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I'm preparing to move on July 1; from the Southeast Como neighborhood in Minneapolis to Dayton's Bluff in St. Paul.

Will need to do some catching up next month.
There are people who believe conservative science fiction and fantasy have been unfairly slighted in the World Science Fiction Society awards (aka the Hugos.) As some of you know, this year two groups have tried to remedy the problem they see.

Perhaps there should be a list of older sf which Sad Puppies, Mad Puppies, and those inclined to agree with them might find objectionable.
Here is a start:

Robert A. Heinlein, Revolt in 2100. A strongly Christian US government is overthrown, with the author's obvious approval.
Robert A. Heinlein, The Puppet Masters. The future setting has term marriages.
Robert A. Heinlein, "Delilah and the Space Rigger." Blatant feminism.

H. G. Wells, The Time Machine. In the far future, descendants of the upper classes are exploited by the dictatorship of the proletariat. (Marxists might also find this novel objectionable.)

Harry Turtledove, Guns of the South. A victorious Confederate government deprives many citizens of their property.
Saturday May 29, 2015 Thnidu: "Let's take a train to Bermuda"?

Gonna need quite a tunnel for that.

[I was thinking of a bridge.]

href=http://www.metrolyrics.com/lets-get-away-from-it-all-lyrics-frank-sinatra.html>
Let's Get Away From It All
.......
And thanks for prompting me to look up the lyrics. I've had bits of this floating around inside my cerebrum for, probably, well over half a century.)

***Thnidu: "Wednesday May 6, 2015 NYTimes opinion piece on Catholicism had 666 online comments when I looked at it."

When I lived in Massachusetts, my phone number was, no [organic fertilizer], 508 877-6666. My kosher butcher said, "One of my other customers also has a phone number ending in 6666. I'll bet when you moved in, somebody at the phone company looked at your last name and said 'That looks Jewish. Maybe _they_ won't scream and rant about "6666".'"

For a while I had a real pain-in-the-[rear] caller, a teenage-sounding boy who would call up and ask "Is Satan there?" Eventually I called the phone company, who set up a trace... but then they said they couldn't get the number from it because he was calling from a different area. WTF? The _phone company_ can't trace past their own boundaries? They just gave me the usual advice, "Don't say anything, just hang up."

Well, for a few more weeks I kept taking it, but it bugged me more and more. (Bugs... six legs... 666... sick, sick, sick...) Finally one time this dick called, I'd had enough. Unpremeditated, I dropped to a low, growly, evil voice ( I did lots of voice-acting reading Lord of the Rings to my kids and playing D&D with them) and answered

YES... AND HE'S COMING FOR _YOU!_

Then I hung up the phone.

And I never heard from the sonofabitch again.
Thursday May 28, 2015 Recommended fantasy story: Yoon Ha Lee, "Two to Leave" http://www.beneath-ceaseless-skies.com/stories/two-to-leave/

***Fred Lerner: Dan,

I've often wondered what would happen if one of the states adopted a parliamentary system. So far as I can see there's nothing in the U.S. Constitution to prevent a state from doing this.

[So far, the most radical experiment is Nebraska's unicameral legislature.]

***Lee Gold: On 5/28/2015 3:58 PM, Daniel S. Goodman wrote:
Monday May 4, 2015 One of the other two tenants left, absentmindedly taking the other's car.

How did he get the key?

[Car owner was too trusting to bolt his door while he slept.]

***Thursday May 7, 2015 National Day of Prayer, proclaimed by the President. Free story idea: What happens if the US ever has an openly agnostic or atheist President? The tradition would probably continue.

If you check out https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_affiliations_of_Presidents_of_the_United_States#The_irreligious you'll find that #27 Taft was Unitarian and -- Before becoming president, Taft was offered the presidency of Yale University, at that time affiliated with the Congregationalist Church; Taft turned the post down, saying, "I do not believe in the divinity of Christ." On the other hand he apparently wasn't an atheist. It might be worth researching this.

***Adult Children Anonymous meeting. This night's talk was on Step Two.

I consider my higher power to be myself as the best I could be.
"An election is coming. Universal peace is declared, and the foxes have a sincere interest in prolonging the lives of the poultry." George Eliot; Felix Holt
***Monday May 4, 2015 One of the other two tenants left, absentmindedly taking the other's car.

***Tuesday May 5, 2015 The bad tenant was back, not bringing the car.

I think this was when I began to feel I was in a soap opera. Without the sex.

***Wednesday May 6, 2015 NYTimes opinion piece on Catholicism had 666 online comments when I looked at it.

***Freelancers Union event: "Branding Yourself as an Expert."

***Thursday May 7, 2015 National Day of Prayer, proclaimed by the President. Free story idea: What happens if the US ever has an openly agnostic or atheist President? The tradition would probably continue.

***UK elections. Whenever I begin thinking the US would be better off with a parliamentary system, either the UK or Canada will helpfully prove this wrong.

***Linden Hills Adult Children Anonymous meeting.

***Sunday May 10, 2015 "The United States could relearn a thing or two from British politics -- specifically, how to relocate the pragmatism that once prevailed on this side of the pond." Subheading of opinion piece in the Star Tribune (Minneapolis daily paper.) The continuation is headlined "Polarization is less present in British politics." Author? "Lawrence R. Jacobs is director of the Center for the Study of Politics and Governance at the University of Minnesota's Humphrey School of Public Affairs."
Harry Turtledove, Joe Steele. ROC, 2015

Alternate history: Stalin's parents emigrate to the US, and he's born here rather than in the Tsarist Empire. He changes his name to "Steele" rather than the Russian equivalent.

He gets the 1932 Democratic Presidential nomination, after Franklin Roosevelt's unfortunate death. Wins the election, stays President till his death.

After an interval in which it looks like the US will stop being a dictatorship, a worse man takes over: J. Edgar Hoover.

Do I recommend it? If you're a history buff or a political junkie, yes. Otherwise, worth a look to see if you want to continue reading.
Googled for fantasy quidditch leagues. There are several.
Friday May 1, 2015 Saw an American Indian parade.

***At Steeple People Thrift Store, saw The Mammoth Book of Dickensian Mysteries. Dickens characters as mammoths might be interesting; alas, that's not what this book contained. I read part of one story, "The Death of Little Nell." In this re-imagining, Little Nell was a long way from being an innocent girl; and the death people thought she had died was faked.

Other books of this kind include Pride and Promiscuity, which purports to contain the sex scenes edited out of Jane Austen's fiction. I don't understand the appeal of such reworkings.

***Saturday May 2, 2015 Rivendell Group of the Tolkien Society meeting at Southwest Library. Topic: Ruth Berman's translations of fairy tales from 1722: Louise Cavelier Lesque, "The Prince of the Aquamarines" and "The Invisible Prince."

I'm used to the meeting room being crowded; but this time, only four of us showed up.

The reading of part of the book was followed by discussion of, among other things, translation difficulties in finding the right words.

***Mnstf meeting hosted by Jonathan Adams and Carol Kennedy.

***Sunday May 3, 2015 Minnesota Speculative Fiction Writers. First, a smaller group discussed world/future building; including critiquing one story section.

The main meeting's topic was "Critters." That is, nonhumans; mostly intelligent ones.
Excerpted from: They're Moving Father's Sewer to Build a Graveyard. For Link On Line, March 15, 2015. Dan Goodman, dsgood@gmail.com or dsgood@iphouse.com. 612-298-2354

****
Books read include: Elizabeth Benedict, The Joy of Writing Sex: A guide for fiction writers. Henry Holt, 2002. The good parts: there's advice which seems useful; and a quote from Smilla's Sense of Snow contains an act I had never heard of before.

However, the intended readership is writers of literary fiction. And reading this reminded me of why I don't care for most literary fiction. Too much technique, too little life.

Ben Aaronovitch, Foxglove Summer. Ballantine, 2014. Part of the Rivers of London series. (Each river has its god -- except the Thames, which has two who don't get along well.) Peter Grant is half the staff of Scotland Yard's division devoted to fighting magical crimes. In this book, he's sent to a small town to help investigate the disappearance of two young girls.

There are twists I didn't expect. And I've been reading mysteries and fantasies long enough that I often spot surprises long before authors reveal them.

Aaronovitch is up on police procedures, and gets assistance from working cops. (I don't think he consults working magicians.) I recommend this book, and the entire series.

Note: This is the second book with carnivorous unicorns I've read recently. (The other is Charles Stross's Equoid.) Anyone who looked forward to being first with the idea will need to find another one.

****
A few months ago, four men were arrested for cheating at poker at Canterbury Racetrack. (One played, one peeked at other players' cards, the other two blocked surveillance cameras.) Their earnings were given as "above $200."

Say they grossed $60 each. Three of them traveled to Minnesota from Florida; add in other expenses, and they can't have netted much. Even if they'd gotten away with it, doesn't seem worth it to me.

If I recall correctly, three were in their 70s and one close to it. They had previous records. If they were smart, they would've gone into another line of work.

****
[Names of workshop members commented to are replaced by pseudonyms]

Lord Bearer: SF editor John Campbell once speculated that nitroglycerin had been invented before gunpowder -- several times, by alchemists who didn't live to document their results. As I recall, Campbell took for granted that gunpowder was a European invention; but it seems possible to me that it was invented before Muslims brought gunpowder to Europe.

Latin Herder: Actually, some genre stories begin slowly. For example, a group of men are playing cards; and after a while one begins telling the story. This used to be much more common, as did men sitting around in a bar.

A good recent fantasy story which starts off slowly: Neil Gaiman, "To Weep Like Alexander."// I'm used to seeing song lyrics quoted like this:

There was an old woman in our town,
In our town did dwell.
She loved her husband dearly,
But another man twice as well.

She went to the doctor
To see what she could find,
To see what he could give her
To make her old man blind.

Or:

First time I seen Darling Corey,
She was standing in the door.
.45 pistol in her hand,
And a dead man on the floor.

Each line of the song on its own line.

//Much of my thinking is in multi-sensory diagrams; usually in three dimensions, sometimes four, occasionally five. Which is rather difficult to get down on paper. //An immortal woman might consider anyone with an age less than a few thousand years young. Even if she's relatively young herself. //I remember things much better if I write them down; and often I don't need to look at them again. My ticker tape synesthesia is less useful, but will do in a pinch. (Ticker tape: Seeing spoken words printed out; in my case, also words I think out. Thankfully, I don't notice it unless I "look." Such things can be distracting. )

People have different kinds of memory, with more differences than can easily be imagined.

Former Medic: I found out I had diabetes by mentioning to my doctor there was an itch between two toes which wasn't going away. (Which is better than the first indication being a coma, as happened to someone I know and to someone I knew when he was alive.) Thought about a relative who had diabetes and wasn't controlling it; I then lost enough weight to be merely prediabetic.
"Anarchy isn't the best form of government, but it's better than no government at all."
stardreamer 2015-03-14: "Are you seriously suggesting that increased awareness of consent issues is a temporary moral panic, and that (say) 30 years from now, date rape and acquaintance rape will be back to 'business as usual'? Would you have said the same thing 30 years ago about child sexual abuse?"

Thirty years ago, child sexual abuse was taken much less seriously than it is now. My guess: thirty years from now, it'll be somewhere in between being routinely covered up, and it being a very bad idea to post a picture of your child taking a bath.

Consent issues: I don't think it will go all the way back to the way it used to be. (And I very much hope not.)

Just as the back and forth movement of attitudes on racial discrimination hasn't included a return to legal slavery. And has included the possibility of a Black being elected President. (A few decades ago, fictional Black Presidents didn't reach the White House by election; they were in the line of succession.)

***Lee Gold: " 'If you graduated from high school thirty years ago, don't take for granted that nothing has changed. Check.'

"Dan, let's start by discussing whom and what data sources you check with. Asking the nearest teenaged relative is probably not good enough."

I would begin by reading magazines for teens. They're an imperfect mirror; but they do show startling differences.

"'Places you haven't been to in a while have undergone change. In 1965, some Paris restaurants had hectographed menus in their windows; this is probably no longer the case.'

"I didn't see this in 1971. But maybe I was just looking at the wrong Paris restaurants." Or maybe copy machines had become more familiar in the meantime.

"'When "Jennifer" became the most popular girl-baby name in the US,


"1970-1984

" ' it was easy to predict that in a bit less than twenty years there would be a lot of college women named Jennifer.

"Or perhaps domr og yhrm eoulf [sic] have changed their names to Jenny and Jen."

One member of Twin Cities sf fandom is called Seven. She was the seventh Jennifer in her Star Trek club.

"'By the late 1980s, it should have been obvious that the Soviet Union was in no shape to successfully invade the US.

"As opposed to bombing it to a glowing nuclear wasteheap." Maybe. The Soviet Union was sufficiently badly organized that such orders might not have been carried out.

"'Take account of moral panic cycles.'

"I'd have thought that network TV shows fading in viewership and cable and web shows gaining and help start niche panic cycles gaining. So far I haven't heard of a TV / web medical or legal show favored by anti-vaxxers but I expect to do so eventually. (I am fervently pro-vaccination. That's not the point here.)"

Most niche Viewing With Alarm doesn't become mainstream (or large minority) moral panics most of the time.

Quiz

Mar. 16th, 2015 16:04
In which Planet of the Apes movie do gorillas celebrate National Human Suit Day?

Which Dr Who episode has aliens called Kardashians?

Which Peanuts character is highly interested in the Wester Bunny?

What conspiracy novel "reveals" that Popes never die, and former Popes are kept in the secret Vatican basements?
Notes On Writing Future-Setting Fiction

-"Fiction always reflects the time in which it's written, not the time in which it's set. So what's the problem?"-

The same is true of Shakespearean criticism. But that's not what it's supposed to be about; it's supposed to be about Shakespeare in his own time and place. And it's true of historical nonfiction, academic or popular.

And: some people, including me, read fiction set in the future hoping to find something new. To us, "just like today" is no more satisfying than "They realize neither of them is interested in sex and both prefer to live alone" would be to most romance readers.

Not to mention that things might change before a story is published. For several months after the Soviet Union fell, "Soviets invade America" novels were still turning up in bookstores. There were probably others in the pipeline or being written which no one will get to read.

It's not possible to predict the future with total accuracy. But there are ways to cut down on bloopers.

1) If you graduated from high school thirty years ago, don't take for granted that nothing has changed. Check.

If you graduated last year, it still might be a good idea to check.

Yes, teenagers will still act like teenagers. But they won't wear the same clothing, listen to the same music, use the same slang. And for how long has it been possible for a lesbian couple to be elected Homecoming King and Queen? (See the March 2012 issue of Seventeen.)

Places you haven't been to in a while have undergone change. In 1965, some Paris restaurants had hectographed menus in their windows; this is probably no longer the case. (This wasn't mentioned in any guidebook I read. If you visit any place, and don't notice anything which isn't in guidebooks, I recommend an immediate medical checkup.)

2) Look at what's already happened which will have highly-predictable consequences.

When "Jennifer" became the most popular girl-baby name in the US, it was easy to predict that in a bit less than twenty years there would be a lot of college women named Jennifer.

It should have been obvious that the Baby Boom meant larger college classes down the road. I think most college administrators realized this around 1964, but it might have been later.

3) Certain predictions keep being made, and keep being wrong. "In a few years, everyone will have at least one flying car." "Once this law is passed, the problem will be solved forever." (If you want to write alternate history in which ground cars became obsolete in 1960, and Prohibition resulted in all Americans giving up alcohol, that's another matter.)

4) Check to make sure you know what's really happening now that will affect the future. By the late 1980s, it should have been obvious that the Soviet Union was in no shape to successfully invade the US.

5) Take account of moral panic cycles. Right now, nonconsenting sex is A Big Problem: in US colleges, in science fiction fandom, in religious organizations. Drunken driving is also seen as more of a problem than used to be the case. Such jokes as "If you drink, don't park. Accidents cause people" are no longer as acceptable as they once were.

Tobacco use has become much more restrictive. And there are no longer ads like "Reach for a Lucky instead of a sweet."

Conversely, marijuana has become acceptable enough to be legal in several US states; and various other countries (Portugal, for example) have decriminalized it.

And there are reciprocal cycles. In certain times, even clueless hard drug users realize that heroin is Bad News. Many turn to nice, safe cocaine. Later, such people realize that cocaine is Bad News and turn to nice, safe heroin. (Any resemblance to political cycles is left to your imagination.)

6) Eating habits will change. Once, most Americans had never tasted pizza. Pasties weren't always a Finnish-American dish in the Upper Midwest.
Date: 2015-03-01 20:10 (UTC)
mindstalk: (Default)
From: [personal profile] mindstalk IP Address: (66.30.118.95)
The webcomic A Miracle of Science had a big groupmind on Mars. Alastair Reynolds had the Conjoiners, who are like cuddly and more fleshed-out Borg. So I'd say not completely out of style.

[Not completely, but rather less common than it used to be.]

I fan-spin the Unison Devices of "Nanoha" as being a full merge of minds and memories, at least in the cases of full unison like Hayate/Reinforce and Signum/Agito. I've got various fic ideas exploring that, also an ability for Hayate to dip into and share minds with her knights. That wouldn't be always-on, though.

[I'm not familiar with "Nonoha."]


Julian May didn't get into what the coadunate metapsychic mind was really like, and she's older than the other two, if not as old as Sturgeon.
stardreamer replied to your Dreamwidth entry (http://dsgood.dreamwidth.org/161430.html) in which you said:

"If we could all read each other's minds, we would understand and love each other. And it would be wonderful to always know what everyone around us was thinking. Theodore Sturgeon loved this idea, as did some other science fiction writers.

"It seems to have gone out of style. I suspect the Internet has something to do with this. Imagine having a direct-to-brain Twitter feed, with no way of turning it off.

"If that doesn't make you uneasy, think about unstoppable access to erotic daydreams -- most of which bore you. To memories of eating foods you dislike, from people whose sense of taste is stronger than yours. To badly plotted nightmares."

And then there was Poul Anderson's "Journeys End" (yes, the title is spelled correctly). He made pretty much the same point you do here, on a more personal level.

[From another angle; having corners of your mind uncovered which you'd far rather were left unseen.]

Every workable fictional implementation of telepathy I've ever seen came with the assumption that you also had SHIELDS -- that you didn't have to listen to every thought of everybody for miles around, or project your thoughts to them.

[Partial exception: Clifford Simak, Time is the Simplest Thing. The Pinkness (a nonhuman) has a standard greeting: "I trade with you my mind." The Pinkness absorbs your mind, and gives you its mind; including everything it's gotten from other telepathic explorers. And like many clutterers, The Pinkness is disorganized.]

don_fitch (don_fitch) replied to your LiveJournal post (http://dsgood.livejournal.com/1300258.html):

What on earth caused you to posit that "If we could all read each other's minds, we would understand and love each other"?

[I didn't. Theodore Sturgeon did; see To Marry Medusa (aka The Cosmic Rape). So did other sf writers.]

I see no reason not to think that we'd do pritty much as we do now -- love a few people, hate a few people, and feel varying degrees of liking and disliking most, with a lot of "bleh" in the middle. With that telepathy we'd select our targets more accurately, probably, but I don't think the numbers would be much different .... it's a matter of how many people & personal interactions of some intensity any given individual can cope with.

[In the long run. In the short term? Some people would be disconcerted to learn that most others didn't consider them worth plotting against, to begin with. People born after the change wouldn't have major problems; but older people would.]

I'm terrible about remembering Examples, but I think the more thoughtful s-f writers who dealt with this idea made a major point of the fact that everyone had to be able to control both their sending and their receiving. Otherwise, as you imply, the Talent would result in insanity.

[In Sturgeon's To Marry Medusa, and some of his other stories, there wasn't any control. And everyone lived happily ever after.]

(Geeze, even Marion Zimmer Bradley got that one right, and Marion was no great shakes at either Logic or Science, though she was probably the best practitioner of the ancient tradition of Oral Storytelling in the genre until Anne McCaffrey came along..)
We Know All About You

If we could all read each other's minds, we would understand and love each other. And it would be wonderful to always know what everyone around us was thinking. Theodore Sturgeon loved this idea, as did some other science fiction writers.

It seems to have gone out of style. I suspect the Internet has something to do with this. Imagine having a direct-to-brain Twitter feed, with no way of turning it off.

If that doesn't make you uneasy, think about unstoppable access to erotic daydreams -- most of which bore you. To memories of eating foods you dislike, from people whose sense of taste is stronger than yours. To badly plotted nightmares.
Rosemary Lin, Love in 2140. This 2417 novel is almost the best historical romance set in the 22nd Century. The male, female, and one-off main characters are believable. So are their interactions, from chance meeting to lighting of the wedding fire.

However, it is marred by factual inaccuracies.

The scene in which Linnea buys a car, drives off, and then has to evade pursuers is exciting. But Detroit had banned private vehicles almost thirty years earlier.

The Council of Anglican Orthodox Churches had not yet been established.

And the Times of North America was still the New York Times, even though most of its offices were already in Calgary.
Tuesday January 27, 2015 At Midwest Mountaineering, bought a more comfortable small backpack. (Thanks to Ken Konkol, I have a good large pack: military issue, comes with a user's manual.)

***"Based on the latest evidence and theories our galaxy could be a huge wormhole and, if that were true, it could be 'stable and navigable.' Astrophysicists combined the equations of general relativity with an extremely detailed map of the distribution of dark matter in the Milky Way when proposing this possibility."
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/01/150121083648.htm

***From politicalwire.com: "Jimmy McMillan, former gubernatorial candidate of the fringe The Rent Is Too Damn High party, 'has been slapped with an eviction notice ordering him out of his $872-a-month rent stabilized East Village apartment,' the New York Daily News reports.

***comments: al_zorra 1/25 (replying to Don Fitch): "O gads YAH! Windows 8, Windows 8.1 whatever -- it's hideous rubbish."

[I find Linux considerably easier. I think partly because the free distributions are designed by hobbyists rather than professionals. The professionals are overseen by companies which think the trouble with the US Government is, it's insufficiently bureaucratic.]

"I used to be fairly good with computers, even troubleshooting. By now I've devolved with all their making it easier into incompetency.

"O well, I can't even recognize food, or how to get in or out of cars either any longer.

"Everything is geared to a smart phone, which doesn't work in either the real world or on a computer that is used for W-O-R-K because one is a working person, even if working from home."
January 23, 2015

***Received comments:

***1/23 al_zorra: "Pretending things are not what they are / were, destroys all sorts of integrits, and makes literature study irrelevant because one is studying phony content."

Further in the NYTimes piece: the word "rigger" was annotated, giving its meaning and other information about riggers.

The text has since been returned to what Faulkner wrote, including use of a similar word which begins with n.

***1/23 don_fitch: "I was a bit vexed by your assertion about non-native-French-speakers in France... until I realized that you'd said "cities". I suppose there are still plenty of villages and towns that have few or no Tunisian, Turkish, British, or other immigrants.

"Mind you, West Covina (here in California, mostly south of Covina) might possibly have a minority of native-English-speakers by now. In the Best Buy computer store, the other day, I was impressed by the child-like Enthusiasm displayed by four stocky Asian guys in their late 20s (I'd guess) as they played with various computer stuff. The were marvelously tattooed (in both area & quality) and each had at least one finger-joint missing. I was tempted to go over and ask them whether they were Yazuka [sic] (Japanese Mafia, approximately) or Seriously Dedicated Actors, but decided against it because actors can get dangerously temperamental."

1/23 thnidu: "Yikes.

"(Yakuza, not Yazuka. Doesn't rhyme with ;bazooka'; closer to "J'accuse".)"
Thursday January 22, 2015 According to the Minnesota Daily (the U's student paper,) the Governor and others want to rebrand Minnesota as part of "the North" rather than "the Midwest." The change would supposedly make Minnesota more attractive to businesses and workers who might be looking for a place to move.

This kind of word magic has a long history. for example, the naming of Greenland.

***Picked up 6 Linux books being held at Southeast Library. One of them turns out to be useful.

***Installed Chromium (non-proprietary variant of Google's Chrome browser.) So far, I like it better than the current version of Mozilla Firefox.

***ACA (Adult Children of Alcoholic and Otherwise Dysfunctional Families) meeting. This was the annual Group Conscience meeting. Mostly discussing and voting on decisions made in the last business meeting (held after a regular meeting); but with a bit of other business.

***Forthcoming book: "Political scientists John Ferejohn and Frances Rosenbluth's TUG OF WAR, tracing the evolution of modern democracy through centuries of warfare, concluding that, even today, democracy might need war to ensure its very existence..." From Publishers Lunch's daily newsletter.


***comment from al_zorra,: "O my goodness -- I literally just finished the last edits and revisions to the Faulkner section of my annual essay on the previous year's most significant reading!

"I was reading along in what you had quoted and came full stop at 'riggers,' because that isn't Faulkner. I knew it immediately".

[So did I, and I hadn't read Faulkner in years.]

***don_fitch (don_fitch) replied to a comment left by don_fitch (don_fitch) in your LiveJournal post (http://dsgood.livejournal.com/1298773.html). The comment they replied to was:

"'Oooh, I _like_ that bit about statistics of birth re. May Day... and the practical reasons (-"it's too cold to screw in the woods on May Day"-) for them.'

'And yeah, I don't like to consider myself Alien to any or many non-sociopathic groups ...but for some reason a whole lot of the things Computer Geeks consider "helpful" are things I try to turn off as soon as possible. Unfortunately, they also turn off a lot of things _I_ consider helpful.

'(I recently bought a new Macintosh computer. It has a big screen, and was ridiculously expensive. It does not have a way to plug into a telephone land-line to connect to the internet (or for highest-speed transmission via Usenet). It does not have a way to read, directly, CDs. It does not allow dropping documents into open windows but requires doing it into Icons, It does not do several other things that it used to do well & conveniently. Despite the presence of a Learning Curve, I expect to move to PCs in the future.)'

Their reply was: "Oops! I seem to have hit 'Send' before mentioning that, yeah, many, many of the 'helpful' features on computers nowadays are annoying, at best."

[As were "helpful" features on older computers.]
Tuesday January 20, 2015

***"The collection contains 'A Rose for Emily,' a Faulkner story often taught in high schools, probably because it’s among his simplest. I must have skipped class that day, because the tale of Emily Grierson, who poisons the suitor who will not marry her and then sleeps next to his corpse, was new to me.

"After I finished I wanted to know more, as readers do, and so I turned to that great resource, the Internet, in the hopes of illumination. And there I saw that Rap Genius, a start-up that has received a lot of funding to annotate lyrics and other texts, had tackled the story. The text was reprinted, and there were annotations throughout.

"None were particularly interesting. Then I saw this, the moment when the suitor comes on the scene: 'The town had just let the contracts for paving the sidewalks, and in the summer after her father’s death they began the work. The construction company came with riggers and mules and machinery, and a foreman named Homer Barron, a Yankee — a big, dark, ready man, with a big voice and eyes lighter than his face. The little boys would follow in groups to hear him cuss the riggers, and the riggers singing in time to the rise and fall of picks. Pretty soon he knew everybody in town.'"
http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/01/20/as-i-lay-lying-the-web-fixes-faulkner/

***Comment from Lee Gold: "On 1/20/2015 1:36 PM, Daniel S. Goodman wrote:

'I mentioned on-line that Quebec City had the highest percentage of native French speakers of any city. -"Outside of France, of course,"- someone said helpfully. No.'

"This seems to rely on folding 'French' and 'Quebecois' in together as dialects of the same language. I suppose it's defensible, but I'm not absolutely sure the French Academy would agree."

To the best of my knowledge, they do.
Happy Birthday, creature!
On a myth of British history:

"The behaviour of young people on May Eve and May Day had thus become a cliché of scandal and of titillation alike. It took until the late twentieth century, and the patient labours of demographic historians, to reveal that there was in fact no rise in the number of pregnancies at this season, in or out of marriage. The boom in conceptions came later in the summer. In practice early modern people seem to have found the night of the 30 April generally too chilly, and the woods generally too damp."
Ronald Hutton. The Stations of the Sun: a history of the ritual year in Britain. Oxford University Press, 1996. p. 229.

***Saturday January 3, 2015. Seen at the Van Cleve Park ice hockey rink: a man on skates, pushing a baby in a stroller. Also a woman holding a toddler up by his arms; both on skates.

***Sign: "End of year sale." More than 360 days early.

***"Careful dog," I said. "I bite." The dog owner’s companion then explained to me that the dog didn’t bite.

People hear, or read, what makes sense to them. Sometimes they understand the words, but take it for granted that something which makes sense to them was meant.

Example: I mentioned on-line that Quebec City had the highest percentage of native French speakers of any city. -"Outside of France, of course,"- someone said helpfully. No.

***Tuesday January 6, 2015. Cold enough that ice formed on my beard and mustache.

***Wednesday January 7, 2015. Colder yet. Minneapolis schools closed. St. Paul schools didn't, but there were excused absences.

***Got a computer!
Free Geek Twin Cities refurbishes used computers, replacing Windows with Xubuntu (a Linux variant.) I bought a Toshiba Satellite laptop.

Free Geek is in a mostly-industrial part of Minneapolis; one which has other quirky nonprofits and businesses, such as Barebones Puppets.

When I got home, started re-familiarizing myself with Linux.

And began tweaking various programs to my taste. Mostly turning off "helpful" features such as word completion.

***Thursday January 8, 2015. Warmer.

I bought a balaclava at Thrifty Outfitters (part of Midwest Mountaineering.)
Thursday December 18, 2014. Seen: "Silent Night" rewritten to make it more Christian. Posted at the Willey Hall bus shelter.

***Had venison chili for lunch, thanks to Waite House.

Friday December 19. Venison pizza at Waite House.

***To Community Emergency Service for produce giveaway. Brought bags for other people to use.

Monday December 22. Email: "Cute girl wants a normal guy." Doesn't know much about me.

Wednesday December 24. Santa Claus impersonator riding a tall bicycle down Southeast Como Avenue.