, OM
    February 21, 2010

    But I do hate potatoes…

    correction: potatoes hate you, that’s different :-p

  442. #442 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    February 21, 2010

    But I do hate potatoes…

    Why expect people to like everything you like?

    I just don’t get this.

    Jesus Christ, is everyone on a hair trigger today? I don’t expect everyone to like what I like. Let me repeat that: I don’t expect everyone to like what I like.

    I was simply comparing tofu and potatoes as two examples of foods that are considered bland, and as staples. So few people dislike potatoes, I used them as a comparison to question the American aversion to tofu in mainstream cuisine.

    I heartily, maximally, grovelingly apologize for having offended you. Sheesh.

  443. #443 Alan B
    February 21, 2010

    #441 Josh OSG

    I heartily, maximally, grovelingly apologize for having offended you. Sheesh.

    What do you reckon, folks? Is this a genuine, sincere apology? (Does quick hand count)

    The Nos have it

    You’re not of the hook yet, Josh. Try harder.

  444. #444 Bastion Of Sass
    February 21, 2010

    The March get-together of the Baltimore Pharyngula Fans, AKA the Baltimore Blaspheming Bastards, AKA the Squid Squad, will be on Thursday, March 4. Details on the group’s web site.

  445. #445 Aquaria
    February 21, 2010

    No, Jadehawk–I hate potatoes, too. Love capers, which do the same thing to me. It’s tough to give those up! No more Veal Piccata for me. :(

  446. #446 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    February 21, 2010

    #442 –

    I’m so not getting into a fight over an innocuous comment about potatoes and tofu. I mean honestly.

  447. #447 David Marjanovi?
    February 21, 2010

    Pity me, please. ;)

    That isn’t difficult!

    Jesus Christ, is everyone on a hair trigger today?

    You are :o)

    I got a comment with at least 5 links held in moderation. It should appear somewhere between 425 and 441.

  448. #448 SC OM
    February 21, 2010

    I doubt it. I don’t blame you for getting that impression – I’m very good at melodramatic self-pity when I’m in a bad mood – but in reality, I’m OK most of the time. And I recognise the fact that, compared to the great majority of people in human history, I have a very good life.

    I’m absolutely certain that you’re materially privileged in ways that you have shown little appreciation for – you have health care, access to decent food, clean water, funded education,…(not the result of capitalism). But I don’t think anyone here who’s read your posts would seriously believe that you’re a happy person.

    I don’t think I can give you an all-encompassing, objective definition of “quality of life”,

    Then stop making claims about “measurable” improvements to it.

    but would you seriously deny that refrigerators, home computers, indoor plumbing, and the like contribute to most individuals’ quality of life?

    So you won’t define it, but you ask this question? If this contribution were so obvious, Indian political parties wouldn’t have to mount campaigns to try to convince people that highways and auto production are so spectacular. People who wish to travel by bicycle (and not be killed), animal, or water are pushing for a lower quality of life? How do you know? And where do you get the nerve, when the corporations you’re championing are driving the destruction of the planet, which people need to live any sort of life?

    Do you honestly deny that Person A who lives in a hovel

    Oh, good grief. You have no idea how people live. None.

    and cooks on an open fire has an inferior quality of life, compared to Person B who lives in a modern home with a fully equipped kitchen, en-suite bathroom and broadband internet?

    Provide evidence that these technologies, in context, have led to a good life for the most people. I was in the medina in Tangier and took a tour through the communal bread ovens. Who are you to say that people making bread in their own private ovens have a better quality of life?

    All you can say is that capitalism has led to certain adaptations of certain technologies being affordable by a small percentage of people who want them (and of course nothing about the people producing those products). You could provide the same justification for the Roman Empire. Do you think that is a system that should have survived to the present? (No Monty Python jokes. please.) Even if so, how do you convince the people who are the frontline victims of global warming, pollution, and water shortages that this particular form of “development” is in their best interest? Who the hell are you to tell people who don’t want these factories, CAFOs, what-have-you in their areas that they’re wrong? Who are you to tell people they need to be ruled by global corporations, and can’t decide what quality of life they want, and how to define it, for themselves?

    Really? Please show me some evidence for this. The only major institution I can think of which comes close to an “anarchist organization of scientific and technological development” is the open-source software movement – which has certainly developed some good things (including Firefox, which I’m currently using). But that movement could not exist, if not for the large corporations which produce the bulk of computer hardware and software, and market it at affordable prices around the world.

    First, bullshit. Second, study the history of agriculture, of medicine, of any scientific field and look at the role of cooperation and the effect of capitalist involvement (for laborers, for scientists, for the development of useful technology, for information-sharing, and so on).

    True, of course.

    Then it’s dishonest to refer to these technologies as “capitalist products.”

    But it’s generally been private business which takes wartime technological advances and applies them to useful products for the general public.

    Study the history.

    Modern computer technology was largely developed for military uses, for example, but it was private business which turned computers into a mass-produced product that the average person could afford and wanted to use. So too, in more recent years, with GPS navigation systems; the technology was developed for military applications, but now anyone can get one for their car.

    OK, we can’t continue if you’re going to keep talking in such absurd terms about “the general public” or “anyone.” You mentioned recently that you were planning to work in immigration law. Are refugees in detention facilities “the average person”? Are they buying a GPS for their cars? If not, stop talking about things in these ridiculous abstract terms. And more and more people having cars will make the planet uninhabitable.

    Again, you’re attributing developments to capitalism which are not due to capitalism, assuming consumerism and the violence that goes with global capitalism are conducive – oh, if not in the present, in some near future – to a higher quality of life (which you won’t define), minimizing the earth-destroying effects of capitalist production and associated consumerism, and failing to recognize alternative – existing and possible – pathways to more human-centered science and technology.

  449. #449 Knockgoats
    February 21, 2010

    But just to clarify, since I’m often misunderstood on this point: I’m not saying international warfare has produced bad stuff (though it often has). I’m emphasizing that cooperation in times of war has led to many important scientific and technological developments. – SC,OM

    Yes indeed: from WWII (and the period of preparation for it) we had: programmable electronic computers, radar, operations research, and scientific nutritional studies, to pick out a few important ones. What’s more, no state taking part left innovation and economic coordination to market mechanisms – any that had done so, would have been vastly less likely to survive. Even the biggest firms in the UK had to produce what was needed, if they wanted supplies of labour and raw materials. In brief, there was a system of negotiated coordination, in which expertise of all kinds and at all levels of organisation was used far more effectively than in peacetime. At the same time, inequalities decreased rapidly and both physical and mental health (except for those actually killed or injured) improved rapidly. Of course there were a lot of downsides – overcentralisation, overwork for some people, lack of some freedoms, and of course, the risk of being killed or injured for both service personnel and civilians. But the claims that free markets are essential to efficiency, and that the state is necessarily bad at organising economic activity and innovation, are quite simply refuted by this single example.

    On inventions and/or advancements from non-capitalist sources, how about good ol’ ARPANET (courtesy of the US Dept of Defense), the predecessor of the Internet? – frozen_midwest

    Also the world-wide-web, invented at CERN to (guess what) facilitate cooperation between scientists.

  450. #450 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    February 21, 2010

    Love Me, I’m A Liberal-Jello Biafra & Mojo Nixon (2009)

  451. #451 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    February 21, 2010

    @David

    Jesus Christ, is everyone on a hair trigger today?

    You are :o)

    Well, perhaps I am. It just makes me very cross indeed to say something that seems to me so non-controversial, only to find someone I like take it some nasty judgmental remark.

  452. #452 SteveV
    February 21, 2010

    Back from INdian Railway documentry -just wonderful -narrow gauge steam locos just great!

    Aquaria

    ‘I have used all of those things.
    But I pay my taxes
    I’ve paid for them.

    Did I call this one or what?

    No, dipshit, you didn’t pay for the roads–not by yourself. TENS–HUNDREDS–OF MILLIONS of Americans paid, too’

    Stricly speaking, you are correct as a UK citizen who has never paid any US taxes I havn’t paid for US roads.
    And yes I was sloppy. I should have said I have contributed to paying for the roads, along with millions of others. Does this sloppiness make me a dipshit? And I agree with you. Saying that I have paid my taxes is not the same as bitching about paying my taxes.
    I have always felt incredibly lucky to have been born in this society at this era and I am proud to have been able to contribute to it by, amongst other things, paying tax.

  453. #453 Sven DiMilo
    February 21, 2010

    Potato-lovers, Ho!
    Advance! Advance! Forward against the tofu-haters eaters squeezers and…

    wait, what are the sides again?

  454. #454 blf
    February 21, 2010

    I was simply comparing tofu and potatoes as two examples of foods that are considered bland, and as staples. So few people dislike potatoes, I used them as a comparison to question the American aversion to tofu in mainstream cuisine.

    Well, for what’s worth, I dislike potatoes when prepared in certain ways—french fries/chips/fries (with a few odd exceptions)—mostly, I think, due to the saltiness and high levels of residue fat (those odd exceptions are usually neither), or “roasted” in foil. For that matter, I’m one of those rare(?) people who basically never peels the potatoes, not even when making mashed potatoes (which I tend to do with an olive oil–butter mixture, plus milk (not always cow’s) and/or yogurt (not always cow’s)).

    And I prefer my tofu to be au naturel—not one of the flavoured varieties (I’ll add the fecking flavouring myself, thank you)—though it did take me a few years before grokking the usefulness and wonderfulness of tofu (perhaps dues to growing up in N.America and not being exposed to tofu that often, until university and the needs of a not-wealthy student).

    Peas, of course, ruin both. And everything else. Even bacon.

  455. #455 Aquaria
    February 21, 2010

    Josh:

    Sorry I’m so touchy about it, but try being someone who doesn’t like them, and can’t eat them, anyway. You’d be amazed at the crap you have to go through over it.

  456. #456 SC OM
    February 21, 2010

    and took a tour through the communal bread ovens.

    Er, around them.

  457. #457 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    February 21, 2010

    wait, what are the sides again?

    Pay attention. It is The Peoples Potatoan Front vs. the Potatoan Front of People vs. the Peoples Popular Potatoan Front vs. The Campaign for a Free Potato vs. The Campaign for a Free Cuisine.

    Basically, mashers vs. fryers.

  458. #458 badgersdaughter
    February 21, 2010

    He came from a smaller township where there was a town ordinance that every household had to have a loaded handgun. Crime rate was almost zero – he couldn’t remember the last break-in.

    The town of Kennesaw, since you mentioned Georgia? I lived there for two years about fifteen years ago. I can corroborate the extremely low crime rate. There were something like two rapes and one murder the entire time I was there (and the murder wasn’t with a gun; it was something like negligence), and there were the usual petty thefts and white-collar crimes, but almost nothing violent.

    I didn’t have a gun… although I happen to be an excellent shot with a handgun (far less so with a long gun), I was a poor student in a dorm and couldn’t afford one. The law isn’t enforced. They don’t go ’round and say, “We believe you don’t have a gun at home–please produce it or pay a fine.” But since it’s a law, most people follow it. There is, as far as I know, no corresponding obligation to learn which end the bullet comes out of.

  459. #459 Aquaria
    February 21, 2010

    Blf:

    Put on your helmet. You’re about to get bombarded for that line about bacon worse than I do about potatoes.

    Alan:

    You little troublemaker–I swear, you want me to spank you.

  460. #460 Blind Squirrel FCD
    February 21, 2010

    Steve V, if you are ever in the USA don’t miss this ride. Don’t worry, it’s government inspected!

    BS

  461. #461 badgersdaughter
    February 21, 2010

    I like potatoes. I like tofu. Guess which one I can have on a low-carb diet.

    (obligatory mumble about successful blood sugar stabilizing and losing a considerable amount of weight and impressing my doctor thereby.)

  462. #462 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    February 21, 2010

    Aquaria:

    Sorry I’m so touchy about it, but try being someone who doesn’t like them, and can’t eat them, anyway. You’d be amazed at the crap you have to go through over it.

    Well, I didn’t realize that (how could I?). But yeah, I know how annoying it is for people who can’t/won’t eat certain things. I see it all the time with my vegan friends, whose asshole relatives say things like, “Well it’s just one day a year, can’t you have a little turkey?”

    15 years ago that was minimally excusable. Today I have to think it’s deliberate bloody-mindedness.

    My original point (here I go again – I better get back to my regeneration alcove after this) was that I find it odd how many Americans turn their noses up at tofu. It seems to me that it’s not for any other reason except that it’s become stereotyped as “crazy hippy vegetarian food.” I know few people (yes, I’m sure they’re out there) who actively dislike tofu, and a lot of people who affect to dislike it because of this stereotype. I used to be one of them in my even-more-callow youth.

  463. #463 Aquaria
    February 21, 2010

    and took a tour through the communal bread ovens.
    Er, around them

    I was sort of wondering about that, and was impressed at you for still being here after it.

    I’d heard about communal ovens, but having never traveled anywhere outside the US, never actually seen it for myself. I’m curious: Do the ovens burn constantly, or just for a certain amount of time?

  464. #464 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    February 21, 2010

    Peas, of course, ruin both. And everything else.

    Oh. No. You Di-int! En garde, heretic!

  465. #465 blf
    February 21, 2010

    Ah what the feck is it about Generalissimo Google™ and berserk banner ads today? Currently its some bullshite for http://numerologist.com/ (WARNING! turn down the volume before clicking!), with the tagline Numerology…Your Name is No Accident! Learn Why the Shocking truth of Your Numerology Chart Cannot Tell a Lie!

  466. #466 Walton
    February 21, 2010

    Knockgoats: Are you seriously holding up WWII-era rationing as a desirable economic model? I don’t dispute that it was necessary at the time. But it was, by all accounts, an absolutely awful era in which to live. Furthermore, there was a flourishing black market, just as there was in the Soviet Union, and in all other regimes where food and consumer goods were rationed and distributed by the state. I don’t want to live in some nightmare world where people have to stand in line with their state-issued ration cards, waiting for their meagre allocation of food for the week, before going home to their state-designed housing in grim concrete tower blocks.

    I grew up in conditions of great material comfort and unrivalled choice, compared to my grandparents or the generations before them. I want the next generation to enjoy that same lifestyle; and I want to extend it to those billions of people in the developing world who are currently kept in artificial poverty by trade restrictions, political and economic instability, and bad government.

    I would like to make clear that this is specifically a reply to Knockgoats, not SC. I recognise that left-anarchism is different from traditional socialism, and that the statist economic model of wartime and post-war Britain probably doesn’t particularly appeal to SC any more than it does to me. I certainly don’t want to unfairly lump all anti-capitalists together.

  467. #467 Jadehawk, OM
    February 21, 2010
  468. #468 Aquaria
    February 21, 2010

    Tofu is okay. I’m not wildly in love with it, but you’re right about how it just blends into whatever you need of it. Even better than potatoes, to be honest.

    I used to have a hot and sour stir fry that used it, an idea I borrowed from a soup that had a similar composition. Harry’s is the brand, I think. I sort of goofed around with hot and sour recipes, until I got what I needed. Haven’t made it in a while, but maybe it’s time to dig that one out of the archives.

    Tofu has to be firm for some dishes, although mushy is okay in others. It depends on what you need of it. Most of my needs call for firm. Like mentioned upthread, freezing it helps that–a lot.

  469. #469 SteveV
    February 21, 2010

    Blind Squirrel #459
    WOW!
    I love steam engines and railways in general and I’d LOVE to ride this one! Don’t think I could Miss M on it though.

    But would I be allowed to get to the railhead by road?

    *bites tongue too late, curls into fetal position,whimpers*

  470. #470 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    February 21, 2010

    Walton:

    I don’t want to live in some nightmare world where people have to stand in line with their state-issued ration cards, waiting for their meagre allocation of food for the week, before going home to their state-designed housing in grim concrete tower blocks.

    Dear, dear Walton. Why do I have a feeling Knockgoats did not suggest anything like that? You are being a Drama Queen of the highest order. What is it with you? Sometimes you engage in constructive, challenging debate. Other times it’s like you think you’re auditioning for some melodramatic one man show.

  471. #471 Pygmy Loris
    February 21, 2010

    wait, what are the sides again?

    I’m on the pro-potato gun side. But only when said potato guns are used to hunt tofurkeys.

    It seems to me that it’s not for any other reason except that it’s become stereotyped as “crazy hippy vegetarian food.”

    Eating tofu makes you a weak, liberal commie. I thought everyone knew that ;)

  472. #472 Walton
    February 21, 2010

    Regarding potatoes: There are a number of forms of potato I dislike. I really can’t stand mashed potato, and won’t eat it in any circumstances. Boiled potatoes I can just about stomach (with the addition of enough salt), but find them dull and bland.

    On the other hand, I love chips (French fries, for Americans) and roast potatoes.

    It’s frustrating that I tend to be so averse to healthy food. As I’ve mentioned before, I won’t eat most fresh fruit (with a few exceptions), and I dislike a lot of vegetables, including cauliflower and peas. I can just about force down broccoli, carrots and most forms of salad, and I quite like sweetcorn, but I find it very hard to motivate myself to eat vegetables at all when I’m preparing food for myself. I find I just crave fat and calories all the time (though I do carefully monitor my calorie intake and try to keep it within RDA levels).

  473. #473 blf
    February 21, 2010
    Peas, of course, ruin both. And everything else.

    Oh. No. You Di-int! En garde, heretic!

    Runs back to his lair, slams shut the portcullis, and perhaps the vats of boiling peas to drop on the heads of the invading hordes…

  474. #474 Pygmy Loris
    February 21, 2010

    Walton,

    I don’t want to live in some nightmare world where people have to stand in line with their state-issued ration cards, waiting for their meagre allocation of food for the week, before going home to their state-designed housing in grim concrete tower blocks.

    You really showed that Soviet straw man who’s boss didn’t you?

  475. #475 Walton
    February 21, 2010

    Argh. Re-reading my post at #465, it wasn’t especially coherent (I left out half of what I intended to say). I’ll expand on this tomorrow, as I’m going to bed soon. (Despite sleeping for about 10 hours last night, I still feel exhausted and have barely got any work done today.)

  476. #476 Blind Squirrel FCD
    February 21, 2010


    Absolutely. Round trip or one way. You can also get off/picked up and climb a few 14ers along the way.

    BS

  477. #477 SC OM
    February 21, 2010

    I’d heard about communal ovens, but having never traveled anywhere outside the US, never actually seen it for myself. I’m curious: Do the ovens burn constantly, or just for a certain amount of time?

    I honestly have no idea. There seemed to be a schedule of people bringing the bread, so I assume it’s only certain times/days.

    ***

    Walton, are you at all familiar with the history of Victory Gardens?

    I don’t dispute that it was necessary at the time. But it was, by all accounts, an absolutely awful era in which to live.

    This actually is not at all true. I was appalled by James Lovelock’s remark in his CBC “Sense about Science” interview that global warming would kill most of the planet but it would be cool because people would band together like in WWII. It was disgusting to talk about an era in which millions of people were murdered and died other horrible deaths in these terms. That said, even despite the fear and losses, that is not at all the sense I get from the accounts of British civilians.

  478. #478 Blind Squirrel FCD
    February 21, 2010

    Damn. forgot the quote.

    But would I be allowed to get to the railhead by road?

    BS

  479. #479 Jadehawk, OM
    February 21, 2010

    oh yeah, one more link, to what my boyfriend calls the only republican president he ever liked: http://calebmcewen.squarespace.com/storage/TR%20on%20Moose.jpg?__SQUARESPACE_CACHEVERSION=1247968558316

  480. #480 SteveV
    February 21, 2010

    ‘climb a few 14ers along the way.’?

    WTF is a 14er?

    If it’s a 14000 ft mountain, I’ll have you know that I’m an elderly Ignorant Engineer and had to give up stealing Mark Twain’s
    “I’m pushing 60. That’s exercise enough for any man” years ago.

  481. #481 'Tis Himself, OM
    February 21, 2010

    Walton #465

    Are you seriously holding up WWII-era rationing as a desirable economic model? I don’t dispute that it was necessary at the time. But it was, by all accounts, an absolutely awful era in which to live.

    As noted in this discussion of WW2 rationing:

    The second effect of rationing and price control was that – by the end of the war – the poor people of Britain had never been so healthy! There was much less, but it had been shared out far more fairly. This was one of the key facts that led to the creation of the Welfare State after the war.

    When the rationing system was set up, dietitians were consulted so, while the rationed portions were small, they were as nutritious as possible. Pregnant women, children and invalids got more meat and eggs than adults. Vegetables and some fruit (apples, pears, berries, etc.) were unrationed. As a result, the generation born during and after the war was the healthiest Britain has ever seen.

  482. #482 blf
    February 21, 2010

    “I’m pushing 60. That’s exercise enough for any man”

    Oh, I’m so stealing that… Thanks!

  483. #483 Carlie
    February 21, 2010

    This time of year just sucks. The southern hemisphere folks are roasting, and the northern hem. is desperate for any signs of life, and the holidays are long past, and everyone is on edge. Where I am it seems like everyone is stomping around staring at people who have been their best friends for years with the general attitude of “I hate you SO MUCH right now”. Stupid tilt of the earth.

    Perhaps it’s time for a little Ezra Pound.

    Winter is icumen in,
    Lhude sing Goddamm,
    Raineth drop and staineth slop,
    And how the wind doth ramm!
    Sing: Goddamm.
    Skiddeth bus and sloppeth us,
    Freezeth river, turneth liver,
    An ague hath my ham.
    Damm you; Sing: Goddamm.
    Goddamm, Goddamm, ’tis why I am, Goddamm,
    So ‘gainst the winter’s balm.
    Sing goddamm, damm, sing goddamm,
    Sing goddamm, sing goddamm, DAMM.

  484. #484 Pygmy Loris
    February 21, 2010

    Walton,

    While I read ‘Tis Himself’s comment, I remembered a book someone linked to some time ago. The People of the Abyss by Jack London. You can read it online here.

    As ‘Tis pointed out, things were much worse for most people before the war.

  485. #485 WowbaggerOM
    February 21, 2010

    Did anyone else listen to PZ on Australian radio?

    I was a bit embarrassed; I thought John Safran would be a bit less silly than he was, especially considering how intelligent and insightful he can be when he wants to.

    As it was he came across as completely unprepared for the interview and just asked silly questions and giggled a lot.

    Father Bob was also surprising; I thought he’d be more like those minority Catholics who posted here about Crackergate saying they really couldn’t give a toss about what PZ did to the cracker because it – PZ’s cracker, not the act when performed in context – was basically meaningless.

    Then again, I felt that PZ sounded more like he was in his ‘Minnesota nice’ mood rather than his ‘angry baby-eating’ mood and didn’t get too fired up about it.

  486. #486 blf
    February 21, 2010

    [T]he northern hem. is desperate for any signs of life

    Hey! I think I’m pretty lively, even if I’m getting too much exercise ;-), despite the fecking freezing rain at the moment 

    Unfortunately, the local women don’t seem to agree, so I’m reduced to watching the rugby, worrying about my SWOTI tendencies, and farting the national anthem of… well, er, strike that last bit.

    (Looks at the clock, decides the invaders aren’t invading, turns down the fires, and crawls off to bed and the blanket over the head…)

    No peas were harmed during the production of this rant.
    None could be found.
    They were all prøbably ëatên by a Møøsë.

  487. #487 Blind Squirrel FCD
    February 21, 2010

    “I’m pushing 60. That’s exercise enough for any man”

    It’s too late for me to use it without a slight modification.

    Yes, 14ers are mountains. I climbed 3 of them in one day. Nowadays I get winded bringing in the mail.

    BS

  488. #488 maureen.brian#b5c92
    February 21, 2010

    From actual memory of WWII rationing …….

    Yes, it was all a bit of a bore and sometimes challenged the ingenuity of the cook but, as ‘Tis says, not all foods were rationed and people were able to grow vegetables – sometimes in the most unlikely of places. The important thing is that no-one starved. You’ll find more people in the UK today suffering from chronic malnutrition.

    Remember, Walton, that people were dying in huge numbers to bring in the food which we could not produce. It was only reasonable that what did arrive should be shared fairly and on the basis of need. (If this, too, is news to you – like the notion of state capitalism – then check out the story of the Atlantic convoys.)

    I ate part of a black market Mars bar once – a black market did exist but it was not that significant.

    ‘Tis Himself – I’ve been looking for an opportunity to point you politely at this local food quality / food security project. This seems as good a time as any!

  489. #489 negentropyeater
    February 21, 2010

    Walton,

    I don’t want to live in some nightmare world where people have to stand in line with their state-issued ration cards, waiting for their meagre allocation of food for the week, before going home to their state-designed housing in grim concrete tower blocks.

    Yet that nightmare world is what the current unfetterred finace-led capitalism is driving us to.
    What do you think it will look like if and when another 3 or 4 billion humans are stimulated to consume and waste as much resources as an average American or Western European does ?

    How do you envisage the competition for resources that would result from this ?

  490. #490 SteveV
    February 21, 2010

    ‘Nowadays I get winded bringing in the mail.’

    Turning over in bed does it for me

    Speaking of which I must go to work tomorrow to pay some tax, Nighty night.

  491. #491 Aquaria
    February 21, 2010

    Life was really bad before the rich in Western nations started conceding some of the pie to us rather than have another Russia happen.

    That really spooked the bejesus out of them. They were pretty sure we’d get wind of the end of the wealthy class, and get ideas.

    Life didn’t start improving for most people in the West until the top 1% realized that the peasants would start rounding them up and shooting them (or in less gun-crazy cultures, killing them in their sleep) if they didn’t fork over an adequate chunk of their unearned income.

    We kinda need to instill that fear in them again. No, not actually round them up and shoot them. Just scare them enough to think we will.

  492. #492 SteveV
    February 21, 2010

    negentropyeater #488
    Damn – just as I’m going to bed you put that in my head again. That really is the nightmare that haunts me. How can we possibly have the infernal gall to ask the majority of humanity to forgo the life style that we lucky bastards have?
    Not very coherent – raw nerve and all.

  493. #493 Aquaria
    February 21, 2010

    You know, if I paid $!00 more a month in taxes and got universal health care in return, I’d come out ahead of paying the private insurance scammers to deny me coverage, refuse to approve surgeries, refuse to pay for them when they do, and so forth.

    Anyone who thinks corporations are any less inept and bungling and outright insensitive hasn’t been paying attention. If I’m going to have that kind of crap coming at me, I’d rather a government worker making 160K a year get my money than a fat ass Republican stuffing his golden parachute while denying coverage to me.

  494. #494 Alan B
    February 21, 2010

    Josh OSG

    Sorry if I went too far. Sometimes British tongue in cheek humour doesn’t travel.

  495. #495 negentropyeater
    February 21, 2010

    We kinda need to instill that fear in them again. No, not actually round them up and shoot them. Just scare them enough to think we will.

    btw, today is the 162nd anniversary of Marx’ and Engels’ publication of the Communist Manifesto :

    Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communistic revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win.
    Workers of the world, unite

  496. #496 'Tis Himself, OM
    February 21, 2010

    maureen.brian#b5c92 #487

    ‘Tis Himself – I’ve been looking for an opportunity to point you politely at this local food quality / food security project. This seems as good a time as any!

    At first glance it’s an extremely ambitious program. I’ll look at it tomorrow and give you my impression.

  497. #497 Alan B
    February 21, 2010

    #458 Aquaria

    I desrve it. I’ve been in a skittish mood today.

  498. #498 SteveV
    February 21, 2010

    Aquaria #492

    ‘Insurance scammers’ -don’t start me about Insurance scammers just don’t

    Insurance Companies functionally equivalent to bookmakers but without the bookies high moral standards.
    ‘Scum, filthy degenerate Scum, every man jack (and jill) of em’

  499. #499 Lynna, OM
    February 21, 2010

    I heard on the news tonight that not one of the 30 children the Baptists absconded with in Haiti were orphans!
    http://www.theage.com.au/world/baptists-orphans-all-have-families-20100221-onzu.html?autostart=1

  500. #500 maureen.brian#b5c92
    February 21, 2010

    Thanks, ‘Tis Himself. The thing is that it seems to be working but I’m happy to wait until you’ve had time to read it and, yes, they do go on a bit.

  501. #501 Alan B
    February 21, 2010

    300 or so posts ago (exageration but it seems like lt) I asked who “invented” sparkling champagne.

    The answer of course is the British – runs small Union Jack up the flagpole by my screen and stands for “Rule Britania” played on my wind-up cylinder gramophone with a white dog listening in the trumpet.

    One clever clogs suggested that of course it was the French. That’s what they want you to believe but we British know better (and so do the French, really – it’s one of the googleplex of reasons why they hate us).

    The French made wine in the Champagne district, of course. The problem was that it tended to undergo a spontaneous second fermentation in the bottles which burst them and spoilt their profits.

    Indeed, Dom Perignon spent much of his life trying to find out how to make sure that Champagne was NOT sparkling. A tragic waste of effort.

    The British realised that if you took the rather boring, thin, Champagne wine and put sparkles into it the result was rather good. Where the British suceeded was the glass bottles we made were better – that is, stronger, and hence they could take the pressure.

    Some people say it was that we had a different process where coal was used rather than charcoal to heat the glass. I like to think it was simply due to our inherent national brilliance!

    Either way – it was the British you have to thank for so much – like sparkling champagne, income tax, George III, tarmac roads, Macintoshes, steam locmotives, the industrial revolution and so many other things.

    I’m sure our younger brothers on the far side of the world (USA) are very appreciative. (NOT)

  502. #502 Alan B
    February 21, 2010

    Before anyone can throw anything at me, I’m off to bed and out of range of any well deservedincomings.

  503. #503 maureen.brian#b5c92
    February 21, 2010

    I knew that already, AlanB, but I had now idea where to find the evidence! I do like to stick to “the rules.”

  504. #504 Aquaria
    February 21, 2010

    Alan:

    I did not know that about Champagne.

    Not that I like the stuff. Worst hangover ever is a champagne hangover. I still have bad memories of consumption of mimosas.

    Want to know something weird? Every time I see your handle, I think of Alan Banks, from the mystery series by Peter Robinson.

    Now about this spanking…

  505. #505 Aquaria
    February 21, 2010

    AlanB is definitely in big trouble now. Just when the spankings were about to commence, he buggered off!

  506. #506 Sven DiMilo
    February 21, 2010

    I’m listening to the show recorded in Antwerp three nights before this one:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bkUULYE-LAA

  507. #507 Carlie
    February 21, 2010

    AlanB is definitely in big trouble now. Just when the spankings were about to commence, he buggered off!

    Doesn’t that part usually come after the spankings, not before?
    *runs away*

    I’m bookmarking this article for whenever we get idiots claiming that No True Christians actually believe all of that silly literalistic stuff: Pope says hell is a real place.

  508. #508 Feynmaniac
    February 21, 2010

    Walton,

    I don’t want to live in some nightmare world where people have to stand in line with their state-issued ration cards, waiting for their meagre allocation of food for the week, before going home to their state-designed housing in grim concrete tower blocks.

    Did you already forget the story Jadehawk told you about having to steal food from hotels? There are many people in the current system who would love to get ration cards.

    Anyway, KG was perfectly clear what he was saying by bringing up that case:

    But the claims that free markets are essential to efficiency, and that the state is necessarily bad at organising economic activity and innovation, are quite simply refuted by this single example.

  509. #509 badgersdaughter
    February 21, 2010

    Hey, Carlie, i think that bit about the Pope saying Hell is a real place belongs in the “Amazing Gibberish” thread. ;)

  510. #510 Sven DiMilo
    February 21, 2010

    Pope says hell is a real place.

    …but then (keep reading) is immeditely contradicted by various officials, acolytes, and historians! The Pontiff–he’s a kidder; he was being all metaphorical and talking down to the simple people, his flock, in language more at their level, is all.

  511. #511 Feynmaniac
    February 21, 2010

    Walton,

    For instance, it is a result of capitalism that amenities like fridges, cars, computers, and the like are mass-produced at prices the ordinary consumer can afford; on the one hand, this vastly increases the average person’s quality of life.

    There’s also a lot of crap produced that no one needs. Remember the singing fish?

    We are bombarded with advertisements trying to hammer in the idea that buying these products (many of them useless) will make us happy. However, the joys of materialism are hollow and fleeting. You get bored with the big toy after a few days and then want something new.

    If you compare levels of self-reported happiness (by no means a perfect measure, but I don’t think completely useless) country by country happiness does tend to increase with wealth. However, the effect diminishes after about $10,000 (IIRC). Yes, having shelter, food and financial security does tend to make people happy. However, once the needs are met people are just engaging in conspicuous consumption. Despite what all the ads tell us this excessive consumerism doesn’t make us happier. As you mentioned, it’s also bad for the environment and unsustainable.

  512. #512 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    February 21, 2010

    Feynmaniac:

    Despite what all the ads tell us this excessive consumerism doesn’t make us happier.

    So true. As someone who was a spendthrift (with what little I had, which I should have been saving) when very young, I look back on the shit I bought and can’t believe it. I think American standards of what constitutes an acceptable quality of life are outrageous, and getting worse.

    I bought my first house last year (in Vermont’s overpriced real estate market). It’s a 140-year-old Cape Cod that took a lot of labor (me and friends, no paid help) to re-do. Not to make it a magazine showplace, but just comfy and nice. And it still needs work.

    For almost a year, I visited houses within a 45-minute drive of work, looking for something I could afford. Everything in my price range – $140,000 and lower, and only because of the $8,000 tax rebate, record-low interest rates, and buying down my mortgage rate ahead of time from savings – was labeled a “starter home.” I mean, 1,600 – 2,000 sq. foot houses. Houses bigger than the one I grew up with. You know, the ones that used to be considered a “family home?” Now they’re just “starters.”

    I drive a 15-year-old Subaru that’s ugly as hell, but runs reliably. I simply don’t care what it looks like. I furnished my house with used furniture, scavenged yard sale pieces, and extras from friends trying to clear out the basement. Everything in here is second-hand, and my house isn’t a hovel; most people would find it comfortable and charming.

    Same with clothes – I’ve found the best second-hand stores that sell good quality stuff, and I dress well. I cook most of my own food, and buy in bulk. I live far, far leaner than most people think a middle class 30-something white guy should, but you wouldn’t know it to look at me (OK, maybe if you saw my car!), and I want for nothing. I put almost 25 percent of my net pay into savings every month for emergencies and big items down the road. Lots more satisfaction from that than from frivolous spending.

    I have a career I love at a nonprofit, a circle of friends and neighbors who are smart, funny, hospitable, and generous. I benefited from an education at a prestigious college. By any reasonable standard, I live in unimaginable luxury. But according to contemporary standards of upward mobility, I should feel deprived. I honestly don’t get this. Having come from a genuinely poor family (by Western standards), I feel like I’ve won the lottery.

    None of this is meant to sound sanctimonious or holier than thou. People have to decide how to live, and how to spend their own money. But my career, my friends, and my frugal budget have made me a much more contented person than I was when I had different priorities, and couldn’t handle my money well enough to pay bills on time.

    It would be interesting to hear other Pharyngulites’s perspective on this kind of thing.

  513. #513 badgersdaughter
    February 21, 2010

    Josh, OSG: My perspective on “this kind of thing” is that it is well to be frugal, live modestly and well within your means, stay obsessively out of debt, and enjoy yourself.

    Threads about frugality inevitable turn into finger-pointing, critical assholism, and holier-than-thou bitterness. Let’s not, OK?

    If you do actually want to talk about this sort of thing, the blog Consumerist.com handles it well enough, but the inevitable rancor seeps in there, too.

  514. #514 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    February 21, 2010

    Threads about frugality inevitable turn into finger-pointing, critical assholism, and holier-than-thou bitterness. Let’s not, OK?

    Oh, you’re right, they so often do. I certainly don’t mean to start one of those. The topic of what people find to be an acceptable standard of living is interesting to me, especially in light of the “l” word debates on taxes and infrastructure. I didn’t mean to appear to be asking others to comment on my choices, just on the issue generally. But maybe I shouldn’t have. . .eeek. . .

  515. #515 badgersdaughter
    February 21, 2010

    Well, I guess I wouldn’t have said anything if I hadn’t just been jumped on by someone I know for buying an exercise bike. She said, “You’re crazy. You could just go for a walk. Why spend the money when it’s so nice outside?” (It is, in Houston, at the moment.) But the reason I bought it was because I am not a good walker and I am not good at motivating myself to go walking, I hate treadmills, I like recumbent bikes, and it is going to turn murderously hot in Texas before you know it. Also, the thing cost what joining a gym and paying dues for three months would have cost.

    Sorry to be so sensitive.

  516. #516 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    February 21, 2010

    Well, I guess I wouldn’t have said anything if I hadn’t just been jumped on by someone I know for buying an exercise bike. She said, “You’re crazy. You could just go for a walk. Why spend the money when it’s so nice outside?”

    And who could blame you? That’s the kind of obnoxious, none-of-your-business bullshit that rightly pisses anyone off. Just plain bad manners, that is.

  517. #517 Pygmy Loris
    February 21, 2010

    I engage in very little conspicuous consumption mostly because I have very little money. With credit card debt that has to be paid, all of my money goes to getting rid of that and covering the basics.

    When I have “extra” money I usually spend it on higher quality food.

    badgersdaughter,

    Why is it any of her business? I’m a member of the university’s gym by virtue of being an enrolled student, and I’m very happy that I don’t have to work out in the freezing cold in winter or the boiling heat in summer if I don’t want to. If I had to exercise outside all year, I wouldn’t get nearly as much exercise as I do.

  518. #518 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    February 21, 2010

    Heya Pygmy, I have a very frugal tip I think you’d be interested in if you wanna email me at spokesgay at gmail.com. Having been exactly where you are – and recently – I know what it’s like!

  519. #519 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 21, 2010

    Besides the cold, the problem in my area is that not everyone or every business clears the public sidewalk when it snows. (You are better from a liability point leaving the snow in place than doing a half-assed job of snow removal in case somebody falls.) On my block, a couple of us with snowblowers will run up and down the block for the dog walkers (quite a few). But, in other parts of town, people are still walking in the street from a snowfall two weeks ago. And more snow is coming tonight…

  520. #520 Jadehawk, OM
    February 21, 2010

    Despite what all the ads tell us this excessive consumerism doesn’t make us happier.

    personal anecdote time again! (I do have a lot of those)

    as y’all may know, I spent the first part of my childhood in Evil Socialist Poland. I did have a small collection of basic children’s toys(and even one or two Barbies, which were extra awesome special, because they came from the special store with special western stuff), but mostly we played a shitload of pretend games which didn’t require anything other than being ignored by our parents.

    And then we moved to Germany. Now, this was awesome in some aspects, like the existence of a cartoon channel on TV and orange juice; however, a short while after moving I was infected with the worst case of “WANT!!!” I can remember: there was a particular set of toys all the girls had, and I didn’t, and I begun to want them, too. Now, usually it seems no one takes children’s tantrums seriously, but I have to say that that time was absolutely awful. The wanting was physically, viscerally painful*, and it made it hard for me to sleep and I even started hallucinating.

    Eventually my mom caught on and I did get one of those toys. I was relieved and the pain stopped, but I pretty much demanded more and more of those toys to keep up with the other kids, pretty much up until I grew out of the age for kids toys. And pretty much every time my mom didn’t deliver in a timely manner, the “WANT!” started creeping back in (though it never got as bad as at the beginning). I think I never really enjoyed them quite as much as the barbies I had before moving to Germany, either.

    It didn’t occur to me until much much later that this sounds suspiciously like getting addicted to drugs, but it does, doesn’t it?

    ——-

    *as a matter of fact, the only time I remember feeling worse than that was shortly after moving to the States; and that actually led to hospitalization. so… yeah.

  521. #521 Jadehawk, OM
    February 21, 2010

    I engage in very little conspicuous consumption mostly because I have very little money. With credit card debt that has to be paid, all of my money goes to getting rid of that and covering the basics.

    When I have “extra” money I usually spend it on higher quality food.

    ditto. I spend an absolutely indecent amount of money on good tea, but almost all my clothes are doubly and triply patched and resown and ancient by American standards :-p

  522. #522 Pygmy Loris
    February 21, 2010

    Josh,

    I sent an email. The name on it will be Pygmy Loris, FYI.

  523. #523 Mental
    February 21, 2010

    What made me happiest when I was just a tadpole was building tree houses and forts and islands. I was lucky enough to have the best childhood ever though, a hundred acres and a river.

    At the age of 50, I pine away for that stuff…Retirement is coming and it will be awesome!

  524. #524 Pygmy Loris
    February 21, 2010

    Oh. My. FSM. The Russian pair is doing their “aboriginal dance” and I’m embarrassed for them. Those outfits are horrible and the music/dance wasn’t very good either.

  525. #525 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    February 21, 2010

    Pygmy,

    Just replied, my adorable little pocket primate.

  526. #526 'Tis Himself, OM
    February 21, 2010

    I’m a senior executive for a largish company. I make <mumblety-mumble> thousand dollars a year. I live in a three bedroom house with my wife and daughter. I drive an eight year old car. I wear slacks, dress shirts and ties at work and jeans and t-shirts around the house. My two extravagances are books and sailing. I’ve got a couple of thousand books stashed in various bookcases around the house. I don’t own a sailboat but I split dockage fees and repair bills with the owner of the boat I go sailing in.*

    As a civil servant living in a very high cost area I learned to be frugal. Now that I’m making more money and living in a lower cost town I’m still frugal.

    *sailing boat, n. A hole in the water into which is poured immense amounts of money.

  527. #527 WowbaggerOM
    February 21, 2010

    When I have “extra” money I usually spend it on higher quality food.

    In the vain hope I will one day be able to work at something I enjoy rather than be limited by that which pays me enough, mine goes to paying off the mortgage.

    Well, that and tickets to gigs and theatre. At Fringe time being a reviewer gets me to quite a few shows gratis, but there are a whole bunch I have to pay for and it adds up.

    I saw 7 shows over the weekend; I’m a fifth of the way (in number of shows) in.

  528. #528 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    February 21, 2010

    *sailing boat, n. A hole in the water into which is poured immense amounts of money.

    Oh, that sounds like my house. Or, the Dodge Dart slant six I’m determined to buy, once again. Everyone needs an obsession that costs some discretionary money, and causes other, sensible people to poke fun.

  529. #529 Sven DiMilo
    February 21, 2010

    I like bacon.

    But enough about me!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pk8_a0eh2O4

  530. #530 Pygmy Loris
    February 21, 2010

    Josh,

    Thanks! Awesome advice.

  531. #531 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    February 21, 2010

    Glad to be of help, Pygmy.

  532. #532 Sven DiMilo
    February 21, 2010
  533. #533 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    February 21, 2010

    What are we zooming in to see, Sven?

  534. #534 Sven DiMilo
    February 21, 2010

    What are we zooming in to see, Sven?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pk8_a0eh2O4

  535. #535 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 21, 2010

    What are we zooming in to see, Sven?

    Refers to link in post #528.

  536. #536 Pygmy Loris
    February 21, 2010

    I was just thinking about frugality, and how I lived on $600.00/mo. in undergrad. That included rent, utilities, food, gas, etc. I was thinking about how I couldn’t live on that anymore, but then I remembered that gas was about $1.00/gal., electricity has nearly doubled in cost, food is more expensive, rent has gone up. This wasn’t that long ago, either. People living on fixed incomes have had an awful 21st century. The little discretionary income they may have had has been eaten up by rather dramatic increases in the cost of the basics.

    I remember reading a few years ago in Newsweek about how if you don’t consider food and fuel, prices haven’t gone up that much in the last few years and it made me want to scream! If you’re living on the edge anyway, the prices of food and fuel are really all that matter.

  537. #537 Aquaria
    February 21, 2010

    Tiptoeing gently around this one, I have to say that i understand what you’re saying about living well but not extravagantly very well, JoshOSG.

    My husband and I are working class stiffs, and live in a little house that didn’t cost an arm and a leg. We go out to eat a few times a month, but otherwise at home and take leftovers for lunch at work. We’re not into parties and clubs, keeping to ourselves for the most part. We live quietly, casually, and what some people would consider frugally, even though we don’t feel like we do without anything.

    My life is kind of odd in that my early childhood was basically spent in poverty, and after that my family’s fortunes increased slowly to a very comfortable upper-middle-class lifestyle of private school, country club, big house, and monthly shopping trips to Neiman’s. My mother getting critically ill and being out of work for several months put a dent in things for a few months, but we were soon right back to the good life.

    So I’ve lived have and have not. It’s hard for me sometimes that I can’t buy the $2000 Chanel purse I’m totally in love with, but WTF would I do with one in my current lifestyle? I’m not high society, and I’m not the kind who has the need to force everyone to be impressed with what I can buy. Anyway, a life where Chanel purses and Valentino evening gowns are normal is way too busy and public and plain beholden to others for me. I like my peace and quiet and independence too much for that kind of life. I’ve been there. I hated it.

    So, yeah, I’m comfortable where I am. If I won the lottery somehow without playing it, the only thing different would be that I’d travel. It’s the one thing Mom never had time for when I lived at home.

  538. #538 windy
    February 21, 2010

    @249

    How do the results relate to the hypothesis/es you are testing? Were they expected or unexpected?

    mmm, this kind of explicit interpretation of the data properly belongs in the Discussion, not Results.

    Weeell, I didn’t say one should start reading tea leaves – just to make sure that the results provide an answer to the questions that you explicitly set out to test. The broader implications should be left to the Discussion, but throwing a little “as predicted:” in Results may be appropriate too, IMO.

    However, they’re good things to know when writing the Results, because you’ll want to draw the reader’s attention to the data and relationships you’ll be emphasizing later.

    Yes.

  539. #539 Aquaria
    February 21, 2010

    I spend an absolutely indecent amount of money on good tea,

    Me too! Y.E.S. International Green Tea. I by it by the case at the my fave oriental market.

    but almost all my clothes are doubly and triply patched and resown and ancient by American standards :-p

    We’re not all fashionistas. I mean, I can be, when I have the $$$$ and lifestyle for it, but since 1999? Forget it.

    I bought a bunch of casual clothes suitable for work or play in spring 2006. I made them last until fall 2009.

    I spend maybe $200-$300 on clothes every 2 or 3 years.

  540. #540 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    February 21, 2010

    I spend maybe $200-$300 on clothes every 2 or 3 years.

    I worship you, my Frugal Goddess. And I must know your secret*.

    *Yes, this makes me a bad SpokesGay, as we’re all supposed to be frivolous gigglers in thrall to the latest fashion trends. As usual, take it up with my associate, Locutus of Gay. He has no time for individual consumption.

  541. #541 badgersdaughter
    February 21, 2010

    I don’t get into green tea, but I LOVE LOVE LOVE smoke-tinged Russian Caravan (Lapsang Souchoung). My other favorite is a black tea with rose petals. I’m enough of a stickler for MY FAVORITE TEA that I actually pack tea in my suitcase when I travel, along with an adequate supply of erythritol (I can’t stand Splenda).

    So far neither the fragrant herb nor the sparking white powder have been mistaken for anything… um, more potent.

  542. #542 badgersdaughter
    February 21, 2010

    “sparkling.” And off to bed. :)

  543. #543 Jadehawk, OM
    February 21, 2010

    my boyfriend the 30-year-old redneck punk still wears the same clothes he had in high-school (and do I ever hate him for the fact that he fits into his clothes from high-school… but that’s another subject entirely), and his workshoes are held together by gorilla glue and spiderwire. this is a level of frugality that I’m not ever likely to achieve, no matter what, if only because my mother would never let me :-p

  544. #544 WowbaggerOM
    February 21, 2010

    I spend maybe $200-$300 on clothes every 2 or 3 years.

    You’re making me feel extravagant. I spend maybe that much a year; my work ‘uniform’ is business shirt and trousers – of which I have plenty of as a result of my slightly more enthusiastic pre-mortgage period* and the rest of the time I’m in t-shirts and shorts/jeans which I get a lot of wear out of.

    *It’s also a good incentive to stay in shape so I still fit everything I’ve got.

  545. #545 Antiochus Epiphanes
    February 21, 2010

    I have spent an extravagant amount of money on my education (including what my parents have sacrificed). I also spend kind of wildly on books, although with the interwebs, it is pretty easy to get good books in pretty good shape for cheap. An I admit, I blew waaaaaayy to much dinero on plants last year…I bought a house and had to plant cool stuff.

    I always buy Heinz Ketchup, regardless of cheaper alternatives.

    Otherwise I live like a hobo, because I just don’t like shopping.

  546. #546 Bastion Of Sass
    February 22, 2010

    Wonderful column by Leonard Pitts Jr. today (February 21, 2010): “Sorry, but you aren’t entitled to your own facts.”

    My favorite quote from the column:

    But objective reality does not change because you refuse to accept it. The fact that you refuse to acknowledge a wall does not change the fact that it’s a wall. And you shouldn’t have to hit it to find that out.

  547. #547 cicely
    February 22, 2010

    No peas were harmed during the production of this rant.
    None could be found.
    They were all prøbably ëatên by a Møøsë.

    Let’s wait for the results of the autopsy.

    Then, we can start work on determining whether it was murder, or suicide.

  548. #548 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    February 22, 2010

    No peas were harmed during the production of this rant. None could be found. They were all prøbably ëatên by a Møøsë.

    Let’s wait for the results of the autopsy.

    Then, we can start work on determining whether it was murder, or suicide.

    Oh, it was murder all right. Murder in my stockpot. With onions, carrots, and . . . .bacon. Oh, how I love split pea soup.

  549. #549 boygenius
    February 22, 2010

    I always buy Heinz Ketchup, regardless of cheaper alternatives.

    There is no excuse to buy anything other than Heinz ketchup. I don’t care if you are living in the gutter, surviving off of soggy cigarette butts and discarded chewing gum with nothing but the clothes on your back.

    You do not lower yourself to buy Hunt’s ketchup or any “Store Brand” ketchup.

    If all you have left is your humanity, cling to it.

  550. #550 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    February 22, 2010

    You do not lower yourself to buy Hunt’s ketchup or any “Store Brand” ketchup.

    Wise words, boygenius. Just as never lowers one’s self to buy anything but Hellman’s Mayonnaise (Best Foods, for those of you west of the Rockies).

  551. #551 boygenius
    February 22, 2010

    Josh,OSG,

    I like the cut of your jib, sir.

  552. #552 MarkMyWords
    February 22, 2010

    On the issue of frugality, it’s embarassing disclosure time.

    In my past life, before converting to rationalism and scepticism, I spent a number of years in a Catholic monastery. Yes – the woo was strong in my youth! But the people who were my “brothers” were a remarkable group for the most part: very idealistic and committed to the very hard work of making a communal life among over 30 men. (Discussion//criticism of that life style can be held for another day.)

    But having lived in a structured community where literally everything from your clothes to the pencil on your desk is owned in common, and where the community as whole doesn’t really own much of anything (not every religious group is in it for the money) greatly impacted my attitude towards material possessions.

    Even after leaving the monastery, pursuing my education and career and earning a pretty comfortable living for over 30 years now, my lack of attachment to materials goods is still very strong. And it often puts me at odds with so many people around me.

    IT’S ONLY STUFF!!!!!!!

    I still can’t figure out in my mind whether or not non-theists as a group are more likely to be less “stuff oriented” than theists. There’s a part of me that would dearly love to see such a positive correlation for atheism.

  553. #553 Mr T
    February 22, 2010

    I’m a very frugal person, or downright ascetic to be honest. I’m your typical starving artist musician. Believe it or not, that isn’t a profession one enters to make loads of money — ironically that’s because I don’t intentionally write crap, but someone will need to explain that to me again one of these days. I’m sure I understood all of that when I was a stupid kid enrolling in a music program, so it would be nobody’s fault but my own if I felt like blaming anyone. It’s just what I love to do. Even though it’s a crazy and rather depressing life at times, I’m fortunate to have that much.
    Thanks to a decent education, I’ve got a day job as an administrator for a small office, but honestly that doesn’t pay much either. (This is where I mention to our libertarian friends that government-funded scholarships are good for society, even programs that don’t create a lot of economic growth.)

    Anyway, my largest expenses have always been music-related: instruments, computers, software, other equipment, etc. I also buy a lot of books, but happily many older titles are now free or very cheap on the web or at the local library. That’s about it, though. I don’t even have cable. I don’t need any of that stuff to survive or have a reasonable quality of life. I wouldn’t be as happy, but hopefully I could find another way pay the bills.

    I suppose I’m feeling some mixed emotions. Even though I’m not spending and wasting nearly as much as most others in the U.S., I’m still much better off than just about everyone in 3rd-world countries. I can’t afford to donate to charities, but I do a little bit here and there anyway. It’s just disturbing that so many either don’t realize how privileged they are, or just don’t care. I don’t think everybody should have to live the way I do, but certainly they could buy less useless crap and help others more.

  554. #554 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    February 22, 2010

    I like the cut of your jib, sir.

    And I like the way your. . .well, you know.

  555. #555 Jadehawk, OM
    February 22, 2010
  556. #556 boygenius
    February 22, 2010

    Sorry, Josh OSG, you’re fishing in the wrong pond. Didn’t mean to lead you on. Sorry!

    As far as being forced to live frugally goes, I have only myself to blame. Perhaps dropping out of college to follow Grateful Dead wasn’t such a good career move after all?!

  557. #557 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    February 22, 2010

    Sorry, Josh OSG, you’re fishing in the wrong pond. Didn’t mean to lead you on. Sorry!

    Who said I’m fishing, you flippant little thing? Besides, every man can be had.

  558. #558 Mr T
    February 22, 2010

    Josh:

    Wise words, boygenius. Just as never lowers one’s self to buy anything but Hellman’s Mayonnaise (Best Foods, for those of you west of the Rockies).

    I was totally with him all along until this point.

    I hate mayonnaise, in all its manifestations.

    MarkMyWords:

    I still can’t figure out in my mind whether or not non-theists as a group are more likely to be less “stuff oriented” than theists. There’s a part of me that would dearly love to see such a positive correlation for atheism.

    I’d bet that we materialist heathens aren’t very materialistic, in comparison to the typical believer (for those who haven’t taken a vow of poverty, not including Pope Palpatine, et al). Could this be another one of those Deep Rifts?? I love those.

  559. #559 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    February 22, 2010

    I was totally with him all along until this point.

    I hate mayonnaise, in all its manifestations.

    I am Locutus of Gay. I speak for The Collective. Culinary life as you know it is over. Your irrelevant aversion to mayonnaise) will be added to our own. You will adapt to service us. Condiment-based resistance is futile.

    Comply.

  560. #560 Aquaria
    February 22, 2010

    I worship you, my Frugal Goddess. And I must know your secret*.

    I don’t know how this will help a guy, but I’ll tell you what I can.

    I also have to warn all of you that I’m a comfort #1 shopper. If something isn’t comfortable, I won’t buy it because I won’t wear it. I am not a fashion plate, and dresses? Skirts? I haven’t worn either in at least 6 years. I try to find the cutest things I can, but if it’s too expensive, I don’t need it that badly.

    My clothes are functional, and easy to care for–wash dry, fold, wear. Ironing? Dudes, if I have one, I don’t know where it is.

    With that in mind…

    Most of the catalogue houses are online these days, and you can also buy direct from companies like Hanes. When you go on the web, you’ll find exclusive sales on t-shirts in cute colors and matching shorts or trousers of the same material. Look for buy one get one free and that sort of thing–all of them do this. and the savings can really add up.

    I dig through clearances all over the web for cute things to vary up the Hanes thing. This time, I splurged a little and bought some really cute tops, and some denim looking capri pants. Just adorable. I like buying pant/capri/short and blouse sets, they’re usually great values.

  561. #561 boygenius
    February 22, 2010

    Who said I’m fishing, you flippant little thing? Besides, every man can be had.

    Apologies. I did not intend to be flippant. Just trying failing to be jocular. And you’re right, any man can be had; you just need to meet my reserve bid.

  562. #562 Pygmy Loris
    February 22, 2010

    I still can’t figure out in my mind whether or not non-theists as a group are more likely to be less “stuff oriented” than theists.

    Well, I’m pretty frugal (the above mentioned credit card debt is primarily my car insurance, car repairs, a conference trip, and university fee payments), but I do like stuff. OTOH, the stuff I like is useful. Cookware, cross-stitch, notebooks, magazines and books. On the third hand (crap, I need to buy more hands!), I haven’t bought any things in a long time. All of my purchases in the last six months have been food, toiletries, and other actual necessities.

    I find that I don’t miss buying things, but I do need to buy some new clothes due to working out for the last five months.

  563. #563 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    February 22, 2010

    and you’re right, any man can be had; you just need to meet my reserve bid.

    Hmmph. I shall not have you until you’re on clearance.

    /Flounce

  564. #564 Mr T
    February 22, 2010

    My dear SpokesGay, why must you be this way?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_fsCGSoo2k4

  565. #565 Aquaria
    February 22, 2010

    I can’t afford to donate to charities, but I do a little bit here and there anyway. It’s just disturbing that so many either don’t realize how privileged they are, or just don’t care.

    I just realized that I give more to charity every year than I spend on clothes in 6 or 7!

  566. #566 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    February 22, 2010

    Aquaria:

    Most of the catalogue houses are online these days, and you can also buy direct from companies like Hanes. When you go on the web, you’ll find exclusive sales on t-shirts in cute colors and matching shorts or trousers of the same material. Look for buy one get one free and that sort of thing–all of them do this. and the savings can really add up.

    So, you’re saying that your way is Hanes Her Way?

    (ducking and running)

  567. #567 Aquaria
    February 22, 2010

    You know, I’m so cheap that every now and then, I’ll buy store-brand ketchup. I always go back to Heinz.

    But mayonnaise? Sorry, I buy HEB’s mayonesa, mayo made with Lime instead of Lemon.

    It’s a South Texas thing.

  568. #568 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    February 22, 2010

    My dear SpokesGay, why must you be this way?

    Brave words, Mr. T. I’ve heard them from thousands of Pharyngulites across thousands of threads. Finding your weakness is only a matter of time.

    Are you ready?

  569. #569 Aquaria
    February 22, 2010

    Sheesh–of course it’s my way.

    Anybody who thinks it would be otherwise doesn’t know me well enough–or what’s about to hit them.

  570. #570 boygenius
    February 22, 2010

    Josh OSG, I don’t know whether to be relieved or disappointed that you didn’t inquire what my reserve bid is. Throw a number out there, ya never know.

  571. #571 Bride of Shrek OM
    February 22, 2010

    MarkMyWords @ #551

    But having lived in a structured community where literally everything from your clothes to the pencil on your desk is owned in common,

    ..if you tell me you all shared underpants I’ll barf.

  572. #572 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    February 22, 2010

    Josh OSG, I don’t know whether to be relieved or disappointed that you didn’t inquire what my reserve bid is. Throw a number out there, ya never know.

    Be anything you want, or do anything you want, boygenius. Just remember, when I do buy, I buy quality.

    Run along now:)

  573. #573 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    February 22, 2010

    And boygenius (since I’ve gotten myself into trouble earlier in this thread for failed attempts at humor) – I’m just having a laugh for shits and giggles.

  574. #574 windy
    February 22, 2010

    I drive a 15-year-old Subaru that’s ugly as hell, but runs reliably.

    Oh, I bet mine’s uglier… ;-)

    It would be interesting to hear other Pharyngulites’s perspective on this kind of thing.

    It seems that a lot of us live (relatively) frugally, but most of us do it within a consumerist culture. I mostly buy things that are used or on clearance, but that stuff would be a lot harder to find if people weren’t consuming so much. It reduces waste to some extent, but it doesn’t fix the underlying issues.

  575. #575 Aquaria
    February 22, 2010

    You know what I find that helps me resist the consumer culture: Turning off the damned TV.

  576. #576 Mr T
    February 22, 2010

    That’s not me, Josh. I look and act more like Riker…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p0LFXbxmGVY

  577. #577 boygenius
    February 22, 2010

    /Runs along.

    I’m sure you’re not going to bid very high on a washed up 40 year old Dead Head. Oh, well. There’s always the dead.net forums. :(

    There’s a lot of shits and giggles there, too!

  578. #578 boygenius
    February 22, 2010

    Ack! my :( was supposed to be a :)

    Love ya, Josh!

  579. #579 windy
    February 22, 2010

    Josh OSG, I don’t know whether to be relieved or disappointed that you didn’t inquire what my reserve bid is. Throw a number out there, ya never know.

    Don’t you need someone to bid against Josh? Unfortunately I don’t have the poker nerves for that sort of thing. I usually go for the ones that have a “Buy Now” option. :D

  580. #580 Jadehawk, OM
    February 22, 2010

    Oh, I bet mine’s uglier… ;-)

    unless either of you can beat a door with “motherfucker” keyed into it, I win the ugly-car contest.

    but only because this ugly-ass thing, formerly property of the boyfriend, died several years back.

  581. #581 Bride of Shrek OM
    February 22, 2010

    Jadehawk

    Enquiring minds want to know- which one of you was the alleged “motherfucker”?

  582. #582 boygenius
    February 22, 2010

    Don’t you need someone to bid against Josh?

    Ladies and Gentlemen; the bidding is now open. Here we have a fine specimen of the male species with very few (physical) defects. Original owner w/papers to prove it. Financing is available for qualified buyers.

  583. #583 Jadehawk, OM
    February 22, 2010

    neither of us. that was the result of me letting a former roommate take the car to Target, where he promptly managed to get into an argument with some chick who apparently found it appropriate to write her opinion of him onto my car.

    however, I’m sure the more recent former roommate who got kicked out of our apartment two years ago and who very unimaginatively merely underlined it was feeling that sentiment towards me.

    come to think of it… I do not seem to have much luck with roommates

  584. #584 windy
    February 22, 2010

    this ugly-ass thing.

    It’s so ugly, the internet forbids me to look at it!

  585. #585 boygenius
    February 22, 2010

    Jadehawk,

    Your “ugly-ass thing link is borked. Nosey minded people want to see!

  586. #586 Jadehawk, OM
    February 22, 2010

    It’s so ugly, the internet forbids me to look at it!

    d’oh! try this: http://inlinethumb24.webshots.com/46871/2601300650075107219S600x600Q85.jpg

  587. #587 boygenius
    February 22, 2010

  588. #588 Bride of Shrek OM
    February 22, 2010

    That is indeed, one ugly-assed car.

  589. #589 negentropyeater
    February 22, 2010

    I don’t know if it’s ugly, but that car sure looks like it drinks way too much gasoline.

  590. #590 boygenius
    February 22, 2010

    That is indeed, one ugly-assed car.

    Speaking as one who has spent a significant portion of his adult life with no car, that is a sweet ride. Do you realize how many people can crash out for the night in the back of a rig like that? Cosmetic damage schmosmetic damage, ugly is in the eye of the beholder arresting officer.

  591. #591 Pygmy Loris
    February 22, 2010

    Jadehawk,

    All that matters is that it runs :)

    When I ride in the nicer cars that my friends have I repeat to myself “four hundred dollars a month” so I rarely have any jealousy about it.

    I have no car payment and never have, but I do drive a car that’s 13 years old and still running. *keeps fingers crossed*

  592. #592 Jadehawk, OM
    February 22, 2010

    Speaking as one who has spent a significant portion of his adult life with no car, that is a sweet ride.

    was, my friend, was. it blew its guts out a few years back and has now been turned into spare parts.

  593. #593 Gyeong Hwa Pak, Pikachu para lang sa iyo.
    February 22, 2010

    was, my friend, was. it blew its guts out a few years back and has now been turned into spare parts.

    If you were in SoCal, I can probably fix it up for you. Of course, it will take a long while.

  594. #594 boygenius
    February 22, 2010

    was, my friend, was. it blew its guts out a few years back and has now been turned into spare parts.

    Ahh… We can hope for no more than that for ourselves, eh?

  595. #595 Jadehawk, OM
    February 22, 2010

    if you were in SoCal, I can probably fix it up for you.

    I doubt it. The boyfriend’s dad is a mechanic who loves tinkering with old clunkers, and he deemed that thing unfixable*.

    not that it mattered, since for some reason some guy traded an almost new Intrepid** for that dead monster; apparently he was in urgent need for some ancient car parts…

    ——-

    *well, they could have put in a new transmission and a new engine, but that would have been sort of pointless.

    **which he doesn’t have anymore, either. he sold it for a good lump of money when I quit my McJob, since we really don’t need 2 cars.

  596. #596 Jadehawk, OM
    February 22, 2010

    Ahh… We can hope for no more than that for ourselves, eh?

    well, it has been immortalized by google streetview, so its memory will live on forever ;-)

  597. #597 Gyeong Hwa Pak, Pikachu para lang sa iyo.
    February 22, 2010

    *well, they could have put in a new transmission and a new engine, but that would have been sort of pointless.

    What’s what we did with my car.*

    *Well, it was either replace the frame and engine of my first car since it got totalled, or put in a new engine in an older car with a good frame.

  598. #598 windy
    February 22, 2010

    d’oh! try this

    That’s kind of cute, in an ugly sort of way… what model is it, anyway?

    Ladies and Gentlemen; the bidding is now open. Here we have a fine specimen of the male species with very few (physical) defects. Original owner w/papers to prove it. Financing is available for qualified buyers.

    All I can offer is a trade with a banged-up Subaru and a box of used science fiction books. And the customary spanking.

  599. #599 Walton
    February 22, 2010

    My comments last night have certainly sparked a lot of response.

    Re money and frugal living, I agree that there is a point beyond which one just doesn’t need more stuff. That’s why I’m not particularly fanatical about earning money, and why, unlike a lot of my contemporaries, I’m not looking for a job in “magic circle” commercial law. I’d prefer to earn less money while doing something I believe in.

    But at the same time, there is a basic level of amenity which, in the developed world, we virtually all enjoy. All of us on this thread, by definition, have access to a computer for recreational purposes, otherwise we couldn’t be here. Most of us are accessing this through broadband internet connections. And I’m fairly sure that virtually everyone here has a refrigerator, indoor plumbing, heating, and so on. I can say with absolute certainty that if I were deprived of these things, my quality of life would be worse. And without capitalist industries, and their drive to make money, these products would not be manufactured and sold at prices we can afford.

    This doesn’t mean capitalism doesn’t have a downside. It has plenty of downsides – environmental damage and waste, the ubiquity of advertising, the sale of unhealthy or harmful products, the incentives for fraud, and the large disparities in wealth capitalism naturally creates. And there is a need for government intervention to address these things. I’m not making a libertarian argument here; I will gladly acknowledge that government regulation and welfare provision are, in a number of contexts, desirable.

    But a capitalist-mixed economy has, on the whole, served our society very well as a form of socio-economic organisation. And it isn’t a zero-sum game; it doesn’t require keeping the developing world in poverty. Those formerly poor countries which have embraced capitalism and industrialisation in the last fifty years, such as South Korea and Taiwan, are now relatively rich. Parts of China and India are going the same way (though other parts remain desperately poor).

  600. #600 Rorschach
    February 22, 2010

    I’m watching “Django”, a copy of which conveniently fell off a breaking timber truck today.I have David M to thank, a spaghetti western I had totally forgotten about !

    Quote from the movie : “They have some kind of religion, they’re all crazy”

    :D

    I see we’re talking about cars, well my one-year old Golf was rear-ended by a P-plater who was paying more attention to his phone then to the traffic yesterday, and the rear is in a, shall we say, dysfunctional state now.

  601. #601 Jadehawk, OM
    February 22, 2010

    But a capitalist-mixed economy has, on the whole, served our society very well as a form of socio-economic organisation. And it isn’t a zero-sum game; it doesn’t require keeping the developing world in poverty. Those formerly poor countries which have embraced capitalism and industrialisation in the last fifty years, such as South Korea and Taiwan, are now relatively rich. Parts of China and India are going the same way (though other parts remain desperately poor).

    oh, FFS.

    walton, do you know the difference between living off interest, and tapping into your savings?

    oh, nevermind. I forgot that you already know the consequences of this, you just don’t care to do anything about it other than not breeding *sigh*

  602. #602 Jadehawk, OM
    February 22, 2010

    That’s kind of cute, in an ugly sort of way… what model is it, anyway?

    it’s a Bronco, from the early 70’s I think.

  603. #603 negentropyeater
    February 22, 2010

    Walton,

    And without capitalist industries, and their drive to make money, these products would not be manufactured and sold at prices we can afford.

    I used to visit friends in the evil communist DDR in the 80s. I assure yout they could afford all these things (not access to Pharyngula, but neither did I). Main difference is that they couldn’t choose from 150 models of fridges.

    But a capitalist-mixed economy has, on the whole, served our society very well as a form of socio-economic organisation. And it isn’t a zero-sum game; it doesn’t require keeping the developing world in poverty. Those formerly poor countries which have embraced capitalism and industrialisation in the last fifty years, such as South Korea and Taiwan, are now relatively rich. Parts of China and India are going the same way (though other parts remain desperately poor).

    Yet you do not answer my questions in comment 488
    Are you at least conscious of these limitations ? How shall we deal with them ?
    Looking forward to an answer…

  604. #604 Walton
    February 22, 2010

    What do you think it will look like if and when another 3 or 4 billion humans are stimulated to consume and waste as much resources as an average American or Western European does ?

    How do you envisage the competition for resources that would result from this ?

    Technological advance will hopefully allow more people to access a Western-style standard of living, while consuming fewer resources than the average person in the developed world currently does. This obviously isn’t guaranteed; but technological advance is our only hope, if we don’t want the world to return to squalor and poverty. And under pressure of limited resources and with the drive to make money, human beings tend to be quite innovative.

  605. #605 ianmhor
    February 22, 2010

    Walton:

    What do you see as the outcome of the game in the medium to long term? You mention some of the downsides of our current capitalist approach. If we foresee (as many do) the sum over all the downsides getting too big to keep the environmental infrastructure we need to survive functioning what do we do?

    Complete your extrapolation of the sort of development you approve of in parts of Asia to the whole world and are you certain the sums don’t tell you the games up in the not too distant future?

    That’s my very rough assessment. Tell me something I haven’t thought of to make me more optimistic or my solution is still to look to changing the whole system and quickly!

    (I get the feeling you have been over this before but humour a new guy!)

  606. #606 Jadehawk, OM
    February 22, 2010

    Technological advance will hopefully blah blah

    *groan*

    really?

    “technology will save us all”?

    really?

    this isn’t any more likely or realistic than your old “the free market will save us all” trope, you know….

  607. #607 Walton
    February 22, 2010

    really?

    “technology will save us all”?

    really?

    this isn’t any more likely or realistic than your old “the free market will save us all” trope, you know….

    Technology may well not save us. But if it doesn’t, and we run out of resources, we’re all doomed to end up in poverty, misery and squalor(other than the very wealthy and the politicians, who will take care of themselves as they always do). We cannot enjoy a decent modern standard of living without consuming resources.

  608. #608 ianmhor
    February 22, 2010

    Walton:

    You got your answer in before my question and I can’t say I was any more surprised than the other commentators.

    How about some detail? Are you convinced that technology will be able to answer all the problems fast enough? We are already having difficulties with agriculture and resistance to antibiotics and while new technologies are being brought on line I am not seeing it all happen faster and faster while the problems just seem to increase.

    Basically you not only have to hope for the technology but also that it will be discovered and developed in time. A very tall order. It is too easy to use the word hope. I would like to be on firmer ground.

  609. #609 negentropyeater
    February 22, 2010

    Walton,

    This obviously isn’t guaranteed

    I don’t believe technological advances alone will solve this. You can do the math : if we mutltiply by 5 the number of people who have western-style lifestyles over the next few generations, how will technology help to reduce our consumption of resources so to avoid a deadly competition for the same resources ?
    We will definitely need a different form of socio-economic organisation, one that favours cooperation rather than competition.

    This isn’t going to be easy, and putting all our hopes in technology is much too risky.

  610. #610 Bride of Shrek OM
    February 22, 2010

    Walton @ #598

    That’s why I’m not particularly fanatical about earning money, and why, unlike a lot of my contemporaries, I’m not looking for a job in “magic circle” commercial law. I’d prefer to earn less money while doing something I believe in.

    ..welcome my young Luke, the the world in which I inhabit. I tossed over a hundred grand a year off my annual salary when I transferred from private practice in commercial law to the current NGO position I now have. I’m now a criminal defence lawyer spending all day representing the mentally ill, intellectually diabled and those with an aquired brain injury for free and, oddball as my clients may be on occasion, I couldn’t be happier. I LOVE my job, I work flexible hours ( as befits the group-huggy, sandal-wearing, work/life balance attitude of most NGO’s)so I can be a great mum to my kids,I’m helping those that need it and I’m one of the only types of lawyer people actually like.

    Money be damned- I want to be someone my children respect.

  611. #611 dexitroboper
    February 22, 2010
  612. #612 Rorschach
    February 22, 2010

    Wowbagger mentioned PZ’s Triple J interview here somewhere, so I will x-post my comment from the radio alert thread here :

    “what massaged you into this fury against ID creationists ?”

    Didn’t like the question, didnt like that PZ let it pass without objecting to it !

    Interesting tidbit about the “Sanitarium” company, have to look into that.

    PZ : ” There doesnt have to be a starting point” (to life, the universe, and everything)
    Interviewer: ” I can’t get my head around that”

    Neither could I when I was 10 years old.
    Duh.

    The Maguire character is weird, tried to pretend to be light-hearted and funny, but sort of failed.

  613. #613 Walton
    February 22, 2010

    BoS: That’s heartening, as I think I want to go in a similar direction. I’ve never been attracted by the “magic circle” London law firms (which go out of their way to recruit Oxbridge students, mainly by spamming us with publicity and hosting free dinners and drinks events). By all accounts, associates in those firms work absurdly long hours, and while they earn buckets of money, the work sounds incredibly boring. I just don’t think I could put in 12-hour days doing something I really don’t care about, no matter how good the money is. (In any case, it’s a lot harder than previously to get a training contract with a big law firm, as they’ve been heavily affected by the recession.)

    I’m graduating this summer and doing the LPC next year (self-funding, most likely with a bank loan), and I’m hoping to find a job in one of the local high street firms in my area that does legal-aid work. In the long term, I’d like to specialise in immigration and asylum law.

    The one thing that pisses me off is that we still have this archaic “split profession” in England. I’m attracted to advocacy work, but I’ve ruled out the possibility of becoming a barrister, since it’s notoriously competitive to get a pupillage (and becoming ever more so). While I might eventually have the chance to become a “solicitor-advocate” with rights of audience in the higher courts, the prestige of solicitor-advocates is much less than that of barristers. IMO, the approach in the US and Canada, with one unified legal profession, is far more sensible.

    IIRC, you work in Australia, yes? I’m aware that some Australian states still have a split profession while others don’t.

  614. #614 Walton
    February 22, 2010

    As to the debate on capitalism: I want to stress that I’m a law student, not an economist, and that I’ve never formally studied economics at all, even at a low level. I’ve only ever read one book on economics (Milton Friedman’s Capitalism and Freedom) and picked up a few things from the Internet and from going to Libertarian Society talks, but I don’t really have a clue. I’m conscious of the fact that my thoughts about economics probably sound clumsy and confused to those who have a background in economics (just as it frustrates me when people pontificate about law and get it entirely wrong).

    My opinion on capitalism really doesn’t matter, anyway. I’m not planning on going into politics – at least not for a long time. My broadly libertarian outlook motivates me to want to protect civil liberties, and to help those who are oppressed by government, especially refugees and asylum-seekers and those unjustly detained; this is a goal with which I suspect most people here would agree, and it’s what I intend to spend the next few years of my life doing, if I succeed in my ambitions. The only time I have any opportunity to influence the global economy, by contrast, is when I vote in a general election; and since there isn’t much difference between the major British parties on economic issues, my views on capitalism won’t make a great deal of difference. (I intend to vote Conservative, for solid reasons which I have outlined on other threads, despite disagreeing with several points in the party’s current platform.)

  615. #615 Rorschach
    February 22, 2010

    BoSOM,

    administrative duties to discuss, just sent you an email !

  616. #616 ianmhor
    February 22, 2010

    Walton #613:

    I for one was coming at your comments from a more general position than either politics or economics. Trying to check on you view of the bigger picture of where world society is going. At your age, when I was the same university as you, I observed politics from a great distance and it took a fair few years to consider if it would have much affect on my life. So you are way ahead of where I was and could make your views count early.

    A lot has changed in those almost 40 years and I keep thinking that there isn’t much time and those starting out, like yourself, need to get thinking a lot earlier! With the terrible decisions you are making ;-) over politics I would encourage you to at least think wider and it isn’t just a matter of economics. You have implied that you see either capitalism (by some miracle of technology) saving the day or a collapse back to some feudal form of society. Wouldn’t it be worth while thinking as early as possible about whether these are the only choices?

    I don’t have the answers and, hopefully will be dead before things get really bad but I wouldn’t be too sure that your lifetime won’t see things changing badly for the worse.

  617. #617 Rorschach
    February 22, 2010

    Oh, and sorry Canada, but I’m sure you’ll correct this little mishap later in the tournament !

    There was a time when Germany was at least a semi-serious Ice Hockey nation, but that was when Reagan was President unfortunately……

  618. #618 David Marjanovi?
    February 22, 2010

    The CE,E,E,E,E,E,EO appears to be too ill to fulfill his moderation duties; my comment with the 5 links still isn’t up. So I’ll post again, in two parts, one of them improved.

    =======================

    :) I have a special place in my heart for Tang.

    Which one do you mean? ~:-| The drink? …Oh, the article for the drink says: “It was initially intended as a breakfast drink, but sales were poor until NASA began using it on Gemini flights in 1965 (researched at Natick Soldier Systems Center), which was heavily advertised. Since that time, it has been associated with the U.S. manned spaceflight program, so much so that an urban legend emerged that Tang was invented for the space program.” :-)

    though still somehow tired

    Of course. Sleeping till 11 am once isn’t enough to catch up with a whole week of too little sleep.

    ok, i won’t.

    :-) :-) :-)

    *kisses on both cheeks*

    I hope it doesn’t sound cruel when I say I’ve been waiting for your birthday for months. That’s because I planned ahead what to sing…

    <sing voice=”choir:heterophonic”>
    Stoooo lat,
    stoooo lat,
    niech ?yje, ?yje naaaam,
    niech ?yje naaaam!
    </sing>

    <sing voice=”choir:childish”>
    Hoooch soll sie leeeben,
    an der Decke kleeeben,
    runterfallen, Popschi knallen,
    ja, so ist das Leeeben!
    </sing>

    <sing voice=”choir:drunk; accent:’12th district of Vienna'”>
    Wir singen der Jadehawk ein Lied,
    wir singen der Jadehawk ein Lied,
    Jaaaadehawk, du Aaaarschloch,
    warum lebst du immer noch!!!
    </sing>

    <sing voice=”choir:aristocratic”>
    Bon anniversaireuh,
    nos v?ux les plus sincèreuh,
    et que, l’an fini,
    nous soyons tous réunis !
    Nous chantons au ch?ur :
    Bon anniversai-ai-reuh!
    </sing>

    they are now ;-)

    <mouses over link>

    WTF! FIAT takes over Chrysler! What is the world coming to! Lenovo taking over IBM is one thing, but… but…

    *finally stops blushing, relaxes face, lowers voice*

    Oooookay. Here goes:

    Fix it again, Tony!
    Fehler in allen Teilen (mistakes in all parts)
    für Italiener ausreichende Technik (technology sufficient for Italians)

    I’ll just replace Velcro with ARPANET in future discussions.

    Al Gore invented the Internet, and Ted Stevens invented its tubes.

    (That’s right, there’s a Wikipedia article entitled “Series of tubes”.)

    being a year older + hitting puberty early = every kid’s nightmare

    Being a year older got you teased in Germany?

    What the fuck.

    Haven’t those barbarians grasped it that the teacher is the enemy!?!

    <knees trembling>

    That’s a culture shock. I hope the sheltered academic environment in which I’ll try to apply for postdocs in Germany will be just that ? sheltered. :-S

  619. #619 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    February 22, 2010

    Walton,
    It has been my experience that those who understand least about technology are the most likely to think that it will save us from the mathematical certainty that we cannot grow forever.

    I am a strong believer in technology. I’ve worked pretty much right in the middle of the electronics revolution much of my career. It is because of this that I realize that technology does not just “happen”. The classic example is of course Moore’s Law–which states that electonic performance (e.g. speed, density, etc.) doubles every 18-24 months. When Gordon Moore first set down his musings on the subject, it was driven by actual physics. There was a recipe for shrinking a particular electronics technology (CMOS), and the transistors would work. That lasted up ’til the mid ’80s. Since that time, Moore’s Law has been more about economics than technology: It represents the performance requirements to remain economically competitive. It is interesting that this has spawned a lot of collaboration between semiconductor companies, the fruits of which can be found in the International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors.

    http://www.itrs.net/

    If you want to understand where electronics is going, this is an interesting read. It also demonsrates the power of directed research and collaboration between governments and publicly traded companies.

    While the success over 40 years of Moore’s law is impressive, there are examples of technological development that have an even longer track record of success–and without all the directed research.

    Rosenfeld’s Law states that the energy required to generate $1 of economic growth has decreased by 1% every year since 1845:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosenfeld's_Law

    Note that this has happened without any directed research or government intervention. I wonder what could be achieved with an ITRS-type effort on a global scale.

    Rosenfeld’s law has generated a great deal of optimism among some:
    http://www.technologyreview.com/energy/12871/

    I wish I could share their optimism. Unfortunately, a concerted effort to accelerate benefits due to such trends is precisely the sort of thing that will attract the opposition of Libertarian anti-science asshattery.

  620. #620 David Marjanovi?
    February 22, 2010

    Part 2 of 2.

    I always felt that way if I overslept my normal quotient by an hour or more

    How do you manage to sleep more than necessary? ~:-|

    Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrica

    Not with C. That would be pronounced this way. :^)

    OK, it’s driving me to distraction. In the ’90s, some group in SA came up with a dance version of the national anthem, and people were playing and dancing to it in clubs.

    On the first page of YouTube results I found another version.

    I’ll go to bed and laugh myself to sleep :-)

    [Update: I did, I did.]

  621. #621 Walton
    February 22, 2010

    You have implied that you see either capitalism (by some miracle of technology) saving the day or a collapse back to some feudal form of society. Wouldn’t it be worth while thinking as early as possible about whether these are the only choices?

    I don’t see how there are other choices. If we were all forced to immediately reduce our resource consumption and living standards to a level that is environmentally sustainable in the long term, we would be living in miserable poverty and deprivation. As I see it, therefore, there are three options:

    (1) Take extreme measures now to tackle threats to the environment. This will plunge many of us (except the very rich and the political elite, who will take care of themselves as they always do) into poverty and deprivation, and deprive us of most of the amenities which we enjoy, not to mention depriving millions in industrialising countries of the opportunity to escape existing poverty.
    (2) Continue living our current lifestyle until the resources run out. This will also plunge most of us into poverty and deprivation, but will do so a bit later than option (1).
    (3) Develop technologies that allow us to maintain a decent lifestyle while consuming fewer resources. This may well be impossible or impractical, but it’s the only option that doesn’t result in poverty and deprivation for most of the world’s population, so I would suggest that we have to try.

  622. #622 Jadehawk, OM
    February 22, 2010

    thats….um….a very impressive song, David. thanks, I think.

    and on that note, good night everyone.

  623. #623 Walton
    February 22, 2010

    Jadehawk

    and on that note, good night everyone.

    Assuming you’re on North American Central Time (Wikipedia says North Dakota is split between Central and Mountain Time), am I right in saying that it’s about 5.30am where you are?! And I thought my sleeping habits were bad…

  624. #624 SEF
    February 22, 2010
  625. #625 Rorschach
    February 22, 2010

    Ok, bedtime too, not without leaving you guys of the morning shift with something to chew on tho :

    An article about Texans, its title is, “Meet the Flintstones”

    Enjoy !

    ;)

  626. #626 Stephen Wells
    February 22, 2010

    @Walton: It’s not nearly as bad as you imagine. Nobody is proposing that we deliberately plunge ourselves and the whole globe into poverty. But there’s no reason not to take a good hard look at what constitutes your “decent lifestyle” and reflect that you can actually live decently right now, with current technology, and consume fewer resources than the average, _while_ we work on the future technologies we need. Buying potatoes in huge sacks instead of tiny plastic bags; growing edibles as well as flowers (we have the tiniest garden and we didn’t buy a bean or a tomato all last summer); insulating your house; getting an efficient boiler; turning down the heating and wearing a sweater and big woolly slippers; low-flow aerated shower head; not buying shiny expensive gadgets you don’t need; cooking your own good food from cheap local ingredients; none of these things constitutes hardship or poverty and all of them _help_.

  627. #627 negentropyeater
    February 22, 2010

    Problem being that with the current economic system, the fewer shiny expensive gadgets or other useless services we consume, the higher the unemployement. Our society has become so critically dependent on technology and consumption growth that it seems there is no turning back. Not unless we completely rethink the very foundations of our socio-economic model : why do people need to own assets ? We will need to turn the entire system on its head, transition from a property/competition model to a usage/cooperation model.
    I don’t see any other alternative. The rest are just small plasters on a sinking ship.

  628. #628 Antiochus Epiphanes
    February 22, 2010

    David–I see that the meaning of the “Happy Birthday” song is subtly different auf Deutsch.

  629. #629 ianmhor
    February 22, 2010

    negentropyeater #626:

    transition from a property/competition model to a usage/cooperation model.

    That transition is where I have the greatest difficulty. That old joke about “if you want to get there I wouldn’t start from here” keeps rising in my mind.

    Pointers to anyone who has really thought it through would be interesting.

  630. #630 Carlie
    February 22, 2010
  631. #631 windy
    February 22, 2010

    Good night or good morning, to each according to his or her need.

    Feynmaniac:

    There are many people in the current system who would love to get ration cards.

    Food stamps as income (via Casaubon’s Book)

    There is a lot of discussion of the sustainability of our civilization on that blog, so some of you might want to check it out even if you may not agree with her proposed solutions (something to do with pickled kale?) [if anyone was put off by that atheist-baiting thread a while back, it seems to be atypical]

    I don’t know, increasing local food production and storage should be part of the solution, but to me it seems that focusing on that may be skipping a few steps on the way to the coming apocalypse.

  632. #632 SC OM
    February 22, 2010

    My opinion on capitalism really doesn’t matter, anyway. I’m not planning on going into politics – at least not for a long time. My broadly libertarian outlook motivates me to want to protect civil liberties, and to help those who are oppressed by government, especially refugees and asylum-seekers and those unjustly detained; this is a goal with which I suspect most people here would agree, and it’s what I intend to spend the next few years of my life doing, if I succeed in my ambitions.

    OK, planning a longer response, but I just read this and wanted to get in a word. Walton, is it possible for you in the meantime to volunteer with a nonprofit that helps these people? I think by learning about them and getting to know something about the history of their countries, you might be able to appreciate that they haven’t only been oppressed by government, but by capitalism, and how these have worked together. It would help you to get a better grasp of how capitalism has long functioned as a world system (one of whose modern features, of course, is that capital can cross borders significantly more easily than people).

  633. #633 negentropyeater
    February 22, 2010

    ianmhor,

    Pointers to anyone who has really thought it through would be interesting.

    Honestly, I don’t know. I have been searching the internets for this for a year or so, but it seems there is an intellectual vaccuum here. Many seem conscious about the fact that we are heading for the wall but I haven’t seen anywhere a pragmatic description of an alternate path.
    I have read a few vague things, but nothing concrete ready for implementation.

    So we just continue as if a technological miracle is going to save us, like Walton says.

    Many of my friends say I’m a pessimist because of my bleek outlook about the mide term future. But I think they are the pessimists, because they prefer to close their eyes and dream, whereas I believe we will only find solutions to the number ONE issue of our time when we raise people’s consciousness about where we are heading.
    We need to stop with the illusions of half baked GREEN solutions and building fake prosperity based on debt from the future. It’s not going to work.

  634. #634 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 22, 2010

    One way people can help reduce their carbon footprint is to live closer to their work if they drive. A couple of people in my department have 30+ minute commutes each way. I had to slow down this morning due to the slippery roads, and I was at work in 7 minutes.

  635. #635 AJ Milne
    February 22, 2010

    It has been my experience that those who understand least about technology are the most likely to think that it will save us from the mathematical certainty that we cannot grow forever.

    I work in the semiconductor biz, have a while, sorta figure I know that technology, and a few neighbouring it, at least. And while I can’t comment on any correlation I’ve noticed between understanding of technology and confidence (misplaced, at the higher levels, absolutely) in the potential of technology to solve certain problems it probably isn’t going to address anytime soon–or possibly ever–I can generally say it seems to me there’s a whole class of problems in the tyranny of small decisions/tragedy of the commons category for which the presence, absence, or even potential for even existing of technological fixes becomes almost moot in the real world.

    I mean, we have potential technological fixes–or at the very least ameliorating methods–for huge and extremely important areas of difficulty the world is currently facing. To take the most obvious example that occurs to me, we really don’t in any absolute sense need to rely upon fossil fuels to the degree we do now as an energy source. Argue as you like over the relative viability of the alternatives, my point is: we certainly could use them more than we do.

    We don’t because of a complex of what you could generally class as political and social factors. Inertia, to some degree, a lack of political will to push as hard as we could toward weaning ourselves off of coal and oil, and all of this in the face of genuine and enormous costs to continuing the way we have.

    My larger point being, given most real world problems: research into technological fixes generally doesn’t come along to say ‘Here’s a silver bullet, solves all the problems’, and all we gotta do is collectively say ‘Oh, well, let’s do that, then’. Technology offers you better ways, but generally, yes, there are other costs, there are other complications; we get better at stuff, but nothing comes for free. So sure, wind turbines are nice, but they’re ugly, and they kill birds. Solar is nice, but you can’t just turn it on for your peak periods like you can coal driving steam through a turbine…

    And we get so hung up on those, and there’s so much bullshit and FUD spread by vested interests (witness the noise from those still trying to confuse the public perception of the real hazards of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions) trying probably almost entirely in poor faith just to fuck with that kind of progress that it strikes me: that’s the real problem, right there.

    (/Shorter: technology, we can do. Getting people together to fucking use it as well as we could, that’s what we really need to get better at.)

  636. #636 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    February 22, 2010

    Walton says, “Take extreme measures now to tackle threats to the environment. This will plunge many of us (except the very rich and the political elite, who will take care of themselves as they always do) into poverty and deprivation, and deprive us of most of the amenities which we enjoy, not to mention depriving millions in industrialising countries of the opportunity to escape existing poverty.”

    What horse puckey! Talk about alarmist, Walton. There is plenty of fat to trim off of our current consumption patterns. Look at the experience of Juneau, AK. When they were cut off from their cheap hydroelectric power by an avalanche and the cost of power tripled, they managed to cut power consumption by nearly 40%!

    http://www.lbl.gov/publicinfo/newscenter/features/2008/EETD-alaska.html

    Most (75%) of the reductions came within a week. No preparation, no planning. Just necessity, and quality of life did not suffer appreciably. The problem is that people have become “snivelized”. They cry whenever anyone talks about any sort of decrease in consumption whether that decrease would adversely affect their enjoyment of life or not.

  637. #637 Antiochus Epiphanes
    February 22, 2010

    Technology will certainly NOT save our asses (collective or fiercely independent as they might be) if we don’t support its development. This is where the free market system really fails. Corporate research and development do not proceed if the profit-risk assessment is uncertain. Long-term, risky projects aren’t ever initiated. On the other hand, the federal government supports all kinds of basic and applied science which can lead to innovation without some a priori marketing model…however, the budgets for some of these agencies has been more or less frozen since Clinton left the white-house, and with this recession on, these budgets are also very likely the first to get slashed.

    So when people say technology will save us, I’m not sure how they think that’s going to happen without a substantial investment in education and funding for basic research.

    The take home message is please, NSF, give me some goddamned money!

  638. #638 Sven DiMilo
    February 22, 2010

    wtf?

    I just had the weirdest dream…Walton was apparently arguing with people about economics, and then somebody–a guy, I think–started singing–I think–a song–ditto–in a germanish kind of language, that kept repeating something that sounded like ‘Yodda-howk’…then, this, this cat came leaping through like a portal from a CGI wonderland with…with, like, dancing chickens, and…and um hermit crabs, and shit?

    weird.

    And so yeah but then so the cat sez “Technology will certainly NOT save our asses,” just as these, like, bacon-wrapped hamburger/hotdog turtles show up and start playing Pig in a Pen on banjos and…um…something about…

    hockey?

    need coffee

    watch portcullis

  639. #639 negentropyeater
    February 22, 2010

    What horse puckey! Talk about alarmist, Walton. There is plenty of fat to trim off of our current consumption patterns.

    There’s no doubt we can cut a lot of fat, but the problem with our current socio-economic system is that when you reduce consumption, you increase unemployement :
    overall consumption in the US has gone down by about 6% from pre crisis level, savings rate increased ny the same amount, but the consequence is that unemployement went up from 6 to 10%. Imagine we’d cut consumption by another 20%, it’d be an economic catastrophy.
    Of course we need to reduce consumption, but we need first to find a way to avoid the systemic consequences of this.

  640. #640 Carlie
    February 22, 2010

    Reducing overall consumption doesn’t have to mean spending less and therefore tanking the economy, though. For example, buying all of your takeout lunch needs from a place like this costs more in the short (and even medium) term than buying disposables, although it is less consumption overall in terms of physical stuff. Shifting the kinds of consumption we do would cost more as people have to be retrained to different jobs, and might not lead to less spending overall (another price example: compact fluorescents v. incandescent bulbs), but would still lessen overall consumption.

  641. #641 SC OM
    February 22, 2010

    My comments last night have certainly sparked a lot of response.

    Comments like this are creepy, Walton. They make you sound like an ego-troll.

    But at the same time, there is a basic level of amenity which, in the developed world,

    Another phrase I hate. This isn’t teleological. Some countries have more industry and are located, due to a violent history, in a different strategic position in a global system. That’s it. They’re not at a higher stage of “development” or any such nonsense.

    we virtually all enjoy. All of us on this thread, by definition, have access to a computer for recreational purposes, otherwise we couldn’t be here. Most of us are accessing this through broadband internet connections. And I’m fairly sure that virtually everyone here has a refrigerator, indoor plumbing, heating, and so on.

    *eyeroll* Capitalism brought us indoor plumbing now? And vaccines! And electricity! Look, I’m so tired of this idea that if someone opposes capitalist-driven change she is opposed to science and technology per se, or advocating some “back to the land” scheme. (In fact urban living is environmentally desirable in many ways.) I think science and technology are essential if we’re going to continue to exist on the planet (if it’s not already too late). But they have to be organized differently, in a way that consciously directs them toward solving real human problems in a sustainable manner. Science has been organized like this in many ways (though I would like to see more local programs that involve communities), and with impressive results. But the involvement of corporations turns them toward corporations’ single end: profit. They are not interested in solutions for major problems unless these are profitable, they have no interest in workers’ lives, they are only interested in effective demand, and they have no interest in sustainability.

    Empirical science is not capitalism. It is difficult to separate out the capitalist influences, since it’s long been a capitalist world and science is not exempt (funny how you don’t hear people crediting slavery with technological advances under it). People around the world would be living better lives if capitalism had never existed, and if science and technology had developed in a more anarchistic fashion.

    And without capitalist industries, and their drive to make money, these products would not be manufactured and sold at prices we can afford.

    Heating and plumbing are not products. Developing sustainable heating and insulation systems is urgently important, but capitalism will not push for them. Finding solutions to these sorts of problems is not what capitalism is about. Creating the problems is what capitalism is about – it’s a model of limitless growth and constantly created wants for the few on a planet where resources are finite and billions of people increasingly can’t fulfill their basic needs.

    Look, the fact is that the lifestyle of a small portion of the earth’s population living in a few countries is killing the planet. Even if no one else joined our orgy of consumption this can’t go on if we or other species are to survive.

    But a capitalist-mixed economy has, on the whole, served our society very well as a form of socio-economic organisation.

    Speak for yourself.

    And it isn’t a zero-sum game; it doesn’t require keeping the developing world in poverty.

    In practice, though, it has been. They don’t always need to violently repress strikes or uprisings, enslave or exploit workers and when they resist pick up and move somewhere people are even more powerless, support fascism, steal land and other resources through force and fraud, set up mining operations that destroy people’s land and poison them, buy their public services and sell them their water at a profit, steal local water, dump toxic waste in poor countries, support dictatorships, overthrow or kidnap presidents of countries for raising the minimum wage or resisting the IMF or wanting to regain local control of resources,… But they do. And they have for centuries. So I’d conclude that it’s a need of sorts.

    Those formerly poor countries which have embraced capitalism and industrialisation in the last fifty years, such as South Korea and Taiwan, are now relatively rich. Parts of China and India are going the same way (though other parts remain desperately poor).

    Look at the history of poor countries over the past fifty years. Look at the violence and violations of people’s rights required to force them into economic processes many didn’t want any part of. Look at the indices of human well-being in countries that “embraced capitalism” the most. Look at the indices of inequality (Eduardo Galeano once wrote something like, “Who is it that makes this per capita income? I’d like to meet him”). Look at how soil and water and forests have been wasted and poisoned in ways that will take a very long time to recover even if allowed to. Look at how foreign corporations have gained political control over people and the means for satisfying their needs. Look at how people are living.

    Technological advance will hopefully allow more people to access a Western-style standard of living, while consuming fewer resources than the average person in the developed world currently does.

    This sentence makes little sense. No one is arguing against technological advance. What I’m arguing for is for technological advance to organized and directed for solving problems, local to global. “Western-style standard of living” is ill-defined, and you apparently want to conflate consumer crap with clean water, health care, education, etc. And you have no reason whatsoever to think that corporations have any interest in doing anything to reduce consumption of resources. Who the hell do you think funds the Heartland Institute? When corporations are spending billions of dollars to spread lies about AGW, it is disingenuous to express hope that capitalism will advance technologies to reduce resource use.

    This obviously isn’t guaranteed;

    No kidding.

    but technological advance is our only hope, if we don’t want the world to return to squalor and poverty.

    Science is a major element of our only hope. It must be combined with a large reduction in consumption in our countries. I don’t happen to think this would be a bad thing even for the people who think they are benefiting from the current system. In order to do this, though, the stranglehold of corporations has to be broken. We need as societies to claim the right to determine our priorities and which technologies we want to research and develop. And much of the world is in poverty now.

    And under pressure of limited resources and with the drive to make money and when directing our investigations toward the end of creating a livable world for ourselves and our descendents, and rewarding people for their contributions to human well-being, human beings tend to be quite innovative.

    Fixed.

    ***

    but the problem with our current socio-economic system is that when you reduce consumption, you increase unemployement

    That’s a feature of capitalism. Crises of overproduction can only temporarily be avoided.

  642. #642 Mr T
    February 22, 2010

    Walton:

    I consume maybe half the resources of the average U.S. citizen. That’s a rough estimate. Maybe it’s 60% or 40%, but the exact figure doesn’t matter for my point to hold. I’m fairly poor, so this isn’t only a conscious decision but also a financial necessity for me. Still, I don’t live in fucking “squalor”. The only deprivation I experience is from stuff I do not need. I do this right now without the benefit of some magical technology that reduces my consumption of resources. It’s all very low-tech, actually. If more environmentally-friendly technologies were available, it could be reduced even more, but technology alone will not be enough. Individual behavior also has to change, as well as our political and economic systems.

  643. #643 negentropyeater
    February 22, 2010

    The take home message is please, NSF, give me some goddamned money!

    For that, you’ll need to convince your fellow Americans to accept to pay more taxes. Wishing you good luck (says a fellow European who pays 1.2 Euros for a liter of gasoline, that’s 7.5$ for every gallon).

  644. #644 Mr T
    February 22, 2010

    grr… html tag failure. Only “right now” was supposed to be in italics.

    Those technology wizards need to update the “text formatting toolbar” so it works with Firefox 3.6. I refuse to live in such squalor. Market forces will surely drive this innovation. Get crackin’, wizards.

  645. #645 Lynna, OM
    February 22, 2010

    Jadehawk @601: My brother, Leland (the photographer), has fond memories of the Broncos he used to own. With their short wheel base and locking differential, plus great skid plates, and great clearance, they were highly desirable as back country rigs.

    He now has an older truck that has been completely renovated for rough road work. We cal the truck “The Predator”. Leland has put new engines and new transmissions into it twice. He does all his own repairs, and a good thing too. The newest addition is a roll bar installed in the bed, which I like not because I’m looking forward to rolling the truck, but because when one rides in the back for purposes of scouting terrain, one can hold on to the roll bar. Standing up back there has provided some of my more memorable rides. You need soft knees (like those ice skaters on the Olympics), and quick reflexes.

    Riding in the back of pickup trucks is not recommended. We don’t do that on regular roads, just on the super slow parts of expeditions.

  646. #646 SC OM
    February 22, 2010

    I have a lot to do for the next couple of days, so may not be able to comment again till Wednesday.

    Happy belated birthday, Jadehawk, and have a nice next few days, all!

  647. #647 Dania
    February 22, 2010

    Those technology wizards need to update the “text formatting toolbar” so it works with Firefox 3.6.

    It has been updated, but the updated version doesn’t show up on addons.mozilla.org, for some reason. You have to install it from here:

    http://codefisher.org/format_toolbar/

  648. #648 Lynna, OM
    February 22, 2010

    Oh, I almost forgot to wish Jadehawk a Happy Birthday. So,
    Happy B-Day, and many more!

  649. #649 Matt Penfold
    February 22, 2010

    Riding in the back of pickup trucks is not recommended. We don’t do that on regular roads, just on the super slow parts of expeditions.

    I once got deposited in the largest cowpat I have ever when thrown off the back of Land Rover when it hit a large rut going across a muddy field.

    Thankfully the ground was soft, and I suffered I no damage, other than smelling a bit.

  650. #650 negentropyeater
    February 22, 2010

    Carlie,

    there are many good examples of what you mention. But unfortunately for now, it seems most people would rather buy at Walmart 5 mass produced sweatshirts shipped from indonesia than a single quality handknit from the handycraft next door.

    One of the great “benefits” of capitalism is to produce and push down your throat more stuff at a lesser cost and a lesser quality.

    There might be an emerging trend towards more quality small scale local prodcution, but the economic crisis is also driving towards even more concentration and the destruction of small entreprise.

  651. #651 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 22, 2010

    Those technology wizards need to update the “text formatting toolbar” so it works with Firefox 3.6.

    That was one reason (the other was Real flash video downloader also broke) that I converted back 3.5. With Dania’s link, time to test it out again. And with TimeMachine, an easy downgrade again if it is necessary.

  652. #652 Lynna, OM
    February 22, 2010

    Now some Islamists want to prohibit non-Muslims from referring to God as Allah. The article is by Christopher Hitchens.

    In Malaysia last month, there was vicious rioting after high court judge Lau Bee Lan issued a ruling on the proper naming of God. A complaint had been lodged by Muslim groups that local Christians were using the word Allah in their services and publications. (In the Malay language, that happens to be the word for God, a term Christians find it hard to do without.) …Several churches and convents have been firebombed and defaced, and the Malaysian government has publicly regretted the court’s decision. According to an Associated Press report, the authorities believe that “making Allah synonymous with god may confuse Muslims and ultimately mislead them into converting to Christianity.” The danger of this seems small?most of Malaysia’s 2.5 million Christians are ethnically Chinese or Indian, and indeed there is a slight but unmistakable racist tinge to the Malayan Muslim demand for an ethno-linguistic monopoly on the word for the deity.
         This is interesting and alarming for several reasons. First, it is happening in one of the world’s most celebratedly “moderate” Muslim states. It seems very probable that the same sectarian intolerance will now spread to neighboring Indonesia, which has a language very similar to Malaysia’s in which the “G-word” is also Allah no matter which confession is employing it. This would add to the existing pressure being brought by Islamists in Indonesia to reduce the size and influence of the country’s Christian minority, as well as to make Islam an enforceable religion by means of sharia.

  653. #653 Carlie
    February 22, 2010

    neg – that’s the big flaw; however, that’s where larger scale interventions and serious reorienting of our economic structure could come into play. Look at the compact fluorescent example: incandescents were simply outlawed, period, as of a specific date in the future. That is a pretty draconian way of doing it, and will definitely hurt some people and businesses along the way, but it’s one way to deal with the problem (and already companies have been spurred by that to produce cheaper ones now that there’s a ready-made market for competition). A government could offer more tax breaks to companies producing or using environmentally sound products, or tax wasteful ones more heavily. Individual decisions about “which one will I buy” can only go so far; it does take coordinated large-scale effort for any change that makes a real difference.

  654. #654 Lynna, OM
    February 22, 2010

    Interesting language tidbits (David M. will enjoy this bit of Hitchens riffing on language):

    It won’t surprise you, I hope, to learn that I have been an expert on this for decades and took it in literally with my mother’s milk. My earliest years were spent in the island nation of Malta, that wonderful spot of earth between Libya and Sicily, with its capital, Valetta, perhaps the greatest Baroque and Renaissance city in Europe. Malta has a language of its own, which I used to speak in a boyish way. The Maltese tongue was once considered by some philologists to be descended from the speech of the Carthaginians, but by far its closest kinship is with the Arabic spoken in the Maghreb of Libya, Tunisia, and Morocco. It is the only Semitic language rendered in a Latin script, and, along with English, it is an official language of the country. Since Malta’s accession as the smallest member state, it is also an official language of the European Union. And in Maltese, the printed word for God is Alla, which means that when spoken by a priest, it sounds exactly the same.

  655. #655 ianmhor
    February 22, 2010

    negentropyeater #632:

    Thanks. You have obviously had the same lack of success I have had.

    I consider myself an optimist but the limited future prospects of the current world society is one thing that gets me in a pessimistic mood. I can and do reduce my use of resources avoiding “stuff” etc but that doesn’t reduce burden on the environment from the resource depletion the government does on my behalf. So it needs change both from individuals and governments and latter’s view of sustainability appears to be very much just tweaking capitalism which so far has failed to convince.

  656. #656 David Marjanovi?
    February 22, 2010

    It didn’t occur to me until much much later that this sounds suspiciously like getting addicted to drugs, but it does, doesn’t it?

    It sounds really scary, and I have to think again about winning the Self-Pity Olympics. :-S I’m too clueless of meatspace to be susceptible to that kind of peer pressure.

    We (at that time I actually had meatspace friends) played a lot of pretend games, too ? Ghostbusters and Ninja Turtles. Both based on TV series and comics I still haven’t ever seen, while everyone else had.

    almost all my clothes are doubly and triply patched and resown and ancient by American standards :-p

    I still wear some stuff handed down from my uncles. And then my brother gets it, as far as his very different proportions allow.

    Some of my summer T-shirts are 10 years old, though it starts to show.

    I think I’ve already mentioned the jacket I’ve been wearing for, like, 15 years now, when it probably was 30 years old already ? my dad had got it when he lived in the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

    sailing boat, n. A hole in the water into which is poured immense amounts of money.

    :-D

    interesting

    [comment 554] Oh yes.

    I’m watching “Django”, a copy of which conveniently fell off a breaking timber truck today.

    Srsly?

    WTF.

    Quote from the movie : “They have some kind of religion, they’re all crazy”

    :D

    Ha, I didn’t notice :-)

    *groan*

    really?

    “technology will save us all”?

    really?

    this isn’t any more likely or realistic than your old “the free market will save us all” trope, you know….

    It absolutely is.

    Just probably not by enough of a margin.

    Especially so at the current kinds of science budgets. Why aren’t billions thrown at research into how to make some use of solar energy, to name just one little thing?

    Since that time, Moore’s Law has been more about economics than technology: It represents the performance requirements to remain economically competitive. It is interesting that this has spawned a lot of collaboration between semiconductor companies, the fruits of which can be found in the International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors.

    I had no idea, but I can’t say I’m surprised. Competition is expensive and therefore selected against, in biology as well as in economics. As soon as competition isn’t artificially enforced, companies start cooperating (or merging) so they don’t have to compete (as much) anymore. Nobody in their right mind wants to fight all the way to the bitter end.

    As I see it, therefore, there are three options:

    Why not try a mixture?

    thanks, I think.

    The riskiest adventure I’ve ever consciously embarked on has worked, I think.

    Problem being that with the current economic system, the fewer shiny expensive gadgets or other useless services we consume, the higher the unemployement.

    Though this is not as bad as it once was! Fewer and fewer people work in industry, automatization has been making more and more of them superfluous for centuries now. More and more people work in, uh, services, worldwide.

    That said, the effect of automatization is so great that I don’t think we’ll ever have full employment anymore, barring a population collapse or suchlike. As a society, we’ll need to come to grips with the fact that there aren’t enough jobs for everyone anymore.

    (Of course, this is something that things like higher science budgets could ameliorate. But not to its full extent, I bet. ? Although ? there most obviously is enough science left for everyone. Hmmm. </mad scientist>)

    I see that the meaning of the “Happy Birthday” song is subtly different auf Deutsch.

    “Happy Birthday” isn’t even in there. The first of the two German songs I posted is a parody of an incredibly insipid birthday song that consists of nothing but repetitions and multiplications of “vivat” ? its entire text follows: ||: Hoch soll er/sie leben :||, dreimal hoch!. That just cried for a parody.

    The actual “Happy Birthday” has been imported. It, too, has been parodized by making the text less repetitive, though the parody is considerably less imaginative than the one I posted:

    Happy birthday to you,
    Marmelade im Schuh,
    Coca Cola in der Hose/im Pullover,
    happy birthday to you!

    ?so I had forgotten about it, and it’s probably less likely to get someone out of a depression anyway.

    It’s from Austria, so Marmelade is jam in general, not just marmelade ? the very idea of making that kind of thing of lemons or oranges is scarcely known.

    The second German song I posted is just brutal. I hope it’s not what you were talking about. :^)

    Incidentally, while I know sto lat from live performances (at the dig) where everyone sings it to a similar but different tune, it has an article in the English Wikipedia.

    The French one is not a parody, except I messed with the spelling a bit to show what the tune does to the pronunciation (that’s common in singing in French). It’s not so insipid as to require a parody. :-)

    Any requests for translation of any of these? Or of the toilet paper song? B-)

  657. #657 negentropyeater
    February 22, 2010

    I baked a cheesecake today.
    Maybe one day the technolgical advances on which Walton puts so much hope will allow me to share it accross the internets with my fellow Pharyngulites in honour of Jadehawk’s birthday.

    For now, here’s to Jadehawk, a piece of internet cheesecake, and a happy birthday.

  658. #658 Lynna, OM
    February 22, 2010

    Amnesty International seems to have gone off track a bit:

         ….Amnesty International has just suspended one of its senior officers, a woman named Gita Sahgal who until recently headed the organization’s “gender unit.” It’s fairly easy to summarize her concern in her own words. “To be appearing on platforms with Britain’s most famous supporter of the Taliban, whom we treat as a human rights defender,” she wrote, “is a gross error of judgment.” One might think that to be an uncontroversial statement, but it led to her immediate suspension.
         The background is also distressingly easy to summarize. Moazzem Begg, a British citizen, was arrested in Pakistan after fleeing Afghanistan in the aftermath of the intervention in 2001. He was imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay and then released. He has since become the moving spirit in a separate organization calling itself Cageprisoners. Begg does not deny his past as an Islamist activist, which took him to Afghanistan in the first place. He does not withdraw from his statement that the Taliban was the best government available to Afghanistan.
         Cageprisoners has another senior member named Asim Qureshi, who speaks in defense of jihad at rallies sponsored by the extremist group Hizb-ut Tahrir (banned in many Muslim countries). Cageprisoners also defends men like Abu Hamza, leader of the mosque that sheltered Richard “Shoe Bomber” Reid among many other violent and criminal characters who have been convicted in open court of heinous offenses that have nothing at all to do with freedom of expression. Yet Amnesty International includes Begg in delegations that petition the British government about human rights. For Saghal to say that Cageprisoners has a program that goes “way beyond being a prisoners’ rights organization” is to say the very least of it. But that’s all she had to say in order to be suspended from her job. As I write this, she is experiencing some difficulty in getting a lawyer to represent her. Such is?so far?the prestige of Amnesty International.
         ”Although it is said that we must defend everybody no matter what they’ve done,” she comments, “it appears that if you’re a secular, atheist, Asian British woman, you don’t deserve a defense from our civil rights firms.”…

    Source: http://www.slate.com/id/2244802/

  659. #659 Lynna, OM
    February 22, 2010

    Marmelade! Uh, oh. My addiction to oranges has been triggered. Must plan trip to market to stock up.

    A new look at North Korea:

    …the day should not long be postponed when the whole peninsula was united under the beaming rule of the Dear Leader. The people of South Korea, he pointed out, were becoming mongrelized. They wedded foreigners?even black American soldiers, or so he’d heard to his evident disgust?and were losing their purity and distinction. Not for Mr. Chae the charm of the ethnic mosaic, but rather a rigid and unpolluted uniformity….
         I was struck at the time by how matter-of-factly he said this, as if he took it for granted that I would find it uncontroversial….
         The whole idea of communism is dead in North Korea, and its most recent “Constitution,” “ratified” last April, has dropped all mention of the word. The analogies to Confucianism are glib, and such parallels with it as can be drawn are intended by the regime only for the consumption of outsiders. Myers makes a persuasive case that we should instead regard the Kim Jong-il system as a phenomenon of the very extreme and pathological right. It is based on totalitarian “military first” mobilization, is maintained by slave labor, and instills an ideology of the most unapologetic racism and xenophobia.

    Source: http://www.slate.com/id/2243112/

  660. #660 negentropyeater
    February 22, 2010

    More and more people work in, uh, services, worldwide.

    If you look at the labour statistics, you’ll find that a consequence of this crisis is that (in the West) the service sector has lost proportionately a similar amount of jobs as the other sectors.
    People have reduced their spending also means they’ve cut on hairdressers, restaurants, real estate transactions, etc…
    And let’s not forget that services also consume critical resources.

    As a society, we’ll need to come to grips with the fact that there aren’t enough jobs for everyone anymore.

    And what shall we do about it ? Accept that a significant share of people won’t have a job and compensate them with indefinite unemployement benefits, with the associated loss of dignity, or find ways to share the reduced workload more equitably ?

  661. #661 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    February 22, 2010

    negentropyeater says “There’s no doubt we can cut a lot of fat, but the problem with our current socio-economic system is that when you reduce consumption, you increase unemployement…”

    Tell that to my massage therapist, my dog walker, my financial adviser… The thing about a service/information-based economy is that one can consume without consuming “stuff”.

    There is a certain amount of “stuff” we need. There’s a lot of crap we don’t. Maybe, in an economy where the emphasis is less on stuff and more on people providing a service, we can get back to giving a damn about people. It’s one thing to say no to someone asking for spare change on the street. It’s quite another thing when you find that someone who plays an important role in your life is in need.

  662. #662 Matt Penfold
    February 22, 2010

    Marmelade! Uh, oh. My addiction to oranges has been triggered. Must plan trip to market to stock up.

    If you did not live so far away I would send some of the marmalade I made this year. Although I say so myself, it it pretty good. One of the people I gave a jar to finished it in less than a week.

  663. #663 Lynna, OM
    February 22, 2010

    @661

    If you did not live so far away I would send some of the marmalade I made this year. Although I say so myself, it it pretty good. One of the people I gave a jar to finished it in less than a week.

    Oh, Matt Penfold, you are a cruel, cruel person.

  664. #664 negentropyeater
    February 22, 2010

    Tell that to my massage therapist, my dog walker, my financial adviser… The thing about a service/information-based economy is that one can consume without consuming “stuff”.

    Because your massage therapist doesn’t consume critical resources ? When you pay for his service, that money goes to buy him food, water shelter, clothing, energy…

    It doesn’t matter where in the economic chain you find yourself, with the current capitalist system, when you reduce overall consumption of resources, you reduce overall employement levels. Be it in services or production or transport or government.
    As SC says, it’s a feature of capitalism. That’s why capitalism desperately NEEDS consumption and GDP growth. Without them, there is no succesful developement and no social equilibrium.

    That’s why the article you linked to above thread about Rosenfeld’s law is an optimist’s joke : capitalism requires a 3.5% global GDP growth not to break down (to yield so called potential employement). So even if there is a 1% efficiency gain on resources (Rosenfeld’s law), you still have a delta of 2.5%. Which means we’ll end up consuming more than 8 times more resources at the end of this century than we do now.

  665. #665 davem
    February 22, 2010

    Boiled potatoes I can just about stomach (with the addition of enough salt), but find them dull and bland.

    Go Indian style. Cut up spuds smallish, and boil as normal until just cooked. When done, cut into smaller lumps about 1/2 to 2/3 inch across. Heat ghee (or oil) in a frying pan, and add a chili cut up, turmeric, and spices to taste. Salt if you like. I usually use ground fenugreek and garam masala. This is manscooking, so no quantities here. Generous is good. Heat the spices until incorporated into the oil/ghee. Add spuds and turn until coated evenly. Cook until nice and brown. Remove chili bits. Serve immediately,with bacon, natch. Decide that was so nice, cook some more, trying different spice combos. Bloody lovely.

    Re communal ovens – seen them in Africa (Mali?). Sensible idea, given scarcity of wood for fuel. In ye olde days, this was done in Europe, too. Baker starts oven on Friday, housewives bring their dough mixtures, and they get baked over the course of a couple of hours. No one’s house burns down. Unless the baker is in Pudding Lane, of course…

  666. #666 Lynna, OM
    February 22, 2010

    Giving religious persons lighter sentences? Holy crap.

    ?I am going to suspend this sentence for the period of two years based on the fact you are a religious person and have not been in trouble before. You caused a mild fracture to the jaw of a member of the public standing in a queue at Lloyds Bank. You are a religious man and you know this is not acceptable behaviour.?
         What is certainly not acceptable behaviour is a judge handing down sentences based on personal views about religion, whether positive or negative. Mrs. Blair?s are publicly positive; she is well-known to be a Roman Catholic, as her husband the former Prime Minister now is also, having converted from Anglicanism; their children were educated at the Roman Catholic Brompton Oratory School; and the newly Roman Catholic Mr Blair has founded a religious organisation dedicated to promoting the ecumenicalism among the faiths.
         As a barrister Mrs. Blair should be able to see the inadmissible corollary of passing lenient sentences on believers because they are believers; namely, that non-believers should receive less lenient sentence…

    The article is by AC Grayling, source: http://www.richarddawkins.net/articles/5070

  667. #667 Matt Penfold
    February 22, 2010

    There is one good thing about Tony and Cherie being married to each. It means no one else has to suffer being married to one of them.

    I cannot think of two people in the UK I despise more than those two.

  668. #668 Dianne
    February 22, 2010

    That’s why capitalism desperately NEEDS consumption and GDP growth. Without them, there is no succesful developement and no social equilibrium.

    I always thought capitalism was, at its heart, a pyramid scheme.

  669. #669 David Marjanovi?
    February 22, 2010

    I hadn’t noticed the first time around ? the crocuses are blossoming. They have come out over the weekend.

    Sidebar quote:

    Sometimes it’s better to light a flamethrower than curse the darkness.

    (Terry Pratchett, Men at Arms)

    * * *

    So sure, wind turbines are nice, but they’re ugly,

    That depends. I’ve seen rather beautiful ones.

    and they kill birds.

    That(, too,) depends on the exact location.

    Solar is nice, but you can’t just turn it on for your peak periods like you can coal driving steam through a turbine…

    Then you need an accumulator. Or electrolyse water and send the hydrogen & oxygen through a fuel cell when needed. Or decentralise it all (solar panels on every roof). Or improve the continent-spanning grids to spread the peak periods a bit? or all of the above?

    It goes without saying that none of these ideas is new. They’re all at least 10 years old. I don’t need any imagination to rattle off a list of things that should be tried but haven’t been :^)

    another price example: compact fluorescents v. incandescent bulbs

    White LEDs are going to hit the market any year now. They’ll need even less energy and lack the other disadvantages of compact fluorescents.

    ?I fear they already said that 5 years ago, though. I suggest to throw more money at this problem. The potential of LEDs certainly looks great.

    Those technology wizards need to update the “text formatting toolbar” so it works with Firefox 3.6. I refuse to live in such squalor. Market forces will surely drive this innovation. Get crackin’, wizards.

    IE will implement it? a year or two after everyone else.

    Now some Islamists want to prohibit non-Muslims from referring to God as Allah.

    It’s funny when Islamists don’t know that Allah is just the Arabic word for “god” (or more literally “the god”, a contraction of al-‘ilah). It’s not a name.

    Myers [ha!] makes a persuasive case that we should instead regard the Kim Jong-il system as a phenomenon of the very extreme and pathological right. It is based on totalitarian “military first” mobilization, is maintained by slave labor, and instills an ideology of the most unapologetic racism and xenophobia.

    Well, the left-right axis is a circle? two words: National Socialism.

    Xenophobia also developed in East Germany to a considerably greater extent than in West Germany, because there were fewer foreigners in East Germany, and because the education system glossed over old prejudices instead of addressing them.* Even today, with communism and the border gone but the economic disparity remaining, the practically Nazi party NPD is a factor in regional politics there.

    * An extreme case of that was Yugoslavia, where it was an article of faith that all nationality problems had been solved in the best possible way; doubt ? heresy ? was a crime. In other words, a lid was put on the prejudices the peoples had of each other, but the heat wasn’t turned off, so, as soon as the lid broke apart, the blood spilled over.

    And what shall we do about it ? Accept that a significant share of people won’t have a job and compensate them with indefinite unemployement benefits, with the associated loss of dignity, or find ways to share the reduced workload more equitably ?

    Both.

    And fuck dignity. Honor is for Klingons, not for humans.

    marmalade

    Oops, yes, that’s the spelling in English (for, presumably, some reason).

    This is manscooking, so no quantities here.

    Fascinating how gender stereotypes differ between cultures. Where I come from*, women just know how much of everything they need, and men painstakingly count the grams and milliliters.

    * Though, actually, maybe it’s just my sister. ;-)

    Go Indian style.

    Sounds good!

    Giving religious persons lighter sentences? Holy crap.

    PZ blogged about this a week or two ago.

  670. #670 PZ Myers
    February 22, 2010

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